In the fourth verse of Hebrews chapter seven, the writer again makes mention of the fact that Abraham, the father of all Israel, gave his tithe to Melchizedek.  Hebrews 7:4 says, “See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils!” This was already mentioned in verse 2 of chapter 7 but the writer repeats it and adds the expletive, “see how great!” Melchizedek was! Hagner observes, “Even the patriarch Abraham felt impelled to give him a tenth of the plunder. The magnitude of the event already mentioned in verse 1 is now stressed. It was one no less than the great Abraham who tithed to Melchizedek.”[1] Jesus is greater than Abraham.

The central theme of the book of Hebrews seems to be the full sufficiency of Christ in every way. The writer begins by reminding his readers that it is through Jesus that God speaks to us in our day and age. He doesn’t speak to us through prophets anymore. The most significant message from the Old Testament prophets, according to the author of Hebrews, is how they bring to light truths about the nature and work of Jesus as the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for all mankind. Jesus is better (a word used in Hebrews more often than the rest of the Bible) than the prophets, the law, Moses, the priests, the angels and all the religious rituals you can think of. We should be thinking more about Jesus than anything or anyone else. So now in Chapter 7, the author adds that Jesus is better than the father of the Hebrew nation himself: Abraham!

Abraham was the most important figure in Judaism. It could be argued that he was even more important than the lawgiver, Moses himself. After all, he did come centuries before Moses and Moses is simply a descendant of Abraham. John the Baptist made it clear that the genealogy from Abraham was not as significant as what Jesus was bringing into the world. He said that clearly in Luke 3:8. It reads, “And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.”  Jesus put some interesting words in Abraham’s mouth in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Jesus claimed that the writings of Moses and the prophets was truly all about himself. Moses attested to that and in Luke 16:29-31, Abraham says so as well. According to Jesus, “ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ” Abraham, as he acknowledged the greatness of Melchizedek, was acknowledging that the whole Bible is about Jesus.

[1] Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 102.