In Hebrews, the writer tells us that Jesus is a High Priest FOREVER according to the order of Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek?
Hebrews 7:17 For it is attested of Him, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
In ancient Israel, the people believed that the continuing worship in the Temple ensured God’s presence and God’s blessing of the land with protection from enemies and good conditions for farming. It was the priests’ duty to carry out the temple (or tabernacle) service correctly to maintain this abundance and security. To achieve this purpose, priests had to fulfill strict purity regulations; otherwise, their worship might not “count” and the divine blessings might not come. Priests were very highly regarded in ancient Israel. The High Priest was regarded as an intermediary between God and man.
How did one become a priest in ancient Israel? In the Old Testament (Torah), only the LEVITES were permitted to be priests of the Lord. The Levites were one of the 12 Tribes of Israel. The Patriarch Abraham had a son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God. Jacob (Israel) had 12 sons. These 12 sons fathered many sons and daughters and their families and descendants became known as the 12 Tribes of Israel. Jacob named his 3rd son Levi, whose descendants were known as the Levites. During the time of Moses, God determined that the Levites were to be His Priests, ministering to the Lord in the Tabernacle. Some believe that the Levites were chosen by God to be His priests because they were not involved in the sin with the golden calf (Exodus 32); however, there is some evidence that the Levites were already operating as priests prior to the time of the Exodus. Moses’ brother Aaron, a Levite, was Israel’s first high priest.
Numbers 3:5: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 7 They shall perform the duties for him and for the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 They shall also keep all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, along with the duties of the sons of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 You shall thus give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the sons of Israel. 10 So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons (Levites) that they may keep their priesthood, but the layman who comes near shall be put to death.”
In the days of Jesus, a wealthy class of people known as the Sadducees comprised most of the priesthood; particularly that which had to do with Temple worship. The Sadducees CLAIMED to be descendants of Tzadok (Zadok). Zadok (means Righteous in Hebrew), was a priest who descended from Eleazar (Levite) the son of Aaron (Moses’ brother). Eliazar is known for aiding King David during the revolt of his son Absalom, and was consequently instrumental in bringing King Solomon to the throne. After the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and the Babylonian exile, the Sadducees “re-established” themselves as a ruling power during the 2nd Temple era by claiming that they were descendants of Zadok. The Sadducees were very friendly with the Roman Occupiers of Judea, who helped them maintain and solidify their wealth and power. The chief priests Caiaphas and Annas (Sadducees) plotted to have Jesus killed. Jesus recognized that the ruling elite were a “brood of vipers”.
By the time of Jesus, the Levitical priesthood had become extremely corrupted. Instead of working as an intermediary between God and man, they were plotting murder against the son of God so that their power could be maintained. What is the phrase..”Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Matthew 21: 33: Listen to another parable. There was a landowner (God) who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers (Priests) and went on a journey. 34 When the harvest time (harvest of souls) approached, he sent his slaves (God’s prophets/people) to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 35 The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. 37 But afterward he sent his son (Jesus) to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son (Jesus).’ 38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?”
The new Testament tells us that the Levitical Priesthood was never meant to be permanent.
Hebrews 7:11: Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron (Levite)?
The DEATH and RESURRECTION of the CHRIST rendered the LAW OBSOLETE…along with the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD, as evidenced through the tearing of the VEIL in the TEMPLE at the time of Jesus’ Crucifixion. The veil that separated God from man was rent (violently torn) in half from top to bottom. Jesus entered into the TRUE and HEAVENLY TABERNACLE and now serves as the Believers’ PERMANENT HIGH PRIEST FOREVER according to the HIGHER order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:20: where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Jesus was not a Levite and is not a priest according to the Levitical Priesthood. Jesus is High Priest FOREVER according to the HIGHER ORDER of Melchizedek. But who is Melchizedek? Hebrews 7 gives gives us a clue..
Hebrews 7: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness (Melchi..zadok).., and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. (Salem means peace (shalom). 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
Let’s unpack Hebrews 7 a little. Melchizedek is a mysterious figure who was present in the Old Testament at the time of Abraham, the “Father” of Judaism. Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness”, and hearkens back to Zadok, the priestly line. As we stated above, the Hebrew word Salem, also known as “Shalom”, means peace. Way back in Genesis 14 (see below), we see that Abraham gave Melchizedek a TITHE (10 percent of earnings), indicating that Melchizedek was more than just a man.
Genesis 14: 18: And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
He (Abraham) gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.
Abraham gave a tithe of all the spoil he had acquired from the opposing armies to Melchizedek, and Melchizedek BLESSED Abraham. Hebrews 7 links the tithe that Abraham VOLUNTARILY gave to Melchizedek to the Tithe that the Israelites were REQUIRED to give the Levitical priests in the Law. However, the “Father” of the Levitical priests (Abraham) TITHED to Melchizedek indicating that the PRIESTHOOD of Melchizedek is of a HIGHER ORDER then the Levitical priesthood. Melchizedek then BLESSED Abraham, and as Hebrews 7 states, “the lesser is blessed by the greater”, indicating that the Levitical priesthood that arose from Abraham’s physical seed is LESSER than the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Hebrews 7:6: But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8 In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. 9 And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Hebrews 7:14: For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4...written in the OLD TESTAMENT)
Hebrews 7 also tells us that this MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK has no lineage. He has no parents, no beginning, and no end, and therefore remains a priest perpetually.
Hebrews 7: 3 : WITHOUT FATHER, WITHOUT MOTHER, WITHOUT GENEALOGY, HAVING NEITHER BEGINNING OF DAYS NOR END OF LIFE, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
Melchizedek is a very mysterious character, a High Priest to whom Abraham tithes and from whom Abraham is blessed. He has no lineage, no parents, no beginning and no end. Jesus is said to be our High Priest FOREVER (PERPETUALLY) after the Order of Melchizedek. Who is Melchizedek? Although not specifically stated, the writer of Hebrews makes it pretty clear that even in the days of the Apostles Melchizedek was thought to be what is known as a Theophany, or a visible manifestation of Jesus Christ BEFORE Jesus was born of a virgin (PRE-INCARNATE).
John 8:56: Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Jesus is our High Priest forever, making intercession for us each day in the Heavenly Tabernacle. I am very thankful that Jesus is PRAYING for us and making INTERCESSION for us each and every day! Hallelujah!
Let us REJOICE!
Hebrews 9: 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;