Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him,
“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
Comment: Again let us look, in list form, at the thrust of the argument in this passage, as the author continues with a discussion which will continue to the end of the book.
- If the Mosaic law and Levitical priesthood had been able to achieve perfection or just forgiveness why replace it?
- If there is a new order for priests, then there will be a new set of laws.
- Note that Jesus while of the same nation (Israel) as Levi, He was from the tribe of Judah. He was not a Levite.
- Jesus is High Priest not by his tribal decent but by his indestructibility, as seen in His Resurrection and Ascension.
- The old goes because it was a type only but it did not have the power to achieve what it demonstrated. Thus it had a purpose but only as a forerunner to show what God expected. The law set a standard which was never reached, the priestly sacrificial offerings (animal blood for human sin) were insufficient to expiate sin and obtain lasting forgiveness.
- We can have a positive hope in Jesus.
This may leave our thinking up in the air a bit, but in the next few chapters the author explains in much greater detail.
Prayer: Help me to be serious as I consider all these arguments (explanatory points) of this Jewish author. Help me to see how it applies to me.