Hebrews 7 (A Better Priesthood)

Heb 7:1-3     Who was Melchizedek?  See Gen 14, esp. Heb 7:17-20, Ps 110:4.[1] Where was Salem?  See Ps 76:2 and note that Salem is traditionally identified as the location that would later be called Jerusalem.  In what ways was Melchizedek a type of Christ?  Are we to understand Heb 7:3 literally, or figuratively in the sense that nothing more is mentioned of him in Scripture?  What is the significance that he was both a king and a priest?

Heb 7:4-10   In what two ways does the author establish Melchizedek’s greatness?  Why would Melchizedek’s superiority to Abraham be especially significant to Jews or those in danger of falling away to the religio licita of the Jews?  Cf. Mat 3:9, Lk 16:22-24, Jn 8:38-39.  How does the author in these verses establish that Melchizedek is superior also to Levi, and what is his point in doing so?  See Heb 7:4-5, 9-11.

Heb 7:11-19 What is the connection between the law of Moses and the Levitical priesthood?  See Heb 7:11.  Was perfection to come through the Levitical priesthood?  Was it to come through the Law of Moses?  See Heb 7:18-19, 10:1.  On what basis was one a priest in the order of Aaron, and how was that different from the basis upon which one was a priest in the order of Melchizedek?  See Heb 7:16, cf. Heb 7:3.  What words in Heb 7:16 characterize both the law of the old covenant and the basis upon which one was a priest in the order of Aaron?  Note: “physical” requirement is literally “fleshen”—i.e., human, of this elemental world; cf. Gal 4:3,9-10, Col 2:16-17,20-22.  What does the author mean in Heb 7:12 that “of necessity there takes place a change of law”?  See also Heb 7:18.  Corresponding to the change of Aaron’s priesthood with its “fleshen” requirement, how was the law of the old covenant that was mediated by Aaron’s priesthood also changed to reflect the requirement of the priesthood of Melchizedek which mediates the new covenant?  I.e., in what way was perfection to come through Melchizedek’s priesthood that it could not come through Aaron’s?  Note: as those who were priests according to a “fleshen” requirement mediated a law for the cleansing of the flesh, so does He who is a priest according to an indestructible life mediate a law for the cleansing of man’s eternal spirit which is indestructible.  See Jer 31:31-34, Ez 36:25-27, Rom 13:8-10, 2 Cor 3:6-11, Eph 2:15.

Heb 7:20-28 What two key words does the author emphasize from the quote about Melchizedek in Ps 110 that sets his priesthood apart from the priesthood of Aaron?  See Heb 7:17, 20-21,24,25,28, 5:6, 6:20.  What does the better priesthood of Jesus guarantee for the Christian?  See Heb 7:22.  Why was it necessary for the priests in Aaron’s priesthood to exist in greater numbers?  See Heb 7:23.  What was the duration of their priesthood?  What is the duration of Christ’s?  See Heb 7:24.  What is the great significance to us as Christians of Christ’s perpetual priesthood?  See Heb 7:25.  How does the description of Christ in Heb 7:26 contrast with the high priest of Aaron’s priesthood?  See also Heb 7:28.  How does the sacrifice of Christ as our high priest differ from that of the high priest of Aaron’s priesthood?  See Heb 7:27.  How does the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ mentioned in Heb 7:27 contradict the Roman Catholic doctrine of the mass?  Cf. Heb 9:12,25, 10:10-14.[2]

 


1. The Jews believed Melchizedek was Shem, the son of Noah, because according to the dates given in Genesis 11 he would have been the oldest man alive at that time; some believe he was Christ Himself.

2. Note the following from A Catechism For Inquirers bearing the official Imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Church: “What is the Mass? The mass is the sacrifice in which Jesus Christ, through the ministry of priests, perpetuates the sacrifice of the cross by his real presence under the appearances of bread and wine.  Is the mass just a memorial ritual?  No; the mass is much more than a mere memorial.  Jesus Christ is really present in his risen body, continually offering himself to the Father through the ministry of the priest.  Why is the mass necessary, since Jesus Christ died once for all our sins?  The mass is not a new sacrifice.  By it Jesus Christ enables us to be present as he continues his offering to the Father.”

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