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1 For [gar] this [houtos] Melchisedec [Melchisedek], king [basileus] of Salem [Salem], priest [hiereus] of the most high [hupsistos] God [theos], who [ho] met [sunantao] Abraham [Abraam] returning [hupostrepho] from [apo] the slaughter [kope] of the kings [basileus], and [kai] blessed [eulogeo] him [autos];
2 To whom [hos] also [kai] Abraham [Abraam] gave [merizo] a tenth part [dekate] of [apo] all [pas]; first [proton] [men] being by interpretation [hermeneuo] King [basileus] of righteousness [dikaiosune], and [de] after that [epeita] also [kai] King [basileus] of Salem [Salem], which is [ho esti], King [basileus] of peace [eirene]; KJV-Interlinear
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. NASB
Melchizedek is an actual person. He is an example, an illustration, an analogy by which God teaches and we can learn a spiritual lesson.
Melchizedek is compared to the Levitical priesthood in order to demonstrate the superiority of his priesthood and rulership. He then becomes a pattern by which we can learn the superiority of Jesus Christ's rank and authority over that which the Israelites and then the Jewish peoples saw themselves over the rest of the world.
Abraham was the first Hebrew. Hebrew simply means 'one who has crossed over.' Abraham crossed over from the unbelief and jungle environment of the world, into the spiritual side of life through faith. He then becomes the pattern or illustration for salvation by faith.
Was he the first person who had been saved in history? No. This is merely a convenient teaching mechanism for educating people throughout history.
Jacob's name was changed to Israel. He fathered the nation of Israel of whom its citizens were called Israelites. Many centuries later after the nation had split, the citizens of Judah became known as Jews and that name has stuck with them up until our current day.
To the Jewish peoples, there was no other priesthood other than the Levitical priesthood, established by the true God, which was restricted to Israel. They did not perceive of the idea that there might be another priesthood which would be superior to their own. After all, in their minds, God Himself gave them their rank and authority.
However, even by means of their own scriptures (Genesis to Deuteronomy), a more superior priesthood was taught. It was written by Moses concerning Abraham, the one they look to as the Father of their race and nation, and also some one thousand years later (after Abraham) David mentioned the superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek in the Psalms. Yet down through the centuries, this principle of doctrine was ignored.
4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, 'Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.' NASB
Many other examples of Melchizedek's superiority were recorded as well.
Melchizedek was also a king. The Levites were never kings but served the king.
Melchizedek was the king of Salem. Salem is the ancient name for Jerusalem, the City of Peace. But herein he is called the king of righteousness.
Righteousness comes before peace. Righteousness is perfection. One must be made perfect before one can have peace. Jesus Christ went to the Cross to purchase righteousness such that mankind could have peace.
7 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. NASB
All of the sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood never saved even one person, nor paid the price for even one sin.
The entire tribe of Levi was dedicated by God for religious service. Melchizedek was but one man who served the 'Most High God.'
Although all priests were Levites, not all Levites were priests. All priests had to be descended from Levi and also from Aaron, Moses' brother. The priesthood was strictly national, strictly Jewish. Melchizedek was not associated with any race or culture, but was priest for all races.
The Levites were subject to the king just as much as were the other tribes. Melchizedek was both priest and king.
The sacrifices of the Levites, including the one by the high priest on the Day of Atonement, were not permanent. They had to be repeated continually. They had no permanence. They provided no permanent forgiveness, no permanent righteousness, no permanent peace. The effects of the sacrifices were teaching aids only.
The Levitical priesthood was hereditary. A man who served as a priest did so because he was born into the right family, not because he lived a right life.
The time of the priestly service was temporary. A priest served from the age of 25 until the age of 50, after which his ministry was over, Num. 8:24-25. The possession of the rank of king and priest of Christ is eternal. He will never leave His post, He will never be replaced by anyone.
Melchizedek was not an angel, but a real man. Only man can occupy the position of a priest. Melchizedek was not simply a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. He was said to be made 'like' the Son of God, not that he 'was' the Son of God.
The Levitical priests were priests of Jehovah. The Israelites were Jehovah's people and the Levites were Jehovah's priests. The Levitical priests could minister only to Israel and only for Jehovah. Melchizedek, however, was priest of the Most High God (a more powerful and universal name for God).
Abraham, the first Hebrew, offered tithes to another type of priest, a superior priest. This priest served the one true God, but Melchizedek lived hundreds of years before the Levitical priesthood came into existence. Melchizedek, as did the city of Salem, existed long before Abraham made his offering to him, yet Abraham knew of them and in his subordination to Melchizedek, bowed down to him in his humility.
The Jewish peoples and the Israelites before them, and all of us even now, are told in effect, 'Even your own scriptures recognize a priesthood not only that is completely apart from that of Aaron, but that existed long before Aaron's.'
Zechariah writes, 'Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne,' Zech 6:13. Thus, the Messiah will be a priest on His throne, the possessor of righteousness, and His counsel of peace will be between these two offices.
Melchizedek ruled over Jerusalem, Gods special city. This city existed many centuries before the nation of Israel even became a nation, before the city even became the capital of Israel, before the city became the capital of Judah, before the city became the capital of Judea.
God chose the Hebrews as His special people, His very unique and cherished people. This is a picture of Gods choosing believers as His very own people. He choice is not genetic but one of the spirit by faith. Scripture is equally clear that Israel continually misunderstood and presumed upon her unique relation to God.
They, for example, recognized Him as absolute creator of heaven and earth and as sovereign over His world. But they had a very difficult time understanding Him as redeemer of the entire world. As creator and sustainer, He was the world's, but as Savior and Lord, He was theirs alone. Thus the contradiction in their own belief. Jonah's reluctance to preach to Gentiles illustrates this principle.
They couldn't conceive of a better covenant and a better priesthood, especially one that was royal and superior to their own. Yet we are told that the covenant in Christ, even though it is called new, not only has superseded theirs but, in reality, actually preceded their Levitical Priesthood.
Thus, Judaism, by its very own scripture proves its own inferiority to the true purpose of God through Christ.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.