From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Hebrews 7:1-3

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.          NKJV

Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20) is one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in all of scripture. There are two major views regarding Melchizedek. The first is that Melchizedek was simply a man who was a contemporary of Abraham, who had no record of his genealogy, and who was both a king and a priest, and thus is a type (or picture) of Christ. The second view is that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ, who appeared to Abraham to bestow His own special blessing on the patriarch who would become the father of the Hebrew nation. Christ sometimes appeared in the Old Testament in visible form, known in theological circles as a Christophany. Some examples of Christophanies from scripture include Christ appearing to Moses in the form of a burning bush (Ex. 3:4-18, compare with Jn. 8:58); Christ appearing as a man with whom Jacob wrestled, who preserved Jacob’s life, blessed him with a new name (Israel), and whom Jacob identified as God Himself (Gen. 32:24-30); Christ appearing to Joshua as the Captain of the Lord’s Army (Jos. 5:13-15); Christ walking in the fiery furnace in human form with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 3:23-25); etc. Looking at our text, there seems to three strong lines of evidence that Melchizedek is a Christophany.

First, Melchizedek has the authority of Christ. In verse two, we learn that “Melchizedek” (actually a title rather than a personal name) means “King of Righteousness.” This Old Testament title applies only to Christ (Isa. 32:1, Jer. 23:5-6). Melchizedek is also referred to in verse two as the “King of Salem,” which literally means “King of Peace.” Again, this title is similar to the Old Testament title for Christ, “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). At Christ’s millennial reign, He will certainly reign over the nations of the earth as the “King of Peace” (Zech. 9:10).

Second, Melchizedek, like Christ, is greater than Abraham. In the eyes of the Jews, Abraham was the greatest man who ever lived. When the Jews heard the claims of Jesus, they asked, “Are you greater than our father, Abraham? Who do you make yourself out to be?” Jesus answer to them was, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” (Jn. 8:58). Likewise, the scripture states that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham (Heb. 7:4-7). The superiority of Melchizedek to Abraham is also seen in the fact that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek before the implementation of the Levitical priesthood (v.2). Biblically, titles are paid not to men, but to the Lord (Mal. 3:8, Gen. 28:22, Lev. 27:30). Why was Abraham, the Patriarch of Israel, paying tithes to Melchizedek? It is because Melchizedek was Christ Himself in human form.

Third, Melchizedek is eternal like Christ (v.3). There are four declarations in Hebrews, chapter seven, regarding the eternality of Melchizedek. Verse three declares that Melchizedek had no parents. Those who hold that He is merely a type of Christ say that this verse just means that there is no record of His genealogy. However, applying the “golden rule of interpretation” which requires that any passage be taken “literally” as “plainly stated” unless there is good contextual reason to do so otherwise, then this passage goes far beyond just saying that there is no record of Melchizedek’s genealogy. Verse three explicitly states that Melchizedek had no beginning or end. Not only does this rule out Him being a man, it also rules out Him being a angel (Psa. 148:2, 5). Melchizek is declared to be like the Son of God (compare with Dan. 3:25, Rev. 1:12-13, 18), an eternal priest (Heb. 7:15-16), who is still alive (Heb. 7:8).

Who is Melchizedek? The Biblical evidence points to Him as the pre-incarnate Christ. This same priest who blessed Abraham as the father of the Hebrew nation is the great, eternal High Priest who is able to bless us with salvation because He lives forever to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and eternal High Priest?

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