Today: [Hebrews 7:] After the Order of Melchizedek. In chapter 7 the supremacy of the order of Melchizedek is established. Jesus is our High Priest serving up for us His sinless sacrifice that is the imperative necessity of redeeming us from eternity without God. In our chapter, we find that as we come to this altar our lives are forever changed and our redemption is secured by faith in Him.
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[Heb 7:1-12 KJV] 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; 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. 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. 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.
Chapter 7 continues teaching on the subject of Melchizedek with v. 1 referencing Gen. 14:18-20 when Abraham met the king-priest of Salem (an early name for Jerusalem). In Genesis 14 Abraham rescues his nephew Lot from an invading army and in the process liberates the spoil of the cities of Sodom. The king of Sodom goes forth to meet Abraham, but Abraham is intercepted by Melchizedek who offers him bread and wine. This is more than a roadside meal. Bread and wine in this culture being provided in this way was a covenantal act and a foreshadowing of the cup and bread that Jesus offered to the disciples at the Last Supper. When Abraham received the bread and the wine he responds by giving Melchizedek a tenth of the spoil. When he then consequently encounters the king of Sodom he declares that he will take no reward from king Bera for he has “lifted his hand to the Lord” that is he has sworn he will not do so. Thus Abraham from whom the Levitical priesthood sprang paid tithes to a higher priesthood which is described to be without mother, without father, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor ending of days but was made like unto the son of God as an abiding or eternal priesthood with a direct connection to Abraham.
Who was this Melchizedek? Was he an angel or an apparition? In v. 4, on the contrary, we see that whoever he was he is described as a man with so great a position in the earth that even Abraham paid tithes to him. How could he be a man if he didn’t have a mother or father? Scholars suggest that v. 3 speaks of his priestly office, not of the man himself. Many believe that Shem the eldest son of Noah was the Melchizedek that met Abraham on the plain. They believe this because according to genealogical records Shem was still alive in Abraham’s lifetime. This made Shem the oldest man on the earth at the time and the only living survivor who saw the world before the flood. Shem was also in a line of direct succession back to Adam and was Abraham’s ancestor. From this, we may conclude that the only God-ordained order by which Abraham was connected to Melchizedek was by familial or family order. The family order consequently was the single human order (or societal structure) that was in place before the fall and the only order created by God when man was in his innocence. This would suggest that the Melchizedek order is the order of the family which is to this day under such a sustained assault of Satan.
If the family order is the order of Melchizedek, then that makes every father a priest and a prophet over his own family line. Regardless the point the writer makes to the Jews he is addressing is that in Christ they are connected to a higher priesthood than that of Levi because Levi was in Abraham’s loins yet unborn when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. What the writer is saying is that there is an order in the earth higher than that of the Levitical order or even the Jewish order altogether – that of Melchizedek whose altar Jesus serves as high priest.
[Heb 7:13-28 KJV]
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
In v. 11 the conclusion is made that the Levitical order and the Jewish religious system does not represent the height of perfection in the purposes of God in the earth. There is another priesthood, not subject to the order of Aaron that is established in Christ to the benefit of all those who are in Christ, namely the believer. Coming to Christ constitutes for the Jew a change of priesthood from the Levitical priesthood to the Melchizedek priesthood. This also necessitates a change of the law from the law of Moses to the law of liberty that is in Christ. Christianity was never intended to be a stylized replication of Moses’ law for Moses’ law arises from a lesser order than that of Jesus who serves according to an order – the Melchizedek order that the writer of Hebrews strives to make us familiar with. What constitutes a priest in this order of Melchizedek?
Levitical priests were ordained after a carnal commandment based on the lineage of Levi and the tribe arising from his descendants. Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is originated after those not of a particular tribe but who have tasted of the power of an endless life through the new birth experience. This may seem vestigial and unnecessary to us today, but according to the writer of Hebrews, these statements are stressing core values that we are to comprehend and incorporate into our thinking.
In v. 18 we see that the law outside of Christ is disannulled for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why does the law of Moses not apply to us today? Because (v. 19) the law of Moses could make nothing perfect nor was it intended to do so. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and nothing more. To seek a performance-based approach to God is futile. The only approach we have to God is that of the altar officiated over by our High Priest Jesus who mediates a sacrifice not of animal blood but of the blood of God’s spotless lamb, the Savior himself. The law of Moses was established in the blood of bulls and goats, the law of liberty in Christ Jesus is established after the order of Melchizedek, ratified in the blood of a sinless Savior, Jesus our Lord Himself, thus constituting a New Covenant or Testament that supersedes the Testament engraved in stone received by Moses for the people at the Mount of God in the wilderness.
Because the sinlessness of Christ consecrates the altar of Melchizedek – he is able to address in his sinlessness the transgressions of all humanity – saving (v. 25) to the uttermost those who come to him. Note the condition – those who come to him. We need to find out what coming to Him means. There are those who claim because Christ died for all that all are saved, but that is not true. Only those who come to him are saved. If we approach not this altar, we are yet in our sins as though Christ had never died and rose again. Outside of Christ, every man is judged by the law of Moses that concludes all in unbelief, condemned to the lake that burns with fire forever and ever. Only in coming to Christ – whatever that means is salvation effected in our behalf. What does it mean to come to Christ?
- Acknowledging our need for a savior.
- Believing that Jesus was the sinless sacrifice that pays the price of our sin – affording us standing in the family of God as sons and daughters.
- Commitment to ongoing service subject to the order of that altar, the order of our priest and king Christ Jesus on a continuing basis of discipleship revealed and unfolding for us in the word of God by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
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