Friday, 7 December 2018
For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Hebrews 7:28
This is the final verse of Chapter 7. Before completing the chapter, the author provides another contrast between those high priests under the law and Jesus, the High Priest of the New Covenant. The previous verses showed other clear contrasts between the two as well. They were imperfect; He is perfect. They required a sacrifice for their own sins; He required no sacrifice, but instead became the perfect sacrifice. And further, His sacrifices was “once for all.”
Now, the author finishes this thought with another such contrast. The law, meaning the Law of Moses, “appoints as high priests men who have weakness.” Although this may be referring to physical limitations, such as frailty or the ability to get sick and die, it is more certainly referring to their sin-nature and their inability to withstand temptation. In contrast, in Jesus, there is an oath rather than the mandate of the law. This oath “came after the law.” In other words, it sets-aside the law entirely. This has already been stated, but the author is ensuring that we fully understand it. The Law of Moses is set aside by the entrance of the New Covenant.
This New Covenant appoints Jesus who “has been perfected forever.” As was noted before, this doesn’t mean Jesus went from a position of imperfection to one of perfection. Instead, He was and is the perfect, sinless, Son of God. What is perfected forever is our understanding of His perfection. Until Jesus died on the cross and was then raised to life, no one could have imagined His nature. He was thought to be merely a man who could be destroyed at the cross. But the very implement of His death became the point which confirms His perfection. By defeating the cross and being raised to life through the resurrection, all who realize the significance of what occurred can comprehend His perfection and eternality.
In this verse, the law is contrasted to the oath. The succession of high priests – coming, accomplishing their temporary duties, and then dying to be replaced by another – is contrasted to the Son who is forever. There is also the notion of the law coming, and then the oath coming afterward. As the oath came after the giving of the law, it means that the law must have an end. But as the oath speaks of “forever,” then the duties of the new High Priest are connected to His eternality. He is eternal, and His duties are forever.
Life application: It is Jesus who established the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28) in His own blood; it is Jesus who died on the cross, shedding that blood and satisfying the wrath of God; it is Jesus who was raised to eternal life; and it is Jesus who, even now, is at the right hand of the Father working on our behalf as we fall short of the law which He fulfilled. What perverse attitude would have someone go back to the Law of Moses and say, “Gee, I need to do the things of this law in order to be right before God”? He has already done those things! All one does with this attitude is to reject what Christ has done. It is a cosmic slap in God’s face. Stand on the grace of God which is found in Jesus Christ, and do not be led astray by false teachers who reintroduce an obsolete, annulled law.
Great are Your works, O Christ! Thank You for accomplishing that which no man has ever been able to do. In Your great mercy, You saved us from the debt we owe and from the curse of the law! No power of hell and no trick of the devil can ever steal us from Your magnificent salvation. All glory to You! Amen.