A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 17: MELCHISEDEC - A TYPE OF CHRIST
Hebrews 7:1 - 10
The Old Testament furnishes types, which are fulfilled and revealed in the New Testament. A type is an Old Testament person, practice or ceremony that has a counterpart in the New Testament. The study of types and antitypes is called typology. The brazen serpent that God commanded Moses to set upon a pole in the wilderness was a type of Christ’s being lifted up on the Cross (Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14,15). The sacrificial lamb was a type of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed for the sins of the world (Exodus 12:3-13; 1 Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29). There are many other types of Christ recorded in the Old Testament: Isaac (Genesis 22:2; Hebrews 11:17), Joseph (Genesis 50:19,20), Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22), Jacob’s ladder (Genesis 28:12; John 1:51), the Manna (Exodus 16:11; John 6:32,33,48-50), Jonah (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40), the Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35:6; Hebrews 6:18), etc.
Types are frail illustrations, analogies that correspond to the person to which they are compared only in certain ways. Melchisedec is also a type of Christ. He is in no way the equal of Christ; his unique priesthood, his name and Old Testament account typify Jesus Christ and His work in a number of significant ways.
SUMMARY OF MELCHISEDEC’S PORTRAIT
Hebrews 7:1-3; Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Zechariah 6:13; Hebrews 5:10,11; 6:20; Hebrews 7:15-17.
Many Christians, who only casually read the Epistle to the Hebrews, have wrong unscriptural notions about Melchisedec. Some people say he is an angel who took human form for a while during the time of Abraham. But the priesthood was a human, not angelic function (Hebrews 5:1). Others insist he is actually Jesus Christ Himself, who took a pre-incarnate form during Abraham’s time. The bible does not say that. Hebrews 7:3 declares that he was “MADE LIKE unto the Son of God’. Melchisedec was a historical human being, whose priestly ministry typifies that of Christ.
Only few passages of Scripture speak about Melchisedec. He was “king of Salem” (an ancient name for Jerusalem) and also “priest of the most high God”. The literal meaning of his name is “King of righteousness” and that of his title is “King of peace” (Salem is from the same Hebrew root as shalom, “peace”). He was a king as well as a priest. A Levite could only be a priest, he could not be a king. Melchisedec’s royal priesthood was something greater than Aaronic priesthood. Also the Old Testament records nothing of the origin or background of his parents. Nothing is said of his genealogy, too. Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but MADE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF GOD; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3).
SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST’S PRIESTHOOD
Hebrews 7:4-7; Genesis 14:18-20; Numbers 8:14-16,24,25; 18:21; 2 Chronicles 31:4,5; Nehemiah 10:37,38; Hebrews 8:6.
Bible Christians and students of the Bible should not forget the purpose of writing this Epistle. It is to show Christ’s pre-eminence, supremacy and superiority over all angels and all men. Here, Christ’s priesthood is revealed to be greater and higher than that of Aaron and the Levites. Christ is “a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec”. Melchisedec was greater than Abraham (Hebrews 7:4,7). Abraham was greater than the Levites. Levi (representing the Levites) is pictured as paying tithes through Abraham, to Melchisedec (Hebrews 7:9,10). The conclusion is clear. The Apostle was inviting his readers to leave the priesthood of the Old Testament and put their faith in Christ, the High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant.
The priesthood of Aaron and the Levites was limited to Israel and temporary in nature. The priesthood of Christ, pictured in Melchisedec’s was universal; not national, eternal; not temporary and is also royal, righteous and peaceful.
STANDARD OF GIVING FROM OUR CHOICE POSSESSIONS
Hebrews 7:8-10; Genesis 14:18-20; 28:20-22; Leviticus 27:30; Malachi 3:10; Luke 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:3-5.
We are the seed of Abraham. As Abraham “gave tithes of all” to Melchisedec, so we are to “give tithes of all” to Christ, the antitype of Melchisedec. Abraham’s giving to Melchisedec is a type of what our giving to the Lord should be. We should give to the Lord from our choicest possessions and give freely.
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