Interpreting and applying Hebrews 7 and the passages related to it (Gen. 14:17-20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 5:1-10 and Zechariah 6:9-15) is difficult but yields a rich message of hope and blessing leading us to even greater praise for Jesus our King and High Priest Who will rule from Jerusalem in perfect righteousness and peace. "And (Jesus) shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne." (Zech. 6:13) The Law forbade a king to function as a priest and Saul is just one example of God's severe discipline for the kings who violated this. Also, the writer of Hebrews is showing the Jewish believers that the New Covenant in Jesus does not do away with the priesthood but Jesus is both the High Priest and perfect High Priest. Tying all these threads of Scripture together also demonstrates the authenticity, congruency and richness of God's Word as Scripture interprets Scripture and brings greater revelation of our great God.

Let's try to put it all together. First, please read all the Scriptures listed above beginning with Gen.14 -Zechariah 6. Now let's look at Hebrews 7 and relate it to the other Scriptures: "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem [and] priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all [the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace. Without [record of] father or mother or ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life, but, resembling (made like) the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without interruption and without successor." {"So the Holy Spirit then, in desiring to show Christ a priest greater than Aaron, shows a priesthood greater than the Aaronic priesthood, that of Melchizedek, and says that Jesus is a priest like Melchizedek. Not a national priest (of Israel only) but universal (a priest of the Most High God, i.e., of all the nations. It seems Melchizedek was a Gentile believer as were all believers in God prior to the founding of the Jewish nation). Not subject to kings, but a king Himself (thus greater than Abraham). Not unable to bring about righteousness and peace, but able to do it. Not because of heredity (i.e, from the tribe of Levi), but because of personal quality. Not timed or limited by time, but eternal and, thus, does Jesus Christ stand as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. It does not say that the Son of God was made like Melchizedek. Who came first? The Son of God. Melchizedek was made like the Son of God. He was not the Son of God. He was made like the Son of God. Jesus Christ was the original. Melchizedek was only the copy; and so the superiorities are presented." John MacArthur- note: my added comments are in italics.}

Hebrews 7 continued: "Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood–for under it the people were given the Law–why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron? 12For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well.  18So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness–19For the Law never made anything perfect–but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God." The OT shows that the Law, including the function of the priesthood (a mediator between sinful man and God), is temporary and only a picture of the future work of Christ. Melchizedek was a type of Christ before the Law and revealed a superior priesthood. Thus, as God swore on oath in Psalm 110:4, He would change the priesthood back to the order (rank) of Melchizedek through Jesus. "The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind:  "You (Jesus) are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." As we see in the remaining verses in Hebrews 7 and then in chapters 8-10 of Hebrews, the new (and better) covenant was  promised in the OT (Jer. 31:31-34) and has now come in Jesus "through which we [now] come close to God." (Also see Hebrews 4:14-16 showing how every believer can come boldly into God's Presence as opposed to the OT where only the High Priest could do so and he only once a year.)

So how can we apply this to our day to day life? Robert L. Deffinbaugh has nine applications from this rich text. {Copyright © 2008 by Robert L. Deffinbaugh. This is the edited manuscript of Lesson 16 in the series, Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews, prepared by Robert L. Deffinbaugh on October 26, 2008.}

First, God's covenant promises are sure and certain. But just how can they be fulfilled? We have seen that Abraham's "seed," the promised Messiah, will be both king and priest. He is the "King of righteousness." But how can a "righteous king" bless an unrighteous people? He can do so because He is also a "high priest of the order of Melchizedek." As our Great High Priest, He offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. And as our High Priest, He also continues to make intercession for us, helping us in our time of need. In this way, He fulfills His covenant promise to Abraham and his "descendants" (which includes everyone who trusts in Jesus).

Second, our text helps us to understand the concept of federal headship as seen in Romans 5. Paul is saying here Adam's sin somehow brought condemnation upon all men. We are all sinners because Adam sinned. The good news is that Christ's sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection makes all those who are "in Him" righteous. Christ is able to reverse the effects of Adam's sin. But how is it that we become participants in Adam's sin or in Christ's saving work? We become participants by federal headship. Just as Aaron was in Abraham when he offered a tithe to Melchizedek, we were "in Adam" when he sinned. All those who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins were likewise "in Christ" when He died and rose again. Thus, we are freed from sin and are new creations in Christ. The federal headship we see in Romans 5 has been illustrated for us in Hebrews 7.

Third, we can see the author's use of Psalm 110 in interpreting and applying Genesis 14 and thus we should employ Scripture to interpret other Scripture. The Scriptures are our best tool for interpreting any text of Scripture. I believe that we can also be stimulated to study our Bibles more thoroughly because we see again and again that the Scriptures contain much more than meets the eye at a casual reading.

Fourth, we see from our texts that both Melchizedek and Messiah are both kings and priests. While this was prohibited by the Law of Moses, it can and does occur under the New Covenant, with Christ as our Great High Priest. So we see from Psalm 110. But we should also keep in mind that we, the church, are a "kingdom of priests," and we will "reign with Him." We need to consider how we should exercise our role as a "kingdom of priests" now, and in eternity.  2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6. 1 Peter 2:5-10; Revelation 1:6. (My comments: As "kings" we are to bring God's will and rule on earth in our sphere of influence through our life (our example ) and our lips -share and proclaim God's truth. As "priests" we are to intercede for and offer spiritual sacrifices for those in our sphere of influence.)

Fifth, as descendants of Abraham, we should be a blessing to others. Abraham was a blessing to many. He freed the captives, including Lot. He brought prosperity to his allies in battle. And, of course, he would be the father of Isaac, whose "seed" (Jesus Christ) would be a blessing through His kingly and priestly work on our behalf. We need to actively seek ways in which we may be a blessing to others. First and foremost, we will bless men by pointing them to Jesus as the source of forgiveness from sin and of eternal life.

Sixth, we learn from Abraham that nothing can happen that will prevent the fulfillment of God's covenant promises to His people. Neither Abraham's sin (in lying about his wife Sarah, calling her his sister – Genesis 12, 20), nor his weakness (too old to bear a child), nor his enemies (the kings in Gen. 14) could prevent God from fulfilling His promises.

Seventh, we need to give God the glory for the victories He gives to us. We do this in giving the glory to God in worship, and in public praise before men, and in giving to God. As Abraham did, so should we.

Eighth, we should also practice separation from those wicked people who would appear to be a source of blessing to us. (He refused the spoils of war the king of Sodom offered (see Gen. 14:21-24). If our blessings come from God, then we need to look to God for those blessings. We don't need to cut corners, legally or ethically, and we don't need to enter into alliances with those whose trust and whose values are contrary to God and His purposes.

Ninth (and finally), we need to apply what we have learned in one experience with God to the other areas of our life. As He had blessed Abram in battle, so He would bless him with a son. God who had proven Himself faithful would fulfill all of His promises. Have you trusted in Him as your Savior to take you to heaven? Then surely you can trust Him to take care of every need you have on earth. Do you?

                            QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION                           

1) What is your main take away from the message and how can you apply it to your life? Which one of the nine applications spoke to you the most and why? 

2) How can we exercise our role as a "kingdom of priests" now, and in eternity.  2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6:           1 Peter 2:5-10; Revelation 1:6.   

3) Have you trusted in Him as your Savior to take you to heaven? Then surely you can trust Him to take care of every need you have on earth. Do you? Discuss your answer.

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