Hebrews Chapter 7, Jesus is a Priest, Jesus is a Priest in the Order of Melchizedek, Melchizedek
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Hebrews 7:1-2
Four kings from Mesopotamia went to war against five Canaanite kings who rebelled after having been subjugated to them for 12 years. Abram’s nephew Lot was taken captive and his possessions were taken as plunder by the four kings from Mesopotamia. Lot exposed himself and his family to danger by preferring to live in a fertile area near Sodom, even though the people who lived in the region were workers of iniquity. Not only did Lot suffer being taken captive, but so was his entire family. Ironically Lot, who sought to enrich himself by living in the plain of the Jordan, ended up losing of all his property.
Abram had a company of three hundred and eighteen trained men, born in his own house. This number of men is an indication of Abram’s wealth and power. Including women and children, there were probably more than 1,000 persons under his authority and enough corresponding numbers of flocks and herds to feed, clothe and provide shelter for all of them.
Although the armies of the five ungodly kings of the cities of the Valley of Siddim had fled in defeat, Abram was victorious. Gideon with a mere 300 men routed a great multitude of Midianites and Amalekites. In a similar fashion, because the LORD was with him, Abram not only defeated the armies of four kings with only 318 men but all the stolen goods and kidnapped people were recovered.
After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Genesis 14:17-20a
This is the first recorded appearance of the priest of the Most High God (Hebrew – Kohen El Elyon). The name Melchizedek is the compilation of three Hebrew words, melek, iy and tsedeq. Melek means “king.” Meleky or melchi means “king of. Tsedeq” means “righteousness.” The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “King of Righteousness.” Salem (shalom) means peace. The King of Righteousness was also the King of Peace.
Melchizedek brought out bread and wine which are the emblems of the communion table and blessed Abram.
The term “chazal” refers to the rabbinic sages who served as commentators on the Hebrew Scriptures. According to the Chazalic literature, specifically Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, and the Babylonian Talmud, the name Melchizedek (מלכי־צדק) served as a title for Shem, the son of Noah.
He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave.” Genesis 9:26-27
Noah declared that Yehovah – the Great I AM – was the God of Shem. Through Shem, the middle son, the “promised seed of the woman” (Messiah) would be transmitted. Shem not only was still alive during the days of Abraham, but actually outlived Abraham.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 110:4 which declared: The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:20b
Abram gave a tithe of the recovered goods to Melchizedek.
Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. Hebrews 7:3
Jesus being 100% human has a genealogy that proves He is the promised descendant of David who is the promised seed of Eve. Jesus had both a natural mother and a father. But also being in very nature, 100% God the Son, Jesus is eternal. The phrase translated as “like the Son of God” in the NIV is translated as “resembling the Son of God” in the English standard Version and “but made like unto the Son of God” in the King James. The inspired author was trying to communicate the idea that God intentionally presented Melchizedek as a type of Christ, who foreshadowed the Son of God who was to come. The purpose of the phrase was to emphasize the unique nature of Melchizedek’s priesthood; that it did not pass from one person to another as did that of the Aaronic priesthood.
And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:6
The Scripture states that Jesus is our eternal High Priest “in the order” of Melchizedek, not that Jesus was Melchizedek.
Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. Hebrews 7:4-7
Abraham the patriarch of Israel received several exceedingly great promises.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
Abram, who was later named Abraham, became the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob went down to live in Egypt where he and his offspring were referred to as the Hebrews. When the Hebrews were delivered from the bondage of Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they emerged as the nation of Israel.
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates — the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” Genesis 15:17-21
The LORD’s covenant promise of land given to the descendants of Abram, the children of Israel, was made while Abram was in a deep sleep. This covenant was a unilateral, unconditional promise. There were no terms that Abram or his descendants had to fulfill to earn the right to the land of Canaan. The LORD told Abram that he should know for certain that the LORD would give his descendants the land. It was the LORD himself who verified the covenant through the testimony of two witnesses. God is a consuming fire. He himself, symbolized by the smoking pot and the blazing torch, passed between the pieces. The smoking fire pot also pictures the furnace of affliction that the Hebrews would endure in Egypt; while the blazing torch represents the Shekinah glory that would dwell among them during their wilderness journey and in the Promised Land.
the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. Romans 9:4-5
From God through the nation of Israel came the patriarchs, the divine covenants, the Law of Moses, the prophets, the apostles and Messiah Jesus. Surely all nations have been blessed through Abraham.
Although it was the high priests from the tribe of Levi, who would be among Abraham’s descendants, were the ones who received the tithes, as great Abraham was, he gave a tithe to Melchizedek and was considered lesser than Melchizedek who blessed him.
In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor. Hebrews 7:8-10
The high priests from the tribe of Levi who collected tithes eventually died. In Genesis there is no record of Melchizedek’s birth, death or ancestry. Therefore, he is presented symbolically as “a priest forever” (him who is declared to be living).
For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him. Therefore, in a sense Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid the tithe to Melchizedek through Abraham.
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? Hebrews 7:11
This is a rhetorical question. There was a need for another priest in the order of Melchizedek. Perfection could never be obtained through the sacrifices of bulls and goats by the Levitical priesthood, because the blood of animals could only temporarily cover sin.
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Hebrews 10:4
For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. Hebrews 7:12-14
The Torah clearly states that the priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi.
The Levitical priests–indeed, the whole tribe of Levi–are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the LORD, for that is their inheritance. Deuteronomy 18:1
The Levites did not receive an allotment of territory because they served in the temple and ate from the offerings. Jesus, the King of the Jews, did not descend from Levi.
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 7:15-17
What has been said and been made even more clear is the impossibility for perfection to come through the Levitical priesthood, therefore the priesthood and the law must be changed. In addition, Jesus was from Judah and the Messiah would be a priest like Melchizedek, not like Aaron.
Levitical priests were priests according to mortal flesh, but Jesus is a priest because of “the power of an indestructible life.” While the Levitical priesthood was temporary and a type of the coming reality based on physical ancestry, Jesus is eternal and the reality.
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’”
Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Hebrews 7:18-22
Because the priests of the order of Levi were not sufficient, there was need of a still greater priesthood. This is the inspired testimony of David in Psalm 110, where he speaks of the LORD (Yehovah) Jesus as his Lord (Adonai), and exalts Him as king and priest. The Lord Jesus Christ was ordained to the priesthood, according to Psalm 110, in a manner distinct from all others. His ordination was unique, for neither Aaron, nor his sons, nor were any of the priests of the tribe of Levi ever ordained by an oath. But our Savior is made a priest by an oath. And it is written, as if to make it exceeding sure, that the Lord “has sworn and will not change his mind” (Psalm 110:4). By an oath that stands fast forevermore Christ is made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:23-25
Numbers 20:28 makes it clear that Aaron’s priesthood was not forever. This is where Moses, Aaron and Eleazar go up the mountain, Aaron’s priestly garments are removed and given to Eleazar and Aaron dies there on Mt. Hor. Later in Joshua 24:33 Phinehas replaced Eleazar.
Josephus said that there had been 83 high priests from Aaron until 70 AD.
For if, when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Romans 5:10
Jesus is the eternal mediator between man and God. He is the eternal savior who saves to the uttermost. He truly meets our needs.
Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:26-28