Who is Melchizedek? What is his significance in the Bible?
Good to hear from you. It just so happens that I just published a book on Hebrews last month. There is an entire chapter in the book devoted to Melchizedek and Jesus. Melchizedek is a prefigure of Jesus in a lot of ways. You can get a copy of the book through my publisher www.ipibooks.com In the mean time, I am copying and pasting some material on Melchizedek below. I am also attaching a power point on the subject. Melchizedek Who is He Heb 7&8
CH 7 The heart of Hebrews!
V The Priesthood of Jesus is greater than the Levitical/Aaronic Priesthood. (and, by the way, Jesus is greater than Abraham)
Melchizedek Genesis 14:18 (context: the battle against Kerdolaomer of Elam)
The Hebrew writer is trying to do two things here:
1. Establish that Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek, and therefore his priesthood is greater than that of Levi/Aaron. 7:4 “Just think how great he was.”
2. Establish the type/antitype relationship between Jesus and Melchizedek to illustrate the greatness of Jesus’ priesthood.
Melchizedek is a very interesting figure:
Melchizedek greater than Levi/Aaron
1. 7:4-9 Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek. “Just think how great he was: Even the Partriarch Abraham gave him a tenth.
2. Melchizedek blesses Abraham 7:7 “And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater.”
3. Levi, who collects the tenth, figuratively gave a tenth to Melchizedek through his father Abraham.
Type/Antitype relationships between Melchizedek and Abraham.
1. The name Melchizedek means king of righteousness. Jesus is the antitype as a righteous king. Both Jesus and Melchizedek were royal priests. Levites are not.
2. The king of Salem (Heb: shalom) which means peace. Jesus is the king of peace.
Note: righteousness always comes before peace. (Romans 5:1)
3. “Without beginning of days or end of life” (Hebrews 7:3) Again, an argument from the silence of scripture. We do not know of his parents or of his descendants.
4. A priest, but not of the family of Levi. Priesthood not based on genealogy. (Heb 7:6) All Jewish priests had to prove they were descended directly from Aaron. (Ezra 2:61-63)
5. He remains a priest forever. (Hebrews 7:3, Psalm 110:4)
6. The King of physical Jerusalem. (Jesus is king of spiritual Jerusalem)
7. High Priest because of his character, not by descent (accident).
8. Gave Abraham bread and wine—a prefigure of the last supper, Lord’s Supper) (surprisingly, this is not mentioned by the Hebrew writer)
9. A priest for Gentiles and Jews.
Melchizedek is a prefigure of Jesus Christ.
|Name means king of righteousness||Is a righteous king|
|King of a city with the name peace||The king of peace|
|Without (known) genealogy||Has no genealogy|
|Without (known) end of days, therefore a priest forever||A priest forever|
|Physical king of physical Jerusalem||Spiritual king of spiritual Jerusalem|
|A greater priest than Levi||Greater that Abraham and therefore Levi|
|A priest for Gentiles, not Jews||A priest for Gentiles and Jews|
|A priest due to character, not descent||A priest due to character, not descent|
|Gave Abraham bread and wine||Remembered by taking bread and wine|
Heb 7:11-28 The Hebrew Writer’s argument:
If Melchizedek is greater than Abraham and Jesus is of the order of Melchizedek (but is also superior to Melchizedek). A greater priesthood is foreseen in the Old Testament
Then a new priesthood calls for:
1. A new covenant. 7:12 If a new priesthood was prefigured in Melchizedek, then a new Covenant was as well. v. 12 a new law. As with the priest, so with the covenant (which he will remind us of in Hebrews 8:7f by quoting Jeremiah)
How different will this new covenant be? A different as Levi and Melchizedek. ie. very different.
7:18 “The former regulation is set aside because it is weak and useless”
(Actually, we will see in Heb 10 that the Law of Moses did have a use….)
7:22 Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
2. An new and greater tabernacle. Heb 9:1-11
3. New sacrifices Heb 9:12-10:18
This is the outline of Heb 8:1-10:18
Why do we need a new priesthood?
Application: Heb 7:11 a rhetorical question. If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood… It could not.
Perfection here is teleiosis, perfection, wholeness, completion.
1. Levitical priests die and must be replaced. 7:23-25
Not Jesus! He is a priest forever v. 3, 17, 21, he is declared to be living v. 8, he has an indestructible life v. 16, he has a permanent priesthood v. 24, he is able for all time to save v. 25, he always lives, v. 25, and he is perfect forever, v. 28.
2. Levitical priests sin and must make atonement for their own sin (7:26-28)
Sacrifice “first for his own sins” 7:27
3. Levitical priests know the things of humans, but not of God.
Aaron, OT priests offered a sacrifice.
Jesus (offers a sacrifice, but more importantly) he IS the sacrifice. He offered himself!
- Melchizedek a priest forever by an oath from God (remember Hebrews 6:17-18) Hebrews 7:21-22.God never made an oath with regard to the Levitical/Aaronic priesthood.Summary: Read Hebrews 7:26-28 Our high priest Jesus meets all of our spiritual needs.
v. 28 He is a perfect high priest.