Paul starts out by explaining the great priesthood of Melchizedek as a reflection of the priesthood of Jesus.
There is not much written about Melchizedek in the Bible besides here and in Genesis 14:18-20. There are several things mentioned about Melchizedek: He was the king of Salem, a priest, he blessed Abraham, and he received a tithe from Abraham. In this passage, Paul will draw parallels between Melchizedek and Christ showing that Melchizedek is a greater priest than the Levites and so Christ is greater as well. Melchizedek’s name means king and righteousness, Salem means peace, so his name means king of righteousness and king of peace, representative of Christ.
Paul writes that, in the biblical account, Melchizedek was without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. No genealogy was recorded in the Bible for Melchizedek because he was not a priest on the basis of his lineage as the Levites were, just as Christ was named a priest after the order of Melchizedek, apart from the lineage of the Levites (Psalm 110:4). Paul points out that Melchizedek’s death was also not recorded in the Bible which is representative of the true eternal nature of Christ as our high priest.
Melchizedek’s priesthood is greater than the Levites. This is apparent first from the fact that Abraham gave him a tithe, demonstrating that Melchizedek is a greater authority than Abraham. This would be significant to the Jewish people since Abraham was one of the great fathers of their faith. It demonstrates there is an order of priesthood that is higher in authority than those appointed from Abraham’s decedents. Furthermore – as Paul will explain in the next verses – the Levites were born out of Abraham’s seed. In a way, the lesser priests, the Levites, paid a tithe to Melchizedek.
The point is that Melchizedek is a representation of our high priest, Christ: a king-priest of righteousness and of peace. He remains our high priest perpetually. And His authority is above the authority of any other priest.
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 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.
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