Hebrews 7:22 MEANING

Hebrews 7:22
(22) By so much was Jesus made.--Better, by so much also hath Jesus become surety of a better covenant. The form of the sentence recalls Hebrews 1:4. As the priest whose appointment is confirmed by the oath of God is raised above all former priests, in the same proportion is the covenant of which Jesus is surety higher, better, than the former covenant. For the "better hope" of Hebrews 7:19 we now read "better covenant"; the new idea is not different in substance, but is more definite and clear. The very promise of the "other priest" brought with it a "better hope"; the recollection of the divine oath is fitly succeeded by the mention of a "covenant."

This is the first occurrence in this Epistle of a very interesting word (diath?k?) which hereafter will occupy an important place in the argument. Throughout the Greek translation of the Old Testament it is used to represent a Hebrew word which is (more than 200 times) rightly rendered covenant in our version; and, like the Hebrew word, it is applied both to mutual agreements between man and man, and to "covenants" or engagements into which God enters in regard to man. In classical writers diath?k? commonly denotes a testament; and hence in the old Latin translation of the Scriptures testamentum became the common rendering of the word. As, however, this rendering is very often found where it is impossible to think of such a meaning as will (for example, in Psalm 83:5, where no one will suppose the Psalmist to say that the enemies of God "have arranged a testament against Him"), it is plain that the Latin testamentum was used with an extended meaning, answering to the wide application of the Greek word. St. Paul's designation of the Jewish Scriptures as "the Old Covenant" (2 Corinthians 3:14) thus became familiarly known as The Old Testament. In the New Testament the Authorised version more commonly presents the better rendering; but, through the influence of the Latin, testament is retained in several places--viz., in the various accounts of the institution of the Lord's Supper; in 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 3:14; in Revelation 11:19 ("the ark of His testament," a very strange translation); in the present verse; and especially in the very important passage, Hebrews 9:15-20. There is a very general agreement of opinion that "covenant" must be the true meaning in all passages of the New Testament except the one last mentioned; and even in that place there are strong reasons for retaining the same rendering. (See the Note on Hebrews 9:15.) In this verse, at all events, we cannot doubt that the writer is thinking of a covenant. (See Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 8:8.) Here only is Jesus spoken of as Surety, elsewhere as Mediator (Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24). As through the Son of Man the covenant becomes established, so in Him it remains secure; the words addressed by God to Him as Priest and King contain the pledge of its validity and permanence.

7:11-25 The priesthood and law by which perfection could not come, are done away; a Priest is risen, and a dispensation now set up, by which true believers may be made perfect. That there is such a change is plain. The law which made the Levitical priesthood, showed that the priests were frail, dying creatures, not able to save their own lives, much less could they save the souls of those who came to them. But the High Priest of our profession holds his office by the power of endless life in himself; not only to keep himself alive, but to give spiritual and eternal life to all who rely upon his sacrifice and intercession. The better covenant, of which Jesus was the Surety, is not here contrasted with the covenant of works, by which every transgressor is shut up under the curse. It is distinguished from the Sinai covenant with Israel, and the legal dispensation under which the church so long remained. The better covenant brought the church and every believer into clearer light, more perfect liberty, and more abundant privileges. In the order of Aaron there was a multitude of priests, of high priests one after another; but in the priesthood of Christ there is only one and the same. This is the believer's safety and happiness, that this everlasting High Priest is able to save to the uttermost, in all times, in all cases. Surely then it becomes us to desire a spirituality and holiness, as much beyond those of the Old Testament believers, as our advantages exceed theirs.By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. Or "covenant", for the word signifies both; and what is intended may be called both a testament and a covenant; a testament, because it is founded in the good will and pleasure of God, and respects an inheritance bequeathed by God the Father to his children, which was confirmed and comes to them by the death of Christ the testator; and a covenant, it being a compact or agreement made by the Father with Christ, as the representative of all the elect; in which promises and blessings of all sorts are provided and secured for them in him; and is called in Scripture a covenant of life and peace, because these are things concerned in it; and is commonly by men called the covenant of grace, because it springs from the grace of God, the subject matter of it is grace, and the end of it is the glory of God's grace: now this is better than the covenant of works broken by man, and which exposes him to the curse and condemnation of the law; or than the covenant of the Levitical priesthood, by which was no perfection; and the form of administration of it under the Gospel dispensation is better than that under the law, for it is now revealed more clearly, and administered without types, shadows, and sacrifices; and the extent of its administration is larger, reaching to Gentiles as well as Jews; and besides, it is now actually ratified and confirmed by the blood of Christ, which is therefore called the blood of the everlasting covenant: and of this testament or covenant Christ is the "surety"; the word signifies one that draws nigh: Christ drew nigh to his Father in the council of peace, and undertook to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people he substituted himself in their place and stead; he interposed between the creditor and the debtor, and became surety for the payment of the debts of the latter, and so stood engaged for them, and in their room: Christ is not the surety for the Father to his people, but for them to the Father; as to satisfy for their sins, to work out a righteousness for them, to preserve and keep them, and make them happy; which is an instance of matchless love.
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