“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.” (Genesis 14:18).
Melchizedek — He is undoubtedly one of the single most mysterious figures in the entire Bible. He stands as such an obvious fore-type of Christ in so many ways, that some suppose he was in fact a pre-incarnation of Christ. But, that in itself remains part of the over-all mystery about the man. We simply do not know.
But consider these fascinating things that we do know.
Melchizedek was a King and a Priest, just like Jesus. And his name literally means “King of Righteousness; King of Peace.” Duh. Not much need for an elaboration on that point.
And then there is this strange statement, “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3). Who is this guy?
Whether or not Melchizedek is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ or not — I do not know, and cannot say. But he certainly is “like unto Him” in many remarkable ways.
And then there is this stunning fact presented for our peanut brains to try and figure out. When Abraham returned victorious from battle, Melchizedek blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abraham of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And then the Bible says, “And Abraham gave him a tithe of all.” (Gen 14:19–20).
There is a principle of Bible Study, which is called The Law of First Mention. It is a principle that requires one to go to that portion of the Scriptures where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine. What is found in the first mention of a thing will hold true throughout the Bible from that point forward.
This passage is the first mention of tithing in the Bible. Abraham gives tithes to Melchizedek, after the King/Priest blessed him. Why did he do that? There was no Law saying he had to do so; in fact, The Law would not come for several hundred years.
No, Abraham did not tithe out of any sense of duty or legalism; he tithed because his heart was filled with gratitude for the blessings he had received. And his giving of the tithe to Melchizedek was a profound act of faith, and a compelling example of faithfulness — which stands to this day in the lives of all who are heirs of the blessing given to Abraham.
Whether or not you tithe is none of my business; that’s a matter between you and the Lord. Some do, and some don’t. But, there are some who DO NOT tithe, who act as though they are on a mission from God to prove to the world that those who DO tithe are deluded. With lengthy arguments they painstakingly try to dismantle each and every point made by others who teach that tithing is a truth for us today.
In my opinion their arguments raise great suspicions only about themselves. There can be only one reason anybody would adamantly seek to debunk the practice of tithing in the lives of others. They are seeking to justify themselves for not tithing. Oh, sure, they will pretend that they are opposing errant doctrine and exposing false teachers — but, still, their debate is deeply internal. They snap and strike out only because they themselves have unresolved personal issues on this topic. And it pains them everytime somebody talks about tithing — it hits a raw nerve, and they react.
The Bible says, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). So as for me, I see no problem following in the footsteps of Abraham’s faith and love, and showing it in every way possible — including giving freely a tenth of my income — especially when One far greater than Melchizedek reigns with blessings over my life today! He is the True King of Righteousness and the True King of Peace; He is the High Priest of the Most High God; He is Jesus, and He has risen from the dead!