The Weekend Word
Earlier, the writer said that he had much to say, tough stuff but the hearers were “dull of hearing” and had other issues to deal with. He is now getting back to the tough stuff.
Intro – Why all of the stress on Christ’s High Priesthood? 4:14; 5:6 & 10; 6:20 (described as a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek)
Now we will spend whole chapter on it – which shows how central this was to the Jewish religion.
To do this right, you must read Genesis 14 & Psalm 110 otherwise you are just floating in space with no reference or context. When I taught this chapter we read and discussed the passages. Word count limits me here.
1 For THIS Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
- Melchizedek’s existence shows that there were people other than Abraham and his family who served the one true God.
- King & Priest – the OT forbade the 2 offices being held by one man
- King of Salem – Jerusalem???
- Subtly the writer shows that Melchizedek is superior to Abraham (who blesses who?)
2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
- What did Abraham see in Melchizedek that led him to believe that Melchizedek was special?
- Abraham would not take booty from the rescued kings – but he did give God’s portion to Melchizedek.
3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
- This verse probably causes the most confusion about Melchizedek.
- Some say this is the Pre Incarnate Jesus Christ – no mother, no father, no genealogy.
- But I don’t think so – it says that Melchizedek was the King of Salem – would Jesus be ruling an earthly kingdom back then?
- I think it is not mentioned because his priesthood – unlike the Aaronic / Levitical priesthood did depend on a genealogy.
- You did need to know who the potential high priests mother and father were.
4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!
- Abraham tithed to Melchizedek
- This again shows the superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham
- The lesser always gives to the greater.
5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers though these also are descended from Abraham.
- The meaning of the payment of the tithe is spelled out in Num 18:21, 24, 26
- 21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, 22 so that the people of Israel do not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
- 25 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.
6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.
- Again, Melchizedek is superior to Abraham – without dispute.
- But note how it says that Abraham was blessed by giving to Melchizedek
8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.
9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,
- “One might even say” – a phrase used to startle the hearer.
10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
- Levi was in Abraham when Abraham gave the tithe
- This is Bible talk for when the ancestor included the descendant
- When the Lord spoke to Rebecca and told her that there were 2 nations in her