What Does Hebrews 7:18 Mean?

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness

Hebrews 7:18(NASB)

Verse of the Day

While the book of Hebrews systematically sets out the supreme superiority of the person, work, ministry, status and office of Christ, over everyone and everything in heaven or on earth, chapter 7 presents the in-depth reasoning that the priesthood of Christ, (after the order of Melchisedek), takes precedence over Israel's priesthood, (after the order of Aaron), which was given to them by God, and recorded by Moses, in the Book of the Law.

Jewish believers in the early church found it very difficult to accept that the Aaronic priesthood, given by God, could be superseded because it was weak and useless, by comparison! The rites and rituals that accompanied the priestly office and their religious duties, were an integral part of God's covenant with His people. To be told, "there is a setting aside of God's former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness", was incompatible with Jewish thinking. Many struggled with this concept in early Christianity, and many continue to grapple with this anomaly today.

Unless one understands dispensations, i.e. the different way God fulfils His redemptive purpose for humanity, in successive divisions in human history, such anomalies will prevail. In the Old Testament, God worked through Israel, using the 613 Mosaic Laws - the administration of the LAW. Men were saved by grace through faith, just as they are today, BUT the people were required to work the works of God and the keep the entire Law, to earn God's blessing. The perfect Law exposed mans' imperfections. It was designed to demonstrate that men were incapable of keeping God's standard of holiness. The Law became God's schoolteacher to point us to Christ.

God used Israel and the Mosaic Law to demonstrate the inability of the Law to provide the salvation that sinful man desperately needed. The Law exposed sin. It could only reveal the weaknesses and uselessness of the Law to save man from sin. It was incapable of restoring fallen humanity into fellowship with a holy God. Although the Law was perfect, it magnified man's sin and exposed the deficiencies of the earthly priesthood - for the Aaronic priesthood comprised of sinners, descendants of Levi, who were also in need of a Saviour.

God in His grace, made provision for man's redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. By keeping the whole Law, Christ was equipped to become humanities Kinsman-Redeemer, and to shed His blood for the redemption of the whole world. God set in motion a new administration at Pentecost. After Christ's death and resurrection, God set Israel aside for a season and began to govern the affairs of humanity through the Church. He set Israel aside during the Dispensation of the Church, to fulfil His purposes through the Body of Christ. He will work through Israel again during the Great Tribulation period - after the Church is removed.

Hebrews 7 systematically sets out the need for God's former administration through Israel, (the Dispensation of the Law), to be superseded with the next dispensation through the Church (the Dispensation of the Grace of God). "For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness, for the Law made nothing perfect." With the advent of Christ, the Law was fulfilled on behalf of all who believe, bringing us a better hope and a better High Priest, through Whom we draw near to God. Christ Jesus the Righteous, is that Blessed Hope. He is our Kinsman-Redeemer, our Saviour and our Lord.

Jesus Christ demonstrated the supreme superiority of His person, work, ministry, status, office and sacrifice, over everyone and everything, through His death on the cross. He was the supreme sacrifice, and His is a superior, eternal and Royal Priesthood. Christ is the reason that the former things, although perfect, had to be set aside, and superseded.

Perfection can never come through imperfect man, and perfection could never be achieved through an imperfect priest in a Levitical priesthood. Had the Aaronic priesthood after the order of Levi been sufficient, there would have been no need to establish a superior Royal Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek.

While first mentioned in Genesis and Psalms, the interesting character of Melchizedek is referred to multiple times in Hebrews. Not only was he King of Righteousness and Peace, living in Jerusalem, but Melchizedek was also Priest of the Most-High God. He was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ -  God's promised KING from the house of David and the Lord's anointed HIGH PRIEST, after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews identifies Melchizedek as greater than the venerated Abraham, for he blessed Abraham, who paid him homage and gave him tithes. He was of greater importance than Abraham's descendants, who had yet to be born. He was superior to the priestly line through Levi or the royal line of David, for Melchizedek, a type of Christ, was both KING of Jerusalem and PRIEST of the Most-High God, and he commanded honour from the greatest Jewish patriarch, the father of faith.

The greater ALWAYS blesses the LESSER and the blessing Melchizedek gave to Abraham, is one more piece of evidence, showing the supreme superiority of the person, work, ministry, status, office and sacrifice of Christ over everyone else and every other thing in heaven or on earth. Praise His Holy Name. Let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Let us bow down before Him - THE LORD is His name.

My Prayer

Dear Father God, thank You for the simple way that You open our understanding to the truth of Your Word. At times, I try to complicate things instead of looking to Scripture to open my understanding of Your perfect plan of salvation, and recognising the pictures You paint in Scripture, to point me to Christ. Thank You, that Jesus is not only our Heavenly King and High Priest, but is also the eternal Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, and the perfect Kinsman- Redeemer and Mediator between fallen humanity and our holy Father. To Him be all honour and glory and in His name I pray, AMEN.

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