Years ago I had a friend who would say things to encourage me in my walk in the Lord. We were in Bible College, facing an administration that seemed intent on getting students to quit and return to the world. The rules were really strict. The daily atmosphere in teaching and preaching was legalistic, repressive and condemning. My friend Don would say “Pump up, baby, pump up!” Then Saturday Night Live did some comedy sketches with a couple of fake body builders whose line was “We’re here to Pump You Up!”
I say all this to say this about Hebrews chapter 7…it is here to PUMP US UP!
The more I got into this chapter, the more I wanted to shout Hallelujah. This is such an encouraging chapter! I trust you will see as we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us. First, we must understand Abram’s encounter with a mysterious man, Melchizedek.
Narrative of Melchizedek
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 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. See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! (Hebrews 7:1-4)
1. King of Salem (means Peace)
2. Priest of the Most High God
3. King of Righteousness
4. No parents
5. No genealogy
6. No Beginning – No End
7. Resembled the Son of God
8. He is a Priest forever
When you add all these characteristics up, it seems like Melchizedek is…
He fits all the characteristics of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
As I read Hebrews 7, questions popped into my mind…
1. Why Did Abraham give Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils?
- Recognized Melchizedek’s relationship with Eternal God
- Expression of Devotion, Worship and Gratitude
- Recognizes a need for us to live, pay expenses, reward the men who served with you
- Establishes a benchmark of what we should give to God when we are blessed
- Establishes a trust bridge between God and Abraham when it comes to money and provision.
- Partnership with God
- Acknowledgment that God can use filthy money.
2. Why did Melchizedek appear after the battle and not before?
We pray for blessing before surgery or some big event. Perhaps we need to pray for blessing after a victory…lest we forget God. After all, God doesn’t want to be our 911 call. He wants to be our daily Lord!
- The time for God’s blessing and presence is most needed after a great victory
- We forget God when everything is alright.
- We go back to our default “self-reliance” when there are no problems.
- We forget that Abraham won the battle because he had prepared his men and himself.
- Abraham was doubting his resolve after the victory
- God spoke to a doubting Abram:
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” Genesis 15:1
The time to come to God is after we make it through a difficult time, after we have a big success (or relief), for it is exactly at that time when we forget God and return to our self-reliant ways.
- We have a natural tendency to rely on ourselves.
- Peter and the other disciples decided to “return to fishing”
- Solomon’s heart wandered after his great successes.
- King Hezekiah started to rely on his own strength.
If we arm ourselves with the Lord, then we are prepared for any and every battle, fear or trial. The time to honor God and seek His blessing is after the battle is won (or lost, if that is the case). We must be on the guard against self-reliance!
3. Why is it important for Jesus Priesthood NOT be based upon his birth into the Tribe of Levi?
- Jesus is not from the tribe of Levi. (This is a real stumbling block to Jews)
- Jesus could not be from a tribe, for He is eternal (We need a God-sized view)
- His Priesthood was by direct declaration of Eternal God (Ps 110:4-refered to in Heb 7:17)
- His Priesthood could not be superior if it was based upon man’s qualifications or lineage.
The Eternal Value of Tithing
- Tithing is an important aspect of our worship to God.
- The Priests have a commandment from God to take tithes from the people.
- Melchizedek received tithes and blessed Abram, even though Abram had all the promises.
- Abram’s descendants benefited from his offering!
And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 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. (Hebrews 7:5-10)
The Blessing that is Passed Down…
The King James explains it this way: “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him.” Hebrews 7:9-10
What makes Jesus Christ so amazing, is that He is the giver of promises. All the Promises that Abram had were because of Jesus Christ! Here he was giving tithe to the one who gave Abram so much! Abram was reaping benefits and promises for His descendants through His actions. This is one thing that I feel very strongly about. I know I am reaping the benefits of my parents sacrifices and prayers, even my children.
If the sins of the forefathers can influence the third and fourth generation, why can’t the faith and blessing of our forefathers influence the same?
When we tithe, we are acknowledging the Promises of God! Abram was righteous because he believed the promises of God! Do you believe? Then you will show that belief by giving back to God! He promises to bless you! Jesus LIVES! He is worthy of your tithes. You will never realize the Blessing of Tithes if you do not to live in the “THERE”
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. Hebrews 7:8
Are you living in the here or the there?
In the one case tithes are received by mortal men (KJV-’men that die’), but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.
- Here: dying men receive tithes
- There: He that still lives receives tithes.
Do you want blessing from your tithe giving? Don’t do it unto dying men! Don’t do it to please dying men! Do it for the one who LIVES! Reap the benefit for your children and grandchildren! Christ will be living long after you are gone. He remembers and He blesses!
The Need for a Priest with an Indestructible Life
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:11-17)
The Power of an ENDLESS, INDESTRUCTIBLE and PERMANENT LIFE
His Indestructible Life is the Basis of the Permanent Solution for Us
The perfection required for a relationship with God is only possible through a Priest that has power — power with God and with Man. Power evidenced by an indestructible life!
The Old Testament Priesthood was a parenthetical period between the Promise of Abraham and the Promise revealed in Jesus Christ. The Law was temporary, just as the priestly function and sacrifices. They merely served to point men and women to the Permanent Solution, Jesus Christ. The proof of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ lies in His Permanence and Eternity.
- He is our Permanent Power (He arose from the grave)
- He is our Permanent Provision (for sin and satan)
- He is our Permanent Protection (ever liveth to make intercession)
The Benefits of an Indestructible Priest
For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’ ”This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:18-28
Due to the Permanence of the Life of Jesus…
The Temporary was Set Aside (vs. 18-20)
- The Law regarding sacrifices
- The Law regarding food and strict observances
The Permanent is Set in Place (vs. 21-24)
- Our Permanent Priest
- Our Perfect Priest
- Our Interceding Priest
Salvation is available to all who draw near to God THROUGH JESUS (vs 25)
- Jesus Christ is the Fulfillment of all those aspects of the Law that pertain to our access to God.
- No matter your filthiness or sin, He offers the Uttermost Salvation to the Guttermost Sinner!
He is our Perfection Forever!
- We have a permanent relationship with Holy God
- We have a perfect relationship with the Father
- We have an indestructible relationship with the Father
Have you entered into this permanent relationship that Jesus has with His Father? Because of His incarnation, He is now the King who provides us Permanent home in His Kingdom and our High Priest who provides permanent Peace with our Holy God, creator of the universe.
- He is permanently by His side
- He is indestructible.
- He is ever-living to make intercession for you! Not because of your righteousness, but because of your need and dependence on Him!
- He is able to save the uttermost and the guttermost.
- For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Hebrews 7:26
- For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
- For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
You must practice living an “EXCHANGED LIFE”
Are you living in the “Here” of the flesh of your own way, or in the “There” of the Endless Life of our Indestructible High Priest?
 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 130.