Lesson Number 11

or, Disannulling the Preceding Commandment

"For there is verily a disannulling of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and unprofitableness. For the law made nothing perfect, but the introduction of a better hope {did}; by which we draw nigh to God. And inasmuch as not without an oath {he was made priest}:(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath, by him that said to him, The Lord swore, and will not repent, Thou {art} a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek:) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this {man}, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, {who is} holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests who have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, {maketh} the Son, who is consecrated for evermore."

(Hebrews 7;18-28, The Webster Bible)


The preeminence of the New Covenant is freely declared in Scripture. It is superior in every way. It is a "better covenant," with a Mediator that is accomplishing a better ministry. As it is written, "But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree He is the Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises" (Heb 8:6, NRSV). This glorious covenant is superior in value and importance. It accomplishes more, reaches further, and satisfies more. Note what this text says: "to that degree He is the Mediator of a better covenant." The mediatorship of the Mew Covenant is accomplished through the excellent ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not performing this ministry on the side, so to speak. He has poured Himself into it. This is His current work, His present ministry, and the objective of His immediate reign. There is no better work being accomplished NOW than that of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no better covenant available to men that the one Jesus is administering NOW!

It is possible for even devout men to be distracted from the greatness of the ministry of Jesus and the New Covenant to lesser things. Men can be caught up in lesser things, but it will always be for the worse, and never for the better. The book of Hebrews is a presentation of Divine reasoning "the mind of Christ." It unveils the absurdity of reverting to a system of Law for justification. It confirms that Christ does not and cannot minister in the environment of the Old Covenant. It is not the basis of blessing, Divine acceptance, or the remission of sin. God has invalidated the Old Covenant as a means of approach to Him. Its high priesthood has been absolved because a greater High Priest has arisen.

As apparent as this may seem to be, much of the religion of our time has more in common with the Old Covenant than with the New. Such has an old way of approaching God--on the basis of as procedure. It has an old way of receiving from God--through an earthly priest. It also has an old way of pleasing God-- upon the basis of works. All of these are inexcusable and unacceptable. God now speaks to us exclusively through His Son, and ministers to us within the confines of the New Covenant. That is more than academic precision, it is a truth that must be comprehended by the people of God.


Now, by the Holy Spirit, the writer immerses himself in God's purpose in Christ Jesus. The appearance of Jesus has constrained God to put aside the former covenant, with all of its ceremonies. This has been done in strict accord with His "eternal purpose." In the Person of Christ, the Father now moves into the new order, but not without abrogating the old one. He has truly reserved "the best for last," as prefigured at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-9). The language here is string, and makes no provision for the legalist to insert profitless words. "For there is verily a disannulling of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and unprofitableness. For the law made nothing perfect . . . " This is the "abrogation of an earlier commandment" (NRSV), and "The former regulation" being "set aside" (NIV). The strength of the statement causes the pharisaical mind to wither. The person replying on procedure and external piety cannot stand in the fiery blast of this text! Something has been abrogated, removed, set aside, and disannulled. We do well to consider this statement with great sobriety.

Remember, the High Priesthood of Christ is the matter under consideration. Because Jesus is not qualified to be a High Priest under the Law, He cannot minister to us under its domain. If Jesus is going to benefit us, it must be "apart from the Law" (Rom 3:21). Do not allow the law-binders to pull you into the matrix of Law. It will condemn you, for Christ is not there. The Law is a "schoolmaster," appointed to "bring us to Christ" (Gal 3:24). But having brought us to Him, the Law has served its purpose. Jesus will not step under the Law to leads us to glory, for the Law will not allow Him to do so. He is of the tribe of Judah, concerning which the Law made no provision for High Priests (Heb 7:14).

The "preceding commandment" relates to the provision of a High Priest under the Law. The Spirit has already shown the superiority of Christ's priesthood be relating it to that of Melchizedek. "Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (Heb 7:16). By "carnal commandment," he does not mean evil commandment, but a commandment after the fleshly order, or according to fleshly lineage. The NRSV puts it this way: "not through a legal requirement concerning physical descent, but through the power of an indestructible life," while the NIV says, "not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life." Remember, the people received the Law THROUGH THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD (Heb 7:11). That was the channel through which the covenant was brought within the reach of the people. Those men were not high priests because of the superiority of their character, longevity of life, access to Divine power. A "carnal commandment" qualified them for the function a commandment that relied upon their ancestry and fleshly perfection (Heb 7:16).

I cannot emphasize this point too much. It is critical to our understanding of the "great salvation" we experience in Christ Jesus. Those who stand in defense of relying on a system of Law for Divine acceptance fail to realize the Lord Jesus cannot minister within such a system. The Law was given and he is the appropriate minister of that system. "grace and truth," however, "came by Christ," and He functions within that gloriously effective realm, and that alone (John 1:17).

When Jesus sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, assuming His reign of grace, the Law became unlawful as an approach to God. There was no longer a valid priesthood to administer it, and thus it could no longer be a covenant between the people and God. In that capacity it was "nailed to His cross" (Col 2:14). Now, upon the basis of His vicarious atonement the High Priest brings the people to God. They are presented cleansed and holy because of their acceptance of His "atonement,"or "reconciliation." (Rom 5:11).

Jesus is our High Priest by virtue of His "endless life," which are text contrasts with a "carnal commandment"; i.e., one based upon fleshly ancestry. We could not be saved by a temporal High Priest--one that died. Nor, indeed, could we be brought to glory by a High Priest that presented us "once a year" to the Lord (Ex 30:10; Lev 16:34; Heb 9:7,25; 10:1,3). Our text will proclaim a High Priest that "ever lives to make intercession" for those that come to God by Him. The Law provided for no such high priest! Nor, indeed, is Jesus qualified to function as a high priest under the Law. Our salvation is not sealed in a moment of time, and therefore we need a living, active, High Priest! We remain in the danger zone, attacked by the devil, assaulted by our own sinful proclivities, and distracted by a cursed world. Thank God He has appointed Jesus as our High priest!


The Spirit now presses the argument, showing the utter unreasonableness of returning to a system of Law when grace and truth have been brought to us. He bids us look at the Law, pondering its effects. He will consider the Law's work from the standpoint of God's objective. Thus the affirmation is made, and a strong one it is. "For the law made nothing perfect . . . " (7:19a). The strength of the word "NOTHING" must not be overlooked. Priests made sacrifices for themselves and "for the people" (Ex 29:12-19; Lev 16:67; Heb 5:3; 7:27; 9:7). Yet, neither the priest nor the people were perfected by the sacrifices, multitudinous though they were. They were made no better, brought no closer, and remained defiled by their sins. This is the Law at its best at its highest moment, the time of atonement. And what did it accomplish for poor sinners? Not a single thing! "The law made nothing perfect!" If procedural precision will accomplish the purpose of God, it will be accomplished by the Law! If orderly and exacting obedience will make men perfect, then it will occur under the Law. But perfection did not result, either for the priest or for the people. "The Law made nothing perfect!"

Because this particular facet of our subject will be developed more fully in chapter ten, I will only give some introductory thoughts here. The perfection of reference is not moral perfection. That will only come after the resurrection, we will be liberated from this "vile body" (Phil 3:20).

The Law "made NOTHING perfect!" Neither any of the priests that offered sacrifices, nor any of the people for whom they were offered were perfected by the Law. It could not make satisfactory atonement for sin, or make men completely holy or righteous. It could not justify or sanctify, bring in a perfect righteousness, or bring men to perfect holiness. Therefore, the Law could not bring eternal life. It was impossible, and remains impossible, for salvation to come through Law--any Law!

The heart of the "perfection" that could not be accomplished by Law was the cleansed conscience. As it is written, "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins" (Heb 10:1-2, NIV).

The need of man is to have a purged, or cleansed, conscience. Repeated sacrifices under the Law only stirred up the remembrance of sin. Do not miss this, at the height of the Law system--the day of atonement--people became more aware of sin and their consciences became more defiled than it ever was before. That is a commentary on the nature of Law. What is more, those with a defiled conscience will not come into the presence of God, which is imperative if they are to be saved. Like Adam, they will hide, for the condemned conscience will not allow the individual to stand before a holy God.

Those that insist upon founding the hope of people upon law keeping, only drive them from the presence of the Lord. Such constrain people to rely upon procedures for a cleansed conscience. It will never happen! "The Law made nothing perfect," and it still does not!


The condition that has been described calls for a "better hope"--one that will provide an anchor for the soul! The Law, with all of its complexities and exacting procedures, did not yield perfection in any area. But what of the introduction of "a better hope"?

The term "better hope" refers to the New Covenant. A marvelous contrast is here provided between the Old and New Covenants. The Law versus the Hope! This is seen, remember, from the standpoint of the High Priest. The best you could have with temporary High Priests was a Law that made no one perfect. Sins were not remitted, the conscience therefore remained defiled, and the way to God was closed. The Law did not accomplish the purpose of God, which as to usher purged people into His presence. Law--any Law--still is incapable of doing this. This it is written, "For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law" (Gal 3:21, NIV).

The Old Covenant measured man, and made no provision for the removal of sin. The New Covenant blesses man, having made full provision for the remission of sin. The Old Covenant left men "dead in trespasses and sins." The New Covenant brings "hope" to the sinner. Candidly, I do not find this glorious proclamation being affirmed in our day--at least not to any measurable degree.

By Which We Draw Nigh To God

Here is the grand purpose of it all--coming into the presence of the Lord, undefiled and prepared for blessing!

It is ever true that in God's "presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psa 16:11). At last, in the Lord Jesus Christ Psalm 140:13 is fulfilled! "Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall live in your presence" (NRSV). This cannot be stated too much. (1 Pet 3:18).

Not For Worship Alone

While here, we worship God "in the Spirit" (Phil 3:3). But I am going to wax bold and state this is not the primary reason for us being brought into His presence. Here, in close proximity to the Lord, a "change" takes place that makes us suitable for Divine fellowship and utility! How precisely this is stated in the Spirit's delineation of the New Covenant in 2 Corinthians. "And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:18, NRSV). This is a reality that cannot be experienced at a distance. In can only occur "in His presence." No one can be transformed while dwelling in the outer court--no one!

A similar expression is found in the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians. Again, this reveals the effects of coming into the Lord's presence through the New Covenant, or "better hope." "For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us" (4:6-7, NRSV). The phrase "in the face of Jesus Christ" does not denote study habits, but spiritual proximity. Christ's face cannot be perceived from a distance, and neither can the change that fastening up His Person brings. Jesus is at the right hand of God, and the closer we draw to God, the more clear Jesus and His ministry becomes to us. Basking in His presence, transformation takes place in us. Our thoughts, motives, loves, and hates, and made new praise the Lord!

The Law could not affect this change, but the "better hope" can. It is by the "better hope," or New Covenant, that we come close to God. The reason for this ability is not that we have learned a new procedure, or that hitherto revealed secret has been made known to us. It is because of the remission of sin [something the Law could not accomplish, Heb 10:4] that we boldly come into His presence.

This is the reality declared in Hebrews 8:11-12. "And they shall not teach one another or say to each other, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more" (NRSV). Knowing the Lord speaks of an familiarity produced by closeness and intimacy--coming into His presence. It is possible to become acquainted with someone academically. For example, in the case of marriage, we can learn a lot about a prospective mate by reading about the individual. Some biographies, autobiographies, news articles, school annuals . . . etc. But what is that to compare with being with them?

So it is with knowing the Lord. Some have never really fellowshiped with Him, coming into His presence. They have read about Him, and heard with the hearing of the ear. But they have never spent time Him--something which the New Covenant allows--yea URGES-- them to do. It is "by" the "better hope," or New Covenant, that we draw close to God. Being part of that covenant gives us the right and the power to approach the Living God! Our sins are remitted through the blood of the covenant. The laws of God are written upon our hearts and placed into our minds (Heb 8:11). God is our God, and we are His people! The Covenant is made for approachers!

By using the term "better hope," the effects of the covenant are accentuated. The Arabic and Syriac versions use language that highlights this uniqueness. " . . . seeing it should be an entrance to a more noble hope" (Arabic). The Syriac version renders it, "but in the room of it entered a hope more excellent than that" (than the law). It is not superior by wording, or by the nature of its commandments, but by the benefits that are realized through it! The passage before us confirms this is the case because of the One administering the covenant--the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest! He is what makes the covenant superior!


A change in the people takes place under this covenant. That is why they can draw near to God. Their sins are initially remitted through their faith, and the law is inscribed upon their hearts and minds. They are the people of God by nature as well as by declaration--something that could never occur under the Law, or Old Covenant.


The availability of Divine resources is remarkable under this covenant, or "better hope." Coming near, we can "find mercy, and obtain grace to help in the time of need" (Heb 4:16). This privilege did not belong to the children of Israel. Their high priest could not bring THEM into the holiest. The Old Covenant did not THEM in God's presence. Therefore, they did not have grace, mercy, and peace in abundant measures to help them. For them, grace was NOT being destroyed. Ezra's great confession encapsulates that situation. "But now, for a brief moment, the LORD our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage" (Ezra 9:8, NIV). How does that compare with the frequent blessing pronounced upon those in the New Covenant? "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Pet 1:2-3).

Such abundance was not known to Israel. To them, abundance spoke of rain, spices, gold, silver, and precious stones (1 Kgs 10:10; 18:41; 1 Chron 29:2). But those things cannot bring you into God's presence, take away sin, or give the advantage in the good fight of faith!


God promised Abraham He would "bless" the world (Gen 12:2). This blessing now occurs in "heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 1:3). These are blessings that enable the New Covenant person to be "filled with all joy and peace in believing," and "abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom 15:13). Spiritual stability is found under Christ that causes us to cease to be "children, tossed to and fro b y every wind of doctrine . . . " (Eph 4:14). Now we have a High Priest that can "keep us from falling, and present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24). No such blessing existed under the Old Covenant.


To be use by God is glorious, to enjoy co-partnery with Him is better! Nebuchadnezzar was God's servant (Jer 27:6), but not in the sense of the New Covenant. God "stirred up the spirit" of King Cyrus to do build Him a house (2 Chron 36:22-23). But what is that to compare with the "opening" of the heart of Lydia (Acts 16:14), or "serving the Lord" with fervency of spirit, while "rejoicing in hope" (Rom 12:11).

Display of Wisdom

The heavenly host have always been aware of God's dealings among men. They were present at the creation itself (Job 38:7), were used to guard the way to the tree of life (gen 3:24), and were present at the giving of the Law (Acts 7:53). Time would fail us to mention the deliverances they wrought, destroying the enemies of Israel, and leading them out of bondage. Once an angel prepared a meal for a judge of Israel (Judges 6:20-21). Under Christ, the holy angels are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb 1:14). But more is involved in the New Covenant than the ministry of the holy angels.

Under this covenant, the comprehension of these holy creatures is expanded. Hear how they are involved in God's grand purpose. Salvation is been brought "that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph 3:10-11, NIV). In this "better hope" heaven and earth and not only in close proximity, both are advantaged by the arrangement! Let there be no question about it being a "better hope!"


Ever keep in mind, the New Covenant owes its strength to its Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant the people had a High Priest, a refuge, an offering, and a Mediator. They were all different, even though they worked together for the temporary good of the people. Now, however, the High Priest, refuge, offering, and Mediator are the same. They are all fulfilled in the Person of Christ. He Himself is the High Priest (Heb 2:17), place of safety (Col 3:3), the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7), and Mediator (Heb 8:6). What a glorious covenant! In Christ, all of its benefits and blessings become accessible through faith!

But now our text declares Him to be the "Surety of a better Testament" (KJV) or "Guarantee of a better covenant" (NASB, NIV).

The word translated "Surety," or "Guarantee" is e;gguoj (eggous), which means under good security, pledge, or down payment. In the case of Christ, the word means a guarantor or surety (Thayer's Greek Lexicon). Of this verse, Robertson says, It is not clear whether the author means that Jesus is God's pledge to man, or man's to God, or both. He is both in fact, as the Mediator (o` mesithj, 8:6) between God and man (Son of God and Son. (Robertson's Word Pictures) This is a strong word, and justifies an extended commentary.

Jesus Christ is Himself the pledge of the New Covenant--the Guarantee of its effectiveness. There are two sides to this, and they are both glorious. He is the Guarantee that God is for us (Rom 8:34-39). He is also the Guarantee that we will be presented to God (1 Pet 3:18; 1 Cor 15:28)! This is fulfilled by the Son in the capacity of our High Priest. Hallelujah!

As long as the individual has Christ, all of the blessings of the covenant belong to him! Jesus is the "Surety of a better Covenant." As long as God has Christ, the people are His for blessing. Jesus is the "Surety of a better Covenant!"

The fact that God swore with an oath that the Son is a "High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek," confirms the effectiveness of His priesthood. That is why he can be the Surety, or pledge. Not only has the Son fulfilled the Father's will, the Father has accepted His sacrifice, and declared Him to be the Guarantee of the blessing! HE IS THE GUARANTEE GOD WILL BE BLESSED BY US. After all, the Father's inheritance is "in the saints" (Eph 1:18-20). THE SON IS ALSO THE GUARANTEE THAT THE PROMISES OF THE COVENANT BELONG TO US!

Do not miss the reason for this guarantee of pledge. The Spirit is very precise, leaving the realm of generality. It is not because Jesus died. It is not because He was raised from the dead. It is "by so much" (KJV), or "because of this oath" (NIV). The oath, from which God will not repent, is the reason the Son is the Surety, or Guarantor, of this "better covenant."

Let me state this another way. It is what THE FATHER thinks of the Son that makes Him the Pledge of the covenant! Your heart and mind, therefore, should be as familiar as possible with that perspective. You must not look at Christ "after the flesh," viewing him from a human point of view. The modern presentation of Jesus as heavenly Solver of earthly problems is not only shallow, it is a great inhibitor to faith. As long as people view Him, from that vantage point, they will not receive the fulness of the blessing. We receive the blessing because the Father has declared the Son a "High Priest forever." Do not allow that to become merely academic to you. It is a great Kingdom reality, without which you cannot possibly stand before the "Judge of all the earth." Praise God for our High Priest!


The reason for Christ's unchangeable priesthood is His unending life. " . . . but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood" (Heb 7:24). This is a pivotal truth upon which several Kingdom realities are suspended. The Law was temporary for several reasons. First, it was "added" to the Abrahamic promise, and therefore not intended to be a permanent arrangement (Gal 3:19). Secondly, it offered temporal benefits, and was embodied in "carnal ordinances" (Heb 9:10). Third, it was administered by priests that could not continue "by reason of death" (v. 23).

During the 1,500 year administration of the Law, the need for an eternal High Priest was established. The need for something that conferred life was also confirmed. Man's need could not be satisfied by external commandments, promises of temporal benefits, and an administrator that dies. Because he is in the image of God, he requires a blessing that brings eternal life--and a temporary priest cannot accomplish that requirement.

All of this may appear to have little to do with our contemporary situation. Nothing could be further from the truth! If people want to benefit from the New Covenant, they must come into the realm of the eternal. Life that is eternal must be sought, and the ministry of an eternal High Priest must be appropriated. A few liturgical procedures will not suffice to save the soul! After everything is said and done, the modern church is saying little about a "better covenant," "eternal life," and a High Priest that has an "unending life." That means much of the religion of our day is irrelevant. It does not require Christ or His ministry, and consequently cannot meet the needs of humanity! An eternal salvation cannot be implemented by temporal means.


The ability of Christ to save is not to be taken for granted. It is a matter of declaration, in order than faith may appropriate its reality. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (7:25). The phrase "save to the uttermost" is pregnant with meaning. Notice how the different translations put this. "... able to save forever" (NASB). "... able for all time to save" (RSV). "... able to save completely" (NIV). "... able to save to the very end" (YLT).

Think of the magnitude of this affirmation. Salvation is forever because of an eternal High Priest! A salvation that reached backward to the beginning of the world, and forward to its consummation it owing to a High Priest that is "alive forevermore." No aspect of salvation will fail of fulfillment because of a living High Priest! Those that abide in Christ can expect to be saved "to the very end."

This ability to save in the fullest, yet most comprehensive, use of the term, is not owing to Christ's authority. It is not traced back to His unquestionable power. Both of those conditions are found in the Lord Jesus, and are not to be doubted. However, salvation is of such a nature that an strong appeal must be made to the heart of the saved ones.

Our salvation depends upon an aggressive and compassionate High Priest! He never leaves His High Priestly station. He does not save us by acting during certain seasons. The reason for this situation is simple. That is not the nature of salvation.

Those that attempt to serve God seasonally or cyclically are in great error. They may appear very devout, but they are not. They have embraced a system of religion over which Jesus does not preside. Such a religion is more related to the Old Covenant than to the New, and thus has no relevance with God.

Our salvation is here related to Christ's intercession: "He always lives to intercede for them." Here is an aspect of the Lord Jesus that is rarely ministered in our time. Yet, here it is said to be what enables the Lord Jesus to save all saints, for all time, in the fullest sense. Everything God gives us comes through Christ- -He is our Intercessor! Everything we give to God goes through Christ. He is our Intercessor! God recognizes us only in Christ. He is our Intercessor! When we are tempted, Christ prays for us. He is our Intercessor! When we confess our sins to God, it is the Son that makes our prayers acceptable. He is our Intercessor! Our labors for the Lord are only recognized in Christ. He is our Intercessor!

Given these conditions, God is greatly to be praised that we have a High Priest that lives forever!


Our salvation precisely meets our need, and is peculiarly adapted to us. This means salvation in its fulness is accessible to all who desire it. God has, in Christ Jesus, placed it well within our reach. Sin has wrought no effect that is not fully and adequately addressed in Christ Jesus. Those who appropriate the "free gift" will find no deficiency in it. No valid area of life is ignored.

Our text associates the fulness of this provision with the High Priesthood of Christ--His present ministry at the right hand of God. "For such an high priest became us . . . " (v 26a). The NIV says, "Such a high priest meets our need . . . ," while the NRSV reads, "For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest . . ." The Spirit now identifies several of the characteristics of Christ that peculiarly qualify Him for His present role. A brief examination of them will reveal how far sin had thrust the human race from God. It will also confirm the nature of God, and why He cannot simply receive people into His Presence without a qualified and effective Representative. Again, I am impressed with how very little is being said these days about these things. Men have become more enamored of institutions and programs, than of the salvation purpose before the world began.

Here is the marvelous proclamation. "Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens . . . " (v. 26). Notice, these represent Christ as He IS now. It is not that He has ever been anything else (saving for upon the cross, where He was "made to be sin," 2 Cor 5:21). The point is that faith cannot rest in the past--2,000 years ago, so to speak. We are not saved by the historicity of Christ--although He is an historical figure, and His accomplishments are historical realities. It is Who Christ IS that saves us, not Who He was! It is what He DOES that is saving us, not merely what He did. NOW, in the presence of God, He IS effectualizing the atonement wrought out on the cross. It is what IS being done NOW, by Jesus on the right hand of God, that validates His vicarious atonement for you! Salvation did not break forth until He "entered . . . into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb 9:24).


Holiness is a predominating trait with God. Israel, inspired to sing praise when delivered from Pharaoh and his army, declared "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness . . . " (Ex 15:11, NIV). Those that worship Him are obliged to do so "in the beauty of holiness" (1 Chron 16:29; Psa 29:2; 96:9). This is the aspect of God that particularly produces fear in the hearts of sinners. The thought of an unholy High Priest strikes fear into the hearts of those desiring salvation. Regardless of our supposed advancement and piety, if our High Priest is not "holy," there is no chance of us being accepted by God!

But what does it mean to be "holy"?--in particular, that our High Priest is "holy"? The word used here is found relatively infrequently in the New Covenant writings. It is not the normal word for "holy," which is a`gioij (hagios). That word is used over 30 times in Matthew thru Revelation. However, in this text, the word is o[sioj (osios). It is used only three times in Scripture (Heb 7:26; Rev 15:4; 16:5), and always refers to Deity. Another form of it (o[sio,n) is also used three times (Acts 2:27; 13:35; Tit 1:8).

The word means "holy, devout, and dedicated." It denotes one that is sanctioned by the supreme law of God, and conducts himself with precise rightness in the presence of the Lord. It also carries the idea of commitment or dedication to the Lord. In this text, the holiness of Christ means this. AS OUR MEDIATOR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IS EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER REQUIRES. HE PRECISELY MEETS OUR NEED, AND IS DEDICATED TO THE SALVATION OF THOSE WITHIN THE NEW COVENANT. HIS PERSON AND HIS WORK ARE WITHOUT SPOT.


Other versions translate this word differently. The NIV and NRSV use "blameless," while the ASV reads "guileless." The sense of this text yields great edification. The idea of "blameless" is not "without fault or sin"--although that is the absolute truth. The idea is "without malice or evil intent." Jesus is not at the right hand to "make intercession against" us, as Elijah did against Israel (Rom 11:2). So far as "the elect" Mk 13:22; Col 3:12; 2 John 1) are concerned, Christ will not harm them. God sent Him to "bless" us, not to curse us (Acts 3:26). The second time, He will come to "judge the world in righteousness" (Psa 9:8; Acts 17:31). Now, however, He is interceding to bring "many sons to glory" (Heb 2:10).

Undefiled (pure)

In the capacity of our High Priest, Jesus is "undefiled," or without deficiency or flaw. This is true of Him in every aspect, without exception. However, the emphasis here is on His representation of us before God. Under the Law, High Priests were ceremonially undefiled, but not so in their character or life. Before they could offer sacrifice for the people, they had to first offer sacrifice for themselves (Lev 9:8; 16:6,11,17,24; Heb 9:7). Not so with Jesus! He is the kind of High Priest we need. He is also the kind God wants! He was cursed for our sins (Gal 3:13), but is not now contaminated by them! Absolute purity belong to Him, and He is our appointed Representative.


(set apart from) Sinners When Jesus was among us, He was called "A friend of publicans and sinners" (Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34). This was, however, the appraisal of His enemies, not of God the Father. Jesus is not the friend of sinners, but their Savior! Finely spun arguments may be concocted to justify the view that Jesus is a friend of sinners. But when all is said and done, their sin had to be put away, and they had to be "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21), before Christ could "receive them to the glory of God" (Rom 15:7).

God is so holy, that for His High Priest to effectively minister in the behalf of the saved, He had to leave the realm of sinners and enter the realm of the heavenlies. He is "separate from sinners." Too, if you want to benefit from Christ's indispensable ministry, you must also occupy "heavenly places" (Eph 1:3; 2:6). You cannot gain the advantage of "eternal salvation" by keeping your affection on the things of this world (Col 3:1-3).

Made Higher Than the Heavens The Spirit continues to emphasis Christ's exaltation to the right hands of God. It is the same type of language used in Philippians 2:9-11. "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Our salvation could not be finalized from the earth! The sons of God could not be brought to glory by a High Priest in the world! Nor, indeed, could salvation be brought to its appointed culmination without the High Priest being next to the Father! That is how far sin had caused us to plunge. That is how contaminated an environment we presently occupy! Thank God for our "great High Priest!"


Our High Priest ministers DAILY, but does not make daily sacrifices. Herein is a marked distinction between His High Priesthood and that under the Law. Thus it is written, "Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people . . . " (7:27a). Jesus is not making sacrifices, but intercession! The effectiveness of His intercession is based upon a single sacrifice offered one time. His offering was made "once, when He offered Himself" (7:27b).

The reason for the effectiveness of this sacrifice is not that it followed a precise procedure. Precise procedures were followed by the priests of old, who offered sacrifices repeatedly. Because Christ's sacrifice accomplished God's determinate purpose, it never again will be offered! Through it the world was reconciled (2 Cor 5:18), sin was put away (Heb 9:26), and the handwriting or ordinances that was against us was blotted out (Col 2:14). Through His sacrifice the devil was destroyed (Heb 2:14), principalities and powers were plundered (Col 2:15), and peace was made between God and man (Col 1:20).

These grand effects brought satisfaction to God. He will never again require a sacrifice for sin. Never again will He require satisfaction for sin! Those that receive the Son will be received by a satisfied God!


Regarding the appointment of High Priests, the former commandment has been disannulled, or voided. Thus it is written, "There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual . . . For the law appoints as high priests those who are subject to weakness, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever" (Heb 7:18, 28.

No more temporal High Priests! No longer is there a priesthood that is weak and ineffectual! Lifeless formality has come to a grinding halt before God. It has no place in the Divine economy, and thus must have no place with us! When God took an oath concerning Christ's High Priesthood, He repudiated the old High Priesthood. It makes no difference if a person can trace his lineage back to "Aaron, the saint of the Lord" (Psa 106:16). God will only honor the Son as a High Priest.

And what does all of this mean for you? It means your faith in Christ will be fully honored by God. It means " . . . whoever believes in him will not be put to shame" (Rom 9:33). It means "hope does not disappoint us" (Rom 5:5).

Lift up your heart and voice in thanksgiving, dear child of God. In Christ God has made complete provision for your salvation.

The former commandment, adapted for a High Priest with infirmity, has been abrogated! The fleshly order has no part in the courts of the Lord since Jesus has been exalted!