Jesus’ high priesthood is vastly superior to the Old Testament’s Levitical priesthood. The promise of “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4) is such a blessing because:
- Aaron, through his forefather Abraham, paid tithes to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4-10); this is an indication of the superiority of Melchizedek.
- Levitical high priests were prevented by death to continue in their work; Jesus “always lives to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25).
- A Levitical high priest had to offer up a sacrifice for his own sins and then sacrifices for the sins of the people; Jesus had no sin—He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26-27).
- The Levitical high priest offered sacrifices on earth in the copy and shadow of heavenly things (Hebrews 8:3-5); Jesus is high priest in the heavenly sanctuary, the true tabernacle of God (Hebrews 8:1-2).
- Jesus “has obtained a more excellent ministry” because He is “Mediator of a better covenant, established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6); the first covenant was not faultless (Hebrews 8:7-12)
- The Levitical high priest offered inferior sacrifices—the blood of bulls and goats which could not possibly take away sins in a permanent way (Hebrews 9:9-10, 10:3-4); “with His own blood He (Jesus—jhc) entered the Most Holy place once for all” and “obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).
- The Law under which the Levitical priests served could “never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect” (Hebrews 10:1); therefore, they had to minister daily and make sacrifices repeatedly (Hebrews 10:11). Jesus, however, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His foot stool” (Hebrews 10:12-13).
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:19-25).