The Need for Another Priest (Hebrews 7:11)
“If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come—one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?” ( Hebrews 7:11 )
When Adam and Eve were created, they were created into a perfect fellowship with God. They always enjoyed the Sabbath rest, in which they were created, right from the beginning. They were blameless before God and enjoyed an intimate fellowship with him.
This is still the goal. This passage says if perfection, or perfect fellowship between God and mankind could have been attained by the Levitical priesthood, then there would not have been a need for another priest. However, it could never be achieved in this way so there was a call for another priest, not from the line of Aaron, who mediated on behalf of the law, but from the order of Melchizedek who retained his position on the basis of an indestructible life ( Hebrews 7:15 ).
This is a profound statement. This shows us that a right relationship with God can never come through the law. In fact, the very next verse says, “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law” ( Hebrews 7:12 ). This means the old law, the old system of doing things, no longer applies. Instead, we have a new High Priest and a new law. In fact, it is so radically different that we cannot even use the Levitical priesthood as a basis for understanding it, which is why there is nothing in Jesus’ ancestry to connect Him to it.
“The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God” ( Hebrews 7:18-19 ). This hope is Jesus. The law merely served as an illustration, a type and shadow of Christ ( Hebrews 10:1 ). But now that He has come, there is no longer the need for this illustration ( Hebrews 8:13, Hebrews 9:9-10 ).
“First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” ( Hebrews 10:8-10 ).
Jesus’ sacrifice atoned for the sins of the world which restored the perfect fellowship between God and mankind. ( Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 9:26, Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 10:14, Hebrews 10:18, I John 2:2 ). Jesus accomplished what the law could never do. Through faith we enter into the Sabbath Rest in which Adam and Eve were created and God promised to the Israelites ( Hebrews 4:1-3 ). This is why there was need for another priest to come in the order and with the rank of Melchizedek; because He was able to restore this relationship. Jesus’ death and resurrection brought about the forgiveness of sins making us holy by faith ( I Corinthians 1:2, Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 2:11 ). If we are holy, then perfection, or the perfect fellowship between God and the worshipper has been restored. If it is restored, then we can approach God confidently through faith. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” ( Hebrews 4:16 ).
The law could never do this because it reminded us of our sin making us unsure and guilty before God ( Romans 3:20, Hebrews 10:1-4 ). However, Jesus restored our confidence by completely wiping away our guilt and shame. This is why Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek and not the order of Aaron.