What does Hebrews 7:21 mean?
ESV: but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’"
NIV: but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ "
NASB: (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, 'THE Lord HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER’?');
CSB: but he became a priest with an oath made by the one who said to him: The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever."
NLT: but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, 'The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’'
KJV: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord swore and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek: )
NKJV: (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”),
Verse Commentary:
In order to show that Jesus holds a superior priesthood, the author of Hebrews is comparing Christ to the Old Testament priests. A major aspect of this has been the figure of Melchizedek, who is presented as a symbolic template of Christ. Key to this comparison is God's promise in Psalm 110:4, cited here, as well as several other places in the book of Hebrews. One of the weaknesses of the Old Testament priesthood was its ancestral nature. Priests inherited their role because they were of the tribe of Levi. Since they were mortal (Hebrews 7:23) and sinful (Hebrews 7:27), God did not guarantee their roles. However, in Psalm 110, God guarantees exactly this, to a figure who is both priest and king.

This citation serves to further support the author's conclusion: that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God's ultimate plan for our salvation, one which can accomplish everything the Old Testament law could not (Hebrews 7:18–19). This is not a change in God's plan, by any stretch—rather, it is simply the fulfillment of God's progressive, planned, teaching work (Galatians 3:19—4:7).
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 6:53:22 PM
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