What does Hebrews 7:28 mean?
ESV: For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
NIV: For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
NASB: For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, who has been made perfect forever.
CSB: For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son, who has been perfected forever.
NLT: The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.
KJV: For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
NKJV: For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
Verse Commentary:
This verse summarizes the conclusion of the author's argument: high priests of the Old Testament were flawed, but appointed by the God-given Law to serve their purpose (Galatians 3:19—4:6). Jesus, on the other hand, is perfect. In the book of Hebrews, the word perfect is most often a reference to something being completed (Hebrews 5:9). Here, however, the context includes the idea of Christ's sinlessness and moral perfection (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus has been appointed to His position directly by God (Hebrews 7:17, 21), unlike Levitical priests who inherit their titles (Hebrews 7:20). Jesus lives forever (Hebrews 7:16), and does not lose His priesthood to death as mortal priests will (Hebrews 7:23). Human efforts will be incomplete (Hebrews 7:18–19), but Jesus' efforts remove our sin completely (Hebrews 7:25).

In the next chapter, the author will build from his last two ideas. These were the idea of Melchizedek being greater than Abraham, and the priesthood of Jesus—on the order of Melchizedek—being greater than that of the Levitical priests. These will be the springboard to a deeper discussion of how, and why, Jesus' role in our salvation is exactly what God has always been promising us. The Old Covenant, while flawed, is not a mistake or a failure by God. It is simply part—and only part—of His overall plan.
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 5:34:47 PM
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