Hebrews 7:26-28

Hebrews 7:26‑28  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
 
The superiority of the true Melchizedek is thus shown in every respect incontestable and manifest; and in the unjealous ways of grace, His purity and His glory are bound up with the heavenly dignity of the believer, as it is here expressed.
“For such a high priest [also]1 became us,2 holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens, who hath no need day by day, as the high priests, first for his own sins to offer up sacrifices, then [for] those of the people; for this he did once for all, having offered up himself. For the law appointeth men high priests having infirmity; but the word of the oath-swearing that [was] after the law, a Son perfected forever” (Heb. 7:26-2826For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27Who 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. 28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. (Hebrews 7:26‑28)).
The reason assigned (for the sentence takes that shape) is made all the more striking when compared with a designedly similar one in Heb. 2:1010For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10). “For it became Him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” The glory of God, His truth, His justice, had been compromised if sin were not judged unsparingly in His person Whose grace made Him responsible for all its consequences. Therefore did it become God to make Him Who knew no sin sin for us. Here no less wonderfully does the Holy Spirit say that “it became its” to have a high priest in every point of view and beyond comparison superior to the Aaronic line. “For such a high priest became us,” not only of purity unexampled, but made “higher than the heavens,” the glorious place in which the Epistle loves to regard Him, due to His personal and divine dignity, but taken as the result of His atoning death, for a heavenly family.
The word “holy” should be considered. In Greek as in Hebrew two expressions are employed: one (ἅγιος) to imply separateness for God from evil, the other (ὅσιος) graciousness, which said of God means His mercy, said of man means his piety. It is the latter term which is here rendered “holy,” a holiness full of loving-kindness. Next, ἄκακος is poorly translated “harmless” as in the A. V.; and “guileless” as in the Revision answers to ἄδολος. In Christ it rises to a total absence of evil found in none else. “Undefiled” declares Him untainted by the corruptions that surrounded Him when here below, where His moral beauty shone on all who had eyes to see, above all in His Father's Who bore witness from heaven. Appropriately therefore is He next said to be “separated from sinners,” not from sins only, as the Pesch-Syriac says, but from sinners. What was ever morally true was crowned in His leaving the world behind, the enduring effect of a completed act, and so leads on to the only place befitting Him, “made higher than the heavens.” There He exercised His high-priestly functions, having laid the ground in His propitiatory work on the cross. It should surprise none to hear that such a place became Him. Revelation declares that such a high-priest became us. Divine righteousness does not justify us only but sets us in and as Christ before God (John 16; 2 Cor. 5); or, according to the doctrine of our Epistle, constitutes us holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, and (as we shall see) exhorts us to approach with a true heart, as having boldness for entering into the holies, by the blood of Jesus. It is not then because we were so far from pious, &c., but on the contrary because we are so blessed, objects of perfect favor, and bound for glory under an unfailing Leader, that “such a high priest became us,” in contrast with the earthly people who had high-priests like themselves.
In Heb. 7:2727Who 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. (Hebrews 7:27) is a brief exclusion of the shortcomings of earthly priesthood, leaving its full discussion to a later moment. Aaron, or his successors, needed day by day to offer up sacrifices, first for their own sins, then for the people's; Christ once for all when He offered Himself, which is the clearest token of absolute sinlessness, and according to the worth of His person was infinitely effectual for others, as He needed nothing on His own part. This the previous verse demonstrated, if proof were asked, though it ought not to be. And the whole is clenched by ver. 28. “For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity.” All here was imperfection. “But the word of the oath-swearing that was since the law, [appointeth] a Son perfected forever.” “Son” is characteristic, and hence has not the article, though He be the Only-begotten, but not here a designated object; so that the language is perfectly correct. Its insertion would make Himself prominent rather than His near relationship to God. The perfect participle passive here as in ver. 26 points to the permanent character acquired, and not to the simple fact as the aorist would express. As in His severance from sinners, so in His having completed all for His priestly place, it is the lasting result of either terminated act. In Heb. 2:1010For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10) it is the act itself on God's part.
 
1. A B D E. and both Syriac versions, add χαὶ “also.” It may be noticed that by a misprint Tischendorf gives ὑμῖν “you,” instead of “us.” By a similar inadvertence heaps of various readings arose among the copyists of old.
2. See note above.