21. Could you explain to me Hebrews 7:4-10?



The text says: “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 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 come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Hebrews 7:4-10)


Now, the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews, after saying several times that Jesus Christ was made a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek and after saying that this Melchizedek, who was priest of God and King of Salem, blessed Abraham and received from him a tenth of the spoils when he met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, wrote the above mentioned words.

Therefore, the writer, by these words, pointed out that Melchizedek is superior to Aaron because Levi, who at the time was still in the loins of Abraham and who had a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, paid tithes through Abraham (so to speak) for He gave it to Melchizedek.

Why did the writer emphasize the superiority of Melchizedek over Aaron? Because he wanted to show us that the High Priest of our confession, that is, Jesus Christ, being a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, is of an order which is superior to the order of the High Priests under the Old Testament who were according to the order of Aaron and who were appointed for men in things pertaining to God that they may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. The writer, through these words, wanted to discourage those believers who were Jews by birth from returning to the old sacrifices prescribed by the Old Covenant, that is, from returning to rely upon the intercession of the High Priests of the Old Covenant. For this was the problem: those believers were tempted to return to the atoning sacrifices of the Old Covenant, which would mean to trample the Son of God underfoot, to count the blood of the covenant by which they had been sanctified a common thing, and to crucify again the Son of God. So with persuasive words of divine wisdom, the writer explained to them that Jesus Christ, the High Priest of our confession, is superior to the High Priests who are according to the order of Aaron because He is according to a more excellent order. Then he explains that Jesus Christ has received an everlasting priesthood because He continues forever, unlike the Levitical priests who were prevented by death from continuing and thus they transmitted the priesthood to their sons; afterward he explains that Jesus was made High Priest with an oath, unlike the Levitical high priests, who were made priests without an oath. And in order to complete his explanation, the writer says that while the priests who were according to the order of Aaron had to offer sacrifices for their own sins and for the sins of the people, but the blood of those sacrifices could not take away the sins of those who offered them, Jesus Christ offered Himself once for all for our sins and His blood makes those who are sprinkled with it perfect in regard to the conscience.