In the series “13 reasons why Melchizedek was actually the pre-incarnate Word of God” the following article is reason # 13.
And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Hebrews 7:8 provides a contrast between two parties: the Levitical priests vs. Melchizedek the high priest of the most high God. Two pieces of information are provided about each party and the information provided serves to create a vivid contrast between these them.
|Levite Priests (are):||Melchizedek:|
|1.||Men that die||lives forever (having an endless life) according to the witness (of Psalms 110:4)|
|2.||Receive tithes on earth||Receives tithes from heaven|
Many of the greatest Bible commentators in my study (e.g. Johanne Lange, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Matthew Poole, John Gill, John Trapp, etc.) have failed to grasp the towering significance of Hebrews 7:8 because they are embarrassingly complicit in furthering the nonsense notion that Melchizedek was a mere mortal━i.e. a Gentile priest and king who is only worthy to be seen as a type of Christ when his life is recounted in a deliberately incomplete fashion. I suppose that anyone could be seen as a type of someone greater if enough details about his life were either excluded or selectively mentioned. Yet, the collective things mentioned about Melchizedek are so outlandish that any attempt to explain them as pertaining to a mere mortal becomes an exercise in absurdity.
One brave Bible commentator who does not dissemble (i.e. deliberately ignore or pretend not to notice the truth) with the aforementioned great men is Henry Morris. In his Defender’s Study Bible Morris mentions the following:
This “witness” [i.e. of Hebrews 7:8] was in Psalms 110:4, where the coming Messiah was recognized by God as “a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.” There could be only one such high priest forever! The King of Righteousness (meaning of “Melchizedec”) who blessed Abraham is also our eternal High Priest, the “one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Ti 2:5).━DSB, Henry Morris, Commentary on Hebrews 7
The first trait contrasted in Hebrews 7:8 is the mortality of the Levitical priests vs. the immortality of Melchizedek the high priest after whom Christ is also deemed an immortal priest. In Psalms 110:4, (The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek) the import of the text is that the duration of Christ’s high priesthood is to be patterned after the duration of Melchizedek’s order. Thus, the unavoidable conclusion of Psalm 110:4 is that Melchizedek Himself must be an immortal high priest. This is precisely why the writer of Hebrews 7:8 infers that, unlike the Levitical high priests, Melchizedek lives forever. The term ‘forever’ is not expressly stated but it is strongly implied. In fact, the contrast no longer compels if Hebrews 7:8 only means to inform that Melchizedek is really a mortal man who only lives within the confines of Genesis 14:18-20. What we have seen thus far is a summary of Reason #10 (It is witnessed that Melchizedek lives forever).
However, the second trait mentioned in Hebrews 7:8 is as yet undiscussed and even more compelling. As opposed to the Levitical high priests who receive tithes here on earth, Melchizedek is receiving tithes from heaven. Hebrews 7:8 says “but there [i.e. in Heaven] he [i.e. Melchizedek] receiveth them.” Melchizedek did on one occasion receive tithes of Abraham on earth but the manner in which those tithes were given was neither customary nor compelled as is the case with Levitical tithes (Leviticus 27:30). However, it seems clear that the only person who can claim to receive tithes in Heaven is God. Consider Malachi 3:8-10:
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
In Malachi 3:8-10, God claims that the Israelites had robbed Him of tithes. Nehemiah, during his second stay in Jerusalem, appears to confirm Malachi 3:8-10’s atrocity when he says:
And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. (Nehemiah 13:10, cf. Haggai 1:4-11)
The pilfered tithes to which God refers is undoubtedly the heave-offering of Numbers 18. The heave-offering was a “hallowed” tithe which the Levites offered to God from Israel’s general tithe to the Levites. Though the tithe to the Levites was also considered the LORD’s (Leviticus 27:30, Deuteronomy 14:22), the heave-offering was properly considered God’s tithe (i.e. “the LORD’s heave offering”)━a divine offering to be waived before the LORD (Numbers 18:26-29). In a secondary sense the same heave-offering was considered the hallowed portion offered to the subset of Levites serving as priests. The take-home point here is that in the heave-offering ritual, the God of Heaven received tithes of men here on earth. Yet, according to Hebrews 7:8, Melchizedek is also said to be in Heaven receiving tithes of men on earth.
Hence, it seems clear that the writer of Hebrews, by attributing the same right (of heavenly tithe-taking) to Melchizedek, is putting him in the place of God. For in what other sense could Melchizedek be legitimately thought of as being a heavenly tithe-taker? Melchizedek’s heavenly tithe-taking, then, becomes perhaps the most compelling reason to think that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Word of God. It is already clear that the Word of God is the same Person whom the Scriptures identify as the divine Lawgiver at Mt Sinai (). That the Lawgiver to whom the tithe is paid is also Melchizedek brings into harmony all that is said regarding both persons in Hebrew 7.