18th October 2022
Read (Hebrews 7v1-4)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
The Apostle has already mentioned Melchizedek in Hebrews but as chapter seven begins he starts to explain fully the nature of this mysterious Old Testament figure. Paul reminds us of the story in Genesis 14 "After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!' And Abram gave him a tenth of everything." (Genesis 14v17-20)
Who was Melchizedek? His name means "king of righteousness" (v2) and because he was also king of Salem he could rightly be called "king of peace" So far, so good but then the Apostle mentions that Melchizedek is without father, mother, family tree, birth or death (v3). Wow. What are we to do with such information? Was Melchizedek an angel or an appearance of Christ? No. Let's be clear - Melchizedek had a father, mother, a family tree, a birthday and a day that he died but none of this is recorded in the book of Genesis.
If you know Genesis then you will understand that it is a book full of family history - fathers and mothers and children are recorded. Yet Melchizedek appears suddenly without any mention of where he came from or who he belonged to. Years later the eternal Christ would miraculously be born to a young virgin and would be raised again to life even after death. Therefore we can say that Christ is without beginning of days nor end of life and therefore in Melchizedek we catch a little glimpse of Jesus.
We'll see why this is so important later in the week but we'll finish today by marvelling at the greatness of Melchizedek (v5). Paul notes that he was so great that Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils of war. There was another king in Genesis 14 who went by the name Bera king of Sodom and he offered Abraham great riches as a gesture of thankfulness for his help. Abraham refused this offer. Sodom was a place of wickedness and instead of having anything to do with Bera, Abraham honoured Melchizedek with a tenth.
It's clear from this gesture that Abraham knew his place. The inferior always honours the superior and the superior always blesses the inferior. On that day Melchizedek brought out bread and wine (where else do we see these elements?) and he blessed Abraham saying 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!'
In the King's Valley, Abraham came into contact with a type of the Christ to come. Just as Paul saw Adam as a type of Christ (Romans 5v14) so too did he see Melchizedek as a type of Christ. If we are to understand the Old Testament and see the whole glory of Christ, then we are to do business with passages like this. Scripture interprets Scripture and the message is always Jesus.
Christ is the greater Melchizedek. He is the King to whom every valley belongs. He is the King of righteousness and the king of peace. He gives us a remembrance meal full of bread and wine and He blesses us by His grace and mercy. How should we respond? Fall before your king and honour Him! Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.
Q81 What is forbidden in the tenth commandment? The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.