Summary: In the days of Abraham, the man called “Friend of God” encountered a mysterious Priest called Melchizedek. His name in history was a masterpiece of God. Centuries later allusion to his connection with the coming Messiah was indicated in the 110th Psalm.
MELCHIZEDEK AND THE MESSIAH
1. In 1664, the Dutch master artist Rembrandt painted Lucretia, the Roman heroine who took her life as a result of Roman desecration. Two years later Rembrandt painted a second picture of Lucretia in a different pose. For over 300 years private collectors dispersed the paintings among themselves so that the two were not seen together until 1991. For years the paintings were “unknown” to the general public. The two paintings come from the same master and portray the same woman. For a long time, however, people seeing either separately did not see the other and certainly did not realize their connection. (128.7)
2. In the days of Abraham, the man called “Friend of God” encountered a mysterious Priest called Melchizedek. His name in history was a masterpiece of God. Centuries later allusion to his connection with the coming Messiah was indicated in the 110th Psalm. This disclosed another masterpiece from God’s handiwork. In Hebrews 7 the two are brought together.
PROP: THE PRIEST MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST THE MESSIAH.
Three Pictures of Christ
I. MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS PRIEST (Hebrews 7:1).
A. A priest goes between man and God. To do this, the priest must serve God. Long before there was any Aaronic priesthood Melchizedek was the priest of El Elyon, the Most High God. He represented the God of gods, the ultimate God. Melchizedek served the creator who was (is) sovereign and owner of heaven and earth (see pp 55 ff, #9-204).
C. This priest received tithes from Abraham. He was in a position to receive from this great man a sacrifice for the God they both served.
D. Christ is our ultimate priest. He is between God and man. He blesses us. He receives sacrifice from true worshipers.
II. MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS RULER (Hebrews 7:2).
A. Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.” His very name points to righteousness and probably his own personal and yet great integrity.
B. Melchizedek was the King of the City of Salem. King of Salem means King of Peace. Two kings met Abraham, the King of Salem and the King of Sodom. Abraham lifted his hand to God and could not hold out his hand to Sodom. Melchizedek was the prince over the city of peace.
C. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace and the King of Righteousness as our Savior. See
Romans 5:1. To be justified is to be declared righteous. To be righteous is to be at peace with God.
III. MELCHIZEDEK PORTRAYS CHRIST AS ETERNAL (Hebrews 7:3).
A. Melchizedek, being “without father and mother,” was not empowered by parents for his position of power. Nowhere are his parents recorded and yet his authority was recognizable and respectable. See ISBE 220.3/Or 3
B. Melchizedek was without descent. There was no record of ancestors or descendants for him. There was no designated successor to his unique position except Christ in Psalm 110:4).
C. By saying he was without beginning of days or end of life, the author of Hebrews points out that Melchizedek’s office was meant to last, but only God could make the other masterpiece to hold his office. The office was perpetual and the man’s beginning and end was left unrecorded.
D. Melchizedek was presented in such a way that he “looked” like the Son of God as he was recorded in Scripture. He was “made” to look like him because he was represented that way.
E. He was a continual priest in that he occupied a continual office. Melchizedek was of a special kind of priesthood, a continual priesthood and this made him a continual priest similar to the way “permanent” help may not last forever but it is called such because of the design of the position occupied.
F. Christ was eternal as well. He succeeded Melchizedek who portrayed Him. Christ did not achieve His position by the authority of earthly parents. He had no descendants to take His position. He too is a continual priest and He is the very Son of God.
1. Jesus is our High Priest. He is our ruler in Peace and Righteousness. He is eternal God.
2. A joke is told of a Dutch man who died and knocked on the gates of Heaven. When asked why he should be allowed into Heaven, his tense reply was, “Simply because I am Dutch!” A Heavenly voice responded, “Being Dutch isn’t much!” and entrance was denied.
I opened my message with the account of two paintings by the Dutch master, Rembrandt. Though the great works of art are to be appreciated, they are nothing compared to the great works of God. Melchizedek was a great man whose greatness may be undervalued easily. His matching counterpart, Jesus the Messiah was greater still and is all too easily under appreciated.