Monday, 19 November 2018
…for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:10
In the previous verse, the author’s impeccable logic was given concerning why the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to that of Aaron. He completes that thought now, while speaking of Levi, by saying, “for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” Abraham is equated to Levi’s father, as is the common custom in Hebrew genealogies. Levi was in Jacob, Jacob was in Isaac, and Isaac was in Abraham. Thus, Levi “was still in the loins of his father.” In this, what belongs to, or is given away by, the father directly affects the son.
A common example of this is that if a father (Sam Johnson) owns a piece of land, that land will be gifted to the son when it is either gifted to him or when the father dies. However, if the father gives the land to the town for a public park, that land (which would have otherwise belonged to the son) is technically given by the inheriting son to the town. It is as if he had made the grant of land himself through his ancestor Sam. Thus, many generations later, there is the remembrance that this came from the family of Sam Johnson – even to the giving of thanks to the great-grandson who still lives in the town because of his ancestor’s generosity.
Every person who would ever come from Abraham was in Abraham at the moment that Abraham met Melchizedek, and thus their interaction still exists because Melchizedek is a “priest forever.” Those under the law are still giving their tithes, so to speak, to Melchizedek through Abraham. If Melchizedek’s priesthood was said to have ended, this would cease, just as it would cease that Johnson Park would still be given by the descendants if the town were to come to its end. But as long as the town exists and maintains the park, those who descend from Sam are considered as giving to the town.
With this understanding, another technical point must be considered. In verse 7:3, Melchizedek is said to be “made like the Son of God.” The Son of God was not made like Melchizedek. Christ is not subject to Abraham as Levi is. Though His human genealogy descends from Abraham, the fact that Melchizedek is “made like the Son of God” demonstrates that Jesus is prior to Abraham, and that Melchizedek is patterned after the Son of God, not the other way around. However, Jesus’ priesthood, which is based upon His fulfillment of the law and the introduction of a New Covenant, is “according to the order of Melchizedek. It is a priesthood which is not granted by law, but is one which is tied into His nature; it is an inherent right.
What is being relayed here was a critically important point for the Hebrew recipients of this letter who were considering a return to temple sacrifices. Surely Jesus’ priesthood is greater than that of Aaron’s, and a return to the Levitical priesthood would be from the greater to the lesser. A move from Jesus’ covenant to that of Moses, and a move from the priesthood of Jesus to that of Aaron is a move to that which is obsolete and ineffective because that of Moses/Aaron is annulled in Christ (verse 7:18). There can be no salvation for one who fails to come to Christ.
Life application: The same logic used by the author here in verses 7:9, 10 can be used in other areas of theology. Just as Adam is our first father, and we were potentially and seminally in him when he was created, then we are also legally in him as well. This is the reason why all people are born in sin and under God’s wrath. We are, as Jesus said to Nicodemus, “condemned already,” and need to do nothing to be sent to hell. Rather, we need Jesus to be born again and go to heaven. Be sure to understand this… it affects your eternal destiny.
O God! How great is the priesthood of Jesus that His work supersedes that of Aaron! How great is the life of Jesus that His work supersedes that of our father Adam! How great is the Person of Jesus! He is truly our All in all and it is to Him that we must turn. Praise, glory, and honor belong to You alone, O wise and eternal God, for the giving of Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.