Hebrews Chapter 7
:1 “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; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without 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.”
We read about Melchisedec in the book of Genesis when Abraham was returning from the slaughter of the kings: Gen. 14:18 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” The only other reference to Melchizedek is found in the book of Psalms: Ps. 110:4 “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the
order of Melchizedek.” While there were only two Old Testament references to Melchizedek, yet his importance was hugh. His priesthood had some very significant differences from the priesthood after the order of Aaron.
There has been much speculation and controversy as to who this Melchisedec was. I have found three major ideas espoused as to who this Melchisedec was:
1. A few have speculated that Melchisedec was Shem, one of the sons of Noah who came over with Noah on the ark. The supposition was that since Shem had no beginning on this side of the flood but was before the flood and yet he out lived most of two or three generations of people who came after him and thus those who knew about him saw no beginning with him and assumed that he had no
end of life. I do not put much credence in this speculation.
2. A much more generally believed idea is that Melchisedec was a strong type of Christ and that his genealogy is not given nor is his date of birth or date of death that this would satisfy the things that Paul said about him in Hebrews. Even if one makes this assumption however, there is the statement that Paul made “abideth a priest continually” which suggests that his priesthood was
still ongoing at the time of Paul’s writing.
3. I personally believe that the Melchizedek that appeared to Abraham was one of several pre-incarnate appearances of Christ. My rationale for this belief is based on the following:
a. Christ as the Son of God was without earthly father or mother. Also, since he is eternal he has neither beginning of days or end of life and is without descent. Moreover, he brought forth bread and wine to Abraham. One only has to look to Christ at the communion service to see that it is He who brings forth bread and wine.
b. Christ is also King of righteousness and King of peace, whereas no other man on earth could ever make that claim.
c. Abraham was blessed of the greater. In what sense would a man on earth besides Christ be considered greater than Abraham?
:4 “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And 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: 6 But he whose
descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when
Melchisedec met him.”
We are invited to consider how great Melchisedec was. Melchisedec was greater than Abraham as Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils from the victory over the kings in the valley of Siddim. Moreover, we read where Melchisedec blessed Abraham who had the promises from God as the less is blessed of the greater. No doubt, Abraham was a great man of faith as evidenced by what we read about
him in the book of Genesis. Also, we read in the book of Romans that Abraham is the father of the faithful. Yet, Melchisedec is far greater than Abraham. Our trust is not to be in men such as Abraham but rather our trust is to be in Him who is after the order of Melchisedec.
Moreover, under the Levitical priesthood, the sons of Levi, received from God the office of the priesthood and were commanded to take tithes of the people according to the law. Yet, we see now that God has shown us the superiority of the priesthood after the order of Melchisedec as Levi paid tithes before the law unto Melchisedec as he was in the loins of Abraham when Abraham gave a
tenth unto Melchisedec as he returned from the slaughter of the kings. Additionally we are told that under the law men who die receive tithes. In contrast, Melchisedec received tithes of whom we are told he does not die but lives. Thus, Melchisedec’s priesthood, unlike the priesthood under the law, is an everlasting priesthood.
Another lesson taught here is that under the law the tithes were received by the Levites, whereas the tithe was not given by Abraham to a mortal man but were given to one that did not have end of days.