Melchizedek, King Of Salem, Priest Of The Most High God
As Abraham returned from the rescue of his nephew, Lot, he was met by a king named Melchizedek. Melchizedek was not an ordinary king as Genesis 14:18 tells us: He was the priest of God Most High. Very little is known about Melchizedek and yet his place in the scheme of mans redemption is set in motion by this encounter with Abraham. Melchizedek confirms upon Abram his blessing for the actions taken to rescue the people captured in the war. Abram gave the king a tithe of all that he had, honoring Melchizedek with his own blessing.
We hear nothing more about Melchizedek until the writing of Psalm 110. In one of many messianic psalms, David ascribes the priesthood of the Messiah to that of Melchizedek. You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (V4) The rule of the Messiah would be that of a king (vv1-3) and a priest (v4). Jesus confirms this prophecy about himself in Matthew 22:41-45 (found also in Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44). The apostle Paul alludes to this passage in 1 Corinthians 15:25 and the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 110 in the exaltation of the Son above the angels in Hebrews 1 (esp. verse 13). The conclusion would be that the Messiah would be of the character of Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High.
The Hebrew writer declares that Jesus had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17) The writer develops this theme throughout the Hebrew letter to show that Christ is both king and priest. The seventh chapter of Hebrews outlines the use of Melchizedek to show Christ as the King of Righteousness and the need for a new High Priest.
Melchizedek had no father or mother as far as genealogy was concerned. Nothing is known of him from the Old Testament save the two references already listed. The Hebrew writer uses this to show the similitude of Christ who has no beginning and no end and compares the priesthood of Melchizedek with the priesthood of Aaron. Melchizedek was considered by Abram as being great and yet Melchizedek is not from the lineage of Levi nor was Levi from the lineage of Melchizedek. The conclusion drawn is that if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11)
The priesthood has been changed because the law of Moses has been done away with. The priesthood was changed under Christ. Jesus Christ is now the High Priest even though He did not come from the lineage of Levi. (Hebrews 7:12-16) Christ continues forever and has an unchangeable priesthood. Because of this new priesthood, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since Christ ever lives to make intercession for us. (7:24,25) Being a priest after the order of Melchizedek gives the Christian the assurance of eternal hope. We then can have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and out bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
By Kent E. Heaton Sr.
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