Jesus and Melchizedek
Comments for Study 6
Memory Verse 8:1
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In the last passage we learned that when God's swears he will do something we can be sure it will happen. He swore to Abraham that his descendants will be as numerous as stars in the sky and as countless as sand on the seashore. And so we see God kept his promise. Abraham has descendants, both spiritually and physically so numerous that no one could count them if they tried. So in the same way when God swore that Jesus would be a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek we can be sure that this will happen.
In this study we will learn who is Melchizedek and how is he similar to Jesus. We will also learn of what it means to us that Jesus is the King and the true High Priest forever.
I. Melchizedek the Priest (7:1-10)
>1. Who was Melchizedek and what did Abraham give him? What is the two meanings of his name? How then is he like Jesus?
Hebrews 7:1-2a "This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave his a tenth of everything."
* Here is a quick account of Melchizedek appearance in history. It is a summery of Genesis 14.
* All throughout the letter to the Hebrews we read of Melchizedek, the high priest of God. But who exactly is Melchizedek? In the Old Testament the only accounts of him is in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110:4. (Psalm 110:4 is the one always quoted in Hebrews.) Because of the limited reference we have of him we are in dark to who he exactly is. All we can say is that God meant to present him in this way for a reason. Perhaps God wanted to show us little about Melchizedek so that he might be a more lively type of man and a man more like Jesus. So intern God would use him as an example to the Hebrews who received this letter and later to use of who Jesus is and how he is a high priest. And therefore Jesus is able to offer his blood for our sins once and for all as the high priest of the Levitical law did.
* Melchizedek was a man, like you and I. He was probably a Canaanite king, who reigned in Salem. Salem was later renamed Jerusalem by the Israelites. Jerusalem only means a city of Salem. This Melchizedek kept up religion and the worship of the true God in Salem. God must have raised him up to be a type of Christ, and was honored by Abraham as such.
* "priest of the Most High God" -The only way we can come to God is through Jesus. The only was we can be reconciled to God and receive remission of our sins is through Jesus.
Hebrews 7:2b "First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."
* Melchizedek is a king, the king of Salem. Jesus is in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus is also a king. But Jesus is the greatest king! He is God's Anointed King. The king of heaven and earth. The government of God is laid upon his shoulders. He rules over all people for the good of his people. Of Jesus' kingship is written, "See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Matthew 21:5, Zech 9:9) This prophecy was fulfilled as Jesus rode into Jerusalem shortly before he was crucified. Jesus is a king as Melchizedek was a king of Salem.
* Verse 2 shows us the nature of Jesus' kingship.
* First, Jesus is "king of righteousness." This is the same as Lord of righteousness. This means that Jesus has fulfilled all righteousness as he shed his blood on the cross for our sins. He brings righteousness to us through this offering of blood. He has the power to help us live righteous lives before God. Jesus in the king of righteousness.
* Secondly, Jesus is the "king of peace." When Jesus righteously offered his blood for our sins he brought us peace. Because of Jesus we are at peace with God. No longer does God see us as his enemy. No longer are we under his wrath. No longer do we fight against God's will. Instead, we follow his will. Then, our hearts are at peace, that is if we accept Jesus the king of peace into our hearts. As Paul wrote, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and you minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7) Jesus the king of peace guards our hearts and minds with kingly power. Jesus is the king of peace.
Hebrews 7:3 "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."
* This verse must not be understood as it reads. It is written from the viewpoint of how God presents Melchizedek in the Old Testament. Melchizedek was "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life..." Nothing much is said of Melchizedek. God presented him this way so he would be like the Christ Jesus. The Levitical law required that in order for a man to be a priest he must have the right genealogy; he must be from the line of Levi. However, Melchizedek is outside of that line, and even before that line of genealogy. Even though this is true he is still called a "priest of God Most High." And "like the Son of God he remains a priest forever" (3) for it doesn't record his death. Therefore, Jesus is a priest too, one in the order of Melchizedek. And of Jesus' priesthood there is no end. The Son of God is a priest forever. Forever, Jesus can forgive us our sins, for he reigns as priest forever.
>2. Who was Levi? What was one of the things he was required to do? (5) How is the requirements of Levi like Melchizedek? How is it different? Who is greater, Melchizedek, Abraham, or Levi?
Hebrews 7:4-10 "Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people--that is, their brothers--even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor."
* Jesus, our priest is greater than any other priest. He is a priest in the order of Melchizedek, and is greater than any priests in the order of the Levitical law. Since Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek, then Melchizedek was greater then Abraham. For "...without a doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater." (7) Not only that but since the father all the Levitical priests was in Abraham's body by his genes, than Melchizedek blessed them. So Melchizedek was greater than all the Levi priests. Therefore, since Jesus is in the order of Melchizedek, he too is greater than Abraham and the Levite priests.
* The Levitical priest offered sacrifices for the sins of the people. But that way was imperfect for the Levites were imperfect. However Jesus is greater than them. His offers for our sins is complete. His offering cleanses our sins once and for all. Let's us then turn to Jesus, for the cleansing of our sins.
* We should repay Jesus our King and High Priest. Abraham gave a tenth to Melchizedek because he came and blessed him after he won the weary battle of the kings. Thus, our King Jesus meets us in our spiritual conflicts, refreshes us, renews ours strength, and blesses us. Not only that but he pays the price for our sins. Certainly we should learn from Abraham and repay Jesus. We should return Jesus love with love and gratitude. We should pay him homage and submit to him as a king.
II. Jesus Like Melchizedek (7:11-28)
>3. How was the Levitical order imperfect even though God gave it? (11, 18-19, 8:7) What happened when the priesthood changed from Levi to Jesus? (12)
Hebrews 7:11-12 "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come--one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law."
* "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood" -It could not be obtained. Soon according to Revelation and other prophets the Jews will set up the temple Levitical system again in error of prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus.
* "one in the order of Melchizedek" -Melchizedek and Jesus are the only two in this order. It is only based on being appointed by God.
* "when there is a change of the priesthood" -The old Levitical order is done away with because Jesus fulfilled it. Now there is a new order.
* "there must also be a change of the law" -Where then is the new law? The new law is found in the teachings of Jesus, especially the sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plain. Jesus added to and explained much of the Levitical laws given through Moses. Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:17-20) Jesus' priesthood in higher than Levites order. Jesus' law is higher than Moses' law. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is greater. Jesus' followers righteousness is to surpass that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Everything about this age is greater and higher than the last.
>4. Who is verse 13 about? What tribe is he from? (7:3) What tribe is Jesus from? What bases is Jesus a priest if not by birth? What is the power of indestructible life? How is this a better hope than the Levitical system offering? (18-19)
Hebrews 7:13-14 "He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests."
* "tribe" -The American Heritage Dictionary defines tribe; "A unit of social organization consisting of a number of families, clans, or other groups who share a common ancestry, culture, and leadership."
* "Judah" -a brother of Levi. Both were one of twelve sons of Jacob (aka Israel).
* "Moses" -God chose Moses to lead the Israelites (four generations after Jacob) out of slavery in Egypt, to Mt. Sinai, and then to the boarders of the promised land. God instructed Moses as he wrote the first five books of the Bible (aka the Law). These writings contain the Levitical instructions among other topics.
Hebrews 7:15-17 "And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."
* "another priest like Melchizedek appears" -Jesus was like Melchizedek. He was not Melchizedek.
* "but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" -Jesus is eternal life. Jesus said, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:14-16
* "you are a priest forever" -Jesus is the only priest forever.
Hebrews 7:18-19 "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God."
* "The former regulation is set aside" -The old sacrificial system is not needed. If anyone follows the old system his act means nothing other than rejecting Jesus the Messiah's final sacrifice.
* "weak and useless" -For cleansing of sins. It was however, useful as a foreshadow of the real sacrifice.
* "for the law made nothing perfect" -That is how it is weak and useless.
* "a better hope" -We hope for what we will receive. Faith and hope and love are linked.
* "we draw near to God" -Amazing as it seems we draw near to God. Soon, upon resurrection we will see him face to face, as he is.
>5. Who made the oath and what did it concern? How does this all relate to Jesus death? resurrection? What can Jesus do completely that the Levitical system could not? Why?
Hebrews 7:20-22 "And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever.'" Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant."
* "oath" -American Heritage Dictionary defines, "A solemn, formal declaration or promise to fulfill a pledge, often calling on god or a sacred object as witness."
* "and will not change his mind" -Jesus was chosen as the Messiah before he came in the flesh.
Hebrews 7:23-25 "Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."
* "he is able to save completely those who come to God through him" -Jesus is the only one to save us from sin, death, and the cursed body and world.
* John 1:18 states, "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. Jesus taught his disciples, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
Hebrews 7:26-28 "Such a high priest meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever."
* "our need... for sinners" -to be freed from sin and death.
* "exalted above the heavens" -The Bible talks of three heavens; the atmosphere, the place of the stars and planets, and the place where God lives and those who have died believing in Jesus as the Messiah and LORD God.
* Jesus is not weak. He is without any sin. He is the perfect sacrifice. See earlier Hebrew's study where I wrote about his pure unique blood.
* "He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself" -The belief and religious system that says that we can do something to pay for our sins goes against this fundamental teaching including precatory.
III. Jesus, High Priest of a New Covenant (8:1-13)
>6. What has been the whole point being made? (1-2) Where is Jesus? What does he do there?
Hebrews 8:1-2 "The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
1) we do have a high priest
2) who sat down at the right hand of the throne
3) who serves in the true sanctuary
>7. What was the tabernacle? How do we know it was special? Who was the only people allowed to serve there? What do they and the tabernacle represent? What does that tell us about the whole Levitical system and it's relevance to us? What promise would the wise man live by? (6)
Hebrews 8:3-6 "Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises."
* "a copy and shadow of what is in heaven" -When studying the Bible, especially the Old Testament, this fact is important to remember.
* "he is mediator" -American Heritage Dictionary defines mediator: "one that reconciles differences between disputants.
>8. What is a covenant? What fault did God find with the first one, the one the Levitical system was based on? (8-9)
>9. Who is Judah? Who is Israel? What was the nature of the old covenant?
>10. What is the new covenant found in Jesus? Who is "Israel after that time"? Where is the new law written? Who is our Lord and God? (John 20:28-29)
Hebrews 8:7-13 "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear."
* "God found fault with the people" -The Levites were impure and so could not mediate with the pure God.
* "the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" -God often distinguished the two. Israel is the northern kingdom. Judah is the southern kingdom.
* "with the house of Israel" -All who confess Jesus as Lord is of the house of Judah in this age; because it says, "a time is coming". We are in that time.
* "after that time" -The time of Jesus' life which was after the age of the Levitical order.
* "I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts" -The work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught, "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." (John 14:15-17) And he taught, "All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:25-26) And he taught, "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." (John 15:26-27) And he taught, "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." (John 16:7-15)
* "I will be their God, and they will be my people" -When Thomas saw the risen Jesus he said, "My Lord and my God." Jesus said he was blessed and we are too when we say and believe this.
* "will soon disappear" -The law of Moses is still with us. It will not be needed in the Millennium because Jesus will be with us on the earth as Lord and God. Those who accept his, as this letter describes, will rule with him in a new resurrection body like he has.