Hebrews 7:12

12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well.

Hebrews 7:12 Meaning and Commentary

Hebrews 7:12

For the priesthood being changed
Not translated from one tribe, family, or order, to another, but utterly abolished; for though it is called an everlasting priesthood, yet that is to be understood with a limitation, as the word "everlasting" often is, as relating to things under that dispensation; for nothing is more certain than that it is done away: it was of right abrogated at the death of Christ, and it is now in fact; since the destruction of Jerusalem, the daily sacrifice has ceased, and the children of Israel have been many days without one, and without an ephod. And the Jews themselves own, that the high priesthood was to cease in time to come F13, and which they say Azariah the son of Oded prophesied of in ( 2 Chronicles 15:3 ) .

There is made of necessity a change also of the law;
not the moral law, that was in being before the priesthood of Aaron, nor do they stand and fall together; besides, this still remains, for it is perfect, and cannot be made void by any other; nor is it set aside by Christ's priesthood: though there is a sense in which it is abolished; as it is in the hands of Moses; as it is a covenant of works; as to justification by it; and as to its curse and condemnation to them that are Christ's; yet it still remains in the hands of Christ, and as a rule of walk and conversation; and is useful, and continues so on many accounts: but either the judicial law; not that part of it which is founded on justice and equity, and was a means of guarding the moral law, for that still subsists; but that which was given to the Jews as Jews, and some parts of which depended on the priesthood, and so ceased with it; as the laws concerning the cities of refuge, raising up seed to a deceased brother, preserving inheritances in families, and judging and determining controversies: or rather the ceremonial law, which was but a shadow of good things to come, and was given but for a time; and this concerned the priesthood, and was made void by the priesthood of Christ; for that putting an end to the Levitical priesthood, the law which related to it must unavoidably cease, and become of no effect. This the Jews most strongly deny; God, they F14 say, will not change nor alter the law of Moses for ever. The nineth article of their creed, as drawn up by Maimonides, runs thus F15;

``I believe with a perfect faith that this law (tplxwm aht al) "shall not be changed", nor shall there be another law from the Creator, blessed be his name.''

But the reasoning of the apostle is strong and unanswerable.


F13 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 19. fol. 160. 4.
F14 Seder Tephillot, Ed. Amsterd. fol. 2. 1.
F15 Apud Seder Tephillot, Ed. Basil. fol. 86. 2.

Hebrews 7:12 In-Context

10 for he was still within his forefather when Melchizedek met him.
11 If, then, perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise in the order of Melchizedek, and not to be described as being in the order of Aaron?
12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must be a change of law as well.
13 For the One about whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, from which no one has served at the altar.
14 Now it is evident that our Lord came from Judah, and about that tribe Moses said nothing concerning priests.