It’s obvious that Abraham saw Melchizedek as superior to himself. The writer of Hebrews explains this in the next three verses. Hebrews 7:5-7 says, “And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.” The author of Hebrews is making it clear that Jesus is greater than all the religious rituals, angels, prophets and people of the Old Testament, even the father of the entire nation, Abraham. Jesus made the same claims when addressing the religious leaders but they didn’t like that. In John 8:58-59, Jesus said to the religious leaders who challenged Him regarding His claims to surpass Abraham, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him.”

Hagner says, “Just as the one who receives the tithe is of higher position than the one who gives the tithe, so also the lesser person is blessed by the greater. The great Abraham is thus subordinate to Melchizedek.”[1] Since Jesus’ priesthood is of the order of Melchizedek rather than Aaron, it’s obvious that Jesus is greater than Abraham.  Abraham acknowledges this and as Lenski observes, “Abraham was right, for Abraham was not the king-priest, Melchizedek was; Abraham was not the royal-priestly type of Jesus, Melchizedek was. All the greatness of Abraham remains; by his very greatness he shows ‘how great’ (v. 4) Melchizedek is.”[2]

The only way to read the Old Testament is to read it through the eyes of the New Testament. This is what Jesus meant when He told the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:27 that the Old Testament was all about Himself. The text says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” I completely agree with Pink who writes, “It has been thought by some (and we deem it quite probable) that in this very Hebrews’ Epistle the Holy Spirit has recorded for our instruction and joy the very things which the risen Savior communicated to those two favored disciples. Whether this be the case or no, certain it is that the leading design of the Spirit in this Epistle is to give us light on many Old Testament mysteries by means of the fuller revelation which God has now made by and through Jesus Christ.”[3] The writer of Hebrews is showing us how the Old Testament is all about Jesus. Why do we insist on making it about us? We’re not the giant slayer David. Jesus is! When listening to a sermon, or reading a devotional ask yourself, “is this about me, or is about Jesus?” It should be about Jesus!

[1] Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 103.

[2] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James (Columbus, OH: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938), 218.

[3] Arthur Walkington Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1954), 357.