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Mystery of Melchizedek (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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February 11, 2022 6:00 am

Mystery of Melchizedek (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 11, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the letter to the Hebrews

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I will not take anything that is yours, lest you say, I have made Abraham great. Abraham was sharp.

He knew a crook when he saw one, and he wasn't about to have any association with him. He wouldn't receive nothing from Sodom's king, as we're not supposed to receive anything from Sodom's king. But when Melchizedek comes out, Abraham not only receives, but he eats and he drinks and he tides. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Hebrews.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Hebrews chapter seven with a brand new study called Mystery of Melchizedek. We are in Hebrews chapter seven.

We will take verses one through ten. 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, 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 made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 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. But he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction, the lesser is blessed by the greater. Here, mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, who receives tithes paid through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. It's very difficult to read that without wanting to comment.

I have to stop and catch myself. This morning we are considering the mystery of this man, Melchizedek. What helps in reading the Hebrews, the Hebrew letter, is a working knowledge of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch or the Torah, Genesis through Deuteronomy. If you have a basic understanding of those books, it will help you out very much in going through the Hebrews. The writer never loses sight of these two facts. Jesus Christ is real to him, and he better be real to you. That's his whole focus. Everything he's writing is about the souls of these people in a church that were unnamed to us.

He knows who they are. It's not specified in his writings, but he's writing to them saying, do not leave this faith for anything else. With him it happens to be Judaism. But for us it could be anything. It could be any religion, any other religion, any other thing.

It could be no religion at all. To leave Jesus Christ is to be damned. So this is very serious stuff. The reason why I take a moment to point these things out is because the danger is thinking he's just writing about religious things. He's just speaking about, you know, Jesus was the high priest, and there was a man named Melchizedek, and it's a bright sunny day, and the rainbow is in the sky, and that's not what is going on. This is war, and he is fighting it. And I'm sure he's making enemies, but he's making friends too. This paragraph, these first ten verses, and probably even this entire seventh chapter, is something to grapple with.

If you're not careful, you lose your bearings very quickly. The key is remembering why he is writing this, the objective. What is his objective?

And I've just, of course, laid some of that out. He is careful about expressing to them the seriousness of our faith and the danger of turning away from it. Now earlier, he mentioned this man, Melchizedek. The Jews never saw this coming. When he drops the name at first, quoting Genesis 14 and Psalm 110, they never see what's coming.

I don't know that anybody ever saw what was really coming until he lays it out here. First we go back briefly to Hebrews 5, verses 9 and 10. And having been perfected, he became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him. He's talking about Jesus Christ. He is the author of our salvation, called by God as high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Well, when the Jews heard that, they said, well, now there is a rare figure in scripture. If you were to line up the heroes of the faith, you would not think of Melchizedek right away.

There would be so many other characters that you would put on your list before you got to Melchizedek. And so he throws it out there in the fifth chapter, and then in the sixth chapter, which really, again, as he's writing, there are no chapter divisions. The end of chapter 6 comes right into chapter 7. In verse 20, Jesus, having become high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, there he does it again. He's quoting Psalm 110, a psalm written by a king, a king who wore the ephod of the priests when they brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. He danced in a world with all of his might because of his love for God. That love for God was something that God was able to grab hold of and show him the future. We call it prophecy under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When he wrote those words, when he kept alive that little section in Genesis, just those two or three verses, the order of Melchizedek forever. And so this writer has anticipated that there would be those that would challenge what he has been saying about Jesus being our high priest, they being Jews, following the Levitical law, brought up in the Levitical laws, highly protective of their priesthood, and rightfully so. But we are highly protective of truth concerning the scripture that will overrule scripture that is not properly developed, as Jesus did in the wilderness. When Satan quoted scripture, Jesus quoted scripture back and put it in its right context.

And in so doing he shut him up. But they would say, why wasn't Jesus called a priest when he ministered on earth? We called him a prophet from Nazareth. Why didn't we call him a priest? If he's this high priest according to Melchizedek. How could he be a legitimate priest if he's not a Levite? He's from Judah's tribe, not Levi's tribe.

That would disqualify him, would it not? How could anyone expect to accept a non-Levite contrary to the scripture? And so he's anticipating these arguments and so he goes back further than the Mosaic law to Genesis and he says, let me show you a high priest that was accepted by God, whom Abraham the patriarch himself recognized as being a higher priest than himself. Because Abraham was priest over his own house. When we go in through Genesis and we cover the life of Abraham, we repeat it.

He littered the landscape with altars. He was always sacrificing, always offering up to God. And yet, when he encounters Melchizedek, Abraham halts. Abraham is so impressed.

That kind of impression comes from love. We'll come to that in a moment. But to help them understand what God has promised to fulfill centuries earlier, he takes them to their scriptures. We in the New Testament would say, all scripture is given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And we're watching him do that very thing with the Old Testament. He's taking the Old Testament, their scripture, and he's opening it up and he's showing them the New Testament. And in doing this, he is writing New Testament scripture.

And now we look at the first verse and he continues, he goes back. 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. So again, the Holy Spirit reaches back to the Old Testament, to these two passages in Genesis and in Psalm 110, to present this important truth. That the priesthood of Christ is superior to the priesthood of Aaron.

That the law of Christ is superior to the law of Moses. Not that it destroys it, but it fulfills it. It continues and expands it.

It modifies it without harming it. It follows a natural course of prophecy laid out in scripture by God. And because the order of Melchizedek is superior to the order of Levi, hope I don't lose you with all of this, those of you who might not be familiar with Levi, Melchizedek, Judah, and all of these. Because he is superior, you better not budge, you better not move away from the faith. In this mysterious record, I believe, and I'm not the only one, this little passage about Melchizedek was put into the Old Testament for this very moment. There's more said about Melchizedek in Hebrews than there is in Genesis. Because the Holy Spirit knows what he's doing.

And so he planted, he planted this concept there in Genesis for such a time as this, to show the entire nation that while their initial religion was formed by God, we know it as Judaism, God also had a major modification built into it, and now here it is as promised. And they would not be able to refute this from scripture. They would not be able to say, we reject Melchizedek. Because then they would have to say, well, we side against Abraham. And they would never do such a thing.

So now they had to face it. Whether or not they would submit to the fulfillment of those promises or be dishonest with themselves and pretend they didn't exist. We see people, we see Christians do this. You tell them the scripture forbids Christians dipping and dabbing with horoscopes, for example. You have him and her about that, some of them. They want to reject the scripture so they can keep their practice or whatever it is that they're engaging in. That's being dishonest.

It's a very, very dangerous thing to do. And so the time of modification had arrived in Christ. He says here he is a priest in the first verse of Hebrews 7. Now priests are, now before we go into this, when we talk about priests of the scripture, if you can block out of your head the concept of episcopal priests, of Roman Catholic priests, of any other kind of priests, block those out.

The scripture has another, is going in another direction, especially when we get to the New Testament. Priests, according to the law of Moses, were to be reminders to the people of the God who is there. When you saw the priests, you were mindful of God. You wouldn't be mindful of carpentry, unless you saw the priests working as a carpenter, I guess. But when you saw the priests, you thought of God. When you thought of the temple and you'd go down to the temple, especially the high priest, we Christians, the Bible tells us, are a royal priesthood. We are priests too. We're supposed to be reminders to people of Jesus Christ, of God. And we are embraced and we are persecuted for that, as the case may be.

But we are supposed to stand in a dark world and say there is a God and we know how to contact Him. And if you are a believer and you're going through hard times, we will intercede on your behalf. We will pray for you. If you are a backslider, we will intercede and we will pray for you.

If you are an unbeliever, we will intercede and we will pray for you. That's what priests do. They go to God on behalf of sinners. And so when he says he is a priest, this Melchizedek, he was the man. Of all the priests in that pagan world, they were passed by because they followed false gods. False religions have false priests. The true and faithful God has his true and faithful witnesses. And so when we see David, David got men to touch God. Men who otherwise would never have done so. They had distanced themselves for whatever reason from God and he drew them in.

He wrote their songs. He lived his life. He preached to them.

He rubbed off on them. We're going through Chronicles and that's one of those many lessons that's coming out of 1 Chronicles. His whirling before the ark of the covenant while wearing the priestly ephod.

That was a shadow of a reality to come. Christ. Seeing a king where the ephod, see a king has power with men. A priest has power with God.

Jesus Christ is the one that fulfills that. He has the power over men and he has the power of God. He fulfills the picture that David was illustrating with his behavior. David did not usurp the priesthood when he donned the ephod. He joined it as king. He said, I am the king of Israel.

I am totally about the God of Israel. This is not so much a monarchy. It is a theocracy. God rules the nation.

Total rule is the best rule if the king is holy and righteous and only Christ is and the millennial kingdom is all about that and the prophets write about how wonderful it's going to be in the millennial age when Christ rules from Jerusalem on earth. We talk about it as though it's already happened. To God it has. We're just so sure of it. It's just a matter of fact with us but the unbelievers, they struggle with this. What about, what about, what about, well we'll answer your questions if they're honest questions but if they're dishonest questions, if you just want to provoke a fight, we won't answer your questions. We'll just let you fight yourself. We won't strive with you but we'll preach the truth and in addition, we might just be praying for you.

You can't stop us from that. He says of the most high God, I better get rolling here. This made it clear that Melchizedek, a Gentile nonetheless, was distinct in his worship from all the other man-made gods and their priests that accompanied them but this is a great honor to give such a character as Melchizedek, priest of the most high God. You don't get higher than that.

He is a priest of El Elyon, God most high. The Jews, they could not challenge that. They could not say, well that's not true. That's not in the Bible.

We don't accept that authority. They could not escape it. See, they didn't see this coming.

When he first mentions Melchizedek, they don't see where he's going until he gets to this seventh chapter and then he lays it out on them. They can't get away from it. Have you ever been cornered by truth? If you are a born-again believer, of course you are. That's how you become born again. You're cornered. You're a sinner.

You're guilty. You're going to hell unless you repent, receive the invitation through Jesus Christ. He says, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. Abraham's conquest was brought about mainly by an irritable nephew, man, family.

Lot, a man named Lot. Lot lived in Sodom. Sodom was not as bad as it was going to be, but it was already starting. And, well, that actually, at the time that Abraham is going to rescue him.

It's already percolating. Abraham wanted nothing to do with them. Well, the kings from the east came and they conquered Sodom and Gomorrah and they captured Lot and the king of Sodom and all the people and they were taking them away in their spoils as slaves. Abraham gets word of this. He rises up with his army. He attacks the kings from the east. He defeats them and he captures or rescues all the people and retakes all the spoils.

And that is what this event is talking about. It was a day of stark distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, between the low level of Sodom's king and the high level of Salem's king. You see, Melchizedek, he was a priest and he was a king. His name, Melchizedek, means the king of righteousness, but he was the king of a place called Salem.

King of righteousness, king of peace. We know Salem today as Jerusalem and we pick it up in Genesis 14. This is the part where the king of Sodom and Gomorrah says to Abraham, okay, I'll take the people.

You keep all the goodies. Abraham wants no connection with him whatsoever. I will take nothing from a thread to a sandal strap and I will not take anything that is yours, lest you say I have made Abraham great. Abraham was sharp.

He knew a crook when he saw one and he wasn't about to have any association with him. He wouldn't receive nothing from Sodom's king as we're not supposed to receive anything from Sodom's king. But when Melchizedek comes out, Abraham not only receives, but he eats and he drinks and he tides. Verse 2, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth of all, first being translated king of righteousness and then also king of Salem, meaning king of peace. You thought I was just really smart.

Well, I am, but it said it right there really and I just got ahead. Well, the Jews, again, had to admit that Melchizedek's ministry was legitimate. It's in their scripture. So they could not dismiss this argument. Some of them were going, he got us.

He's right. And with that would come the freedom and glory. Others might have hardened up. But Abraham acknowledged that Melchizedek was a priest over himself, just like that.

Instantly, he knew it. That's what a righteous spirit does when it is in touch with another righteous spirit. Without hesitation, there's a kindred spirit, we would say. And so if Abraham recognized Melchizedek, then his descendants should do the same thing. That is how they thought and that is how they lived. Melchizedek, as I mentioned, impressed Abraham.

This kind of impression comes from love. There was that about Melchizedek that Abraham was drawn to with a love. We saw this happen with David and Jonathan. There's Jonathan with his father in Israel's army on one side of the valley of Elah. There are the Philistines with big head Goliath on the other side. And nobody wants to make a move because they don't want to give up the advantage.

They don't want to have to attack uphill. So the giant comes out and he challenges them for the champion to fight it out. No one wants to deal with Goliath except this little shepherd boy shows up with raising cakes from dad to give to his brothers. And he says, who is this Philistine? How dare he talk about God like this? Nobody's dealing with him. I'll deal with him. And they're all laughing at him.

Go finish with your playset. So David, the word gets to Saul. Saul didn't care who he sent to the slaughter long as he got credit for any victory that could be had. He had really little problems sending David out. David's not a little boy.

He's a growing team. He's large enough for them to consider putting Saul's armor on. Of course that won't work for David. David goes with the shepherd's garb, a sling stone and a pouch that will hold four other stones, a loaded magazine. And so David, of course, we know the story. He slays the giant Jonathan and all Israel.

Watch this. Jonathan was instantly taken by this victory because it was shrouded in faith. David made it clear that he was fighting God's fight, that he was all about Yahweh.

He never, for one moment, gave any indication that he was going to take down this giant just because he could. And then we pick it up in Samuel 18. Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, this is after he came back with that head in his hand, chopped off the giant's head. Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. That's what was going on with Abraham.

He comes back from this great victory, but he sees Melchizedek, the high priest come out with bread and wine, the emblems to us of our communion table. And he's smitten. He loves him right away. Has that ever happened to you?

Have you ever met a Christian away from your hometown, your church, and you just love them? Their brother, their sister, instantly. That is a portion of what was going on. Melchizedek demanded nothing, but he brought to Abraham. He didn't say, here I am with bread and wine, that'll be five dollars. If you want to receive, you know, the communion I have to offer, you're going to have to make a seed offering.

There's none of that stuff. Genesis 14, 8, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine. He was a priest of El Elyon, God Most High, and he blessed him and said, blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. That is, God is the possessor of heaven and earth. Let's get this right, Abraham. We've got the same God. And he continues, and blessed be God Most High, there it is again, El Elyon, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And then Abraham gave him a tenth of everything he had. Powerful moment. Abraham is being blessed, and he's receiving the blessing, and he has moved, emotionally, spiritually, willfully moved. God wants his people moved volitionally, without pressure of, you know, tricks. The pressure of love, the pressure of truth.

Of those not pressures, more like forces. And there's a subtle difference as I'm using it here. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply log on to crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Hebrews right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-06 08:48:23 / 2023-06-06 08:57:50 / 9

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