Description of Melchizedek
Verse 1 – 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,
Verse 2 – 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,”
Verse 3 – 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.
The name Melchizedek in Hebrew means “King of righteousness – being compounded of two words – “King and righteousness. He is introduced to us with an air of mystery, concerning his birth, parentage, and death. The silence of the Scripture is intentional and refers to the great anti-type. He was the king of Salem and also the high priest of the Most High God.
Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils which he had taken from war.
This is another mystery of this Melchizedek. There are no Hebrew genealogy recordings of his birth, father, mother, or death. His name does not appear in any ancestry recordings of the priestly office.
It is mentioned in Psalm 110:4, that the Messiah was to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. So then we turn to the only recorded mentioned of him – the very brief narrative in Genesis 14 – that he was a pious Canaanite king, who officiated as priest. So at what point does the Messiah resemble him? (1) That there is no account of his ancestry as a priest – neither father nor mother being mentioned as indispensable in the records of the Levitical priesthood. (2) There was no account of any descendants in his office and no reason to believe that he had any, and he thus stood “alone.” (3) There was no commencement or close of his office as a priest and it was just as if his priesthood had no beginning nor end.
Superiority of Melchizedek
Verse 4 – Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.
The object of the apostle was to exalt the rank and dignity of Melchizedek. The Jews had a profound veneration for Abraham, and if it could be shown that Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, then it would be easy to demonstrate the superiority of Christ as a priest to all who descended from Abraham.
Verse 5 – And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who received the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham;
The Levi priest had a right, according to God’s instructions, to receive tithes of their brethren. However, not all descendants of Levi were priests. The apostle, therefore, specifies particularly those who “received this office.”
Verse 6 – but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
Meaning – Melchizedek was not of the order of Levitical priests. He was of a different order.
Verse 7 – Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better.
“Less” here means inferior rank, who is less in office, honor, or age, It does not imply inferiority of moral or religious character, for this is not the point the apostle was making. Melchizedek was thus superior to Abraham, and is declared that he “blessed” him.
Verse 8 – Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.
They who thus received tithes, though by the right to do so, were mortal. Like others, they would soon die; and in regard to the most essential things they were on a level with the brethren. They had no exemption of sickness, affliction, or bereavement, and death came to them with just as much certainty.
Verse 9 – Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,
Verse 10 – for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
The apostle does not mean that Levi had actually paid tithes to Abraham, for he had not yet existed. Abraham was the distinguished ancestor of Levi and the head of the Hebrew race. He stood therefore as if it were the act of all who descended from him. (Confusing? It is to me too.)
Verse 11 – Therefore, if protection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
If perfection had come through the Levitical priesthood, as the Jews supposed, then there would have been no other need for a priesthood of a different order. This priesthood was not permanent; it could not make the worshipers perfect; the blood that was offered could not take away the sin and could not render those who offered it holy.
Verse 12 – For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.
This does not apply to the Ten Commandments, for there was no institution of the priesthood, nor could it apply to any other part of moral law, for that was not dependent on the appointment of the Levitical priests.
Verse 13 – For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe (not Levi) from which no man has officiated at the altar.
Jesus is of the tribe of Judah and no man laid hands on Him and appointed Him as priest. Only the Levites could be ordained as priest, until the Messiah came.
Verse 14 – For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.
Verse 15 – And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest
Verse 16 – who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.
That means – it was not concerned mainly with outward observances, and did not pass over from one to another by death, but was unchanging in its character, and spiritual nature. It was far exalted above the service performed by the priests under the formal dispensation.
Verse 17 – For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Verse 18 – For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness,
That is; it was not adapted to save men; it had no power designed to accomplish what was necessary to be done in human salvation.
Verse 19 – For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
The law made nothing perfect; it did not produce a perfect state; it did not do what was desirable for the sinner; it did not put away guilt and reconcile man to God. The “better hope” here refers to a more sure and certain expectation of heaven introduced by the gospel.
Verse 20 – And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath
Verse 21 – (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ “),
Verse 22 – by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
The Levitical priest were set apart and consecrated without their office being confirmed to them by oath on the part of God. They received it by regular descent, and when they reached a certain age, they entered on it.
Surety – on who pledges a bond of property or influence, that a certain thing shall be done. In the case of the new covenant between God and man, Jesus is the “security” or the bondsman. He is the pledge that we shall be saved. He is not security that we shall be saved at any rate, without holiness, repentance, or faith.
Verse 23 – And there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.
Verse 24 – But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
Verse 25 – Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.
So may Christians never or have ever studied or cared about understanding what was written about he Old Testament Law and the priesthood. So then, when we try to explain why we have to go through Jesus Christ in order to get to God, they don’t understand why they can’t just do it their own way.
One has to go to Jesus for salvation because He is the only One who can save us! And then, He is our intercessor, our go between, to God on our behalf. There is no other way and never will there be.
Verse 26 – For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
Verse 27 – who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
The priests of the old covenant were in no way perfect, so they not only had to make sacrifices for themselves continually, but also for the people. When Jesus came, He was sinless and without blame of any kind. He offered Himself for all sin, once and for all! All we have to do is accept His payment for our sin. The blood was already shed by Jesus for the remission of sin.
Verse 28 – For the law appoints as high priest men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
After Christ rose from the grave there was never any need again to go to a man, appointed priest, to obtain forgiveness for sin. There is only One who paid the price for our sin and only One who forgives our sin, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only One is worthy to be called Father and that’s the One who died for you and me. There is no need for an earthly man to make himself a priest to offer forgiveness of sin for anyone. That is an illegitimate office. There is only One intercessor and only One that forgives sin. His name is JESUS CHRIST!!