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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Melchizedek, Christ And The Priesthood

Derek Prince - Melchizedek, Christ And The Priesthood

Derek Prince - Melchizedek, Christ And The Priesthood
TOPICS: Bible Study, Priesthood

"He [Jesus] has entered having become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek". Now we're back at the theme of the high priest. If you want to turn just for a moment back to your outline, 2/6, you'll notice that the third passage begins at chapter 6:20 and goes on through chapter 10:25. We are now really into this theme of the high priesthood. It goes on for four chapters basically. So now we go into chapter 7 and here we begin the third passage of comparison. The comparison is between the priesthood of Melchizedek and the Levitical priesthood. For me, Melchizedek is one of the most exciting persons in the Bible. I never think about Melchizedek without getting excited. Let's read a little and then we'll go to our outline.

Hebrews 7:1–2. 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, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything [or a tithe], being first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Let's pause there, it isn't the end of the sentence, but let's digest that. Now we need to look at the historical record of the passage on which it's based which is in Genesis 14. Verses: 18-20 A careless reader could read Genesis 14 and scarcely even notice Melchizedek. There's only three verses there and there's only one more verse in all the rest of the Old Testament about him, which is Psalm 110:4. And yet, in a sense, he's one of the main themes of this epistle. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was priest of God Most High. That's one of the titles of God, "God Most High".

In Hebrew, el Elyon. And he [that is Melchizedek] blessed him [Abraham] and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand". [end of the blessing] And he [Abraham] gave him [Melchizedek] a tenth of all. That's the entire passage. Now we turn back to Hebrews 7, let me just take some of the things that are in your outline on Page 7/1. First of all, we take the name Melchizedek. In Hebrew, malkiy tsedeq. malkiy, king; tsedeq, righteousness. His name means "king of righteousness". Keep your finger in Hebrews 7 and turn to Jeremiah for a moment.

Jeremiah 23:6. "In His days [that's the days of the righteous branch of David who is the Messiah] Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely..." That is something they desperately need right now. "And this is His name by which He will be called, 'The LORD our righteousness.'" In Hebrew, Adoni tsidkenu. And then in Jeremiah 33:16: In those days Judah shall be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called [that's Jerusalem]: the Lord is our righteousness. Adonai tsidkenu. You'll notice that the bride takes the bridegroom's name. It's a beautiful picture. So Adonai is the Lord, tsidkenu is our righteousness.

I was with a group of tourists in Israel and we had our Jewish guide, Dorit, there. And these people were singing this chorus which goes "Jehovah Jireh..." You know? Which is taken from Genesis 22, "the LORD will provide". Our guide, who speaks good English, looked at me and said, "What are they talking about"? She said, "What is that"? I said it's Adonai Jireh. She just said, "These people, there's nothing you can do with them"! But you see, where we say Jehovah, it's not really a name at all, it's the vowels of one name and the consonants of another. The Jewish people say Adonai. So, "the LORD our righteousness" is Adonai tsidkenu. Tsidkenu means the same as tsedeq with the ending for "our". Now we're back in our outline, that was just a little excursion. Remember, Melchi–zedek, "king of righteousness". Then he's also king of Salem, which is the same as shalom.

How many of you know what shalom means? Peace. Probably reappears in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is probably Eer Shalom, "the city of righteousness". The Arabs call it Uru shaleem which is really, in a way, closer to what we have here. I want you to notice the two-way relationship between Melchizedek and Abraham. First, Melchizedek provided bread and wine. That was tremendously significant. Just look in Matthew 26 for a moment. Verses 26–28. At the Last Supper. While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body". And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is to be shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins".

The bread and the wine are the outward symbols or evidences of the New Covenant. They were never offered by the Levitical priesthood. But long before the Levitical priesthood, 400 years before the Levitical priesthood, Melchizedek, when he met Abraham, gave him bread and wine. When Jesus gave the bread and wine to His disciples at the Last Supper, I don't know whether they realized at the time that He was saying, "Here I am in the order of Melchizedek. This is the New Covenant. The priesthood of Melchizedek is being restored". Or reappearing, shall we say. On the other hand, Abraham offered tithes of everything to Melchizedek.

So, there are two practices of the church which are very ancient. The one is receiving the bread and the wine, the other is bringing our tithes. In this particular fellowship, habitually we tend to bring them together and I never wish to make a law out of that, but I believe we have a beautiful precedent. We're following a tradition which is as old as almost any tradition in the history of God's people. We're receiving the bread and wine, and we're bringing our tithes. By that we are acknowledging Jesus as the high priest after the order of Melchizedek. There's a tremendous significance to it. I don't like to be legalistic about tithing; I don't believe the New Testament makes tithing a command. But, I believe it is a very sacred privilege. I believe what we do with our tithes should not be done casually.

It should be done reverently, it should be a part of worship and we should bear in mind it is the way to acknowledge our high priest. Very simple. The basis: Receive the bread and the wine, give tithes of all. As far as I understand the tithe, it's something very holy. Anybody that misuses tithes is in danger from God. So, you see here we go back to something that's very, very ancient. A lot of liturgical churches are proud of their traditions which go back eighteen or nineteen centuries or fifteen centuries, whatever it may be. Here's a tradition that goes back four thousand years. I believe that if we would remember this when we take from the Lord's Table we would have a sense of holy awe, and reverence which would bless us. I'm not saying this is the only way to do it but I am saying I'm glad we do it this way.

It says of Melchizedek, verse 3 of chapter 7: Without father, without mother... It doesn't mean he didn't have them, it just means they're not named. Or, it could mean he didn't have them. How many of you believe that God could bring a complete priest into the world just any way He wanted? I do. he was without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but he was made like to the Son of God, and he remains a priest perpetually. Continually, forever. So that's a picture of Melchizedek. That's contrary to the whole normal practice of the Bible. In the Bible we nearly always find out who somebody's father is, who their son is.

Brother Loren Cunningham is a friend of mine, a founder of YWAM, Youth With A Mission. He has a sermon he preaches on knowing your roots. He starts by reading the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew 1, and that's his text. He illustrates by the testimony of a Hindu who found faith in Jesus Christ out of the genealogy because he said, "With us Hindus, our gods disappeared. We never knew where they came from, what was their background. When I discovered with Jesus, He had a background, He had a genealogy; that drew me to Him". Melchizedek in this respect is a deliberate exception. We are directed to the fact that his genealogy is not stated and that's done because he's to be a picture not of the earthly Jesus but of the eternal high priest.

Okay. Going on to verses 4–10 we find there four marks of Melchizedek's superiority. We'll read the passage, then we'll look back. Hebrews 7, beginning at verse 4: But consider who great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the best of the spoils. And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priesthood have a commandment to take a tithe from the people according to the law, that is, their brothers, although they also proceeded out of the loins of Abraham. But here the one whose genealogy is not reckoned from them received a tithe from Abraham, and blessed him [that's Abraham] who had the promises. [Verse 7] And without all dispute the less is blessed by the greater. In other words, the reasoning is if Melchizedek blessed Abraham, then Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.

And here [that is in the law] men who die receive tithes, but there he of whom it is witnessed that he lives. And as you might say, through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Let's just look at our outline, which I think will make it a little easier to pick out the salient features. Four marks of the superiority of Melchizedek over the Levitical priesthood. Number one, Abraham gave him tithes. Number two, he blessed Abraham, the great father of God's people. Number three, he continues forever. He lives, he doesn't die. And the reference there in the margin is Psalm 110:4, where we've been probably half a dozen times already. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And four, through Abraham even Levi gave tithes because Levi was still in the loins of his father Abraham at that time. He had not yet been born.

There are four points to establish the superiority of Melchizedek and his priesthood over the Levitical priesthood. Now, verse 11: For if perfection was available [or was obtainable] through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people were put under the law or... What does it say there? That's different words received the Law), Alright. Let's use that phrase and not get too involved. what need is there for another priest to arise in the order of Melchizedek, and not to be named in the order of Aaron? The point there is that the need for another priest subsequent to the Levitical priesthood points out that the Levitical priesthood is not the ultimate, it's not the end. You have to bear in mind as we pointed out earlier, this epistle is addressed to people who were in danger of going back to the old order and settling for that.

So much of the stress of the letter is that was not the ultimate. You cannot stop there and have perfection or completion. Completion, perfection, maturity doesn't come through the Levitical priesthood; there has to be another priesthood to bring us into that. Going on in verse 12: For with a change made of the priesthood, of necessity there is also a change of the law. You see the reasoning behind that? The law was inseparably bound up with the Levitical priesthood. It assumed the existence and operation of the Levitical priesthood. If the priesthood is to be changed, then the law must be changed too. They are bound together. It's a very profound argument, and it's very cleverly directed to the Jewish mind. If you don't happen to have a Jewish mind, you may not see all the need for it. But believe me, if you've dealt with a Jewish mind you can see it's very relevant.

Verse 13: For the one of whom these things are spoken came from another tribe, from which no one gave attendance at the altar [or served at the altar]. In other words, not only is there a change of the priesthood and a change of the law, but there's a change of the tribe, too. We're not any longer talking about the tribe of Levi. Verse 14: For it is already clear [or clear in advance] that our Lord arose from the tribe of Judah, of which tribe Moses said nothing about priests. No priests came from the tribe of Judah under the Law of Moses. Furthermore, no kings came from the tribe of Levi. This is one of the important facts about the Old Covenant. Kingship and priesthood were separated; they could not come from one and the same tribe. The kingship came from the tribe of Judah, the priesthood came from the tribe of Levi; and any attempt to switch was punished by God.

For instance, when King Saul offered sacrifice, which was a priestly function, he forfeited his position as king. Incidentally, we have to point out since I'm on that subject and I didn't intend to get into it but if you have a logical mind you're already asking: Why was Saul a king when he was from the tribe of Benjamin? Maybe none of you had that kind of alert mind to arrive at that problem. The answer is very interesting, I cannot give you the Scripture references because I didn't prepare to say this. But, it's stated in the Law that an illegitimate child or one who is born illegitimate will not enter into the congregation of the Lord until the tenth generation. You'll find that in the book of Deuteronomy. And, Judah had an illegitimate son named Perez and for the next nine generations Judah was ineligible to provide a king. David was the tenth generation.

See, the absolute accuracy of God's Word even when there is no apparent link up. And so, they had to find a king from the tribe of Benjamin, which was next to Judah until that judgment of God had been, shall we say, expiated. But actually the ordained purpose of God was always that the king should come from Judah. Let's look at two Scriptures that reveal this. Genesis 49:10. This is Jacob's blessings and prophecies concerning his sons just before he died. Have you ever heard that, I think it comes from Shakespeare, "Truth sits on the lips of dying men". Well, here is really an example. Jacob is at the end of his life and he tells each one of his sons their destiny.

Speaking to Judah, we won't go to the whole passage-but in verse 10 he says: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes". Shiloh is usually taken as a title of Messiah and the most probable explanation of what Shiloh means is "the one to whom it belongs". Until the One to whom it belongs comes. Then in Isaiah 11 we have this clear prophecy of Messiah. Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him . This is a portrait of Messiah. So Messiah the King was to come from the tribe of Judah. But, it is already predicted also in Psalm 110 that the Messiah was to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. We better look there again although we have looked there, I'm sure, at least half a dozen times.

Psalm 110:1: The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet". That was applied by Jesus to Himself. So there's the Messiah as the King exalted at God's right hand. But verse 4 says of the same person: The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "Thou art a priest forever [after] the order of Melchizedek". It was already arranged prophetically in the Old Testament that the Messiah, the King, was to come from the tribe of Judah but also He was to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. We have, as the writer of Hebrews says, a setting aside of the old order of the Law of Moses with a new order in which the roles were different.

Turning back now to Hebrews 7:15–17. And it is also much more clear [that is, that our Lord rose from the tribe of Judah], if another priest is to arise in the likeness of Melchizedek, who is not appointed according to the law of a carnal [or fleshly] commandment, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is testified of Him, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Let's look at the requirements for the Levitical priesthood. There were two and they were fleshly, they were in the physical body. Number one, he had to be descended from Levi. That was a matter of the physical body. Number two, every Levitical priest had to be without physical blemish.

Let's look in Leviticus 21 just for a few moments. We only need to read from verse 17, a few verses. Leviticus 21:17: "Speak to Aaron, saying, 'No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles. No man among the descendants of Aaron the priest, who has a defect, is to come near to offer the LORD'S offerings...'"

So that was a matter of physical condition. That was the basis of the Levitical priesthood. Descent from Levi and having a body that was physically sound. But the requirement for the priesthood of Melchizedek was an indestructible life. In that connection I would like you to turn to Revelation 1:17-18. I think I'll go there in Greek. This is how the resurrected Christ appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos. I think it was when Charles Simpson was here, he made this rather significant remark, I don't know whether you noticed, that when John knew Jesus in the flesh, he could rest with his head on His bosom. But when he met the resurrected Christ in His glory, he fell at His feet as one dead.

Revelation 1:17: When I saw Him I fell at His feet as a dead person. And He placed His right hand upon me saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the one who lives; and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for the ages of ages [for all eternity], and I have the keys of death and of hell". That's the power of an indestructible life. He could go down into the grave, His whole body could be mutilated and marred beyond recognition; but He came up resurrected in glory and power. That's His qualification to be the priest after the order of Melchizedek. We'll look, I think, at verse 18 and 19 and close for this session. You really need to read this through for yourself. I probably don't need to tell you. Because, the reasoning is very condensed, and breaking it up and commenting on it, in a certain sense, you lose some of the continuity.

If I do this for you, you can read it for yourself in a more continuous way. Verse 18: For there takes place a setting aside of the commandment that went before because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), but then there is the bringing in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. All right? What the writer is saying is in replacing the Levitical priesthood with the priesthood of Melchizedek, there are many implications. A new priesthood means a new law. He'll bring out a little later on this passage A new law requires a new covenant. A new covenant is based on better promises. He says the whole of that system was set aside. Why? Because it couldn't do what was needed. It's now been replaced by a better hope through which we draw near to God.

Then it says "the Law made nothing perfect". You'll remember, perfect [perfection, mature, maturity, completeness] is one of the keys. We have to have something that can do the whole job, that can make us perfect, that can bring us to perfection and that can bring us near to God. See, the law did not bring people near to God. In a sense, it kept them away from God. It was inadequate for the total needs of humanity. We've run out of time and to go any further demands taking another deep breath and starting all over again. For more information about Derek Prince or Derek Prince Ministries
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