Hebrews 5:6
As he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
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(6) Thou art a priest for ever . . .—On Psalms 110 see the Note on Hebrews 1:13. The fourth verse, here quoted, is the kernel of the Psalm, and supplies the theme for a large portion of this Epistle, especially Hebrews 7. As the promise of 2 Samuel 7 was the prelude to the revelation of the second Psalm, the divine declaration recorded in Exodus 19:6 may have prepared the way for the promise of Psalm 110:4. The king of Israel was the type of the Son of David; and in the consecrated people, who, had they been faithful, would have remained the representatives of all nations before God, was dimly foreshadowed the Anointed Priest.

5:1-10 The High Priest must be a man, a partaker of our nature. This shows that man had sinned. For God would not suffer sinful man to come to him alone. But every one is welcome to God, that comes to him by this High Priest; and as we value acceptance with God, and pardon, we must apply by faith to this our great High Priest Christ Jesus, who can intercede for those that are out of the way of truth, duty, and happiness; one who has tenderness to lead them back from the by-paths of error, sin, and misery. Those only can expect assistance from God, and acceptance with him, and his presence and blessing on them and their services, that are called of God. This is applied to Christ. In the days of his flesh, Christ made himself subject to death: he hungered: he was a tempted, suffering, dying Jesus. Christ set an example, not only to pray, but to be fervent in prayer. How many dry prayers, how few wetted with tears, do we offer up to God! He was strengthened to support the immense weight of suffering laid upon him. There is no real deliverance from death but to be carried through it. He was raised and exalted, and to him was given the power of saving all sinners to the uttermost, who come unto God through him. Christ has left us an example that we should learn humble obedience to the will of God, by all our afflictions. We need affliction, to teach us submission. His obedience in our nature encourages our attempts to obey, and for us to expect support and comfort under all the temptations and sufferings to which we are exposed. Being made perfect for this great work, he is become the Author of eternal salvation to all that obey him. But are we of that number?As he saith also in another place - Psalm 110:4. "Thou art a priest forever." It is evident here that the apostle means to be understood as saying that the Psalm referred to Christ, and this is one of the instances of quotation from the Old Testament respecting which there can be no doubt. Paul makes much of this argument in a subsequent part of this Epistle, Hebrews 7 and reasons as if no one would deny that the Psalm had a reference to the Messiah. It is clear from this that the Psalm was understood by the Jews at that time to have such a reference, and that it was so universally admitted that no one would call it in question. That the Psalm refers to the Messiah has been the opinion of nearly all Christian commentators, and has been admitted by the Jewish Rabbis in general also. The "evidence" that it refers to the Messiah is such as the following:

(1) It is a Psalm of David, and yet is spoken of one who was superior to him, and whom he calls his "Lord;" Hebrews 5:1.

(2) it cannot be referred to Jehovah himself, for he is expressly Hebrews 5:1 distinguished from him who is here addressed.

(3) it cannot be referred to anyone in the time of David, for there was no one to whom he would attribute this character of superiority but God.

(4) for the same reason there was no one among his posterity, except the Messiah, to whom he would apply this language.

(5) it is expressly ascribed by the Lord Jesus to himself; Matthew 22:43-44.

(6) the scope of the Psalm is such as to be applicable to the Messiah, and there is no part of it which would be inconsistent with such a reference. Indeed, there is no passage of the Old Testament of which it would be more universally conceded that there was a reference to the Messiah, than this Psalm.

Thou art a priest - He is not here called a "high priest," for Melchizedek did not bear that title, nor was the Lord Jesus to be a high priest exactly in the sense in which the name was given to Aaron and his successors. A word is used, therefore, in a general sense to denote that he would be a "priest" simply, or would sustain the priestly office. This was all that was needful to the present argument which was, that he was "designated by God" to the priestly office, and that he had not intruded himself into it.

For ever - This was an important circumstance, of which the apostle makes much use in another part of the Epistle; see the notes at Hebrews 7:8, Hebrews 7:23-24. The priesthood of the Messiah was not to change from hand to hand; it was not to be laid down at death; it was to remain unchangeably the same.

After the order - The word rendered "order" - τάξις taxis - means "a setting in order - hence, "arrangement" or "disposition." It may be applied to ranks of soldiers; to the gradations of office; or to any rank which men sustain in society. To say that he was of the same "order" with Melchizedek, was to say that he was of the same "rank" or "stations." He was like him in his designation to the office. In what respects he was like him the apostle shows more fully in Hebrews 7. "One" particular in which there was a striking resemblance, which did not exist between Christ and any other high priest, was, that Melchizedek was both a "priest" and a "king." None of the kings of the Jews were priests; nor were any of the priests ever elevated to the office of king. But in Melchizedek these offices were united, and this fact constituted a striking resemblance between him and the Lord Jesus. It was on this principle that there was such pertinency in quoting here the passage from the second Psalm; see Hebrews 5:5. The meaning is, that Melchizedek was of a special rank or order; that he was not numbered with the Levitical priests, and that there were important features in his office which differed from theirs. In those features it was distinctly predicted that the Messiah would resemble him.

Melchisedek - see the notes on Hebrews 7:1 ff.

6. He is here called simply "Priest"; in Heb 5:5, "High Priest." He is a Priest absolutely, because He stands alone in that character without an equal. He is "High Priest" in respect of the Aaronic type, and also in respect to us, whom He has made priests by throwing open to us access to God [Bengel]. "The order of Melchisedec" is explained in Heb 7:15, "the similitude of Melchisedec." The priesthood is similarly combined with His kingly office in Zec 6:13. Melchisedec was at once man, priest, and king. Paul's selecting as the type of Christ one not of the stock of Abraham, on which the Jews prided themselves, is an intimation of Messianic universalism. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a Priest for ever: the Spirit proves his call and investiture into this office, its confirmation to him for ever, by another testimony of the Father about it, penned by David, Psalm 110:4, and ratified to be so by the Lord himself, Matthew 22:41-45; that he as man was David’s Son: as God-man, David’s Lord, and the grand officer to atone God by his sacrifice for sinners, and to intercede for them. By this word of God to him was he invested with the most glorious priesthood, and settled in that which he must execute for ever, Hebrews 7:24, having no successor in it.

After the order of Melchisedec; which order was a singular and most excellent one, such as Aaron’s did but imperfectly shadow to us. It was a royal priesthood God installed him in, such as was Melchisedec’s, largely described, Hebrews 7:1-28. This was by God the Father revealed to David, and prophesied by him to the church, but actually fulfilled as to proclamation and inauguration at his ascension into the holy of holiest in heaven, where he actually in the flesh doth officiate and minister in it. As he saith also in another place,.... Or psalm; namely, in Psalm 110:4 that is, the same person, even God the Father; who spake the words before cited, also expressed the following:

thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec; that the psalm, from whence these words are taken, belongs to the Messiah; see Gill on Matthew 22:44 and this very passage is applied unto him by the Jewish writers (c); and had not this been the general sense of the Jewish church at this time, the apostle writing to Hebrews would not have produced it; and it very clearly expresses the priesthood of Christ, the eternity of it, and the order according to which it was; and it being not according to the order of Aaron, but of another, shows the change of the priesthood, and so of the law; of Melchizedek; see Gill on Hebrews 7:1.

(c) Moses Hadarsan apud Galatin. l. 10. c. 6. Abot R. Nathan, c. 34.

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the {f} order of Melchisedec.

(f) After the likeness or manner as it is later declared.

Hebrews 5:6 now introduces the proof from Scripture that Christ, the Son of God, has also been appointed High Priest.

καθὼς καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ λέγει] as He (sc. God) accordingly speaks in another place of Scripture (namely Psalm 110:4; comp. Hebrews 1:13).

καί] belongs not to ἐν ἐτέρῳ, so that we should have to assume that the author has already found in the citation, Hebrews 5:5, a Scripture proof for the high-priesthood of Christ, and now in Hebrews 5:6 is adding thereto a second Scripture proof for the same thing (Schlichting, Ebrard, and others), but it belongs to the whole relative clause καθὼς λέγει, and is just the ordinary καί after a particle of comparison; comp. Hebrews 5:4. By means of this correct apprehension of the force of καί the objection is further set aside, that Hebrews 5:6, if a Scripture proof was first to be given in this place, must have been joined on to that which precedes simply with λέγων, as Hebrews 2:6, Hebrews 4:7, or with μαρτυρεῖ γάρ, as Hebrews 7:17 (Abresch), or with λέγει γάρ, or at least with καθώς without καί (Ebrard).

ἐν ἑτέρῳ] See on ἐν τούτῳ, Hebrews 4:5.

ἱερεύς] for the author equivalent to ἀρχιερεύς; comp. Hebrews 5:10; Hebrews 6:20. This equalization is likewise warranted. For Melchisedec (Genesis 14:18 ff.), with whom the person addressed is compared, was at the same time king and priest; but with the attributes of a king the attributes of an ordinary priest are irreconcilable; the character sustained by a superior or high priest alone comports therewith.

κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισεδέκ] not: in the time of succession (Schulz), but: after the order or manner (עַל־דִּבְרָתִי) of Melchisedec, in such wise that thou obtainest the same position, the same character, as he possessed. Comp. Hebrews 7:15 : κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα Μελχισεδέκ.

εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα] the author combines (contrary to the sense of the original) with ἱερεύς into a single idea, comp. Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:8.6. in another place] Psalm 110:4. This Psalm was so universally accepted as Messianic that the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases the first verse of it “The Lord said to His Word:”

after the order] al-dibhrathi, “according to the style of.” Comp. Hebrews 7:15, “after the likeness of Melchisedek.

after the order of Melchisedec] The writer here with consummate literary skill introduces the name Melchisedek, to prepare incidentally for the long argument which is to follow in chapter 7; just as he twice introduces the idea of High-Priesthood (Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:1) before directly dealing with it. The reason why the Psalmist had spoken of his ideal Theocratic king as a Priest after the order of Melchisedek, and not after the order of Aaron, lies in the words “for ever,” as subsequently explained. In Zechariah 4:14, the Jews explained “the two Anointed ones (sons of oil) who stand by the Lord of the whole earth “to be Aaron and Messiah, and from Psalm 110:4, they agreed that Messiah was the nearer to God.Hebrews 5:6. Ἐν ἑτέρῳ, in another) So Paul also, Acts 13:35.—λέγει, He says) GOD.—σὺ) Psalm 110:4, where the LXX. have it in as many words.—Μελχισεδὲκ, Melchisedec) It is of no importance to know in other respects who Melchisedec was, beyond what is mentioned of him; nay, the very silence respecting the other parts of his history contains mysteries. He was certainly a king and priest at that time, and of the human race.Thou art a priest forever, etc.

According to this verse Christ is prophetically pointed out in Psalm 110:1-7 as an eternal priest, independent of fleshly descent, a king, and superior in dignity to the Levitical priests.

According to the order (κατὰ τὴν τάξιν)

According to the rank which Melchisedec held. Almost equals like. For Melchisedec see ch. 7.

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