In Genesis Chapter 14, as soon as Abram hears of the capture of his kinsman, Lot, by the king from the north, he takes quick action to rescue him. By strong strategy Abram and his men rout the whole army and rescue Lot and his goods and the people of his household, as well as the spoil and people of Salem. On their way back home they are met by the king of Sodom at the valley of Shaveh.
Verse 18. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God.
19. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Melchizedek, one of the most intriguing people in the Bible, appears suddenly at this point in the history of Abraham and as quickly disappears. He is not mentioned again until nearly 1,000 years later when David wrote Psalm 110 concerning the Messiah - verse 4 says "Thou art a Priest for ever,
After the order of Melchizedek."
Another 1,000 years passed and the One to Whom reference was made, appeared. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews mentions Melchizedek no less than 9 times. It is Christ's present role as our High Priest that the author of Hebrews wishes us to understand clearly.
Read Hebrews 4:12-13 witnessing to the power of the Word of God:
"12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."
Hebrews 4:14 - 5:10 introduces the subject of the High Priest.
"14 ¶ Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
"1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
2 who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4 And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5 ¶ So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.
6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
7 ¶ Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10 called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek."
Jesus abides within the Holy of Holies in Heaven exercising His priestly function, fulfilling ultimately and forever the mystic qualities of the priesthood of Melchizedek.
The writer of Hebrews shows the difference between the Priesthood of the Son and every other.
The Son's personality transcends all human measurements and limitations, One Who stands first for righteousness and so secures peace.
Hebrews 7:5-28 summarizes and details the Priesthood of Melchizedek and Christ.
"5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6 but he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.
10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchiz'edek met him.
11 ¶ If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15 ¶ And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest,
16 who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20 ¶ And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21 (for those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek:
22 by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23 ¶ And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26 ¶ For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27 who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore."
"19 ¶ Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 and having a high priest over the house of God;
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised;
24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
The inferiority of the Levitical priesthood is inferred from the fact that another was promised. If perfection was possible under the Mosaic economy or law, it must come through the Levitical priesthood, since it was the basis of the law. Sin, the obstacle between God and the people, was dealt with through the priesthood. If the law failed in effecting complete fellowship with God - it failed and must be abolished. To change the priesthood the entire legal system would also be set aside. It was a new priesthood not of the law prescribed order of Aaron that must abolish the law.
Jesus was high priest in virtue of the energy of indissoluble life which dwelt in Him, unlike the priests who died.
Hebrews 10:19-25. Summarizes Jesus' Ministry today, and our response (or responsibility).
Why we pray in the name of Jesus Christ - only through Him may we approach God as Heavenly Father. He continues to intercede - as we continue to sin and destroy fellowship - Jesus' sacrifice continues to forgive, wash away all sin and we continue to have fellowship with God through our High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 9:6c,7 - "and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Revelation 17:14b - "for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.