Don’t Remain Like Babies; Go Beyond the Basics
11There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognise the difference between right and wrong.
6 1So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. 2You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. 4For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come— 6and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.Heb 5:11-6:6
Does this passage make you wonder what is going on? You know from the previous passage that the author gave us the words “a priest in the order of Melchizedek” twice. Once in chapter 5, verse 6 with the quote from Psalm 110:4 – “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” And then again in chapter 5, verse 10 with the author’s own words – “And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Surely this would be the perfect moment to inform his readers and hearers alike about the significance of ‘a priest in the order of Melchizedek’. But in the beginning of the very next section we have the words: There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. Twice the author has brought us to the brink, with us begging for an explanation, only to be told we are spiritually dull and won’t get it.
A priest in the order of Melchizedek appears to be highly significant; so why is he forestalling telling us? Here are all the references to Melchizedek in both Old and New Testaments.
And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.Genesis 14:18-20
The LORD has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”Psalm 110:4
And in another passage God said to him, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”Hebrews 5:6
And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.Hebrews 5:10
Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.Hebrews 6:20
1This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. 2Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” . . . . . . . .4Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. . . . . . .6But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God.
8The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. 9In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. 10For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him. 11So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? . . . . . . .
15This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. . . . . . . . 17And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”Hebrews 7:1-2, 4, 6, 8-11, 15, 17
Those represent every reference to Melchizedek in the Bible. It is clear in the letter to the Hebrews that the author repeats all the references and information found elsewhere. The number of times Melchizedek’s name is mentioned as opposed to using a pronoun seems to be overkill. I have told you already that I was of two-minds when dividing the segments between 6:20 and 7:1 (see below). These two verses belong together, yet I separated them. The author didn’t make them straddle chapter boundaries, someone else did. But the author seems to be making a point by delaying the explanation we are all waiting for:- i.e. what is so highly significant about a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek? And furthermore, can you have a priest after the order of Melchizedek or must it be a High Priest?
Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. // This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High.Hebrews 6:20, 7:1
Well I am thinking of delaying the inevitable just as the author appears to do. It is clear that the major explanation comes in Chapter 7. So let’s leave the explanation until Chapter 7.
The Meaning of Melchizedek
Melchizedek in Hebrew is:-[מלכּי־צדק] malkı̂ẏ-tsedeq “my king of salem” or “my king who is tsedeq”. [צדק] can mean Salem as in (Jeru)salem a derivative of “shalom” or it can mean just, right, righteous, righteousness.
It is like Zedekiah which is a combination of [Zedek] and [iah], where [iah] is the equivalent of [Yahweh]. Zedekiah Hebrew [Ṣidqīyyāh] – “The LORD is my righteousness” or “the LORD is just” or “my righteousness is the LORD”. I find it interesting that some versions don’t make the true meaning or complication of the word or name of Melchizedek clear. Rather than being the King of Justice, the word in the causative form of the verb has the sense of “being made just”. ‘Righteousness’ is a better translation of the word zedek (tsidik) than ‘justice’. The emphasis is less on ‘justice’ and more on ‘being made just’ or having ‘righteousness’.
So you are gathering that the name of Melchizedek is hugely important!
Now let’s return to the opening words of Hebrews 5:11.
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain . . .
- What does “about this” refer to?
- Does “this” referring to the things he has explained in the first ten verses?
- Does “this” refer to “him” and if so “him who”?
- Him meaning Jesus Christ or him meaning Melchizedek?
You are beginning to see already that it is getting complicated and I haven’t tried to explain much yet. Perhaps that is the reason why the writer opted for delaying the process at this point. A good time for me to end this Gem.
. . . for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.Mark 6:52
Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?Mark 8:17
Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”John 6:60
. . . speaking of these things in all of his letters (referring to Paul). Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.2 Peter 3:16