The Levitical priesthood was inadequate.
Some of the first-century believers, the Jews, in particular, believed that perfection, the justification, could be achieved by the careful and meticulous observance of the Commandments and the regulations given to the priesthood according to the order of Aaron. However, the author of the Hebrews destroys this concept by asserting that the High Priesthood according to the order of Aaron, with its Commandments, was ineffective and, therefore, it had to be replaced. The law, the Ten Commandments, given to Aaron’s priesthood, could condemn the sinners, but not the sin itself. Also, the law given to Aaron’s priesthood could not help the sinners to obey. Even if the sinners, during the old covenant law, were to pay enough restitution for violating the Ten Commandments, they would, nevertheless, remain the condemned sinners. Even if a sinner achieved the perfect obedience to the law, it could never remove the stigma of sin. The removal of sin itself from the sinners required a superior Priesthood with a supreme law. Many a first-century believer had difficulty accepting this truth. That is why Paul insists, in the Romans:
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3, 4, NKJV. This could not be achieved under the priesthood that was regulated by the Commandments and precepts. However, the superior Priesthood made it effective by the power of an “endless life.” “And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.” Hebrews 7:15, 16, NKJV.
Jesus Christ is the superior Priesthood, governed by a new law, and based on a better promise and a higher power; both of which are superior to the old covenant Levitical priesthood. The Old Covenant high priests could not save anyone because they too were sinners in need of salvation. The high priests, according to the order of Aaron, were sinners condemned to eternal death and therefore, they too had to die.
To be continued in the next blog.