In the first part of this chapter we learn much more about the mysterious Melchizedek — the King of Righteousness, and the King of Peace — than we could know only from reading the Old Testament. (Gen 14; Ps 110) He is greater than Abraham, and his priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood through Aaron. Since Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, we, as children of Abraham in the faith, have inherited the responsibility of acknowledging the greater and higher priesthood prior to the Law than that of Levi under the Law. It is not certain if Yeshua Himself is Melchizedek, but if not, He is greater than Melchizedek, since Jesus is the beloved Son of God, and Lord of all – YHVH God in the flesh — the only Mediator between God and men (1Tim 2:1-6), and greater than any and all created things, whether in the heavens, on or under the Earth, or in the seas.
Also I said last week that we learn what it is to be a priest, and how the High Priest is the mediator between God and His sinful people, by reading the what the Word of God says in the Tenach, and the first covenant given to Israel. (Rom 9:4-5) Since we who are believers are all priests, and will rule and reign with Messiah in the 1000-year Kingdom, it is right that we should all read more about our calling, and how that affects our lives now.
v 11 Just as keeping and doing the works of the Torah/Law does not save any person – because it is impossible for sinners to perfectly do all that the Law requires at all times for our entire lives, which means that just knowing the requirements also does not make someone righteous — neither is the Levitical priesthood under the Law able to bring perfection, since the priests were also sinners who died.
Perfection does not come through the Law of Moses, or through such a priesthood. God gave the Law so that we would realize our need for a savior from our sins. If perfection could come through the Levitical priesthood, there would be no need of another priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, which is outside the Law and preceded it! The Torah from Sinai is not eternal (Gal 4:21-31): it is for sinners now, but under the New Covenant, God promises to forgive all of our sins under the Law and outside the Law, which the Law can not do (Rom 8:1-4). In the perfect New Heavens and New Earth, there will no longer be any need for such a law, for no sinners will be there, but God, who is Love, will be all in all. Hallelu-Yah! (1Cor 15:20-28; Rev 21)
v 12 But since there is such a need of another priesthood not under the Torah, then for believers now the Law is changed. By a priesthood that was before the giving of the Torah, and with a priest who is testified as ever living, then the priesthood of Yeshua is superior to the priesthood of Aaron and his sons. The Law is changed, but not done away with until every jot and tittle will be fulfilled by the end of the 1000-year kingdom. (Mt 5:17-20; Jer 33:14-26; Heb 8:13; Ezek 43:18-27 – 44:1-31)
The Law that God has put into our hearts is to love the LORD with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; to love your neighbor as yourself; and the new commandment to love one another as Jesus has loved you. Here are just some of the changes of the New Covenant for us now from what the Torah commands under the first covenant from Sinai:
–God forgives our sins and remembers them no more;
—all believers are to be baptized in water after their new spiritual birth, not only Jewish boys to be circumcised shortly after their natural birth;
–equality of Jews and Gentiles, and of men and women from every people group and status;
–all believers are priests, not only men from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron, nor are musicians the only “levites”;
–all foods are permissible, with thanksgiving and prayer to God.
v 13 The Torah is already changed for believers in Yeshua now since He is not from the tribe of Levi or from the family of Aaron, and therefore, not a priest under the Law of Moses.
v 14 For Yeshua is definitely from the Tribe of Judah, and from the family of David; and Moses said nothing about them being priests.
v 15-17 And Yeshua/Jesus is a priest in the likeness of Melchizedek, not according to a commandment for men who die, but according to the power of an endless life: death could not hold Jesus! (Acts 2:22-28) God testifies in Ps 110 that the Messiah, the Son of God, is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. The witness of God is greater than the witness of men: if we do not believe God, we make Him a liar! (1Jn 5:9-10) Let God be true, and every man a liar, if need be! (Rom 3:3-4)
v 18-19 If we know and understand that the new covenant brings changes and differences than the first covenant, then we will appreciate the better hope which brings us close to God. Moses wrote in the Book of Genesis of a priesthood of Melchizedek, of whom he testifies that he [still] lives.
v 20-22 Jesus is a priest by an oath from YHVH, not according to the Torah, and is the pledge of a better covenant. The same God who gave the Law to Israel is the One who swore that the Messiah, Yeshua, would be a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
So for us who believe in Yeshua/Jesus, we are not against Moses, or against the Law, or against the customs of our fathers under the Law; but we believe God that we are in a new covenant relationship with Him — that Moses and the Prophets wrote about and prophesied about (Messianic Jewish roots of the faith) — which is far better than we ever had or could have under the Law from Sinai. This is true for Jewish believers (to whom this letter was written) and for Gentiles with new covenant faith in the Son of God. God has brought us all into something new and better!
v 23-25 Under the Law, there were good and bad priests, and all of them died. The people may have preferred a particular priest, but then he died. (This is true of kings, as well.) But Jesus is a perfect priest forever, and He remains the High Priest forever in a priesthood that does not change. So we can always come to God through Him – our Mediator – who can save us forever, since He always lives to intercede for us — not for the world — assuring us of our righteous standing with Him before the Father. (Jn 17:15-21; Lk 22:28-32) The High Priest carries His brethren/family on His shoulders and on His chest. (Ex 28)
v 26-28 Yeshua, our High Priest, is holy and pure, with no sin and alive forevermore. He is higher than the heavens; in other words, He is seated at the right hand of the Father above the created universe. He does not need, like the high priests under the Law to offer sacrifices each day for His own sins, and then for the people’s, but He offered up Himself once for all to atone for the sins of every [created] person. He is the perfect Son of God our High Priest, appointed by an oath which came after the Law. The Law can not make any one righteous.
The whole of the Law is about how sinners can approach the holy YHVH God and live in His presence. It requires a mediator always. In Judaism today they think that they have direct access to God, without a mediator. But Jews have always had a mediator ever since Moses and the priesthood according to Aaron. So now, we come to God the Father through Jesus the Son, in His name: we do not go to Him in our own right, in our own name, but by Him who is the only Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua!
There is no other Way to the Father; there is no other Name under Heaven given among men by which they can be saved. Jesus/Yeshua, by His death on the cross, is YHVH our Righteousness, the One who opened the way for redeemed humanity to enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of the Father. To the Jews, Messiah/Christ crucified is a rock of offense — a sign of weakness — and to the Greeks (the “wise of this world”) foolishness. But to those who are called from each, He is the power of God and the wisdom of God! Our God and Savior is nothing like the gods and idols of the pagans, which, sadly, God’s own people often prefer: a king like Gentiles have; a god like Gentiles have. Only YHVH of Hosts/Armies is holy, holy, holy!
Brothers and sisters, in Messiah/Christ, we have a better hope, a better covenant, better promises. It is not a renewed covenant, but a new and better one. The same God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob/Israel who gave the first is the One who has given the new, the everlasting covenant. (Jer 32:36-42; Ezek 37:21-28; Heb 13:20-21) Do not go back, but press on in the things which are eternal and will not pass away.