Hebrews Bible Class: Melchisedec, a Type of the Son of God, The Superior Man
Read: Hebrews 7:1-10
Problems continually meet us head-on in life. The Word of God bolsters the believer to face those challenges. The truths of Romans 8 anchor us in the sovereignty of God and His purposed goodness. A portion like Isaiah 40 might be a well-worn chapter in your Bible for trusting God for strength in trials. The Hebrew believers needed perhaps a not-so-favorite passage: a meditation on Genesis 14, with reference to Psalm 110. It concerns the man Melchisedec and his priesthood, which is greater than Abraham, Levi and the Aaronic priesthood. If those references sound like surprising places to turn for comfort and strength, the truth is that all of the Word of God is living and available to counsel us in time of need.
V1-10 shows the Superiority of the Man Melchisedec. He is called a superior man in Scripture because of:
V1-3 – His Recorded Likeness to the Son of God, and,
V4-10 – His Recorded Superiority to Abraham and Levi.
These things must be established in order to demonstrate in V11-28 the Superiority of the Priesthood of Melchisedec and Priest in the Son.
Who was Melchisedec? He was just a man. Some think the character Melchisedec is a Christophany, an appearance of Christ before His incarnation. Yet the Scripture is clear in v3 that Melchisedec was “made like to the Son of God.” He was not the Son of God, but in what was both recorded and omitted about him, he is shown to be like the Son of God. This is important to show that the Lord Jesus Christ, after the Order of Melchisedec, stands in superiority to priesthood whose allegiance they professed to leave at conversion.
V1 simply identifies the individual in question from the OT. V2 shows that his name is significant, “King of Righteousness.” Then also his place of rule in Salem, meaning peace, is important. Therefore he is “King of Peace.” Peace follows righteousness. This is true in our daily lives, but also will prove true when the Lord Jesus takes His rightful place in rule over the earth in a world of complete allegiance.
V3 stresses that in the historical record, Melchisedec had no beginning, no end, and no end to His priesthood. He was a strange character in the sense that he appeared and then disappeared from Scripture. The Genesis account records without fail the most important characters’ ages, deaths and, in some instances, births. Characters have their genealogies and family connections laid out meticulously. Yet this important character is different. Since his death isn’t recorded, it can be assumed that he “abideth a priest to perpetuity.” [v3, Newberry margin]
V4-10 highlights his Recorded Superiority to Abraham and Levi. The writer has to prove the greatness of Melchisedec in order to prove the superiority of Christ. Therefore Melchisedec is shown superior in four ways, the basis of which is in v4, “to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Each of the four are introduced with the Greek word kai:
- V5-6a – Melchisedec received tithes from Abraham who is not of the same family. Abraham demonstrated inferiority to Melchisedec by doing this willfully. The people of Israel gave to the sons of Levi, but were commanded to do so.
- V6b-7 – Melchisedec blessed Abraham, who had the promises. The lesser is blessed by the greater.
- V8 – ‘here’ refers to the Aaronic line, and Judaism. ‘There’ refers to the events of Genesis 14 between Melchisedec and Abraham. Melchisedec is superior because, “here, in Judaism, it is dying men who receive the tithes; there, in Gen 14, the tithes are received by one who, in the records, never dies.”
- V9-10 – Melchisedec received tithes from Levi. He did so since he descended from Abraham.
- Why is important that Melchisedec is both a priest and king?
- Why is Abraham the person of main comparison for demonstrating the greatness of Melchisedec?
- What can we learn from the Hebrew writer about how to widen our sphere of meditation on the person of Christ?
 J.M. Flanigan, What the Bible Teaches: Hebrews, Vol. 8, (Kilmarnock, Scotland: John Ritchie Ltd, 1991), 129.