Summary: This sermon compares the priesthood of Jesus to the Levitical Priesthood. It emphasizes the importance of faith and obedience.
Melchizadek King of Salem is identified as both a priest and a king. Under the Mosiac Law; a priest could not be a king. But this was before 445 years before the law was given. Abram just returned from defeating five kings of Canaan. The first time Melchizadek appears is found in Genesis 14:18-20.
Why would Abram give a tithe 445 years before the law was given? As we try to examine this question today; let us consider the two different priesthoods.
It is interesting to note that the mother and father of Melchizadek is never mentioned. His death is never mentioned either. In Genesis 14:18-20 Melchizadek is a type of Christ in many ways. First when he comes out to meet Abraham he brings with him bread and wine as in Luke 22:15-20. He has no beginning or ending as in Revelation 1:18. As we already mentioned his mother and father is never named.
When Abraham acknowledges Melchizadek, he gives to him a tenth of all of his best possessions unto this priest of God. Much of this came from the spoils he took when he defeated the five kings of the region of Canaan.
This account in Genesis is also repeated in Hebrews 7. In Hebrews 7:9 the author of Hebrews compares the two different type of priesthood. The Levitical priesthood and that of the order of Melchizadek priesthood is compared to one another.
The first comparison that is made is that the Levitical priesthood committed sin, as we all do. Aaron the first priest anointed by Samuel fashioned a golden calf when Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phineas had no regard for the Lord. The Lord God struck them down when they offered strange fire unto the Lord.
There was a provision made for the children of illegitimate children of priests. These are children born without being made. This would be under the laws of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Verse 12 is very important because there could be no change in the priesthood without a change in the law. No one could change the law except Jesus Christ.
Christ came in the likeness of Melchizadek. The earthly parents of Jesus are recorded. Mary and Joseph as we all know; were the parents of Jesus. But in Revelation 1:18 it is recorded that Jesus has no beginning or ending.
The Levitical priesthood could not make anything perfect because the Levitical priesthood were made up of imperfect priests.
However, according to the order of Melchizadek through Jesus Christ; this order brought forth a perfect priest. While Christ was alive here on earth, the law could not be changed. It would not be changed until Christ died on the cross and arose from the grave. The New Testament could not be in place until the prophecies concerning the death, burial and resurrection were fulfilled.
The law in itself could not make anyone perfect, all it did was show to the world that they needed a savior. Through the order of the Melchizadek priesthood Christ would become a perfect priest forever.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says we are a new creation created for good works. When a person becomes a child of God, through adoption; they are no longer the same. The former things have passed away.
When Abram became a father of many nations, God changed his name to Abraham. When we become children of God, are names are changed from sinner to saints. But it is proper to say we too are sinners but we have been saved by grace. Saints will not be perfected until Christ returns.
Christ then would make all other sacrifices obsolete. Christ is continually doing the work of a high priest because he is constantly making intercession for us. Christ is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He is higher than any other person in heaven or on earth.
When the Levitical priests offered sacrifices unto God, they also had to give the sacrifices on their own behalf as well as the whole assembly of Israel. But when Christ came there was no need for him to offer sacrifices for Himself, for He was without sin. There was only one who could do this for all mankind and that was Jesus Christ.
In Tennessee this month a family wanted to name their son Messiah. A Tennessee Judge would not allow it because he said there was only one who earned the name Messiah, and that was Jesus Christ. He ruled that the parents would need to change the name from Messiah to Martin. The parents appealed the decision of the Judge.
You and I have been made whole again through Christ by the order of Melchizadek. But in order for our name to be changed from sinner to saint, we need to accept the provision of God for sin which is His only begotten Son of God.