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Hebrews 7:4

Nov 13, 2018   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Daily Writing, Epistles, Epistles (written), Hebrews, Hebrews (written), Writings  //  13 Comments

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. Hebrews 7:4

The author now begins to explain the level of greatness of Melchizedek, something he will do for the next seven verses. The reason for this is because he will then show how the greatness of Melchizedek’s priesthood exceeded that of Aaron’s. From there, and because of the parallel between Melchizedek and Jesus, he will make the obvious conclusion that the priesthood of Jesus exceeds that of Aaron. To begin this, he relies on what has been stated so far in verses 1 through 3 and says, “Now consider how great this man was.” It should rather say, “Now consider how great this man is.” The reason is because of what it said in the previous verse, that he “…like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.” It is a state which continues.

From there, he now returns to the thought of verse 7:2 for explanation by saying, “to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.” In 7:2, he repeated the information given in Genesis 14 which stated this fact. Here, he calls Abraham, “the patriarch.” It is a term meaning, “first father.” He is the “head” or “founder” of a family, and is thus considered the greatest of that family. In the Bible, this title is given to him, the 12 sons of Israel, and to David. We can infer it also applies to Isaac and Jacob. The term comes from pater meaning father and arche meaning first or greater.

The use of the word patriarch here is purposeful. If Abraham was the greatest of the family of the Hebrews, and if he can be shown to be in a lesser position than Melchizedek, then it will imply a surpassing greatness in Melchizedek. If that can be established, then Jesus – who is the One being set in comparison to Melchizedek – will then be shown to also be in surpassing greatness to the patriarch Abraham – even though He descends from him in His humanity.

It is for this reason that the author now brings in tithing. It was a concept understood by every person in Israel. The specific guidelines, as were practiced by the people, are explained fully in Deuteronomy 14:22-29, with many other references scattered throughout the Books of Moses and elsewhere.

The people were to set aside one-tenth of everything they accumulated each year. For the first two years, they were to enjoy that tenth themselves in the Lord’s presence – eating, drinking, and rejoicing in His provision. Of the third year, it says –

“At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.” Deuteronomy 14:28, 29.

This tithe was then further divided (as is mentioned in Leviticus 27) and a 10th of that was given to the priests who ministered at the temple. This was the sacred portion for the Lord’s service and the best of all that was gathered.

Life application: Tithes and all offerings of the Old Testament were, like praise, from the lesser to the greater. The common people tithed to the Levites and the Levites to the priests – in ascending order. In the verses ahead, we will see a most fascinating reason why the author proclaims the greatness of Melchizedek. Yes, Abraham gave a tenth to him, but this signifies something even more interesting. How willing are you to be patient and slowly learn the word of God? Too often, people hear about a concept, such as tithing, and they run with it as a precept for the church. However, the law is a completely different dispensation than the church age. Is it appropriate to mandate this Old Testament precept? The only way to know is to learn the word first, and then apply its precepts in context. Be sure not to run ahead of sound doctrine, but keep things in their intended context!

Yes Lord! What a fun thing to look into the words of the Old Testament and then see how they point to the Person and work of Jesus. In understanding these types and patterns, we can more fully understand the surpassing greatness of the work of the Lord. Thank You that redemptive history is so carefully recorded for us to know – with all certainty – that we are following the proper path in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

13 Comments

  • I am so thankful for this teaching especially the concept of tithing. I grew up in the church of the Nazarene where tithing was compulsory if you were a member of this church. When you applied for membership this is one of the things you had to promise to do. In fact you were treated differently if you did not tithe To this day members of my family tithe out of compulsion. It is like a yoke over them.
    Having studied this with the Superior Word I feel like a heavy millstone has been removed from my neck and I am now free to give as the under the New Covenant. I am no longer in bondage.
    ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, you are free indeed.”
    Thank you S.W.

    • Amen, Ruth!

    • I am so very glad to read this. Freedom from bondage is A+++ Christ has freed us from the burden of the law. Give as you are blessed, and that can be with a simple smile to the frustrated checkout clerk at the store.

  • thank you – beautiful picture of lake , looks like flathead .

  • How patient will we be to learn the word? Sometimes I feel like I have left my emergency break on trying to understand the word when I really want to fire up the jet packs and take it in as fast as I can. But slow and steady is the way so we don’t miss a thing. What ever pace the lord sets for us is the right pace Amen

    We ARE another day closer to home AMEN
    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friends

    • Gordon, I enjoy your comments and your personality where Jesus shines through! I too find mid or post trib rapturists arrogant, though I gave them a chance to state their case before rejecting their teachings. I’m okay with a teacher who tells us that this view differs from that view, etc, but when they fail to give any credence to pre trib, I don’t go for that.

      • Thank you John! I truly feel blessed to be here with you all the free exchange of comments and ideas and the fact we are all learning about Jesus together. Even though we are seperated by miles and oceans I feel connected to all my Superior Word family in a personal way. That is something many of us are not able to experience with the church down the street from our house. Charlie has created an oasis for like minded believers in Christ in the middle of the gathering storm of the tribulation. While I watch other very good pastors preach and learn much from them the Superior word is my home my base of operations for learning the word of God. I truly thank you for that Charlie.

        Amen Ruth it’s so awesome when the lights come on and the millstone is removed from around your neck! Amen Sister. Keep looking up. We ARE another day closer to home….thinker we can reserve a table at the wedding feast for the Superior Word Family

      • What grieves my heart, John, is the vitriol in which some of those who do not hold to the pre-trib rapture spew onto those who do. I’m all for lively debate but it would do much for our testimony to the unbelieving world if we would agree to disagree, agreeably, on those non-salvific issues like the timing of the rapture.

    • Reading these comments really blesses me. Thank each of you. Thank you.

  • BLESS GOD PRAISE JESUS!

    • And praise Him again!!!

  • Amen to Charlie and Amen to all the precious commentators thus far!
    I still like that it says; consider how great this man “was” instead of “is” from what you’ve taught all along, that he wasn’t Jesus, he was just a shadow of Jesus, because of the contrast between Mel. and Jesus, Jesus should be the only “Is” in the sentence, who always Is! ( :

    • Jesus is… and He IS marvelous <3

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