“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 6:19-20). Jesus, as the bearer of the new covenant, appeared on the scene as a priest after the order of Melchizedek rather than the order of Levi – priests of the old covenant.
“Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God…is without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (Heb 7:1,3). Melchizedek, who first appeared on the scene in Genesis chapter 14, is a type of Christ, an eternal priest. By contrast, the priesthood of Levi – representatives of the old covenant – was temporary.
“Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also” (Heb 7:11-12).
The author asks a rhetorical question and follows it with its logical conclusion. “If a complete salvation were available through the Levitical priesthood and the Law it represented, what need would there be for a better priesthood?” Because the Law fell short, there was a need for a better priesthood. Christ’s priesthood did not depend on “a physical requirement [since He did not descend from Levi, the tribe of priests] but rather was based on His indestructible life [His eternal life as the Begotten Son of God]” (Heb 7:16). In this regard, He fulfilled the prophesy of Psalm 110:4, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 7:17).
And with a better priesthood came a setting aside of the old Law and a better hope. “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Heb 7:18-19). We draw near to God through a better hope; a hope we will continue to explore next time.