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Volume 13 - Page 31 of 159 Index | Zoom | |
The Epistle to the Hebrews.
Melchisedec. The Priest of the Perfected (5:-8:).
pp. 30 - 32
We have reached a passage in this epistle which is of great importance. It reveals the
Lord Jesus Christ as a Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Before seeking the relation
of this order of priesthood with the theme of the epistle we must be clear as to its place in
the context, and therefore call the reader's attention to the structure of Heb. 5:, 6::--
Hebrews 5:, 6:
A | 5: 1-6. Melchisedec. Priest.
B | 5: -6-10. The Priest perfected.
C | 5: 11-6: 1. The Slothful (dull) versus the Perfect.
B | 6: -1-10. The Saints. Let us go on unto perfection.
C | 6: 11-19. The Slothful versus the Overcomers.
A | 6: 20. Melchisedec. Priest.
It will be seen that the subject enclosed within these references to Melchisedec is that
of the two classes under notice through this epistle, namely:
(1). Those who attain unto perfection.
(2). Those who fail of it--slothful.
There must be something peculiarly fitting therefore in this great title of Christ, and
we propose to seek its meaning and connection.
The opening reference is in a sphere of suffering:--
"Prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears . . . . . learned obedience by
the things which He suffered, and being made perfect (by these sufferings, 2: 10) He
became the author of a salvation which is age-lasting unto all them that obey Him, called
of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec" (5: 7-10).
The closing reference in this section gives to Christ the further title of "The
Forerunner". The Greek word Prodromos does not occur elsewhere in the N.T., but in
the LXX it occurs twice. In Isa. 28: 4 the Hebrew is unfortunately rendered "hasty
fruit". The Hebrew equivalent bikkur is translated elsewhere by the word "Firstfruit"
14 times. Cognates are translated firstborn, firstling and birthright. This reflects upon
the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews, for the saints who go on unto perfection are
Firstfruits, and The Church of the Firstborn, who do not, like Esau, sell their birthright for
a little ease in this life. The other occurrence of Prodromos is found in Num. 13: 20
and is very similar; there the word is a translation of the Hebrew from which we have the
English "First-ripe". It will be seen therefore that if we keep to Scriptural usage we shall
not think of our Lord as having gone to heaven as a kind of Forerunner going on before
us to clear the way, but as the first ripened fruit, a pledge to the Father of the harvest that