The Priesthood of Melchizedek
Christ’s Priesthood: How Jesus Became High Priest
What is a priest? Who has the right to be called a priest?
Based on the Old Testament, a priest is an intercessor between man and God. Due to God’s holiness, man cannot approach Him in any way, which is why chosen people are ordained as a way of cleansing to be able to approach God in behalf of all mankind.
An order of priesthood can be found in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament, during the time of Moses. When God established His covenant in Mount Sinai, He chose a certain family to act as priests. This family is the tribe of Aaron, the Levis. In accordance to the Mosaic Law, a Jewish priest must be from the tribe of Levi. However, there are certain instances that this may not be so.
Priesthood of Melchizedek
Melchizedek was the Canaanite king of Salem. Interestingly, the word Melchizedek means “My king is righteousness,” while Salem means “peace.” The name Melchizedek first appeared in the book of Genesis when Abraham defeated the kings. In their encounter, Melchizedek blessed Abraham (the great patriarch of the Jews) in the name of God most high. This encounter is written in Genesis 14:18–20:
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The reference of the king of Salem as a priest of God most high affirms his priesthood even though this encounter happened long before the establishment of the Mosaic Law. Melchizedek’s reference to God as “God most high” is similar to how Abraham addresses the Lord. Also, he brought bread and wine, which are constant components of a covenant meal. Melchizedek appears again in the Bible in Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent: ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” This passage confirms that Melchizedek is both a king and a priest in the name of the Almighty God.
Jesus as High Priest
A priest is the go-between of God and man. In relation to that, Jesus was brought to the world and lived together with the people to fulfill God’s desire to dwell among His people. Though born and raised in the world, Jesus is no ordinary human being for He is the son of God. This reasoning alone justifies His title as high priest in accordance to the Order of Melchizedek. The proclamation of Jesus being High Priest is stated in Hebrews 7:17–22:
For it is declared:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
The Mosaic Law on priesthood clearly states that all Jewish priests must come from the tribe of Levi; however, Melchizedek and Jesus Christ are two figures in the Holy Bible who are immune from this law. Melchizedek became a priest of God most high since “Levi was still in the body of his ancestor” (Heb. 7:10). Jesus, on the other hand, was proclaimed high priest for He is the Word who dwelt among His people.
Do you want to learn more about the Order of Melchizedek and Jesus Christ? Read all about them and more in The Heavenly Worship Room.
Ligonier Ministries. “The Priest From the Order of Melchizedek.” Devotionals. Accessed on October 17, 2018. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/priest-order-melchizedek/.
Finley, Gavin. “The Order of Melchizedek.” Endtimepilgrim.org. Accessed on October 17, 2018. http://endtimepilgrim.org/melchizedek.htm.