We continue with the study of the book of Revelation by taking a brief detour studying the meaning of being washed by the blood of the Lamb.
Hebrews 7:8. ...the tenth is collected by ... him who is declared to be living. Here the two main groups are opposed to one another, namely, on the one side there are those who represent a temporary priesthood, the Levites, the children of Abraham who receive tithes. On the other side there is the one of whom Scripture testifies that he lives, which is Melchizedek.
Again, we should not cling to the historical figure of Melchizedek, but rather focus on the mirror or image in which Scripture portrays him. In that image his office remains forever and it is not perpetuated by generations of human high priests. It is a fitting priesthood for the Christ because He is the One who made only one sacrifice that was sufficient forever. As the Levitical priesthood mirrored the sacrifices of the priests, which was temporary, imperfect and insufficient because they had to bring their sacrifices over and over again, so the Melchizedek priesthood mirrors the sacrifice of Christ, which was eternal, perfect and sufficient because Christ brought it once only in perpetuity. A sacrifice without beginning and without end, just as it was foreshadowed by Melchizedek.
Hence, a living, eternal priesthood was instituted for a living, eternal High Priest.
The Apostle reasons as follows: — those to whom the Law assigns tithes are mortal men; by which it was indicated that their priesthood would at some time be abolished, as their lives came to an end. But Scripture makes no mention of the death of Melchizedek, when it relates that tithes were paid to him; so the authority of his priesthood should be considered unlimited by time, thus a perpetual priesthood.
There is another good reason why there is no mention of a genealogy of Melchizedek: so that a later law should not take away from the authority of a former law. For some might then object and say that the right which Melchizedek formerly possessed is now void and null, because God had introduced another law by Moses, by which He transferred the right to the Levites. The Apostle anticipates this objection by saying, that tithes were paid to the Levites only for a time, because they did not live; but that Melchizedek, because his priesthood is eternal, retains even to the end what was once given to him by God.
Hebrews 7:9, 10. Levi ... paid the tenth through Abraham, etc. The Apostle continues by saying that even Levi himself was subordinate to Melchizedek because of his inclusion within the body of his ancestor, who was subordinate to Melchizedek. As Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, he made himself and his posterity inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedek.
If one were to question this line of reasoning by saying that Judas was also of the seed from which Christ was born, and he too paid tithes, then two things ought to spring to mind right away:
First, Christ is not to be counted simply as one of the sons of Abraham, but He has a specific privilege from the common order of men; and this is what He himself said,
Matthew 22:43 - 45 He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, 44 "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' 45 If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"
Secondly, since Melchizedek is a type of Christ, one should not oppose Christ and Melchizedek, because what is subordinate cannot be in opposition. Hence the type, which always falls short of the reality and short of the thing signified, ought not to be opposed to it, nor can it be, since it would then be the conflict of equals.
These particulars, mentioned by the Apostle, complete the comparison between Christ and Melchizedek. We see that the Apostle carefully, and even scrupulously, examines here each of these points: he mentions the name of the man, the seat of his kingdom, the perpetuity of his life, his right to tithes, and his benediction.
Hebrews 7:11. If perfection could have been attained, etc. From the same testimony the Apostle concludes that the coming of Christ abolished the old covenant. He has up till now spoken of the office and person of the priest; but as God had instituted a priesthood for the purpose of ratifying the Law, the former being abolished, the latter necessarily ceases. That this may be better understood, we must bear in mind the general truth, — That no covenant between God and man is in force and ratified, except if it rests on a priesthood. Hence the Apostle says, that the Law was introduced among the ancient people under the Levitical priesthood; by which he declares to us that it not only prevailed during the time of the Law, but that it was instituted, as we have said, for the sake of confirming the Law.
He now reasons as follows: If the ministry of the Church was perfect under the order of Aaron, why was it necessary to return to another order? For in perfection nothing can be changed. It then follows that the ministry of the Law was not perfect, for that new order was to be introduced of which David speaks.
The parenthetical sentence (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people) is inserted in order that we may know that the Law was annexed to the priesthood. The Apostle set out to prove that in the Law of Moses there was no ultimate end at which we ought to stop. This he proves by the abolition of the priesthoods and in this way: Had the authority of the ancient priesthood been sufficient enough to establish the Law, God would have never introduced another and a different priesthood in its place. Now, as some might wonder whether the abolition of the Law followed the abolition of the priesthood, he says that the Law was not only brought in under it, but that it was also established by it.
Hebrews 7:12. For when there is a change of the priesthood, etc. As the authority of the Law and the priesthood is the same, Christ became not only a priest, but also a Lawgiver, so that the right of Aaron, as well as of Moses, was transferred to Him, just in a much more excellent manner. The bottom line is that the ministry of Moses was no less temporary than that of Aaron; and hence both were annulled by the coming of Christ because the one could not stand without the other. By the word Law, we understand what specifically belonged to Moses for the Law contains the rule of life and the gratuitous covenant of life. In it we find everywhere that which instructs us in our faith and the fear of God. Christ abolished none of these, but only that part regarding the ancient priesthood.
Christ is here compared with Moses. For the sake of understanding the workings of the priesthood, we are exhorted not to focus on what they had in common, but on those things in which they differ. They both offer God’s mercy to us, prescribe the rule of a holy and godly life, teach us the true worship of God, and exhort us to exercise faith and patience, and all the duties of godliness.
But, Moses was different from Christ in these respects: while the love of the Gospel was not yet made known he kept the people under veils, set forth the knowledge of Christ by types and shadows, and, in short, accommodated himself to the capacity of ignorant people, and did not rise higher than the immature elements revealed to him at the time.
We must, therefore, remember, that the Law is that part of the ministration that Moses had as typically his own, and different from that of Christ. That law, as it was subordinate to the ancient priesthood, was abolished when the priesthood was abolished. And Christ, being made a Priest was invested also with the authority of a Legislator, that He might be the teacher and interpreter of the new covenant.
At the same time, the word Law is applied to the Gospel, though not in its Old Testament sense. This somewhat contradictory language is so far from having anything harsh in it, that because of the apparent contrast it adds beauty to it, as we find in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.
Moreover, the impiety of the Pope is extremely arrogant, who has inserted this article in his decretals, that he believes that he is now invested with the same authority as Aaron formerly had, because he imagines that the Law, and also the priesthood, have been transferred to him. The Apostle maintains, in contrast, that ceremonies have ceased since the time when Christ came forth with the authority to proclaim the new covenant. It is, then, absurd to conclude that anything has been transferred to the ministers of Christ; for Christ himself is alone contrasted here with Moses and Aaron.
Under what pretext, then, can the Pope lay claim to such authority? It is not the place and time to disprove so gross an arrogance; but it is worth while to remind believers of this sacrilegious audacity. Also, that they may know that this notorious servant of the servants of Christ wholly disregards the honor of his Master, and boldly and willfully mangles the Scriptures, that he may have some cloak for his own tyranny.
Hebrews 7:13, 14. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, etc. As the Apostle was speaking to them, who confessed Jesus to be the Christ, he proves that an end was put to the ancient priesthood, because the new Priest, who had been set in the place of the old, was of another tribe, and not of Levi. For according to the Law the honor of the priesthood was to continue, by a special privilege, in that tribe. But he says that it was evident or clear that Christ was born of the tribe of Judah, which was commonly known at the time. As they acknowledged that He was the Christ, it was also necessary that they should recognize that He was the son of David, for the promised Messiah could not come from any other lineage than that of David. Those Jews, who expect the Messiah from the lineage of Aaron, misinterpret Scripture.
Hebrews 7:15. And what we have said is even more clear, etc. He proves by another argument that the Law is abolished. He argued earlier concerning the person of the priest but now he argues concerning the nature of the priesthood, and the reason for which it was appointed. The ancient priesthood, he says, had to do with external rites but in Christ’s priesthood there is nothing but that which is spiritual. It appears, then, that the former was evanescent and temporary but that the latter was to be perpetual.
Hebrews 7:16. ...not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry, etc. It is carnal because it refers to things corporal, that is, to external rites. We know how Aaron and his sons were initiated into their office. What was fulfilled in Christ by the hidden and celestial power of the Spirit was shadowed forth under the Law by ointment, various vestments, the sprinkling of blood, and other earthly ceremonies. Now, this kind of institution was suitable to the nature of the priesthood. It, therefore, follows that the priesthood itself was liable to change. At the same time, as we shall see later, the priesthood was not altogether carnal but that it contained elements of spirituality. The Apostle, however, refers only to the differences between Christ and Aaron.
However spiritual the meaning of these shadows might have been, they were still only shadows in themselves and as they were made up of the elements of this world, they may justly be called the earthly foreshadowing the heavenly.
On the basis of the power of an indestructible life. As Christ is a perpetual priest, it was necessary that he should be different from Aaron as to the manner of his appointment. And so it was. It was not Moses, a mortal man, who consecrated him, but the Holy Spirit, and that not with oil, nor with the blood of goats, nor with the outward pomp of vestments, but with celestial power, which the Apostle here sets in opposition to weak elements. We, therefore, see how the eternity of his priesthood was exhibited in Christ.
Hebrews 7:17. You are a priest forever, etc. It is on the single word forever that the Apostle lays stress in this passage for he confirms what he said of an indestructible life. He then shows that Christ differs from the whole race of Levi, because He is made a priest forever.
The Apostle again quotes from Psalm 110 to indicate that his explanation in verse 11 rests squarely on Scripture. It further indicates that the concept of an eternal priesthood, that Christ has an indestructible life in him, and the prophecy of Psalm 110 shows forth His Kingship and Priesthood. As King, He conquers death and as Priest He intercedes for his own. The priesthood of Aaron cannot claim these functions because it was a temporary priesthood. Christ, on the other hand, sits at the right hand of the Father as High Priest for the elect.
But here it may be objected, as the Jews also do, that the word eternity (laoulam) does not always mean eternity, but the extent of one age, or, at best, a long time. They add that when Moses speaks of the ancient sacrifices, he often uses this expression, “This ordinance shall be forever.” (Exodus 12:17, and 19:9.) (Some translations render 'forever' as 'lasting' and 'always' in these passages). The response to their objections is that whenever the sacrifices of the Law are mentioned, “forever” is to be confined to the time of the Law.
It ought not to be deemed strange for by the coming of Christ a certain renovation of the world was prophesied and effected. Whenever, then, Moses speaks of his own ministration, he extends the longest time no farther than to Christ. It must also be observed, that “forever” is applied to the ancient sacrifices, not with regard to the external ceremony, but on account of their mystical signification.
This reason ought to be sufficient that Moses and his ministrations were forever, that is, until the coming of the kingdom of Christ, under whom the world was renovated. But after Christ has come, and a perpetual priesthood has been given to him, we can find no end to his age so that it cannot terminate after a certain period of time. So, when applied to Christ, the word ought to be understood in the sense of eternity; for by the context we are always to judge of the meaning of the word laoulam.
Hebrews 7:18. The former regulation is set aside. As the Apostle’s discourse depends on this hinge, that the Law together with the priesthood had come to an end, he explains the reason why it ought to have been abolished, because it was weak and unprofitable. More correctly, it can be said that the old was disengaged because of its dependency on human generations and required renewal to an eternal and perpetual priesthood.
Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.
Romans 13:9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
One may also say that the old was insufficient and the only function it had was the tutoring of the infant church and the introduction of the new dispensation, namely, Christ. All believers can now approach God, while in the old dispensation, only the high priest could approach God and then only with the breastplate with the stones that represented the people.
The ceremonies had nothing substantial in them and could not effect salvation. The promises of favor that Moses proclaimed, that God would be pacified by sacrifices and that sins would be expiated, did not stem from the sacrifices but from the power of the promise of the Savior to come, which the sacrifices merely proclaimed. The favor of God, as promised by Moses, was only attached to the sacrifices to extend to the promised saving power of Christ, which was to be enjoyed before Christ actually made the sacrifice.
For as all types had a reference to Christ, so from him they derived all their virtue and effect. Of themselves they availed nothing or effected nothing but their whole efficacy depended on Christ alone.
But as the Jews set up their opposition to Christ, the Apostle, referring to this notion, shows the difference between these things and Christ. As soon as they are separated from Christ, there is nothing left in them, except the weakness of which he speaks. Briefly, there is no benefit to be found in the ancient ceremonies unless they refer to Christ. In this way they made the infant church acquainted with God’s grace through Christ. The ceremonies kept the believers in expectation of Christ and, as the sacraments of the New Testament church reminds us of the sacrifice already suffered, so, the ceremonies of the Old Testament reminded them of the ultimate sacrifice yet to come, pointing to the promised salvation.
All these God designed so that believers should have no problem or doubt identifying and grasping Christ and that nobody can falsify the gospel, regardless of the skill and tenacity of the perpetrator.
Let us then remember that the Law is useless when separated from Christ. And He also confirms the same truth by calling it the commandment going before, for Scripture teaches that the latter abolishes former laws. The Law had been promulgated long before David but he was in possession of his kingdom when he proclaimed this prophecy respecting the appointment of a new priest, It is therefore, clear that this new Law annulled the former.
Hebrews 7:19. For the Law made nothing perfect, etc. The Law was only a beginning, which implies that something more perfect was necessarily to follow because it is not proper that the infant church (God’s children, his ekklesia) should always remain in infancy. By referring to this process as an introduction, a certain preparation of the law is meant, as children are taught in those elements, which smooth the way to what is higher.
But the simple language of the text 'by which' denotes a consequence, when one thing follows another, and what follows here is a better hope, namely, that 'we draw near to God'. In this process of drawing near to God, we distinguish two elements, namely, Melchizedek as a type and the law, of which Christ is both Legislator and Applicator. Although the law in the Old Testament designates the Levitical priesthood, it already foreshadowed the law in Christ, which was the purpose of the introduction of the temporary and unprofitable law, which only became unprofitable after the sacrifice of Christ.
By a better hope is to be understood the condition of the faithful under the reign of Christ; but the Apostle had in view the fathers, who could not be satisfied with the state in which they were then, but aspired to higher things. Hence, “Many kings and prophets desired to see the things which you see.” (Luke 10:24.) They were, therefore, led by the hand of the Law as a schoolmaster, that they might advance to the knowledge of the Savior who was to come.
By which we draw near to God. There is in this passage an implied contrast between us and the fathers; for in honor and privilege we excel them, as God has communicated to us a better knowledge of himself, but He appeared to them, as it were, afar off and obscurely. This passage also alludes to the tabernacle or the temple. The people stood afar off in the court, and nobody could approach the sanctuary other than the priests. The high priest was the only one who could go into the interior sanctuary.
But now, with the tabernacle removed, God admits us into a familiar approach to himself, which the fathers were not permitted to have. Therefore, whoever still holds to the shadows of the Law, or seeks to restore them, not only denies the glory of Christ, but also self-inflicts wounds of depravity of an immense benefit. He imagines God to be still at a great distance from us and throwing back into the face of Christ the gospel that already granted that liberty to us. And whosoever continues in the Law, knowingly and willingly deprives himself of the privilege of approaching near to God.
Hebrews 7:20 - 22. ... it was not without an oath. Here is another argument why the Gospel replaced the Law. God has set Christ’s priesthood above that of Aaron because Christ's priesthood was the only one that was made with and oath. The ancient priests were appointed by succession and it was not made with an oath. It is said of Christ: the Lord swore, which was done for the sake of honoring him.
The purpose for which the Psalmist is quoted again is that we may know that more honor, through God’s oath, was given to Christ than to any of the other priests. But we must bear in mind the following: a priest is made that he may be the surety of a covenant. The Apostle, hence, concludes that the covenant that God has made by Christ with us is far more excellent than the old covenant, of which Moses was the interpreter.
It is important that we take note of the Apostle's reference to the covenant in verse 22. It is the first reference to the covenant in this respect. In chapter 8 he exposes the relationship more fully but it would be beneficial to look at the covenant in general and in particular the understanding that Christ would be the 'guarantee' of a better covenant.
First, the covenant in general. The Greek word for covenant literally means 'testament' which is made by one person only. The Hebrew word has a different meaning, which is very important in this respect. It means that the covenant is between God and his people where the superior makes a covenant with an inferior. We know today that the covenants of the Old Near East were made between two kings, the one with superior power makes a covenant with a king with an inferior kingdom and that the style and stipulations are the same as the covenant between God and his people.
In the covenant that God made at Sinai, Israel was bound by a series of precepts and instructions, which they could not abide by. These instructions also contained precepts for the priests. With the new covenant, Christ takes center stage and He abides fully by the precepts and instructions of the covenant, which is why the new covenant is better and more profitable than the old, because a Guarantor was introduced.
A guarantor is someone who assures that the stipulations of a contract or testament is executed to the letter. One could understand also that the introduction of a guarantor implies that the old covenant was not destroyed completely but that the Guarantor introduced a better covenant because He will from now on assure that the will of God be executed.
The Apostle already laid the foundation for his argument about the covenant in chapter three where he showed that Christ is greater than Moses.
Hebrews 7:23, 24. ... since death prevented them from continuing in office. The Apostle already touched on this comparison but since the subject deserves more attention, he unfolds it more fully. Although this discussion is different from the previous discussion, for then he concluded that the ancient priesthood was to come to an end because they who exercised it were mortal, he now shows that Christ remains perpetually a priest.
This he does by contrasting unequal things: the ancient priests were many and death put an end to their priesthood but there is no death to prevent Christ from discharging his office. Then He alone is a perpetual priest. Thus a different cause produces different effects.
Numbers 20:28, 29 Moses removed Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him thirty days.
I Samuel 2:35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.
Isaiah 9:6, 7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Revelation 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Hebrews 7:25. Therefore he is able to save, etc. The ability to save, in the context of restoring eternal life, can only be the fruit of an eternal priesthood, meaning the merits earned by the sacrifice of the High Priest, provided we grasp this fruit by faith as we ought to do. For where death is, there salvation is sought in vain. So, those who cleave to the ancient priesthood can never attain salvation.
When he says, those who come to God, or who approach God, he points out the faithful who alone enjoy the salvation procured by Christ but he also indicates what faith we ought to have in the High Priest, the Mediator. The chief good of man is to be united to his God, who is the Fountain of life and of all blessings but their own unworthiness drives them away from any access to Him.
Then the office of the Mediator is to bring us help in this respect and to stretch out his hand to us that He may lead us to the Father. The ancient law allowed only the high priest into the sanctuary and the people were carried, so to speak, by the symbols on his breastplate, into the sanctuary with him, while they waited in the court outside. But now, by relying on Christ the Mediator, we enter by faith into heaven, for there is no longer any veil intervening but God appears to us openly and lovingly invites us to a familiar access.
Because he always lives to intercede for them. What sort of pledge and how great is this love of Christ towards us! Christ lives for us and not for himself! He was, as a true man, received into a blessed immortality to reign in heaven. This has taken place, as the Apostle declares, for our sake, giving us insight into the true meaning of participating in the blood of the Lamb in the sacrament and being washed in the blood of the Lamb.
The life and the kingdom, and the glory of Christ are all to be applied for our salvation. All the glory Christ has attained in his humanity is applied for our benefit so that we will be like him forever after we also ascended into heaven. Christ also teaches us by what He is doing that He is performing his office as a priest for it belongs to a priest to intercede for the people, that they might obtain favor with God, which God promised not to withhold but lavishly give what His Son asks of Him. This is what Christ is doing for it was for this purpose that He rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father. Because He is a High Priest of an everlasting priesthood, namely, Melchizedek, He makes continual intercession for us: now and forever.
Romans 8:33 - 39 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hebrews 7:26. Such a high priest meets our need. The Apostle reasons from what is necessarily connected with the subject. These conditions, or qualifications, as they commonly say, are of necessity required in a priest: that he should be just, harmless, and completely pure. This honor belongs to Christ alone. The priests of the law could not claim to have all these attributes, thus discharging their office in a deprived manner, needing Christ to wash them clean in his blood. They could only perform their duties by the grace of God and not as an instrument of it. They could not dispense with compassion, sacrifice, intercession, and grace unless it was first given to them.
It follows, then, that there was no perfection in the Levitical priesthood; nor was it in itself legitimate, unless it was subservient to that of Christ and, doubtless, the external ornaments and ceremonies of the high priest of the law indicated this defect. One may ask why were those costly and splendid vestments used with which God commanded Aaron to be adorned while performing holy rites, except that they were symbols of a holiness and excellency far exceeding all human virtues? These types were introduced because the reality did not yet exist and they should not be tempted to consider what they were doing as commonplace or of an ordinary nature. Furthermore, that which they ought to expect and strive for, will be recognizable and immediately apparent so that they would not be misled by imposters and fraudulent doctrines. It is, then, a foregone conclusion that Christ alone is the fully qualified High Priest.
Set apart from sinners. This clause includes all the rest. Although there was some holiness, blamelessness, and purity in Aaron, it was only in a small measure for he and his sons were defiled with many things. But Christ, exempt from the common lot of men, is alone free from every sin, hence, in him alone is found real holiness, purity and innocence.
Such a high priest meets our need not because Christ is separate from us, but because He is exalted above all things and is free from every uncleanness. We may safely conclude that all prayers, which are not supported by Christ’s intercession, are not heard.
It may, however, be asked of angels, whether they are separate from sinners and if so, what prevents them from discharging the offices of the priesthood, and from being our mediators with God. To this there is an easy reply: No one is a lawful priest, except he who is appointed by God’s command and God has nowhere conferred this honor on angels. It would then be a sacrilegious usurpation, were they, without being called, to intrude into the office. Besides, it is necessary, as we shall see later that the Mediator between God and men should himself be a man.
At the same time the last thing mentioned here by the Apostle is abundantly sufficient as an answer to the question, for no one can unite us to God but He who reaches to God and this is not the privilege of angels. They are not said to have been made higher than the heavens. It belongs to Christ alone to reconcile us to God, as He has ascended above all the heavens. These words mean the same as though Christ were said to have been placed above all orders of creatures, so that he stands eminent above all angels.
Hebrews 7:27. Unlike the other high priests, etc. The Apostle again pursues the contrast between Christ and the Levitical priests and he points out especially two defects, so to speak, in the ancient priesthood, by which it appears that it was not perfect. Here he only touches briefly on the subject but he afterwards explains every particular in more detail, and particularly that which refers to the daily sacrifices, as the main question.
One of the defects of the ancient priesthood was that the high priest offered sacrifices for his own sins before he could sacrifice for the sins of the people. How then could he have pacified God for others, while God was justly displeased with the priest's sin? This while it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins? These sacrifices were by no means equal to the work of expiating for sins.
The other defect was that they offered various sacrifices daily. It follows, then, that there was no real atonement for sins when the sacrifice is repeated. And if repeated washing is necessary, it implies that the washing is not perfect.
The case with Christ was wholly different for He himself needed no sacrifice, as He was totally without sin and such was the sacrifice also. His sacrifice was sufficient for all time for the sacrificed Lamb was the Priest also, and since the Priest was divine, the merits that the sacrifice brought forward was also divine and eternal, without beginning and without end. His sacrifice atoned for the sins of the saints of the Old Testament as well as the saints yet to be born.
Ephesians 5:1, 2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Hebrews 9:9 - 15 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order. 11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God. 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 10:6 - 14 With burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, 'Here I am--it is written about me in the scroll--I have come to do your will, O God.' 8 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). 9 Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
This flies in the face of the rituals of the Roman Church who imagines that the body of Christ may be called down from heaven during Mass at the will of the priest, so that by the utterances of a few words, it can be sacrificed again and again.
Hebrews 7:28. For the law, etc. The Apostle concludes that the old priesthood is weak because of the defects of men. It is as if he had said, “Since the law makes no real priests, the defect must be remedied by some other means and it is remedied by the word of the oath. Christ was made a priest, not of the common order of men, but by the Son of God, subject to no defect, but adorned and endowed with the highest perfection.”
He again reminds us, that the oath came after the law, in order to show that the priesthood of the law had served its purpose to tutor the infant church and that a better, mature and eternal priesthood was now following as a necessary next phase in which the church progressed towards the end of time. For in the institutions of God what succeeds advances the former to a better state, or it abolishes what was designed to exist only for a time.
Does it mean that God was dissatisfied with the ancient priesthood or that it was not perfect when it was instituted before? No, not at all. The introduction of the ancient priesthoods were perfectly instituted and administered by God but when the appointed time came for the promised Messiah to come, the foreshadowing of the real thing had to make room for reality. The types of Christ disappeared and were replaced by the real Christ. An eternal priesthood replaced the temporary priesthood. The sacrifices of bulls and goats, which could not atone for sins, were replaced by the sacrifice of Christ, which removed sin completely.