Posted by: Brad Beaman | July 18, 2009

The Mysterious Melchizedek

Ben Nevis

How good are you at recognizing greatness in people? In high school did you correctly guess the most likely to succeed? Like most of us you probably missed your guess at who would be the most likely to succeed. Don’t feel bad. Even Jesse could not conceive his son David would become a king. Any of his other sons he could imagine as a king, but not David. Later David became the greatest king of Israel.

Here is a question in recognizing greatness. Who was the greatest man of the Old Testament? If you look the answer might surprise you. It is Melchizedek. Wow and he is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament Genesis 14:18-20 and Psalms 110:4. We get a little more about this mysterious king found in Hebrews 5:1-11, 7:1-4. A study of his life also has some profound teaching for us to live by.

One Scottish preacher, Bill Freel said that if you grasp the significance of Melchizedek you have entered into a spiritual wonderland.

In Geneses 14 Melchizedek is observed historically. In Psalm 110 he is spoken of prophetically and in Hebrews 7 Melchizedek is applied doctrinally.

Here is a little background from Geneses 14. Abram is in a battle against four kings that captured his nephew Lot. Abram won the battle and rescued Lot, received the spoils of the victory of the battle.

He was met by Melchizedek the priest of the Most High God. This mysterious priest is also the King of Salem. A king and a priest. This is a unique combination to be a priest and a king. Abram gave a tithe, a tenth to this priest/king.

So far we still don’t know too much from the three verses in Genesis 14. But Jesus uses Psalm 110 to silence his critics, the Pharisees, recorded in Matthew 22:44. Whose son is the Messiah David? How could David call him Lord? The Messiah would be in the order of Melchizedek. This is an awesome prophecy.
Hebrews 7 lays out the doctrinal significance that I want us to look at. The principle of tithing precedes the law by hundreds of years. Abraham (Abram) paid tithes to the priest of the Most High God, not under the law.

Abraham the friend of God the father of faith, who believed God and it was credited as righteousness, tithed.

We find that Melchizedek is a type of Christ. God inspired the Bible. The significance of Melchizedek would be hinted at in Psalm 110 and expounded in Hebrews 7. Jesus is the Prophet, Priest and King. The Priesthood was determined by being a descendent or heir in the line of a priest. Both Moses and Aaron were descendents of Levi. The Old Testament priests must trace their heritage to Levi. Not Melchizedek.

Genealogy is significant in the priesthood, but not a word about it for Melchizedek. The left out genealogy is called the inspired omission. Hebrews 7:3 says Melchizedek was without beginning or end. The ironic thing is that Hebrews is a book asserting that Jesus is our high priest. Jesus can’t trace his linage to Aaron or even to Levi. He is from the tribe of Judah.

Jesus is a priest on the basis not of ancestry, but power Hebrews 7:16. There is so much in this Preist-King Melchizedek. Melchizedek means King and Tsedek means righteousness. He is the King of righteousness. He is the King of Salem. The word Salem means peace.

Melchizedek is the King of Peace. The prophesies of the coming Messiah often use the image of righteousness and peace. It is a fitting type of the Messiah to come, King of righteousness, King of Peace.
The writer of Hebrews never mentions that Melchizedek brought bread and wine. At the last supper these become symbolic of the body and blood of Christ.

Melchizedek is the Old Testament type of Christ. Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek typified New Testament Christians giving tithes to Christ. Now symbolically even Levi, the great grandson of Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek. Under the Mosaic Law the Levites received a tithe. The principle of the tithe precedes and transcends the ceremonial law.

Hebrews tells of the superior high priest in Jesus. In chapter 8 we have a better covenant. In chapter 9 we have a better sanctuary. In chapter 10 we have a better sacrifice.

It is better for us to bring tithes to Jesus Christ who is the eternal high priest. It is better than the tithes of the Old Covenant system. We are children of promise, spiritual heirs of Abraham. We are blessed to bring our tithes to the present day high priest of the Most High God, Jesus.

If the temporary priest received tithes Hebrews 7:8, then how much more the eternal priest receives them. Mechizedek is a type of Christ and Abraham a type of Christian tither. Here is the place of tithing in God’s plan. It is here before the law, “Abraham gave a tenth of all,” a tithe.

Tithing began before the law and continues after the law. Christians ought to tithe. The minimum standard for Christian giving is the tithe, one tenth. Hebrews 7 underscores that tithing is an eternal principle.
We should give our tithes to Jesus not out of law, but love. It is a moral principle.

Jesus said in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God will bless you when you give your tithe with the right motive. It is no wonder that the Macedonian Christians begged for the opportunity to give. (2 Corinthians 8:3) As we give God blesses us.

See also Jacob’s Ladder

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Responses

  1. Reply to Brad Beaman by Russ Kelly, 7-18, 2009
    http://bradbeaman.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/the-mysterious-melchizedek/

    Brad: Tithing began before the law and continues after the law.

    Russ: So also does idolatry, child sacrifice and temple prostitution. Being old and common does not make something moral or eternal.

    Brad: Christians ought to tithe.

    Russ: Where are your texts? There is no commandment to the Church to tithe after Calvary. Christians ought to give as they are increased and motivated by the Holy Spirit through love. This often means more than 10% but it might mean less for many.

    Brad: The minimum standard for Christian giving is the tithe, one tenth.

    Russ: This is a modern myth. Even in the OT it was only a minimum for food producers who lived inside Israel. Although money was common even in Genesis and essential for sanctuary worship, money is never included in 16 texts which describe the contents of th tithe for over 1500 years from Leviticus to Luke. Jesus, Peter and Paul did not qualify as tithe-payers and neither did the poor nor those who lived outside Israel.

    Brad: Hebrews 7 underscores that tithing is an eternal principle….It is a moral principle.

    Russ: Wrong. Tithing from Hebrews 7:5 “must be changed” in 7:12 and the “necessary change” was the “annulment of the commandment going before” (in 7:5) per 7:18. That is the context. The only eternal principles mentioned in Hebrews 7:16 deos not include tithing.

    Brad: Who was the greatest man of the Old Testament? If you look the answer might surprise you. It is Melchizedek. Wow and he is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament Genesis 14:18-20 and Psalms 110:4.

    Russ: If so, then why is he not even mentioned ouitside of of Hebrews? Why did not Jesus mention him? It is not the historical man who is so important. Rather it is the ORDER of his office as priest-king. The importance of Psalm 110:4 is that it necessitates the eventual total replacement of the Aaronic priesthood, including the law of tithing which supported it from Hebrews 7:5.

    Brad: In Geneses 14 Melchizedek is observed historically.

    Russ: True. And only historically. None of his historical attributes qualified him as a priest in Israel. Yet all of his historical attributes quallified him as a type of Christ for all nations.

    Brad: In Psalm 110 he is spoken of prophetically.

    Russ: True. His ORDER, not his person, is a type of the Messiah. David had to go outside of Israel to find this type because Israel had no priest-kings.

    Brad: … and in Hebrews 7 Melchizedek is applied doctrinally.

    Russ: He is chiefly applied TYPICALLY.

    Brad: He was met by Melchizedek the priest of the Most High God.

    Russ: The Hebrew for “Most High God” is El Elyon — God Most High. The word is only found once in Genesis. God Most High was the most common pagan title for God. It is important to note that Melchizedek did not know or worship God as Yahweh, Jehovah.

    Brad: This mysterious priest is also the King of Salem. A king and a priest. This is a unique combination to be a priest and a king.

    Russ: It was unique to Israel but very common for the rest of the known world of Abram’s time and very common in Canaan.
    The Encyclopedia Britannica says that Salem was also the name of a consort of Zedek, also known by Canaanites as Jupiter.

    Brad: Abram gave a tithe, a tenth to this priest/king.

    Russ: Why? The Bible does not say that he gave it voluntarily. Genesis 14:21 suggests that the well-known Canaanite requirement to tithe spoils of war to one’s local priest-king was the real motive.

    Brad: Hebrews 7 lays out the doctrinal significance that I want us to look at.

    Russ: Yes. Everything negative in Genesis 14 which disqualified the historical Melchizedek from being an Aaronic priest actualy qualified him to be a type of the Messianic king-priest, the God of all nations.

    Brad: The principle of tithing precedes the law by hundreds of years. Abraham (Abram) paid tithes to the priest of the Most High God, not under the law.

    Russ: As previously discussed, this proves nothing.

    Brad: We find that Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Melchizedek means King and Tsedek means righteousness. He is the King of righteousness. He is the King of Salem. The word Salem means peace. Melchizedek is the King of Peace.

    Russ: He is all of these things “by interpretation of his name,” by “similitude” and “after the order” — typology.

    Brad: Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek typified New Testament Christians giving tithes to Christ.

    Russ: This is a total maniupulation of the text and context. Abraham gave pagan spoils of war which were not acceptable as holy tithes under the Law. Hebrews 7 uses the tithe as a vehicle to prove that Jesus is superior to Abraham and Aaron.

    Brad: The principle of the tithe precedes and transcends the ceremonial law.

    Russ: Abraham and Jacob’s pagan tithe was not equivalent to the holy tithe off the holy land by a holy people to a holy God as obedience to a holy law.

    Brad: It is better for us to bring tithes to Jesus Christ who is the eternal high priest. It is better than the tithes of the Old Covenant system.

    Russ: This is not found in the Bible. Hebrews 7:12 and 7:18-19 clearly annul the tithing law of 7:5.

    Brad: God will bless you when you give your tithe with the right motive.

    Russ: Tithes were cold hard law and were to be given regardless of one’s motives or feelings.

    Brad: It is no wonder that the Macedonian Christians begged for the opportunity to give. (2 Corinthians 8:3) As we give God blesses us.

    Russ: 2 Cor 8 and 9 is a discussion of freewill giving of food for famine rellief. It is not a discussion of church support or pastoral support per se.

    The key tithing passage is Numbers 18. Those who received the first whole Levitical tithes were only the Levite SERVANTS to the priest. This is ignored today. The priests only received one per cent. That is ignored today also. Both Levites and priests who received this tithe were forbidden from owning property. This is ignored today. They were to KILL anybody who dared to worship God directly. This is ignroed today. It is wrong to obey only a small part of the tithing statute/ordinance. Either obey all of it or none of it.

    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
    http://Www.tithing-russkellyc.om

  2. Good job. Well said. We are the Priests that he has chosen to bring in the new age of Joy and Light and Abundance and Love Eternal and Unconditional! Bless you brother, i am at your service always.
    skype: markfj

  3. Hmmm, that was interesting. Looks like somethings will always remain mystery.

    I myself have been trying to solve the mystery of this legend for a while now. Could not understand much though.

    Let me know in case you get to understand the mystery of the Old Hound and the Legend

    By the way, good writing style. I’d love to read more on similar topics

  4. Brad
    Melchizedek is one of the deepest parts of theology. Read my chapter on GEnesis 14 and then the follow up conclusions on Hebrews 7.

    I have another very deep book on Exposing Seventh-day Adventism.

    A much easiere to read book is my From Gethsemane to Ascension. You might enjoy that.

  5. Hi Brad,
    In Matthew Henry’s commentary of the Bible, it is believed that Melchizedek was of the bloodline of Moses. Check out this link: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc1.Gen.xv.html
    If he was indeed of the bloodline of Moses, does that not make him a king of God? And shouldn’t we pay tithes to God’s king? That was Abram’s motivation.

  6. “And shouldn’t we pay tithes to God THROUGH his king?” I missed a word.

  7. The only people who share Matthew Henry’s hypothesis today are among the charismatics. Most do not agree with him, including his own denomination.

    Like I pointed out, if he were the bloodline of Seth then he should not have forgotten Shem’s God’s name. It was of paramount importance to know who one worshipped. How can you possibly be a priest of Yahweh and not even include His name among your titles? That is crazy!

    Gen 4:25-26
    25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
    26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD (Yahweh, Jehovah).

    Nothing, absolutely nothing Abraham did concerning tithes is followed by the Church today. (1) only from pagan spoils of war, (2) nothing of his own personal property, (3) nothing accepted as holy tithes under the law to support Levites and priests, (4) only one time recorded, (5) Abraham kept nothing and (6) he gave the 90% to the king of Sodom. And Moses did not refer to Abraham as a prime example of tithing either.

    The next time you get pagan spoils of war, go ahead and give a tithe to your local priest king. I will concur.

    Read the tithing statute of Numbers 18 and tell me which of the following tithing rules you follow. (1) tithes can only be given to Levites, (2) Levites are only the servants to the priests, (3) Levites give ten per cent to the priests, (4) only priests can enter the sanctuary, (5) priests are not allowed to own or inherit property, (6) priests are to kill anybody who dares to worship God directly and (7) Gentiles are not allowed to worship. If your are going to obey tithing, then you need to obey all of the law I which it is given in detail.

    Melchizedek has been blown way out of significance relating to tithing. Hebrews 7 only uses tithing as a vehicle to prove the Jesus is superior to Abraham and Levi. Neither Moses in the Law nor Jesus ever used Melchizedek to teach tithing. It is a hermeneutic error to do so. Again, see my chapter on Hebrews 7 free online and tell me what you think.

  8. Can I ask a seemingly silly question? Abraham physically gave tithes to Melchizedek and now that you have drawn a parallel between Jesus and Melchizedek, should we not be following Abraham’s example by physically giving our tithes to Jesus? And these tithes shouldn’t be from our personal possessions but from spoils of war, exactly like Abraham did.

    We have really gone way of base with this tithing doctrine, way of base! We try to bend scriptures to say what they do not even infer at all. There was nothing at all mysterious about Melchizedek. The writer of the book of Hebrews was only trying to show to his Jewish Christian audience that there had been a precedent for a non descendant of Aaron being a high priest. And so Jesus too is a high priest after that same similitude.

    There is simply no scriptural reference that ever points to Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek as a reason the tithe was instituted. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek and NOT to God. You may well argue that Melchizedek represented God or Jesus but that too cannot hold water because Abraham never related with God through an intermediary. Why would he choose that one event to start? All through scripture we see that God personally gave instructions to Abraham and commended him for carrying them out. There was no such instruction from God for Abraham to tithe and there was no commendation from God afterwards.

    There is simply no scriptural verse that instructs Christians to give a tenth as a minimum. Give that you may receive a good measure does not even talk about tithing at all. Our problem is that we believe that the only way to give is to tithe. That is so unscriptural. Even today’s Jews do not pay tithes.

    If you personally believe that a tenth should be your minimum giving standard, there is nothing absolutely wrong with that but by the time you say that it is a requirement from God without providing any scriptures to back it up, you are definitely adding to God’s word.

  9. Eebbie and all

    TDim G is engaging me on my own blog. Join in.

    http://russkellyphd.blogspot.com/

  10. Nothing about the historical Melchizedek qualified him to be a priest in Israel. Yet those same non-priestly-qualifications imminently qualified the typical Melchizedek to be God’s high priest.

    If you really want to get deep, hold on.

    To a modern reader the letters MLK refer to Martin Luther King.

    Vowels were not added to the Hebrew alphabet until 800 years after Christ.

    To a Canaanite reader living 2000 BC the letters MLK would have been recognized as MoLoK and ZDK would have been recognized as the Canaanaite name for Jupiter the judge of righteousnes. SLM was Shalim, the female consort of Jupiter. I am not making any of this up. It can be found in any public library under the Canaanaite pantheon.

    The NT uses this story typically and not literally. Jesus is not a high priest after the PERSON of Melchizedek. Rather he is a high priests after his ORDER –priest king. The historicla M. was a type of the Messiah “by interpretation of his name.” That is what Hebrew 7 teaches.


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