What does Hebrews 7:14 mean?
ESV: For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
NIV: For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
NASB: For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses said nothing concerning priests.
CSB: Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah, and Moses said nothing about that tribe concerning priests.
NLT: What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from that tribe.
KJV: For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
NKJV: For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
Verse Commentary:
The Law of Moses did not provide for members of the tribe of Judah to become priests; this was reserved only for the descendants of Levi (Deuteronomy 18:1; Hebrews 7:5). Judah was the tribe of the king, after David (Genesis 49:10). For this reason, the nation of Israel experienced an irreconcilable split between the altar and the throne: no one could hold both offices at the same time. Long prior to Israel, however, Abraham encountered a man referred to as both priest and king: Melchizedek (Genesis 14:14–24).

This mysterious figure becomes an important part of the book of Hebrews. In these verses, the author is showing how Melchizedek foreshadowed the ministry of Jesus Christ. Clearly, God did not intend the Levitical priests to be our ultimate salvation, else He would not have promised to establish some other order "forever" (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:11). Melchizedek is said not to have genealogy, symbolically describing him as without beginning or end, and his priesthood having the same quality (Hebrews 7:3).

This verse begins to tie some of these threads together: Jesus Christ is both priest and king (Hebrews 1:8–9; 5:5–6), just as Melchizedek was both priest and king (Genesis 14:18). Jesus is superior to Abraham (John 8:53–58), just as Melchizedek was greater than Abraham (Hebrews 7:6–7). The priesthood of Christ is superior to that of Levi and Aaron, since it was decreed by God, not by family line, in the same way Melchizedek's priesthood is beyond a family connection (Hebrews 7:20–21). This will all be wound together to show how Jesus Christ is exactly the fulfillment God has always intended for our salvation.
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 6/22/2024 6:55:01 PM
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