Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 7

The oath that appointed Christ as priest

Hebrews 7:20-22

Oaths are special, serious declarations. Since ancient times, people have used them whenever a matter is extremely serious. And they are still important, even in our modern world.

So still today, a witness must make an oath, in front of a judge, that his words are completely true. And many government officials must make an oath that they will carry out their duties loyally.

The Bible gives two accounts of the ceremony to appoint Israelís priests. Exodus chapter 29 records Godís instructions about the ceremony. Leviticus chapter 8 records what actually happened at the ceremony. It was a complex ceremony, and each action during it seems to have special meaning. We might expect on such an important occasion that the new priests would have to make an oath. But in fact, there was no oath. Israelís priests became priests without an oath.

But Psalm 110:4 declares that Christ became our great chief priest with an oath. And it was God the Father who made that oath. No oath could ever be stronger than the oath that God makes! Here is something that is absolutely certain and definite. It can never change, even as God himself never changes. God himself has declared that Christ is our priest!

All this proves the greatness of the covenant that Christ established by his death. The covenant means Godís promises to us that establish our relationship with him. God made such promises in the past to Israelís people. But although he was loyal to them, they were not loyal to him. So, in Jeremiah 31:31-32, God promised that he would make a new covenant. And it would be a better covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34). By it, God would forgive them. His law (his word) would be in their minds and hearts. Then, he would really be their God; and they would really be his people.

That is what God does for people by means of Christ. When people invite Christ into their lives, they join in that covenant. Then Godís promises are for them. And they have a real relationship with him.

Next part: Jesusí work as priest never ends (Hebrews 7:23-24)

 

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© 2014, Keith Simons.