What does Hebrews 7:22 mean?
ESV: This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
NIV: Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
NASB: by the same extent Jesus also has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
CSB: Because of this oath, Jesus has also become the guarantee of a better covenant.
NLT: Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.
KJV: By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Verse Commentary:
This verse uses an interesting Greek word, found only here in the entire New Testament: engyos. This is variously translated as "guarantor," "surety," "security," "sponsor," or "promise." The entire book of Hebrews is meant to reassure persecuted Christians that Christ, and not the Old Testament Law, is God's ultimate plan for our salvation. Part of this reassurance is explaining how Christ's priesthood—after the order of Melchizedek—is superior to that of the Old Testament's Levitical priesthood. Old Testament priests are mortal (Hebrews 7:23), sinful (Hebrews 7:27), and merely inherit their position (Hebrews 7:20). Christ, on the other hand, is sinless (Hebrews 4:15), eternal (Hebrews 7:16), and His position is guaranteed by God (Hebrews 7:21). Therefore, as this verse states directly, "Jesus [is] the guarantor of a better covenant."

One of the most powerful arguments given for this is that of the oath—that the priesthood of Jesus is explicitly promised by God. This is something the Levitical priests could never claim, so on that basis alone, one could say that Jesus is the key figure in a "better" covenant.

Some commentaries summarize the book of Hebrews with the phrase "good versus perfect." The Old Testament Law was limited and imperfect, and so could not be our ultimate salvation. It was not "bad," since it was part of God's plan to point mankind towards Christ (Galatians 3:19—4:7). But the covenant we have with Jesus is "perfect" where the Old Covenant could never be. This is key to the author's purpose: encouraging Jewish Christians, in particular, not to cave in to pressure to return to the flawed, limited system of Judaism.
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 4/15/2024 11:43:05 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.