Hebrews 7:21

The new priesthood and the new covenant are superior to the old because:

  1. They came with an oath (7:15-19)
  2. They are permanent (7:23-25)
  3. The character of Jesus (7:26-28)

God said to him:
   "The Lord has sworn
      and will not change his mind:
   'You are a priest forever.' "

Since God swore an oath here (like he did in 6:13 to Abram) this is surely God’s plan.
The priesthood set up in Exodus 28:1 did not come with an oath and it required many priests through the years to replace the dying priests.
This priest, the priest of the oath, is a priest forever.

Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

“Covenant” is the word “diatheke”. 
It is the first mention of the word “covenant.  Yet, this book is all about a covenant.  This will be clear through out the rest of the book. 

This “better covenant”, which will also be called the New Covenant is superior because of the priest Jesus.
This verse says Jesus, the priest, is the “guarantee” of a better covenant.
”Guarantee” is the word “egguos” is used only here in the NT but 3 times in the LXX.  Greek writing used this word as a surety or guarantor.  A “egguos” or guarantee is more important than a mediator (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24 “mesitas”).  This is seen in the Old Covenant that had a mediator but no surety.  No one guaranteed the people’s end of the deal.  The Old Covenants weakness can be seen in Exodus 24:7 when the people responded to their end of the covenant by saying: “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do and be obedient.”  But, they were not able.  Jesus meets God’s requirements for us.

Jesus is our mediator but he is also the surety.

Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;

Numbers 20:28 makes it clear that Aaron’s priesthood was not forever.  This is where Moses, Aaron and Eleazar go up the mountain, Aaron’s priestly garments are removed and given to Eleazar and Aaron dies there on Mt. Hor.  Later in Joshua 24:33 Phinehas replaced Eleazar.
Josephus says (Ant.20.227) that there had been 83 high priests from Aaron until 70 AD.


but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.

Jesus is the priest forever.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Jesus is the savior forever.

 “those who come to God through him”  is:

tous           prosercoomenouV          di         autou
”the ones        approaching         through      him”

“approaching” or prosercoomenouV is the present middle and means “to approach, to come to.  The present tense emphasizes the continual activity.  This is a deponent verb which means it is written as a middle voice but is active voice in meaning.  We are the ones who are causing ourselves to approach him.  It is not a passive voice which would mean God is making us approach him.

“Intercede” or entugcanw was used to refer to a petition brought before a king on behalf of another.  It is here in the present tense which indicates a continual action.  This is a repeated action that the rabbinical scholars assigned to the angels.  Thus, the readers of this letter are being told that it is not angels who intercede before God for us (nor is it saints) but it is Jesus the sole intercessor.  To rely on angels or saints is an indication of a failure to understand the priesthood of Jesus.

Jesus has been said so far to be:

1)     Mediator

2)     Surety or Guarantee (the one who makes sure we qualify and make it)

3)     Intercessor

Paul saw Jesus in the same position in Romans 8:33, “Christ Jesus. . .who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.”

Isaiah 53:12 says the suffering servant would make intercession for the transgressors.  So even in Isaiah 53 the priesthood of the Messiah is seen along with him being royalty.

On earth Jesus interceded for his disciples:
Luke 22:32 “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.”
John 17 shows us what has been called Jesus’ high priestly prayer.

Jesus is now in heaven as the king-priest who has been seated and is ruling under God.  This same royal-priest intercedes for us guaranteeing that his finished sacrifice is adequate and effective.

Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

The superiority of Jesus’ character:

1.      Holy

2.      Blameless

3.      Pure

4.      Set apart from sinners

5.      Exalted above the heavens

All of this is in addition to:

6.      He endured temptation

7.      Prayed earnestly

8.      Learned (experienced) obedience through suffering

9.      Interceded for disciples

10. Offered his life to God

11. Unending priesthood

12. Guarantee

Jesus is unique and there can never be anyone better qualified.

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

The old covenant priests had to offer sacrifices for themselves and then for the people.

Jesus offered himself, since he was perfect, for the people.

Lev. 16:6 and 4:3 the priesthood offered sacrifices for themselves. Also, Heb. 5:2.

Isaiah 53:10 says the suffering servant would make himself an offering for sin.

For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.



The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,




and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.




Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.




If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.




They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."




But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.





For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.





But God found fault with the people and said:
   "The time is coming, declares the Lord,
      when I will make a new covenant
   with the house of Israel
      and with the house of Judah.




It will not be like the covenant
      I made with their forefathers
   when I took them by the hand
      to lead them out of Egypt,
   because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
      and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.




This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
      after that time, declares the Lord.
   I will put my laws in their minds
      and write them on their hearts.
   I will be their God,
      and they will be my people.




No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
      or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
   because they will all know me,
      from the least of them to the greatest.




For I will forgive their wickedness
      and will remember their sins no more."





By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.