(Melchisedec – King, Priest, and a Greater Man than Abraham)
Melchisedec may just be the greatest man of the Old Testament, and yet we are told so little about him. Some say that he was Jesus Christ himself. We can learn things of great importance about Christ by reading about Melchisedec.
1. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
Abraham was returning from his providential victory over four of the kings in that region, having recovered all of the people and goods that the kings had captured, Melchisedec was a king and priest. This is where the similarity to Christ begins.
And he [Christ] hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,
KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
The name “Melchisedec” means “king of righteousness”. He was also “king of peace”. The former takes precedence over the latter because we must be made righteous with God before we can have peace with him. There is only one way that we can be made righteous with God.
3. Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
Jesus had no earthly father and no spiritual mother. Spiritually speaking, he had no decent (genealogy). He is the Son of God. Because he is eternal, his priesthood is continual.
4. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6. But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
Abraham is the “father” of the nation of Israel and also the “father” of all who put their faith in Jesus Christ:
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace;
to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed;
not to that only which is of the law,
but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham;
who is the father of us all,
Surely, Abraham is a great man. But God tells us that Melchisedec is greater than Abraham. Think about this.
8. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12. For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
In the verses above, God starts to compare Christ’s eternal priesthood to the Levitical priesthood which was only temporary. The change of the priesthood and law are of huge significance. We will explore these truths in the next lesson.