What does Hebrews 7:17 mean?
ESV: For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
NIV: For it is declared: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'
CSB: For it has been testified:You are a priest foreveraccording to the order of Melchizedek.
NLT: And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, 'You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.'
KJV: For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
NKJV: For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Verse Commentary:
This quote is from Psalm 110:4, a key Old Testament reference in the book of Hebrews. The context is of God speaking to a kingly figure—one holding a scepter—who is also promised to be made a priest "forever," after the order of Melchizedek. In the nation of Israel, however, kings were of the tribe of Judah and priests were of the tribe of Levi. Melchizedek, however, predates both, and this is the priesthood God promises to establish forever. Earlier in the book of Hebrews, this same passage was used in reference to Jesus (Hebrews 5:5–6).

The context here in Hebrews is that Jesus is the bearer of a greater priesthood than that of Levi, or Aaron, or any other Old Testament priest. Their offices were inherited through human ancestry, and only given under the law of Moses (Numbers 3:5–10). Christ's priesthood, on the other hand, is grounded in His "indestructible"—or eternal—life. The following verses will expand on the reasons why the Old Testament priesthood was not God's ultimate plan for mankind's 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 5/26/2024 4:54:17 PM
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