Christ's Priesthood After the Order of Melchizedec.
SUMMARY.--The High Dignity of Melchizedec as a Priest.
Abraham Paid Him Tithes.
Thus Did the Aaronic Priesthood Confess His Superiority.
A Type of a Priest Forever.
Christ to be a Priest After the Order of Melchizedec.
Hence, the Aaronic Priesthood Imperfect.
Hence, too, the Law Must be Changed.
Christ, the Priest of the New Covenant, Hath an Unchangeable Priesthood.
1-3. For this Melchizedec, king of Salem. See the account of him
That he was a character of exceeding dignity is manifest, not only from
the statements of Genesis, but of this chapter. There have been many
speculations concerning his personality, but no man can lift the vail.
He bursts upon us as a priest-king, king of Salem, or Jerusalem, which
we now know from discoveries in Egyptian records existed even in those
very early ages;
priest of the most High God.
There is no account of his parents, none of his birth, none of his
death, none of the beginning or end of his priesthood;
hence, he appears in the record without parents, genealogy, beginning
or end, simply as
a fit type of him whose priesthood and kingly state endure forever.
Who met Abraham. See
Abraham was returning from the pursuit of marauders who had captured
Lot, his nephew.
Blessed him. The "great father," "the friend of God,"
thus acknowledges his superior spiritual dignity.
2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all. Tithes were
paid to him as priest of the Most High.
King of righteousness. Such is the meaning of Melchizedek. The
word may not be the name, but a title.
King of Salem. This means "King of Peace." It will be observed
that the payment of tithes for religious purposes is at least 400
years older than the Jewish law. See also
3. Without father, without mother. See note on
Nor end of life. None as he appears in history. As far as he is
revealed to us he is a living character, one that lives right on,
like unto the Son of God. The Apostle does not affirm this was
absolutely so, but that it is thus that Melchizedek appears on the
back ground of early history. He abideth, in the Sacred Record,
a priest continually.
4-10. How great this man was. When one so great as Abraham
recognized his superiority by paying him tithes.
5. The sons of Levi. The Aaronic priesthood, all of them of the
tribe of Levi.
Take tithes of the people according to the law. They require the
enactment of the law in order to collect tithes of the people, their
The tithes are paid, not because of their great spiritual dignity, but
because the law compels it.
6. But he whose descent is not counted from them. Melchizedek,
who was not of the blood of Abraham or tribe of Levi, received tithes
not because of the law, but because of his transcendent dignity.
7. The less is blessed by the better. Though Abraham had the
promises of God Melchizedek, as the higher in spiritual dignity and
nearer to God, blessed him. See
8. Here men that die receive tithes. The Aaronic priesthood die,
and the death of the high priest is a matter of record. Their mortality
was a prominent feature, but in the case of Melchizedek, he who
liveth right on as far as the records tell us. We behold him
only as a living priest, typical of a priest who liveth forever.
9. Levi also, who receiveth tithes. The sacred tribe of Israel,
the tribe to whom tithes are paid, paid tithes to Melchizedek.
10. He was yet. All Israel, kings and priests, though yet
unborn, were represented in Abraham. Hence Levi paid tithes, and thus
confessed the superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek.
11-17. The superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek to that
of Aaron in dignity having been shown, the imperfection of the latter
is next pointed out.
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood. If it
effected the complete pardon of sins and made men holy.
What further need was there, etc. If it gave all needful spiritual
blessings there would be no need of another priesthood. The Aaronic
priesthood would have been continued on forever. But a change of the
priesthood has been predicted, as will soon be shown.
12. For the priesthood being changed. The law as given "under
the Levitical priesthood"
and was all grouped around the priesthood as its very center. Of
course, if the priesthood was changed the law of the old priesthood,
the law of Moses, must go with it, and give place to a new law.
13. For he of whom these things are spoken. Of whom an
unchangeable priesthood is predicted.
Pertaineth to another tribe. All the priests of the Jewish
dispensation had been of the tribe of Levi, but Christ was not of this
14. Our Lord sprang from Judah. In the genealogies as given by
Matthew and Luke.
The Messiah was to be the son of David.
15. It is yet far more evident. Still more clear than that the
new High Priest should be of the tribe of Judah. That could be shown by
an argument, because it was affirmed (1) that the Christ was to be the
Son of David; (2) David was of Judah; (3) The Christ was to be a
priest. On the other hand, without argument, is the clear affirmation
that there was to be a new priesthood, a priest
after the likeness of Melchizedec.
16. Who is made, etc. The Levitical priesthood
based their claims on a
a carnal commandment, a fleshly claim, that of hereditary right.
Eleazer succeeded Aaron
because he was his son, and so each high priest.
The power of an endless life. The claim of the great high priest
is not fleshly descent, but that he lives forever. He demonstrated his
title to the office by rising from the dead. He was exalted to the
kingly priesthood when he arose from the dead
17. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
This declares that the Christ shall be a priest, a priest forever, a
priest not of the order of Aaron, but of Melchizedek; a priest-king
whose office abideth continually.
18-22. A disannulling of the commandment going before. The old
law and the Aaronic priesthood are abrogated because of their
imperfection. They could not make men perfect.
19. For the law made nothing perfect. The law was only a
preparatory arrangement. It did not fit men for eternal life.
The bringing in of a better hope. See the Revision. The idea is:
The law was disannulled and a "better hope" brought in, that of the
gospel, by which we draw nigh unto God.
20. Not without an oath. God never interposed an oath except to
show certainty and immutability. Thus he swore to Abraham
to the rebellious Israelites
to David, that his seed should endure forever
Since the same solemn assurance is given concerning the priesthood of
Christ, the meaning is that it is immutable.
21. For those priests. The Aaronic priests. Their priesthood did
not rest upon an oath. Hence, it was not eternal; Christ's did, for God
gave it the sanctity of an oath. The solemn words are significant, "The
Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, etc."
22. By so much. By such solemn means was Jesus made a
surety, the pledge and firm assurance. A surety is intended to
secure absolute certainty.
A better testament. Rather, covenant. Jesus became the pledge of
the new covenant, the Gospel. God has established him as its high
priest forever, by the sanctity of an oath. This is the line of
23-28. Were many priests. Since they were removed by death there
were in succession many Aaronic high priests.
24. But this man, etc. Christ was victorious over death before
upon his priesthood; he lives forever, and hence, there is no change of
25. Wherefore he is able also to save, etc. Because he is such a
high priest, and hath the power of an endless life. He is not a frail
mortal like us; and can save, in every extremity, all who approach God
through his priesthood.
26. Such an high priest became us. We need just such a high
priest; one who hath no sins and is exalted above the heathen. He needs
not to save himself, and hence is able to save.
27. Who needeth not daily. The daily sacrifice was offered on
the altar, under the direction of the high priest, for the sins of the
whole nation, including himself.
For this he did once. Instead of the daily offering for himself
and others, Christ made but one offering, himself, when he died upon
the cross. This offering was complete when he, as the high priest,
ascended into the Holy of Holies above to intercede for the sins of his
people. The perfect high priest had offered the perfect sacrifice and
had dedicated the new and better covenant. Christ made his offering as
a priest in "The true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man."
28. For the law, etc. The law puts imperfect men into the
But the word of the oath . . . maketh the Son. The
spotless and Divine one who became an eternal priest.