The author now draws from the only Scripture of the day, the Old Testament, to prove the superiority of the order of Melchizedec over the order of Aaron. Did not Christ begin at Moses and the prophets to teach the things concerning himself, and then opened their understanding so that they might understand the Scriptures? (Luke 24) The author here uses the prophets to teach the truth of the true High Priest of God, Christ Jesus.
We must insert here that because Christians have been cut off from the Old Testament Scriptures, they have a very corrupt understanding of the Mediation and Kingly work of Christ in this Gospel Church age.
Melchisedec, the priest-King, is introduced in Genesis 14. Then there is only one other reference to him in Psalms 110. Nothing more is said of him in the Old Testament. So it appears that the Jews had given little or no consideration to him, so the reference to him introduces a surprising new line of reasoning. Melchisedec did not belong to the Mosaic line of priests as did the sons of Aaron. Hebrews points out that with no beginning nor ending, he was "made like unto the son of God", our great High Priest.
Hebrews spends a lot of time developing the implications and applications of 110:4, yet v. 4 is almost unheard of in the modern idea of Christ. I have found that the reason that it is ignored is because many do not want to hear of their responsibility to subdue all things under the feet of King Jesus by proper application of his law.
V. 7. It is self-evident and beyond controversy that the lesser is blessed by the greater, e.g., Jacobs blessing of his sons. (Gen 48, Heb 11:21)
The less is blessed of the better. That thesuperior blesses the inferior is a general proposition; butAbraham was blessed of Melchisedec, therefore Melchisedec was greaterthan Abraham. "The blessing here spoken of," says Dr. Macknight, "isnot the simple wishing of good to others, which may be done byinferiors to superiors; but it is the action of a personauthorized to declare Gods intention to bestow good thingson another. In this manner Isaac and Jacob blessed their childrenunder a prophetic impulse; in this manner the priests under the lawblessed the people; in this manner, likewise, Melchisedec, the priestof the most high God, blessed Abraham." (Clark)
That is, the blessing of Abraham in Genesis 14:19 was Gods action toward Abraham, showing His intention to bestow His gracious goodness upon Abraham and his seed. Actually, it was a continuation of the Genesis 12:1-4 blessing promised to our father Abraham.
V. 8. Melchisedec's blessing of Abraham shows his superiority
over Abraham and the priestly line of Aaron that would come from
Abraham. The payment of tithes by Abraham to Melchisedec further
proves that Abraham considered him greater. (Gen 4:19)
Editors note to Calvin in V. 8:
Critics often make a difficulty where is none. Theobvious meaning of this verse is given by Calvin, Ð Ð continual succession, owing to death, betokened theunenduring character of the Levitical priesthood; butthe perpetuity of that Melchisedec is proved by this,that he lives. To live often means to be perpetual; andto die intimates what is evanescent. The Levites weredying men, which showed the character of their office,Melchisedec is represented as not dying, which betokensthat his office as a priest is perpetual. Ð Ð Ed.
That is to say, the law assigned the tithe to corruptible men who would die, showing that their priesthood was temporal, ending when they died. But Melchisedec had no ancestry to prove himself: he had no beginning nor end, showing that his priesthood and kingship, King of Righteousness, King of Salem, which is, King of peace, was an everlasting office appointed by God. Hebrews is proving that that office of the High Priest is now filled by another who was not of the frail and dying nature of Aaron, Christ. Melchisedec was clearly not from the human priesthood established under Moses.
The author continually confronts the reader with Psalms 110:4, proving that Christ is the only one sent by God to be the true Prophet, Priest and King. He was sent by the Father to equip the Elect to subdue all creation according to the laws of the Kingdom of God through his mediation work on the cross.
Vv. 9, 10 speak of that which was yet many years in the future in regards to father Abraham. They show us that our lives have a continuing effect on the yet unborn future generations.
Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (There is no difference between forsaking God and hating him. Hate toward God is revealed by ignoring his commandments. Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9)
visiting the iniquity
Quest. How can this be just?
Answ. 1. All are born sinners, and are children of wrath, andtherefore justly punishable for their own sins.
Answ. 2. He speaks not here of eternal damnation, but of temporalpunishments, in which there is no shadow of injustice; as appears,
1. Because the sins of parents are oft punished in their children, evenin human courts, as is manifest in traitors, which practice beingacknowledged to be just, it cannot with any sense be accounted unjustin God.
2. Because such external punishments have more good than evil in them,and are in many, and may be so in others, if themselves do not hinderit, instruments of the greatest good, exercises of their virtues andgraces, and means of their eternal happiness.3. Because children are a part and the possession of their parents, andtherefore it is not unjust if they suffer with them, and for them.
Answ. 3. This is to be understood with an exception of repentance,and penitent children, as appears from #Eze 18 And if any such betemporally punished for their fathers sins, God will abundantlyrecompense it to them some other way. But if children tread in theirfathers sinful steps, it is but just that they should partake of theirplagues.(Poole)
Our finite minds cannot comprehend how our present attitude and actions toward God can have such a serious impact on the future generation, either in a positive or negative way. Yet by faith, we understand the serious nature of our attitude toward God and his command word.
Note that any image of God even in the mind of our imagination that is not according to the fullness of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit as revealed in Scripture is a false god.
B. The Priesthood Compared to Those Who Make Up the Future (7:9-10).
The expression, "For he was yet in the loins of his father" (V. 10), and theexpression, "paid tithes in Abraham," in the previous verse, speaks of that which wasyet future in regards to father Abraham. This verse proves that our life has an ongoingeffect to the yet unborn. This is an awesome truth. We must be mindful of this as we liveout our lives. We should always be conscious of the reality of impacting futuregenerations either in a positive or in a negative way. By this above expression, and alsoin support of the priesthood of Melchisedec being preferred above the Levitical system,it is said that not only did Abraham offer tithes to Melchisedec, but so did hisposterity. This is not to say that each descendant or even any descendant of Abraham wasaccountable to the individual acts of Abraham. The truth being conveyed is that thelineage of Abraham, which supports the Levitical system through Levi, does not tie backto Melchisedec. Melchisedec stands alone. Even more so, and in a superior position toeven Melchisedec, Christ our High Priest stands alone. (Alterman, OLB)
Abrahams payment to Melchisedec, unmistakably established the priority of Melchisedecs priesthood, which is clearly prior and superior to the Levitical priesthood; this presented problems for those Hebrews who looked to the Levitical priesthood in the temple. Changing the priesthood from Levi to himself tells us that Christs priesthood has all nations in mind. Matthew 28:18-20 makes it clear that the King is more than just the King of the Hebrews as was the belief in his day. He is King over all.
In Acts 15, the early church had to deal with the proper place of the Gentiles in the church: Was it necessary for them to become Jews on their way to becoming Christians? The first church council deemed it unnecessary, and Hebrews declares the old priesthood to be dead. So to a point, both the kinship and priesthood are displaced from old Israel, and replaced with Christ, also of the seed of Israel.
In the name of Melchisedec, who was not an heir to the Abrahamic covenant, the priesthood is taken from the old covenant people, Israel, and given to the new covenant people, the churchthe body of Christ.
V. 11, perfection or maturity was not possible by the Levitical priesthood, because its rights and rituals only spoke of what was to come. They only pointed to the actual and effectual atonement of a different sacrifice and priesthood, a new order which required a new high priest after the order of Melchisedec. The order of Aaron was made up of sinful, dying men, so it could not follow after the never-ending order of Melchisedec.
Remember, the problem being dealt with by Hebrews was the desire of the Hebrews to retain the old Mosaic law requiring the Levitical priesthood with its mediation sacrifices; they were still taking place at Jerusalem, and would continue there until the destruction of Jerusalem.
V. 11, Abrahams meeting with Melchisedec is the link that changed the law of the priesthood and mediation from Aaron to Christ.
V. 12, the new order removing the priesthood from Jerusalem to Christ made of necessity a change also of the law.
Antinomians, which includes many who profess to be reformed and even Calvinistic, claim that the change of the law was a change from the written command word of God to a supposed command word of God which speaks to the human spirit. Thus, they abolish the commandments as being for mankind today. Using passages such as v. 12 and Romans 6, they wrest their Scriptures say that We are under grace, not under law. Lawlessness in the Christian community can be traced to that evil mentality.
The logical implication of that mentality is that theft, murder, adultery, &c., are now lawful since Christ. The evil of such an unscriptural position is beyond description, for v. 12 is clearly speaking of the change of the law of the priesthood from Aaron to Christ.
The rending of the veil in the temple from top to bottom showed that God himself ended the Aaronic priesthood and the old sacrificial law-system. Matthew 27:51.
Vv. 12-14 clearly tell us that because God changed the priesthood, there was a necessary change in the law. The new high priest required a different law, for he was greater than the old priesthood which could not bring perfection to the people, vv. 11, 19.
It is impossible to read anything other than the change of the priesthood laws into v. 12, for he did not change any of the commandments and how they work out into society. Any other understanding allows Christians to withdraw Godly influence from society, and turns it all over to the spirit of the antichrist.
The priesthood being changed or transferred to another priesthood was necessary to provide atonement, and to create a people capable of obeying Gods law, and advancing the Kingdom of Christ on earth, and, thus, placing his enemies under his footstool. The atonement was necessary to seat the redeemed with him in heavenly places over all powers that can be named, and to remove the handwriting of ordinances that was against them; that is, the ordinances that condemned the sinner to death. (Col 2.)
The atonement clears the redeemed from the law as a death penalty against them. The handwriting of ordinances condemned them, but the work of the high priest after the order of Melchisedec frees them from the law of sin and death. The law did not die in Christ, but his people died in him. The redeemed are now dead to the law as a death sentence. His people died in Christ to be raised unto newness of life. That newness of life will bring with it the desire and power to make Gods command-word their way of life. They are made alive to the law as their way of life.
Sadly, many see Christ freeing them from the command-word of God. They see themselves as Christians who have the indwelling Spirit. Now they can act according to how that inner spirit directs them, rather than by the written command-word of God.
Being of the tribe of Judah, Christ had no part of the Aaronic priesthood, which spoke of the sentence of death. The Levitical priesthood was clearly and totally set aside. The author tells the Hebrews who desire to hold on to the old priesthood that they are desiring to remain part of that obsolete order that is now contrary to Gods order, and under his curse.
Though the Aaronic priesthood was 1500 years old at the time of Christ on earth, Abrahams meeting with Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the most high God, showed that the Aaronic priesthood was temporary, and that both the kingship and priesthood would be transferred to Jesus Christ.
Psalm 110 tells us that the messiah King is also the world conqueror, and the priest forever for his people, a priest after the order of Melchisedec. Melchisedec preceded Aaron, so that God provides the precedent, and He tells us of it in advance of Christs coming.
Many who claim to be Bible believing Christians do not see the change also of the law as a change even in the law of the priesthood. They anxiously look forward to a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the sacrifices reinstituted. They see prophecies being fulfilled in Old Israel, and look forward to a rapture. They do not see all prophecy being fulfilled in Christ and the New Israel of God. They have clearly denied the law of God.
This type of gospel has destroyed the West, which was built on a triumphant Christianity as presented in Psalms 110.
The law ended as a death penalty; it did not end as a way of life. How many Christians do not want the law because it speaks of responsibility and guilt.
Hebrews is clear: The old system is dead, and the new system
in Christ Jesus is the system of power and victory over the world,
flesh and the devil.