Levi was Abrahamís great grandson. In other words, Levi was the son of Jacob, who was Abrahamís grandson.
It was the law in Israel that people must pay a tithe (10% of their income) to the Levites. The Levites came from the family of Levi; they included Israelís priests. The purpose of the tithe was to pay for the work that priests and Levites did for God.
Everyone in Israel had to pay their tithe. So by means of the tithe, everyone gave honour to the priests and the Levites who served God.
And Abraham also paid his tithe. He did it when Levi was yet unborn. In fact, Abraham had no children yet. So he paid his tithe on behalf of himself and the future members of his family, including Levi. It was as if Levi was paying his own tithe.
In fact, it was as if Israelís priests were themselves paying a tithe. They received the tithes from Israelís people. But, by means of Abraham, they had found a priest who was greater than them. And that priest, Melchizedek, deserved the payment of their own tithe.
Melchizedek only deserved such honour if he was a greater priest then them. Israelís priests had the law that God gave to Moses. But the law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). Its purpose was to prepare people for what Christ would do (Galatians 3:24). Christ came to complete the law (Matthew 5:17).
David wrote that Christ would be a priest like Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). And that statement shows us why Melchizedek had to be greater than Israelís priests. None of Israelís priests ruled as kings. But Melchizedek was both Godís priest, and Godís king. And so, by him, we can see that Christ is both Godís perfect priest, and Godís perfect king.
Next part: Christ, the perfect priest (Hebrews 7:11)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.