Summary: Part 2 of a study on the priesthood. Adapted from a study by Dr. Perry Stone
This morning we are going to continue our study entitled The Code of the Priest. This series is designed to strengthen your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and how He interacts with His children. Two weeks ago we laid the groundwork for this study by looking at the fact that the Bible tells us that there was more than one priesthood.
Many Christians are familiar with the Levitical priesthood or the priesthood of Aaron, which God introduced to Israel during their trek through the wilderness. The purpose of the priesthood was to have a person or persons to act as go-betweens or intercessors between a Holy God and a sinful people. But we learned that this priesthood was never intended to be permanent. It was temporary because it was an imperfect priesthood based on the law that could not save anyone. From the beginning, God intended for there to be a better, perfect, and permanent priesthood, and He gave us a glimpse of this priesthood way back in the 14th book of Genesis when He introduced the great patriarch Abraham to a mysterious figure named Melchizedek, the King of Salem and a priest of the most high God.
I told you last time how I personally believe Melchizedek was Jesus Christ, and we looked at his name and where he reigned and the fact that he gave Abraham communion and a blessing and received tithes from him. We also read in the book of Hebrews about the fact that Melchizedek was said to have had no father or mother or ancestors of any sort. He basically sprang from nothing and then did not die. So when God introduced a perfect, permanent priesthood we saw that it was named after this mysterious figure Melchizedek.
We also discussed why it was necessary for the priesthood to be changed from the Aaronic priesthood to the Melchizedek priesthood. The corruption and the interference of the Roman government had reached an all time high about the time of Jesus’ birth, and this is where God stepped in and said enough is enough. The priests were offering polluted bread at God’s table. They were offering lame and sick animals for sacrifice. They were complaining about how wearisome serving the Lord had become, and Rome was interfering by placing their own men in the priesthood instead of allowing the continuation of the priesthood to be passed from father to son.
So God said, “I’ve had enough. The old priesthood is useless and corrupted beyond all intentions. Now is the time to introduce the new covenant, the new priesthood, and perfect salvation to my people.” And He began the Melchizedek priesthood by sending to earth the only person able to become a priest after the order of Melchizedek – His Son.
So, we know why the transfer of the priesthood had to take place and we know to whom the priesthood would be transferred – Jesus Christ. Today we are going to see when, where and who else was involved in this transference and why.
Now, keep in mind, if God wanted to create a new order of priesthood, and He wanted His Son to fill the office of priest He could have just done so. He could have just said, “I’m done with the old priesthood,” and immediately cut them off, put His Son as head of the new priesthood and gone from there. But if you’ve done much studying of God’s Word you’ll realize that even though He can, and indeed has every right to, God doesn’t usually work that way.
I’ve found that God often seems to work within the parameters of His children’s understanding. Now, I’m not saying that we always understand the way God works – if we did, we’d understand God, and no one completely understands God. Isaiah reminds us of this fact when he wrote in 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” But what I am saying is that when God is doing something different than He has before, (like changing the priesthood) He often does so in a way that we can understand IF we truly take the time to look.
And that is just what He did with the transfer of the priesthood from the order of Aaron to the order of Melchizedek. He didn’t just one day remove the priesthood from Aaron’s descendants and place it upon Jesus. He transferred it in a way that man, especially the Jews, would understand if they took the time to see what He was doing.
As we mentioned two weeks ago, the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood was passed from father to son through the generations. In Numbers 4:2-3 we see that to be a priest a man must be at least 30 years old and belong to the tribe of Levi. “…of the Levites by their clans and families.  Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting.” (NIV)