Hebrews 7: 1-10
His name was only mentioned thrice in the whole of scripture. There was no mention of who his father or mother was; there was nothing mentioned about his family or genealogy. He just appeared! Bible tells us that he was a man. Many hear and read about Melchizedek and the only thing that comes to their mind is the controversial issue of TITHING. Thrice was his name mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 14, Psalms 110 and Hebrews 5,7); the most detailed information was given in Hebrews 7:1 – 3. One would need to look closely at his story to understand and come to that very important conclusion that the issue of Melchizedek wasn’t about the giving of TITHE; and more so his story happened even before the giving of the Law and the Old Testament.
Why was this Man (Melchizedek) mentioned?
Again it would be worth our while to mention that the content of this Book was addressed to the Jews; and they are divided into two major parts – the Believing and the Non-Believing Jews. In his quest of trying to convince the non-believing Jews into responding positively to the Gospel (Salvation), the writer compared Jesus to most of the revered people in the Old Testament starting with the Angels. As the writer compared Jesus to Angels, he soon concluded that Jesus was exalted higher than Angels who were only ministering Spirits sent to minister (serve) the heirs of Salvation. In other words, Angels are servants compared to Jesus who is (was) the Son of God.
The writer progressed to compare Jesus (Son of God) with Moses, the custodian of the Law, Judaism and the Commandments. He highlighted that Moses built the house but did not own it, he was sent as a faithful servant on a chore. There will always be a difference between the one sent to build (the servant) and the one who OWNS the house. Moses was a servant while Jesus became the Son of God. Moses brought in the Old Testament, which became obsolete in comparison to Jesus who was the initiator of the New Testament.
The writer continues in his presentation and conviction about the message of the New Testament in comparison to the message of the Old Testament. The Old Testament did not lead to Salvation, instead the progenitors provoked God and the end result was death in the wilderness. Only a positive association with the message of the Gospel could lead one to the place of REST. The Old Testament was too weak to bring anyone that far. In fact the Old Testament should lead us to the New Testament but majority of these Jews were stuck on Judaism so much that they almost didn’t have any motivation or passion to move to the New Testament that Jesus brought. They were a stubborn set of people with a dogged determination not to change their minds and attitudes.
Moving on, this great writer begins to weigh in on matters concerning the office of the Priests and the High Priests. The office of the Priest and High Priest was associated with the tribe of Levi, so all priests had to come from that tribe. In other words, all Priests and High Priests were Levites but not all Levites are Priests or High Priest. The High Priest was that individual, appointed by God to be a mediator between Himself and His people. Only the High priest could offer the highest sacrifice under the Old Testament and that he did only once a year. That day was called the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur as it is fondly called amongst the Jews.
The idea is that all the SINS of the people representing ONLY the Nation of Israel were brought symbolically to the Temple (Holies of Holies) where blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat as a sacrifice to atone for them. The High Priest represented God before the people and also represented the people before God. As soon as the High Priest offers the sacrifice, he leaves the presence of God and never comes back until the following year, which makes it a yearly sacrifice. The difference between this High Priest and our High Priest (Jesus) is that Jesus made a one time perfect sacrifice on the cross.
The reason why the Nation of Israel had just one High Priest representing them before God was because only the High Priest could make such a sacrifice. The High Priest had to be a man; he had to be sympathetic and lastly must offer sacrifices in accordance with the instruction given. John Calvin capped it up when he said, “It was necessary for Christ to become a real man. For as we are very far from God, we stand in a manner before Him in the person of our priest, which could not be were He not one of us. Hence, that the Son of God has a nature in common with us, does not diminish his dignity, but commends it the more to us, for He is fitted to reconcile us to God because He is man.”
God had to come down to where we are as human beings in order to pick us up and bring us back to Him.
The writer does a significant thing here; rather than compare Jesus to Aaron (who was appointed High Priest to the Nation of Israel alone), he compared Him to Melchizedek who was a King and a High Priest, not to Israel (Israel had not yet been formed) but to the World. Jesus was also not called to only the Nation of Israel but also to the World, John 3:16 describes this as, “God so loved the WORLD”….and not only the Nation of Israel.
Jesus will therefore not be declared as a High Priest after the order of Aaron but was declared a King, having a Kingdom and a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. The story of Melchizedek is for the mature according to the writer – the reason why he paused his writing on this issue of Melchizedek in chapter 5:10 and continued in chapter 7:1. So Melchizedek is a TYPE of Jesus. TYPES refer to an Old Testament person, custom or ceremony that has a counterpart, or an ANTITYPE in the New Testament. TYPES can be said to be imperfect and temporary, while ANTITYPES are perfect and eternal.
Abraham was the father to Ishmael and Isaac and from history, we all know that the story of Israel, the Law and most especially Judaism stemmed out of Isaac. According to scriptures, both Isaac and Ishmael, because they were from the loins of Abraham, paid tithes to Melchizedek and therefore were covered by the priesthood of Melchizedek. So when Melchizedek blessed Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac were also blessed. Melchizedek did not have any progenitors; he was not from the tribe of Levi, so as to inherit the priesthood just like Christ was also not from the tribe of Levi but from the tribe of Judah. Jesus was appointed of God. Therefore Melchizedek was the TYPE while Jesus was the ANTITYPE.
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – Clive Staples Lewis.
Keep it right here and be refreshed!