Hebrews 7:11-19 A New Priest With A Different Priesthood.
Our author never speaks disparagingly about the old covenant, instead he looks upon it as good, but as pointing to something better. The goal is perfection (v. 11). This is why our author makes the point that the Levitical priesthood served a purpose in the past, but it was a priesthood which itself pointed to something better. The very fact that these same scriptures spoke of another priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, proves his point (v. 11). The law has a purpose, but no one was ever commanded to keep it for their justification (C. Gal. 2:21). The law is “holy, just, and good” because one of the things it does is to convict us of our sin (Rom. 7:12). It is “spiritual” as well (Rom. 7:24).
The key verses to this covenant renewal section (4:14-10:25) on Stipulations is 10:8-10, where in fact he reaches the climax of the point he begins to build on here. The key point is that the Messiah would fulfill what the old covenant sacrificial system and laws pointed to, and through His sacrifice he would fulfill the new covenant goal of establishing the practice of the moral and civil aspects of the law which cannot be abrogated. He first quotes again Psalm 40:5, which states that God did not desire the existing sacrifices or offerings from the Messiah, but rather a more perfect completing of His will (Cf. Rom. 8:3-4; Gal. 3:21). Our author even acknowledges that these sacrifices and offerings were prescribed by the law (10:8).
However, the occurrence of this prophecy concerning the Messiah proves, as in the reference to another priesthood, that the goal and mission of the Messiah was the fulfillment of what these pointed to. Then at 10:9 he states that, “He takes away the first,” (the laws pertaining to the sacrificial system), “that He may establish the second” (the doing of God’s will). This will is then expanded on with his reference to the new covenant wherein the LORD states “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them. Then He adds, “Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (10:16-18).
Returning to the passage at hand, our author wishes to continue to drive home the significance of the priesthood of Melchizedek spoken of later in the flow of salvation history. The promised Messiah, as the Priest-King after the order of Melchizedek, “belongs to another tribe” (v. 13). The Son is from the tribe of Judah, “of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (v. 14). However, Moses in speaking of the tribe of Judah, did prophecy that from Judah would come one Shiloh who would be “the obedience of the people” (Gen. 49:10 Cf. Nu. 24:17-19; Mic. 5:2; Mt. 1:2-3; 2:6; Rev. 5:5). However, his main point here is this-the scriptures themselves spoke of another Priest-King to come later, after the order of Melchizedek.
The Son is such a fulfillment, not by physical descent but rather, because His ministry is eternal, because He lives forever (vv. 15-16). To this our author again repeats his quote from Psalm 110:4. He now states in condensed form his argument in this Stipulations section, which he will carry on here and finds its climax later at chapter 10. The old covenant Levitical priesthood, and the sacrificial system with it, by the very existence of the priest and priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, annuls “the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness (v. 18). The perfection sought, and for which the Messiah came, and the new covenant was given for, is that the law of the LORD would be written on the hearts of His people (8:10).
He then returns to his original point in this passage-the pursuit of perfection. The Levitical system could not achieve this perfection he has been speaking of, however, the new covenant, and the Priest of the new covenant does ultimately achieve perfection in the doing of God’s will from the heart (v. 19a). This is the “better hope” of which he has been speaking and writing (v. 19b Cf. Rom. 5:2). The old covenant sacrificial system, and the laws associated with it, had a built in obsolescence, due to the fact that the same scriptures tell us of the LORD’s intention to bring in an Anointed One after the order of a different priesthood, who would bring to fulfillment the promises of the new covenant.
It is through this High Priest that we are empowered to more and more live in conformity with God’s law, His will for us. It is also through this High Priest’s sacrifice of Himself that we are also able to “draw near to God” (v. 19c Cf. 4:16; Js. 4:8). The law given through Moses was never intended to provide a basis for the justification of sinners. This is why our author states that it made no one perfect, because it is this perfection which the LORD sought, a perfection which only finds fulfillment in the Son, through whom we are forgiven and reconciled, who empowers us to do God’s will from the heart (Cf. 6:18-19; 9:9; 10:1; Acts 13:39; Rom. 3:20; 7:7; Gal. 2:16; 3:21).