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Who Was Melchizedek?




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Hebrews 7

Christ and Melchizedek
For this Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him; 2 to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all. He was first, by interpretation, King of righteousness, and then also, King of Jerusalem, which is, King of peace. 3 He was without recorded father or mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but presented as being like the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.
   4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And they indeed of the sons of Levi that receive the priest's office have the commandment according to the law to take tithes from the people, that is, of their brothers; even though they are also descendants of Abraham. 6 Melchizedek was not descended from Levi by genealogy, but he took tithes of Abraham and blessed him that had received the promises. 7 But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here mortal men receive tithes; but there one received them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 And, so to say, when Abraham paid the tithe, Levi, whose descendants receive the tithe, also paid a tithe. 10 For Levi was yet in the loins of his ancestor Abraham when Melchizedek met Abraham.
   11 Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed requires also a change of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord originated from the tribe of Judah. Regarding this tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
   15 And what we say is even more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest, 16 who has been appointed, not on the basis of a law about physical descent, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For it is witnessed: You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 18 On the other hand, there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

The end of the old priesthood
   20 And the Melchizedek priesthood was not without the taking of an oath. 21 The Levitical priests were made priests without an oath, but he with an oath: The Lord swore and will not change His mind; you are a priest for ever. 22 By this also has Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23 And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing. 24 But he, because he abides for ever, has his priesthood unchangeable. 25 Therefore he is able to save for ever those that draw near to God through him, seeing he lives forever to make intercession for them.
   26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us- holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has been exalted higher than the heavens. 27 Who needs not to offer up sacrifices daily, like those high priests, first for his own sins and then for those of the people. For this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.


7:3 Melchizedek was not Jesus- he was “like the Son of God”, and Jesus was a priest similar to him (v. 11). The Hebrew Christians were complaining that Jesus was not from the priestly tribe, Levi, but from Judah (v. 14). The point is that Melchizedek, the great Old Testament priest, had no genealogy [“Without father, without mother”], and yet was still a priest.

7:16 Has been made- Jesus was given eternity by God; He therefore isn’t God Himself.

7:18,19 The Law of Moses has been ‘annulled’ and is therefore not binding upon us today- it is ‘unprofitable’. Throughout this section, the Law of Moses is spoken of in very inferior terms compared to the excellency of salvation in Christ.

7:27 Offered up Himself- Jesus was both priest and sacrifice. This indicates how in control He was of the situation as He died, despite the evident pain and distress He was under.

7:28 Been perfected- Hardly the language one would expect if Jesus is God Himself.