For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
- Melchizedek was the king of Salem..
- Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High God.
- Abraham slaughter the kings who kidnapped Lot.
- Melchizedek met Abraham returning from the battle with Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him.
- Melchizedek blessed Abraham
- Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything
- Melchizedek’s name means king of righteousness.
- Melchizedek is also the king of peace because Salem means peace
- Melchizedek has no genealogical background
- There is no record of Melchizedek’s birth or death.
- Melchizedek is a priest forever just like Jesus Christ.
- Melchizedek was a great man
- Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek as a great man by giving him a tenth of the spoils.
- The Levitical priests have a commandment to take tithes.
- The descendants of Levi received the priesthood.
- Both the givers and the receivers of tithes are descendants from Abraham.
- Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham was the one with the promise.s
- The inferior is blessed by the superior.
- In one case tithes are received by the levitical priests which are mortal men.
- In one case tithes are received by one who is immortal.
- It could be argued that the Levitical priests paid tithes to Melchizedek because they are descendants of Abraham.
- The Levitical priests were in the loins of Abraham when Abraham paid the tithe to Melchizedek.
The writer to the Hebrews associates Melchizedek with Christ in several ways. First, Melchizedek is called the king of righteousness. While this title is not unusual for a king who ruled with moderation and equity, the title really belongs to Christ. Second, the writer calls Melchizedek the king of peace, another title which belongs to Jesus.
Third, Melchizedek’s heritage was unknown. The writer says that Melchizedek was with out Father or Mother. Christ had a father. He was the heavenly father. Christ had a mother, Mary. But the writer goes on to clarify his intent by saying he was without a beginning or an end. This too is like Christ’s divine nature. Christ existed for all eternity. While normal reason would indicate Melchizedek had parents and died. But the writer does not go beyond what the scriptures say. There is no mention of Melchizedek’s parents, birth, or death, in this he is a foreshadowing of Christ. Christ truly had no beginning and no end.
Fourth, Abraham presents tithes to Melchizedek. The Levites were children of Abraham and therefore promised an inheritance of the land. However, the Levites were occupied in service to God and public ministry of the church. It was right therefore, that they be supported at the public cost to the people. Therefore the rest of Israel owed then their tithe as remuneration for their work. But that is not the reason the writer give for the payment of the tithe. The tithe was offered to God as a sacred tribute to God. The Levites only received the tithe. Abraham a prophet of God paid a tithe to Melchizedek. The lesser giving to the greater. The argument is this. Abraham was greater than all of the Hebrews was inferior to Melchizedek. Melchizedek holds the highest place of honor. This is the honor held by Christ.
The Levites were set apart from their brothers in order to serve God. They were to collect a tithe from the reset of Israel even thorugh they all had the same father, Abraham. Yet even the Levites are lower than Melchizedek who collected a tithe from Abraham.
The fifth comparison of Melchizedek to Christ is that the lesser is blessed by the greater. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. A higher authority is required for a blessing. This is demonstrated by Issac blessing Jacob, Jacob blessing his sons and grandsons. This is also demonstrate in Numbers 6:23-27 where God tells Moses to have Arron bless the people of Israel and concludes that passage by saying He will bless the people of Israel. Therefore it appears that the blessing depends not on man’s blessing but upon God’s. Arron was nothing more than a mouthpiece for God.
The tithe was received by one who lives, “…but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives” there is no record of Melchizedek death. The spiritual kingdom and priesthood of Christ are spoken of here. There is no place for human conjecture regarding Melchizedek’s death. Nor, is it lawful for us to seek to know anything further than what we read in Scripture. We are not to conclude that Melchizedek is still alive or this applies to other people. The writer is showing the dignity of Melchizedek’s priesthood was perpetual while the Levitical priesthood was temporary. The Mosaic law assigned tithes to men who would die indicating the priesthood would come to an end.
There is on final association between Melchizedek and Christ. In Genesis 14, after Abraham has defeated Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, Melchizedek meets Abraham and brings him bread and wine. He refreshed those who were weary after the battle with sustenance this was a royal act. He blessed Abraham, this is the act of a priest. Christ offers us bread and wine to refresh us.
Not only do we learn of Christ’s priesthood in this passage, we learn some valuable lessons in how to read the Scriptures. We must approach the Scriptures soberly and with reverence. Where the Scriptures are silent we must be willing to be ignorant. But we also but seek to know what the Scripture say.