Melchizedek
Dr. Joe Temple

A Victorious Abram

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 14. We will be looking not only at this passage of Scripture, but at some others as well that will help us to understand what we see here.

You will remember that we have studied chapter 14 of the book of Genesis as it related to an experience in the life of Abram. We told you that Lot, the nephew of Abram, was taken prisoner when four kings made war against five kings. One of those five kings was the king of Sodom. Lot, you will remember, was a citizen of Sodom. He was caught in the cross-fire, so to speak, and was taken prisoner. Abram, when he heard the news, armed his trained servants and went out to do battle against these four kings that Lot might be set free.

Abram was victorious. As he returned from the battle with the four kings, he was met by an individual by the name of Melchizedek. This man, Melchizedek, blessed him. Abram paid tithes of all that he had and then went on to meet the king of Sodom, who offered him all the spoils of the battle and asked only that the citizens of his city might be returned to him. Abram was quick to say that he would have nothing to do with what the king of Sodom had to offer, lest the king of Sodom could say that he had made Abram rich.

The Historical Reference

We looked at that story from a number of different standpoints, but we did not have time to look at the paragraph related to the man to whom I referred a moment ago. In looking at this man and his significance in relation to the Word of God, we want to read from chapter 14 of the book of Genesis, the paragraph which begins with verse 17:

Genesis 14:

17And the king of Sodom went out to meet him [Abram] after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all.

That is as far as we will read because these few verses introduce to us a character whom we have not met before, and whom we will not meet again for one thousand years, as far as references in the Word of God are concerned. We will not meet him again after that for another thousand years, as far as references in the Word of God are concerned. There are only three mentions of this man, Melchizedek, made in the Scriptures. Notice what I said. I did not mean to say that there are only three times that his name is mentioned, but that only three instances relating to him are given in the Word of God.

One of these we refer to as a historical instance. Another we refer to as a prophetic instance, and another we refer to as a typical, or doctrinal, instance. I would like for us to read these passages of Scripture in which he is presented to us before we try to talk about him because he is one of the most important, one of the most mysterious, characters in all the Word of God.

The Prophetic Reference

Make a mental note, if you do not make any other kind, that in Genesis, chapter 14, verses 17 through 20, we have the historical record of Melchizedek. Then turn, please, to Psalm 110, where we have the prophetic record of Melchizedek:

Psalm 110:

1The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
4The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
5The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
6He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
7He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

In just glancing at this Psalm, without attempting a complete exposition of it, you will recognize that it is a conversation between God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son:

Psalm 110:

1The Lord [Jehovah ] is always used in reference to God the Father] said unto my Lord [Adonai ] is used most often in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

God is saying to His Son, “Come, sit at the right hand of My throne. One of these days I am going to conquer all your enemies, and you are going to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

There is a reason for it. God has sworn, or God has made an oath, and He will not go back on that oath. That oath is found in Psalm 110, verse 4:

Psalm 110:

4…Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

If you are following me, you know that we meet Melchizedek historically in Genesis, chapter 14. Then there is one thousand years silence, and we have another reference to him when God says to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “You are going to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords because a long time ago I made an oath that you were to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Doctrinal Reference

Turn to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, where we find our third reference to Melchizedek, which I said comes one thousand years later than the one at which we have just been looking.

I would like to remind you that Hebrews, chapters 5, 6, and 7 are all one unit. We will not read all three of those chapters because it would defeat our purpose. The Apostle Paul begins to talk to the Jews about Melchizedek, and then tells them that he does not believe they are capable of understanding what he has to say. He gives them a little instruction in a parenthetical passage and then gets back on the subject again over chapter 7. I think that will become plain to you as you follow in these chapters and as I point out to you the references to Melchizedek. In Hebrews chapter 5, verse 6, we read:

Hebrews 5:

6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

This is a reference, as we shall see, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then in verse 10, Paul says again:

Hebrews 5:

10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Then begins the parenthetical passage to which I referred. Paul concludes that parenthetical passage in chapter 6, verse 20, with a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he refers to as the forerunner, the one who has gone before any of us, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

In chapter 7, verse 1, he says:

Hebrews 7:

1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5And 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:
6But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

The Mysterious Melchizedek

We will stop our reading there because all of those verses have to do with this individual about whom we wish to speak. The strange and sudden appearance of this man, Melchizedek, upon the pages of sacred history has proved to be a real problem for a great many people. There have been any number of treatises written about who Melchizedek might be.

For example, some people say that Melchizedek is none other than Shem. Remember the three sons of Noah—Shem, Ham, and Japeth? Some people believe that Melchizedek was none other then Shem, who faded out of the pages of history for a little while and then came back in the view of men once again. But I think we will be able to see that Shem was not the individual referred to as Melchizedek. Before we get to that matter in a number of different ways, let me point out to you that he could not have been Shem because the one characteristic of Melchizedek which stands out above all others is that there is no record given of his father or his mother. There is no record at all given of his genealogy which would rule out Shem because we have a definite record of the genealogy of Shem as the son of Noah.

Then there are other folk who say that this is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, that this is one of His Old Testament appearances. That is not too far-fetched, of course, because the Lord Jesus Christ did come down to this earth in Old Testament days any number of different times to effect certain purposes that He had in mind. However, we are going to suggest to you that Melchizedek was not the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, so he could not have been the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

The third suggestion you find most commonly made is that he was a celestial being. That is, he was an angel come down from Heaven. Of course that is not too far-fetched, either, because quite often in Old Testament times angels did come down from Heaven to do certain tasks for God. However, we would suggest to you that Melchizedek was not an angel because there is in the Word a definite record that Melchizedek was none other than a human being.

A Type of Jesus Christ

Who was Melchizedek, then? I want to suggest to you that this man who appeared suddenly upon the pages of sacred history did not do so by accident. He did so according to the plan and purpose of God. It was no accident that there was no record of the genealogy of Melchizedek. It was no accident that there is no record of his death. It was all a plan of God, that there might be a type, a picture, an illustration of the Son of God that men could see and understand and enjoy.

I make that statement for several reasons. First, I make that statement because the Word of God does. We read in Psalm 110, that God swore that the Lord Jesus Christ would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, and Melchizedek had to come on the scene so that people could see him. I make that statement because I believe the Word of God is not just a hodge-podge of writings of different people scattered through the years, which somebody gathered together as somebody might gather together the writings of an individual and call them the selected writings of so-and-so, or as somebody might gather together a group of short stories and put a title on the outside of the book Collected Short Stories . I believe that the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Book, and I believe that He used human instrumentality to write the Book.

It would not be difficult at all for Him to call this man Melchizedek to the attention of Moses when Moses was writing the Pentateuch, in order that later he might call Melchizedek to the attention of David, that a prophecy might be presented on the basis of this man's life. It would not be difficult for the Holy Spirit, even a thousand years later, to bring the man Melchizedek about whom Moses wrote and about whom David wrote, to the attention of the Apostle Paul, so that the Apostle would have a perfect illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ and His high priestly ministry.

Over and over again is the threefold picture presented: Christ as Savior, Christ as High Priest, and Christ as King. You do need to recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is presented to us in a three-fold way. He is presented to us in the Word of God as the Savior of the World: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God so loved the world that He gave His Son as Savior. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Over and over again in the Scriptures we are told that He not only died to save us, but He lives to keep us. In chapter 5 of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul hastens to remind us that if we are saved from the wrath of God by His death, how much more will we be saved by His life. Paul mentions in the book of Hebrews that “we have a great high priest who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities; let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may make our wants and our wishes known and find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need.” We are also told in the first epistle of John that if we sin, we have an advocate, an intercessor for our sins, Jesus Christ the righteous one.

Jesus Christ is presented to us as Savior, He is presented as High Priest, and He is presented as coming King. The One Who died to save us and Who lives to keep us is coming some day to rule over the whole earth. This trilogy of truth is emphasized in many places in the Word of God. For example, in the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, we read that the Lord Jesus Christ hath appeared in the end of the age to put away sin by sacrifice of Himself. Then we read, “He doth now appear in the presence of God for us.” In that very same chapter, the last verse, we read:

Hebrews 9:

28…and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

If you want another illustration, you could go over to the Old Testament and read very carefully Psalms 22, 23, and 24. Psalm 22 is a prophetic picture of the Savior. Psalm 23 is a prophetic picture of the High Priest. Psalm 24 is a prophetic picture of the coming King.

This truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ as Priest/King is presented to us in the life of Melchizedek. I would like for us to notice as we look at chapter 7 of the book of Hebrews, and then again, when there is a need, at chapter 14 of the book of Genesis, these illustrations of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Priest/King.

As A King

The first thing I would like to suggest to you is that the Lord Jesus Christ is typified in the life of Melchizedek by the name and title which he bore. Notice in Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 1:

Hebrews 7:

1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God…

There are three names or titles, which ever you might want to use: Melchizedek is one, King of Salem is another, and Priest of the Most High God is another. Keep in mind that this man who met Abram back there in chapter 14 of the book of Genesis had these three names.

The name Melchizedek —what does that mean? Skip down to verse 2 and notice what Paul said:

Hebrews 7:

2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness…

That is what the name Melchizedek means—“King of righteousness.” King of Salem means “King of Peace.” Priest of the Most High God is self-explanatory. This, then, represents a perfect picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as far as titles go, but in the very order of those titles.

First, King of Righteousness. Is that what the Lord Jesus is? That is what the Apostle Paul said He would be to every one of us. In the very last paragraph of the first chapter of the first Corinthian letter, we are told that He was made unto wisdom righteousness, and redemption. The Lord Our Righteousness is a title used quite often throughout the Word of God.

Is He King of Peace? Do you remember what Isaiah wrote about Him chapter 9 of the book of Isaiah, verse 6? He was Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. I might add before we leave those two titles, that even the order is significant because if you follow these two words through the Word of God, you will find that righteousness always precedes peace. There can be no peace without righteousness. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 32, there is a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we find the words, “the effect of righteousness is quietness, peace, and assurance forever.” There is no peace unless we depend upon the righteousness of Christ.

The book of Romans is built around that truth. For example, chapter 3 and most of chapter 4 of Romans deal with how righteousness is obtained by faith. What is the first verse of chapter 5? “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you see how accurate the Scripture is, and how true to life it is? King of Salem—King of Peace.

As A Priest

Priest of the most high God—that in itself is significant, as we are going to see because a number of things are said about his priesthood which typify the Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing brought to our attention is that he is Priest of the Most High God . The Most High God is the translation of a compound name of God, El Elyon , El meaning “God” and Elyon meaning “most high.” It is a name used sparingly through the Word of God, but it is a name that describes God's relationship, not to the Gentiles alone (Elohim describes that relationship), not to the Jews alone (Jehovah describes that relationship), but to the whole world—Jews, Gentiles, red, yellow, black, and white. Nobody is excluded. Melchizedek was the priest of Elyon . Paul said to Titus, “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this evil age in which we live.

Let us look at this passage of Scripture and see what kind of priest of the most high God this man was. The first thing brought to our attention is what is suggested in verse 3:

Hebrews 7:

3…without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.

This verse has been a source of concern to a great many people. They find it difficult to accept the fact that Melchizedek was an ordinary human being. They say, “Right here in chapter 7 of the book of Hebrews, it says distinctly that he did not have a father, and he did not have a mother. It says distinctly that he never did die, that he is living somewhere today.” It does not say that. If you look carefully, you will find that it is a reference, not to the idea that Melchizedek was some unusual person, superhuman, but rather that there was not a record of his father or his mother. This passage of Scripture must be interpreted in the light of the passage where we first find Melchizedek mentioned.

We find him in the book of Genesis, and the book of Genesis is a book of records. It is a book of genealogies. Remember how we noticed that? The book is divided on the basis of the verse, “These are the generations.” Twelve times that is mentioned, and twelve different divisions of the book of Genesis are presented in that manner.

Here in this book of records an unusual thing occurs. A man does not have any record given of his father, his mother, his genealogy, his birth, or his death—no record at all. If you read verse 3 of Hebrews, chapter 7, with that suggestion before you, you see how plain it becomes: “Without record of his father, without record of his mother, without record of ancestry, without record of the day he was born, without record of the day he died.”

You say, “What a sad thing that no one got that information. What a sad thing that a mistake was made.” We want to suggest to you once again that the Word of God is divinely inspired. Nothing is left out by accident, and nothing is put in that does not need to be there.

I had today an interesting experience which brought this very forcefully to my mind. I do not know how I have missed this experience until today. I was in the bookstore, and someone came in and wanted a translation of the Bible by Edgar Goodspeed. I turned around to the shelf to get one and, much to my amazement, I found it, but it was called The Shortened Bible. I never had seen it before. This dear soul wanted to know what a “shortened Bible” is. We checked through it and found that a great many of the books are left out. In the preface, Dr. Goodspeed says, “These are busy days in which we are living, and people want a good idea of the Bible. There is not any point in reading a lot of it anyway.” So he thought he would make a real contribution to the cause and publish a shortened Bible. He had a mistaken idea of helpfulness.

I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I do not believe that any part of it ought to be left out. All of it is important. By virtue of the same fact, I do not believe you need to worry about things that are not there. They were not left out by accident. They were left out by design. The genealogy of Melchizedek was left out by design so that (looking at the last part of Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 3) he might be “made like unto the Son of God who abideth a priest continually.”

Christ Our High Priest

The priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ did not start with His birth. The priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ did not end with His death. Every priest in the nation of Israel was examined very carefully in relation to his genealogy before he could be permitted to serve, and if there was one name left out of the record they said, “We cannot use you. We cannot take a chance. You might not be a descendant of Levi, and only the descendants of Levi can be priests.” God changed the whole order of things in relation to His Son. He said, “He is not going to be a priest after the order of Levi. He is going to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.”

The thing I want you to keep in mind about the Lord Jesus Christ is that He abideth a priest continually. Does that make any difference? Look at the book of Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 24:

Hebrews 7:

24But this man [reading the whole chapter you would find that this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Notice what he is saying. Ordinary, everyday priests lived as long as they could live, and then they died, and the people never knew what kind of priest the next priest would be. He might really be interested in them, and then he might not. He might carry their burdens, or he might shrug his shoulders and not worry about their burdens, because there were good high priests, and there were wicked high priests. But the Apostle Paul said, when he points them to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Your worries along this line are over. Never again are you going to have to worry about what will happen if the priesthood changes. Jesus Christ will never change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” From a literary standpoint, Melchizedek was a priest who lived forever, because there was no record of his death.

Go back to chapter 7 of the book of Hebrews and notice verse 4, as we find another illustration of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 7:

4Now consider how great this man [Melchizedek] was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

Melchizedek was a great hight priest. He surpassed anything anybody had every known, and Abraham recognized that greatness by paying tithes to him. Paul goes on about it in verse 7:

Hebrews 7:

7And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

Melchizedek blessed Abraham. That indicated that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. As Paul draws this parallel, he reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest High Priest we could have. Look at verse 26 of chapter 7:

Hebrews 7:

26For such an high priest became us…

It is good for us to have a high priest like this who is above and beyond everything we could possibly imagine. He tells us what kind of high priest He is:

Hebrews 7:

26…who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; [The best a man can do is to make a man a high priest, and that man is far from perfect, and in being far from perfect, he is full of infirmity]

Notice in the last part of this chapter:

Hebrews 7:

28…but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore [a high priest].

The oath to which this passage of Scripture refers is the oath recorded in Psalm 110 at which we have already looked.

There is another illustration at which we might look, an illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us go back to chapter 14 of the book of Genesis. Paul does not call attention to this parallel in Hebrews, chapter 7, but certainly it is justified on the basis of the entire teaching of the Word of God.

What was Abram doing when Melchizedek met him? He was returning from the rescue of his nephew, Lot, wasn't he? How did Melchizedek meet Abram? He met him with bread and with wine. What did Abram do? He acknowledged the greatness of Melchizedek through the paying of tithes and thus committed himself completely to him.

This is a perfect picture of what is going to occur at the end of the age, at the judgment of the nations and the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ. The Jewish remnant, in trouble through the attack of Gentile kings, as Lot was in trouble through the attack of Gentile kings, is going to be rescued at the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Jew and every Gentile will bow down at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ as did these folks bow down at the feet of Melchizedek.

Melchizedek appeared to them as the King of Righteousness; the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to establish His righteous reign upon this earth. Melchizedek appeared to them as King of Peace; the Lord Jesus Christ is coming as Prince of Peace, reminding us that there is no peace until He comes.

This is the typical picture of Melchizedek. There are one or two general lessons that I would like for us to learn from this passage of Scripture. One or two general lessons, not necessarily related to the high priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but certainly not excluded from it.

In the story that we read from chapter 14 of the book of Genesis, we discovered that Melchizedek came and gave Abram bread and wine—bread for his body and wine for his spirit. If you follow those two through the Word of God, you will find that that is their typical meaning. What happened immediately afterward? Abram met a great temptation. Why was it that he did not fail in that temptation? Because of the provision of Melchizedek. What had Melchizedek done? Melchizedek had blessed Abram in the name of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. He said to Abram in so many words, “All of this that God has is yours.” Immediately the King of Sodom appeared on the scene and offered Abram material things, which if he had accepted, would have caused him to deny the oath that he had made unto God.

The suggestion in the passage of Scripture is the question, how strong would Abram have been if Melchizedek had not interceded for him? How strong would he have been? How strong would he have been if Melchizedek had not met his need with bread and wine and encouragement? That leads me to ask you, how strong would we be if we could not depend upon the intercessory work of the Lord Jesus Christ at the right hand of the throne of God in our behalf?

“What is that?” you ask. It is a work of the Lord Jesus Christ which is constantly going on, and of which I do not believe most of us are aware as we should be. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ took Peter aside one day and said to him, “Peter, Satan has desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.” He may not take us aside and tell us distinctly that that is what is happening to us, but it is. The Devil is constantly sifting us as wheat, and only eternity will reveal how much we might have failed if the Lord Jesus Christ had not been praying for us.

One of the greatest blessings that came to my life in the early days of my Christian experience was the realization that the Lord Jesus Christ is praying for me, moment by moment, second by second. It is wonderful to have a mother, a wife, a loved one say, “I am praying for you.” That is great encouragement. It is good to have friends say, “I am remembering you in prayer.” My, how we ought to do more of that. But the greatest encouragement is to know that Jesus is praying for you. Loved ones do fail, and loved ones do forget, but there is never a moment that the Lord Jesus Christ is not praying for you. When any real emergency comes, you might remember that He is not forgetting you.

Tithing

One last lesson I would leave with you if you will go back to chapter 7 of the book of Hebrews. You will remember that in Genesis, chapter 14, Abram paid tithes to Melchizedek. There is an interesting play upon words in chapter 7 that I would like to pass on to you. In verse 4, we read:

Hebrews 7:

4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

We told you that Genesis 14 was the first time that tithing was mentioned. It was not commanded until the Law was written, but here was the first time it was mentioned. We are not told in Genesis 14 of what Abram gave a tenth. It says he gave a tenth of all, but we do not know whether it was a tenth of what he possessed or what. Here in Hebrews we are told it was a tenth of the spoils. I would not insist that that means absolutely all the booty he gathered in the war, though it could include it. The reason I would not insist that it means the booty is the meaning of this word spoils . This was a word often used in Greek to describe an incident such as this, when a man gathered all his riches together and put them in a pile. Many times it was the spoils of a war. As he put these things in a pile, he put the best things at the very top. Whenever that action was described, the word used here for spoils was used. It means all of your possessions in a pile with your best at the top. Do you see what this verse of Scripture is saying? It says that when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, he gave him the best tenth, right there at the top of the pile—the best tenth.

I wonder if there is not a lesson in that for us? The New Testament does not mention tithing for Christians. The New Testament mentions that as a man purposes in his heart, he ought to give. The New Testament mentions that as the Lord has prospered an individual, he ought to give. I do not want any of you folk who are troubled about tithing to sit back and say, “Well, good. I do not have to tithe.” I believe that if you catch a vision of what the New Testament teaches, you will find that the New Testament is more costly than the Old Testament. It is not a matter of a tenth and then blowing the rest of it the way you see fit. The New Testament principle of giving is that God does not look at what you put in, but He looks at what you have left after you have put in. There is a big difference. I wonder if many of us do not say to God, whether it is of material things or spiritual things, “Lord, You can have anything off the bottom of the heap, but do not take what is on the top. That is the best, and I want that.”

We have learned complete surrender to the Lord and the real challenge of God's faithfulness when we can say to God without reserve, “Take from off the top of the heap anything you want, because from the top of the heap to the bottom, it is all Yours.” It might be wise for us, using the term very figuratively now, to pay tithes to God off the top of the heap.


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