What does Hebrews 7:11 mean?
ESV: Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
NIV: If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood--and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood--why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?
NASB: So if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
CSB: Now if perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be according to the order of Melchizedek and not according to the order of Aaron?
NLT: So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron?
KJV: If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
NKJV: Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
Verse Commentary:
This verse begins a second point, building on the conclusions from verses 1 through 10. The purpose of these next verses is to use God's own Word to show that He intended the priesthood of Melchizedek, not the priesthood of Aaron, to be mankind's ultimate salvation. The use of the term perfection here is mostly meant in the sense of completion. This will be better explained in upcoming Scriptures.

The main argument used here is that of God's promise to establish a priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. If the Aaronic priesthood was perfect, why would God want to use something different? Logically, then, we are to assume that God's plan was to use the Melchizedek priesthood, not the Aaronic priesthood, as His perfect means of salvation. This is supported, later, by once again mentioning Psalm 110:4, a verse already cited in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 5:6; 6:20). There, long after the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood, God promises to establish "forever" a Promised One in the priestly order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:17).

The following verses will point out that the promises connected to Messiah require a priest, but also require one who is part of the tribe of Judah, not Levi. This, in turn, will be connected to Melchizedek's symbolic lack of genealogy in the Old Testament: the priesthood of Jesus is endless and superior to that of the Levitical order (Romans 6:14).
Verse Context:
Hebrews 7:11–28 expands on prior arguments related to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Here, the author shows how the priesthood of Jesus is superior to that of the Old Testament Law. This uses the figure of Melchizedek as a model. Christ's priesthood is sinless, perfect, unending, and decreed as such by God. The Levitical priesthood was temporary, flawed, imperfect, and could not last forever. This better promise, in Christ, is tied into the confidence we have as believers.
Chapter Summary:
When Abraham met with Melchizedek in the Old Testament, he honored him with tithes. This shows that Abraham recognized Melchizedek's superiority. Since the Old Covenant was flawed—based on limited priests and limited sacrifices—it is inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedek, which is unending. Jesus Christ fulfills God's promise to establish a priest ''forever'' in a way which perfectly meets our needs.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 5 and 6 detoured from the main theme in order to present a warning about faithlessness and apostasy. Chapter 7 returns to the topic of Melchizedek, who represents a mysterious but important moment in Old Testament history. Here, the author will show how Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, and that Melchizedek's priesthood is superior to the priesthood of Aaron. This leads into the next chapters, which show how Jesus Christ perfectly fulfills our salvation in ways which the Old Covenant cannot.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
Accessed 5/26/2024 6:07:25 PM
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