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Mysterious Melchizedek - 26

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
April 14, 2024 7:00 pm

Mysterious Melchizedek - 26

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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April 14, 2024 7:00 pm

In these verses in Hebrews 7 we learn of the significance of Melchizedek in understanding the High Priestly work of Christ. Pastor Greg Barkman continues his expositional series in Hebrews.

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Well, now we return to our expository series through the book of Hebrews. And we completed Chapter 6, the last time we addressed Hebrews from this pulpit several weeks ago.

And now we move into Chapter 7 and we are back to the topic of Melchizedek. This mysterious Old Testament figure, who is mentioned only in three places in the Bible. Number 1 in Genesis Chapter 14, which records his interchange with Abraham.

And we'll look at that a little more closely in a moment. The second time in Psalm 110, where the Psalmist David tells us that God has appointed Jesus Christ to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. And then the third time that we find Melchizedek mentioned is in Hebrews, several places, several chapters in the book of Hebrews, as it becomes a very prominent theme throughout the book of Hebrews. Because the writer of Hebrews uses Melchizedek as a type of Christ, as an illustration of the work of Christ, as a way of helping us to understand the high priestly work of Christ, which is so vital to our salvation and so important to our full understanding of who Christ is and what He did. And so it is in the book of Hebrews actually, in the New Testament, that we find out more about this man Melchizedek than we do any place else in the Bible. Because Hebrews, as you know, is written to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus Christ over everything that pertains to the Old Testament and indeed more specifically to the Old Covenant that was inaugurated under Moses. For the book is written to Hebrew believers in Jesus Christ who were now facing persecution from their unbelieving friends and neighbors, also Hebrews of course, and some of which were tempted to turn back. Why do I suffer all this persecution? Why don't I just go back to the old ways, back to the Old Testament, back to Abraham, back to Moses, back to the Old Covenant?

It was good enough for my fathers and forefathers, it ought to be good enough for me. And the rite of Hebrews says, no, not anymore, now that Christ has come. Once Christ came, the old passed away, he ushered in the new. When Christ came, the Old Covenant was closed and the New Covenant was inaugurated. And if you go back to the old, you have no salvation because salvation is not found in the Old Testament types and symbols which pointed forward to Christ, but now salvation is found in Christ who has come.

And therefore don't dare, don't dare, don't dare go back and in order to encourage them in not going back, the rite of Hebrews shows us in a number of ways how that Christ is superior to the Old Covenant. He's superior, he starts out with angels, superior to angels, superior to Moses, superior to Joshua, superior to Aaron, the high priest, the first high priest and the father of all the priests of the Old Covenant, superior to all of those. And so the superiority of the New Covenant priesthood that is typified in Melchizedek, the type of Christ, shows us Christ's superiority. And so first Melchizedek, I should say Melchizedek was first mentioned in Hebrews 5, 6, just a touching reference we might say, quoting from Psalm 110, as he says also in another place, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, quoting Psalm 110, 4.

And then in chapter 5 and verse 10, called by God, this Christ is, called by God his high priest according to the order of Melchizedek and then you recall this word of rebuke. Of whom, Melchizedek, of whom we have much to say and hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing, you have become sluggish, you have become lazy in your study of scripture and the application of scripture to your understanding and to your life. And for that reason, talking about Melchizedek is challenging because he is a mysterious person.

There are a lot of puzzling things about him. And people who are intellectually lazy, spiritually lazy, who don't want to study the word of God, they just want to have an emotional experience with God. People like that are not very well prepared to be able to understand about Melchizedek. And so he chides them for being in that category and interrupts his teaching about Melchizedek for more than a chapter after charging them with being dull of hearing. But now, back to Melchizedek.

Whether you're ready or not, you need this, so gird up the loins of your mind, apply yourself, let this rebuke cause you to double your efforts in hearing and understanding the word of God. And so we come now to Hebrews chapter 7, this mysterious Melchizedek, and we're going to examine, number one, who he was, number two, what he did, number three, what he received, and number four, what he foreshadowed. First of all, who he was, Hebrews 7, 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, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, being first, first being translated king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, meaning king of peace. Melchizedek, who was this one?

Well, we'll consider who he was first of all, according to previous references, and I've already touched upon them, but I'll go back through them very briefly again. According to previous references, Melchizedek was a priest of another order, other than the Levitical order. That takes us back to chapter 6 verse 20, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, and then chapter 7 verse 1 goes right on, for this Melchizedek, the one I just mentioned. In chapter 6 verse 20, there really is no interruption here, this Melchizedek, high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, for this Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek? He is a priest of another order. Who is Melchizedek?

He is a prototype of the high priesthood of Christ. That takes us back to Hebrews 5 verse 6, which takes us back to Psalm 110 verse 4. One commentator said that this section, this extended section on Melchizedek, is all a sermon with the text of Psalm 110 verse 4. The writer of Hebrews takes his text, Psalm 110 verse 4, do you remember that, don't you?

I'll read it for you when I find it, I've got it here somewhere. Psalm 110 verse 4, I just read it to you a moment ago, didn't I? It's quoted in almost word for word in chapter 5 verse 6, you, God speaking to Christ the Son, you are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. And so, Melchizedek therefore becomes a prototype of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. Now a little bit later in the sermon, I'm going to get into the subject of types. Melchizedek is a type. I'll explain more fully what that is. And the type is an Old Testament item and the fulfillment of the type, we call an antitype, the New Testament fulfillment.

But here I have deliberately chosen a different word. Melchizedek is the prototype of the high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ and what is a prototype? A prototype according to Webster is an original model upon which something is patterned.

An original model upon which something is patterned. Who is Melchizedek? He is a prototype of the priesthood of Christ. He is an original priest upon whose priestly likeness Jesus Christ becomes the greater fulfillment. That's who Melchizedek is according to previous references. But who is Melchizedek now according to the text before us in Hebrews 7 verses 1 and 2? And he is described in this language. First of all, he is the king of Salem. Did you catch that? Chapter 7 verse 1, for this Melchizedek, king of Salem.

What is that? Well I've told you previously that virtually all Bible students, Bible commentators, Bible scholars agree that Salem is Jerusalem. I haven't found anybody who has challenged that understanding and it's well based upon scripture itself. Let me read from Psalm 76 verses 1 and 2. It says in Judah God is known.

His name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle and his dwelling place in Zion. In Salem is his tabernacle and of course later the temple. Where was the temple of God in the Old Testament? It was in Jerusalem.

What does the psalmist say in Psalm 76? He says it is in Salem. Clearly Salem is Jerusalem. And so Melchizedek according to our text was king, that's significant, of Salem but also at the same time priest of the most high God. Verse 1 again, for this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God. He is a priest of God. He is a priest of the true God, the most high God. He is a priest of the God who is known by this title which would be understood by all peoples in the world. The writer of Hebrews does not say he is the priest of Yahweh or Jehovah.

Though of course he was. Jehovah is the most high God. But Yahweh or Jehovah is a name that is, at least for many centuries, was pretty much restricted to the people of Israel, the nation of Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham. But Melchizedek was a priest of the most high God, the one and only God, the true God of all men, of all places, in all the world, was Melchizedek a priest of the most high God. And expanding upon the fact that he was the king of Salem and the king of the most high God, we read in verse 2 that he was the king of righteousness. Verse 2, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, being first, and now we read translated king of righteousness and then also king of Salem.

So king of righteousness, where does this come from? Well this is in the name Melchizedek. Melchizedek is a compound word. Melchi means my king. Zedek is a slight variation on the Hebrew word sedek which means righteousness. My king is righteousness.

Melchizedek. Or he is the king of righteousness. It comes in his name. Interestingly, I found this fascinating in Joshua chapter 10 when Joshua is in the business of conquering the land of Canaan with the people of Israel. And we read in verse 10 verse 1, now it came to pass when, listen to this, Adonai Zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had taken Ai and utterly destroyed it. And how he had done as he had also done to Jericho and its king. And so he had done to Ai and its king. And the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them that they feared greatly because Gibeon was a great city like one of the royal cities and because it was greater than Ai and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adonai Zedek, king of Jerusalem, went to a number of other kings to try to marshal them together to oppose Israel. But what is fascinating and I must confess in all my many, many years of Bible study, I never noticed this before.

I'm glad for the commentator that brought this to my attention. But the king of Jerusalem in the days of Joshua was named Adonai Zedek. The same ending as Melchizedek. Adonai is son of righteousness. That was a name that was given to the king of Jerusalem hundreds of years after Melchizedek who was known as my king is righteousness. Now we've got a king of Jerusalem who is the son of righteousness. I don't think by that time the term righteousness aptly described the king that was reigning in Jerusalem in the days of Joshua. But it shows a tradition, it shows a lineage, it shows a dynasty of kings in the city of Jerusalem over hundreds of years who all seem to bear the same name as a reference to the lineage, the dynasty that that name indicates.

Much as the term pharaoh applies to many, many kings of Egypt or the name Caesar applies to many, many emperors in the Roman Empire. So this concept of somebody Zedek seems to apply to whoever is reigning in Jerusalem over a long period of time. King of righteousness, Melchizedek. And we also read in verse 2 and verse 1, verse 1 and 2, king of Salem.

And that's translated for us, we don't need to wonder where that came from. King of Salem meaning, we read in verse 2, king of peace. Salem means peace. A variation of that is Shalom. Peace.

So what are we talking about? Who is Melchizedek? He is king of Jerusalem, priest of the one and true God, the God most high. King of righteousness, Melchizedek.

And king of Salem, king of peace. That's who he was. Question number 2.

What did he do? Well, we're told of two things that he did. Number 1, he met Abraham and number 2, he blessed Abraham.

These two things are provided in our text. This Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God who met Abraham, returning from the slaughter of the kings. This was after his victory over the five kings that had descended upon Sodom and Gomorrah and had defeated those cities in battle and their kings and had taken captives and spoil from those cities and if Lot hadn't been among them, I don't think Abraham would have gotten involved but he did and he mustered his army of 300 and some men. It's amazing to me that he had that many men under his command. Shows you something of the greatness of Abraham at this point in his life. But he mustered his army, his servants who took care of all of his vast herds and animals and his wealth that God had given to him, were also trained for war and he took that army of 300 and some which I'm sure was much smaller than the armies that he opposed, the consortium of five kings but God gave him the victory and he defeated them and he recaptured all the captives. Not one of them was dead, they were all alive, they were all recaptured and he recovered all the spoil and he's on his way back to Sodom and Gomorrah to return the inhabitants that had been taken captive and he has all this spoil which everybody recognized was now his by right of conquest and the victorious warfare and as he's on his way there, the battle had taken place up north of Jerusalem, Sodom and Gomorrah is down south of Jerusalem and on the way somebody comes out to meet him and it turns out to be this mysterious Melchizedek. He met Abraham as Abraham returned from battle and this detail that is not provided any place except in the book of Genesis chapter 14, he provided Abraham with refreshment, Genesis tells us he gave him bread and wine.

Is that significant? I don't know but a lot of speculation about that, the elements of the communion table, do we relate that to what this priest of the most high God brought out to Abraham? It's worthy of consideration but the Bible really doesn't tell us if it was a special import or simply some food, some refreshment from the battle. We really don't know but we do know that he came and brought this to Abraham, I'm sure it was greatly welcomed and not only did he bring him this refreshment but he blessed him. He pronounced God's blessing upon him, a blessing which was understood to be a solemn declaration that Abraham was in fact blessed by God when a representative of God blesses someone in the name of God, he is saying this one is blessed of God. This one is an object of God's special favor and care, that should be obvious.

A small army of 318 had just totally conquered a much larger army, how did he do that? By the favor of God, by the help of God, by the blessing of God upon him. God had enabled him to do this and so he blessed him but the significance of that blessing is more than just recognizing the favor of God upon him but because he was a priest this is a special pronouncement of blessing that priests were authorized to give in the name of God. Listen to the words of Deuteronomy 21 in regard to the Levitical priests, it says in verse 5, then the priests, the sons of Levi shall come near for the Lord your God has chosen them to minister to him, that is to God and listen to this, to bless in the name of the Lord. The Levitical priests had been given the special privilege and the special responsibility to bless the people of God on behalf of God or in other words to pronounce upon the people of God the blessing that God had already bestowed upon his people. To bless in the name of the Lord and then this by their word every controversy and every assault shall be settled. So we've got two of the functions of the priests beyond their ceremonial function in sacrificing the animals and representing people in their worship of God and in the prescribed way for their sins to be forgiven. In addition to that the priest would pronounce upon them the blessing of God and the priest would also serve as the judges with disputes when people had something that needed to be settled, an argument with a neighbor, some kind of a boundary question, somebody moved the boundary markers and so forth. Who would settle that? In our day of course it goes to the court of law and in that day it goes to the priest. The priests were the court of law. But here we find Melchizedek way before Levi doing the same thing, pronouncing a divine blessing upon the people of God in the name of God.

That's what he did. Number three, what he, that is Melchizedek, received. We've considered who he is, what he did, now what he received. And what he received in our text is Abraham's acknowledgement of his priestly function and that's demonstrated in two ways. How did Abraham indicate that he recognized Melchizedek as a true priest of the one true God? That he acknowledged his priestly position, that he acknowledged that Melchizedek as a priest of the most high God was in fact superior to Abraham. How did Abraham acknowledge this and manifest this? And it is number one by his willingness to receive a priestly blessing from Melchizedek and number two by worshiping God by rendering tithes to Melchizedek in those two ways.

First of all by receiving his priestly blessing. We read in verse one, 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. And Abraham clearly and gratefully received this blessing, thereby acknowledging that this man has the right to bless me in this way, the power to bless me in this way, the divine authorization to pronounce this blessing upon me, which I am grateful to receive.

And in doing so I acknowledge that I consider him to be a true representative of God most high. But then even more clearly by giving him a tithe of all the spoils. Verse two, in whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, that is all the spoils that he was carrying back from this victorious campaign. Abraham gave him a tenth part of all, which is the first mention of tithing in the Bible.

Tuck that away, we'll come back to that later. The second time is in Genesis 28 by Jacob, and then beyond that we find it in the books of Moses as it pertains to the Mosaic Covenant. But Abraham acknowledged that Melchizedek was God's representative, but that raises many unanswered questions.

I've hinted at them previously and I just do so again. But what was going on in the land of Canaan, in the days when Abraham came to Canaan, and in what we have read in the Bible up until this point, we would think hardly anybody in all the world is worshiping the one true God. And here is Abraham who's called out of idolatry, and God reveals himself to Abraham, and Abraham becomes a follower of God, and he marches several hundred miles across the fertile crescent into the land of Canaan as what appears to us to be the only true worshiper and follower of the Lord God Most High. And here he's met by the king of Salem, the priest of the Most High God, who is truly, clearly a representative of God Most High. And if he's the king and high priest, or priest of Salem, of Jerusalem, he must have had a city full of people that he led in worship, that he served as the high of the priest, a priestly function to the Most High God. We are amazed to get this teeny, teeny, teeny little window, maybe we'd say a peephole, because that's about all it is, into a whole company of worshippers of the God that we think of as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and indeed he was, but here he is being worshipped by people who don't even know Abraham until Abraham shows up in Canaan, but they're worshipping Abraham's God.

Interesting. But we move on to number four, not only what, number three, what Melchizedek received, Abraham's acknowledgement of his priestly position, but number four, what he, Melchizedek, foreshadows. And if we say what he foreshadows, the answer is the priesthood of Jesus Christ, or if we change that word what to the word who, who he foreshadows, then we would say he foreshadows Christ in his priestly function.

And how do we see that? Well, in several ways, because Christ is the king of righteousness. Who is the king of righteousness? Melchizedek, Melchizedek, king of righteousness. Who is the king of righteousness? Psalm 45 verse 6, your throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. Jesus Christ is the king of righteousness. So Melchizedek, as the king of righteousness, foreshadows the greater king of righteousness.

That's what he foreshadowed. What did he foreshadow? Number two, Christ the king of peace. Isaiah 9 6, you know that one, the prophecy of Christ, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Melchizedek was the king of Salem, the king of priests. What did he foreshadow?

Christ, the greater king of peace. What else did he foreshadow? He foreshadowed, number three, Christ the eternal son of God, and number four, Christ the eternal high priest.

And we see this as we look more carefully at what is going on here. Verse two, 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, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the son of God, made like the son of God, remains a priest continually, made like the son of God. And now we're going to get into typology, and I'll say a little bit more about that in a moment, but, Melchizedek, in his typological representation, was a type of the eternal son of God. And that's why there is no record of his birth or his death, because this is now talking about the son of God in his eternity, who had no beginning and no ending, not the man, Christ Jesus, who was born of a virgin. But this is putting emphasis upon his divine nature, and Melchizedek is a type of that, in that there's no record of his birth or of his death, there's no record of his genealogy, that pertains more to his priesthood, but it also pertains to this. None of that is mentioned, this mysterious figure appears out of nowhere, and we have no information about him, and that has caused some people to think, well, this must be something other than a human being who is born and dies, but I'm confident that it is simply the Bible's way of leaving out this information so that he could become a suitable type of the eternal son of God.

It's a type, it's a figure. And so he foreshadowed Christ, the eternal son of God. He was made in the likeness of the son of God. He wasn't eternal, he was made in the likeness of the son of God.

In what way? In that the way he's presented in Scripture leaves out the normal birth and death and other details that indicate to us something more about him as a human being, something more about his biography. We wish we understood more about his biography, but God deliberately left that out because that was needed for him to be a suitable type of which Jesus, the eternal son of God, is the antitype. And I'm getting ahead of myself in saying this, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't a human being that actually had a birthday and a day of death, but it means he's represented this way for a purpose to serve as a suitable type. There are a number of others in the Old Testament that fit into a similar category.

I know in studying some of the Old Testament prophets, even preaching through some of the minor prophets, I have wanted to have more information about these men. Who was this prophet's father? Who was his mother? Where was he born? When was he born? When did he die?

Blank, blank, blank, blank. We don't know. The Bible doesn't tell us. Well, does that mean that he didn't have a father? Didn't have a mother? Didn't have a genealogy? Wasn't born in any particular location?

No, no, no, no, no. It just means the Bible didn't include that information. It doesn't mean that he wasn't human. It just means that for some reason that information is omitted.

In this case, we know why it was omitted. So he'd be a suitable type. So he foreshadows Christ, the eternal Son of God, and he foreshadows Christ, the eternal high priest, because it goes on to tell us that like the Son of God, he remains a priest continually. He remains a priest continually of Melchizedek, remains a priest forever, remains a priest without interruption. Well, that would seem to indicate that he's living.

Well, I don't think so. I just explained that, but I'll go back to that. If he never died and remained a priest forever in the literal sense of that term, then when Aaron was serving as priest and all of his descendants, then there would have been two priests to his right. In the same place, Jerusalem. But this guy wasn't in Jerusalem at that time.

Again, it's a type. Because these details aren't given, it allows us to think in terms of the eternal priesthood of Christ that literally has no end. In summary, Melchizedek is of a priestly order free from genealogical requirements and age restrictions. Old Testament priests had to descend from Aaron. In the days of Nehemiah and in Ezra, I could take you to those texts, but I'll not now.

But in Ezra 2 and in Nehemiah 7, we have two records of trying to find authorized priests to return after the Babylonian captivity. And some who said, I'm a priest, I'll go. And they said, where are your credentials? Show us your genealogy. Trace your lineage back to Aaron. And they couldn't do it.

We said, sorry, you don't qualify. We can't let you serve as a priest until the Lord sends us someone with the ability to see into the mind of God and certify for us that you are in fact a priest. But Melchizedek didn't need that. He wasn't of a priestly order that had to prove his genealogy back to anybody. He was free from genealogical requirements and age restrictions. The Old Testament priests took up their service at age 25 and they ended their service at age 50.

25 years from beginning to end. They had a beginning point. They had an ending point according to the prescription of the law of Moses, which had to be strictly preserved. But Melchizedek had no prescribed beginning point. He had no prescribed ending point.

He was a priest without the restrictions of genealogical requirement, without the age restrictions that applied to Levi. He was, in short, as I have mentioned several times, a type of Christ. And a type, and I will tell you exactly what that is, is an Old Testament, let us say, item. It may be a person. It may be an object.

It may be a ceremony. But it is an Old Testament item of one of those three categories that has a New Testament counterpart that we call the antitype example. According to the command of God, Moses at one point made a brass serpent or a bronze serpent and lifted it up on a pole in the wilderness. And those who looked at that serpent were healed of their affliction.

What is that? A type of Christ. The New Testament tells us, and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Charles Spurgeon was saved when he heard a bumbling deacon who was filling in unexpectedly for a preacher that didn't show up on a snowy day in a small Methodist chapel.

Isn't that ironic? Spurgeon was saved under a Methodist preacher. That's one reason he wasn't so partisan. He had strong theological convictions, but he wasn't so partisan. He believed that there were many Methodists who were true born-again believers and loved the Lord. And that poor old deacon who didn't really have a sermon prepared just took a text out of Isaiah and just basically said, look unto me all the ends of the earth and be saved.

I think that was his text. And all he could say basically was just over and over again, if you have a sin burden, look to Christ. If you feel convicted of your sin, look to Christ. Look to Christ. Look to Christ. Look to Christ long and hard. Look in Christ till your eyes fall out. Look to Christ.

I mean, that's all he could do. Just keep saying, look to Christ. What was he? And Spurgeon was saved. For the first time in his life, by the eye of faith, he looked to Christ, and that was all based upon a type. The serpent in the wilderness lifted up that those who look upon Christ might be saved. Or take the sacrificial lambs of the Old Testament, all of these sacrifices.

What are they? They're types of Christ. Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Those lambs, and in some cases goats, in some cases bulls, and in some cases turtle doves, and so forth, that were slain and whose blood was poured out upon the altar were not capable of truly cleansing from sin, but they were a picture of the need for one who would qualify and be able to truly atone for sins. And we learn in the New Testament that the fulfillment of all of those types and symbols was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not a lamb of God. He is the lamb of God.

You get the picture? Now there are hundreds of types in the Old Testament. And this is one of them, Melchizedek, is a type of Christ.

And there are several interesting things about that. His priesthood was universal, not national. That's why he was not the priest of Yahweh.

He was the priest of the Most High God, a term that applies to God as he's known to all people over the world. And furthermore, his priesthood was a royal priesthood. He was both priest and king, something absolutely and dogmatically forbidden in the Mosaic Covenant. A king who crossed over into the realm of priesthood and tried to do anything that only a priest was authorized to do was severely punished. That happened two or three times in the Old Testament record. No crossing of priest and king. They're separate under Moses, but they are combined in Melchizedek.

Why? Because he is a type of Christ, and Christ is both priest and king. He's a royal priest, and on and on we could go. In typology, the priesthood of Melchizedek is permanent, not temporary. As the Aaronic priests, every one of them, ended their service at age 50, and then eventually the whole system went out of existence when the New Covenant was inaugurated. And then when unbelieving Jews refused to accept that, and they kept on with the sacrifices in the temple, God said, no you don't.

Bang! In 70 AD it was all destroyed, and there's been no temple, no priesthood, no sacrifice for 2,000 years. But the priesthood of Jesus Christ has no end. The priesthood of Aaron is hereditary.

We've already talked about that. But in typology, the priesthood of Melchizedek is not hereditary. No genealogy that qualifies him for that priesthood.

He was appointed by God. I think it's clear from the fact that in the days of Joshua, there was another king in Jerusalem named Adonai-zedek that seems to have some connection to Melchizedek, that Melchizedek died. He's not still living.

But in typology, no record of his death. So that he can be a suitable type of Jesus Christ, whose priesthood is not hereditary. If Christ had to qualify as a descendant from Levi in order to be a priest, he couldn't be a priest. He's not a descendant of Levi. He's a descendant of David of the tribe of Judah, not of Aaron of the tribe of Levi. But he is of the order of a priesthood that doesn't require a genealogical heredity.

He doesn't understand. In fact, Josephus, many of you are familiar with him, was a priest of the tribe of Levi. And he claims that his priestly genealogy was recorded in, quote, public registers. He says that his qualification as a priest can be certified from public records.

He's proud of that. Of course, there weren't any priests. The whole temple system got abolished very much.

I don't remember exactly when Josephus died, but it was about that time. All right. Well, let's quickly take a look at two or three lessons.

I've got four, and I don't think I'll have time for that many. So let me just zero in on two that we draw from this passage. Number one, what about the question of tithing? Tithing is Old Testament, not New Testament. True.

But let's be more precise. Is tithing Mosaic? In other words, is it Old Covenant as opposed to Old Testament historically?

Does it belong strictly to the Old Covenant inaugurated by Moses and ended in the inauguration of the New Covenant? Well, evidently not because Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek long before Moses inaugurated the Old Covenant. And Jacob made a promise to tithe to God in Genesis long before Moses inaugurated the Old Covenant.

So what does that mean? Well, what we realize is that under Moses, tithing was strictly regulated, spelled out in detail, exactly how much was a tithe. In fact, there were several tithes. If you did all of the tithing that Moses prescribed, you're really probably giving at least something close to 25% instead of 10%. There were several tithes, strictly regulated, strictly required. Abraham also tithed.

He doesn't seem to be under any strict obligation to do so. But it is recognition of a general principle that this is one important way to honor God in our worship. It's not the heavy demands of the Mosaic law, but it is this recognition that precedes the Mosaic law and gives us a guideline. Sometimes people will come to me and say, Pastor Barkman, I want to be faithful in my tithing. Do I tithe the net or the gross? Do I tithe this or that? Do I tithe an inheritance or just my income?

And I say, figure it out for yourself. The Bible doesn't give us these details. What the Bible tells us to do is to honor the Lord with our giving. And we've got this general principle that I think tells us if you're going below that, you're probably not doing enough. If you want to really honor the Lord, you're probably going to endeavor to go above this principle.

But you're not under strict regulation. But the whole concept of tithing was not abolished in the Mosaic covenant because it precedes the Mosaic covenant. It's a general principle that shows us how we can know if we are honoring God with our giving.

Am I being too stingy? If you're given much under a tithe, you probably are. Am I truly honoring God by being generous? The Lord loves a cheerful giver. If you're getting up above a tithe, you're probably being generous.

It's a general principle, not a legal demand. But it still applies in our day. One more lesson concerns the high priesthood of Christ. This text tells us that Jesus Christ is the high priest who represents his people before God eternally. He has made atonement for our sins by offering himself. Jesus, our great high priest, offered himself and died. And we have no other sacrifice beside. He is the only acceptable sacrifice. He gave himself as a sacrifice that God was pleased to accept. And now as priest, he continues to, as it were, present that eternal sacrifice before the throne of God for his people.

So those who are trusting in Christ have nothing to fear. As long as Jesus lives, I live. As long as Jesus lives, I cannot perish. What if I lose my salvation?

The only way you'll lose it is to stop believing. And the writer of Hebrews dealt with that, didn't he, in that intervening passage between the first mention of Melchizedek and getting back to it now. There was a warning. There's a warning. Don't stop believing.

That's pretty serious. If you stop believing, you never truly believed savingly. So how do I know? Keep believing. Keep believing. Keep trusting. Keep holding on to Jesus.

Keep claiming to him. Keep claiming the promises of God. And as long as you're doing that, you cannot perish unless Jesus stops being our eternal high priest. Unless Jesus perishes. Unless Jesus is no longer the eternal high priest for his people. But as long as that is true, and as long as you're holding on to him, you have nothing to fear. Praise God. And with that, I close. Thank you, Father, for such wonderful promises. Help us to believe them and never stop believing them as we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-15 10:30:01 / 2024-04-15 10:47:58 / 18

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