Summary: Jesus Christ is our great High Priest and our everlasting King. His ministry as Priest/King is prefigured in a mysterious character in the Old Testament by the name of Melchizedek.
JESUS: OUR PRIEST/KING
Jesus Christ is our great High Priest and our everlasting King. His ministry as Priest/King is prefigured in a mysterious character in the Old Testament by the name of Melchizedek. This man briefly appeared to Abraham in Genesis 14:17-20. Let’s read his story.
And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And iblessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he jgave him 6a tithe of all.”
Historically, this is all that we know about this man, Melchizedek. The only other mention in the Old Testament is found in Psalm 110:4. This verse is the text used several times in the New Testament book of Hebrews. This Psalm is one of the Royal or Messianic Psalms. It reads: “The LORD has sworn And will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Remember, the author of Hebrews was writing to Jewish believers to encourage them to go on with Jesus and not go back to the Old Testament legal system. In this section he is revealing the superiority of Jesus as our great high priest over the Levitical priesthood. He does that by presenting his argument to establish the superior priesthood of Jesus Christ in verses 1-3. Then in verses 4-10 he proves his argument.
I. THE PRESENTATION OF HIS ARGUMENT (7:1-3)
Remember, this is not about Melchizedek, but about Jesus. Jesus, our great high priest could not serve as a priest after the order of Levi, because he was of the tribe of Judah. Melchizedek was a priest of a different order long before the Old Testament Law was given. Melchizedek is a “type” of Jesus Christ. He prefigures the priestly ministry of Jesus. So as we examine this man Melchizedek, don’t fail to see Jesus in Him. Let’s examine his identity and his greatness.
Melchizedek is both a priest and a king. Jesus also was a priest and a king. None of the levitical priests could serve as a king under the Law. Nor could a king usurp the role of a priest. King Saul did and lost his kingdom. King Uzziah did and developed leprosy. While the priest influenced the king and the king the priests, their roles were different. First, we note that Melchizedek was a:
A. PRIEST: Melchizedek was priest of God Most High (El Elyon). The role of the priest is to represent man to God and God to man. Melchizedek was the first priest to be mentioned in the Bible. This of course was long before the giving of the Law and the Levitical priesthood.
In the New Testament, Jesus is now the one mediator between God and man. He is our perfect high priest. Next we notice that Melchizedek was a:
B. KING: The name “Melchizedek” means “king of righteousness.”
Jesus is our righteousness. Jeremiah the prophet wrote: “Behold, ethe days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Melchizedek was also the king of Salem. This may be a reference to Jerusalem. But the meaning of the term “king of Salem” is “king of peace.”
Jesus of course is our peace. He paid the price of peace. He gives us peace. There can be no real peace apart from Christ. Isaiah called Jesus, “Prince of Peace.”
Just as Melchizedek was both a priest and a king, so Jesus his become our great High Priest and our eternal king. Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah would be both a priest and a king.
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall Branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
This prophesy of Zechariah (6:12-13) was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Next we note that Melchizedek was a Priest/King of an:
C. ETERNAL ORDER: (7:3) It is interesting, that though Melchizedek was both a priest and a king, we have no record of his linage. He was: “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.”