We begin this week by reading Hebrews 7:11-12
v11: Perfection: can also be interpreted ‘completion’. The Old Testament law does not bring about a completion in us that G-d finds acceptable. It is only through Yeshua and His work on the cross (“it is finished/complete”) that we are able to be found acceptable/complete/perfect in G-d’s eyes.
- The Levitical priesthood: There is a relationship between the law and the priesthood. They work hand in hand. The only reason why there was a priesthood was because the law demanded it. The priesthood, in turn, mediated the law. Neither the law, nor the priesthood, could bring about perfection.
- Another priest should rise: i.e. A different priesthood. The law was given, and still has value for us, to help us to understand the superiority of the person and work of Messiah, as well as to show us what perfection looks like. This different priesthood, that arose, had nothing to do with the priesthood of Aaron. If it had nothing to do with the Aaronic priesthood, then it had nothing to do with the law.
v12: “Because there was a setting side by side of one priesthood with another, of necessity there is also a setting side by side of the law.” This is the very literal interpretation of this verse.
- A setting side by side of one priesthood with another: Messiah’s priesthood is better understood when laid side by side with the Levitical one.
- A setting side by side of the law: The ‘law of Messiah’ (the gospel) is also better understood when set side by side with the law of Moses. As an example:
|The Priesthood of the Order of Melchizedek||The priesthood of the order of Aaron|
|Only one Priest – Yeshua, from tribe of Judah||Many priests who retire or die, all Levites|
|Eternal Priesthood||Temporary priestly office holders|
|The message of the Gospel||The message of the law|
|Under grace – but we can learn from the law||Under the law|
Two words in this verse are often wrongly translated “changed”. There has been a change, but that does not mean that because of this change there is a need, at this point in history, to get rid of the old. The old will be done away with, but in its proper Scriptural time. When talking about the Law, Yeshua, in Matt 5:17-19, said that not one dot or the least stroke of a letter would be done away with until there is a new heaven and a new earth. The Torah will be done away with when we are in the New Jerusalem, and not before that. Yeshua then went on to say that we need to practice and teach the commands. This does not mean that we are saved by the works of the law (no one is justified by the works of the law). The Law does not bring about perfection, but it teaches us how to live righteously and in a way that is pleasing to G-d. Even in this day and age, the Torah has relevance for the non-believer, to point them to salvation by faith, and it has relevance for the believer – if we want to proceed to maturity. In Phil 4:8 we are told that we need to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. The Holy Spirit, through the law, can teach us what these things are – so that we can keep this command (found in the New Testament) and think about them.