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Journey Through Hebrews: 7:1-10 This Melchizdek was King of Salem and Priest of God Most High

This Melchizedek was King of Salem and Priest of God Most High

Hebrews 7:1-10 New International Version

7 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

            Who was Melchizedek? He was a figure in the Old Testament who met Abraham. Here in these verses, we find that he was the King of Salem and he was the priest of Almighty God before the Levitical priesthood came into being. He is a mysterious figure. He encountered Abraham after Abraham had one a great victory over different kings and different nations. With only around 300 servants Abraham was able to defeat these kings. It was by the hand of God that Abraham prevailed. When we walk closely with God, it is God who will empower us for every victory that we experience. The great things we accomplish for God on this earth is not inherently found in ourselves, it is because of the God we serve and His hand on our lives.

            We find that Abraham gave him a tithe from the battle he fought. Tithing existed before the law was established. Those who would claim that tithing is simply a demand of the law and doesn’t apply to the believer today doesn’t understand scripture and doesn’t understand what the principle communicates in God’s kingdom. The person who tithes acknowledges that all things come from God and because they choose to tithe from the first part of their increase open the door to blessing in their lives. Those who would hold back the tithe, operate from a place of disobedience, and instead miss out on a blessing and bring a curse upon themselves. By Abraham tithing and giving the tithe to Melchizedek he was not only acknowledging that indeed God was his source, but that Melchizedek was a represented of God and His kingdom. This is important as the writer of Hebrews is showing the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the old covenant and over the old priestly system. We have already been told that Jesus is our faithful and compassionate High Priest.

            The name Melchizedek means king of righteousness and King of Salem means King of Peace. This surely sounds like Jesus Christ himself. I have often wondered when I have read about this figure in the Old Testament if this indeed was the preincarnate Christ serving as priest and king of Almighty God. There is much mystery surrounding this individual. But ultimately all we have in scripture points to who Jesus Christ is. The purpose of God’s word is to reveal to us who God is and to know Him intimately. It is impossible to know God intimately without knowing His word.

            We are told by the writer of Hebrews that He is without genealogy, without mother and father, without beginning of days or end of life. This individual truly seems and reflects who Jesus is. For Jesus is Almighty God. Though Jesus had a genealogy on this earth when He came in the flesh which is well documented in both Matthew and Luke’s gospel. We know that Jesus is Almighty God. He has not beginning or end. He has overcome sin, death, and the grave. He is our High priest forever. He is our mediator and because of Him, we have everything.

            The writer points out the greatness of Melchizedek that Abraham himself who is the father of faith gave him a tenth. But Abraham giving a tenth it would mean that the line of Levi that would come from the Abraham would have given a tenth. This set a precedent about the greatness of Melchizedek as priest of Almighty God. This is a purpose and a reason for bringing this truth out in scripture. If you want to confront those who are considering abandoning Christ and returning to the law and the old covenantal system, you have to show how the covenant and priesthood found in Jesus Christ is greater.

            The law required the that Levi would collect a tithe from the people for the purpose of funding the work of the ministry at the temple. But the tithe and the call to give to the Lord is a true blessing from the Lord because it frees us for relying on ourselves. For when we begin to tithe, we acknowledge where our help comes from. Our ability to see every need met is not found in ourselves, it comes from the Lord alone. But by the people giving the tithe to the Levites it showed that the Levitical priesthood were the representatives of God to the people.

            Melchizedek existed before the tribe of Levi was even in existence. His linage was not from the tribe of Levi and Abraham himself gave him a tithe after a great victory in battle. Not only did he collect a tithe, but he blessed Abraham, again acting as the representative of Almighty God.

            The writer of Hebrews states “the lesser is blessed by the greater”. What is the purpose of speaking about Melchizedek and examining this account in Genesis 14:17-24? It is to establish the greatness of Jesus Christ over the Old Covenant. If it is clear in the Old Testament scriptures that the ministry of Jesus is greater than that of the old Levitical covenant than it is truly foolish to abandon Christ and return to the old. For if we abandon Christ, we are left with nothing.

            It states, “In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living[1]”. Those who served as priest from the tribe of Levi faced death. But in scripture we are not given or told about the death of Melchizedek. Again, he is this mysterious figure who the more we spend time examining, seems as if it is almost Jesus Himself. We know in scripture that God has said You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. This is found in Psalm 110:4 and is a verse that speaks and refers to the coming Messiah. It says a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek because the order of Melchizedek is greater than the priestly line of Levi. It is Abraham himself who paid a tithe to Melchizedek who served not only as priest but also as king.

            He states that it would seem that Levi paid a tithe to Melchizedek through Abraham and therefore it shows that the order of Melchizedek is greater. The point of all of this is the supremacy of Jesus Christ. It is foolish and unprofitable to abandon faith in Christ. All that we see in the world is being shaken. The only sure foundation we have when we are called to face suffering of any kind is Jesus Christ. Yes the enemy will tempt us to abandon Christ or to wander after sin, but every word from the mouth of the enemy is a lie and deception.

Prayer

Father thank you for sending Jesus. Thank you for making a way for our sins to be forgiven. Thank you for opening my eyes to the truth. Help me daily to hold fast to my hope that is found in Jesus Christ. Father lead and guide me according to your word and your way. Father help me to know your will and to understand your word. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen!


[1] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Heb 7:8.

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