7:1 For this 1 Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and a blessed him;
(1) Declaring those words, "According to the
order of Melchizedek" upon which the comparison of the priesthood of
Christ with the Levitical priesthood rests: first, Melchizedek himself is
considered to be the type of Christ and these are the points of that
comparison. Melchizedek was a king and a priest, as is Christ alone. He was a
king of peace and righteousness as is Christ alone.
(a) With a solemn and priestly blessing.
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of
days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest
(2) Another type: Melchizedek is set before us to
be considered as one without beginning and without ending, for neither his
father, mother, ancestors, or his death are written of. Such a one is indeed
the Son of God, that is, an everlasting Priest: as he is God, begotten without
mother, and man, conceived without father.
7:4 3 Now
consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the
tenth of the spoils.
(3) Another figure: Melchizedek in his priesthood
was above Abraham for he took tithes from him, and blessed him as a priest.
Such a one indeed is Christ, on whom depends even Abraham's sanctification
and all the believers, and whom all men should worship and reverence as the
author of all.
7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi,
who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of
the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they b
come out of the loins of Abraham:
(b) Were begotten by Abraham.
7:7 And c
without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
(c) He speaks of the public blessing which the
And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
(4) A twofold amplification: The first, that
Melchizedek took the tithes as one immortal (that is, in respect that he is
the figure of Christ, for his death is not mentioned, and David sets him forth
as an everlasting Priest) but the Levitical priests, took tithes as mortal
men, for they succeed one another: the second, that Levi himself, though yet
in Abraham, was tithed by Melchizedek. Therefore the priesthood of Melchizedek
(that is, Christ's, who is pronounced to be an everlasting Priest according
to this order) is more excellent than the Levitical priesthood.
If therefore d perfection were by the
Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further
need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec,
and not be called after the order of Aaron?
(5) The third treatise of this Epistle, in which
after he has proved Christ to be a King, Prophet and a Priest, he now handles
distinctly the condition and excellency of all these offices, showing that all
these were shadows, but in Christ they are true and perfect. He begins with
the priesthood that the former treatise ended with, that by this means all the
parts of the debate may better hold together. First of all he proves that the
Levitical priesthood was imperfect because another priest is promised later
according to an other order, that is, of another rule and fashion.
(d) If the priesthood of Levi could have made any
7:12 6 For
the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the e
(6) He shows how by the institution of the new
priesthood, not only the imperfection of the priesthood of Levi was declared,
but also that it was changed for this: for these two cannot stand together,
because the first appointment of the tribe of Levi shut out the tribe of Judah
and made it inferior to Levi: and this latter passage places the priesthood in
the tribe of Judah.
(e) Of the institution of Aaron.
7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken
pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man f
gave attendance at the altar.
(f) Had anything to do with the altar.
And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec
there ariseth another priest,
(7) Lest any man object, the priesthood was
indeed translated from Levi to Judah. Nonetheless the same still remains, he
both considers and explains those words of David "for ever, according to
the order of Melchizedek" by which also a different institution of
priesthood is understood.
7:16 8 Who
is made, not after the g law of a carnal
commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
(8) He proves the diversity and excellency of the
institution of Melchizedek's priesthood, by this that the priesthood of the
law rested on an outward and bodily anointing: but the sacrifice of
Melchizedek is set out to be everlasting and more spiritual.
(g) Not after the ordination, which commands
frail ad temporary things, as was done in Aaron's consecration, and all of
that whole priesthood.
For there is verily a disannulling of the h
commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
(9) Again, that no man object that the last
priesthood was added to make a perfect one by joining them both together, he
proves that the first was made void by the later as unprofitable, by the
nature of them both. For how could those material and transitory things
sanctify us, either by themselves, or by being joined with another?
(h) The ceremonial law.
And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
(10) Another argument, by which he proves that
the priesthood of Christ is better than the priesthood of Levi, because his
was established with an oath, but theirs was not so.
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by
reason of death:
(11) Another argument for the same purpose. The
Levitical priests (as mortal men) could not be everlasting, but Christ, as he
is everlasting, so has he also an everlasting priesthood, making most
effectual intercession for them who come to God by him.
7:24 But this [man], because he continueth ever,
hath an i unchangeable priesthood.
(i) Which cannot pass away.
7:25 Wherefore he is k
able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them.
(k) He is fit and sufficient.
7:26 12 For
such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from
sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
(12) Another argument: There are required in an
high priest innocency and perfect pureness, which may separate him from
sinners, for whom he offers. The Levitical high priests are not found to be
such, for they offer first for their own sins: but only Christ is such a one,
and therefore the only true High Priest.
7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests,
to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: 13
for l this he did m
once, when he offered up himself.
(13) Another argument, which nonetheless he
handles afterward: The Levitical priests offered sacrifice after sacrifice,
first for themselves, and then for the people. Christ offered not for himself,
but for others, not sacrifices, but himself, not repeatedly, but once. This
should not seem strange, he says, for they are weak, but this man is
consecrated as an everlasting Priest, and that by an oath.
(l) That sacrifice which he offered.
(m) It was done so that it need not be repeated
or offered again any more.
7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have
infirmity; but the n word of the oath, 14
which o was since the law, [maketh] the
Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
(n) The commandment of God which was bound with
(14) Another argument taken by the time: Former
things are taken away by the later.