Summary: Sermon 16 in a study in HEBREWS

”For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. 4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. 9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” NASB

“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, his name 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, like 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, their brothers—even though their brothers 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 person is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men 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.” NIV

We have finally come to this sometimes difficult portion of this letter to the HEBREWS; difficult in that, as the author himself has said, many in the church are still in need of milk and cannot fathom the portions of scripture that go deeper and farther than the basics.

This teaching of Melchizedek as a type of the Messiah is confusing to many and even people in places of higher learning have debated it to distraction.

So instead of staying right here in our text today and sifting through it phrase by phrase, I’d like for us to go to Genesis and get our answers there. I want to read an entire portion to you as you follow along, from Genesis 13:14 through 15:6 {and if you are reading this sermon, please go and read this section before going any further here}.


Now what had happened prior to the section we’ve just read, is that Abram and Lot had stood atop the mountain to choose separate grazing lands, and Lot had chosen the fertile grasses of the Jordan valley, and had subsequently pitched his tents toward Sodom; a city well known for its debauchery and evil. Then after he went his way, God made this promise to Abram that we have just read.


Please observe that God made this promise to Abram prior to Abram doing anything that we would gauge faithful. Yes, he had responded to God’s call to go out from his homeland to a place he did not know.

And although we also know that he was rather slow in doing even that much, the author to the HEBREWS credits him with faith in doing so with no criticism. But even as recently as chapter 12 we have witnessed Abram’s human side in his willingness to basically give Sarai to the Pharaoh to secure his own safety.

That is followed in chapter 13 by this trip to the mountain with Lot and God’s promise comes immediately after. So I think we can rightly say that Abram had not done anything to earn such a grand assurance, that his descendants would be as the dust of the earth.

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