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Melchisedec's Priesthood (Part 1) - Heb 7:1-3

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Melchisedec's Priesthood

I. There is very little said of Melchisedec in the Old Testament. He is only mentioned in the following two passages.
1. Abraham met him when he was returning from rescuing his nephew Lot from the Sodomites (Gen 14:18-20). From this account we learn:
A. Melchizedec was the king of Salem (v. 18).
B. He brought forth bread and wine (v. 18).
C. He was the priest of the most high God (v. 18).
D. He blessed Abraham (v. 19).
E. He blessed God (v. 20).
F. Abraham gave him tithes of all the spoil (v. 20).
2. God swore to make Christ a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec (Psa 110:4).

II. From these two passages, the apostle Paul reasoned out the theology of the priesthood of Jesus Christ in Hebrews 7.

III. Paul quoted Psa 110:4 and applied it to Jesus Christ in Heb 5:6,10, Heb 6:20, & Heb 7:17,21.
1. Paul was correct in doing so, for Psalm 110 is a prophecy of the reign of Jesus Christ.
2. In Mat 22:41-44, Jesus identified Himself as the Lord in Psa 110:1 that would reign at the right hand of God who also was promised to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec (Psa 110:4).
3. Peter likewise declared that Psalm 110 was a prophecy of Jesus Christ (Act 2:32-36).
4. This fact is the foundation of what Paul wrote in Hebrews chapter 7.

IV. Hebrews 7
1. Heb 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;
A. Melchisedec was the king of Salem (Gen 14:18).
i. Salem is Jerusalem (Psa 76:2).
ii. Jerusalem is the church (Heb 12:22-23 c/w Rev 21:2,9).
iii. Jesus is the king of the church (Eph 5:23 c/w Eph 1:20-22).
iv. Therefore, Jesus is the king of Jerusalem.
B. Melchisedec was also the priest of the most high God (Gen 14:18).
C. Melchisedec was therefore a king-priest.
i. Jesus is likewise a king-priest.
ii. Jesus is a king (Eph 5:23 c/w 1Sa 15:17; 1Ti 6:15).
iii. Jesus is a priest (Heb 4:14).
iv. Jesus must be a king-priest if He is a priest after the order of Melchisedec who was a king-priest (Heb 6:20).
2. Heb 7:2 - 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;
A. Paul clears up the ambiguity in Gen 14:20 showing that Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec.
i. Abraham is our model of faith (Rom 4:12).
ii. Abraham paid a tithe to the king-priest Melchisedec (v. 2).
iii. Jesus Christ is a king-priest after the order of Melchisedec (Heb 6:20).
iv. This is a compelling reason for Christians to give a tithe (10%) to Jesus Christ our High Priest.
B. Melchisedec was by interpretation King of righteousness (v. 2).
i. Jesus, our Melchisedec, is our King of righteousness (Jer 23:5-6).
ii. Jesus is made unto us righteousness (1Co 1:30).
iii. Jesus is the King of kings who judges in righteousness (Rev 19:11 c/w Rev 19:16).
C. Melchisedec was King of Salem which is King of peace (v. 2).
i. Jesus, our Melchisedec, is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6).
ii. Jesus is our peace (Eph 2:13-14).
3. Heb 7:3 - 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.
A. From this verse, some have concluded that Melchisedec was a Christophany (an appearance or manifestation of Christ).
i. This is a faulty interpretation.
ii. Melchisedec was not the Son of God; he was only "made like unto the Son of God".
a. Jesus was similar to Melchisedec, which demands that He is not Melchisedec (Heb 7:15).
b. Similitude - 1. A person or thing resembling, or having the likeness of, some other person or thing; a counterpart or equal;
iii. The Son of God did not existence in Melchisedec's day in order for Melchisedec to be an appearance or manifestation of Him.
a. Prior to the incarnation, there was only the Word, the second person of the Trinity (Joh 1:1 c/w 1Jo 5:7).
b. The Son of God came into existence when God the Father and the Holy Ghost caused His conception in the womb of the virgin Mary (Luk 1:35).
c. Therefore, the Son of God would not have been manifested in Melchisedec prior to the incarnation.
d. See sermons on "The Sonship of Jesus Christ."
e. Jesus was made a priest after the order of Melchisedec; Melchisedec was not made a priest after the order of Jesus (Heb 6:20).
B. "Without father, without mother, without descent" refers to the fact that Melchisedec has no priestly descent.
i. The Levitical priests had to be descended from Aaron to qualify for the priesthood (Ezr 2:61-62).
ii. Melchisedec had a descent ("whose descent"), but not from the priestly family of Levi (Heb 7:5-6).
iii. Esther "had neither father nor mother" (Est 2:7).
iv. This doesn't mean that Esther was not born of natural parents, but rather that her parents were no longer around and could not care for her.
v. Likewise, the fact that Melchisedec was said to be "without father, without mother" doesn't mean that he was not born of natural parents, but rather that his parents didn't give him his priestly descent.
vi. "Since his priesthood is a type of Christ's which is not derived by descent nor bounded by time, there is no record in Genesis of Melchisedec's parents, his birth, or his death." (Pastor Tim Boffey, Our High Priest's Order)
vii. John Gill put it well.
viii. "Without father, without mother, without descent,.... Which is to be understood not of his person, but of his priesthood; that his father was not a priest, nor did his mother descend from any in that office; nor had he either a predecessor or a successor in it, as appears from any authentic accounts: or this is to be interpreted, not of his natural, but scriptural being; for no doubt, as he was a mere man, he had a father, and a mother, and a natural lineage and descent; but of these no mention is made in Scripture, and therefore said to be without them;" (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
C. "having neither beginning of days, nor end of life"
i. Having no beginning of days refers to Melchisedec's lack of priestly decent (Heb 7:6) and the lack of any account of his birth in scripture.
ii. Having no end of life refers to the unending nature of Melchisedec's priesthood and the lack of any account of his death in scripture.
iii. The priesthood of Aaron could only continue by new priests being ordained to replace the old ones that died (Heb 7:23).
iv. Such was not the case with Melchisedec who had an unending priesthood with no successors.
v. Christ is a priest forever (Heb 7:17).
a. Christ was made a priest by the power of an endless life (Heb 7:16).
b. Melchisedec's priesthood typified a priesthood uninterrupted by death.
vi. John Gill put it well.
vii. "having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; that is, there is no account which shows when he was born, or when he died; and in this he was a type of Christ, who has no beginning of days, was from the beginning, and in the beginning, and is the beginning, and was from everlasting; as appears from his nature as God, from his names, from his office as Mediator, and from his concern in the council and covenant of peace, and in the election of his people; and he has no end of life, both as God and man; he is the living God; and though as man he died once, he will die no more, but lives for ever." (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)
D. "but made like unto the Son of God"
i. Melchisedec was not the Son of God, but was a type of Him.
ii. In his divine nature, Jesus Christ has no father or mother, no beginning of days, nor end of life.
E. "abideth a priest continually"
i. Melchisedec doesn't abide a priest continually personally, but rather in Christ of whom he was a type.
ii. John Gill put it well.
V. "abideth a priest continually; not in person, but in his antitype Christ Jesus; for there never will be any change of Christ's priesthood; nor will it ever be transferred to another; the virtue and efficacy of it will continue for ever; and he will ever live to make intercession; and will always bear the glory of his being both priest and King upon his throne:" (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

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