7:1 For this 1 Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and a blessed him;
(1) Declaring those words, "According to the order of Melchizedek" upon which the comparison of the priesthood of Christ with the Levitical priesthood rests: first, Melchizedek himself is considered to be the type of Christ and these are the points of that comparison. Melchizedek was a king and a priest, as is Christ alone. He was a king of peace and righteousness as is Christ alone. 7:3 2 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
(a) With a solemn and priestly blessing.
(2) Another type: Melchizedek is set before us to be considered as one without beginning and without ending, for neither his father, mother, ancestors, or his death are written of. Such a one is indeed the Son of God, that is, an everlasting Priest: as he is God, begotten without mother, and man, conceived without father. 7:4 3 Now consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
(3) Another figure: Melchizedek in his priesthood was above Abraham for he took tithes from him, and blessed him as a priest. Such a one indeed is Christ, on whom depends even Abrahams sanctification and all the believers, and whom all men should worship and reverence as the author of all. 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they b come out of the loins of Abraham:
(b) Were begotten by Abraham. 7:7 And c without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
(c) He speaks of the public blessing which the priests used. 7:9 4 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
(4) A twofold amplification: The first, that Melchizedek took the tithes as one immortal (that is, in respect that he is the figure of Christ, for his death is not mentioned, and David sets him forth as an everlasting Priest) but the Levitical priests, took tithes as mortal men, for they succeed one another: the second, that Levi himself, though yet in Abraham, was tithed by Melchizedek. Therefore the priesthood of Melchizedek (that is, Christs, who is pronounced to be an everlasting Priest according to this order) is more excellent than the Levitical priesthood. 7:11 5 If therefore d perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
(5) The third treatise of this Epistle, in which after he has proved Christ to be a King, Prophet and a Priest, he now handles distinctly the condition and excellency of all these offices, showing that all these were shadows, but in Christ they are true and perfect. He begins with the priesthood that the former treatise ended with, that by this means all the parts of the debate may better hold together. First of all he proves that the Levitical priesthood was imperfect because another priest is promised later according to an other order, that is, of another rule and fashion. 7:12 6 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the e law.
(d) If the priesthood of Levi could have made any man perfect.
(6) He shows how by the institution of the new priesthood, not only the imperfection of the priesthood of Levi was declared, but also that it was changed for this: for these two cannot stand together, because the first appointment of the tribe of Levi shut out the tribe of Judah and made it inferior to Levi: and this latter passage places the priesthood in the tribe of Judah. 7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man f gave attendance at the altar.
(e) Of the institution of Aaron.
(f) Had anything to do with the altar. 7:15 7 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
(7) Lest any man object, the priesthood was indeed translated from Levi to Judah. Nonetheless the same still remains, he both considers and explains those words of David "for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek" by which also a different institution of priesthood is understood. 7:16 8 Who is made, not after the g law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
(8) He proves the diversity and excellency of the institution of Melchizedeks priesthood, by this that the priesthood of the law rested on an outward and bodily anointing: but the sacrifice of Melchizedek is set out to be everlasting and more spiritual. 7:18 9 For there is verily a disannulling of the h commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
(g) Not after the ordination, which commands frail ad temporary things, as was done in Aarons consecration, and all of that whole priesthood.
(9) Again, that no man object that the last priesthood was added to make a perfect one by joining them both together, he proves that the first was made void by the later as unprofitable, by the nature of them both. For how could those material and transitory things sanctify us, either by themselves, or by being joined with another? 7:20 10 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
(h) The ceremonial law.
7:23 11 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
(10) Another argument, by which he proves that the priesthood of Christ is better than the priesthood of Levi, because his was established with an oath, but theirs was not so.
7:24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an i unchangeable priesthood.
(11) Another argument for the same purpose. The Levitical priests (as mortal men) could not be everlasting, but Christ, as he is everlasting, so has he also an everlasting priesthood, making most effectual intercession for them who come to God by him.
(i) Which cannot pass away. 7:25 Wherefore he is k able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
(k) He is fit and sufficient. 7:26 12 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the peoples: 13 for l this he did m once, when he offered up himself.
(12) Another argument: There are required in an high priest innocency and perfect pureness, which may separate him from sinners, for whom he offers. The Levitical high priests are not found to be such, for they offer first for their own sins: but only Christ is such a one, and therefore the only true High Priest.
7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the n word of the oath, 14 which o was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
(13) Another argument, which nonetheless he handles afterward: The Levitical priests offered sacrifice after sacrifice, first for themselves, and then for the people. Christ offered not for himself, but for others, not sacrifices, but himself, not repeatedly, but once. This should not seem strange, he says, for they are weak, but this man is consecrated as an everlasting Priest, and that by an oath.
(l) That sacrifice which he offered.
(m) It was done so that it need not be repeated or offered again any more.
(n) The commandment of God which was bound with an oath.
(14) Another argument taken by the time: Former things are taken away by the later.