The Old Covenant priesthood was ineffective.
The author of the Hebrews compares the God-incarnate, the Son of the promise, to the Melchizedek, the priest to the God Most High; to convince the readers that Jesus is fully qualified to be the High Priest even though He is not Aaron’s descent. Melchizedek did not inherit the function of the High priest. He neither had a predecessor nor a successor, and he did not serve as a High Priest in a physical structure, a temple. He served in his body, the temple God made. Jesus also did not inherit the High Priesthood but was appointed by God. Jesus, like the Melchizedek, did not officiate in a physical structure, a temple, but in His body, the temple God made. Jesus Christ, like Melchizedek, neither has a predecessor nor a successor. Like the Melchizedek’s priesthood, there is no end to Jesus’ High Priesthood. He is our eternal connection to God. (See Hebrews 7:1 – 3)
Why was there a need for a new and different order of priesthood? “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?” Hebrews 7:11, NKJV. The High Priest according to the order of Aaron was not a permanent priest. Also, the law, the Ten Commandments, given to the priesthood according to the order of Aaron could only demand perfect obedience, and condemn for disobedience. The Levitical priesthood, with its Ten Commandments, could neither make the people righteous nor help them live the righteous life. Jesus, however, as the High Priest and the King of righteousness, made the people righteous in the eyes of God. He also instituted a new law, the principle of selfless love. The new law under the Jesus’ priesthood, is capable of, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, enable the yielded believers to experience the righteousness by the faithfulness of Jesus, here and now. “For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.” Hebrews 7:12, NKJV.
Our eternal High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek, introduced better hope. “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:18, 19, NKJV.
To be continued in the next blog.