on Hebrews 5 :6
He saith also in another place - That is, in Psalm 110:4, a psalm of extraordinary importance, containing a very striking prediction of the birth, preaching, suffering, death, and conquests of the Messiah. See the notes on Psalm 110:4. For the mode of quotation here, See the note on Hebrews 2:6.
Thou art a priest for ever - As long as the sun and moon endure, Jesus will continue to be high priest to all the successive generations of men, as he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If he be a priest for ever, there can be no succession of priests; and if he have all power in heaven and in earth, and if he be present wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, he can have no vicars; nor can the Church need one to act in his place, when he, from the necessity of his nature, fills all places, and is everywhere present. This one consideration nullifies all the pretensions of the Romish pontiff, and proves the whole to be a tissue of imposture.
After the order of Melchisedec - Who this person was must still remain a secret. We know nothing more of him than is written in Genesis 14:18 (note), etc., where see the notes, and particularly the observations at the end of that chapter, in which this very mysterious person is represented as a type of Christ.
on Hebrews 5 :6
As he saith also in another place - Psalm 110:4. "Thou art a priest forever." It is evident here that the apostle means to be understood as saying that the Psalm referred to Christ, and this is one of the instances of quotation from the Old Testament respecting which there can be no doubt. Paul makes much of this argument in a subsequent part of this Epistle, Hebrews 7 and reasons as if no one would deny that the Psalm had a reference to the Messiah. It is clear from this that the Psalm was understood by the Jews at that time to have such a reference, and that it was so universally admitted that no one would call it in question. That the Psalm refers to the Messiah has been the opinion of nearly all Christian commentators, and has been admitted by the Jewish Rabbis in general also. The "evidence" that it refers to the Messiah is such as the following:
(1) It is a Psalm of David, and yet is spoken of one who was superior to him, and whom he calls his "Lord;" Hebrews 5:1.
(2) it cannot be referred to Jehovah himself, for he is expressly Hebrews 5:1 distinguished from him who is here addressed.
(3) it cannot be referred to anyone in the time of David, for there was no one to whom he would attribute this character of superiority but God.
(4) for the same reason there was no one among his posterity, except the Messiah, to whom he would apply this language.
(5) it is expressly ascribed by the Lord Jesus to himself; Matthew 22:43-44.
(6) the scope of the Psalm is such as to be applicable to the Messiah, and there is no part of it which would be inconsistent with such a reference. Indeed, there is no passage of the Old Testament of which it would be more universally conceded that there was a reference to the Messiah, than this Psalm.
Thou art a priest - He is not here called a "high priest," for Melchizedek did not bear that title, nor was the Lord Jesus to be a high priest exactly in the sense in which the name was given to Aaron and his successors. A word is used, therefore, in a general sense to denote that he would be a "priest" simply, or would sustain the priestly office. This was all that was needful to the present argument which was, that he was "designated by God" to the priestly office, and that he had not intruded himself into it.
For ever - This was an important circumstance, of which the apostle makes much use in another part of the Epistle; see the notes at Hebrews 7:8, Hebrews 7:23-24. The priesthood of the Messiah was not to change from hand to hand; it was not to be laid down at death; it was to remain unchangeably the same.
After the order - The word rendered "order" - τάξις taxis - means "a setting in order - hence, "arrangement" or "disposition." It may be applied to ranks of soldiers; to the gradations of office; or to any rank which men sustain in society. To say that he was of the same "order" with Melchizedek, was to say that he was of the same "rank" or "stations." He was like him in his designation to the office. In what respects he was like him the apostle shows more fully in Hebrews 7. "One" particular in which there was a striking resemblance, which did not exist between Christ and any other high priest, was, that Melchizedek was both a "priest" and a "king." None of the kings of the Jews were priests; nor were any of the priests ever elevated to the office of king. But in Melchizedek these offices were united, and this fact constituted a striking resemblance between him and the Lord Jesus. It was on this principle that there was such pertinency in quoting here the passage from the second Psalm; see Hebrews 5:5. The meaning is, that Melchizedek was of a special rank or order; that he was not numbered with the Levitical priests, and that there were important features in his office which differed from theirs. In those features it was distinctly predicted that the Messiah would resemble him.
Melchisedek - see the notes on Hebrews 7:1 ff.
on Hebrews 5 :6
5:6 Psa 110:4.