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priest of the
Abraham as he
Amplified: FOR THIS Melchizedek, king of Salem [and]
priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the
slaughter of the kings and blessed him
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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;
NLT: This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a
priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning
a great battle against many kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: For this Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of
God Most High, who did meet Abraham turning back from the smiting of
the kings, and did bless him,
OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
He has appeared at the Cross for
He now appears at the right hand of
the throne for
He shall appear a Second time for
the elect's final
He appeared for our
He now appears for our
He shall appear for our
He has appeared in Humiliation
He does appear in Exaltation
He shall appear in Universal
He has appeared for our
He does appear for our
He shall appear for our
Chapter 7 is a
critical section because it concerns the introduction of a better
priesthood. No sacrifices were possible without a priest (therefore no
"forgiveness") and therefore the priesthood was greatly revered by Jews.
Remember that in
Hebrews 5:5-10 the writer began to speak of the Melchizedek but then began a
lengthy parenthetical section from Hebrews 5:11 through Hebrews 6:20. This
parenthesis was to prepare his "dull of hearing" readers so that they might
better understand of this important chapter.
There is a point of application we in
the modern church need to consider and it is this -- the solid food and
sound doctrine of Scripture is not revealed by the Spirit to those who are
spiritually lazy or apathetic. In Hebrews 7:4 we encounter the only command
in this entire chapter (see
and it is to give careful consideration (as contrasted with a superficial
reading) to this teaching on Melchizedek
because he is a type of Jesus Christ, the One Whose beauty and glory we
desire to see.
The background of course is Jewish
readers who had professed belief in Christ and were being tempted to abandon
their faith in the Messiah and return to Judaism under threat of persecution
as described in chapter 10...
But remember the former days, when, after
being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly, by
being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and
partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed
sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully the seizure of your
property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an
abiding one. (see notes
And so the writer is writing to convince
them to break with the familiar system and rituals that their forefathers
had followed for centuries. He is saying that the religious system of
sacrifices, rituals, and rules that had been practice for some 1,400 years
had now been replaced by a better way. And so he focuses on
the supremacy of Christ Jesus the great High Priest, Who is the fulfillment
of all that was written by Moses and the prophets. And so he picks up his
thoughts on Melchizedek from Hebrews 5 because he wants to explain that
Jesus is not a priest like the familiar Levitical priests, but is of a
different order of Melchizedek and because of that, He is a better priest
than any of the priests in the old system. Ironically the old system was
never intended to be the end but the means, a means which was always and in
all ways intended to point to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Ray Stedman points out that...
The unfolding of the meaning of the
Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus is the goal toward which the author has been
aiming ever since
Hebrews 2:17 (note),
where he first uses the term high priest with reference to Jesus... These
themes are little noted or understood in the average church today but
desperately needed if the church (or the individual Christian) is to
confront the world with power and grace. (Stedman,
Ray: Hebrews IVP New Testament Commentary Series
(Bolding added for emphasis)
As Matthew Henry says...
Nothing made the Jews so fond of the
Levitical dispensation as the high esteem they had of their priesthood, and
it was doubtless a sacred and most excellent institution; it was a very
severe threatening denounced against the Jews (Hos. 3:4), that the children
of Israel should abide many days without a prince or priest, and without a
sacrifice, and with an ephod, and without teraphim. Now the apostle assures
them that by receiving the Lord Jesus they would have a much better high
priest, a priesthood of a higher order, and consequently a better
dispensation or covenant, a better law and testament...(and now the writer)
sets before them some of the strong meat he had spoken of before, hoping
they would by greater diligence be better prepared to digest it.
Expositor's Greek Testament writes
The subject of Christ's priesthood is
resumed; the interpolated admonition (Hebrews 5:11-6:20) having been
skillfully brought round to a second mention (actually strictly speaking the
4th mention) of Melchizedek. The chief reason for introducing the priesthood
of Melchizedek as the type of Christ's priesthood was that it was "for
ever". The Aaronic priesthood was successional, this single; and in this
sense "for ever". There were, however, other reasons. The first question
with a Jew who was enjoined to trust Christ's priestly mediation, would be
"What are His orders?" He belonged to a tribe of which Moses had spoken
nothing concerning priesthood. He might or might not be the true heir to
David's throne; but if He was, did not this very circumstance exclude Him
from the priestly office? Was it credible that the nation had been
encouraged rigorously to exclude from the priesthood every interloper, only
in order that at last this rigidly preserved order should be entirely
disregarded? This writer seizes upon the fact that there was a greater
priest than Aaron mentioned in Scripture -- a priest more worthy to be the
type of the Messianic priesthood, because He was Himself a King, and
especially because He belonged to no successional priestly order but was
Himself the entire order. (!) This idea of a priesthood superseding that of
Levi's sons found its way into Scripture through the hymn (Psalm 110:4-note)...
The chapter may be divided thus
I. Characteristics of Melchizedek, vv1-10
1. In himself as depicted in Scripture,
2. In his relation to Levi and his line, vv4-10
II. Inadequacy of Levitical priesthood
in comparison with the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ, vv11-25
1. Levi, being provisional, Melchizedek
being permanent, vv11-14
2. Official and hereditary : personal and eternal, vv15-19
3. Without oath: with oath, therefore final, vv20-22
4. Plural and successional : singular and enduring, vv23-25
III. Summary of the merits of the new Melchizedek Priest, Jesus
(from Nicoll, W Robertson, Editor: Expositors Greek Testament: 5
Volumes. Out of print. Search Google)
John Piper helps us understand why
all of this focus on Melchizedek and the priesthood, things which seem so
foreign and even may seem unnecessary to us in the modern western culture.
The writer is saying we are in desperate need of a High Priest for as Piper
the reason for all this talk about
Christ’s relation to Melchizedek in verses 1–24 is because the eternal,
superior priesthood of Jesus is our only hope of eternal salvation. God’s
wrath never changes. There is only one hope for sinners like us. We must
have a faithful High Priest, Who will intercede for us forever. We need a
King of righteousness (He 7:2-note). We need a King of peace
(He 7:2-note). We need Someone without
beginning and ending (He 7:3-note). Someone Who has an
indestructible life (verse 16) and will never die and need to be replaced (He
We need Someone greater than Abraham and greater than Levi—something like
Melchizedek, who blessed Abraham, (He 7:6,7-notes)
and who received tithes from Abraham and, in a sense, from Levi in Abraham (He
He 7:8, 9, 10-notes).
We need a new and greater Priest—so much greater that verse
says there was no perfection through the Levitical priesthood. All the Old
Testament priesthood could do was point toward the One superior Priest
(after the order of Melchizedek, Psalm 110:4-note),
Whose sacrifice of Himself and Whose eternal intercession would guarantee
eternal salvation for all God’s people.
So the first implication of He 7:25-note
is that all this truth about priesthood is because what we need saving from
is the wrath of God. God’s way of solving that problem is priesthood. This
is not ours to figure out or solve. God has to do it for us. And He has done
it. He ordains a Priest, His Son.
And don’t make a mistake here. It’s not as though Jesus the Priest loves us
and God the Father doesn’t. God the Father ordains the priesthood for our
salvation. It is His idea. He sends the Priest. It is His own Son Whom He
sends. And He loves Him infinitely. All this is the love of God rescuing us
from the wrath of God, in such a way that the justice of God is vindicated
and the glory of God is exalted. (Read his entire excellent message on
Hebrews 7:1-25 Jesus from
Melchizedek to Savior)
MELCHIZEDEK: houtos gar ho Melchisedek: (Heb 6:20; Genesis 14:18, 19,
For - He is
explaining the end of the previous verse...
Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us,
having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Expositor's Greek Testament feels
it is the "for-everness" of the
priesthood which he means especially to insist upon. The whole order is
occupied by himself. This one man constitutes the order. He succeeds no one
in office and no one succeeds him. In this sense he abides a priest for
ever. Between the subject Melchizedek and the verb "remains" there are
inserted five historical facts taken from Genesis 14, with their
Melchizedek - This is the writer's
fourth mention of Melchizedek (Heb 5:6,10 6:20 7:1, 10, 11, 15, 17,
21). In the 28 verses in
Hebrews 7 the writer gives us what amounts to an exposition of the OT
Scriptures on Melchizedek because there were only 3 verses in
Genesis 14 and only one notation some 500 years later
by David in Psalm 110:4.
Genesis 14:17 (Moses writes) Then
after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with
him, the king of Sodom went out to meet
him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
18 And Melchizedek (means "king of righteousness") king
of Salem (means "peace", thus Melchizedek was "king of peace". Salem in this
context is another name for Jerusalem and the first mention of the "city of
God" in the Bible) brought out bread and wine; now he was a
(the first mention of a priest in Scripture)
of God Most High (El
19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your
hand." And he (Abraham) gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give the people to me and take the
goods for yourself."
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have sworn to the LORD God Most
High, possessor of heaven and earth,
23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is
yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'
24 "I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share
of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their
Psalm 110:4 (David writes that)
The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "Thou art a priest
forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
At the time of the writing of this
epistle to the Hebrews another 1000 years had passed since David's
declaration in Psalm 110:4-note. And so the writer of
Hebrews begins to give more detail regarding Melchizedek and how this
historical OT individual validates the priesthood of Jesus.
Dwight Pentecost has the following
application writing that...
If a writer of the New Testament
considered Old Testament episodes—even something so brief as this encounter
with Melchizedek—so important, we would do well to become as familiar as
possible with the wealth of information God has revealed in the Old
Testament! (Pentecost, J. D., & Durham, K. . Faith that Endures. Grand
Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications)
H A Ironside comments that...
Abraham recognized Melchisedec's
spiritual authority by giving him tithes of all the spoils. Strengthened by
the bread and wine administered by Salem's king-priest, Abraham was prepared
to refuse the blandishments of the King of Sodom, representative of the
world in all its impurity and debasement. (H. A. Ironside Expository
Commentary on Hebrews)
Guzik comments on the subtle
juxtaposition of Melchizedek, the king of righteousness followed by peace
(the king of Salem or peace)...
As always, righteousness comes before
peace. Righteousness is the only true path to peace. People look for that
peace in escape, in evasion, or in compromise; but they will only find it in
righteousness. (Hebrews 7)
is a fascinating modern day "equivalent" of the Genesis 14 account of
Abraham's daring exploit. The following account of Operation Entebbe is
taken from Wikipedia...
On June 27, 1976, Air France Flight
139, an Airbus A300 originating from Tel Aviv, carrying 248 passengers and a
crew of twelve, took off from Athens, heading for Paris. Soon after the
12:30 p.m. takeoff, the flight was hijacked by two Palestinians from the
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations (PFLP-EO)
and two Germans from the German "Revolutionary Cells (RZ)" (Wilfried Böse
and Brigitte Kuhlmann), who commandeered the flight, diverting it to
Benghazi, Libya. There it was held on the ground for seven hours for
refueling, during which time a female hostage who pretended she was pregnant
was released. The plane left Benghazi, and at 3:15 it arrived at
Entebbe Airport in
Uganda. (Read the
Uganda at that time was ruled by the
dictator Idi Amin who welcomed the hijacked airliner which remained at Entebbe Airport the next 7
days as the PLO hijackers prepared for their next move. Like the raiders who
had taken Lot captive in Genesis 14, the PLO hijackers certainly appeared to
be in total control of their Israeli captives who were on this flight. But
unbeknownst to the hijackers, three Israeli C-130 Hercules
transports were on there way from Tel Aviv to Entebbe with a Israeli commandos, who within
hours attacked the airport under the cover of darkness. In less than one
hour the commandos rushed the old terminal, gunned down the hijackers, and
rescued 110 of the 113 hostages. The next day Israel’s Premier
Yitzhak Rabin declared "This operation will certainly be inscribed in the
annals of military history, in legend and in national tradition”
and indeed it has been so honored, even as was Abraham's daring raid some
4000 years earlier! Abraham with only “318 trained men”
from his own household took off in hot pursuit of Lot and his kidnappers and under the cover of night deployed his
relatively small force in a surprise attack which put the four kidnapper kings to flight.
So when Abraham returned to his home after the slaughter of the kings he was
a hero, at the pinnacle of martial success. Can you see him proudly astride
his lumbering camel, smeared with the dirt and blood of battle, leading his
318 proud men plus Lot and all the captives and all the plunder through
Jerusalem? If so, you have the “feel” necessary to begin to appreciate
Abraham’s strange, mystic encounter with a shadowy figure of immense
grandeur — Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem.
In this background and a sense of
Abraham's incredible victory against all odds we read these words in Hebrews
This Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest
of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter
of the kings and blessed him
Imagine the joy and victory that was in
the air. It would have been enough to go to any man's head, but not Abraham,
for he recognized that the victory was not his, but ultimately that they
victory was the Lord's. And so he chose to honor King Melchizedek who was
also the priest of the Most High God Who had given him the victory. Our
victories from day to day may not be as dramatic but they are no less always
a reflection of the fact that the victory belongs to the Lord. Are we quick
to acknowledge this eternal truth when accolades and adulation come our way?
Let us seek to have an "Abraham attitude" as we bask in the victory, whether
it be over our flesh, the world or the devil. As David said some 500 years
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the
power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed
everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O
LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)
As an aside, the reader will undoubtedly encounter a wide variety of
interpretations on the identity of Melchizedek, some of the more fanciful
interpretations including the following...
(1). Angel = Origen, Didymus
(2). Enoch = Husius, Calmet
(3). Shem = the rabbis of the first
century sought to identify him with Shem, the oldest son of Noah, to counter
the Christian view of him as a type of Christ. The early Christian writers
for the most part objected to this as invalidating the claim of Hebrews that
Melchizedek was “without genealogy,” since the genealogy of Shem was well
(4) Some Gnostic cults (Gnosticism)
taught that Melchizedek was a theophany (visible manifestation) of the Holy
Spirit, while a later sect saw him as a preincarnate appearance of the Son
(5) The Dead Sea Scrolls
(Cave 11 at Qumran) spoke of
Melchizedek as the coming great Deliverer of the Jewish remnant and equated
him with the archangel Michael.
(340-420 AD), author of the
Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
, stated that early church authorities
such as Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Eusebius of
Caesarea and Apollinaris all viewed Melchizedek as a man and the majority of
the Reformers followed this view.
A number of writers interpret Melchizedek
as a preincarnate appearance of Christ and base this interpretation on facts
from the OT and Hebrews...
(1). The names, the king of righteousness
and king of peace are very similar to names attributed to Christ (He 7:2-note)
(2). His lack of a recorded genealogy -
"without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning
of days nor end of life" (He 7:3-note)
(3). "He abides a priest perpetually"
(4). Contrasted with mortal men - "mortal
men receive tithes, but in that case one (Melchizedek) receives them, of
whom it is witnessed that he lives on" (Hebrews
One of the strongest arguments against
that interpretation is the writer's clear statement that he was "made like
the Son of God" (He 7:3-note).
for a synopsis of how many conservative (and one cult) sources interpret the
identity of Melchizedek.
which reflects rabbinic interpretation, Melchizedek is identified as Shem,
Noah's son (Targum Ps.-J. Gen 14:18; see esp Carmona, Est Bib 37 
79-102). The rabbis made the
totally unsubstantiated remark that the priesthood was transferred to
Abraham and his posterity at the meeting recorded in Genesis 14:18, 19, 20
because Melchizedek proved to be unworthy of his office! The implications of
this specious rabbinic interpretation would negate the writer's argument in
Hebrews 7 in view of the fact that Levi eventually came from the line of
Abraham and thus the Levitical priesthood is the legitimate successor
to the priesthood forfeited by Melchizedek. The rabbinic literature goes on
to apply the description of Psalm 110:4-note
to Abraham (cp, R. Ishmael as early as 135 AD) .
writes that Melchizedek's...
greatness is seen from the fact that he
blessed Abraham the patriarch (i.e., the father of us all) at a time when
Abraham was second to none in the land—victor over Chedorlaomer and the
kings who were with him, and from the fact that Abraham gave him a tenth of
everything. (New International Bible Commentary)
KING OF SALEM,
PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD: basileus Salem hiereus tou Theou tou hupsistou: (Psalms
76:2) (Psalms 57:2; 78:35,56; Daniel 4:2; 5:18,21; Micah 6:6; Mark 5:7; Acts
King of Salem -
In the next verse the writer tells us this equates with king of peace.
also another name for Jerusalem, as deduced from Psalm 76...
God is known in Judah; His name is great
in Israel. And His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in
Zion. (Ps 76:1,2)
The Hebrew word for ‘Salem” is
which is in turn derived from the same Hebrew root as shalom “peace”.
Genesis 14:18 and Psalm 76:2 are the only occurrences of Salem in the OT.
(hiereus from hieros = sacred, holy, consecrated to God, used
as a noun to mean a sacred place or temple, cp Mark 11:11) is a sacred or
consecrated person who serves God (or the false gods in the pagan
religions). Hiereus describes the specific position and not
necessarily a priest’s character.
W. G. Moorehead
defines a priest as
One who is duly qualified to minister in
sacred things, particularly to offer sacrifices at the altar, and to act as
mediator between men and God. (ISBE)
Priest in Latin
is pontifex (from pont-, pons = bridge + facere
= to make) which literally means a bridge maker, and is word used even today
to describe the Pope as "Pontifex
Maximus" (maximus = greatest,
highest), which literally means the "greatest bridge builder" and in modern
parlance "the Highest Priest".
The Roman emperor was Pontifex Maximus, a
high priest upon the throne of the Caesars. But our Lord Jesus is a high
priest who, now seated upon a throne of grace, will some day as High Priest
in the Messianic Kingdom occupy the throne of David in Jerusalem, as
Zechariah says, “He shall be a priest upon his throne” (Zech. 6:13).
The Most High God
- (See all NT uses of phrase
"Most High") In Hebrew "Most High God" is
El Elyon (note)
one of the great names of
God (they are all great of course!) which is expressive of God's sovereignty
over all things.
In the Old Testament,
the throne (KING) and the altar (PRIESTS) were separated and any person who
was not of the Levitical priesthood who
attempted to act as priest was judged by God.
But Uzziah (a king who was attempting to
function as a priest), with a censer in his hand for burning incense, was
enraged; and while he was enraged with the priests, the leprosy broke out on
his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the altar
of incense. (2 Chronicles 26:19)
Melchizedek is thus a unique man
with a unique designation as both king
and priest! Melchizedek's specific identity does not detract from the
powerful logic of the writer of Hebrews, who is appealing to his Hebrew
Scriptures to substantiate his argument. He is saying in essence that even
the Hebrew Scriptures recognize a
priesthood that is distinct from that of Aaron, and that furthermore, this
priesthood antedates Aaron's priesthood by literally hundreds of years.
John Calvin points out that
it is remarkable that Melchizedek lived with Sodom on one side and the
Canaanites on the other, and yet he was a righteous king and priest. This
shows that God can raise up a godly witness for Himself when and where He
pleases. Here are Calvin's comments...
It was doubtless no common thing
that in a country abounding in the corruptions of so many superstitions, a
man was found who preserved the pure worship of God; for on one side he was
nigh to Sodom and Gomorrah, and on the other to the Canaanites, so that he
was on every side encompassed by ungodly men. Besides, the whole world was
so fallen into impiety, that it is very probable that God was nowhere
faithfully worshipped except in the family of Abraham; for his father and
his grandfather, who ought to have retained true religion, had long before
degenerated into idolatry. It was therefore a memorable fact, that there was
still a king who not only retained true religion, but also performed himself
the office of a priest. And it was doubtless necessary that in him who was
to be a type of the Son of God all things excellent should be found: and
that Christ was shadowed forth by this type is evident from the Psalm
referred to; for David did not say without reason, “Thou art a priest
forever after the order Melchisedec;” no, but on the contrary, by these
words a sublime mystery was recommended to the Church.
WHO MET ABRAHAM AS
HE WAS RETURNING FROM THE SLAUGHTER OF THE KINGS AND BLESSED HIM: ho sunantêsas
hupostrephonti (PAPMSD) apo tes kopes ton basileon kai eulogesas (AAPMSN) auton:
(Genesis 16:14-16; Isaiah 41:2,3)
This description is
taken from the Genesis account ....
Genesis 14:17 (Moses writes) Then
after his (Abraham's) return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with
him, the king of Sodom went out to meet
him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley).
The writer of Hebrews substitutes
Melchizedek in place of the King of Sodom as the one who met Abraham at the
Valley of Shaveh (which is probably the modern day
Hebrews 7 is an important chapter for in
it the writer establishes the following points...
1). Melchizedek’s historic identity
2). Melchizedek’s precedence and superiority to Levitical priesthood
a). Abraham paid him tithes (so then did Levi)
b). Melchizedek blessed Abraham
3). The need for a replacement of the Law
a). Could not make perfect
b). Jesus was from another tribe not specified in Mosaic Law
4). The advantages of the Melchizedekian order...
a). A better hope = access to God (draw near)
b) A guarantee of a better covenant
c). A permanent priesthood
d). Salvation forever... and a priest Who
5). A dramatic contrast between Jesus'
priesthood and the Levitical priesthood
a) Jesus is holy, innocent, undefiled, separated, exalted
b). Jesus offered up one sacrifice of
himself for all time.
of His Identity
And it was doubtless necessary that in him who was to be a type
of the Son of God (see discussion of
Typology) all things excellent should be found: and that Christ was
shadowed forth by this type is evident from the Ps 110
Steven Cole (his sermons are
Melchizedek is a type of Christ in the
dignity of his person. Everything we know about Melchizedek comes from
Genesis 14:18-20, Psalm 110:4-note,
and Hebrews 7. The first text is historical, the second is prophetic, and
the third is theological. (open the Pdf of the entire sermon
Why You Need to Know About Melchizedek)
That Melchizedek was not Christ Himself
is evident from the statement that he was “made like unto the Son of God”
(or “likened unto” Him, Heb. vii. 3); while it equally appears from these
words, and from the whole tenor of Scripture, that he was a type of Christ.
The most general opinion is that he was a Canaanite king, who
reigned in Salem, and kept up religion and the worship of the true God; that
he was raised to be a type of Christ (see discussion of
Typology), and was honoured by Abraham as such.
In the writer’s opening statement he concisely states the
significance of the historical Melchizedek as a type of the ultimate
priesthood of Christ: Melchizedek was “without father or mother, without
genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, [and] like the Son of
God he remains a priest forever” (v. 3). Some have inferred from these words
that Melchizedek must have been an angel who took on human form for Abraham,
or even a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Himself. But such
interpretations are unnecessary, because the writer is simply using a
rabbinical method of interpretation from silence. His point is that the
Genesis account does not mention Melchizedek’s parents or genealogy or when
he was born or died, thereby providing a fitting type of what would be
fleshed out in the qualifications of Christ (see discussion of
R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books;
H A Ironside
There is no reason to think of
Melchisedec as a mysterious person, possibly supernatural, or even as some
have supposed a preincarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. If any
ask, "Who is Melchisedec?" the only proper answer is "Melchisedec." He was
not Shem the son of Noah, nor Job of the land of Uz, nor Cheops the builder
of the great pyramid, as some have endeavored to prove. He was, as is
distinctly stated, Melchisedec, King of Salem.
What is true of Melchizedek (the type) only because of
silence is intrinsically true of Christ (the reality). Melchizedek is
without parents only in that they are unknown. (Dobson,
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible
But Melchizedek is described as made like the Son of God
(7:3), not as being the Son of God. I believe that Melchizedek was a
historical human being, whose priestly ministry typifies that of Christ (see
man whom God designed to use as a picture of Jesus Christ. But we cannot be
sure of the details of his identity. (MacArthur,
John: Hebrews. Moody Press
We should not conclude that Melchizedek had no parents,
that he was never born, and that he never died. That is not the point. The
thought is that as far as his priesthood was concerned, there is no record
of these vital statistics because his ministry as priest was not dependent
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
J Vernon McGee
Melchizedek is a type of Christ. (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
The usual interpretation ... is that he
(Melchizedek) was made into a type of Christ since as a "King of
Righteousness" (meaning of Melchizedek) and "King of Peace" (meaning of
Salem), he appears and leaves the record suddenly, with no mention of either
ancestry or death. It seems better to take the words literally, in which
case they could be applicable to Christ Himself, appearing here to Abram in
a theophany. This would also solve the problem of how such a godly king and
priest as Melchizedek could be ruling a city in such an ungodly land as
Canaan and, why, if he did, Abram would have had no other contact with him.
The fact that he was "like unto the Son of God" (Hebrews 7:3) accords with
one of Christ's pre-incarnate appearances; at His human birth, he became the
incarnate Son of God forever. Melchizedek was also said to be a man (Hebrews
7:4), but the same is true in the case of other theophanies, one of which
was likewise manifested to Abram (Genesis 18:2,22; 19:1-24). (Morris,
Henry: Defenders Study Bible. World Publishing)
The question is often raised about
whether what is recorded in Genesis 14 is a theophany; that is, a
preincarnate appearance of the eternal Son of God. While many say it is, the
context of Genesis 14 seems to argue against it. Every verifiable theophany
in the Old Testament fulfills the purpose of bringing a message from God to
men. But that is not the case here. Further, the details of the
account—giving names and places—argue against it. Melchizedek could hardly
be called the “king of Salem” unless he exercised legal authority there over
an extended period of time. When the writer says he was “made like the Son
of God,” he seems to imply that only those things had been recorded that
could be used later by the writer of the Hebrews to reveal truth concerning
Christ’s priestly office. Thus, in the historical context, Melchizedek is an
individual, universal, timeless, unique priest whose ministry resulted in
spiritual and material benefits; and he is never known outside of that
picture. In this, as the writer of the Hebrews will show, he represents a
perpetual foreshadowing of the priestly order Christ will fill. (Pentecost,
J. D., & Durham, K. Faith that Endures: A Practical Commentary on the Book
of Hebrews. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications)
Melchizedek is clearly a type of Christ
(see discussion of
Everything known about him from the OT is found in Ge14:17-20 and Ps. 110:4-note.
He was a great king-priest, and it is to his order of priesthood that Christ
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
C I Scofield
Melchizedek, a type of Christ the
C H Spurgeon
WE will not enlarge upon the story of
Melchisedec, nor discuss the question as to who he was. It is near enough
for us to believe that he was one who worshipped God after the primitive
fashion, a believer in God such as Job was in the land of Uz, one of the
world’s grey fathers who had kept faithful to the Most High God. He combined
in his own person the kingship and the priesthood; a conjunction by no means
unusual in the first ages. Of this man we know very little; and it is partly
because we know so little of him that he is all the better type of our Lord,
of whom we may enquire, “Who shall declare his generation?” The very
mystery which hangs about Melchisedec serves to set forth the mystery of the
person of our divine Lord.
Though some commentators have viewed Melchizedek as a
preincarnate appearance of Christ, the phrase like the Son of God seems to
militate against that. “Melchizedek thus was the facsimile of which Christ
is the reality” (Howley 1969:552). To a modern congregation, this
passage should be presented as a vivid picture of the help which is
available for believers today from our great high priest who can give us
righteousness and peace from within if we “come to the throne of grace to
receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Stedman,
Ray: Hebrews IVP New Testament Commentary Series
A more popular interpretation is that
Melchizedek was Christ Himself in some preincarnate form. Thus, he would
have been like the Old Testament “angel of the LORD” (e.g., Ge 16:7, 8,
9, 10, 11; Ex. 3:2; Jdg 13:3-21). Proponents of this view point to the
language of Hebrews 7:3: “Without father, without mother, without
descent, having neither beginning of day nor end of life.” There are some
serious problems, however, with this idea. Six times the writer of Hebrews
cited Psalm 110:4-note
when stating that Jesus is a priest “after the order of Melchizedek” (He
5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 17, 21). If Jesus actually was Melchizedek,
He would not be said to be “after the order of Melchizedek.” Furthermore,
language of similarity, not identity, is used to describe the relationship
between the two. Hebrews 7:3 states that Melchizedek was “made like unto
the Son of God,” not that he actually was the Son of God. Finally, Hebrews
7:15 states that Jesus is a priest “after the similitude [likeness] of
Melchizedek,” not that he actually was Melchizedek. These verses indicate
that Melchizedek was an individual who was a type of Christ, not that he
actually was the preincarnate Christ. (Israel My Glory : Volume 51 Issue 6.
Although some have thought that
Melchizedek was actually a theophany, that is, an appearance of Christ in
the form of Melchizedek to Abraham, the more probable view is that Hebrews
means only that Melchizedek, unlike Aaronic priests, had no recorded
genealogy. He was a priest independent of his father or his successor. In
other words, he was not dependent on his genealogy, in sharp contrast to the
Aaronic priesthood which depended upon it completely. The predecessors and
successors of Melchizedek are not mentioned in the Bible, and the validity
of the Melchizedek priesthood does not rest upon this background.
Melchizedek was a man (see Hebrews 7:4), so he had to have had
a mother and a father. But there is no record of his genealogy (“descent”)
in the Old Testament; and this is significant because most great persons in
the Old Testament have their ancestry identified. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Mormons (which I consider a non-Christian cult! [see
critique of Mormonism] This note
is only for completeness)
Claim that their male members are priests
of the order of Melchizedek and that their prophet, Joseph Smith, held both
the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. But this is a wholly gratuitous
claim since it rests on no objective appointment by God but only on a
subjective assertion in which they take this honor upon themselves.
In "The Way into the Holiest" F B
Meyer writes that...
History gives its unanimous judgment
against the temporal and the spiritual power being vested in the same man.
In Israel the two offices were kept rigorously separate; and when, on one
occasion, a king passed the sacred barrier, and, snatching up a censer,
strode into the inner court, he was at once followed by the remonstrances of
the priestly band, whilst the white brand of leprosy wrote his doom upon his
brow; "and he himself hastened to go out, because the Lord had smitten him."
But the simple monarch of whom we write, living before gathering abuses
forbade the union, combined in his person the royal scepter and the
sacerdotal censer. And herein he foreshadowed the Christ.
Jesus is King and Priest. He is
King because He is a priest. He is highly exalted, demanding homage from
every knee, and confession from every lip, because He became obedient to the
death of the cross. He bases His royal claims, not on hereditary descent,
though the blood of David flowed in His veins; not on conquest or superior
force; not on the legislation that underpins the kingdom of heaven among
men: but on this, that He redeemed us to God by His blood. He is the King of
glory, because He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
The cross was the stepping-stone to His throne.
And He cannot fulfill his office as
Priest unless he be first recognized as King. Many fail to derive all the
blessing offered to men through the Priesthood of Christ, because they are
not willing to admit His claims as King. They do not reverence and obey Him.
They do not open the whole of the inner realm to His scepter. They endeavor
to serve two masters; and to stand well with empires as different as light
and darkness, heaven and hell, God and Satan.
There must be consecration before there
can be perfect faith; coronation before deliverance; the King before the
The order is invariable first King of
Righteousness, and after that also King of Peace (Heb. 7:2).
"Peace, give us peace!" is the
importunate demand of men; peace at any price; by all means peace. But God,
in the deep waters, lays the foundation of righteousness; "and the work of
righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and
assurance forever." It is of no use to heal the wound slightly, saying,
"Peace, peace," when there is none. Infinitely better is it to probe to the
bottom, and to build up from a sound and healthy foundation to the surface
of the flesh.
And the King of Peace will never enter
your soul until you have first acknowledged him as King of Righteousness,
submitting yourself to his righteous claims, and renouncing the
righteousness which is of the law for that which is by faith. It is
lamentable to find how few Christians, comparatively, are realizing the full
meaning or power of Christianity. Joyless, fruitless, powerless, they are a
stumbling block to the world, and a mockery to devils. And is not the reason
here? They are not right. They are harboring traitors and aliens in their
souls. They constantly condemn themselves in things that they allow. No
doubt they excuse themselves, and invent special reasons to palliate their
faults, so that what would be inadmissible with others is pardonable in
them. What special pleading! What ingenious arguments! What gymnastic feats
are theirs! But all in vain. Let any such who read these lines learn that it
is peremptory to make Christ King, and King of Righteousness, before ever
they can appreciate the peace which accrues from his Priesthood on our
all the spoils,
all, by the
Amplified: And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all
[the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates,
king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means
king of peace.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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;
NLT: Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had won in the battle
and gave it to Melchizedek. His name means "king of justice." He is
also "king of peace" because Salem means "peace." (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: to whom also a tenth of all did Abraham
divide, (first, indeed, being interpreted, `King of righteousness,'
and then also, King of Salem, which is, King of Peace,)
TO WHOM ALSO
ABRAHAM APPORTIONED A TENTH OF ALL THE SPOILS: ho kai dekaten apo panton
emerisen (3SAAI) abraam: (Genesis 28:22; Leviticus 27:32; Numbers
18:21; 1Samuel 8:15,17)
A tenth of all the spoils - This
fact is introduced here and prepares his readers for a startling conclusion
In Genesis 14:20 Moses records...
"And blessed be God Most High, Who has
delivered your enemies into your hand." And he (Abraham) gave him
(Melchizedek) a tenth of all.
Pentecost comments that when
came out to meet Abraham, he pronounced a
twofold blessing. First, he pronounced a blessing upon Abraham (Ge 14:19),
evidently because he recognized that Abraham’s victory was a victory by
faith. He also pronounced a blessing upon God Most High (Ge 14:20). Even
though the conflict was waged in faith, the victory did not belong to
Abraham. The victory was God’s—through Abraham—so that the honor and the
glory for the victory must be given to God Most High. Abraham’s response was
to give Melchizedek a tithe of all the spoils of the conquest (Ge 14:20). In
giving the tithes, Abraham was declaring that the victory was not his, but
God’s. Therefore all of the spoils did not belong to Abraham, but they
rightly belonged to God. In giving a tithe he recognized God’s right to all
he had taken in battle. (Ibid)
Keep in mind that there was no Mosaic law
at the time of Abraham's tithe. More than 430 years later the Mosaic law
required one tenth to be paid to the Lord from both produce and flocks...
'Thus all the tithe of the land, of the
seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S; it is holy to
the LORD. 31 'If, therefore, a man wishes to redeem part of his tithe, he
shall add to it one-fifth of it. 32 'And for every tenth part of herd or
flock, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the
LORD. (Lev 27:30, 31, 32).
Expositor's Greek Testament has an
interesting note that...
the offering of a tithe of the spoils to
the gods was a custom of antiquity. See Wetstein for examples and especially
Arnold's not on Thucydides iii.50. "Frequently the anathemata were of the
nature of aparchai, or the divine share of what was won in peace or
way,...The colossal statue of Athena Promachos on the Athenian Acropolis
hill was a votive offering from a tithe of the booty taken at marathon."
(Gardner and Jevon's Greek Ant., 181.)
How can we apply this truth to our
lives today? If Melchizedek is
a type of Christ (which I believe he is) and Abraham paid a tithe of his
choice spoils to this man, how much more should believers today acknowledge
our Great High Priest Jesus as the One Who bought us with a price...
Or do you not know that your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that
you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore
imperative = Command to
do this without any hesitation! Give a proper opinion of your Lord by how
you think, what you say and how you act before both lost and saved - in
context especially referring to abstaining from fleshly lusts and immorality
- He wants our obedience before He wants our money or even our songs of
praise, cp 1 Sa 15:22,23, Psalm 51:16, 17) God in your body. (1 Corinthians
WAS FIRST OF ALL,
BY THE TRANSLATION OF HIS NAME KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: proton men
hermeneuomenos (PPPMSN) basileus dikaiosunes: (2Samuel 8:15; 23:3;
1Kings 4:24,25; 1Chronicles 22:9; Psalms 45:4, 5, 6, 7; 72:1, 2, 3,7;
85:10,11; Isaiah 9:6,7; 32:1,2; 45:22, 23, 24, 25; Jeremiah 23:5,6;
33:15,16; Micah 5:5; Luke 2:14; Romans 3:26; 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:14, 15, 16,
(protos) refers to the former or first and here seems to refer to
155x in 148v - Matt 5:24; 6:33; 7:5;
8:21; 10:2; 12:29, 45; 13:30; 17:10, 27; 19:30; 20:8, 10, 16, 27; 21:28, 31,
36; 22:25, 38; 23:26; 26:17; 27:64; Mark 3:27; 4:28; 6:21; 7:27; 9:11f, 35;
10:31, 44; 12:20, 28f; 13:10; 14:12; 16:9; Luke 2:2; 6:42; 9:59, 61; 10:5;
11:26, 38; 12:1; 13:30; 14:18, 28, 31; 15:22; 16:5; 17:25; 19:16, 47; 20:29;
21:9; John 1:15, 30, 41; 2:10; 7:51; 8:7; 10:40; 12:16; 15:18; 18:13; 19:32,
39; 20:4, 8; Acts 1:1; 3:26; 7:12; 12:10; 13:46, 50; 15:14; 16:12; 17:4;
20:18; 25:2; 26:20, 23; 27:43; 28:7, 17; Rom 1:8, 16; 2:9f; 3:2; 10:19;
15:24; 1 Cor 11:18; 12:28; 14:30; 15:3, 45ff; 2 Cor 8:5; Eph 6:2; Phil 1:5;
1 Thess 4:16; 2 Thess 2:3; 1 Tim 1:15f; 2:1, 13; 3:10; 5:4, 12; 2 Tim 1:5;
2:6; 4:16; Heb 7:2; 8:7, 13; 9:1f, 6, 8, 15, 18; 10:9; Jas 3:17; 1 Pet 4:17;
2 Pet 1:20; 2:20; 3:3; 1 John 4:19; Rev 1:17; 2:4f, 8, 19; 4:1, 7; 8:7;
13:12; 16:2; 20:5f; 21:1, 4, 19; 22:13. NAS = before(3), best(1),
first(128), first of all(2), first importance(1), first man(1), first
one(1), first things(1), first time(1), foremost(5), leading(2), leading
man(1), leading men(5), outer(3), previous(1).
Ironside makes an interesting
observation on the the order of the names of Melchizedek writing...
how remarkably the Spirit of God sets His
seal on the verbal inspiration of the Old Testament. Our attention is drawn
to the fact that this royal hierarch is first "by interpretation King of
righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace"
(Hebrews 7:2). If the order of the names had been reversed, God's beautiful
type would have been spoiled. But standing just as they do, the names
righteousness and Salem are in perfect agreement with truth revealed
elsewhere. Righteousness must come before peace. We are told in Isaiah
32:17, "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of
righteousness quietness and assurance forever." And in the great gospel
Epistle to the Romans we first learn how the righteousness of God has been
maintained in the cross before we are told of peace with God, which is ours
by faith. So exact is Scripture that the changing of the order of the
original words would throw all into confusion. (H. A. Ironside Expository
Commentary on Hebrews)
(the verb hermeneuo
[noun = hermeneia] which some say is from
Hermes the pagan god of language -
Hermeneutics - study or science of interpretation of
ISBE Article) means to
interpret, to explain in words (expound) or to translate what has been
spoken or written in a foreign language. The idea in some contexts is to
help someone understand a subject or matter by making it plain. In the
present context the idea is the rendering of words in a different language
(which also makes them understandable).
Here are the other cognates in this word
group - hermeneía (2058
see the 2 uses) =
interpretation (e.g., interpretation of tongues); diermeneúo (1329
see the 6 uses) = to
interpret; diermeneutes (1328
see the one use) = an
interpreter (1 Cor 14:28 "there is no interpreter"); methermeneúo (3177
see the 8 uses) translate from
one language to another.
In sum hermeneuo means "to interpret" in
either the sense of explaining or in the sense of translating. Thus
interpretation involves making something that is unclear or unknown into
something that is clear and intelligible. In Classical Greek the verb also
at times meant "to say" or "to express ones' thoughts in words," but this is
close to the meaning "to explain."
In modern parlance especially as it
relates to the church hermeneutics is "The discipline of interpreting
texts, with special reference to the principles and procedures involved"
(DeMoss, M. S. Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek. IVP)
Lewis writes that hermeneutics
The science (principles) and art (task)
by which the meaning of the biblical text is determined [It is a science
because it is guided by rules within a system; and it is an art because the
application of the rules is by skill, and not by mechanical imitation].
A. Hermeneutics is a SUPPORTING
discipline. By delineating how a student should reach his/her conclusion.
B. Hermeneutics is a REFLECTIVE
discipline. By exposing how a student is reaching his/her conclusions.
C. Hermeneutics is a CLARIFYING
discipline. By enabling a student to gain self-awareness.
But being aware of how you reach your
interpretation you are in a better position to weigh the merits of your
As noted above some feel the etymology of
hermeneuo is related to Hermes the pagan Greek god who
functioned primarily as the attendant, herald, and interpreter of the gods
to mortals. Hermes was responsible for communicating what was beyond
human understanding into a form that human intelligence could grasp. He was
also known as the god of science, inventions, speech, writing, literature
and eloquence. He was the messenger or interpreter of the gods, and
particularly of his father Zeus. It follows that the verb hermeneuo came to
refer to Thus the verb came to refer to bringing someone to understanding of
something in his language ( explanation, interpretation) or in another
language (translation). In a similar way our English word interpret
is used at times to mean explain and at other times translate.
In its nineteen usages (both nouns and verbs) in the New Testament, it is
more frequently used in the latter sense, as the following illustrates.
English dictionaries define
hermeneutics (from hermēneuein = to interpret, from hermēneus =
interpreter) as the study of the methodological principles of interpretation
as of the Bible. They go on to state that it is the branch of theology that
deals with the principles and methodology of exegesis (means critical
exposition or explanation of the meaning of a scriptural passage in the
context of the whole Bible. [from Greek exēgēsis, from exēgeisthai = to
explain, interpret, from ex- + hēgeisthai = to lead]).
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible
Dictionary adds that
Bible scholars believe a biblical text
must be interpreted according to the language in which it was written, its
historical context, the identity and purpose of the author, its literary
nature, and the situation to which it was originally addressed. (Youngblood,
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nelson's
New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
In a number of languages the equivalent
of translate or interpret is an idiomatic expression such as
`it comes out in our language as', `in our words it means' or `in our
mouths it says.'
Hermeneuo is used 3 times in the
John 1:42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus
looked at him, and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called
Cephas " (which is translated Peter).
John 9:7 and said to him, "Go, wash in
the pool of Siloam " (which is translated, Sent). And so he went away and
washed, and came back seeing.
Hebrews 7:2 to whom also Abraham
apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem,
which is king of peace.
Hermeneuo is used 3 times in the
Septuagint (Ezra 4:7, Esther 10:3, Job 42:17)
Ezra 4:7 And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the
rest of his colleagues, wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the text of
the letter was written in Aramaic and translated (Hebrew = tirgam =
interpret; Lxx = hermeneuo) from Aramaic.
EXEGESIS & EXPOSITION
As an aside since exegesis and
exposition is so closely related to hermeneutics, the following
definition of terms is presented from Dr Lewis' paper
EXEGESIS AND EXPOSITION - The
communication of the meaning of the text (the Bible) along with its
relevance to present-day hearers. It starts with a given passage and
investigates it using the process of historical/cultural, grammatical,
What is the difference between
Exegesis and Exposition? The word "exegesis" is a transliteration of the
Greek word which, according to Arndt and Gingrich, means "narrative,
description, or explanation, interpretation." In the Septuagint this noun is
used in Judges 7:15 in referring to the "interpretation" of a dream. The
verb "exegeomai" according to Arndt and Gingrich, means to "explain,
interpret, tell, report, describe."
In Webster's Dictionary the terms
exegesis and exposition are very similar in meaning. The former
is "an explanation or critical interpretation of a text," and the latter is
"a setting forth of the meaning or purpose" of a writing. However, at EAST
and in other biblical circles a more technical distinction is often made
between these two terms. The primary concern in exegesis is an understanding
of the text, whereas the primary concern of exposition is the communication
of the meaning of
An effective expositor is first an
effective exegete. Exegesis precedes exposition just as baking a cake
comes before serving it. The exegetical process takes place in the workshop,
the warehouse. It is a process in private, a perspiring task in which the
Bible student examines the backgrounds, meanings, and forms of words; the
structure and parts of sentences; the ascertaining of the original textual
reading (textual criticism); etc. But not all those details are shared when
he preaches or teaches the Bible. An artist, in the process of creating his
work, agonizes over the minutiae of his painting, but in the end he wants
ethers to see not the fine details but the whole and how the parts are
Exegesis is thus a means to an
end, a step toward the end result of exposition. Exegesis is
more technical and is basic to exposition, which is more practical.
In the privacy of his study, the exegete seeks to comprehend the exact
meaning of the details of the Bible passage being studied. But in the pulpit
or classroom the expositor, having built his material on an exegetical base,
seeks to communicate the content. One is to the other as the foundation is
to the building. (Hermeneutics)
One purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was to
offer sacrifices which would restore the people to a right
relationship to God. These sacrifices since they were of the blood of
animals could never perfectly succeed in any deep and lasting way, for they
were but a
pre-figurement or type of the one perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God did
remove sin and provide lasting forgiveness. The Aaronic sacrifices symbolized
and pointed to the sacrifice of the Cross that alone makes men righteous and
results in genuine peace with God (see note
Romans 5:1), but they themselves could not make men righteous or
give men lasting peace. As a temporary ritual they accomplished their God-ordained
purpose. But they could not bring men to God. They were never meant to.
King of righteousness - As alluded
to elsewhere in this discussion, this ultimately points to the King of kings
Whose return ushers in a 1000 year reign of righteousness. Jesus is the King
of righeousness and as Dwight Pentecost points out...
When various religious groups propose
their own views of what Jesus Christ would or would not do in today’s world,
reigning as “King of Righteousness” usually is not something they include.
Be wary of those cultists, religious liberals, or radicals who say they
“believe in Jesus.” Always ask them to clarify which “Jesus” they believe
in—the “Jesus” of their own philosophy or the Jesus of the Bible! (Ibid)
AND THEN ALSO KING
OF SALEM, WHICH IS KING OF PEACE: epeita (then) de kai basileus salem o
estin (3SPAI) basileus eirenes: Zec 6:13
Expositor's Greek Testament writes
"first" by his very name, "then" by his
actual position; probably the peace of his kingdom is considered as a
consequence of its righteousness. Righteousness and peace are characteristic
properties of the Messianic Kingdom. (Ibid)
The psalmist Solomon
In his (Solomon desire for his son finds
ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah's reign) days may the righteous
flourish, And abundance of peace till the moon is no more. (Psalm 72:7)
Spurgeon commenting on Psalm
Where Jesus reigns He is known as the
true Melchizedek, King both of righteousness and peace. Peace based upon
right is sure to be lasting, but no other will be. Many a so called Holy
Alliance has come to the ground ere many moons have filled their horns,
because craft formed the league, perjury established it, and oppression was
the design of it; but when Jesus shall proclaim the great Truce of God, He
will ordain perpetual peace, and men shall learn war no more. The peace
which Jesus brings is not superficial or short lived; it is abundant in its
depth and duration. Let all hearts and voices welcome the King of nations;
Jesus the Good, the Great, the Just, the Ever blessed.
King of Salem (08004)
(shalem - from Hebrew
King of peace
The designation King of Salem
emphasizes not only the place (Jerusalem) but also the character of this
king as one who rules with peace or shalom. As an aside, it is notable that
there is no single English word that can truly convey the richness of the
meaning of the familiar Hebrew word shalom. The general meaning
behind the root sh-l-m is of completion and fulfillment and
thus of entering into a state of wholeness and unity (oneness)
signified by a restored relationship, especially wholeness of the
relationship between a person and God. Shalom signifies a sense of
well-being and harmony both within and without, health, happiness, quietness
of soul, preservation, prosperity, tranquility, security, safety and
includes all that makes life worthwhile. Shalom also conveys the sense of
being at peace with God and involves more than forgiveness of sin, in that
fullness of life, prosperity, and peace with men is the expected result of
shalom. In narrative books shalom typically is used to describe an absence
of hostility or strife. In the psalms and the prophets it goes beyond this,
so that in at least 2/3 of the biblical references shalom indicates a total
fulfillment that comes when individuals experience God’s presence.
Shalom is used as a greeting and also as a way of inquiring after
someone’s state of being & to want the very best for him in life. To be at
peace is to be happy, to be whole, to be right with God, fellow humans, and
creation. Peace is the opposite of the rivalry, instability, and division
brought by envy and ambition. Shalom is still used today in Israel in
greeting & thus wishing one another well, saying in essence "may all things
be prosperous with you." Someone has well said that "Peace in the Jewish
sense is the symphony of life made meaningful through a right relationship
with God." (New Geneva study Bible: Thomas Nelson: Nashville) Shalom always
means everything which makes for a man’s highest good. In the east when one
man says shalom to another, he does not mean that he wishes for the other
man only the absence of evil things; he wishes for him the presence of all
good things. In the Bible peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it
means enjoyment of all good.
As emphasized righteousness always
precedes peace, the prophet Isaiah recording that...
the work of righteousness will be peace,
And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. (Isaiah
The psalmist writes that...
Lovingkindness and truth have met
together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Spurgeon comments that ultimately
there is a sense in which this verse speaks of...
Christ Jesus, the reconciling Word. In
Him, the attributes of God unite in glad unanimity in the salvation of
guilty men, they meet and embrace in such a manner as else were
inconceivable either to our just fears or to our enlightened hopes. God is
as true as if He had fulfilled every letter of His threatenings, as
righteous as if He had never spoken peace to a sinner's conscience; His love
in undiminished splendour shines forth, but no other of His ever blessed
characteristics is eclipsed thereby. It is the custom of modern thinkers(?)
to make sport of this representation of the result of our Lord's
substitutionary atonement; but had they ever been themselves made to feel
the weight of sin upon a spiritually awakened conscience, they would cease
from their vain ridicule. Their doctrine of atonement has well been
described by Dr. Duncan as the admission "that the Lord Jesus Christ did
something or other, which somehow or other, was in some way or other
connected with man's salvation." This is their substitute for substitution.
Our facts are infinitely superior to their dreams, and yet they sneer. It is
but natural that natural men should do so. We cannot expect animals to set
much store by the discoveries of science, neither can we hope to see
unspiritual men rightly estimate the solution of spiritual problems -- they
are far above and out of their sight. Meanwhile it remains for those who
rejoice in the great reconciliation to continue both to wonder and adore.
from verb eiro = to
join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the
binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or
divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning conveyed by the common
expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the
opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony
is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell
corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". Eirene can
convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate
peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's
faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential
characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36).
is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a
nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within
the soul. Peace
implies health, well-being, and prosperity.
Like a River Glorious
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blessed;
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.
Illustrated - Jim Walton was translating the NT for the Muinane people
of La Sabana in the jungles of Colombia. But he was having trouble with the
word peace. During this time, Fernando, the village chief, was
promised a 20-minute plane ride to a location that would have taken him 3
days to travel by walking. The plane was delayed in arriving at La Sabana,
so Fernando departed on foot. When the plane finally came, a runner took off
to bring Fernando back. But by the time he had returned, the plane had left.
Fernando was livid because of the mix-up. He went to Jim and launched into
an angry tirade. Fortunately, Walton had taped the chief's diatribe. When he
later translated it, he discovered that the chief kept repeating the phrase,
"I don't have one heart." Jim asked other villagers what having "one
heart" meant, and he found that it was like saying, "There is nothing
between you and the other person." That, Walton realized, was just what
he needed to translate the word peace. To have peace
with God means that there is nothing--no sin, no guilt, no
condemnation--that separates us. And that peace with God is
possible only through Christ (see note
Do you have "one heart" with God today?
C H Spurgeon writes...
seems to have been, first by name, and then by place of office, doubly
designated a king...I believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture; hence,
I can see how there can be instruction for us even in the proper names of
persons and of places. Those who reject verbal inspiration must in effect
condemn the great apostle of the Gentiles, whose teaching is so frequently
based upon a word. He makes more of words and names than any of us should
have thought of doing, and he was guided therein by the Spirit of the Lord,
and therefore he was right. For my part, I am far mores afraid of making too
little of the Word than of seeing too much in it.
This man is,
first, named “Melchi-zedek“ — ”king of righteousness” by
interpretation; and herein he is like our divine Lord, whose name and
character can only come to us by interpretation. What he is and who he is
and all his character, no angel’s tongue could tell. No human language can
ever describe to the full what Jesus is. He is King, but that is a poor word
for such royalty as his. He reigns, but that word “reigns” is but a
slender description of that supreme empire which he continually exercises.
He is said to be King of righteousness, but that is by interpretation, by
the toning down of his character to our comprehension. Scripture might have
called him King of holiness, for he is “glorious in holiness.” His
character, better known to spirits before the throne than to us, is not to
be comprehended in that one word “righteousness:” it is but an
interpretation, and most things lose by translation, and so the perfect
character of the Son of God, as it stands before the Eternal Hind, cannot be
fully expressed in human language. In fact, when our faculties are enlarged,
and our spirits raised to the highest platform, they can never reach the
eternity of our Lord’s sonship, and the glory of his kingdom: the equity of
his character, and the loveliness of his mind, both as God and man, must
still be far beyond us. But this much is translated to us into our own
tongue — that he is a King, and that he is a righteous King — yea, the very
King of righteousness — the Sovereign of the realm of equity, the supreme
Lord of everything that is good and holy. That, you see, is wrapped up in
his name and nature. Jesus is righteousness, and every righteous thing
gathers beneath the right scepter of his kingdom.
But the second
word, Salem, which, brought down to our tongues signifies “peace,”
is in reference to a place rather than a person. You see our Lord Jesus is
essentially righteousness, that is interwoven with his name and person; but
he gives, bestows, deposits, pours forth peace in a place which he has
chosen, and upon a people whom he has ordained, and whom he has brought near
unto himself: so that his kingdom of peace little him with his redeemed, to
whom he has given the peace of God.
King of righteousness.” How early that “first“ is I cannot tell
you.” In the beginning was the Word,” but when that beginning was, who
knows? — for is he not, indeed, without beginning? First and firstborn, from
everlasting thou art God, O mighty Son of Jehovah! First King of
righteousness, and then afterwards when men fell, when rebellion, and
strife, and war had sprung up — then he came to heal the mischief and become
“King of peace.” He comes himself as the divine Ambassador, our Peacemaker
and Peace; he comes here into this place even into the midst of his Salem,
into the midst of his people, and gives us now, as he has long given, the
vision of peace; opening up before the eye of faith the completeness, the
sureness, and the delight of perfect peace in himself.
The one matter
which I am going to set forth at this time is just this — ”First King of
righteousness, and after that also King of peace.” Note well the order
of these two, and the dependence of the one upon the other; for there could
be no true peace that was not grounded upon, righteousness; and out of
righteousness peace is sure to spring up. Righteousness is essential to
peace; if it were not first, peace could not be second. If there could be a
lying peace apart from righteousness, it would be dank, dark, deadly, a
horrible peace, ending in a worse misery than war itself could inflict. It
is needful where an unrighteous peace exists that it should be beholden up,
that a better peace should be established upon a true foundation which will
last for ever.
I shall ask you
— and may the Spirit of God help us to do it — first, to admire the King,
and, secondly, to enjoy him — to enter with holy delight into the full
meaning of his name and character as King of Righteousness and King of
peace. (Read the full sermon
King of Righteousness and King of Peace)
Amplified: Without [record of] father or mother or
ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life,
but, resembling the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without
interruption and without successor.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: 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.
NLT: There is no record of his father or mother or any of
his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest
forever, resembling the Son of God. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: without father, without mother, without
genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, and being
made like to the Son of God, doth remain a priest continually.
WITHOUT MOTHER, WITHOUT GENEALOGY HAVING NEITHER BEGINNING OF DAYS NOR END
OF LIFE: apator ametor agenealogetos mete arche hemero mete zoes telos echon (PAPMSN):
(Exodus 6:18,20-27; 1Chronicles 6:1, 2, 3 )
This verse has perplexed many especially in view of the fact that Genesis
where Melchizedek is first mentioned if filled with genealogies. Melchizedek
however has none -- at least none that is recorded. He disappears from
Genesis 14 as quickly as he had appeared. The silence of Scripture on His
genealogy is a perfect type of our great High Priest Christ Jesus Who is
eternal (without beginning or end).
H A Ironside exhorts us writing...
Again let us worship as we contemplate the perfection of Scripture—just as
perfect in what it omits as in what it relates! (H. A. Ironside Expository
Commentary on Hebrews)
from a = without + pater = father) means fatherless and was a
term used in secular Greek to describe children who were orphaned,
abandoned, estranged, or born out of wedlock.
TDNT adds that apator had the following secular uses...
Humans. When used of humans, apator can mean “orphan,” “foundling,”
“bastard,” “of unequal parentage,” “disinherited,” or “of nonnoble or
unknown origin.” In Judaism converted pagans are said to be “without
father,” and Judaism also applies the sense of “unnamed” to Esther, who is
an orphan in Esther 2:7.
Deities. Such deities as Athena, Hephaestus, and Aphrodite are said to be
without father or mother. God has no father in Orphic, Gnostic, and mystic
works. The point is that he has no origin, or is uncreated.
(Referring to the sole NT use in Hebrews 7:3) This says of Melchizedek that
he has no father, mother, nor genealogy. The point is that he does not fall
into the sequence of the Levitical priesthood. As the promise precedes the
law in Paul, so this priesthood precedes the Levitical priesthood in
Hebrews. Similarly, as the reference of the promise is to Christ, so the
reference of Melchizedek's priesthood is to the high priesthood of Christ.
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
Without mother (282)
(ametor) is motherless.
Barclay comments on apator and ametor noting that...
These words are very interesting. They have certain uses in secular Greek.
They are the regular description of waifs and strays and of people of low
pedigree. They contemptuously dismiss a man as having no ancestry. More,
apator has a technical legal use in the contemporary Greek of the
papyri. It is the word which is used on legal documents, especially on birth
certificates, for father unknown and, therefore, illegitimate. So, for
instance, there is a papyrus which speaks of: “Chairēmōn, apator,
father unknown, whose mother is Thasēs.”
Without genealogy (35)
(agenealogetos from a = without + genealogeo = to trace
a genealogy) is literally without a traceable genealogy and so without
pedigree or descent.
Barclay comments that this
is a word that, so far as we know, no Greek writer ever used before.
Vincent writes that...
The meaning is that there is no record concerning his parentage. This is
significant as indicating a different type of priesthood from the Levitical,
in which genealogy was of prime importance. No man might exercise priestly
functions who was not of the lineage of Aaron.
The absence of traceable lineage is significant
because it indicates that this order refers to one that is distinctly different
from than the Levitical priesthood, wherein it was of critical importance to
know one's genealogy. If one was not of the lineage of Aaron, they could not exercise priestly functions.
As someone has said, the result of this emphasis on lineage was that priests
were often more concerned
about pedigree than holiness.
Hughes writes that...
The point is, Jesus’ priesthood,
like Melchizedek’s, was based solely on the call of God, not on heredity.
Jesus and Melchizedek were both appointed as “priests of God Most High.” (Hughes,
R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books;
The silence of the Genesis narrative concerning Melchizedek’s parents or
line of priestly descent was significant because of the contrast it posed
with the Levitical priesthood, where recorded line of descent was required
for accession to the priestly office
Expositors Greek Testament writes
that the terms "Without father, without mother, without genealogy" indicate
he stands in Scripture alone, no mention
being made of an illustrious father or mother from whom he could have
inherited power and dignity, (and) still less can his priestly office and
service be ascribed to his belonging to a priestly family. It is by virtue
of his own personality he is what he is; his office derives no sanction from
priestly lineage or hereditary rights; and in this respect he is made like
to the Son of God. Of course it is not meant that in point of fact he had
neither father nor mother, but that as he appears in Scripture his is
without (such lineage).
Having neither beginning...nor end - This
does not mean that he came from nowhere. It simply means that in the Old
Testament record nothing is said of his parents or origin. In practical
terms the point the writer is seeking to get across to his readers with this
statement about Melchizedek's having no beginning or end is that he was
shadow the substance of which was realized in Messiah's eternal priesthood.
As Vincent says...
That is to say, history is
silent concerning his birth
As an aside notable that some who believe
in reincarnation appeal to this section of Hebrews to support their premise
that Jesus is a reincarnation of Melchizedek. Clearly this is not a valid
interpretation because the writer says Melchizedek was only “made like”
Jesus, not that Jesus was Melchizedek. The writer also states
that Christ was a priest
“according to the order of” Melchizedek and not that He was Melchizedek.
BUT MADE LIKE THE
SON OF GOD HE ABIDES A PRIEST PERPETUALLY: aphomoiomenos (RPPMSN) de to huio
tou theou menei (3SPAI) hiereus:
(Heb 7:17,23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
Made like - Note carefully that the Son of God is not made like
Melchizedek, but he is made like the Son of God, and thus Melchizedek is
presented in Scripture in such a way that he points to the truth about the
Son of God.
Leon Morris adds that...
And it is the Son of God Who is the
standard, not the ancient priest–king. The writer says that Melchizedek is
“made like” (aphomoiomenos) the Son of God, not that the Son of God is
like Melchizedek. Thus it is not that Melchizedek sets the pattern and Jesus
follows it. Rather, the record about Melchizedek is so arranged that it
brings out certain truths that apply far more fully to Jesus than they do to
Melchizedek. With the latter, these truths are simply a matter of record;
but with Jesus they are not only historically true, they also have
significant spiritual dimensions. The writer is, of course, speaking of the
Son’s eternal nature, not of his appearance in the Incarnation. (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan
Guthrie commenting on Melchizedek's priesthood
Any priesthood is evaluated according to the status of the deity who is
served, which means that Melchizedek’s must have been of a highly exalted
Guzik commenting on "made like the
Son of God" writing that...
It really isn’t that Jesus has
Melchizedek’s kind of
priesthood. Instead, Melchizedek has Jesus’ kind of priesthood. (Ibid)
Made like (871)
from apo = intensifies meaning or also means away from + homoioo
= to make like) means make like or similar or to produce a facsimile. In the
passive sense it means to be like, to resemble or to portray (“to be or
become like” or “make oneself out to be like.”)
Guthrie adds that aphomoioo...
is a suggestive word, used in the active
of ‘a facsimile copy or model’ and in the passive of ‘being made similar
that Melchizedek “is like” the Son of
God. The point may be that the Son of God is the prototype, or that the OT
text is taken to be a messianic prophecy, i.e., a sign that points forward
Thayer writes that aphomoioo
to cause a model to pass off (apo) into
an image or shape like it -- to express itself in it.
F B Meyer says that...
It was as if the Father could not await
the day of His Son’s priestly entrance within the veil; but must needs
anticipate the marvels of His ministry, by embodying its leading features in
miniature (The priesthood of Melchizedek).
In summary form what the writer has also
done is to present several
characteristics of an ideal priesthood -- righteous, peaceable,
personal and eternal.
Compare Isaiah's description of the
Messiah in which righeousness is emphasized...
But with righteousness He will
judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And
He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of
His lips He will slay the wicked.
Isaiah also emphasizes the Messiah's
association with peace in the well known passage in chapter 9...
For a child will be born to us, a son
will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His
name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government
or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To
establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From
then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Note that Melchizedek's likeness is not to Messiah as Son of Man but
to Him as Son of God. As Son of Man He was born and died. As Son of God,
neither could be said of Him.
Son of God - Arthur Pink
The various appellations under which our
Lord is referred to in this Epistle call for due attention. They are not
used at haphazard, but with precision and design. In
it is “Jesus” that faith beholds—the humiliated but now glorified Saviour.
3:6 it is “Christ”,
the Anointed One, who is over God’s house. But in 7:3 it is “the Son of
God”, as High Priest, unto whom Melchizedek was made a similitude. The
Spirit here jealously guards the honour of Him whom it is His office and
delight to glorify. He hereby intimates to the Hebrews that though
Melchizedek were such an excellent person, yet he was infinitely beneath Him
whom he represented. The typical person was but man; the antitype, Divine!
Furthermore, one who was more than mortal was required in order to fulfil
that which Melchizedek foreshadowed: he who should be capable of discharging
an always-living, constant-abiding, uninterrupted priesthood, must be the
Son of God! (Melchizedek
(meno) means to remain in the same place over a period of time and so
from hieros = sacred, consecrated to deity) is one who is consecrated
to the service of deity. Melchizedek
truly unique for no other OT individual served as both a king and a priest.
The next individual who exercises these two offices in one person will be
our Lord Jesus Christ, Who at His second coming will reign and serve as King
and Priest when He takes His seat on David’s throne to rule over the
Messianic age and kingdom.
Perpetually is the Greek phrase
Eis is a preposition of motion into any place or thing. Figuratively
eis marks the point toward which anything ends. Dienekes means
carried through or stretched the whole length and thus protracted, continual
or perpetual. Taken together this phrase means for all time or without
In reference to a dynasty
dienekes was used
to mean that the royal family would never fail to have a male heir to rule.
Webster's defines "perpetual"
as the holding of something
(such as an office) for life or for an unlimited time.
Pentecost comments that...
We know nothing of a time in his life
before he became a priest, nor do we know anything of a retirement from the
priesthood at the end of his life. In this respect—since he had neither
beginning nor ending of days as far as is recorded—he stands as a timeless
Perpetually dramatically contrasts
with the length of service of the
Levitical priests who were eligible to
serve only from age 25 until age 50, regardless of how faithfully they
served. Perpetually also contrasts with the Levitical priesthood which
was only ordained under the Old Covenant, which the writer later explains
has become "obsolete...growing old (and) ready to disappear".
William Lane writes that...
Melchizedek’s sudden appearance and
equally sudden disappearance from recorded history awakens within a
sensitive reader the notion of eternity. (William L. Lane, William:
Hebrews: A Call to Commitment. Hendrickson, 1988)
The perpetuity of Melchizedek’s
personal priesthood perfectly pictures the eternality of Christ's
priesthood which the writer emphasizes later writing that Christ...
on the other hand, because He abides
forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to
save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always
lives to make intercession for them. (see notes
Melchizedek thus was the facsimile of
which Christ is the reality. Christ, therefore, is king of righteousness and
peace in the fullest sense, and priest ‘like’, ‘in the order of’
Melchizedek, that is, priest forever! (New International Bible Commentary)
Hughes sums up this section
The big picture the writer wants us to
see is that Jesus perfectly fulfills what was foreshadowed in the Genesis
account of Melchizedek. Melchizedek’s character type regarding king, priest,
righteousness and peace was fulfilled to perfection in Christ. Melchizedek’s
qualifications, being without genealogy and without beginning or end,
prefigured Jesus who had no priestly genealogy or priestly term of service
but was appointed by God and ministers eternally. (Hughes,
R. K. Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul. Volume 1. Crossway Books;
John Walvoord addressing the
question of when Christ became a priest writing that...
One of the problems which are raised
concerning the eternal priesthood of Christ is the question of the point in
time when Christ assumed His priestly office.
Probably the most common tendency has
been to assume that His priestly work began with the cross and the
glorification that followed His resurrection. As William Milligan points
out: “Such writers as Tholuck, Riehm, Hofmann, Delitzsch, Davidson, and
Westcott admit with more or less distinctness that the High-priesthood of
our Lord began with His Glorification; but they cannot allow that the death
upon the cross was not ‘an essential part of His High priest’s work,
performed in the outer court, that is, in this world,’ and they are thus
driven to the expedient of saying that, High priestly as that act was, the
Priesthood of Christ only attained its completeness after His resurrection.
This distinction, however, between incompleteness and completeness cannot be
maintained; and the true solution appears to be suggested by our Lord’s own
words. It began upon the cross, and the cross was the beginning of His
It is clear from Scripture, however, that
Christ long before His dying on the cross served as a priest in the sense of
interceding for man and acting as mediator. On occasion He prayed all night,
and specifically, according to Luke 22:32, Christ declared of Peter, “I made
supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Inasmuch as intercession is
a priestly function, Christ was doing the work of a priest.
Another suggestion which has been offered
is that the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist was His induction into the
priestly office, fulfilling that which was represented in the induction to
the Aaronic priesthood of the Old Testament where the priest was given a
Still others point to the incarnation as
the beginning of His priestly work in that the union of God and man was
necessary for Christ to be the true mediator.
While each of these points of view has
some factors to commend it, the solution seems to be that Christ’s
priesthood is eternal as to its office, and temporal in its fulfillment as
far as ministry is concerned.
It is true that the priesthood of Christ
depended upon His incarnation, sacrifice, and glorification, all of which
was prerequisite to His work as priest at the right hand of the Father.
The office of Christ as priest, however,
can be considered eternal in the same sense that Christ is the Savior
eternally. In support of this point of view, Psalm 110:4-note
is quoted in Hebrews 7:20–21:
“Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent:
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Here the argument is that Christ as a
priest was so constituted, not by ordinary appointment in time, but was made
a priest by the eternal oath of God. As Psalm 110 was written a thousand
years before the birth of Christ, it would seem at that time that Christ was
already regarded as a priest and hence, His priesthood did not begin at some
later time, such as the time of His incarnation, baptism, or death on the
cross. The priesthood of Christ, then, instead of resting on an earthly
lineage, historic beginning, ordinances, or sacrifice, instead, originated
in the eternal oath of God. (Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 122, Issue 485, Page
Christ and Aaron
Jesus, in thee our eyes behold
A thousand glories more,
Than the rich gems and polished gold
The sons of Aaron wore.
They first their own burnt-offerings
To purge themselves from sin;
Thy life was pure without a spot,
And all thy nature clean.
[Fresh blood as constant as the day
Was on their altar spilt;
But thy one offering takes away
For ever all our guilt.]
[Their priesthood ran through several
For mortal was their race;
Thy never-changing office stands
Eternal as thy days.]
[Once in the circuit of a year,
With blood, but not his own,
Aaron within the veil appears
Before the golden throne:
But Christ, by his own powerful blood,
Ascends above the skies,
And in the presence of our God
Shows his own sacrifice.]
Jesus, the King of glory, reigns
On Zion’s heav’nly hill;
Looks like a lamb that has been slain,
And wears his priesthood still.
He ever lives to intercede
Before his Father’s face:
Give him, my soul, thy cause to plead,
Nor doubt the Father’s grace.
S Lewis Johnson
7:1-3 Melchizedek and Jesus Christ -
writes that in Hebrews 7 we have come...
to the major theme of this great book,
the high priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Chapter 7 is of paramount
importance because the relationship of Jesus Christ to Melchizedek is so
significant to an understanding of this book. What our author has done is to
take Psalm 110:4-note
and construct this epistle around this text...
The author of this epistle conceives of
"spirituality" as access to God. This is very important because today in
evangelicalism it is common to think of spirituality as "being saved". The
author of Hebrews does not say that being saved is not important for that is
where we begin. But the whole of the Bible especially the New Testament
teaches that we are "saved" in order that we may embark on "the way to
maturity." Maturity is the goal of Christian thought.
Salvation is a step along the way. Paul
makes that very plain in Colossians when he says that his goal is to bring
men and women to maturity. That is why Paul labors so diligently. Of course
he wants them to be saved, but Paul wants to bring them to maturity. Now
this author thinks of maturity as "access to God", not just getting saved.
Access to God means having new life and then worshipping God.
This is possible by three things...
(1) By covenant, that is by the divine
promises for the covenants contain the promises. Of extreme importance is
"the New Covenant" and we will see much more about it in Hebrews 8 and 9.
(2) We also say that sacrifice or the
divine redemption is important because there can be no fulfillment of the
divine promises without a sacrifice by which sin is removed.
(3) Finally and very important, that
which makes "access to God" possible is priesthood or divine mediation.
So we have...
Divine Promises – The Covenants
Divine Redemption – The Sacrifice
Divine Mediation – The Priesthood
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