Like Unto The Son Of God

Posted by on Sep 9, 2007

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

September 9, 2007

Sunday Morning

 

“Like Unto The Son Of God”

Scripture Text: Hebrews 7:1-10

Introduction:

 

A.   Of all the characters that we read about in God’s Word, most would agree that one of the most mysterious is a man by the name of “Melchisedec.”

1. Who was “Melchisedec”?

2. Some believe that he was an angel who took human form for a while during the days of Abraham.

3. This is not likely, however, since the office of priesthood was a human office, not an angelic office.

4. Others believe that he was actually Jesus Christ Himself, who took a pre-incarnate form for the purpose of appearing to and ministering to Abraham.

5. This also, is not likely, since Vrs. 3 of our text tells us that he was “made like unto the Son of God,” rather than that he was the Son of God.

6. Most people believe, as I do, that Melchisedec was an actual (historical) person, whose priestly ministry typifies that of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

B.   The first time Melchisedec is mentioned in the Bible is in Gen. 14:18-20.

1. The second time he is mentioned in Scripture is in Psa. 110:4.

2. The third time he is mentioned is right here in the book of Hebrews, twice in chapter 5, once in chapter 6, and six times here in chapter 7.

3. Although Melchisedec is and probably always will be somewhat mysterious, there are at least three things about him that I want us to consider this morning.

 

C.   First of all, I want us to consider the…

 

I.       Reality Of His Existence.

 

A.   As I said a moment ago, I am convinced that Melchisedec was a real person (historical figure) who actually lived during the days of Abraham.

 

 

B.   What do we know about him, other than the fact that he was a real person?

1. Well, let me tell you, first of all, what we do not know about him.

2. We don’t know when or where he was born.

3. We don’t know who his parents were.

4. We don’t know how he came to be a priest.

5. We don’t know what he did prior to his meeting with Abraham.

6. We don’t know what he did after his meeting with Abraham.

7. We don’t know when or where he died.

8. We don’t know where he was buried.

9. Notice again the first part of Vrs. 3 of our text, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life;”

10.   Now you have to understand that this is not to be taken literally.

11.   He did have a “father,” but who his father was is a mystery.

12.   He did have a “mother,” but who his mother was is also a mystery.

13.   He did have a “descent” (ancestry), but who his ancestors where is a mystery.

14.   He did have a “beginning of days,” but the details of his birth are a mystery.

15.   He did have an “end of life,” but the details of his death are a mystery.

16.   These are the things that we do not know about him.

 

C.   What do we know about Melchisedec?

1. Most of what we know about him can be gleaned from Gen. 14:18-20, turn there with me, for just a moment.

2. Abraham had just returned from his victorious battle with the kings of the east who had taken Lot and his family captive.

3. The king of Sodom had come out to meet him and to congratulate him on his victory.

4. However, someone else came out to meet him as well.

5. Let’s begin reading with Vrs. 18, it says, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God….And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:…And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

6. This is basically what we are told in Heb. 7:1-2, which says, “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;…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.”

 

D.   Now what can we learn about Melchisedec from these two passages.

1. The first thing that we are told about him was that he was a “king,” and not just a king, but the “king of Salem.”

2. It is interesting to note here that the name “Salem” is the ancient name for the city of “Jerusalem.”

3. This is verified in Psa. 76:2, which says, “In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel….In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.”

4. And so, the first thing that we are told about Melchisedec is that he was a king, and that his throne was in the city of Jerusalem.

 

E.   Not only are we told that Melchisedec was a king, we are also told that he was a righteous king.

1. Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness.”

2. If you look up the name, Melchisedec, in a Hebrew lexicon, you will find that it comes from two Hebrew words which, when put together, literally mean “king of righteousness.”

3. While we don’t know any details about Melchisedec’s reign as king of Jerusalem, we do know it was a righteous reign.

 

F.    Not only are we told that he was a righteous king, we are also told that he was a peaceful king.

1. Notice again Vrs. 2 of our text, “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.”

2. While I’m not a language scholar, I am told that the origin of the name, Jerusalem, is somehow connected with the Hebrew word “shalom,” which means “peace.”

3. While we don’t know any details about Melchisedec’s reign as king of Jerusalem, we do know that it was a peaceful reign.

 

G.   There is one more thing that we know about Melchisedec.

1. Not only was he a king.

2. And not only was he a righteous king.

3. And not only was he a peaceful king.

4. He was also a “priest of the most high God.”

5. Notice again Vrs. 1 of our text, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God.”

6. There are two reasons why one should not question the priesthood of Melchisedec.

7. The first reason is because of the blessing that he pronounced upon Abraham.

8. The second reason is because Abraham paid him tithes.

9. Neither of these things would have taken place had Melchisedec not been a priest.

 

H.   And so, that’s the reality of Melchisedec’s existence.

1. First of all, he was a “king.”

2. Secondly, he was a righteous “king.”

3. Thirdly, he was a peaceful “king.”

4. Finally, he was a “priest of the most high God.”

 

I.    The second thing that I want to call your attention to is Melchisedec’s…

 

II.      Relationship To Christ.

 

A.   Melchisedec’s relationship to Christ is plainly stated in the latter part of Vrs. 3 of our text, let’s look at that verse again, it says, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God.”

1. Notice again the words, “…made like unto the Son of God.”

2. In other words, Melchisedec was a type of Christ.

3. This is what the psalmist was alluding to in Psa. 110:4, which says, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

 

B.   Now this raises a question.

1. If Melchisedec was a type (picture) of Christ, what did they have in common?

2. The first thing they had in common was that they were both without beginning or end.

3. Of course, Melchisedec was not actually without beginning nor end (he was born and he did die), however, as we noticed earlier, as far as the Biblical record is concerned, he was without beginning or end.

4. Jesus, on the other hand, is literally without beginning or end.

5. Jesus said it best in Rev. 1:8, where He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

6. Notice that Jesus didn’t say that He had a beginning or an ending, but rather that He was “the beginning and the ending.” (There’s a big difference!)

7. The reason that Jesus did not have a beginning and will not have an ending is because He is God.

8. Listen to Psa. 90:1-2, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations….Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

 

C.   Another thing that Melchisedec and Christ have in common is that they were both kings.

1. Melchisedec was the “king of Salem.” (Heb. 7:1)

2. Jesus, on the other hand, is the “King of kings.”

3. Now it is true that when Jesus came into this world the first time, He did not come as a king would come.

4. However, when He comes the second time, things will be different!

5. In fact, the apostle John tells us in Rev. 19:16 that when Christ comes the second time, He will have on “his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

6. By the way, it’s interesting to note that during the millennium, Jesus will reign from Jerusalem, which is the same city in which Melchisedec reigned.

 

D.   Not only were Melchisedec and Christ both kings, but they were both the same kind of kings.

1. Two words were used to describe Melchisedec’s reign, the word “righteousness” and the word “peace.” (Heb. 7:2)

2. God’s Word uses these exact words to describe how Jesus will one day reign upon this earth.

3. Listen as I read Psa. 72:1-3, “Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son….He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment….The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteous-ness.”

 

E.   There is one more thing that Melchisedec and Christ have in common, and that is they are both priests.

1. We are told that Melchisedec was a “priest of the most high God.” (Heb. 7:1)

2. While we don’t know the details of how he became a priest, we can be sure that God Himself had ordained him to be a priest (he wasn’t a self-appointed priest).

3. Jesus, of course, is also a priest, and not just a priest, but our great high priest!

4. Listen as I read a verse that we looked at earlier in our study of Hebrews, and that is Heb. 4:14, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”

 

F.    And so, that’s Melchisedec’s relationship to Christ.

1. He is a type of Christ.

2. As Melchisedec had no beginning nor end, Christ has no beginning nor end (He is the alpha and omega).

3. As Melchisedec was a king, Christ is a king (He is King of kings and Lord of lords).

4. As Melchisedec’s reign was both righteous and peaceful, Christ’s reign will be both righteous and peaceful.

5. As Melchisedec was a priest, Christ is a priest (He is our great high priest).

 

G.   Now, finally, this morning, I want to call your attention to Melchisedec’s…

 

III.    Relevance To Hebrews.

 

A.   As we think about this mysterious character named Melchisedec, there is a question that we need to answer.

1. What is his relevance to Hebrews?

2. Why did the writer of Hebrews mention him in his letter?

3. He mentioned him for at least two reasons.

4. First of all, he mentioned him to prove that someone who was not of the priestly tribe (Levi) and who was not a descendent of Aaron could be a priest.

5. You see, these Jewish believers to whom Hebrews was written were being told by their unconverted fellow Jews that Jesus could not possibly fulfill the role of high priest, because He was of the tribe of Judah.

6. The argument that the writer of Hebrews is making here is this: If Melchisedec, who was not a descendent of Levi or Aaron (these men had not yet been born), if he could be a priest, then Jesus could also be a priest.

7. And so, the writer of Hebrews mentioned Melchisedec to prove that someone who was not of the priestly tribe could actually be a priest.

 

B.   There is another reason why the writer of Hebrews mentioned Melchisedec.

1. He did so to demonstrate the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the Levitical priesthood.

2. How does Melchisedec demonstrate the superiority of Christ’s priesthood over the Levitical priesthood?

3. Look again at Vrs. 5 of our text, “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:”

4. According to this verse, one of the responsibilities of the Levites was to receive the tithes of the children of Israel.

5. This is how they lived (how they were sustained as far as their physical needs were concerned).

6. Now look at Vrs. 6, “But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.”

7. In other words, here is a man who was not a Levite (Melchisedec) who received tithes from Abraham.

8. But that’s not all.

9. Look at Vrs. 9-10, “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 Melchisedec met him.”

10.   Do you understand what the writer is Hebrews is saying here?

11.   He is saying that because Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec, and because the Levites were descendants of Abraham, in the person of Abraham, the Levites actually paid tithes to Melchisedec, and by doing so, acknowledged their inferiority to him.

 

C.   But someone says, “Wait a minute. All this proves is that Melchisedec was superior to the Levites.”

1. No, it proves a lot more than that.

2. Because Melchisedec was a type of Christ, and because Jesus was “made an high priest….after the order of Melchisedec,” it proves that Christ’s priesthood was superior to the Levitical priesthood. (Heb. 6:20)

3. You see, by bringing up Melchisedec, the writer of Hebrews is telling these Jewish believers who were actually considering going back to their old Levitical system of worshiping God, they would be trading in a superior priesthood (priesthood of Christ) for an inferior priesthood (Levitical priesthood).

4. This is the relevance of Melchisedec to Hebrews.

Conclusion:

 

A.   Now what have we learned about this mysterious character named Melchisedec.

1. First of all, we learned about the reality of his existence.

2. Secondly, we learned about his relationship to Christ.

3. Finally, we learned about his relevance to Hebrews.

 

B.   But someone says, “Pastor, what does this have to do with us today? We are not Jewish believers who are contemplating going back to the Levitical system of worship. How does this apply to us?”

1. Here’s the application.

2. The day may come when, for whatever reason, we may consider putting our spiritual life in reverse and going back to those things which characterized our life before we came to Christ.

3. Should that day come, we need to realize that if we turn away from serving Christ so that we can once again serve the gods of our past life, we will be trading in something that is superior for something that is vastly inferior.

4. Only a fool would do that!

 

C.   Do you know Christ as your Savior?