Hebrews 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.
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.
As one commentator stated, chapter 7 is filled with complex argument. God has been establishing the greatness of His Son throughout this book. He is greater than the angels. He is greater than the apostles. He is greater than the Levitical priesthood. God actually began to reveal this fact to man back in Genesis 14.
This Melchisedec was unique in that he was king of Salem, a former name for Jerusalem, and he was also a priest of the most high God. In the Old Testament we see that every Jewish king was just that: a king. He had no authority to offer sacrifices for sin. Every Jewish priest was to be of the tribe of Levi. They were not kings. However, God introduced Melchisedec in this special capacity. He was not a wicked king. He was not a priest to some false gods. This king was blessed of God and was a servant of God.
The background given here on this man is that he was the king of Salem and the priest of the most high God, who met Abraham as he was coming back from the slaughter of the kings. Abraham led a battle against some evil kings that had captured Lot and taken some possessions.
In verse 2 we see that Abraham gave the tenth of all the spoil from the war to Melchisedec. The description given of this king tells us that he was a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is mystery associated with this man that can only be understood if we realize that God was preparing the way for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ long before He came as a Babe in a manger. Of course we know He is the eternal Son of God.
No man can be called “the king of righteousness.” We also see that this man was called the King of Salem, which is the King of Peace. This again is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. God used Melchisedec in the Old Testament as a picture of Jesus Christ. He was superior to the Levites. He was superior to Abraham in that Abraham paid tithes to him.
Verse 3 tells us that this man was without father, without mother, without descent. There is no record of the birth of this king. There is no record of his death. There is no genealogical record of this king. From the human perspective, he is dropped into the picture with no background information on him. God gave the nation of Israel this information to prepare them for the reception of the Lord Jesus Christ as their King and their Priest. Israel as a nation rejected this reality.
We see as well that this man was made like unto the Son of God. This again sets him apart as a “Christophany”.
Melchisedec was not a ruthless man. He was a righteous king as he depicted the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews assumed they knew Jesus Christ as the son of a carpenter. They missed out on some very important truth and thus limited Jesus Christ to being man. Even the doctors Jesus debated with as a twelve year old boy knew there was something different about Him, but they did not allow God to show them that He was the Messiah.
Verse 3 further tells us that Melchisedec’s priesthood was an endless priesthood. This also showed the original recipients of this letter and every subsequent generation that Jesus Christ was and is superior to the Levitical priesthood. He superseded them and His priesthood is everlasting. Aaron was chosen by God but he died. All his descendants died. Jesus Christ did not even come from the tribe of Levi. God did not make any mistakes. He was laying out some very important facts that cannot be appreciated by the natural man.
In verse 4 we are again reminded of how great Melchisedec was in that even Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils to this man. Abraham is the father of the nation of Israel. However, Jesus Christ is greater than Abraham. The Jews of Jesus’ day rejected Him and prided themselves in being of the seed of Abraham. Jesus exposed their hypocrisy in thinking they were of the seed of Abraham, and yet they wanted to kill Him. Abraham did not do that.
The Jews tried to deny the facts, but they were caught and they had no way out of their contradiction. Their hatred for Jesus Christ just grew more intense as He pointed out the wickedness that was in their hearts.
You notice in verse 5 that they of the tribe of Levi “receive” the office of the priest. They did not always have that office. It was given to them by God. However, Melchisedec had that office inherent in him. Again this is a picture of Jesus Christ Who is the Prophet, Priest and King, not at some point, but eternally.
The Levites were commanded to take tithes of the people by commandment of the law. This in spite of the fact that the Levites came from Abraham. It was a unique situation that God established, that the Jews never really thought about. The Levitical priesthood became quite corrupted and they assumed they were someone even though they were inferior to Melchisedec. They did not understand their office was ordained of God and they needed to function under His authority. Melchisedec was not so. His was a picture of that eternal office fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 6 God further developed the contrast between Melchisedec and the Levitical priesthood. Everything that God is doing here is to establish the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ to all that came before.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
There were many in Paul’s day who despised the name of Jesus Christ. There are many today just as guilty. Not that long ago a high official was caught on a hot mic taking the Lord’s name in vain. He assumes he is above the law and answerable to no one. He is greatly mistaken and will be in shock one day for his extremely arrogant and foolish thinking.
Every true church needs to make much of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every knee will bow before Him one day. People need to be reminded of this fact now and constantly.