Studies for Young People
In the Book of Hebrews
Theme: Stay Focused
Lesson 8: The Old Testament High Priest, Melchizedek (OT Hebrew word) or Melchisedec (NT Greek word), Revealed In Hebrews Chapters 7
Hebrews was written to encourage the Jews to not turn back to the Old Testament religion or Judaism. List the Lessons studied thus far.
Lesson 1: Focus on Him for he should be the Center of Your Life
Lesson 2: Focus on Him because He is worthy – All Hail the King of Kings
Lesson 3: Focus on Him because He died for you
Lesson 4: Focus on Him & don’t turn from God by hardening your heart
Lesson 5: Focus on Him for He Gives 2 Supernatural Resources – Bible & Prayer
Lesson 6: Focus on Him for He is the Source of our Supernatural Resources
Lesson 7: Focus on Him for there is danger in backsliding
Today, we will look at lesson 8: The Old Testament High Priest, Melchizedek, revealed. This is a very controversial subject, but if we look at the Word of God for what it says the answer will be clear. However, I must warn you, many scholars do not agree. The main things to remember about this study are:
- We will look at what the Word of God says.
- This study is to help us stay focused on him.
To understand what is going on let’s look back and examine the situation. According to Hebrews 5: 9 – 11the writer of the book of Hebrews could not reveal to them the truths regarding Melchisedec because they spiritually were not able to understand it.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
They were still babes who had never grown-up spiritually. (Hebrews 5:12 – 14)
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Then, in Hebrews 6:17 – 20 after dealing with the Jews’ problem, he reenters the thought of Melchisedec and explains who he was in Chapter 7 & what his purpose was because the Jews really needed to understand that turning back was not what Father Abraham wanted by the example he left behind for them to follow. And because they were backslid and babes, they also needed to understand the prophetic truths of the appearance of Melchizedec in the OT so they may forsake the Old Testament way of Judaism. (immutability means the ability to not change)
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
But before we look at the New Testament account let’s look at in detail the Old Testament account of this incident.
First the Battle: Genesis 14: 14 – 17, which will be discussed further in the N.T. account of this occasion.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
Second Meeting the king of Salem: Genesis 14: 18 – 19
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Question: Who is Mechizedek, according to verse 18?
Answer: He was the king of Salem and the priest of the most high God.
Three Things to Notice here:
- A lower case g refers to other gods, or gods of idolatry.
- Notice that he didn’t say that he was like the priest of the most-high God; but he said that he was the priest of the most-high God.
- Notice that it is Melchizedek king of Salem not king of Palestine.
Question: What is significant about him bringing the bread and the wine?
The bread and the wine, as explained by Jesus himself at the Last Supper, referred to the remembrance of the shedding of his blood, his death, burial, and resurrection and he said this do till I come. But to the Old Testament Saints it referred to the coming of Jesus to take away the sin of the world thus they had to go through the OT sacrifices, Passover, and feasts year after year till he come and be born in a manager and die and be raised again. The OT Saints looked for Jesus, the 12 Disciples walked with Jesus, and we, the NT Saints, remember his sacrifice by partaking of the Lord’s Supper till he comes again. The king and priest of Salem of the most high God blessed him and said remember me. For he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of the most-high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most-high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.” (verse 19 and part of verse 20)
Question: Who is the king-priest of the most-high God?
Answer: Here the king and priest of Salem and to us Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 20 is also another point very important to this study.
Question: According to the last sentence of verse 20, how did Abraham respond to this pronounced blessing?
Answer: “And he gave him tithes of all.”
Because of Exodus 20: 3 – 5, I must disagree with scholars’ opinion that he gave tithes to another king from another nation. It is important that we notice something here. One of the ten commandments of the Bible is that, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,” Exodus 20: 3 – 5.
Question: Knowing this, would Abraham have paid tithes to a king-priest who was outside of the commandment of law to another nation’s king?
Answer: No, for Abraham would be breaking the law by doing so. And Abraham himself testified to the king of Sodom that he lifted up his hand unto the Lord. (Gen 14: 21 – 24) Scholars say that he and the king of Salem made an altar here and lifted up sacrifices to the Lord, but I have problems with that because the Bible does not say that.
But the point that this was a prophetic appearance is missed when people say that Melchizedec was just a type of Christ.
The Lord knew that the Jews of the Book of Hebrews would be tempted to fall away and return to the Covenant of Father Abraham and the priesthood of Aaron. Therefore the Hebrew writer was reminding the Jews that Abraham met him that day and paid tithes to him for he is worthy who lives forever, not he who is now dead.
And to Abraham this was a blessing and a picture of things to come for the Covenant of Abraham and the priest hood of Aaron was to point to the coming Savior and their ministry would one day end.
- Therefore, this tells us, as it did the Jews in the Book of Hebrews that we should continue to pay our tithes by the example of Abraham to the Great High Priest as they did to the earthly priest and forsake the priesthood of Aaron when he comes and fulfills the new covenant of promise.
Thirdly Meeting the king of Sodom: Genesis 14: 21 – 24
And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Abraham would not take anything from the king of Sodom because he was of a heathen nation (Gen. 13: 13) and did not believe in the Lord God of Heaven. Therefore, Abraham did not want the king of Sodom to be able to say that he made Abraham rich.
Now this brings us to Hebrews Chapter 7 where the writer of Hebrews reveals who this man was and sheds more light on the great significance of his purpose.
Heb 7:1 – 28
Verse 1 gives us a brief introduction to what took place in Genesis 14 and says this Melchisedec not one like him but the specific one, this one.
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; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;
Verse 2 tells us the meaning of the name Melchisedec and the meaning of the King of Salem.
first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Verse 3 is still defining who Melchisedec is.
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life;
Bible scholars say that Malkitsedek an early king of Palestine was the one that met Abraham here who believed in God and worshipped the most-high God. But I disagree for three reasons:
- Because of Heb 7:3 this can not be because how would you know there was king in Palestine named Malkitsedek without records or writings identifying a date and time and royal descent. There is only one person who has no descent, no beginning of days, nor end of life and that is Jesus Christ.
- Because in Joshua 2 God told Joshua when he went into the Promised Land, which is where this earthly king supposedly lived years before, to possess it to kill, destroy, drive all of them out, and not to save any of them, as he saved Rahab because she believed. This tells me they were wicked and heathen nations.
- Also Bible maps indicate that at the time that the King of Salem met Abraham Salem was in the future Jerusalem were the tribe of Judah settled. Therefore one would have to think that Melchisedec was more than just a man or type of Christ for Abraham would not have paid tithes to them.
Question: What tribe did Jesus come from?
Question: Who is the King of righteousness and the King of peace?
Question: Who has neither father nor mother, without descent, and has neither beginning nor end is made like the Son of God and abideth a priest continually?
Answer: There is only one who has neither father, nor mother, without descent, and etc., and he is found in The Revelation of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1: 8 )
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Verse 3 goes on to define who Melchisedec was.
“…but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.”
Question: Why did he say made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually?
Jesus was the Son of God but at the time that Abraham met him he had not come to be born in a manager yet. Jesus was God in the flesh, which came to earth to be born of a virgin. Do you really get that? Jesus already was in the beginning; but he did not come to be born until the appointed time and was able to offer himself to die and take up his life again, which means he abideth a priest continually and will never die, which also makes him more that just a man.
Consider these three statements and let’s study them out:
We have no trouble believing that Jesus ascended up into heaven and came back standing up in the midst of the 11 disciples after his resurrection in Mark 24: 33 – 36. Nor do we have trouble believing that Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road in Acts Chapter 9 after Jesus’ death, burial and ascension.Yet some people have trouble believing that Abraham met Melchizedec who was none other than Jesus Christ of the New Testament. Here the Lord revealed to Abraham the one true Melchizedec who was to come, the King of righteousness, and the one true King of Salem, the King of peace, the promised seed.
Instead scholars and others would rather believe that he met Malkitsedek who was king of Palestine and a priest of the most-high God and a common man who was just a type of Jesus Christ.
Now, the writer of Hebrews asked us to consider these facts in verses 4 – 10:
We talked about points one and two of Hebrews 7 earlier when we looked at the Genesis’ account of this story but the Book of Hebrews goes a step further by saying the Levities took tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren.
1. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
2. 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:
This person who has no descent received tithes of Abraham and did not come from the loins of Abraham. Jesus’ father was God and Jesus had not been born yet.
3. But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
This man was able to bless him that had the promises and was not born or had no record of his ancestry.
Remember the statement that the Hebrew writer proposed to the Jews: Now, consider how great this man was unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils, when God himself has punished those who took of the spoils unworthily.
Study and remember these stories of the Old Testament:
Achan in Joshua 7, who after the battle took a Babylonian garment, some silver, and some gold, which God commanded that they kill and destroy everything and to not take anything for it was his.
- And King Saul in I Samuel Chapter 15 – Chapter 16: 1, who after the battle took the sheep and brought back the king when God commanded that he kill and destroy everything and not to take anything for it was his.
- Do you remember what happened to them and there families?Achan’s whole family was stoned to death and all that was his was burned. King Saul lost his kingdom and latter on in that book you read where his sons as well as himself were killed in I Samuel Chapter 31.
Yet we read that Abraham was blessed rather than judged in point #4, for Gen. 14: 16 states that Abram brought back all the goods and Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And we read that Abraham gave the king of Salem tithes of all – GOD’S PART in Gen. 14: 18 – 20. And in Gen. 15: 1 we read: “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Why was he blessed instead of judged according to point 3 above and point 4 below because he received his son, gave him tithes of all, and did not take from the king of Sodom a wicked king of a heathen nation. The less (Abraham of the Abrahamic Covenant after the priesthood of Aaron) is blessed of the better (Melchisedec the new covenant of promise to come).
4. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
5. And here men that die receive tithes;
6. but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Now examine the phrases on points # 5 & 6 above:
“And here men(Where and Who – our earthly priest) that die receive tithes; but there (Where – Genesis 14) he (Who – Melchizedec) receiveth them, (What – Tithes) of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.” (Who lives – Melchizedec our heavenly high priest and the only one that lives forever Jesus Christ)
Earthly priest will die; but Jesus Christ our Lord lives forever.
7. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
There is only one who could have met Levi before he was born and received tithes of him, Christ Jesus.
Question from the Hebrew Writer:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Answer: For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
Abraham paying his tithes to Melchisedec pictured a change in the priesthood that would come and the Lord sealed it with an oath in Psalm 110: 4. The priesthood needed to change, because earthly priest die and God gave his promise of a better seed to come, not after the law or after man but of the power of an endless life, to take away the sin of the world. Therefore, Melchisedec testified of a better way that was to come and sealed it with an oath of promise in Psalm 110:4.
1. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
Theses things of Melchisedec King of Salem are spoken pertained to another tribe of which Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. Melchisedec King of Salem was in the future Judah and it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, therefore foreshadowing changes to come.
2. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
He was not made after the law but after the power of an endless eternal life after the order of Melchisedec.
3. For, there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.
4. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
A better way: By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
1. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
2. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
3. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
4. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Question: Who is Melchizedek (OT), or Melchisedec (NT)?
To say that Melchisedec was just a type would take away from even the very context of the Book of Hebrews, which starts out in Chapter 1 exhorting the Greatness and Eternalness of the Father’s Son. And the rest of the book has been about focusing on him and what he has done for us and how much better he is than Moses and the prophets and the high priest. The purpose of the Book of Hebrews was to show Christian Jews that Judaism had come to an end through the fulfillment by Christ of which was the whole purpose of the law to point to the coming Savior.
Read Hebrews Chapter 1: 1 – 4 & 8 – 12 again.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Malkitsedek, as Bible scholars believe, may have been a king of Palestine and an earthly priest. There may have been an earthly Malkitsedek king of Palestine who had beginning of days and ending of days, whose reign came to an end. But this was not the one who met Abraham that day.
The Melchizedek King of Salem that met Abraham that day was the one true Melchizedek King of Salem. For there is only one true King of righteousness and one true King of peace, of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand, and whose reign has no end, Jesus Christ the better Covenant, the one true Melchizedek King of Salem the one Abraham paid tithes too and the one who was to come then, the one who had come already, and the one who is to come again.