Another and Another and Another

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:11-16, underline added).

There are two Greek words which are often translated into English as “another”. The first (allos) denotes another of the same kind. The second (heteros) denotes one of a different sort or category. When discussing priesthoods found in the Old Testament, for example, Abiathar was another (allos) Levitical priest as his father Aaron had been. Melchizedek, however, was another of a different category (heteros) than Aaron.

These two words are quite significant in Galatians 1:6-7. Most English versions translate heteros in verse 6 as “different” and allos as “another”. This helps to prevent confusion and to pinpoint the subtle error taught by the Judaizers.

In the passage above, only heteros is used. A priest of a different category (v. 11), from a different tribe than Levi (v. 13) could only be lawful before God with a change of law (v. 12), which would require different qualifications for its High Priest (vv. 15-16).

In light of the imperfections of the Levitical priesthood (v. 11), how praiseworthy are the wisdom, grace, love, and mercy of the One who swore and would not relent in keeping His word, and thus made the Christ a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.

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Author: jchowning

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