Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Hebrews: The Superiority Of Christ To Errant Religions
Part V: The Superiority Of Christ's Priesthood To Other Priesthoods, Hebrews 5:1-10:39
C. The Superiority Of Christ's Priestly Order After Melchisedek
(Hebrews 7:1-3)
  1. Introduction
    1. Christ's priesthood is after the order of Melchisedek (Hebrews 6:20; Psalm 110:4), Hebrews 7:2b.
    2. This priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood in Judaism to which the recipients of the Epistle were lured to return, for the Aaronic priesthood had no royal office. Thus, the author of Hebrews lauded Christ's superiority in this office in Hebrews 7:1-3 to encourage his readers not to return to Judaism.
    3. However, so much confusion has existed over the centuries as to whether Melchisedek was an angel (Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 797-798) or the Preincarnate Christ (B. F. Westcott, Hebrews, 1974, p. 202), we need to clarify his identity, and how the author of Hebrews can appeal to his superiority.
    4. In studying Melchisedek, we find a wonderful lesson on the value of faithfully serving God (as follows):
  2. The Superiority Of Christ's Priestly Order After Melchisedek, Hebrews 7:1-3.
    1. Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek in Canaan (Genesis 14:18-20), and Melchisedek was the king of Salem, the ancient Canaanite name of Jerusalem (The MacMillan Bible Atlas , 1968, p. 27, map 24).
    2. Taking our hint from these facts, we find Melchisedek was a godly Canaanite king-priest, and why so:
      1. Starting with Noah, the father acted as the family priest (Gen. 8:20) until the era of the patriarchs, for Job records events in the patriarchal age (2100-1900 B. C., Bible Know. Com., O. T. , p. 717), and Job as his family's priest offered sacrifices for his children, Ryrie St. Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Job 1:5.
      2. As families expanded, they formed village and city-state groups by way of the expansion, leaving the head patriarch acting as spiritual and governmental head of the city-state.
      3. This information with the culture of the Genesis 14:17-24 context shows Melchisedek was part of the fading line of ancient godly city-state king-priests who traced their spiritual lineage back to Noah:
        1. Melchisedek and the king of Sodom are closely contrasted in Genesis 14:17-24: (1) both appear in a literary chiasmus: Moses introduced the king of Sodom (a) only to interrupt his comments on him to introduce Melchisedek and (b) to speak of his interaction with Abram (b') before returning to speak of the king of Sodom (a'), Ibid., B. K. C., O. T., p. 54. (2) This figure of a chiasmus signals an important subject at hand, E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech used in the Bible, p. 374.
        2. Thus, as the city-state king of Sodom is compared with the king-priest of Salem, Melchisedek, both were apparently city-state king-priests contrasted in how they fit their roles as GOD saw them!
        3. Also, the vocabulary used in the section reveals Melchisedek was an ancient native CANAANITE: (1) Melchisedek calls God "the Most High" (El-'Elyon), an occasional term for God in Hebrew but commonly used of ancient Canaanites for a supreme deity, DeVaux, Anc. Israel, 1965, v. 2, p. 310. (2) Melchisedek also used a native Canaanite term for "Creator" in Genesis 14:19: (a) the Hebrew often uses bara', not qnh as here, for "Creator," Leupold, Genesis, 1974, v. 1, p. 465. (b) Well, qnh in Hebrew is associated with a word in the ancient, dead Ugaritic language, the word qnh, and it means, "One who brings forth," Theol. Wrdbk. of the O. T., v. II, p. 804. (c) Melchisedek thus used these terms for God as he was an ancient Canaanite who was faithful to God in his heritage going back to Noah! (d) This heritage would also explain why Abram would pay tithes to the greater man in Melchisedek (Heb. 7:7): Abram came out of paganism (Jos. 24:2) unlike Melchisedek who would be the more revered as he traced is faith back to Noah! (e) This also shows why Abram used the often Canaanite terms El-'Elyon Qnh for God in Genesis 14:22 -- it was to respect Melchisedek!
    3. Thus, Melchisedek was a godly Canaanite king-priest, who for his faithfulness to God regardless of being in the cursed line of Canaan (Gen. 9:20-27), was honored to be a type of the royal priesthood of Christ!
Lesson: Melchisedek was a Canaanite city-state king-priest who traced his spiritual heritage back to Noah, having stayed faithful to God in an apostate world around him, so God honored Melchisedek by establishing him as a type of the royal priesthood of God's own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Application: May we like Melchisedek remain faithful to the Lord for His blessings in life and ministry.