Summary: Jesus (the priest) is promised in the Old Testament
November 4, 2012
Chapter six tells us that Jesus’s priesthood is after the order of Melchisedec. Now in this seventh chapter we’ll finally get into a few more details about what this means, but it would be good to review the original story beforehand. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, moved to Sodom, and Sodom was sacked by several kings. Lot was taken prisoner, and when Abraham heard of it he rescued his nephew and recovered all the things taken out of Sodom: “And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Gen. 14:16-20).
The writer of Hebrews is going to take this passage and dissect the details to show how Melchisedec is a type of Christ to encourage the Hebrew-Christian listeners to hold fast their profession of faith. God made a promise to Abraham and He swore it with an oath saying, “By Myself I will do this.” After Abraham patiently endured he obtained the promise, and so we lay hold of the hope set before us which, as our High Priest, enters into the veil on our behalf; this is Jesus, the priest after the order of Melchisedec:
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;
These are some of the details he’ll cover in the rest of this chapter:
first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
His name means “King of Righteousness” in Hebrew. He was the King of Salem which is the Hebrew word for “peace.” These symbols have meaning because the King of Righteousness (by name) and the King of Peace (by position) typifies our true King of Righteousness (1:9) and Peace (Is. 9:6).
3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Now, the priests took the genealogy very seriously. If you’ll remember from the book of Ezra there were certain priestly families who returned to Israel from Babylon: “but they could not shew their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel: 60The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two. 61And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name: 62These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. 63And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim” (Ezra 2:60-62).
This man, Melchisedec, had no genealogy, and that’s very important because He’s a type of Christ who “abideth a priest continually.” There is no beginning or end of His priesthood—He is a priest, and he will always be a priest.
4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
He’s better than the Levitical priests because he collected a voluntary tithe from Abraham.
5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
It’s a law that the sons of Levi collect tithes from the Israelites:
6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham,
It should have been illegal for a non-Levite to collect tithes, but this man took them from Abraham before there ever was a law, and Christ comes according to his order (6:20). This is building up to show the point that Jesus is better than even the priesthood. The brothers pay to the Levites. The Levites paid through Abraham. Abraham paid Melchisedec, and Melchisedec is a type of Christ!