Why was Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek a significant event? What is it that God wants us to see in this passage? We find the answer in Hebrews 7:1-17.
“The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, RESEMBLING THE SON OF GOD.” (Hebrews 7:2-3)
Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek was significant because Melchizedek resembled the Son of God. He foreshadowed the Person and Ministry of Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at a few ways that Melchizedek foreshadowed Jesus.
1. The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”, and Jesus is The King of Righteousness.
2. Melchizedek was the king of a city called “Salem” (an ancient name for Jerusalem). The word “Salem” comes from “shalom” meaning “peace.” So the title “king of salem” means “king of peace”, and Jesus is the King of Jerusalem (see Psalm 48:1-2 and Matthew 5:35) and the Prince of Peace (see Isaiah 9:6).
3. There is no record of Melchizedek’s ancestry. Thus, there is no record of the beginning or end to his life. There is no beginning or end of Jesus’ life. He is eternal.
4. Melchizedek’s priesthood did not come from an earthly lineage, but from God. In like manner, Christ’s High Priesthood did not come from the earthly lineage of Aaron [the tribe of Levi], but from our Father in heaven.
5. Hebrews 7 says that Melchizedek is greater than Abraham. Yet in Genesis 14, we see the one who is greater placing a blessing upon Abraham. In like manner, Jesus is greater than us (the children of Abraham). Yet Jesus, the one who is greater, blessed us with eternal life.
6. During the Old Covenant, the office of the king was separate from the priestly ministry — no one could be both king and priest. But before the Old Covenant, we see that Melchizedek was both king AND priest. King David foresaw that the Messiah would be like Melchizedek in this respect, and so he prophesied “You [Jesus] are a priest forever in the ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK” (see Hebrews 7:13-17 and Psalm 110:4). “The order of Melchizedek” means to be both king and priest. Jesus is both King of kings and our eternal High Priest (see Revelations 19:16 and Hebrews 4:14).
These are just a few examples of how Melchizedek resembled the Son of God.
Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of Him. He also said that Abraham looked forward to His coming and rejoiced. When Abraham met Melchizedek, he encountered someone who typified Jesus. His tithe to Melchizedek was not intended to set a precedent for paying 10% of our income in the New Covenant. It was intended to testify of Jesus Christ, our King of kings and High Priest. People have taken a passage about the Lord and twisted it into a means of extracting income from Christians.
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