Hebrews 7:3 (NIV) 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.
On verses 1-4: A few times already the writer of Hebrews has mentioned Melchizedek, saying that Jesus is a priest “in the order of Melchizedek” (for example, Hebrews 5:10; 6:20). Now who is Melchizedek? Melchizedek is a mysterious figure who is first mentioned in Genesis 14 where Abram has just returned from victoriously battling a number of kings. All of a sudden, Melchizedek king of Salem appears, bringing bread and wine (v18). In addition to being a king, Melchizedek is also called “priest of God Most High” (v18) and blesses Abram (v19). Did you notice the parallels between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ? For example:
Melchizedek is simultaneously a king and a priest, just like Jesus. In fact the first mention of “priest” in the Bible is with reference to Melchizedek. Similarly, it can be said that Jesus the eternal Son of God was and is the first ever priest.
Melchizedek brings out bread and wine (Genesis 14:18). This clearly points forward to the Last Supper where Jesus likens his soon-to-be-crucified body to bread and his soon-to-be-shed blood to wine and tells his disciples to eat the bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Him.
Melchizedek’s name means “king of righteousness” (v2). His title “king of Salem”, literally means “king of peace” (v2). Likewise, Jesus is our king of righteousness and peace.
Melchizedek’s family tree, including his father and mother, are not mentioned. There is also no mention of his death. As such, the Melchizedek is described on paper, Melchizedek is “without beginning of days or end of life” and in this way “remains a priest forever” (v3).
Abraham gives to Melchizedek a tithe (one tenth) of everything he received (v4), just as we are to pay a tithe, a tenth of everything we receive, to Jesus.
In all these ways, Melchizedek is “like the Son of God” (v3). So is Melchizedek actually Jesus? Some scholars consider Melchizedek to be Jesus Christ Himself. Another interpretation is that Melchizedek is a “type of Christ”, that is, a person or thing that symbolizes and points forward to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Why is this significant? It shows that many centuries before Jesus was born, the Old Testament was already speaking about the person and work of Jesus Christ. From this we also learn that Jesus is our perfect priest forever, whose existence and priesthood have no beginning and no end.
Hebrews 7:4 (NIV) 4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!
On verses 5-10: After pointing out that Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek in verse 4, the writer of Hebrews dedicates the next 5 verses to talking about that fact in more detail. Why? It’s because Abraham tithing to Melchizedek teaches us a number of truths:
Melchizedek is greater than Abraham, for the one who gives the tithe is servant to the one who receives the tithe. When you tithe, you’re acknowledging that Jesus, the one you’re tithing to, is greater than you;
Melchizedek’s priesthood is greater than the priesthood of Levi, Abraham’s great grandson, because Melchizedek was a priest before Levi was born (v10) and Melchizedek was still around after Levi had passed away (v8). Also, the writer of Hebrews suggests that Levi effectively tithed to Melchizedek by paying it through Abraham (v9), since Levi “was still in the body of his ancestor” Abraham (v10) when Abraham paid the tithe to Melchizedek.
Tithing is not something that came from the law of Moses, since Abraham was tithing long before Moses instituted tithing. Do you tithe to God faithfully? Don’t let anyone fool you when they say “we are no longer subject to tithing because we are no longer subject to the law of Moses”. Here we see that tithing preceded the law of Moses.Just as Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, we as children of Abraham ought to tithe to our Melchizedek; His name is Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Melchizedek who points us to our perfect and eternal high priest forever, Jesus Christ. Just as Abraham faithfully tithed to Melchizedek, may I faithfully tithe to my King of righteousness and peace, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!