Monday, 3 December 2018
But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Hebrews 7:24
The words in the Greek place the emphasis on “unchangeable,” not on “priesthood.” In other words, it reads more correctly, “…has his priesthood unchangeable.” The priesthood of Aaron changed with the passing of each high priest; the priesthood of Jesus remains forever.
The previous verse explained the mortality of the priests in Israel and how one generation would follow another in performing their duties. Upon their deaths, they would return to the dust while another priest would continue on in place of the dead. In contrast to this, the author now begins this verse with “But.”
Because Jesus is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, He was born without sin. He was also born under the law, which He then lived out perfectly. In this, He met the strict requirements of the law. After this, He then gave His own life to pay the sin debt of all who come to God through Him. This is a precept known as substitution which is found within the law itself. An innocent animal was killed in place of one who sinned, receiving what the sinner deserved. Each animal under the law, in type, looked forward to Christ. Thus, He not only fulfilled the law through obedience, but He also fulfilled the law in typology.
Just as each mediator of the Old Covenant was temporary, so then were his sacrifices. Further, as those sacrifices were in a different category, an animal instead of a man, they could not actually do what they were given to do (see Hebrews 10:4). Instead, they only looked forward to the One who would fulfill their typology. In contrast to these temporary priests with their ineffectual sacrifices, Jesus’ priesthood is ongoing and it is fully effectual to save. This is “because He continues forever.”
Because Jesus is eternal, and the offering of Himself was perfect, so then is His sacrifice; He “has his priesthood unchangeable.” This same type of thought has been presented several times in Chapter 7, but the author continues to restate the truth to ensure 1) we grasp and do not forget what He is saying, and 2) there is no way to wiggle out of the truth presented in order to justify a return to the Law of Moses. Where the priesthood of the Law of Moses was changeable, the priesthood of Jesus is not. The superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over that of Aaron is, once again, demonstrated.
Life application: Because we are dull in our thinking, we easily forget the truths presented in Scripture. We sin, often in a grievous manner, and we wonder how our sin could ever be forgiven. But the author explains it completely, and he will continue to do so in the verses ahead, using the same logic he has thus far. If you have called on Jesus as Lord, don’t despair over your sins. Rather, regret them and acknowledge how they must grieve the Lord, but don’t despair as if they are unpardonable. To have this attitude is to diminish the great and glorious power of His atonement. The same Lord who spoke the universe into existence is the Lord who can handle your waywardness. If Satan is pestering you about a sin you have committed, remember Paul’s comforting words –
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Romans 8:31-33
O God! Help me always to remember that neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able to separate me from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus my Lord. Thank You that because of Him I am eternally secure. Hallelujah and Amen!