Monday, 4 July 2016

Hebrews 7:11-22 - A better hope

Hebrews 7:11-12:
Now, there could be no need for a fresh priest to arise, accredited with Melchisedech’s priesthood, not with Aaron’s, if the Levitical priesthood had brought fulfilment. And it is on the Levitical priesthood that the law given to God’s people is founded. When the priesthood is altered, the law, necessarily, is altered with it. 
Si ergo consummatio per sacerdotium Leviticum erat (populus enim sub ipso legem accepit) quid adhuc necessarium fuit secundum ordinem Melchisedech, alium surgere sacerdotem, et non secundum ordinem Aaron dici? Translato enim sacerdotio, necesse est ut et legis translatio fiat. 
Aquinas

The imperfection of the Levitical priesthood: But the [Levitical] priesthood brought nothing to perfection, for its entire perfection was through the Law, which they administered...it did not confer grace ex opere operato, as the sacraments of the New Law do.

Priesthood and the law: ...if a law is administered by a priesthood, which he proves, because under it, i.e., by its administration, the people received the law; not that the priesthood preceded the Law, but conversely...for under it the people received the law...But he makes mention of the priesthood specifically in order to pass to the Law, which was administered by the priestly office: for as a Gloss says, there can be no priest without a testament and a law and precepts...Hence, according to the Philosopher in the Politics, when the mode of life is changed, it is necessary for the law to be changed. But just as human law is ordained to human guidance, so a spiritual and divine law to divine guidance. But this guidance is regulated by a priesthood. Therefore, the priesthood being translated, it is necessary that a translation be made of the Law.

Hebrews 7:13-17
After all, he to whom the prophecy relates belonged to a different tribe, which never produced a man to stand at the altar; our Lord took his origin from Juda, that is certain, and Moses in speaking of this tribe, said nothing about priests. And something further becomes evident, when a fresh priest arises to fulfil the type of Melchisedech, appointed, not to obey the law, with its outward observances, but in the power of an unending life; (Thou art a priest in the line of Melchisedech, God says of him, for ever). 
In quo enim hæc dicuntur, de alia tribu est, de qua nullus altari præsto fuit.  Manifestum est enim quod ex Juda ortus sit Dominus noster: in qua tribu nihil de sacerdotibus Moyses locutus est. Et amplius adhuc manifestum est: si secundum similitudinem Melchisedech exsurgat alius sacerdos, qui non secundum legem mandati carnalis factus est, sed secundum virtutem vitæ insolubilis. Contestatur enim: Quoniam tu es sacerdos in æternum, secundum ordinem Melchisedech. 
Tribe of Judah: It is evident that our Lord descended from Judah...In connection with that tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. For the Law commanded that no one be entrusted with the ministry of the tabernacle, except from the tribe of Levi only; hence, in the tribe of Judah, Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

Order of Melchizek: he emphasizes the phrase forever, because if the priesthood is eternal, it is clear that it involves perpetuity.
18-19 The old observance is abrogated now, powerless as it was to help us; the law had nothing in it of final achievement. Instead, a fuller hope has been brought into our lives, enabling us to come close to God.
Reprobatio quidem fit præcedentis mandati, propter infirmitatem ejus, et inutilitatem:  nihil enim ad perfectum adduxit lex: introductio vero melioris spei, per quam proximamus ad Deum.
The old law relates to the physical, not spiritual:...the Old Testament...is a carnal commandment, and this because it had certain carnal observances, as circumcision and purifications of the flesh, and because it promised carnal rewards and punishments...the New Testament, which is not dispensed by carnal things, but consists of spiritual things: for it is founded upon a spiritual power, by which a perpetual life is produced in us; and this because perpetual goods and punishments are promised in it...

The Old Testament is unsuited to the times:..it was not evil in itself, but inasmuch as it was unsuited to the time. For the things of the Old Testament are not to be kept in the New Testament: ‘Sacrifice and oblation you did not desire: then said I: behold, I come’. Therefore, it is said to be set aside because of its weakness and uselessness. For that is said to be weak which cannot produce its effect; but the proper effect of the Law and of the priesthood is to justify. This the Law was unable to do:

A better hope: ...a better hope is introduced by the new priest, through which we draw near to God. For if a new priest arises, it is according to the power of an indestructible life...; and the introduction of a better hope...He is that new Priest, namely, Christ, Who takes away the sins of the world...

Hebrews 7:20-22
And this time there is a ratification by oath; none was taken when those other priests were appointed, but the new priest is appointed with an oath, when God says to him, The Lord has sworn an irrevocable oath, Thou art a priest for ever; all the more solemn, then, is that covenant for which Jesus has been given us as our surety. 
  Et quantum est non sine jurejurando (alii quidem sine jurejurando sacerdotes facti sunt, hic autem cum jurejurando per eum, qui dixit ad illum: Juravit Dominus, et non pœnitebit eum: tu es sacerdos in æternum): 22 in tantum melioris testamenti sponsor factus est Jesus. 
Power of an oath: That which is instituted without an oath is less valid than that which is instituted with an oath. But the priesthood of Christ was instituted with an oath, as is clear from what he says, the Lord has sworn; but not the priesthood of Aaron, as is clear from Exodus...Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath... 

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