Summary: Melchizedek was hidden away as an amazing type of Jesus Christ, a mystery revealed through Holy Spirit inspired Midrash.
The Melchizedek Mystery
1. Jewish ways of talking can be quite comical. Let me share an English phrase and its “Jewberish” version.
English: "He walks slowly" Jewberish: "Like a fly in Vaseline he walks".
En: "Sorry I don’t know the time" Jewberish: "What, do I look like a clock?"
English: "I hope things turn out okay" Jewberish: "You should BE so lucky"
English: " I see you're wearing the tie I gave you." Jewberish: "Whats the matter? The other tie you didn't like?"
English: "Its been so long since you've called." Jewberish: "You didn't wonder if I'm dead yet?"
English: "Lets go skiing." Jewberish: "Mountains, shmountains! Do I look like a sled to you?" [source: Haruth.com]
2. The Book of Hebrews is very Jewish, written by a Jewish believer to Jewish believers. It is an example of the concept of Midrash. Midrash extracts teachings from the Scriptures that, at times, may seem to we Westerners as quite an interpretive stretch. But remember, Midrash seeks to find meanings in texts that are not immediately obvious. The inspired authors of Scripture could venture where we dare not. Hebrews is loaded with Midrashim.
3. This chapter is thick. Don’t blame me — I didn’t write it. As a matter of fact, I haven’t preached on this passage for over 25 years. An important key: much of this chapter is an argument from silence.
4. A detailed approach would LOSE you; even a summary approach might!
Rather than lose you with TMI, I am going to present to you my understanding of this chapter in summary fashion. My interpretation is fallible, feel free to disagree.
Main Idea: Melchizedek was hidden away as an amazing type of Jesus Christ, a mystery revealed through Holy Spirit inspired Midrash.
I. WHO Was He?
Important question: Why would God briefly introduce a figure in Genesis 14 in a few verses, and say very little about him, and then declare that the Messiah would be a priest after him? Answer: To keep Melchizedek intentionally mysterious so that he could be a type of the Jesus.
A. The Argument from SILENCE: intentional mystery
Silence can be special. When I allow silence in my pastoral prayers, a number of you have expressed how special that is to you. Silence has its value.
Genesis 14:17-20 passim, Tree of Life Version: 17 Now after he (Abram) returned from defeating Chedorlaomer …Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine—he was a priest of El Elyon. 19 He blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by El Elyon,Creator of heaven and earth,
20 and blessed be El Elyon, Who gave over your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’”
1. He appears with no genetic CREDENTIALS (6) [silent]
2. There is no record of parents, birth or death, and thus seems TIMELESS (3)
B. His STATED Identity
1. He is the real earthly king of a real earthly CITY (1)
2. He is also the real earthly PRIEST of El-Elyon (God Most High)
Application: God always has His remnant. Who would have expected a priest of the Lord in the land of Canaan at the time of Abraham? Are you willing to be part of a remnant, or could you not live life without being part of the mainstream?
II. How Does He Provide A TYPE of Christ?
A. In His DEITY, the Son of God is without genealogy.
B. Like Jesus, Melchizedek was not a descendent of LEVI/Aaron. (13-14)
C. Jesus is both a KING of Righteousness and a PRIEST providing peace.
1. We DRAW near to God through Him. (25)
2. He makes intercession to KEEP us saved (perseverance)
D. Just as there is no RECORD of Melchizedek’s priesthood ending, so Jesus’ priesthood will actually not end. (16)
Application: All history revolves around Jesus Christ, ultimately. Make your life part of the history of those who served Him rather than those who resisted Him.
III. How Does the Genesis Text Prove Melchizedek (and thus Jesus) Is GREATER than Abraham?
A. This is Apollos(?)’s PURPOSE in bringing up Melchizedek.
B. Abraham paid TITHES to Melchizedek, and Melchizedek BLESSED Abraham. (6)
C. Levi (and Aaron) therefore bowed to Melchizedek because they were GENETICALLY present within Abraham’s loins. (9-10)
D. The Law appointed priests based upon inheritance, but the Father appointed Jesus by God’s intentional OATH (20-21)
1. I worked hard when I attended MBI, and graduated with highest honors.
2. In the brochure, it listed me as only high honors. They wanted both typos & people with hard last names to see the dean.
Application: Abraham was famous, Melchizedek obscure. Some of God’s greatest servants are obscure and humble people who don’t make the history books.