Harry Whittaker
Studies in the Gospels

196. Other Old Testament anticipations of the Breaking of Bread

Melchizedek as a type of Christ (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-11).

Melchizedek means "King of r Righteousness." Jesus is the only one to whom this title rightly belongs. He was first the Righteous One, and then –

He was king of Jerusalem (Mt.5 :35); which means-

King of Peace, strictly, King of the Peace that Jehovah will provide (Gen.22 :8,14).

Without father, without mother." Through a misunderstanding of these words various unsupported suggestions have been made about Melchizedek being Shem, Enoch, or an angel. The words "made like unto the Son of God" explain. "Shaveh" (Gen. 14:17) means "made like". Here is the authority for Heb.7:3 and all that it implies. Thus the narrative in Genesis 14 is designed, both in what is said and in what is left unsaid, to present the priesthood of Melchizedek as like that of Christ. Here, a contrast is made with the Aaronic priesthood which depended entirely on ancestry of both father and mother (Lev.21 :14;Neh.7:64,65).

"Having neither beginning of days nor end of life." Again the reference is to priesthood. Christ's priestly work is efficacious for every generation of the human race from Adam onwards. Compare the force of Hebrews 9 :15: "for redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant"; and-Romans 3 :25: "the remission of sins that are past."

Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. So also Christ (Jn.8:53-58).

He blessed Abraham in the name of the Lord. But the real blessing on Abraham comes through Christ (Gen.22 :18).

In the narrative he offered no animal sacrifice; note the explanation made under

He brought forth bread and wine (Mt. 26:26-29). Was this too obvious for mention in Hebrews 7?

Acknowledgment of him means also renunciation of worldly advantage (Gen. 14:22-24).

Another slaughter of the kings is to be followed by Bread and Wine and divine blessing at Jerusalem (Mt.26:29; ls.25 :6).

Not only the house of Abraham but also Abraham's Gentile friends are brought to God's priest-king at Jerusalem (Gen. 14:13,24; Gal. 3:8,9).

In 2 Samuel 6 David deliberately took upon himself the role of a Melchizedek priest-king (a conscious anticipation of the Messiah he looked for?).

Note there:

he offered sacrifice.

he wore the priestly ephod.

he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.

he gave the people Bread and Wine (the word "dealt" here in the LXX is the same as "divide" in Luke 22:17). The word translated: "a flagon of wine" (v.19) is, literally: "a pressing", and may refer to (a) figs or dates pressed together, or to (b) wine from the pressing of grapes. AV is correct here.

he sat for prayer in the presence of the Lord(cp.Ps.110:1).

The Table of Shewbread in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle carried not only the Bread but also the Wine of the drink offerings (Lev.24; Ex.25 :29RV; Num.28 :7). Exodus 30 ;9 appears to exclude the disposal of the wine in any other way than by the priests. This could also be inferred from the fact that the Shewbread was to be eaten by the priest (Lev.24 :9). Thus in the great prototype of the House of God there was special provision for the sustenance of God's servants, and they were to eat and drink it "in a holy place" (RV).

Proverbs 9 :1-12 may have been originally an appeal to the people to assemble soberly to take heed to the reading of the Law at the Feast of Tabernacles. But it is couched in terms which run on beyond that. There is the building of a house (v.l), the offering of sacrifice, and preparation of Bread and Wine (v.2,5), the appeal to turn from folly to the way of understanding (v.6), emphasis on the fear of the Lord (v.10), and promise of length of days (v.11).

Isaiah 55 :1,2 is (in spite of its familiarity) a difficult passage, and this largely because it mentions three things to drink (water, wine, milk) and nothing to eat. A re-translation is possible: "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, break (Bread), and eat; yea, come, buy Wine and marrow . . . without price." Read thus, the offer is of water and Bread, which become the Wine and marrow of the Messianic feast in ch.25 :6. Note how the main principles of the gospel are expressed here with a brevity so effective as to leave the contemplative reader marvelling.

The appeal is to everyone, not to Jews only;

to everyone who knows his own need ("everyone that thirsteth"),

and who is willing to come,

although conscious of an inability to buy what is sought ("he that hath no money");

the gift is free,

And yet a price has to be paid—"hearken diligently... incline your ear."

"Hear, and your soul shall live" carries the strong implication that otherwise the soul will assuredly die.

Where is also clear condemnation of justification by one's own works: "Wherefore do ye spend . . . your earnings (RVm) for that which satisfied not?"

All this is associated indissolubly, not with the old covenant made at Sinai, but with the new "everlasting covenant" made sure to David through its ratification in Jesus. "The sure mercies of David" is a verbal allusion back to the Promise in 2 Samuel 7: "My mercy shall not depart from him . . . Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established (same word as "sure") for ever (the "everlasting covenant") before thee." It is noteworthy also that "I will make an everlasting covenant with you" (LXX) is used by Jesus at the Last Supper: "I appoint unto you a kingdom . . . ." (Lk.22 :29-same Gk. words). The Promise is called "the sure mercies" because the forgiveness of sins, as well as promise of a kingdom, is involved.

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