This is a strange concept to most of us, but it is a very fundamental teaching of the Bible and has a huge impact on how we live as Christians.
If we read through Hebrews 7 there is something very interesting there about Abraham, Levi and Melchizedek.
Abraham was .... well, Abraham... you know who he was already right.
He was the chosen one of God. God chose him and his descendants to be his people. Pretty incredible. Abraham was a very key figure in our history, and a man of amazing faith.
Abraham had a son Isaac, Isaac had a son Jacob (whom God renamed Israel). Jacob was another chosen man, another patriarch of the Jews. They all trace their ancestry back through him. One of his sons was called Levi.
After Moses talked with God on the mountain (around the time when he was given the ten commandments) he appointed Levi’s descendants (the tribe of Levi) to be the priests in the tent which they were to build for God to live with his people.
The tribe of Levi and ONLY the tribe of Levi were to be the priests. And because this would be their full time occupation the rest of the tribes (11 of them) had to give 10% of everything to the Levites to provide for their needs.
Melchizedek was also a priest of God.
Abraham met Melchizedek about 650 years before Moses came down from the mountain and appointed the Levites. Obviously there was a different system before that. In fact Hebrews 7 implies that God himself appointed Melchizedek to be a priest.
In Genesis 14 we read the back story of the time that Abraham met Melchizedek. (probably not the only time, but the one recorded in the Bible).
The cities near where Abraham was living (Sodom and Gomorrah) were attacked and plundered. The attackers also captured Abraham’s nephew Lot. (big mistake - Abraham is God’s chosen...) So Abraham heads off to rescue his nephew and in the process recovers all the “loot” which was stolen from the two cities.
On the way back home he meets Melchizedek and as a thank you to God for giving him victory he gives Melchizedek (the priest of God) 10% of all the loot he has recovered.
Now, back to Hebrews 7.
Where was Levi when Abraham gave Melchizedek the 10%?
Well, Levi was one of Abraham’s great grandchildren.... he wasn’t even born yet!
But Hebrews 7 says that he was “in Abraham”... specifically “in the loins of Abraham”.
Now we might think that is just figurative. But the Bible says its way more than that.
Levi was LITERALLY in the loins of Abraham when he gave the 10% to Melchizedek.
(btw... this would only be true if this event happened before Isaac was born... which it did).
And so from God’s point of view. Levi also gave Melchizedek 10%.
This is huge. HUGE. Massive.
From God’s point of view we are credited (or debited) with our ancestors’ behavior up until the time we (or our “branch”) was born.
Where were you when Abraham met Melchizedek?
Well, that depends if you’re a Jew... probably not in Abraham. But maybe you were.
Where were you when Adam sinned? For sure you were in Adam.
uh oh... This works both ways. Not just the good stuff. We were in Adam. From God’s point of view we ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.
Our sin problem is bigger than we thought.
Not just Adam’s sin, we have also “inherited” our father’s sin... our grandfather’s... great grandfathers... all the way back to Adam.
But now here is something even more amazing.
Where were you when Jesus was on the cross?
Well he didn’t have any natural children... so you weren’t “in his loins”...
But if you read through Romans 6 you will see that you have been baptised into the christ. God sees us as having been in Jesus when he was on the cross. We (Christians) were IN Jesus when he was on the cross. So when he died 2000 years ago... so did we.
You died 2000 years before you were born!
(And by the way, you were resurrected IN him too. Already.
You can’t “lose” it because it already happened 2000 years ago.)
This teaching is a bit hard to understand. But ask God to show you.
This is how God is able to declare you righteous. Because you died already. You paid the price already. When you were in Jesus on the cross. You ARE righteous.
And this is why Paul says you should consider yourself dead to sin, but alive to God.
You died to sin, 2000 years ago. It has no power over you now.
You died 2000 years before you were born.
Live like a dead man.
Dead to sin but alive to God.