Hebrews 7/ June 19
“Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25)
The name ‘Melchizedek’ is not common to scripture, it’s used ten times with eight of those being here in Hebrews! Twice in the Old Testament, once in Genesis (14:18) and once in Psalms (110:4), it’s then found only in Hebrews 5,6 and 7 (5:6,10. 6:20. 7:1,10,11,15,17); yet the author uses it as one of profound importance.
First lets look at Genesis, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.” (Genesis 14:18) The background is that of Abraham having gone out to battle certain kings (14:17) so order to rescue his nephew Lot from captivity (14:12); upon victory and returning to his own land, Abram (as he was still known) is met by this priest, Melchizedek. The priest proceeds to bless Abram (14:19,20) and the patriarch, in an a apparent recognized form of worship, gives the priest a tenth of all that he had.
That’s it, that is our overview of Melchizedek. In Psalm 110 we learn more regarding his priesthood.
It is important to keep the next verse in context, for Psalm 110 is a Messianic psalm, a psalm that speaks of the coming Savior. Looking at verses from that passage, it begins by saying, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘rule in the midst of Your enemies.’” (Psalms 110:1,2) These first two verses in a psalm written by King David give strong indication of his closeness with God and the revelations given him by the Holy Spirit, for in them David recognizes God speaking to another saying, “sit at My right hand”. David acknowledges the coming of a Savior, the One to whom God spoke and said, “Let Us make man in Our image” (Genesis 1:26). David saw the purpose of the coming One- of conquering the works of the enemy.
In v4 David continues, “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’”. (110:4) David recognizes God as revealing the coming Savior as One who will be as priest in interceding for those who seek a relationship with God.
Looking now at Hebrew 7, the author further elaborates on the unique attributes of this king of Salem, saying, “by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” (7:2,3); in like manner of Christ, this earthly priest has no history which can be counted. And since there is no word of his death, Melchizedek is considered to have continued on without end as a priest.
This is why it is considered this person of Melchizedek to actually have been a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, a Christophany. This would be the same as times when it speaks of the appearance of the angel of the Lord being an appearance of Christ, who is the visible-form of God.
Dropping down in Hebrews 7 to v23, “The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” (7:23-27) Death prevented other priests from continuing to serve as intercessors for the people, but this was not so with Jesus who was visibly taken up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), to live forever as the Intercessor (7:24).
The final portion of v27 pulls together the entirety of the work of Christ as intercessor: He did once for all what others could not do when He offered up Himself as the offering for the sins of mankind by dying in our place. He did what no one else could do due to His sinless life as v26 teaches: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners.
Jesus saves forever those who draw near to God through Him (7:25); if you haven’t, do so today.