For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.…
1. It is one and unchangeable (Hebrews 7:23, 24). It was a weakness of the legal priesthood that, held by mortal men, the office had to be continually surrendered at the call of death. At the moment when "old experience" best fitted him for the discharge of his varied and often difficult duties, the priest of Aaron's hue with his long gathered fitness was borne to the grave. At the moment when he had succeeded most completely in inspiring with confidence those who received the benefit of his priestly ministrations, his eyes closed upon their necessities and his ears to their cry. But it is not so with the Heavenly High Priest. In Hum the thought of " many " is fulfilled in that of one, the thought of the changing in that of the unchanging, the thought of a past to be cherished by the memory in that of the same living and abiding presence — "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever" (Hebrews 13:7, 8). The worshipper under the better covenant might thus recall every instance of consolation given to the mourner, or guidance to the perplexed, or strength to the weak, known either to himself or learned from the history of others, and might feel that the same fountain of grace was open in all the fulness of its blessings to himself. In a spirit of unchanging trust he might build upon an unchanging Rock of Ages.
2. It is spiritual On this point the Levitical system had failed to satisfy the conscience (Hebrews 9:9, 10) For a time it had served an important purpose. While the Jewish people were educating from the outward to the inward, from the carnal to the spiritual, while they were as yet unable to comprehend the true nature of God and of the worship which He required, it had inspired powerful, though still imperfect, nations of the disastrous consequences of forsaking, and of the glorious results of serving, Him. But the state of things then instituted could not continue. The education of men must advance, God must be better known, and the idea of sin be deepened. Thus the whole Judaic system would necessarily break down. "The blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sin," and a spiritual answer must be given to a spiritual need. That answer is given in the priesthood and in the priestly office of Christ. Identified with His spiritual offering, the offering of the will, believers offer up their wills to the Father of their spirits, and in His perfect offering they are accepted. By His offering they that are sanctified, or rather they that are being sanctified, are perfected for ever.
3. It is universal. The blessings of the Levitical system were confined to Israel. No stranger, unless first naturalised, might be partaker of its benefits. Human felling was kept in the isolation of a narrow groove. In the High Priesthood of Christ all distinctions between man and man fall away. He is not like Aaron the son of Israel. He is like Melchisedec a Son of man. In Him "there can be neither Jew nor Greek," &c. (Galatians 3:28). Not, indeed, that such distinctions as lie in nature and providence are in themselves obliterated. But beneath them there is the common bond of a common love, in which all learn to feel for, to sympathise with, and to help, one another, for all are "one man in Christ Jesus."
4. It is everlasting. The priests of Aaron's line were made "after the law of a carnal commandment." The High Priest of the Christian faith is made "after the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7:16). God Himself hath sworn to him," Thou art a priest for ever." His Priesthood endures through all the rolling years or ages of the Christian economy. Nay, it endures throughout eternity. It might be thought that, at last, when the end of life's pilgrimage is reached and the number of the elect is gathered in to the safe protection of their heavenly home, there would be no need of a priesthood or a priest. But such is not the teaching of the New Testament. Rather are we taught that in Him, as Priest, must we always stand accepted before God. Throughout eternity the love of the Father must flow forth to us "in His name." Therefore in the visions of the Revelation of St. John He is clad in priestly robes; and, in similar robes, in garments washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, His redeemed there either stand singing their song of grateful thanksgiving, or are guided by Him unto fountains of waters of life (chap. 7.).
(W. Milligan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.