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Perfection or Perdition
Melchisedek, The Priest of the Perfected
(5: 8 - 10).
The Triumph of Gethsemane (5: 8)
pp. 9 - 15
Before seeking the relation of this order of Melchisedec 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: 7-10. 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:
Those who attain unto perfection.
Those who fail of it--the 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 He 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 not AV JP).
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 New
Testament, 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
"first-fruits" seventeen 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, 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 Numb. 13: 20 and is very similar; there the word is a translation of the