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The Epistle to the Hebrews.
#40. Heb. 7: 1-25.
The Superiority of the Priesthood of Melchisedec (7: 1-10).
pp. 81 - 94
In our previous study together we reached that stage in the unfolding of truth that
necessitated the fuller mention of the Melchisedec priesthood of Christ. To this the
apostle now proceeds and by a series of statements sets forth the superiority of the
priesthood of Christ to that of Aaron, bringing this established fact to bear once more
upon the great theme of the epistle, "perfection" (7: 11, 19). If we keep this before us,
we shall be less likely to be overwhelmed with the mass of detail that meets us in this
section. Omitting the parenthetical details, the proposition of Heb. 7: 1-3 reads:--
"For this Melchisedec . . . . . abideth a priest continually."
The intervening details supply the necessary information to establish this proposition.
Melchisedec was first of all KING OF SALEM. Jerome maintains, in his epistle to
Evagrius, that this Salem is a city near Shechem, mentioned in Gen. 33: 18 and
John 3: 23. Salem however is used to indicate Jerusalem in Psa. 76: 2:--
"In Salem is God's tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Sion."
There are some who think that after the Jebusites took possession of the place it was
called Jebus-Salem, which became transformed to Jerusalem. We find in Josh. 10: 1-4
that the king of Jerusalem was called Adonizedec, which has much the same signification
as that of Melchisedec.
Not only was Melchisedec king, but he was "PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD".
This title El Elyon, "The Most High God", is used for the first time in Scripture in
connection with this incident (Gen. 14: 18). The various titles of God are used in
Scripture with precision and with special regard to the relationship intended in each
particular passage. For instance, Gen. 1: 1 - 2: 3 treat of creation, and the title used
throughout the record is El, "God".
Immediately we commence "the generations", in verse 4, the title changes to "the
Lord God". Coming to Abraham's time we have not only the title "The Most High God",
but in Gen. 17: 1:--
"I am El Shaddai, walk before Me and be thou perfect",
and again in Exod. 6: 3 we read:--
"I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but
by My name Jehovah was I not known to them."