The second scene in Genesis 14 is short and sweet, yet the implications from it play out through the rest of Scripture. Come and hear the story of Melchizedek…
Yes, this is before the time of Moses, before the sending of the Law. So far in Scripture we’ve only known about certain limited individuals or families that interacted with God; Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, and Abram. However, now we read about the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who is both king and priest. We know this is a follower of God. Abram doesn’t dispute it, and in fact gives a tithe, a tenth, of everything to Melchizedek as an offering to Abram’s God. In other words, Abram knows they worship the same God. So it is important to know that God was not absent followers prior to Abram, there are people who sought God.
The King of Sodom comes seeking the return of his people. Abram does not want to be obligated to the King of Sodom in anyway, creating a patron-client relationship. Instead, Abram makes sure that the other kings get their property back and that the fighting men are compensated for their efforts. Other than these two things, it seems this is just a short summation of the story. However…
A Prophetic Psalm
Psalm 110:4 says “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'” So we’ve been introduced to Melchizedek, what is his order? Remember, all priests within the Jewish system were Levites from the priestly tribe of the Jews. The High Priest was specifically descended from Aaron’s clan. The Jewish High Priests were from Aaron’s Order. Yet in Psalms long before the New Testament we have a prophecy about a separate order.
Jesus’ Role as Priest
Hebrews 5-7 takes the prophecy of Psalm 110 and applies it directly to Jesus. Especially important is Hebrews 7:11-end. This passage talks about the change from the Old Covenant (the Old Testament system) to the New Covenant (the New Testament system). What seems like an insignificant story about a priestly king in Abram’s lifetime provides the connection point for understanding how God is working differently through Jesus Christ. The fingerprints of God working through Christ can be found here. When we know this story it gives the background to the prophecy in Psalms and the teaching in Hebrews.
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