“…Jesus has become the guarantee…” Hebrews 7:22
Hebrews is unique from all other New Testament literature. It is actually a letter to first century Hebrew Christians with the primary aim to encourage their faith in Jesus Christ while under the duress of persecution. Another aim of the letter may be to provide an argument for Jews to consider Jesus as the promised Messiah, evidenced by mentions of Abraham, Melchizedek, the high priest, referrals to the covenant and the Holy of Holies, prophetic mentions of a new covenant, and sacrifice for sins.
Student’s of The Bible are introduced to Melchizedek in the Genesis story of Abram. There had been a large battle over the land encompassing the Valley of Siddim, where five tribal leaders joined forces against four tribal leaders. The underdogs won the battle, and after the battle took Lot, Abram’s cousin, as a prisoner, along with Lot’s family, slaves, and possessions (Genesis 14:5-12). One of the those captured escaped and ran to Abram’s camp to inform him of his nephew’s situation. Abram quickly assembled 318 male relatives trained for battle to rescue Lot. They were victorious (Genesis 14: 13-16).
After celebrating their victory with the other tribal leaders who were allied with Abram, Melchizedek, the king of Salem (who was also recognized as the priest of God Most High), brought out bread and wine which he shared with Abram. Melchizedek then blessed Abram with these words:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, Who delivered your enemies into your hands.” (Genesis 14:18-20)
In response to this blessing, Abram gave one-tenth of his entire wealth to Melchizedek. After this episode, the King-Priest is not mentioned again in the historical narrative. David refers to him in the 110th Psalm (v.4), when The Spirit breathed this prophetic psalm into his heart and mind. The writer of Hebrews first mentioned the name of Melchizedek in chapter five (v.6) when referring to Psalm 110. Then Jesus is described as acting in the ‘order’ of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:20). Without a lengthy explanation, many theologians consider Melchizedek as an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ.
In chapter seven, the writer of Hebrews delves into a description of Melchizedek, pointing to him as the pre-incarnate Christ:
His name can be translated “king of righteousness” (v.2b)
King of Salem can be translated “king of peace” (v.2c);
Abraham (the writer recognized Abram by the new name God gave him after establishing His covenant with him) gave a tithe of all he owned to this Priest of God Most High (vv. 2a; 4-6);
There is no record of Melchizedek’s genetic record (vv. 3a & 6a);
There is no record of Melchizadek’s life span (v.3b);
Melchizedek is thus recognized as Jesus, Who remains our eternal priest (v.3c);
In blessing, the greater person imparts to the lesser (the supernatural, infinite God blessed Abraham, a natural, finite man, who received it by faith, v.7);
The writer then recognized the priestly role of Levi to collect tithes, and showed how the priest (while in the seed of Abram) paid the tithe – pointing to Jesus Who paid the final sacrifice (v.10).
The writer summarizes the argument of Christ being our high priest (vv. 11 – 14), concluding the argument with these words:
“And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (vv. 15-17)
The reader is introduced to the reality of a new covenant offering a new and better hope by setting aside the former things, found to be weak and useless (my note: due to man’s sin which manipulated and distorted the law), and verified by God Himself through the oath prophetically recorded by King David (Psalm 110:4).
Jesus, then, has become the guarantee of a new and better covenant, fulfilling God’s oath to mankind (vv. 20-22):
“…because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (vv. 24 – 25)
Jesus, our High Priest, meets our need by the demands set forth in the first covenant (vv. 26 – 28):
He is holy – blameless – and completely pure, knowing no sin;
He is worshiped in heaven;
He became the FINAL sacrifice, and does not need to offer any other sacrifices, for He alone met the laws demand to atone for man’s sin.
This Easter Sunday, worship Jesus, The Christ, Whom all heaven exalts as Savior and King, with a new understanding of His greatest work – greater than creation, greater than all His miracles… the glorious work of redemption accomplished upon the cross of Calvary!
Have a blessed day…