AND NO ONE TAKES THE HONOR TO HIMSELF: kai ouch heauto tis lambanei (3SPAI) ten timen: (Ex 28:1; Leviticus 8:2; Nu 3:3; 16:5,7,10,35,40,46, 47, 48; 17:3-11; 18:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 1Chr 23:13; 2Chr 26:18)
OT PASSAGES QUOTED IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of OT Quotations/Allusions
KEY WORDS IN HEBREWS 5 - Click for complete list of Key Words in Hebrews
Ryrie summarizes chapter 5…
The qualifications for high priest are stated in these verses, Aaron serving as the model:
(1) he had to be a man (Hebrews 5:1);
(2) he had to be compassionate (Hebrews 5:2);
(3) he had to be chosen by God (Hebrews 5:4, 5, 6);
(4) he had to learn through suffering (Hebrews 5:7, 8).
Henry Alford summarizes the two necessary qualifications of a high priest fulfilled in Christ as
(1) He 5:1, 2, 3, he must be taken from among men, capable, in respect of infirmity, of feeling for men,
(2) He 5:4-10, he must not have taken the dignity upon himself, but have been appointed by God. (Hebrews 5 Commentary)
(In regard to) The High Priesthood of Christ… That which has before been… by anticipation hinted at, He 2:17; He 3:1; He 4:14, 15 (Ed: Also suggested in He 1:3, so "previewed" 4 times in prior passages) is now taken up and thoroughly discussed.
In this section the writer continues with the second requirement of the Jewish high priest, indicating that he must be chosen and appointed by God.
A W Pink makes the point that "Considering the strictness of God’s law, and the specified requirements for one entering the priestly office, and more especially seeing that Jesus did not belong to the tribe of Levi, how could He be said to be “Priest?” In meeting this difficulty, the apostle emphasizes the fact that the chief requirement and qualification was a Divine call: “No man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God” (He 5:4): applying that rule the apostle now shows, from Scripture itself, our Lord’s right and title to this office.
Wuest - But the high priest must be divinely called to his office. One who is compassed with infirmity would hesitate to offer sacrifice for sin unless called by God to do so. (Hebrews Commentary online)
No one (ouch) indicates absolute negation and continues the discussion specifically of the high priesthood (Heb 5:1) emphasizing that the requirements for who could be a priest in Israel were strictly stipulated in the Scripture and as Pink says, first and foremost, one had to be called by God to that position.
How might we apply this truth in our lives today? If you are a believer, you have at least one spiritual gift (1Pe 4:10-note, Ro 12:6-note) and you are a priest (1Pe 2:9-note) of the Most High God. In short, you have a ministry. The question then is have you discovered the ministry He has granted you or have you sought a ministry of your own making. Your answer has eternal ramifications, for unless we abide in the Vine, we can do nothing of eternal value (Jn 15:5).
Received (2983) (lambano) conveys the sense of one taking or grasping at a title or position (high priest) without any Biblical mandate. Rendering it as "received" somewhat softens the writer's intent that no one could simply decide he wanted to be the high priest and then declare himself as such! Absolutely no one could become a high priest simply by claiming to be one.
Honor (5092) (time from tío = pay honor, respect) is basically, the worth ascribed to a person or the value ascribed to a thing. It refers to the worth or merit of some object, event, or state. It is a valuing by which the price is fixed, an estimation of the value of a thing. It is an attitude towards person or thing commensurate with its value and in the present context conveys the sense of rank, position or "office".
Time - 41x in 40v in the NAS - Matt 27:6, 9; John 4:44; Acts 4:34; 5:2f; 7:16; 19:19; 28:10; Rom 2:7, 10; 9:21; 12:10; 13:7; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; 12:23f; Col 2:23; 1Th 4:4; 1Ti1:17; 5:17; 6:1, 16; 2 Tim 2:20f; Heb 2:7, 9; 3:3; 5:4; 1 Pet 1:7; 2:7; 3:7; 2 Pet 1:17; Rev 4:9, 11; 5:12f; 7:12; 21:26. NAS = honor(28), honorable use(1), marks of respect(1), precious value(1), price(7), proceeds(1), sum(1), value(1).
This same Greek word (time) is used by the Jewish Historian Josephus to denote the “office” of high priest (Ant. 3.188–89).
BUT RECEIVES IT WHEN HE IS CALLED BY GOD EVEN AS AARON WAS: alla kaloumenos (PPPMSN) hupo tou theou kathosper kai Aaron:
But receives it (honor) - Receives is not in the Greek text but is supplied by the translators to lend fluidity to the sentence.
John the Baptist declared "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. (John 3:27)
The office of high priest could not be campaigned for but was given by right of birth to the man chosen by God. It was an honor no man could take to himself.
Marcus Dods - An additional reason for trusting in the priest is that he has not assumed the office to gratify his own ambition but to serve God’s purpose of restoring men to His fellowship. All genuine priesthood is the carrying out of God’s will. The priest must above all else be obedient, in sympathy with God as well as in sympathy with man. God’s appointment also secures that the suitable qualifications will be found in the priest. (The Expositor's Greek Testament - online)
Spurgeon - Men could not constitute themselves high priests, for the appointment was made by God alone. The high priest was taken from among men that he might be their fellow, and have a fellow-feeling with them. No angel entered into the holy place; no angel wore the white garments; no angel put on the ephod and the breastplate with the precious stones. It was a man ordained of God, who for his brothers pleaded in the presence of the Shekinah.
Call (invite, name, summon) (2564)(kaleo from root kal-, whence English “call” and “clamour”) literally means to speak to another in order to attract their attention or to them bring nearer, either physically or in a personal relationship.
When he is called - This refers to a call to a particular position and service to God. In the Old Testament this call to the Levitical priesthood was only given to certain men…
Even as Aaron was - This reference to Aaron (a Levi, the first high priest) emphasizes that the priesthood was not a human institution but a divine calling.
There are some tragic examples where men presumed to act as priests who were not priests, such as Korah (Numbers 16), Saul (1 Samuel 13) and King Uzziah who disregarded the fact that no one was to attempt to function as a priest on his own volition. Scripture records that when King Uzziah…
In the OT a call of God to undeserving men was part of His gracious dealing with sinful mankind. We see examples of God's graciously calling individuals to certain "ministries"…
All New Testament believers have been called into God's priesthood as Peter declared in his first epistle writing that…
The question we each to ask is "Am I fulfilling my calling by God to the priesthood of believers?"
Guzik qualifies the believers' priesthood noting that…
Matthew Poole in his excellent mid-seventeenth century commentary wrote that…
C. H. Spurgeon had the following assessment regarding Matthew Poole's commentary writing that…
Even as Aaron - see Ex. 28:1; 29:4: Lev. 8:1: Nu 3:10 and especially Nu 16–18.
SO ALSO CHRIST DID NOT GLORIFY HIMSELF SO AS TO BECOME A HIGH PRIEST: Houtos kai o Christos ouch heauton edoxasen (3SAAI) genethenai (APN) archierea: (John 7:18; 8:54) (Hebrews 1:5; Psalms 2:7; Micah 5:2; John 3:16; Acts 13:33; Romans 8:3)
So also (term of conclusion) - The writer is drawing a clear parallel with the Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood. Even as Aaron (and other Levitical priests) did not exalt themselves to the priesthood, so too Christ did not exalt Himself, but was appointed by His Father to be High Priest (as the writer has already alluded to - He 2:17-note, He 3:1-note, He 4:14-note).
Pink makes the point that in using "the Christ", the writer's specific
Marcus Dod makes the point that "The designation, “the Christ,” is introduced, because it might not have seemed so significant a statement if made of “Jesus”. It was not personal ambition that moved Christ. He did not come in His own name, nor did He seek to glorify Himself. See Jn 8:54; 5:31, 43; 17:5 (Hebrews 5 Commentary Online)
The primary ministry of Jesus today is as our forever High Priest Who represents us before God the Father Who chose His Son to be our eternal Priest. If we were first century Jews who had believed in the Messiah, it would be difficult to grasp the truth that Jesus was the Great High Priest. He was not from the line of Aaron. Even when He was in the Temple in Jerusalem, He did not attempt to practice what the Jews would recognize as a priestly ministry. And so we can understand why the writer goes to such great lengths to explain why Jesus would be qualified to be a High Priest. The writer is trying to get his Jewish readers to make what we would call today a "paradigm shift" in their thinking - ultimately a shift from the Old Covenant of law, bondage and death to the New Covenant of grace, freedom and life. Dear searching reader, have you made that "paradigm shift"? Even in the time of the Old Covenant the way of salvation was clearly proclaimed and the call of God has always been…
And so Jesus did not glorify Himself. Instead in John Jesus speaks of the One Who gives glory…
In fact Jesus exemplified the antithesis of self-glorification in His kenosis or self-emptying…
Hughes - The sayings of Christ recorded in the Fourth Gospel make it emphatically plain that the glory which the Son sought with intense singleness of purpose was the glory of the Father who had sent him (Jn 7:18; 8:42; 9:4; 10:18, 25, 38; 11:42; 12:28, 44f, 49f; 14:7, 9, 13, 24, 31; 15:8, 23; 16:27f.; 17:1, 4ff.). Indeed, if one thing is stressed throughout the New Testament it is that, in assuming the office of Savior and High Priest, so far was the Son from exalting and glorifying Himself that He accepted it knowing full well that it meant for Him the experience of the darkest depths of humiliation, rejection, agony, and death. His office-bearing was the furthest possible remove from self-glorification. To put it colloquially, there was nothing in it for him—only the certainty of unutterable anguish and alienation and immolation suffered vicariously for our redemption. Yet the cross of Christ is also the glory of Christ. This moment of his solitude and self-sacrifice is also the moment when He is glorified, not indeed self-glorified, but glorified because in Him God is glorified and the divine purpose for the redemption of the world is now accomplished (cf. Jn 12:23; 13:31; Heb. 10:9f.). And the awful glory of His humiliation is followed by the resplendent glory of His exaltation—not, again, self-exaltation—when, raised to the right hand of the Majesty on high, the glory of His triumphant redeemership is, so to speak, added to the glory, which He now resumes, of His eternal sonship (cf. Heb. 1:3; 2:9; 12:2; Acts 3:13; Phil. 2:5-11; Jn. 17:4f., 24).A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews - recommended resource)
Spurgeon - Christ was ordained of God from all eternity to stand as the representative of His people before the throne. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6). He from old eternity was set apart to be the High Priest and the Redeemer of His people. Can you not in this see grounds for resting upon Him? What God appoints it must be safe for us to accept.
Wuest - The writer is careful to let the reader see that it was no personal ambition on Messiah’s part that resulted in His becoming a high priest, but rather the fact that God called Him to that position, and that the call to priesthood was based upon the fact that the Messiah was God’s Son. Bruce says regarding this: “Christ’s priestly vocation ceases to be an accident in history, and becomes an essential characteristic of His position as Son: sonship, Christhood, priestliness, inseparably interwoven.” We have an unfinished sentence which the writer expects the reader to complete. It appears in its entirety in the translation offered. (Hebrews Commentary online)
High priest (749) (archiereus from arche = first in a series, the leader or ruler + hiereus = priest) (Dictionary articles - Easton's; ISBE) refers to the priest that was chief over all the other priests in Israel. This office was established by God through Moses instructions in the Pentateuch. The high priest functioned as the mediator between Jehovah and Israel performing sacrifices and rituals like other priests, but in addition acting to expiate the sins of the nation on the annual Day of Atonement.
The references to the high priests in the Gospels and Acts refer primarily to their bitter opposition to Jesus Who the writer of Hebrews identifies as our everlasting High Priest.
The irony is that the high priest Caiaphas was residing over the Sanhedrin during trial of Jesus, the trial which would lead to His death and pave the way for His eternal High Priesthood!
Eerdman's Bible Dictionary explains that "The high priest descended from Eleazar, the son of Aaron. The office was normally hereditary and was conferred upon an individual for life (Nu 25:10-13). The candidate was consecrated in a seven-day ceremony which included investiture with the special clothing of his office as well as anointments and sacrifices (Ex 29:1-37; Lev 8:5-35). The high priest was bound to a higher degree of ritual purity than ordinary Levitical priests. He could have no contact with dead bodies, including those of his parents. Nor could he rend his clothing or allow his hair to grow out as signs of mourning. He could not marry a widow, divorced woman, or harlot, but only an Israelite virgin (Lev. 21:10-15). Any sin committed by the high priest brought guilt upon the entire nation and had to be countered by special sacrifice (Lev 4:1-12). Upon a high priest’s death manslayers were released from the cities of refuge (Nu 35:25, 28, 32). (Eerdman's Bible Dictionary)
BUT HE WHO SAID TO HIM "THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE": all o lalesas (AAPMSN) pros auton Huios mou ei (2SPAI) su ego semeron gegenneka (1SRAI) se:
QUOTING FROM PSALM 2:7
Having just stated that no man was entitled to appoint himself as high priest but that he became such only by divine call, even Christ did not make Himself High Priest, but God the Father recognized Him as such. The writer's argument is that just as much as Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by God Himself (Psalm 2:7), so also Jesus was declared to be a priest forever according to a different order, not of Levi but of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4).
Spurgeon - The text is quoted from Psalm 2, and it proves that Christ did not arrogate to Himself any position before God. He is God’s Son, not merely because He calls Himself so, but because the Father says, “You are my Son, today have I begotten you.” He took not this honor upon Himself, but He was “called of God, as was Aaron.”
Phil Newton adds that "None of the angels were declared to be the Son of God. The same is true of the high priests. They were sons of Aaron, the first high priest in the tribe of Levi and father and grandfather of all who followed. Quoting from the second Psalm a passage already quoted in He 1:5, the writer now declares the uniqueness of the sonship of Jesus Christ. In that Psalm the ancient hymnist muses on the nations' rebellion against the Creator as Sovereign. Here he declares that God the Creator has "installed" His King-Jesus Christ the Lord-to rule the nations! How does he identify this King? "YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU." Even in the face of Neronian persecution these struggling believers could have confidence that God the Son reigns! They did not have to go on in fear but with confidence that His purposes would be accomplished because He reigns over the nations. The emphasis on "You are My Son" points to the Incarnation. He is the eternal Son of God without beginning or end; but He is also the Son born in time-born of woman, embracing a human nature forever. We could think of His reigning over humanity from his lofty heavenly throne without being human. But we could not think of Him serving as our high priest without being one of us. Thus the Incarnation is the declaration of the Son of God becoming a Son of Man, so that as high priest mediating the way for us, we might become sons of God. (Jesus Christ: Qualified as High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10) (Bolding added)
Psalm 2 is a Psalm which is indisputably Messianic as shown by the fact that the NT writers quote from it in references that are clearly speaking of Jesus. The reader is encouraged to listen to the two part exposition (each about 45 minutes) of this great psalm by my dear brother in Christ, Tony Garland - Mp3 Part 1 ; Mp3 Part 2 (Or see the Pdf transcript Why Do the Nations Rage?). The Jewish readers of this exhortational letter ("sermon") to the Hebrews undoubtedly understood Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 (quoted in the next verse - Hebrews 5:6) as prophecies related to the Messiah, their Hope. And so the writer buttresses his argument by quoting from Psalm 2:7. As you recall, the writer had previously quoted from Psalm 2:7 in He 1:5 (note) using this quotation to establish the fact that Christ was superior to the angels. Now in Hebrews 5 the writer quotes from this same psalm to help him establish that the priesthood of Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood, for no Levitical priest was ever called the Son of God.
Psalm 2:7-note is also quoted by Paul in Acts 13. Upon Jesus' resurrection God is said to have declared Christ as begotten, Luke recording Paul's quotation from Psalm 2 stating…
In the context of Acts 13 Paul relates the prophecy in Psalm 2:7 to Christ's resurrection, rather than His incarnation. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead marks the time at which Jesus could fully assume His role as our great High Priest. In other words, prior to this time (as far as I can discern from the Scriptures) Jesus did not function specifically as the Great High Priest.
Note that in Acts, Paul referred to Psalm 2 as the "the second psalm," supporting that the chapter divisions in the book of Psalms are not the product of medieval scholars.
In a parallel passage Paul writes that Jesus…
Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 2:7 writes…
Octavius Winslow has the following devotional on Hebrews 5:5 -
JUST AS HE SAYS ALSO IN ANOTHER PASSAGE: kathos kai en hetero legei (3SPAI): (Heb 5:10; 6:20; 7:3,15,17,21; Psalm 110:4) (Genesis 14:18,19)
QUOTING FROM PSALM 110:4
Just as He says - Clearly the writer of Hebrews states it was the Father speaking in Ps 110:4, a Psalm of David, which the Jews readily accepted as a Messianic psalm. As an aside, passages such as this attest to the fact that God is the Author of the Old Testament.
In another place - The Greek is heteros referring to another but one that is different. To illustrate in Acts 7:18 Luke records that after Joseph's death "another (heteros) king (pharaoh) arose" one of quite a different character.
The Priesthood of our Lord was not according to the Levitical order but was of a completely different character, an order that had been prophesied almost 1000 years earlier in the Messianic Psalm 110:4 which in a sense becomes the main text in the central section of the letter (see He 5:10; 6:20; He 7:1, 2, 3, 11, 15, 17, 21).
Wuest - After informing his readers in verse 5 that Messiah’s priesthood was not by self-appointment but by God’s appointment, the writer goes on in this verse to speak of the different and superior order of priesthood into which He was called. He quotes from Psalm 110 where Messiah is prophetically pointed out as a priest after the order of Melchisedec, the distinguishing characteristic of this order of priesthood being that it is an eternal one. (Hebrews Commentary online)
The writer appeals to Psalm 110:4 four other times in Hebrews attesting to its significance in establishing the validity of Jesus' high priesthood…
Note that the first verse of Ps 110 has already been utilized by the writer (Heb 1:13-note) to defend the fact that Jesus is superior to the angels in having a better position…
THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK: Su hiereus eis ton aiona kata ten taxin Melchisedek: (Heb 5:10; 6:20; 7:17,21; Psalm 110:4)
A priest forever - Such a statement could never be made of the Levitical priests, all of whom eventually died. The priesthood of Christ is a better priesthood because He lives and mediates forever (cp He 7:3, He 7:23, 24, He 7:28) (See excellent article on Priest, Priesthood in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
Phil Newton writes that "We must not miss the emphasis of He 5:6. For the writer stresses that while the Jewish high priests were appointed divinely in the order of Aaron to serve their office, the appointment of Jesus Christ supersedes all of them. His appointment is unique in that he has no claim to the high priesthood humanly speaking since he was from the tribe of Judah, not the tribe of Levi. The high priesthood was not up for grabs or given to the highest bidder. It was a sacred trust of Aaron's sons. But Christ was appointed as the only high priest whose mediatorial work would have eternal value. All of the others were mere shadows of Him who would be appointed by God as Mediator. (Or another article on "Mediator") Without a mediator we have no way to God. We have seen that time after time in analyzing our sinful condition. Only one has been appointed. Only one has been accepted by God: the Son Whom He declared, "a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Here was the predicament facing this first century audience. Some were thinking that they could chart their own course to God. They could divine their own way to eternal life. Much like the multitudes in our own day that think that the rules change or bend for them, they thought that obedient faith in Jesus Christ was not the only way to God. But the only priest whose work is "forever" is Jesus Christ. Therefore, the only one who can break through the barrier of our sinfulness and deliver us in righteousness to the Creator is the One who bore God's judgment for us at the cross. Are you one whose faith in Jesus Christ is slipping and sliding away? There's one anchor for the soul-Jesus Christ. (Jesus Christ: Qualified as High Priest Hebrews 5:1-10) (Bolding and links added)
Spurgeon - Beloved, there is rich comfort for all believers in the fact that Christ is God’s appointed and accepted High Priest. God ordained Him to do what He has done, and is doing, and will do; and therefore it is impossible but that God should accept Him and all His work. When He came into the world the Holy Ghost bore witness to His being the Son of the Highest. At His baptism there came a voice from heaven saying, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17; Mark 1:11), and that same voice was thrice heard declaring the same fact. The Father has given further testimony to the mission of Christ, “in that He has raised Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31), and has caused Him to enter into the heavenly places on our behalf. Moreover, He has given Him a pledge that as Melchizedek, being both king and priest, He shall sit at His right hand until He has made His enemies His footstool (Psa 110:1). Our Lord Jesus has been chosen, ordained, and glorified as our “great high priest that has passed into the heavens” (Heb 4:14). This is the groundwork of our comfort in our Lord Jesus.
Expositor's Bible Commentary note on priest - The author of Hebrews uses it of priests generally (He 7:14; 8:4), of the Levitical priests (He 7:20, etc.), of Melchizedek (He 7:1, 3), and of Christ (He 5:6; 7:11, 15, 17, 21; 10:21). When it is used of Christ, it seems to differ but little from "high priest." It is a powerful way of bringing out certain aspects of Christ's saving work for men. All that a priest does in offering sacrifice for men Christ does. But whereas they do it only symbolically, he really effects atonement. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)
According to the order - Even as the earthly priests were from the Aaronic "order", the lineage of Aaron, this Great High Priest was according to an "order" but one distinct from Aaron.
Order (5010) (taxis from tasso = arrange in order) describes a setting in order, and hence speaks of an order, an arrangement, or a disposition. Taxis was used especially in the description of military troops whose line was unbroken and intact.
Taxis - 9x in 8v in the NAS - Luke 1:8; 1Co 14:40; Col 2:5; Heb 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 17. NAS = good discipline(1), order(7), orderly manner(1).
Recall the writer discusses three requirements for the priesthood in Hebrews 5…
Christ met all requirements for the priesthood except that of descent from Aaron. And yet this seeming deficiency did not disqualify Him, for He was of another priestly order, greater even than that of Aaron and Levi. The psalmist had prophesied of this greater order…
Melchizedek is clearly a "key word" in this central section of Hebrews (He 5:6, 10, 6:20, 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17). And despite his prominent place in this letter Melchizedek was a very mysterious priest/king who met Abraham when he returned from defeating the marauding confederation of kings from the north (see Genesis 14:17, 18, 19). In the Genesis account, he is merely called "king of Salem" (meaning "peace") and "priest of the most high God" (the Hebrew name is El Elyon, "highest God") (El Elyon: Most High God - Sovereign Over All).
Melchizedek is discussed in greater detail in Hebrews 7:1-21 and as Harry Ironside writes "It is enough to point out here that Melchizedek was recognized as priest of the most high God centuries before the Levitical priesthood came into existence. The Levitical priesthood and the legal covenant with which it was connected had their place until the Son, who was to fulfill the Melchizedekian type, should come. (H. A. Ironside Expository Commentary on Hebrews)
Hughes quotes Westcott who says "that Melchizedek "represented a non-Jewish, a universal priesthood," and that "in relation to the priesthood he occupies the position which Abraham occupies in relation to the Covenant." But the immediate purpose of the two quotations given here from the Psalms is to corroborate the doctrine that Christ's high-priestly office was not from Himself but from God. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews - excellent resource)
The point is that the priestly work of Jesus Christ would not be limited to the borders of Israel or the race of Abraham's sons, for in the sufficiency of the work of Jesus Christ, "He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation."
Scofield comments that…
C H Spurgeon has a lengthy comment on Psalm 110:4 writing that…