Psalm 110:1,4; Hebrews 7:4-8
The LORD saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool…The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even Abraham the patriarch, gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Now Abraham was a person of very high dignity, both naturally and spiritually. Naturally he was the founder of the Jewish nation; spiritually he was the “father” of all believers, Romans 4. In his person was concentrated all the sacred dignity belonging to the people of God…Abraham was not only the root and stock of the Israelitish people, but he was the one who first received the promise of the covenant (Genesis 15:8).
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Seeing that the holy patriarch, whom God had raised to the highest rank of honour, submitted himself to Melchizedek, it is not to be doubted that God had constituted him the only head of the whole Church; for, without controversy, the solemn act of benediction, which Melchizidek assumed to himself, was the symbol of pre-eminent dignity.
A. W. PINK: Three proofs of the eminence of Melchizedek are found in the verse before us. First in the nomination of the person that was subject unto him: “even Abraham.” Second, in the dignity of Abraham; “the patriarch.” Third, in that Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils. How “great” then must be Melchizedek, seeing that Abraham himself owned his official superiority!
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It was his place and privilege to bless Abraham; and it is an uncontested maxim that “the less is blessed of the greater.” He who gives the blessing is greater than he who receives it.
JOHN CALVIN: If any one replies that Melchizedek did this as a priest, I ask, was not Abram also a priest? Therefore God here commends to us something peculiar in Melchizedek, in preferring him before the father of the faithful.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Melchizedek’s office was exceptional: none preceded or succeeded him; he comes upon the page of history mysteriously; no pedigree is given, no date of birth, or mention of death; he blesses Abraham, receives tithes, and vanishes from the scene amid honours which show that he was greater than the founder of the chosen nation.
JOHN CALVIN: No one has arisen except Christ, who equalled Melchizedek in dignity, still less who excelled him; we hence infer that the image of Christ was presented to the fathers, in his person…These are the words of David, “The LORD sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” First, he had placed him on a royal throne, and now he gives Him the honour of the priesthood. But under the Law, these two offices were so distinct, that it was unlawful for kings to usurp the office of the priesthood. Moreover, we never find that king and priest, who is to be pre-eminent over all, till we come to Christ.
C. H. SPURGEON: God would have no priest-king save His Son.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The glory of both those crowns shall abide on Him. The peace made for God’s people shall rest upon these two, the kingly and priestly office of Christ. He shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both, Zechariah 6:13.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): He is both Priest and King, and exercises both offices at one and the same time, and even now in heaven; having offered Himself as a sacrifice on earth, by which He has put away sin for ever, and perfected His people; He is set down upon his throne, as a King crowned with glory and honour; and ever lives as a Priest the throne, to make intercession for them; by appearing in the presence of God for them.
JOHN CALVIN: It is also to be observed, that Christ is called an eternal King, like Melchizedek. For since the Scripture, by assigning no end to his life, leaves Melchizedek as if he were to survive through all ages; it certainly represents or shadows forth to us, in his person, a figure, not of a temporal, but of an eternal kingdom.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): In these respects he was like to Jesus Christ, who, as to His Godhead, had neither father nor mother, beginning of time nor end of days; and has an everlasting priesthood.
MATTHEW HENRY: This Melchisedek was “made like unto the Son of God, and abideth a priest continually,” Hebrews 7:3. He bore the image of God in his piety and authority, and stands upon record as an immortal high priest; the ancient type of Him who is the eternal and only-begotten of the Father, who abideth a priest for ever.
A. W. PINK: How minutely accurate, then, how Divinely perfect was the type!
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Melchizedek was a king and a priest. Christ was more, a priest, a prophet, and a king. These offices have met double in some others; as Melchizedek was king and priest, Samuel a priest and a prophet, David a king and a prophet; but never met all three in any but Christ alone.*
JOHN CALVIN: The sum of the whole is, that Christ would thus be the king next to God, and also that He should be anointed priest, and that for ever; which it is very useful for us to know, in order that we may learn that the royal power of Christ is combined with the office of priest. The same Person, therefore, who was constituted the only and eternal Priest, in order that He might reconcile us to God, and Who, having made expiation, might intercede for us, is also a King of infinite power to secure our salvation, and to protect us by His guardian care. Hence it follows, that, relying on His advocacy, we may stand boldly in the presence of God, Who will, we are assured, be propitious to us; and that trusting in His invincible arm, we may securely triumph over enemies of every kind.
*Editor’s Note: John Trapp failed to notice that Melchizedek was not only a king and a priest, but also a personal prophetic type, and thus all three offices of Christ really were typified in him, making Melchizedek indeed “the most illustrious figure of Christ.”