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Volume 15 - Page 22 of 160 Index | Zoom | |
Both these items are expanded by the apostle in verses 4-10. We leave them for the
moment to learn a little more concerning this great priesthood. The apostle now proceeds
to interpret the meaning of the word Melchisedec:--
"First being by interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem,
which is, king of peace" (verse 2).
Many of the names of Old Testament characters seem to be prophetic of their place in
the Divine scheme. Abel, Noah, and Peleg are examples. Abraham is an example of a
man's name being changed to fit changed circumstances. The apostle finds design in the
order of the titles here:--
First, king of righteousness.
Then, king of peace.
This he repeats in another form in Heb. 12: 11, where he speaks of the peaceable
fruits of righteousness, the righteousness evidently coming first.
"Without father, without mother, without descent" (verse 3).
These words cannot be taken absolutely of Melchisedec, otherwise he could have had
no existence at all, but relatively, in connection with his office as priest. Those who
could not prove their genealogies in the time of the return from captivity were refused
admittance into the priesthood (Ezra 2: 61-63). The words "without descent" strictly
rendered should read "without genealogy". The words of the apostle by no means teach
that Melchisedec absolutely had no "descent", but that such descent was not "recorded",
which recording is the essence of the word genealogy, of Melchisedec it is further written
that he had:--
"Neither beginning of days nor end of life" (verse 3).
The priests of the Levitical order had both the beginning and the end of their term of
office fixed by law. A priest's term of ministration was called his "days" (Luke 1: 23),
and the priests, the sons of Kohath, began their service at thirty years of age and ended it
at fifty. Summing up these points of resemblance the apostle says, "but being like unto
the Son of God, abides a priest perpetually". The construction of the whole sentence
seems to be as follows:--
"This Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God . . . . . abides a priest
The remaining words are a parenthetic explanation given in order to show a series of
comparisons with the Son of God. The greatness of Melchisedec himself, however, is the
immediate concern of the apostle, in order that the infinite greatness of Christ may be the
better understood. So he continues.