In Hebrews 7 Paul explains how Jesus Christ is a high priest who is greater than the Levitical priests who descended from Aaron. Jesus Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec, v.1-3, Ps 110:4.
This is significant because:
Melchisedec was a king, v.1-2. His name means King of righteousness, v.2. And he was King of Salem, v.1, which means King of peace, Gen 14:18-20. Jesus Christ, likewise, is a King, and through his righteousness we have peace with God.
Melchisedec was priest of the most high God, v.1. Likewise, Jesus Christ is a high priest of God, v.26
Melchisedec was like unto the Son of God, v.3. He was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life”. Likewise, Jesus has neither beginning of days, not end of life. Melchisedec, therefore, is most likely a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ, as in Dan 3:25. No other person in the world was without father, without mother, and without descent. If Melchisedec is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, he was “like unto the Son of God”, because Jesus had not yet been begotten by God as his Son.
The order of Melchisedec is better than the order of the Levitical priesthood. The reasons are that:
Melchisedec was greater than Abraham, v.4-10
Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedec, v.4-6. The law commanded the descendants of Abraham to pay tithes to the Levitical priests. However, before the law, this priest, who didn’t descend from Abraham, received tithes from Abraham.
Abraham was blessed by Melchisedec, v.6-7. The less, Abraham, was blessed by the greater, Melchisedec.
Even Levi gave tithes to Melchisedec, v.8-10. Since the Levites and priests came from Abraham, through the tribe of Levi, in essence, Levi paid tithes when he was in the loins of Abraham.
Melchisedec’s order is perfect, v.11-14
Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, came as a priest after the order of Melchisedec because the Levitical priesthood was not perfect, v.11-14. There would have been no reason for Jesus to be our high priest if “perfection were by the Levitical priesthood”. The priests all had to offer daily sacrifices, v.27. The priests all had infirmity, v.28. Therefore the priesthood was changed, v.12.
Melchisedec’s order is after the power of an endless life, v.15-19
Jesus Christ is a priest for ever, v.15-17. Ps 110:4 says, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”. All other priests, by contrast, die, v.23. And no priest today can follow the law because, for over 1,950 years, there hasn’t been a temple where they can sacrifice.
The Levitical priests were made after the law. And the problem is that the law was weak and unprofitable and made nothing perfect, v.18-19, Rom 8:3-4.
Jesus Christ brought in a better hope which made things perfect, v.19. It is through Christ that we have eternal life and draw nigh unto God, Heb 10:19-22.
Melchisedec’s order was by an oath, v.20-22
The Lord sware and will not repent, v.21. By this oath, Jesus was made a surety (Jesus became legally liable for our sin debt) of a better testament. Under the new testament, he offered himself once for sins, v.27. The priests were not made with an oath of God but rather after the law of a carnal commandment, v.16. Under their old testament, they had to offer up sacrifices daily for their own sins and for the peoples’, v.27.
Therefore, after Melchisedec’s order, Jesus is a high priest for ever, v.23-28
Jesus has an unchangeable priesthood, v.24-25. “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”. The Levitical priests could never do this.
He is made higher than the heavens, v.26. He “is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”. The Levitical priests, because they were sinners, could only be holy by consecration, washings, sacrifices, and special garments, and then only temporarily. They were certainly never higher than the heavens.
He offered up himself once for sins, v.27. The Levitical priests, on the other hand, offered daily and had to offer for their own sins, as well.
He is consecrated for evermore, v.28. And, of course, the Levitical priests were not consecrated for ever.