Text: Hebrews 7:1-28, Genesis 14:17-20, Psalm 110:4
“… but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him…”
– Hebrews 7:24-25
Remember Melchizedek? Not Methuselah… Melchizedek. It rhymes with “mock turtleneck.”
He is a fascinating figure who combines prophet, priest, and king all in one. There are lots of awesome theories about him, like that he is actually Shem, the oldest son of Noah, and when he appears to Abraham he is the last man alive who saw the world before the flood.
That’s a rabbit trail I could follow for days. Consider what it would be like to be 900 years old, and to be the only one left who knew the antediluvian world (that means the world before the flood). He would make my 87-year-old grandpa look like a young whippersnapper.
But that’s not why Melchizedek is mentioned in this passage. Another awesome theory is that Melchizedek is actually a “theophany” — God appearing in visible, tangible form. This happens at other times in the Bible: God walked with Adam in the garden of Eden, God was possibly one of the three “angels” who visited Abraham in Genesis 18, and Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32. God spoke to Moses face to face on Sinai (Numbers 12).
Melchizedek could also be a foreshadowing of Christ, who really is our prophet, priest, and king.
The Hebrews were accustomed to the priesthood of Aaron, which was based on genealogy. If your father was in the priest business, so were you. But Abraham, the forefather of Levi and Aaron, and therefore the father of all the priests, offers tithes to our guy Melchizedek. Symbolically, this means that Melchizedek’s priesthood is greater than Aaron’s. (Sidenote: now that I’m 250 words in, I’ve finally learned how to spell “Melchizedek.”)
Melchizedek’s priesthood is NOT based on genealogy, but appointment. His father could be in the shipbuilding business for all we know, but Melchizedek is a priest.
In the same way, Jesus is our high priest not because of of his genealogy (and the Hebrews LOVED to trace their genealogies!), but He is our high priest because of who He is.
It was time for the Hebrews to let go of their attachment to the old priestly succession system. There are big challenges when leadership is automatically handed to someone just because of their birth and not their merit. (Remember Aaron’s sons and the “strange fire” in Leviticus 10? Those boys would have been safer tending sheep than wandering in and out of the Holy Place.)
Now we can look to a greater priest who will meet all our needs, forever. Christ is the perfect and everlasting priest. His priesthood draws us to God for our salvation.
“There can be no vacancy in this priesthood, no hour nor moment in which the people are without a priest to negotiate their spiritual concerns in heaven. This ever-living high priest is able to save completely all who come to God through him.” -Matthew Henry
No matter what you think of all the theories about M_____________ (now you spell it: Melchizedek), we no longer need man to intercede with the Father; we no longer need a human high priest.
Christ is forever our high priest. It’s just that simple. He is the ultimate prophet, priest, and king.
Run to Christ, your high priest and king who loves you!