Tag Archives: Melchizedek

Melchizedek, King of Salem

Hebrews 7:1-4 

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;

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;

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.

Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

Four kings against five.  That sounds like a pretty fair fight to me.  King Chedolaomar had been in charge for 12 years.  He ruled over Sodom and Gomorrah during that time, and the kings of those two cities were sick of being in subjugation to him.  They wanted their freedom.  I mut have been an interesting time, when each city had its own king!  In reading this story out of Genesis 14, it would seem like King Chedolaomer was an empire builder.  He was growing in power and getting more kings to side with him, and the kings that joined with Sodom and Gomorrah were sick of his antics.  They decided to form an alliance and rebel against this conquering king.  Bad idea!  They were soundly defeated and taken captive, along with all the spoils of their cities.  Nothing was left behind – not even Lot, Abram’s nephew.

But, one person escaped capture and ran to Abram to tell him the news of Chedolaomer’s victory, and Lot’s abduction.  Abram was not happy and decided to take matters into his own hands.  He gathered up all his servants that could fight, 318 in all, and went after the victors.  Abram chased them out of the land and won the victory, taking back all the spoils and Lot.  Abram and his servants against five kings!  That does not sound like a fair fight to me.  Sounds like Abram was quite confident in hiss ability to lead his men with God on his side.  We are not told how many men were with Chedolaomer,  nut we are told there were 4 other kings with him, which represented four other cities.  I would say this was quite a victory for Abraham, and he accomplished his purpose – saved his nephew Lot.

On the way back from the battle, Abram was met by another king.  His King had not taken sides in the battle.  He was different.  He was above the warfare of the times and stayed out of the way of those who would bring destruction and chaos in life.  He seems to appear from nowhere in the reading, and after this chapter he goes away, not to be seen again.  But he had an air of importance to him.  Here was something about him that made Abram give tithes to him, this King Melchizedek.  He is mentioned as being the King of Salem, which is a forerunner city to the modern-day Jerusalem.  When Abram met him, he offered Abram and his men bread and wine after their great victory.  But not Abram alone – the king of Sodom was also along for the victory lap.  After giving a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek, he gave the king of Sodom back everything that was taken from his city, except for Lot.

And Melchizedek blessed Abram by saying “Blessed be Abram of the most-high God, possessor of heaven and earth” and the he blessed the most-high God, and declared it was God who had given Abram the victory.  After the blessing, Abram gave him the tithe. Who was this Melchizedek, that Abram would give him tithes?  There must have been some kind of priestly quality about him for Abram to think he deserved a tithe.  In fact, the text tells us that he was the priest of the most-high God.  His was way before the tribe of Levi was designated priests.  Here is no mention of any other priest until Aaron is made priest in the wilderness, almost 420 years later.  His anointing must have come from God himself, because there was no other one who could have declared him to be a priest.

And then the story ends, and Melchizedek is never heard of again until Psalm 110.  David writes that the coming Messiah will be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.  And not only a priest but a priest forever!  The only guess we can make about the order of Melchizedek was that his order came directly from God, not from man.  He was not of the Levitical order, so the anointing on his life must have come from God himself.  Now we come to Hebrews, and once again here is Melchizedek, a figure mentioned only once in the Bible.  Paul here compares Jesus to Melchizedek!  I don’t know about you, but I find this absolutely fascinating.  His is a perfect example of how Christ is pictured all the way through the Bible.  After reading the story of Melchizedek in genesis, it would be easy to wonder why this is important.  Why even mention this quick encounter with a king who did not even help in the battle?  Why bring these few verses in, and mention the bread and the wince Melchizedek brought?  It seems like an isolated story that really has no bearing on anything – until we read Hebrews. Paul is about to explain why this man is so highly regarded.  Because up to this point, the Hebrew children just saw him as a priest to Abram.  Hey have no idea what is coming their way in the coming verses.  Join me here tomorrow to find out more about this king and priest of Abram’s time.

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The Order of Melchizedek

Hebrews 5:5-6

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

There are some things that I just don’t understand.  Well, to be honest, there are many things I don’t understand.  I am a simple lay person whom God has given the gift to write, both these studies and poetry/songs.  He can craft a sermon using my mouth, but most of it comes from Him, not me.  I learned at one point in my life to listen to His voice and that is where the words come from.  People ask me all the time how I can write such beautiful poetry, and I ay that I don’t.  he speaks it to me and I just put it on paper (Or type it on my computer).  It flows like a brook that flows down a mountain after a rain.  I certainly don’t understand why He chose me to write these words, but He did. By the way, if you are not familiar with my poetry blog, you can find it HERE (psalmistpetegardner.com)

I don’t understand why everyone did not follow Jesus and leave John the Baptist the day Jesus was baptized.  After all, an audible voice came out of the heavens saying “This I my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11).  If I heard that voice from heaven, I would have followed Him right into the wilderness and been there for Him when He needed something.  I doubt I would have left His side for anything.  But He went into the wilderness alone right after that proclamation.  I don’t understand that.

Imagine if you will if that would happen today and you were present.  You see a man come forward to the altar in your church.  You’ve never laid eyes on him and you know he is a visitor here that day. But your Pastor looks at Him and sees something special about him.  Maybe he feels the anointing on the man – that is definitely possible.  Maybe there is some thing in the way he looks at the Pastor that grabs his attention.  Whatever the case, the Pastor believes something special is happening.  All of a sudden. A voice booms out of heaven and says “This is my anointed messenger, in whom I am well pleased.”  What would you do?  Me – I would be skeptical.  In todays’ society, with the high-tech sound systems we have, this could come from a sound system.  But you know the sound system, and this voice definitely did not sound like it came from there.  My tendency would be to listen to the man if my Pastor allows him to speak.  Hopefully, the pastor has enough discernment to now be distracted by the voice.  Hopefully, he will ask the man what he wants to say and weigh it against scripture.  And hopefully, I will weigh my response by that same standard.  If the words spent by any man do not line up with the scripture, it should be rejected.  In these times especially, we must be vigilant and know the word of God well enough to judge sound doctrine.

That is why Paul uses scripture to back up the claim that Christ is our high priest.  This was difficult for the Jews (Hebrews) to comprehend.  After all, Jesus never served in the temple as a priest.  He was not in the Levitical line, but the line of Judah.  He had no right to be a priest according to the literal translation of Old Testament law. Paul has to build His case that Jesus came as our high priest.  Jesus never claimed this position.  Jesus never claimed He would take away sin either.  But the scripture tells us these things about Jesus.  They tell us who He was and why He came.  They tell us the ministry that He represented.   He did not glorify himself.  He let His Father do that.  Even on holy week, he asked the father to glorify His name and God said (again in an audible voice) “I have bopth glorified it and will glorify it again” (John 12:28)

So, to help the people understand how Jesus could be a high priest, he draws back into the Old Testament and a man named Melchizedek.  This goes way back to Abraham’s time, before the law, before the priesthood was even thought of. The story is in Genesis 14:18-20.  Melchizedek was the king of Salem, but it also says he was the priest of the most High God.  The Levitical priesthood was not even established yet, so the priesthood of Melchizedek was directly from God, not from a human perspective.  Abraham, the Father of the nation of Israel, and the father in faith of all who claim to be Christians, paid tithes to this Melchizedek.  And Melchizedek blessed Abraham in return.  Paul equates the priesthood of Jesus to that of Melchizedek, and uses the prophetic words of Psalm 110:4 to make his case.  This verse would be familiar with the Jews, as they had all been taught from their youth that this verse was about the Messiah.  He would be their high priest forever.  But still to this day many do not believe. Paul gives us a great example here of backing up His preaching with the scripture.  We should always make sure what we written, say or do lines up with scripture.  That is the purpose of Gods word – to teach us and train us in God’s ways.  It escapes my why so many can be drawn away from the word be the deceitfulness of a false prophet or false teaching.  It has to be that they do not know the scripture well enough to discern the truth.  Don’t let that be you!  Know the truth of scripture, and the truth shall set you free!