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053 - Melchizedek! The Mystery Man

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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July 31, 2021 1:00 pm

053 - Melchizedek! The Mystery Man

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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July 31, 2021 1:00 pm

Episode 053 - Melchizedek! The Mystery Man (31 July 2021) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, do you like mysteries? Yeah. How about mystery men? Ooh, you mean like people we don't know who they are or where they came from? Yeah. Oh yeah.

Bring it on. No past, no future, no present. Well, today in Hebrews, we're going to look at a guy who is probably the biggest mystery man in the entire Old Testament.

You're talking about Melchizedek. Today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. I'm Dorothy.

And I'm Jim. And we're sitting here at our dining room table like we always are. We are. Just ready to dig into the Word of God with you. We are. And so excited to be in Hebrews. So excited.

I've got goosebumps already. I love it when we come to talk about Abraham and Melchizedek. This is just a huge passage. And this is an unknown territory for a lot of Christians. And they've really never heard this before. You know, we live in a Mormon area, so people have heard the term Melchizedek all the time. It's probably said every Sunday morning in the Mormon Church. Well, Melchizedek Priesthood specifically.

So I mean Mormon Church, but in Christian churches it's like, who? Melchizedek who? But it's so important to understand who he was. And especially from a Jewish context, he's a fascinating guy. He has a cameo appearance, and we'll look at it today. A cameo appearance in the Old Testament that spans, wait for it, two verses. And yet he gives us great insight into who Jesus is, who he is as our pride priest.

I mean just a whole ton of stuff. So buckle your seat belts if you're not buckled in right now, and we're going to go into solid food. Yeah, because the writer of Hebrews had said, now, you're dull of hearing.

This is hard to explain. So grow up, exercise your muscles, exercise, learn discernment by practicing the word of God. Or like my teacher Jesus said, it's time to put on your thinking cap.

Right. So if you recall, we left off last time down at the end of chapter, well the middle of chapter six actually, in verse 12. And he says, you know, if you're that kind of person who wants to press forward to this great thing and engage your mind, be an imitator of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. And then the next breath today, starting today, verse 13. For when God made a promise to Abraham, and we're off and running. So Abraham is now our example of someone that we need to imitate in terms of the dynamic of his faith and his patience, and moving toward the promise of God. So what promise did God make to Abraham? Well let's find out.

Because you know, probably your mind goes, well God promised him a son. Yes. But it's so much bigger than that.

It's so much bigger than that. Because I'm going to make you from nations will come from you. Nations will come from you.

Of course it starts with the son, and the whole promise would fall apart if there wasn't a son to start with. Right. So that's the beginning of the outworking of the whole promise. So let's just go into 13. Okay.

And we'll just, we'll kind of work our way through this. I'll start it off. I've heard people, they're like, oh yeah, I remember the story of Abraham now. Okay. Abraham.

Okay. So verse 13 of Hebrews 6. So for when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, surely I'll bless you and multiply you. And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.

We're just going to stop right there. Yeah, because he didn't wait so patiently at the beginning. No he didn't actually. There was a lot of problems in the beginning.

There's that Hagar thing and just lots of bumps in the road. But eventually he did. I mean eventually. Well he learned patience. He learned patience. And it was 25 years, if I do my math right, between the promise of Isaac and the beginning of this nation that was going to come out of him and the actual arrival of Isaac.

25 years. So just to kind of clarify, God makes this promise to Abraham. And normally in their culture they would swear by someone higher. They'd invoke someone higher in name. He says, well there's no one higher than God.

So he can't invoke it. So he just swore by himself. Well and normally you would think God doesn't have to swear by anybody. He could just say, I am telling you. But he says, I myself have sworn. I've sworn by myself. I'm God.

And as I'm God, I'm telling you. That should be a good promise. Pretty good, yeah. You think? Yeah. So based on that, you know, so Abraham trusts that.

But he goes on. He says in 16, he says, you know, for people swear by something greater than themselves. That's what they did.

And they would invoke someone's name by someone greater than themselves. And in all their disputes, an oath is final for confirmation. So there's actually an oath that ties up that whole thing. The promise in that sense.

So 17. He's still in the ancient kind of tradition that they do when they make promises to contracts, verbal contracts. So 17, so when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise, the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath. So that by two unchangeable things, in which it's impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. Okay, that was a lot. That was a lot.

Yeah. But what are the two things? You know, by what two things? I mean, he couldn't swear by someone bigger than him. Well, I would assert, and there's a lot of interpretation, I would assert that the two things was his promise and his oath. You know, two words from God himself. His, himself, his Godness.

Yeah, who he is. And his word. And his word, yeah.

Could be the two things. Yeah, so what he's basically trying to say here is God made a promise. And by the way, folks, he's good to his promise.

That's right. God always does what he says he will do. He is good to his promise.

This is another way. We mentioned last time looking at Romans 4. If you've got some time, read Romans 4 while we're going here. Because Paul is actually talking about the same thing in Romans 4. About this promise and Abraham's faith in this promise. Are you willing to trust what God says?

Which the Israelites are not when they decided not to go in the promised land. They did not want to trust his promise. Well, because we have lots of experience with broken promises.

Yeah, we do. When people promise us stuff and then they don't follow through. But when God promises, it's as good as gold. He's good for it.

You can take it to the bank. He's good for it. You know, he's good to his word, we say, about people that we trust. And that's all he's saying right here. In an ancient sense, God's good to his word. And Abraham put his trust in that promise. I mean, he really placed himself in that promise. So by two unchangeable things, it's impossible for God to lie. Verse 18, he's not going to lie about this promise. He's not going to promise you some rest.

This pasture-like place is his great shepherd. And then he's not going to give it to us and laugh about it. It's going to happen.

This promise is going to happen. Just like, indeed, with Israel, if we could come back to it, God promised the promised land. And while they were in the desert, they actually said, we don't think God will make good on his promise. In spite of what they had seen him do, that just amazes me.

Plenty of evidence, plenty of evidence. Well, not so with Abraham. Abraham says, I believe you, I'm in.

Both feet, here we go. So we hold fast. We hold fast to the hope that's set before us. And that hope is the fulfillment, the completion, the telos of the promise. The end of the process.

God will bring it to completion. But hold fast. This is not the first time in this letter that hold fast has shown up. Get a grip on.

Don't we say that? These days we say, get a grip. Get a grip.

What does that mean? Take hold of reality. So we can have this strong encouragement to take hold of the reality of the hope of God doing what he has said he would do. And he's trustable. We know his character, so that's why we can trust him. I always say that faith is an issue of being persuaded and convinced about what's going to happen. But it's pivotal upon whom you place your trust, upon whom makes the promise. So if God makes a promise, all the writer here is saying is that God's good for it. So you can place your faith well in his promise because God's God. That's his character. He's not going to lie. He's not going to change his mind.

He's good for it. So we can be comfortable putting our faith in him because his character is good for it. Faith is based on our knowledge of his character. And by the way, if you don't have the knowledge of someone's character, it's hard for you to trust them and put your faith in them. It's hard for you to put your faith in them. Faith is only as good as what it's resting on.

Someone might come along and say, I don't think you want that person to take care of your house while you're gone because they're kind of a flake. It's a character comment that makes you say, I don't have faith in that person. So the more you understand the character of God, the nature of God, the easier it is to put your faith in him. And that's what he's trying to do through the Bible is tell us what he's like for exactly that purpose.

Is he good for his promise? Well, where did we leave off here? So we left off actually at the end of verse 18.

But let's pick it up at 19 because I love this picture. When the writer says, we have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. What's an anchor?

It fixes you in one place so you can't be dragged around by the tides. Anchor for the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Boy, it's clear the writer makes great assumptions that his Jewish readers understand exactly what he's saying. There was a ton of Jewish catchphrase right there, a mouthful.

That inner place behind the curtain, or more commonly we say behind the veil, is that Holy of Holies where the high priest in Jewish history would go only once a year and only carrying the blood. And no one else. No one else ever. Ever. And he went in and he came back out.

Right. So it's a place, metaphorically speaking, where God is. In the presence of God. So what God is saying by this veil and this limited entry is that you can't come here.

You're not qualified to come here. There's only one way in and it's by the blood of the sacrifice. But here he says we have this hope to enter into that inner place.

Are you kidding me? So now the promise that he was talking about before, the promise of this rest, has something to do, we're cracking this mystery, has something to do with going past the veil that keeps mankind out of God's presence. Separated from God. And brings us into God's presence and our trust in God's promise allows us with confidence to be in his presence. And it's anchored. There's an anchor there.

An anchor is only good if it's anchored to a rope. Jesus has gone in there as a forerunner and placed that anchor and we follow behind because he opened the way. And because of that our soul is anchored in this hope that we can indeed enter into the presence of God. Fellowship, the presence, the holy place of God.

And I would maintain and we'll test this as we go along that that indeed is, that's the teleos, that's the end of the promise. That's the hope is being in God's presence. But since you're a Jew you know that the only person who can go into the veil, into the presence of God, is a high priest.

He's qualified to do that. That's Jewish law. And everyone else dies if you go in there. So this is his, in a very short amount of time, this is his segue into Jesus as our high priest. Because now he's tied together the idea of coming into a place of rest, the fulfillment of the promises of God. He's tied that into us being behind that veil in the presence of God. Which for a Jewish mind is like, no man you can't, no you can't do that.

You don't do that. But Jesus is our high priest. And not only that, look at what he hints right here in verse 20. Jesus not only can do that, and we can accept that, but he's the forerunner, which implies there's more.

There's more. We come behind. We come behind him.

And remember he introduced that idea, this noun about him that I call captain. He's the first one to go ahead of us, right? Well, could it be that what he's saying here is that Jesus himself, who's qualified as a high priest, right, because only high priests can do that, he actually goes in ahead of us so that we can follow in his footsteps into the presence of God. Is that what he's saying here? And is that the fulfillment of the promise of God?

And that's rest? Well, I've jumped far ahead. You sure have.

But he has hinted at all those items in just this tiny little sentence. Let me just read it again before we flip the page because here, verse 20. Where Jesus has gone, past tense, as a forerunner, implying more, on our behalf, meaning those others are us. Right, but he's representing us.

It's for our good. Because he has become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And now, if you're a Jew, you're saying, I know Melchizedek's name, but he never went in the temple. Because there was no temple. No temple at the time. So let's find out what's going on.

This is great stuff. Oh my goodness. This is where the mystery starts to unfold and why is Melchizedek such a great picture for who Christ is. Okay, so I was a believer, a young believer, for a fairly long time before I realized where Melchizedek fits in the historical timeline. He was at Abraham's time before the law. Before Moses. 400 years before Moses.

Yeah, and way before him. Before any Jewish temple, any establishment of a priesthood, and before any nation. Abraham was just an extended family at this point. He was not yet a nation of people. He was a tourist in Palestine. This is so early in Jewish history. This is like pre-history. Yeah, this is pre. This is before Abraham got, I mean, when you look at the narrative, this is before Abraham hardly gets anything done in this promised land that he's called to when he leaves Ur.

He comes out there, he comes with his nephew alive, their families, they come out to know where land, where the Canaanites are. Okay, you can all go read that. We've got to press on. We do. I love this.

What's common about Melchizedek is so important in the way it points to Jesus. Yeah, so let's push into chapter seven. Let's do that.

Solid food. Okay, can I read? Take it.

Okay. Chapter seven. For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. Oh, you're going to have to go clear back to Genesis 14 and read that account, but we're not going to elaborate on it now. So he comes out to meet Abraham, verse two. And to him, Melchizedek, Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. Oh, so now he's going to describe for us, he's going to begin to unpack Melchizedek.

So this is at the end of verse two. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness. That's what Melchizedek means. Melchizedek is king of righteousness. And then he's also king of Salem. That is king of peace, or king of Shalom.

Shalom, Salem, same thing. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God. He continues a priest forever. Better stop.

Oh, we've got to stop there. So please, go read Genesis 14, verses 17 to 20. You'll see Abraham comes back from a campaign to get his nephew back. But then when he comes back, he's greeted by Melchizedek. And an interesting thing happens, is Melchizedek is there and he blesses Abraham, but then Abraham gives him a tithe. He gives him a tenth of everything. Which, in Jewish mindset, and even today, is something that's only given to the priests.

You give your tenth. So this Melchizedek must be a priest. Well, it says in verse 18 of Genesis 14, yeah, he's a priest of the Most High. So Abraham is treating Melchizedek like a priest. And he's paying his tithe to this priest. But what's interesting about this is, if you have any brain cells running right now, you're asking yourself, well, where did this guy come from? And what's he doing?

And where did he go to? There's no record of that. And there's absolutely nothing. And the Jewish history is all about what tribe were you born to, who are your parents, who your grandparents have traced your genealogy back. So you know that you have a birthright in the nation. But here for Melchizedek, there is no record of his birth, no record of his death, no record of his genealogy.

It is so silent, it's clearly deliberate. And he is not one of Abraham's people. He is from somewhere else.

He's from somewhere else. But he has these two title distinctions. He's the King of Righteousness and the King of Salem, or the King of Peace. The King of Righteousness, the King of Peace. Now if you know much about your messianic passages in the Old Testament, ding, ding, ding, all these lights should go off. I'll just give you one you see every Christmas, Isaiah 9, the Prince of Peace, right? And he's upheld in righteousness. So that shows up, Jeremiah 23 has the same thing, the Lord our Righteousness.

So those two phrases, when you look at those, especially if you're a Jew, but if you're also a follower of Jesus like we are, you recognize these two titles as being synonymous with titles that are given for Jesus. So is Melchizedek Jesus? We don't know. A lot of people like to conjecture it is. There's a lot of conjecture.

It's kind of a fun thing to think about. What we can say for certain is that the writer of Hebrews is saying here Melchizedek was a type. He's a picture that represents a reality. And it says it deliberately at the end of verse three. He resembles the Son of God. So he's trying to tell us this Melchizedek, this cameo appearance with Abraham, is telling us something key about Jesus' role as our high priest. And the fact that Melchizedek has no documented past or future, I mean, you won't find him anywhere else in the Old Testament except Psalm 110.

I mean, this is it. This is the whole, two verses in Genesis 14. Well, the Jews always interpreted the way they interpreted the Bible is that if there is no history, then he had no history, which makes him kind of mysterious and a huge sense. Maybe since he had no history in time, maybe he's kind of eternal. And so that idea is being laid onto the type of who Jesus is. Maybe Jesus as our high priest does not have beginning and does not have end like Melchizedek. That's the interpretive way you look at Melchizedek in the Old Testament. So he resembles the Son of God. But he is the king of righteousness and the king of peace. And he's bigger than Abraham, the father of the Jews. Right, right. So now you get to really crazy territory.

We got to move on because we're going to run out of time. Yeah, there's just one more thing I want to say about Melchizedek. If you go back and read Genesis 14, the writer of Hebrews does not comment on this, but you will observe that Melchizedek comes out, he takes the initiative to meet Abraham, and he brings him, offers him bread and wine.

Wait, where have I heard that before? Doesn't that sound familiar? So again, he resembles the Son of God who takes the initiative and offers, I'm the bread of life. This wine is the blood of the new covenant in my blood. That picture is inescapable when you look back at Melchizedek through the lens of Jesus and then turn around and look through the other end of the telescope and look at Jesus through the lens of Melchizedek.

There's just so much resemblance there. Yeah, so let's push on because there's just way too much to talk about here. I know. I'm going to take it from verse four.

Okay. So he says, talking about Melchizedek, so see how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the spoils and those descendants of Levi, those are the priests, who receive the priestly office, have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, and though these also are descended from Abraham. So he's making that parallel point. Abraham gave his tithe to the priest Melchizedek, but the people of Israel gave their tithe to Levi, who was a descendant of Abraham. Okay, so don't get this mixed up.

This is interesting. Verse six, but this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham. I mean, he's not a descendant of Abraham, but they're still giving tithes to him. And blessed him who had the promises. Abraham had the promises. So Melchizedek blessed Abraham, who was the receiver of God's promises.

God's promises. So how important is Melchizedek? Yeah, and you know, from a Jewish perspective, they would always claim the preeminent distinction for a Jew is that we're sons of Abraham. And the writer of Hebrews is saying, yeah, but you know what? There's someone greater than Abraham, Melchizedek. And you know who Melchizedek represents? Jesus.

Whoa, this is mind-blowing. That's why in John eight, when Jesus said, before Abraham was, I am. They were so incensed, they pick up stones to kill him. Before Abraham. Father, yeah. Father Abraham.

And so seven, he kind of ties up this logic. So look, it's beyond dispute, the argument's done, that the inferior is blessed by the superior. The inferior Abraham is blessed by the superior Melchizedek. And in the one case, tithes are received by mortal men.

That's when they gave their tithes to the Levites. But in the other case, by one of whom, it's testified that he lives. This is Melchizedek. Right, because there's no record of his dying. Because there's no record of his dying.

It's like he's still living. So verse nine, so one might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. What? What?

Well, his logic is impeccable, though. That's right. The people of Israel gave their tithes to the Levites, right? Which would make the Levites above them. And Levi was one of the tribes, one of the sons of Jacob, and Jacob was a descendant of Abraham.

So there's your kind of hierarchical thing. But here in this particular case, he's saying, but Levi himself is actually giving his tithes through his ancestor, Abraham, to this other guy. There is a bigger priest, is all he's saying right here. A bigger and a different priesthood.

Exactly. There is a priest of all priests that actually precedes and is superior to Abraham. Who is and resembles the Son of God. Who resembles the Son of God.

And he wants us deliberately to start making those connections. How does Melchizedek resemble Jesus? And how does the cameo appearance of Melchizedek in Genesis 14 tell us something key about Jesus' role as our high priest in bringing us into the presence of God on the other side of the veil that keeps all mankind out?

How does that work? And how does Melchizedek give us insight that we wouldn't have if he hasn't been writing it to us? Well, if your brain is scrambled right now, don't worry about it because we're going to continue the Melchizedek discussion for quite some time and the whole high priest idea. So you need to go back and read Genesis 14. If you don't even read anymore, read Genesis 14, 17 to 20. That's all there is.

Because that's the account. Just a few verses. But if you want to know what Abraham was doing, what war are we talking about, read the chapter before. And this thing occurs before Hagar, before Sarah gets pregnant, before God actually makes his covenant with Abraham. Very early.

It's so early. And because of the timing, Melchizedek almost undergirds the entirety of the life of Abraham by the simple two-verse cameo in Genesis 14. And he is a priest. Well, remember, he already tantalized us by telling us that the fruition of God's promise to us of rest seems to be about being in the presence of God, behind the veil that no one's allowed to be behind because of our sinfulness.

But Jesus as our forerunner is going to allow us to come in there and complete God's promise of rest in the presence of God. Because he is our high priest who lives forever. And by the way, remember, high priests are the ones who mediate between man and God.

That's exactly the right role. So Melchizedek is telling us something about the role that Jesus has as our forerunner, as our high priest, as one who is actually superior in every way to the father of Israel, Abraham himself. Jesus? Yeah, this Jesus. Our king of righteousness. Yeah, king of righteousness and king of peace.

Our king of peace. Exactly. So we are way out of time. And we have a thousand more things to talk about. But we'll bring up more topics about this comparison because this is a radical brain warping kind of comparison that for a Jew, I mean, they're walking around the room tearing their hair out going, how can this be, how can this be, how can this be, but he's making impeccable arguments right here.

Melchizedek is our picture of Jesus himself, which means that the role of Jesus in our salvation and coming into the rest of God was not an afterthought after the Old Testament. It was the original plan from the very beginning. It actually preceded. And God prefigured it.

Abraham himself. So you'll have to come back and we'll continue to talk about this because this is mind blowing kind of stuff. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And come back and visit us again on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Mystery man, mystery man. Are you thinking about, is it it? I am. Wow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-18 16:25:05 / 2023-09-18 16:37:42 / 13

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