11.22.08 Belle Aire Assisted Living Home [Hebrews 7:1-19]
FCF: People’s sin keep them from God’s presence and life and nothing they do can change that.
Proposition: Because God has provided in Jesus Christ the one and only way to approach Him and live finding full acceptance with God, you must embrace Christ alone as your righteousness.
Scripture Introduction: In the book of Genesis we read of a powerful group of 4 kings whose subjects rebelled against them. In retribution they go out and strike down 6 of these kings/groups. Then 5 more kings ban together to try to defeat these 4 kings and they too lose. As the 4 kings are spoiling their cities they capture Lot– Abraham’s nephew- and his family. Abraham gathers his 318 servants and goes out to face what seems some awful odds, but wins and brings back his nephew. On the way back he is met by an interesting character named Melchizedek. Gen 14:18-20 gives us the brief account before Mel slips back into historical obscurity for a thousand years until David pens Ps 110:4. Another thousand years pass and finally we get the Scripture’s final explanation of staggering significance of this man and the office he represented. As we read this passage, there are a lot of questions that can be raised where we might want to know more than Scripture is telling us, that however is the point I’m going to argue. So let’s read with an eye for what we are supposed to know.
The best approach will be to let Scripture tell us what we need to know about Mel and let it interpret the significance of its silence on other details.
Sermon Introduction: What is just crucial to understanding this chapter and assumed as we begin, is that because of man’s sin he needs a priest/ go-between Who can reconcile him to God and make a way of access to the one against Whom we have rebelled.
Melchizedek’s Historical Background
Who he was: 1) king of Salem and 2) priest of the most high God (1a)
What he did: 1) met Abram, 2) blessed Abram, and 3) received tithes. (1b-2a)
Sig. of his name and title: 1) king of righteousness and 2) king of Salem/peace/Shalom
Sig. of his lack of recorded lineage: without father, without mother – on what basis? – without genealogy – so without birth or death (at least recorded in a book that was very interested in these)
In these ways then he was “made like unto the Son of God” – note not vice versa
So then Mel meets Abram in a book where genealogy means everything when it comes to priesthood (see Neh 7:64). He is called a king and a priest of the Most High God. He even acts as a prophet in what appears to be revealing to Abram this concept of Yahweh – Abram will use it himself in verse 22. (It is quite rare in Scripture although we also see the demons use it of Christ in Mk 5:7; Lk 8:28)
It seems then what is left unsaid in Scripture can be as significant as what is said.
The Melchizedecian Priesthood’s Import Compared to the Levitical Priesthood in the OT
The Greatness of Melchizedek’s priesthood (4-5):
· Mel received tithes from Abram – the patriarch (in Gk. Set at end for emphasis) (v4)
· Levites, as descendents of Abram, receive tithes from their brothers according to the Law (v5)
· But Mel didn’t come from Abram, and he received tithes from him and blessed him – the one with the promises (whom Paul will call in Rom 4:13 the heir of the world!). (vv6-7)
o He doesn’t even feel like he has to make a case that in this context the one blessing is unarguably the greater. Calvin notes that a blessing was given by a man of great honor as a prayer to the Lord to keep those under his care. Mel’s priesthood is: universal (1), royal (2), righteous (2), peaceful (2), and unending (3) – MSB
· As far as the OT record witnesses, the guy has no end – def. greater than the Levitical priesthood that had to be hereditary because the priests died off (v8)
· There is even a sense in which through Abram the Levities paid their tithes to Mel. (vv9-10)
To the Jew the Levitical priesthood was final since they were the latest, but here the author is demonstrating that the OT starting with the Pentateuch anticipated a change in the priesthood/Law.
The Necessity for a New Priesthood/Law
Another priesthood was needed because the Law/and its priesthood could not accomplish “perfection” for its people. Perfection: complete reconciliation, acceptance and access to God (MSB)/EBC (vv11-12)
- Since the priesthood and Law are inseparably linked, a new priesthood would mean a new law. (v13)
- Christ sprang (Jer 33:15) from Judah – from which no priest ever came (vv13-14)
o The uses in 11b, 13a and 15b of “another” refer to “another of a different kind” – ἕτερος
o Sometimes kings like David and Solomon made sacrifices but it seems like that means they ordered them to be done and provided the materials else Solomon killed 142k animals?
o Saul (Benjamite) offered the priest’s sacrifice and God cut off his kingdom for it (1 Sam 13:8-14). Good Uzziah tried to offer the priest’s incense and was made a leper 2Chr 26:18-20.
The Superiority of Christ’s Priesthood: His Life (Divine Oath, Permanence and Sacrifice in vv20-28)
The need for a new priest is made even more sure by Psalm 110:4 (vv15, 17)
- Because this priest must come not from a law of fleshly command (hereditary?), but rather He was to be distinguished by the power of an endless life. (He must fulfill what Mel typified) (v16)
For David in Ps 110:4 to speak of the Messiah as from the order of Melchizedek was devastating to the Law. There was a weakness to the Law (v18) and it had to be replaced. It was weak (Rom 8:3) through the flesh – like a pot roast is – it’s not the fork’s fault the meat falls apart.
The Law could not make men eternally acceptable before God, but the better Hope/Christ can through whom we must draw near to God (v19).
Conclusion (verse 19):
This chapter/section (7:1-10:18) is the heart of Hebrews, and this verse is why this chapter was necessary. The Law kept people outside the presence of God – it could not make them able to enter.
We cannot hope to merit a righteousness through our works that will be acceptable to God – It is a false and deadly hope. “Run, John, run the Law demands, but gives us neither feet nor hands, Far better news the gospel brings: It bids us fly and gives us wings.” – John Bunyan
è What are you trusting in to be accepted by God? If it is less than the eternal work of Christ alone your trust/hope is “useless” (18).
è How significant is obedience? Think of the characters we have seen: Moses and now Mel. Their individual obedience/faithfulness to God in sometimes very mundane and other times dangerous circumstances has been noted to have HUGE significance. For negative examples think also of Saul and Uzziah. A commands inconvenience/unreasonableness is no excuse.
Scripture Passage: Hebrews 7:1 - 7:19
7:1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 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.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.