These are notes on the sermon, The Mystery of Melchizedek (Live at Hillsong Sydney), preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 7 July 2019, at Hillsong Church. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Pastor Prince begins the sermon by reminding everyone that Jesus is the source of everything in our lives.
In 1 Chronicles, David says both riches and honor come from the Lord (1 Chron. 29:12).
Today, because Jesus is our provider and our source, we cannot help but prosper as a natural result of following after Him.
However, there is a spirit of intimidation that has come upon the church today because the devil has been coming against the idea of people prospering, especially in the area of finances.
There is no such thing as the gospel of “health and wealth.” There is only the gospel of grace and peace, which produces wholeness, soundness, and health.
Down through history, it is evident that many nations that welcomed the gospel have prospered in the areas of innovation, creativity, and also health. On the other hand, many of the nations that did not receive the gospel end up with poverty and oppression.
In 3 John, we see the Lord’s heart for us to prosper in all things—in our finances, health, and our spiritual walk with Him:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
— 3 John 1:2 KJV
“thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” — First and foremost, God wants you to prosper financially. He also wants you to be healthy and strong—in your physical body and in your spirit.
Know that when you give unto the Lord, He never gives back just the amount you sow but plenty more in abundance.
You can count how many seeds there are in an apple, but you can’t count how many apples there are in a seed. Likewise, you can expect a huge harvest of blessings from the Lord when you choose to sow a seed. Get ready for an overabundance of supply!
There are people who will be vague about what the Bible says the results of sowing are. They will tell you, “Give and you will be blessed.” But that is not the language of Scripture. The Bible says in Luke 6 that when you give, the Lord’s blessings will be given to you in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38).
Furthermore, 2 Corinthians tells us:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
— 2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV
“rich” — The context of this verse is about giving financially to bless others. So the word “rich” here refers to our finances. Our Lord Jesus who was rich became poor at the cross so that we through His poverty might become rich today (might prosper in every area of our lives). When we prosper, we are able to give generously to others and be a blessing. Prosperity is not about being materialistic.
In society today, there are people who are for the idea of prospering in their own lives but are opposed to the idea of others prospering. Though these hypocrisies exist, as a child of God, you don’t have to be intimidated by them. Hold on to the Lord’s promise that He will provide for you financially so that you can be a blessing to others.
Today, Pastor Prince wants to unveil the mystery behind the Melchizedek priesthood and the multitude of blessings this revelation brings.
This is what Paul preached to the Hebrews about Jesus:
“[Christ is] called by God as High Priest, ‘according to the order of Melchizedek,’ of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For through this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
— Hebrews 5:10–12 NKJV
In the days of the Bible, everything was dependent on the high priest. As the high priest goes, so goes the nation.
“[Christ is] called by God as High Priest” — Jesus is called our “High Priest.” Today, God looks at your High Priest, Jesus, to see how good you are. In other words, His judgment and assessment of you are based on Jesus. As Jesus is, so are we in this world. As Jesus is holy and blameless in the eyes of the Father, so are we in this world.
Melchizedek was the high priest of that time, and He was also a king. We know that Melchizedek is important today because of all the Old Testament verses quoted in the New Testament, the verse that says Jesus is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4) is the verse most quoted.
“according to the order of Melchizedek” — Jesus is our High Priest in the same way that Melchizedek was a high priest. This is different from the high priests in the Levitical priesthood. Under the Levitical priesthood, you are blessed when you obey and you are cursed when you disobey. Under the Melchizedek priesthood, it is all about blessings upon blessings upon blessings—regardless of whether you do right or wrong.
Jesus is always out to bless you, not to curse you.
“dull of hearing” — When Paul wrote about Jesus being our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, he found it difficult to explain because his Hebrew audience back then was “dull of hearing.” We as believers don’t want to become dull of hearing. We want to open our ears to the spiritual truths that bring blessings.
“Need milk and not solid food” — Paul here was telling the Hebrews that they were not yet mature in hearing God’s Word. To need milk meant that they were not able to understand the truths about Melchizedek. So today, for us to be ready for solid food means that we are able to receive and understand the truths of the Melchizedek blessings.
It is okay to yet be able to understand the blessing of the Melchizedek priesthood. Like a baby, you start off by drinking milk and eventually grow into being ready to eat solid food. As you keep hearing God’s Word, you will mature in hearing His Word.
While understanding the Melchizedek priesthood is not crucial for your salvation, there are so many blessings that will follow after you when you do understand it.
If you are ready for solid food, today’s message is for you.
Backstory: Who is Melchizedek?
Melchizedek appears in only a few verses in the Old Testament. In Genesis 14, he meets Abraham when Abraham is at a low point in his life.
Abraham and his men had just come back from the far north of Israel after pursuing four kings and their armies who had kidnapped his nephew Lot. God had given Abraham the victory over these four kings, but after the battle, Abraham was weary. After his arduous journey, he arrived in Jerusalem. There, Melchizedek, the high priest and king of Salem (the old name of Jerusalem), met Abraham and brought him bread and wine to refresh him. This is the only time in the Bible that Melchizedek physically appears, and it was in front of Abraham.
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.”
— Genesis 14:18 NKJV
“Melchizedek king of Salem” — The name “Melchizedek” means “King of Righteousness” in Hebrew. Melchizedek was the king of Salem at that time, and “Salem” is the olden-day name for Jerusalem. The word “Salem” is the word “shalom” in Hebrew, which means wholeness, soundness, and wellness.
As Jesus is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, Melchizedek is believed to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. In the way that Melchizedek is the “King of Righteousness,” Jesus is the King of Righteousness. He dispenses righteousness as a gift to us.
“bread and wine” — These are pictures of the elements of the holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper. The bread and the wine signify Jesus’ sacrifice for us at the cross.
Bread is made by dough being pounded, kneaded, and then baked in the fire. This is a picture of Jesus being scourged and beaten, and finally enduring the fires of judgment for our sins at the cross. That is how Jesus became the bread of life for us and our families.
Wine is made by grapes being stepped and trodden on, then kept in a dark place. This is a picture of Jesus being trodden on and becoming the wine in our lives.
These elements of the bread and the wine are given to us for our benefit. The Lord invites us to partake of Him and as we do so, to do it in remembrance of Him. During the time of the early Church, the people went from house to house and partook of the Lord’s Supper.
There are physical and practical benefits to partaking of the Lord’s Supper regularly. It is when Abraham was tired and needed physical rest that Melchizedek brought forth the bread and the wine to refresh him.
Pastor Prince shares how out of all the healing testimonies he has received from people, most of them are from people who partook of the Lord’s Supper regularly. If you are feeling unwell or you have a certain condition in your body, you can partake of the bread and the wine as often as you take your medication.
“For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”
— 1 Corinthians 11:29–30 NKJV
“not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick” — To not discern the Lord’s body means to make no distinction between the bread and the wine. When you partake, don’t lump the elements together, but discern the Lord’s broken body and the shed blood. His body was broken so that yours can be whole. His blood was shed for the forgiveness of your sins, so you are redeemed from the curse of the law and you can receive every blessing.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony of a lady who was healed from Alzheimer's, a medical condition that currently still has no known cure. When she began to partake of the Lord’s Supper, her memory was incrementally restored until she was fully healed!
During Bible times, the animals sacrificed (which all point to Jesus, our true sacrifice at the cross) were never tortured before being slaughtered. They were also slaughtered in a humane manner that resulted in the animal’s immediate death. However, Jesus went through immense torture before dying at the cross for us—He was whipped, beaten, and scourged. Why? So that we can have the promise that “by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). Let’s discern His body as we partake today.
Pastor Prince shares another testimony from one of his good friends, Samuel Smadja, who had been diagnosed with a rare form of prostate cancer in early 2019. Doctors had said that even with treatment, there was only a twenty percent chance of getting better. However, Samuel had a revelation of the Lord’s Supper, and as he partook in faith, he was eventually cleared of the cancer diagnosis.
Besides the bread and wine that Melchizedek brought Abraham, another picture of the holy Communion in the Old Testament is the Passover meal.
In Exodus 12, when the Passover was instituted, each household of Israel sacrificed a lamb—they applied the lamb’s blood on their doorposts, and they ate the roasted lamb in their households (a picture of Jesus' blood shed and body broken). When the angel of death came as a plague upon Egypt due to Pharaoh’s refusal to let God’s people go, all the Egyptians had their firstborn son taken away from them, but there was only peace and safety in the houses of the Israelites.
“He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And there was none feeble among His tribes.”
— Psalm 105:37 NKJV
“none feeble” — After the Israelites partook of the roasted lamb (which represents Jesus’ broken body), there were none who were sick or weak, but all came out of Egypt healthy and strong. The children of Israel also left Egypt with spoils of silver and gold, which speak of abundant provision!
If the Passover lamb, a shadow of the Lord’s sacrifice, can do that for the Israelites (protecting and giving them health), how much more the substance—the holy Communion—can do for us today!
Every time you partake of the Communion, see Jesus, your heavenly Melchizedek, bringing the bread and the wine to you. That is how partaking of the Communion won't become a ritual. It’s not about you bringing the elements, but the Lord bringing them to you and meeting you at your point of need. It becomes a time of communion, a time of fellowship, love, and receiving directly what you need from Him.
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”
— 1 Corinthians 11:26 NKJV
“till He comes” — The Lord invites us to partake of the Communion often till He comes for us one day. And we believe the rapture is soon-coming.
After bringing the bread and the wine to Abraham, Melchizedek blessed Abraham:
“And he blessed him and said:
‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’
And he gave him a tithe (‘maaser’) of all.”
— Genesis 14:19–20 NKJV
“Blessed be Abram” — Melchizedek’s first words were to bless Abraham after rejuvenating him with the bread and wine. The Melchizedek priesthood is always full of blessings.
“God Most High” — In Hebrew, “God Most High” is the name “El Elyon.” This is the first time “El Elyon” is mentioned in the Bible.
“Possessor of heaven and earth” — Our God is the Possessor of both heaven and earth.
“blessed be God Most High” — Melchizedek here is blessing both man and the Most High God.
There is no curse in the Melchizedek priesthood. Only blessings await us because Christ has redeemed us all from the curse of the law.
During the time of Abraham, the law was not yet given, so there was no law to tithe and there was no law to practice partaking the Communion back then.
Some people will say that we don’t need to tithe because we are not under the law. But tithing was introduced here before the law even came about.
“a tithe (‘maaser’) of all” — As the principle of the tithe was not given yet, there was no one “forcing” Abraham to give the tithe. Instead, Abraham must have been ministered to physically and spiritually and thereby received the revelation of the tithe. His tithe here was a spontaneous response to the grace of God. It was after a great victory that Abraham gave the tithe.
The word for “tithe” in Hebrew is the word “maaser.”
When you remove the first Hebrew letter “mem” (reading from right to left in Hebrew), the word shortens to become the Hebrew word “aser,” which means “rich, wealth.” When you look at the placement of the Hebrew word, “aser” in “maaser,” you can see that the “rich” is in the “tithe.”
When Abraham defeated the four kings and brought back the goods, his nephew Lot and his people, the king of Sodom came to meet Abraham:
“Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich (‘aser’) —’”
— Genesis 14:21–23 NKJV
“Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself” — The king of Sodom depicted here is a picture of the devil who is always after souls.
“lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich (‘aser’)” — The word “rich” here is the Hebrew word “aser.” When Abraham told the king of Sodom that he wanted none of his goods, it was because he knew that he was going to be rich because of the tithe, and he wanted God to get all the glory for it when it happened.
Pastor Prince makes it clear that we don’t tithe to be rich. Rather, when we tithe, we are demonstrating our belief that Jesus is great in our lives and we are looking to Him as the source of our provision.
Paul wrote to the Hebrews about the Lord’s greatness:
“Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils.”
— Hebrews 7:4 NKJV
“Abraham” — In Jewish culture, people esteem Abraham with the utmost respect. So when Paul was talking to them in the book of Hebrews, he pointed out how even Abraham—the respected and great man that he was—still tithed to Melchizedek. This indicates that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.
Who you tithe to demonstrates who is great in your life and who the source of all your blessings is. While we don’t tithe to become rich, it is also a lie to say that you won’t become rich when you tithe. We can see from the Hebrew word “aser” (rich) in “maaser” (tithe), and from what Abraham said to the king of Sodom, that the “rich is in the tithe.”
Paul wrote this to the Hebrews before the temple was burnt down by the Romans, while temple sacrifices were still ongoing:
“Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives (present passive participle) them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
— Hebrews 7:8–10 NKJV
“mortal men receive tithes” — The “mortal men” here were the Levites, who were receiving tithes from the people who came to offer temple sacrifices.
“receives (present passive participle)” — The word “receives” is in the present passive participle, which means that there (in heaven) Jesus is still receiving our tithes.
“he lives” — When you tithe, there’ll be evidence in your life that Jesus is alive in your life.
Take a look at the story of Joseph in the Bible. Joseph’s life in the Old Testament is one of the clearest depictions of Jesus’ life.
Backstory: This was during the time when Joseph had taken on his position of authority as the second-most important figure in Egypt after Pharaoh. When Joseph’s brothers first came to ask for food supplies during a famine, they did not realize they were talking to Joseph. It was only when they came back to Egypt for the second time that Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. Joseph also sent wagons of blessings back with them to bring to their father, Jacob, who thought Joseph was dead.
Similarities between Joseph and Jesus:
When Joseph’s brothers came home with the wagons of blessings, they told their father, Jacob, of the news that Joseph was still alive:
“And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”
— Genesis 45:26–28 KJV
“Jacob’s heart fainted” — When Jacob first heard the news, he didn’t believe his sons’ words that Joseph was alive. Likewise, sometimes when we share the gospel with our friends or family, they don’t believe our words.
“when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent” — Though Jacob was at first in disbelief at the news, when Jacob saw the wagons of blessings that Joseph had sent, he finally believed the news and declared that Joseph was alive. When people see the evidence of God’s blessings in your life, they will believe and declare that Jesus is alive.
“And Israel said” — The moment Jacob believed, his spirit revived, and his name changed from “Jacob” to “Israel.” The name “Israel” means “prince.” Once you believe in Jesus, you are a prince in the eyes of God.
Pastor Prince shares a quote on tithing from a famous American businessman:
“I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”
— John D. Rockefeller
Your future is bright when you learn to tithe even when you don’t have much yet.
“Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
— Hebrews 7:9–10 NKJV
This verse above is an analogy of the difference between grace and the law. Melchizedek represents grace and Levi represents the law. Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, which shows that grace is greater than the law.
“still in the loins of his father” — Levi came from the line of Abraham, who was his great-grandfather. When Abraham blessed the tithes and gave them to Melchizedek (the representation of Jesus), his future generations also gave the tithe with him and were all blessed. Levi came from the line of Abraham, so when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, Levi also was included in that tithe and received the generational blessing years later.
Pastor Prince points out that Orthodox Jews practice tithing as well. Today, we see how much the Jews have prospered and dominated in the areas of entertainment and medicine, winning more Nobel Peace Prizes and laureates than any other ethnicity group. Yet, they only make about 0.2% of the world’s population. Jewish people today are the beneficiaries of the generational blessings that have proceeded from the blessing of the tithes of their forefathers.
While many Jews may not be “religious” today, they understand the benefit of tithing, and they are in the tithe. When you tithe, you are blessing your future generations!
There is something about the Lord’s Supper and tithing that has got to do with the Melchizedek priesthood. Today, we have something the world doesn't have. We don’t have to be conformed to the world for we have the means of health and provision through Jesus.
When it comes to health: While it is wise to eat well and exercise regularly, we shouldn’t place all our trust in creation (e.g. organic foods), for creation has fallen. Instead, put your trust in redemption. Creation fell and the curse came into the world because Adam sinned by eating the fruit. In the same way, we can eat our way out of our problems by partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
When you choose to tithe, you are also proclaiming the Lord’s goodness.
Pastor Prince closes the service by emphasizing the importance of observing the Lord’s Supper and the tithe, for the Lord’s Supper proclaims the Lord’s death, and the tithe proclaims that the Lord is alive in us and in our lives today!
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2020
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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