Friday, 23 November 2018
For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. Hebrews 7:14
The author, for the third time in three verses, again begins his thought with the word “For.” He is building a case which is obvious, and which is indisputable. He just stated, “For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe.” He now builds on that with the words, “For it is evident.” The word “evident” is the Greek word prodélos. This is its third and last use in Scripture. It signifies “plain before all men,” and thus “obvious.” The truth of Christ’s genealogy is recorded for all to see. The genealogical records of Israel were meticulously maintained, and a copy of His was carefully restated in both Matthew 1 and in Luke 3.
However, there is more to the word “evident” than this. It was known from many passages in Scripture that the Messiah would come from Judah. As the author says here, “our Lord arose from Judah.” He wasn’t just stating this as something which suddenly came to light in the coming of Christ, and which was then compiled by Matthew and Luke. Rather, he was stating this to Jews who may have never seen these genealogical listings. Even if not, they still had their own Scriptures to testify to this. Jacob’s prophecy of Genesis 49:10 showed this. 2 Samuel 7 reveals this. Isaiah 11:1 speaks of it. Micah 5:2 makes it evident. Further, countless other stories and hints all point to this fact as well in an implicit manner.
Therefore, He wasn’t just “born” into the tribe of Judah, but He “arose” from it. The word is anatelló, and it signifies “completing a process.” There was nothing arbitrary about His being born into Judah, but it is the fulfillment of a process which began in the mind of God, even before creation. In Christ’s birth, the goal had met its consummation. A Priest, but also a King, would come out of Judah. As Melchizedek was a type of this person to come (meaning a king and a priest), and as David confirmed it in Psalm 110, then any king of Judah might feel they qualified to fill this messianic role. And sure enough – after the time of David – a king from the tribe of Judah attempted to offer the sacrifices of the priests. He not only failed, but was punished by God for doing so –
“But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” 2 Chronicles 26:16
Uzziah may have felt he was a suitable candidate for being Messiah. However, the account continues…
“So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, ‘It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.’ 19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.” 2 Chronicles 26:19-20
It is obvious then, that it wasn’t just any king who was prophesied of, but it must be a specific person at a specific time. As the author has already noted, the temple (and all of its rituals) was specifically set aside for the priests who were Levites – and this was mandated by the law itself. By necessity then, all of these things must be set aside or abolished to establish a new priesthood. None of the Old could remain if the New was to be in effect.
As the genealogies of Jesus record, He descended from Judah. And yet we are being instructed that He is now our High Priest. As the author says, “of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.” The priesthood of the law of Moses was a Levitical priesthood. The priesthood of the New Covenant is a Judahite priesthood. Thus, it logically follows then that the Old Testament is set aside to make way for the New. The author has made his case, but he will continue to defend it in the verses ahead.
Life application: If you participate in a denomination that mingles these two covenants, it would behoove you to study this truth further, and to then depart from that body. They are not teaching the truth of God in Christ, and they are not relying on the grace of Jesus Christ to obtain restoration to God the Father. Such a group of people has departed from the truth of God and they are teaching a false gospel.
Yes Lord! We look to You alone and to Your work – accomplished on our behalf – for our reconciliation to our heavenly Father. Help us to see the clear distinction between covenants, and to understand what is for our edification only and what is for doctrine in this dispensation. May we never reapply works of the law to our walk before you, which then sets aside the grace You have so lavishly poured out on us. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.