Bible Baptist Church

" Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." ...... John 3:3


The Priest-King


Hebrews 7:1-10


Introduction:

·         Hebrews 6:20 ended with the statement that Jesus had been made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. This priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is the most unique and interesting thoughts in the book of Hebrews

·         The OT system was such that the Law was the way walk in right fellowship with God. The basic idea of the Law is that so long as a man faithfully observes its commandments he is in a position of friendship with God and the door to his presence is open to him. But of course men cannot keep the law and therefore their fellowship with God and their access to his presence are interrupted. It was exactly to deal with that situation of estrangement that the priesthood and the whole sacrificial system existed.

·         The Latin word for priest is pontifex which means a bridge-builder; the priest was a man whose function was to build a bridge between men and God by means of the sacrificial system

·         This is a continuation of the thoughts begun in Hebrews 5:1-10- (Aaron’s priesthood)

·         V. 11- It became clear that what was needed is a new and a different priesthood and a new and effective sacrifice. He sees in Jesus Christ the only High Priest who can open the way to God; and he calls the priesthood of Jesus a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek.

I.                    Who was Melchizedek?- v. 1-3

a.      See Genesis 14:18-20- In the Genesis story Melchizedek is a strange and almost eerie figure. He arrives out of the blue; there is nothing about his life, his birth, his death or his ancestry. He simply arrives. He gives Abraham bread and wine, and he blesses Abraham. And then he vanishes from the stage of history with the same unexplained suddenness as he arrived.

b.      Priest of the Most High God: Melchizedek was not merely a worshipper of the true God. He had the honored title priest of the Most High God

c.       He is not mentioned again until about 1000 years later in Psalms 110:4 where it is written: "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

d.      And about 1000 years after that the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to reference back to this seemingly insignificant character who would’ve otherwise been lost in obscurity!

e.      V. 1-2- The name Melchizedek literally means King of righteousness. The word Salem means peace; therefore he was also King of Peace.

f.        Righteousness comes before peace. Righteousness is the only true path to peace.

g.      People are searching for that peace apart from righteousness- Rom. 5:1, 14:17

                                                              i.      Escape- hobbies, entertainment, vices

                                                            ii.      Evasion- don’t want to face our problems. No one ever solved a problem by refusing to look at it!

                                                          iii.      Compromise- there can be no compromise in the spiritual realm. If we want true peace, we must lay down our armaments and wave the white flag before God.

h.      V. 3- Melchizedek has no genealogy; he is without father and without mother (Hebrews 7:3). Note that this is one of the arguments drawn from the silence of scripture to prove that his priesthood is superior to Aaron’s.

i.         This was unusual for two reasons. (a) It is the opposite of the habitual practice of Genesis. Genealogies are an unmistakable feature of Genesis where long lists of a man's ancestors constantly occur. But Melchizedek arrives on the scene, as it were, from nowhere. (b) Far more important--it is the reverse of the rules which governed the Aaronic priesthood which depended entirely on descent/ancestry. Under Jewish law a man could not under any circumstances become a priest unless he could produce a certificated pedigree going back to Aaron. Character and ability had nothing to do with it; the one essential was that pedigree. When the Jews came back to Jerusalem from exile certain priestly families could not produce their genealogical records and were therefore debarred from the priesthood for ever (Ezra 2:61-63). Genealogy was literally everything.

j.        Made like in Hebrews 7:3 translates the ancient Greek word aphomoiomenos, a word used nowhere else in the New Testament. It is used in the sense of ‘a facsimile copy or model’ or ‘being made similar to’.”

k.       Though virtually all the commentators disagree with each other on this point, some think that without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God means that Melchizedek was a heavenly being, perhaps even a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Himself.

l.        It seems to me that Melchisedek is an actual historical figure- either way this is not the author’s intent. The main purpose is to use Melchizedek as an illustration of Christ. “Typical interpretation does not disregard the literal meaning of the Biblical text.”  Melchisedec was the literal king of Salem, and a literal priest of God.

m.    The author’s logic

                                                              i.      No genealogy

                                                            ii.      No beginning or ending of priesthood

                                                          iii.      Therefore he had no beginning and has no end; and his priesthood lasts forever

II.                  Consider how great- v. 4-10

a.      So then, the first difference between the two priesthoods was this--the Aaronic priesthood depended on genealogical descent; the priesthood of Melchizedek depended on personal qualification alone. Melchizedek's priesthood was based on what he was, not on what he had inherited. As one scholar puts it--the difference was between a claim based on legality and the other a claim based on personality.

b.      God did not allow the kings of Israel to be priests and the priests to be kings. Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God is a unique exception.

c.       How else can it be said that Melchizedek’s priesthood is better than Aaron’s?

d.      Abraham gave Melchizedek tithes of all that he owned- v. 2, Genesis 14:18-20

                                                              i.      Spoils is literally the top of the heap, referring to the choicest spoils of war. When Abraham tithed to Melchizedek he literally “took it off the top.”

                                                            ii.      Abraham paid this tithe not out of a legal duty (no law), He did so because of an unquestionable personal right. Melchizedek is greater than the sons of Levi because they exacted tithes through the Law, but he did it as a right he personally possessed given to him by no man

                                                          iii.      Levi, to whom the Israelites paid tithes, may be said to have paid tithes to Melchizedek, because he was Abraham's grandson and was therefore in Abraham's body at the time Abraham paid tithes.

                                                           iv.      This argument reminds us of the great truth that we inherited our sin from Adam- Romans 5:12

e.      Second, there is the saying that Melchizedek blessed Abraham. It is always the superior who blesses the inferior

f.        Abraham was one of the patriarchs; the patriarchs are of course superior to their descendants; the ordinary priests are the descendants of Abraham; therefore Melchizedek is greater than they.

g.      So the very fact that a new priesthood was promised (Hebrews 7:11) shows that the old one was inadequate. If the old priesthood had fulfilled the function of bringing men to the presence of God there would have been no need for any other

III.                A forever priesthood- v. 3, 17, 24

a.      Abideth/Remains a priest continually: Either this refers to the continuation of the priestly order of Melchizedek, or it is evidence that Melchizedek was actually Jesus appearing in the Old Testament. Jesus’ priesthood does remain to this day, and into eternity

b.      We can have victory, we are secure, we have every provision we need for the Christian life because of our High Priest!

 

Conclusion:

·         Christ as our priest is a reminder that we cannot do accomplish anything on our own!

·         Today, we celebrate our nation’s independence. May we not forget our dependence upon our High Priest for all things