Melchizedek: Divine Priest of Abraham
by | Posted March 2nd at 6:53pm
So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:5-6)
The Mysterious Melchizedek (Gen 14:17-24) Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6-10; 6:20–7:28 Melchizedek is a mysterious biblical personality whose name means “king of righteousness.” He was a Canaanite priest and king; there is no record of his family or of the beginning or end of his life. Abraham met Melchizedek after defeating four Mesopotamian kings. The Mesopotamians had raided Sodom and Gomorrah and captured Abraham’s nephew Lot (Gen 14:1-16).
When Abraham returned from battle, Melchizedek, king of Salem (=Jerusalem; see Ps 76:2), was with the grateful kings of the Dead Sea confederacy. When Melchizedek gave Abraham bread, wine, and his blessing, he was acting as “a priest of God Most High” (Gen 14:18), the true God who created heaven and earth (see Ps 7:17; 47:2; 57:2; 78:56).
Melchizedek correctly understood that Abraham worshipped the true God (Gen 14:22), and he praised God for giving victory to Abraham. Abraham received Melchizedek’s gifts and gave him his tithe, thus recognizing Melchizedek’s higher spiritual rank as a patriarchal priest (see Heb 7:4-7).
Abraham is an important figure in the old testament because he was chosen by God, to be the father of the Hebrew race, a chosen peculiar people set apart to eventually bring redemption to mankind (Galatians 3:28, John 4:22). He was a man that was physically visited by God manifesting as men. (Genesis 18:1)
A Divine order of Priesthood Melchizedek is an unusual figure in Genesis — an old testament book which gives genealogies for its other characters. Yet Melchizedek appears without any such record. He shows up as a priest and then quickly disappears. Much later in Israel’s history, King David — who also had prophetic insights — was perhaps reflecting on this when he said that the Messiah is “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4; cp. Heb 7:15-25).
The New Covenant Connection The book of Hebrews explains this statement, saying that Melchizedek is remembered as “resembling the Son of God” (Heb 7:3), but was not himself the Son of God. His priesthood lasts forever as an archetype that prefigures the Messiah’s priesthood. Like Melchizedek (but unlike the kings of Israel), Jesus is a king who also fulfils priestly functions, which began when he ascended into the presence of the Father. This was testified by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost 50 days after his Ascension to heaven. Melchizedek, a royal priest, was superior to Levi, the ancestor of Israel’s priests. In the same way, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, is a better priest than the descendants of Aaron.
Your Assurance of Salvation Jesus provides permanent atonement for sins and direct access to his Father through his name (Heb 7:24-28). He guides his people by the Spirit rather than by law (Heb 8:7-13) and lives forever as priest and king for those who love him, spiritually listen to him, trust in him, and obey his Word bearing the fruits of a Spirit-led life.
Theological Article: Christ: High Priest of a New Covenant
Article posted by Glen R. Jackman, founder of GraceProclaimed.org
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