Posted On September 7, 2020

Hebrews 7:7–8, “It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.”

Facing a congregation that considered abandoning the new covenant, the author of Hebrews writes an epistle emphasizing the superiority of Christ. This superiority necessitates paying even closer attention to the new covenant than was ever paid to the old one (2:1–4). Christ’s superiority also means that those who join the church without saving faith will be cursed (6:1–8). But for those who truly believe, the superiority of Christ is the basis for trusting in the promise of salvation offered by God to His children (6:13–20).

Throughout chapter 7, we are told that one reason for Christ’s superiority is that He is a priest like the great priest-king Melchizedek. Melchizedek is great because of his name and because he continues a priest forever (vv. 1–3). His greatness is also demonstrated in that he received tithes from the father of the covenant people, without ever being told that such tithes were owed him (vv. 4–6).

Hebrews 7:7–8 continues the exposition of Melchizedek’s greatness. Verse 7 tells us that the superior blesses the inferior. Abraham is thus inferior to Melchizedek since he is blessed by Melchizedek. While this may be self-evident, it can be easy to pass over the theological significance of this act. Abraham was great in his own right since he was the father of the covenant people, but when Melchizedek confers the blessing of God on him, he assumes for himself even greater superiority than belonged to Abraham. John Calvin writes that “Melchizedek, in blessing Abraham, assumed to himself a higher dignity. This he did, not presumptuously, but according to his right as a priest: then he was more eminent than Abraham. Yet Abraham was he with whom God was pleased to make the covenant of salvation; though, then, he was superior to all others, yet he was surpassed by Melchizedek.”

Verse 8 refers back to the Levites; they are the “mortal men” who receive tithes on the one hand. But on the other hand, we see in Melchizedek one who receives tithes and yet lives. Here again, the author goes back to the text of Genesis 14 and repeats only what the text says. Genesis 14 never tells us that Melchizedek died, thereby hinting at the superiority of his priestly order. The mention of the mortality of the Levitical priests shows that their priestly order was mortal and would be replaced by the living order of Melchizedek.

Coram Deo

Hebrews 7 can say that Melchizedek lives because Moses never tells us how he dies. The point is not that Melchizedek never died but that what we see in the narrative resembles Christ who truly lives yesterday, today, and forever. Praise God that the resurrection enables Christ to guarantee our salvation as the High Priest after Melchizedek.

Blessed by the Superior, Copyright (2020), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

Born Again This Way – Rachel Gilson

Born Again This Way – Rachel Gilson

The LGBT airwaves are filled with opinions, and books are being written from every angle – both conservative and liberal. Rachel Gilson adds her voice in her most recent book, Born Again This Way. What makes Gilson’s book refreshing is that she approaches the subject...

Made Perfect Forever

Made Perfect Forever

Hebrews 7:27–28, “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but...

Bob Kellemen- Gospel-Centered Family Counseling

Bob Kellemen- Gospel-Centered Family Counseling

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Bob Kellemen discuss how biblical counselors can equip and empower parents with grace and truth, how our personal time with the Lord impacts our interactions with others, along with his new book, Gospel-Centered Family...

Theodicy: Reconciling a Good and Powerful God with an Evil World

Theodicy: Reconciling a Good and Powerful God with an Evil World

When wicked and painful events of life occur, people wonder how an all-powerful and all-good God could allow such things. People wrestle with these competing realities and question whether God is indeed good and sovereign over the events in His creation. How could...

An Unstained Priest

An Unstained Priest

Hebrews 7:26, “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” The Levitical priesthood was only a temporary solution to the problem of sin. Though God accepted...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share27
Tweet9
Email
Reddit
Share