About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The Priest (ch. 7:1-10)
we carry on we need to say a little bit about Melchizedek, since his name
has been mentioned and is now mentioned again.
The name Melchizedek means "King of righteousness." A
secondary meaning is "King of Salem or peace."
story of Abraham meeting up with Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14:18 to
20. There is not much
mentioned in these two verses but what is mentioned is repeated here in
Hebrews 7. The only other
place in the Old Testament when Melchizedek is mentioned is in Psalms
110:4 which the author also mentions in this chapter.
here and in the Genesis account Melchizedek is seen as a king of the Most
High God. Remember, this is
long before the Law of Moses came into existence and long before there was
a nation of
1 and 2 tell us that one time after winning a battle; Abraham came to
Abraham and Melchizedek worshiped the one true God at that time, resulting
in Abraham being blessed by Melchizedek, as we see in verse 2. The
Genesis account states that part of this blessing was the sharing of bread
and wine with each other. As
early as Genesis 14 we begin to see the significance of bread and wine.
stated above, verse 2 tells us that the name "Melchizedek"
means, "King of Righteousness", or "King of Salam or
verse 3 it says that Melchizedek had no beginning and no end of days, no
genealogy, but was like the Son of God.
This is hard for us to understand.
Did he actually have no birth or no death, or is there simply no
mention of him being born or dying? Some
people believe this to be true. That
is in fact, Melchizedek was eternal, but, this does not seem to fit into
Christian Biblical theology. Many
Bible teachers simply point out that there is no mention of this king's
birth or death in the Genesis account.
That does not mean he was never born or never died.
Many Bible teachers believe, which seems the best understanding for
me to date, that what is being taught here is rabbinical theology about
Melchizedek that the Jewish people to whom the author was writing to would
have understood. That is to
say, the author us using their theological background to make his point,
which will be, that Jesus is greater than Melchizedek, one this Jews would
have greatly respected.
4 says that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.
Why? It is because
Abraham gave him one tenth of the spoils of war.
Also Melchizedek blessed Abraham.
So this tells you that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, and
Abraham was one of the most well respected men in Jewish history.
5 speaks of the Old Testament Law of Moses when it mentions "the
law." It says that the
Levites, or sons of Levi, were to be priests.
It also says that these priests would collect a tenth, or a tithe,
from the people of
is one thing to note concerning tithing.
The subject is basically an Old Testament subject and is not
mentioned much in the New Testament, only in Hebrews and when it is talked
about, it is in reference to Old Testament teaching.
I will not discuss this here because I've done it elsewhere, but I
strongly believe that tithing is not New Testament teaching.
The Law of Moses has been laid aside, and that includes the tithing
laws. I'll just say one thing
about this text. Some suggest
that because tithing existed before the Law of Moses, as seen here with
Abraham, it still exists after the Law, that is, today.
There's no logic in this thinking.
Many other things existed prior to the Law that were incorporated
into the Law, like animal sacrifices.
We don't kill animals to sacrifice today, and we don't tithe
either. Jesus is the end of
the Law as Paul states in Romans 10:4.
This does not mean Christians should not give.
Christians are to give cheerfully, abundantly, and according to
their ability to give. They
should also give intelligently.
6 points out that Melchizedek was not a priest in the Levitical order, and
neither could be, because there was no such order back then.
that verse 6 seems to suggest that somehow Melchizedek was aware of the
promises God spoke to Abraham. How
he knew this is uncertain. Maybe
Abraham talked to him about it or maybe it was a revelation from God, but,
it was for this reason that Melchizedek blessed Abraham.
He knew that Abraham was a special man blessed by God.
That being said, according to the author in verse 7, Abraham was
the lesser of the two men.
9 and 10 clearly seem to be rabbinical teaching.
The rabbis believed what this verse says.
That is to say, in one sense of the word the Levitical priests
actually tithe to Melchizedek. The
reasoning goes like this. The
Levites were descendents of Abraham. When
Abraham paid the tithe to Melchizedek, all of Abraham's descendents were
in the loins of Abraham. So,
in a round about way, the Levites paid a tithe to Melchizedek.
This puts Melchizedek in a higher place of authority than the
Levites who were priests.