The Melchizedekan Priesthood

“…where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ 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” (Hebrews 6:20-7:3).

Through the centuries, a study of Hebrews 7:1-3 has resulted in some pretty crazy conclusions about Melchizedek. A major reason for this is the frequent failure to recognize that these verses are an explanation of how Melchizedek’s priesthood foreshadowed Jesus’ priesthood.

Note the similarities between these two men separated by two millennia of history:

  • Both are kings. Melchizedek was the king of Salem; Jesus is the Christ (Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:41-45), the King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15).

  • Both are priests of God. Melchizedek is described as “priest of the Most High God”; a significant reason for Jesus’ incarnation was so He could be perfectly qualified to be our High Priest (Hebrews 2:14-17).

  • Both are righteous. “Melchizedek” means “king of righteousness”; because He is sinless (1 Peter 2:22), Jesus is righteous (1 John 2:2).

  • Both are priests because of their character, not their genealogy. Unlike the Levitical priest whose appointment were entirely dependent upon their ancestry, the Most High God made Melchizedek and Christ His priests because of their righteous character.

  • Both are king-priests forever (Hebrews 6:20)/continually (Hebrews 7:3). In the only record which Scripture gives of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20), nothing is said of his death. This is not meant to imply that he did not die—he had a father, a mother, a birthday, and a death day. As he appears in Scripture, there is no record of the beginning or ending of his priesthood. Because of this, Melchizedek foreshadowed the continuous High Priesthood of Christ. On the day Jesus began reigning as King of kings, He began His work as High Priest. His kingship-high priesthood continues to this very day (without any lapse) and will continue until His work as High Priest concludes when He delivers up the kingdom to God (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Just as the king-priest Melchizedek had no predecessor or successor, neither does Jesus. He ever lives to make intercession for you.

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Author: jchowning

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