Episode #211. Today we’ll read Hebrews chapter 7 together. The writer extolls the greatness of Melchizedek and explains why the priesthood of Christ is superior to that of the Levites.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #211. Today we’ll read Hebrews chapter 7 together: The writer extolls the greatness of Melchizedek and explains why the priesthood of Christ is superior to that of the Levites.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I’m looking out my window right now at the snow-dusted expanse of the Sierra Nevada. It’s such a relief when the rain and snow finally arrive in California after the long hot summer. My husband and I often joke that there are really only two seasons where we live: green and brown.
You see, we get virtually no rain in the summertime. It is normal to go from June thru October with nary a drop. And during that time it is hot and dry, and all the grassland in the foothills dies and turns brown. It is still beautiful, but it takes some getting used to.
My husband once asked Pastor Hans what surprised him the most when he first came to California from Germany, where he grew up. He replied that it was the dry brown-ness of the mountains in summer, something he had never seen before in his native land.
But once the rains arrive, the grass quickly comes alive again, and the foothills turn a glorious green, the rivers and the creeks flow again and the clouds hug the hillsides. It’s so beautiful, it takes your breath away. And it always causes me to feel grateful to God for His provision. It reminds me of the first 3 verses of Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
he leads me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Do you love the changing of the seasons? Are you grateful for the rain or snow or the changing color of the leaves on the trees? Tell me all about it at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Hebrews Chapter 7
The Greatness of Melchizedek
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means king of righteousness, then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace. Without father, mother, or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
Now consider how great this man was: even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the plunder to him. The sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have a command according to the law to collect a tenth from the people — that is, from their brothers and sisters — though they have also descended from Abraham. But one without this lineage collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. Without a doubt, the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case, men who will die receive a tenth, but in the other case, Scripture testifies that he lives. And in a sense Levi himself, who receives a tenth, has paid a tenth through Abraham, for he was still within his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
A Superior Priesthood
Now if perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be according to the order of Melchizedek and not according to the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well. For the one these things are spoken about belonged to a different tribe. No one from it has served at the altar. Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah, and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests.
And this becomes clearer if another priest like Melchizedek appears, who did not become a priest based on a legal regulation about physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life. For it has been testified:
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.
So the previous command is annulled because it was weak and unprofitable (for the law perfected nothing), but a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
None of this happened without an oath. For others became priests without an oath, but he became a priest with an oath made by the one who said to him:
The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever.”
Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Once For All Time
Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because he remains forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.
For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do — first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all time when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.
God’s original desire for mankind was that we would have direct access to Him, as it was in the time of Adam and Eve. But their disobedience introduced sin into the world and this sin prevents us from having the access to God we so desperately need.
During the time of the Exodus, God established a covenant with the Israelites and created a path to Himself through the intervention of priests descended from Aaron. These are the Levitical priests, who, like Aaron, were descendants of Levi. Atonement for sins was performed by these priests through a system of sacrificial offerings, the life and blood of animals to cover the sins of the people.
But these sacrifices were temporary and could not cover a lifetime of sins; therefore, they had to be performed continuously. At times, the blood ran thick down the steps of the temple. And still it was not enough and could never be enough.
Then Christ arrived on the scene, and His was the perfect sacrifice. Completely unblemished by sin, God offered up the life of His Son on a cross and through His death a new covenant was established that paid for all sin, for all time.
This is what the author of Hebrews means when he says, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Like Melchizedek, Christ was not a descendant of Levi; He was descended from Judah. And like Melchizedek, Christ is both a priest and a king, sovereign over the entire earth. Finally, Christ is perfect and eternal, sacrificed once for all. As such, He is superior in every way to the Levitical priests. Let’s pray.
Dear Jesus, thank You for being our high priest. Thank You for the perfect life You led, and Your willingness to die on that cross to pay the price for all humanity. I can never be grateful enough for this eternal gift of mercy and grace. I pray You would open the hearts and minds of those around me, family and friends, to this free gift of salvation. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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