A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 18: JESUS, THE SUPERIOR PRIEST
Hebrews 7:11 - 19
The priesthood was central to the economy of the Old covenant. The priests functioned in the offering of sacrifices and the Jews could not think of religion, worship or prayer without thinking of sacrifices and priests. The priesthood of Aaron and those that followed in Aaron’s line from the tribe of Levi sustained the Old Testament ceremonies and sacrifices. The Epistle to the Hebrews repeatedly stresses the fact that Christ is pre-eminent and that the New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant. How about the priesthood? Christ is a superior Priest to any in the Old Covenant and therefore the New Covenant is superior to the Old. As the supreme Priest, Christ’s provision, sacrifice, priesthood and covenant are superior to the ones in the Old Testament.
PERFECTION, UNATTAINABLE UNDER THE OLD PRIESTHOOD
Hebrews 7:11; 8:7; Acts 13:39; Romans 3:20,21; Galatians 2:21; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10:1-4.
If God had intended that the Aaronic priesthood would bring in the age of perfection with complete access to God, He would not have prophesied the Messiah to be a priest of a different order. It was never the intention of God that the Levitical priesthood would remain forever, for the Old Testament prophesied of another priesthood to come (Psalm 110:4). The Aaronic priesthood was inadequate. It could not take away sin and therefore could not give the worshippers full access to God. There was inadequacy and insufficiency in the whole sacrificial system that necessitated a change. The Old Testament patriarchs, priests and prophets looked forward to a better period coming. Imperfection was visible in their time but they rejoiced in the promise of a better covenant. Through the ministry of the Priest (our Saviour and Lord) of the New Covenant, we can experience victory over sin which many in the Old Covenant could not enjoy.
PRIEST OF THE NEW COVENANT
Hebrews 7:12-17; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:13; Romans 1:3-5; Revelation 5:5; 1:18.
Our passage speaks of the change of priesthood and a change also of the law. The law of sacrifices and ceremonies was peculiar to the Old covenant. The Old Testament had prophesied that the New Covenant would replace the Old Covenant.
Under the Old Covenant, no priest could come from any other tribe except the tribe of Levi. Jesus, the Son of David, according to the flesh, came from the tribe of Judah. His order of priesthood was not from the Aaronic priesthood but after the order of Melchisedec.
PROVISION THROUGH OUR PERFECT PRIEST
Hebrews 7:18,19; 8:10; Galatians 2:16; John 1:17; Romans 5:1,2; Colossians 2:10,11;Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 10:19-22.
The provision in the New Covenant cannot be compared with that of the Old Covenant. As Christ is greater than Aaron, so is the provision of the New Covenant greater than that of the Old Covenant. Through Jesus Christ, the Mediator and High Priest of the New Covenant, we have remission and cleansing from all our sins, we have peace with God and the peace of God, and we have access to God and to the throne of grace. The law of God is not only contained in His book, it is written in the hearts of those who believe and claim the provision of the New Covenant. Now we can be “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
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