September 25, 2020

Who is Melchizedek?

Hebrews 7:1–10

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The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

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,1 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, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Footnotes

[1] 7:5 Or brothers and sisters

Who is Melchizedek?



Key Verse | Hebrews 7:2b

He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.

Bio | Jessica Coats

Hey, Journeyers! My name is Jessica Coats, but my Watermark community group would be mad if I didn't introduce myself to you as "Jess." I, too, am journeying, but in a different way than just through our Join The Journey ministry. One of my big goals in life is to explore every U.S. national park. Did you know there are 62 national parks? So far, I have only traveled to 17, but they are amazing. I'd highly encourage you to go visit one as soon as you can so you, too, can experience God's creativity located in America's backyard!

Central Truth

We are reminded of God's faithfulness in the details. God has always planned to rescue us since the beginning of time. Before Levi was born from Jacob/Israel, who was born from Isaac, who was born of Abram, God brings Melchizedek to bless Abram and point us to the coming Messiah.

Devotional | Hebrews 7:1–10

Throughout our study of the book of Hebrews, we see a main theme of "Jesus is superior." The book of Hebrews encourages the church to hold fast to its faith by carefully expositing the Old Testament in...

Throughout our study of the book of Hebrews, we see a main theme of "Jesus is superior." The book of Hebrews encourages the church to hold fast to its faith by carefully expositing the Old Testament in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ. We read in chapter 1 that Jesus is fully God and therefore superior over prophets and angels. Chapter 2 shows Jesus as fully man and superior over humanity and death. Chapter 3 emphasizes Jesus' superiority to Moses, one of Israel's greatest prophets. In chapters 4-7, we see the writer unpack the idea that Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood that was set up in the Old Testament.

In Hebrews 5:6 and 6:20, we are reminded of a prominent priest and king named Melchizedek. We first meet Melchizedek, whose name means "king of righteousness," in Genesis 14:18-20 after Abram comes back from war. We see Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the God Most High, greet and bless Abram. Abram gives him a tithe, "a tenth of everything," to affirm Melchizedek's words and blessing. In Hebrews 7:3-4, the writer says that Melchizedek is "without father or mother," and neither has "beginning of days nor end of life." Neither Melchizedek's death nor genealogy is mentioned in Scripture, therefore "resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever" (Hebrews 7:3). Abram's tithing to Melchizedek reveals that Melchizedek's priesthood is superior to Abram and his descendants, which includes Levi and the Levitical priesthood. Therefore, "the inferior (Abram) is blessed by the superior (Melchizedek)" (Hebrews 7:7).

We begin to see that Melchizedek is a "type" or foreshadowing of Christ. Like Jesus, Melchizedek's priesthood is eternal, and he forecasts the risen Jesus by having no "end of life," showing that Melchizedek is part of the eternal high priesthood. Tomorrow, we have the opportunity to understand the weight of this, why the Levitical priesthood was necessary, and how Jesus is (of course) superior!

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Discussion Questions

1. In light of the book of Hebrews thus far, how are you doing at connecting the head knowledge with your heart knowledge? How has learning that Jesus is superior to angels and prophets (chapter 1), humanity and death (chapter 2), Moses (chapter 3), and now to the priesthood (chapters 4-7) change the way you're living? Have these truths affected the way you interact with and relate to Jesus?

2. Lately, I have been reminded that throughout all of God's Word, we are pointed back to God and His faithfulness in past situations to encourage us and give us faith in our current circumstances. In the same way, the author of Hebrews points back to Melchizedek to remind us of Jesus' superiority. What stories or times in your life can you look back on to remind you of God's faithfulness today? Write these down somewhere so you can be reminded again in the future when it's hard to see God's faithfulness. If you are having trouble recognizing the ways God has worked in your life, ask the community of other believers around you to help you.

6 Comments available

Greg Jones 1 day ago

Great devotional. Love Q1 break down of Hebrews so far-how is head and heart so far.

Thinking this:

Between Moses and the priesthood there is:

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.Hebrews4:8

That’s the lead in for Melchizedek, name means righteousness/king of peace.

The lead in before Joshua’s first military conquest is Joshua5:13-15. Google commentary for those verses Bible.org pops up first. Bible.org interprets “captain of the LORDS army as a Christophany.” https://bible.org/article/captain-lord’s-army-joshua-513-15. Like Bible.org Hebrews interprets Melchizedek as a Christophany.

Hebrews creates a tension between two representations of Christ. When I incorporate that kind of tension in my God thoughts my heart is stretched…my view is wider or my focus is sharper.

Michael Scaman 1 day ago

I go with Melchizedek (King of Righteousness) being symbolic of Jesus, and a righteous priest King in the days of Abraham.

He had a descendent, or at least someone who sounded similar, named Adonai-Zedek (Lord of Righteousness) who fought Joshua and apparently was righteous in name only.

Scott Gill 1 day ago

Thanks for this and great job.

Went to Joshua Tree this summer… it’s otherworldly.

Shawn Foster 1 day ago
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Thank you very much for unpacking this Jessica! Such knowledge I (almost) cannot attain. Reminds me of Colossians 1:17 “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” Considering we get to pray and have fellowship with Him blows my mind and fires up my heart with gratitude. Reading story after story in WM news and our own lives displays God’s proven track record of faithfulness. We all stumble in many ways, but for the eye witness - may it never be in doubting of King of Glory!

Sue Bohlin 1 day ago

Super devo, Jess.

This mysterious Melchizedek is yet another signpost pointing to the Messiah. It’s so fun to be on a forever scavenger hunt in the Old Testament looking for the big and little sign posts! Because the whole Bible is about Jesus, which we can see when we start looking for the signs . . . they’re in every single OT book!

Hugh Stephenson 1 day ago

I’m intrigued by the comparison between:

Levi, (Priest),

Melchizedek, (Priest and King), and

Jesus, (Priest, King and Prophet)

A prophet of God is someone who reveals God, speaks for God, and communicates to people the truths that God wants them to know.

The priests were the ones in the Old Testament who offered sacrifices to God in order to cleanse of sin.

A king is someone who has authority to rule and reign over a group of people.

Job descriptions:

Prophet: speak God’s Word, teach God’s Word, proclaim God’s truth, reveal God’s plan, foretell future, perform healings and miracles.

Priest: meditator between me and God; offer sacrifices, empathizes with my weakness, is tempted like me.

King: as King of Kings, He reigns, He rules. He delivers, His kingdom and throne last forever. He has ultimate authority, I bring Him homage.

(https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-prophet-priest-king.html)

The chasm gets wider and Jesus gets bigger, https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8a/3a/ad/8a3aadc7be0017db96408e3de2f626e2.jpg

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