In Hebrews 7:12 — What was changed? What does “change” really mean?

Hebrews 7:12, Priesthood being changed…a change also of the law [Torah]. The Greek words for being changed and a change are respectively metatithemi (a verb) and metathesis (a noun). The the verb means “to transpose, to transfer, to go or pass over, to fall away or desert from one person or thing to another.” Many people interpret this verse to mean that YHVH’s Torah-law was changed (i.e. has been invalidated or annulled) by the new covenant, but is this what the author is saying here?

Before going further in our discussion, let’s lay out some basic truths of the Scriptures. 

YHVH doesn’t change (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8; Jas 1:17). The word torah [in English, translated as law] means “instructions, principles, teachings” and came directly from YHVH to his people. The Torah teaches men how to love YHVH and love one’s fellow man. It is YHVH’s instructions in righteousness and reflects his very character and nature. Who YHVH is doesn’t change.

It is a sin (a violation of the Torah) to change the Torah (Deut 4:2; 12:32).

So in this light, what is this verse really saying? It declares that the priesthood was changed. The Levitical priesthood that was temporarily and parenthetically inserted into the Melchizedek priesthood (both priesthoods are revealed in the Torah, see Exod 19:2, 4 cp. 28:1; 32:29). In the former priesthood, a father acted as the priest over his family interceding for them before Elohim via sacrifices and offerings (Gen 8:20; 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1, 3, 7; Exod 17:15; Job 1:5). In the latter priesthood, YHVH designated the descendants of Aaron as priests over Israel replacing the heads of each home as the priest of each family (Exod 30:31).

The writer of Hebrews reveals to us that with the coming of Yeshua, the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood was replaced by the original order of Melchizedek with Yeshua as its High Priest. This makes sense when we realize that Yeshua is not only the builder of his spiritual house, the church (Heb 3:3), but also the head of it, for he is the High Priest over the spiritual house of Elohim (Heb 10:21), which is comprised of the saints who are living stones and are apart of that house (1 Pet 2:5) and temple (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21–22) with Yeshua as the chief corner stone and the apostles and prophets the foundation (Eph 2:20). The saints are currently a part of this original Melchizedek priesthood, which has attained to the higher spiritual level through Yeshua, regardless of their tribal lineage (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). 

This verse is also telling us that since the Levitical priesthood reverted to the original priestly order, certain temporary regulations within the Torah pertaining to the Levitical priesthood had to revert back to the original Torah priesthood. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes it clear what this change or transfer involves. The Levitcal priesthood—an expansion of the Melchizedek priesthood—was also a prophetic shadow-picture of the new priesthood to come. The temporary Levitical priesthood in all of its aspects pointed to Yeshua’s sinless life, his death, burial, resurrection, and then his role as our Great Heavenly High Priest. The Levitical priesthood was a spiritual road sign that pointed to Torah’s greater fulfillment in the Person of Yeshua. So what was changed or transferred? The writer of Hebrews clearly answers this question throughout this book. Yeshua once and for all permanently replaced all the repeated sacrifices and the temple ceremonies associated with them, as well as the priesthood that administered these rites and rituals. That’s all that was “changed” or transferred. YHVH’s sabbaths, feasts, dietary laws, and his other instructions in righteousness have never been annulled. In fact, Yeshua upholds the Torah in every way (see Matt 5:17–19), and even tells us that we are not only to follow its letter, but also its spirit (Matt 5:21–48). Paul calls the Torah holy, just and good (Rom 7:12), and tells us in the strongest terms that the grace of YHVH doesn’t annul, but rather establishes the Torah (Rom 3:31). His adherence to the Torah to the end of his life is validated by the biblical record (Acts 21:24), and by the testimony of his own lips in two courts of law (Acts 24:14; 25:8).

During the Millennium, it appears that the two priesthoods will be operating simultaneously. Assuming Ezekiel’s temple is a prophetic description of a millennial temple (not all Bible experts believe this), the Levitical sons of Zadok will be officiating at the temple in Jerusalem (Ezek 44:125), while the Melchizedek priesthood of all believers (Peter calls them the royal priesthood, 1 Pet 2:9) will be ruling and reigning over the earth with Yeshua during the Millennium. In other words, these priest are the saints that John mentions three times in the Book of Revelation who will be priests during the Millennium (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Presumably their role will be to teach the Torah and the Testimony of the Yeshua to the peoples of the earth and to act as judges, since this was the historic role of the ancient Levite priests. Meanwhile the sons of Zadok will be officiating at the temple in Jerusalem. Interestingly, Isaiah talked about a millennial era priesthood that would be comprised of both Levites and redeemed Gentiles (Isa 66:18–21).


7 thoughts on “In Hebrews 7:12 — What was changed? What does “change” really mean?

  1. Can you share your thoughts that might explain why there must still be a Levitical priesthood? Is it because there are still those who have not come to the knowledge of and trust in Yeshua as the Messiah of Israel and they still need that priesthood?

    When will the Levitical priesthood finally end and there only be a Melchizedek priesthood?

    Does Yeshua recognize, accept, or allow for a Levitical priesthood even though he has become the great high priest of Israel or is it contrary to his priesthood because it would practice sacrifices which essentially nullifies his finished work of atonement?

    • There isn’t currently a Levitical priesthood on earth that is functioning that I know of. In Ezekiel’s temple prophecy, if it is a millennial prophecy, and there’s debate whether it is or not, there may be a functioning Levitical, sons of Zaddok priesthood functioning during the Millennium, as well as a priesthood of all believers—not from Levi. It this is prophetic of a future time such as the Millennium, I can only speculate that the Levitical priesthood will be functioning as a show and tell, object lesson demonstration system for the physical people of the earth to point them backwards to the cross, even as the same system in the past pointed forward to the cross prior to the cross. This will demonstrate to these people in living color their need for faith in Yeshua. As I see it, the royal/Melchizedek priesthood will be those kingdom of priest glorified bride of Yeshua saints who will then be tasked with explaining the meaning of it all to the people, so that they can be saved by the end of the Millennium. That’s my best understanding. Hope that makes sense.

      • Yes, I think I understand what you are saying, Natan. That helps give me some other things to consider. Thank you.

        I have heard that the measurements of the dimensions of Ezekiel’s temple as detailed in the scriptures are not the same as the former tabernacle/temples, and so it is considered by some to NOT be prophetic of a temple to be built by man but of the temple coming down out of heaven and, therefore, probably of the post-millennial, post-restoration “period” – the “eighth day” – in keeping with the temple of the New Jerusalem, and that there is no instruction from YHVH to build another temple because those who are of Israel in Messiah are to be His temple on earth at this time. What, if anything, do you think about that? [Also, do you know about The Temple Institute and what is being done to build a 3rd temple, which I believe is in keeping with the Zionists’ worldly political agenda, which I am not convinced is the work of YHVH but is of man, and will likely be used by the anti-Messiah and those serving him.]

        You said, “…..object lesson demonstration system for the PHYSICAL PEOPLE of the earth…..”. Do you mean those who have not yet been redeemed in Messiah and have, therefore, not yet received a new glorified body, if they even will?

        Also, there will be a lot of restoring that will need to be done during the millennial period, right? Not just explaining the meaning of it all to those not yet of the faith, though that will obviously be very important?

      • I don’t have perfect clarity on all of these issues either. I have definite leanings in my understandings, but realize that, since we see through a glass darkly, and understanding prophecy usually comes by divine revelation only—usually after the fact—I hold my prophetic understandings lightly and refuse to be dogmatic. We’ll leave dogmatism in these areas to those who have books and videos to sell. The words “prophecy” or “prophetic” are to Christians what the word “sex” is to the heathen. Both words are bait on the fishhook that helps to sell books, videos, movies, and just anything else you can name.

        Re. Ezekiel’s temple, I have the same questions you have—is it a literal prophetic temple to be built in the future, or is it totally allegorical? I don’t think it’s post-millennial, since Revelation doesn’t talk about it in the last two chapters of that book. Why would the glorified saints need a physical temple and sacrifices in the olam haba anyway where only glorified children Elohim will exist in a spiritual reality?

        I agree with you about the third temple. I could care less about what I consider the misguided zeal of the religious and political Zionists to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. It means nothing to me. If anything, it’ll be a pseudo one that the antichrist will inhabit. I don’t see it mentioned in Scripture as having any bearing on the life of the redeemed believer. Moreover, do you really think Yeshua the King would dwell in such a temple made by men—unbelievers at that—when he returns? Me thinks not.

  2. If we change His word-that’s all we will be left with is change-this may be a bit much but what I see is cHANGe-when they asked Yeshua which is the greatest commandment and He replied in Matt 22:40 that on these two hang all the law and the prophets, if you and the CE to hang-it’s change. CE=common era or error!

  3. Please accept my apology if I am interfering in this comment chain. I am new to this Blog and very excited about the teachings I am reading so far. Natan, I am very encouraged by your testimony and life. I have been on the “desert” since 1989 but remain a strong Messianic Believer, just very very weary…needs some help. I hold, in some sort or fashion to the Two House teachings and the Gospel preached to Abram. Sorry if I interrupted this chain but I didn’t know anywhere else to post. Could use some directions and I am a Senior so speak s-l-o-w-l-y.

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