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Sermon No: 774-Hebrews 5-7 (Part 2) - The priesthood of Melchizedek



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SERMON TOPIC: Hebrews 5-7 (Part 2) - The priesthood of Melchizedek

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 27 November 2011

Topic Groups: HEBREWS, MELCHIZEDEK, BOOK STUDY

Sermon synopsis: Melchizedek is a type of Jesus in the following ways:
(1) Priesthood not based on ancestry
(2) Both were King-Priests
(3) Similar priestly elements
(4) Both were greater than Abraham
(5) Both were kings of righteousness
(6) Both were kings of peace
(7) Both had an eternal priesthood.
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Hebrews 5-7 Part 2:

Priesthood of Melchizedek

In Hebrews 1 we saw that Jesus is not just a prophet - but greater than the prophets.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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We then saw that Jesus, the Son of God, is not an angel - but greater than the angels.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 3 we saw that Jesus is greater than Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant (Testament).

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 4 we saw that Jesus is greater than Joshua, because through him we enter the true rest (from works).

JESUS GREATER THAN

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In Hebrews 5-7 we saw that Jesus is greater than Aaron, because he has a better priesthood.

JESUS GREATER THAN

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Jesus is greater than Aaron because:

He is sinless

He serves in a better tabernacle

He officiates for a better covenant

He offered a better sacrifice

His intercession is superior

He has a greater ministry

He has a better order of priesthood (the order of Melchizedek)

GREATER THAN AARON

We noted that the Aaronic priesthood and Old Covenant was flawed and couldn’t bring about our redemption:

Heb 7:11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come - one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? … 18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

BETTER PRIESTHOOD

Who was

Melchizedek?

Heb 7:1 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God most high. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

4 Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5 Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people - that is, their brothers - even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. 6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

7 And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. 8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Melchizedek is mentioned in three books of the Bible:

The first is the account in Genesis 14 about Abram rescuing his nephew Lot from Kedorlaomer where the victorious Abram is blessed by Melchizedek.

Next in David’s Messianic Psalm 110, God promises on oath that the Messiah (David’s Son) would have an eternal priesthood like Melchizedek.

Then the author of Hebrews writes extensively about the priesthood of Melchizedek in the passage (Hebrews 5, 6 & 7) we are studying, applying Psalm 110 to Jesus.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Psalm 110 is a Messianic psalm of David i.e. it speaks prophetically of the Messiah or future “son of David”:

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”… 4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

PSALM 110

Psalm 110 was quoted by Jesus applying it to the Messiah (i.e. himself):

Matt 20:41 Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

The first ‘LORD’ is Yahweh (i.e. the Father) and the second ‘Lord’ is Adonai (i.e. the Son). Jesus is testing the Pharisees to see if they could explain how the Christ (Messiah) could be both David’s son and David’s Lord.

PSALM 110

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter also applied this passage (Psalm 110) to Jesus as Lord and Christ (Messiah):

Acts 2:29 “… David … 30 … was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay… 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

PSALM 110

In Hebrews 1 and 10, Psalm 110 is again applied to Jesus:

Heb 1:13 To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” ?

Heb 10:13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool

But in chapters 5 to 7 the writer of Hebrews takes Psalm 110:4 and repeatedly applies it to Jesus, showing the superiority of his priesthood to the Aaronic priesthood:

Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

PSALM 110

The first mention of Melchizedek in the Bible is in the account of Abram rescuing Lot from Kedorlaomer.

Genesis 14:17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

These events are reiterated in Hebrews 7:1-3.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

So the Bible tells us the following about Melchizedek:

He was king of Salem (Gen 14:18).

He was priest of God Most High (Gen 14:18).

He brought out bread and wine to Abraham (Gen 14:18).

He blessed Abram after his victory against Kedorlaomer (Gen 14:19).

Abram tithed to him (Gen 14:20).

He was “without father or mother, without genealogy” (Heb 7:3).

He was “without beginning of days or end of life” (Heb 7:3) and has an eternal priesthood (Ps 110:4).

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Melchizedek is called “king of Salem”, with Salem traditionally taken to be the name for Jerusalem.

Ps 76:2 His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion.

Mount Zion was the area of Jerusalem in which David built his palace.

In his rendering of the account of Melchizedek, the first century Jewish historian Josephus says:

… Melchisedec, king of the city Salem, received him… however, they afterward called Salem Jerusalem. 1

1 Antiquities of the Jews - Book I Chapter 10 v 2

1) KING OF SALEM

A targum is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible written or compiled from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages (late first millennium).

The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel says this on Gen 14:18

And the righteous king… the king of Jerusalem, came out to meet Abram…

Targum Yerushalmi or Codex Neofiti I is an Aramaic version of the Pentateuch in the Vatican library. It says:

And Melchisedech, the king of Jerusalem… brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest ministering in the high priesthood before God Most High.

1) KING OF SALEM

The early church father Jerome states the Jewish tradition of his own day on the matter in “Hebrew Questions on Genesis” (completed between late 391 and early 393):

Next, by “king of Salem” is meant king of Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem.

The name ‘Melchizedek’ (Hebrew מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק) means “king of righteousness”.

Heb 7:2b First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”

1) KING OF SALEM

Not only was he a king – Melchizedek was also priest of “El Elyon” or “God Most High”. In this capacity he blessed Abraham after his victory against Kedorlaomer and his allies.

This also shows us that there were others besides Abraham who served the one true God in that era.

2) PRIEST OF EL ELYON

Melchizedek also brought out “bread and wine” to Abraham. This may have been merely an act of hospitality providing refreshment for Abraham. But the context seems to suggest that it might have been a priestly related ceremony linked to some form of covenant meal.

Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High…

3) BREAD & WINE

The author of Hebrews uses the blessing Melchizedek bestows on Abraham to demonstrate that he was greater than Abraham (the greater always blesses the lesser):

Heb 7:6 This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.

4) BLESSING

Abraham then gives Melchizedek a tithe (or tenth) of the plunder. By this Abraham shows that he recognizes Melchizedek as a priest of the one true God.

The author’s point though is that by receiving the tithe from Abraham, it demonstrates that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham and indirectly both Levi and Aaron. This reinforces his superior priesthood. (Heb 7:4-10)

5) TITHE

Since ancient times Jews, Christians and Gnostics have debated about the identity of this ancient priest-king of Genesis. Some of the views are that he was:

An angel, possibly Michael

A theophany (meaning “appearance of God”)

A pre-incarnate Jesus (or a “Christophany”)

Noah’s son, Shem

An earthly king descended from Ham

An earthly king descended from Shem

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Some believe that the Dead Sea scroll fragment of 11Q13 (or 11QMelch) identifies Melchizedek as the archangel Michael because he is shown to lead the angels in heaven in war against the angels of darkness. In Rev 12:7 we read:

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

But while angels do take human form in the Bible this is always a very brief event. Although not impossible, it’s highly unlikely that the archangel Michael would have foregone his heavenly duties to rule over an earthly city and act as high priest on earth.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Some believe Melchizedek was a theophany (meaning “appearance of God”) because he is said to be:

… without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life. (Heb 7:3).

Although this view is quite popular, we see that he was both priest and king of an earthly city (Heb 7:1). A theophany was a brief manifestation of God in human form. How likely is it that as a man, God would have ruled over an earthly city?

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

The Bible also implies that any theophany was in reality the Son (Jesus):

John 6:46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Others claim that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Jesus, also based on Heb 7:3 (i.e. without father, mother, genealogy, beginning of days or end of life.)

However the latter part of the verse indicates that a comparison is being made: “like the Son of God”. It makes no sense to compare someone to themselves.

Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like (Gk ‘aphomoioo’) the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

According to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon the participle ‘aphomoioo’ denotes a comparison (e.g., a ‘copy’ or ‘facsimile’). The term is irrelevant if the two people were the same in identity.

WAS HE JESUS?

The point is made again in verse 15. Jesus is a priest after the ‘likeness’ of Melchizedek. D.W. Burdick observes:

“The verb aphomoioo always assumes two distinct and separate identities, one of which is a copy of the other. Thus Melchizedek and the Son of God are represented as two separate persons, the first of which resembled the second” (“Melchizedek,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – Revised, G.W. Bromiley, Ed., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986, Vol. 3, p. 313). 1

WAS HE JESUS?

1 “Was Melchizedek the preincarnate Christ?” by Wayne Jackson "http:// www.christiancourier.com/ articles/ 356-was-melchizedek-the-preincarnate-christ">http:// www.christiancourier.com/ articles/ 356-was-melchizedek-the-preincarnate-christ

The author of Hebrews applies the passage in Psalm 110:4 to Jesus:

Heb 5:5-6 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him… “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Again “in the order of” implies similarity while still retaining uniqueness.

Melchizedek was a type of Christ, and the priesthood of Jesus was like Melchidezek’s and not the Aaronic priesthood.

WAS HE JESUS?

Christ was said to be a priest “after kata the order taxis of” Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11).

The Greek term taxis (order) suggests a similar “arrangement.” For example, just as Melchizedek was both a king and priest simultaneously, so Christ is as well (cf. Zech. 6:12-13; Heb. 1:3).

The preposition kata used with the accusative case suggests the sense of “in accordance with, corresponding to” (Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, p. 377). Hence a comparison is being drawn. 1

1 Ibid

WAS HE JESUS?

Melchizedek was king of Salem. Is it likely that Jesus would have come to earth and ruled as an earthly king over a city? If so, then the Bible doesn’t teach one, but two incarnations.

Also Abraham doesn’t worship him, which consistently occurs in other appearances of the angel of the Lord.

If Melchizedek was Jesus, why would his character be relatively obscure in the Bible? The manifestation of God in the form of Jesus is a major theme in Scripture.

It makes more sense to see Melchizedek as a man (albeit very special) who prefigured Christ. So Melchizedek is a type of Christ, but they are not the same person.

WAS HE JESUS?

Q: Could Melchizedek be the patriarch Shem?

According to some Jewish traditions 1 Shem is believed to have been Melchizedek, King of Salem whom Abraham is recorded to have met after the battle of the four kings! 2 Chazalic 3 literature, unanimously identifies Melchizedek as Shem son of Noah. 4 & 5

1 e.g. B. Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8. 2 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Shem">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Shem 3 Chazal or Ḥazal is an acronym for the Hebrew “Ḥakhameinu Zikhronam Liv’rakha”, literally “Our Sages, may their memory be blessed”). This term refers to all sages of the Mishna, Talmud, and other rabbinic literature commentators, from the times of Second Temple until the 6th century. 4 Targum Yonathan to Genesis chap. 14, Genesis Rabbah 46:7, Babylonian Talmud to Tractate Nedarim 32b 5 Wikipedia – Melchizedek "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek

WAS HE SHEM?

The Palestinian Targum (Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel) on Genesis 14:18 says:

And the righteous king – he is Shem, the son of Noah – the king of Jerusalem, came out to meet Abram, and he brought out to him bread and wine; and at that time he was ministering before God Most High.

The Aramaic translation of Genesis 14 which has been preserved complete in Codex Neofiti I says:

And Melchisedech, the king of Jerusalem - he is Shem the Great - brought out bread and wine, for he was a priest ministering in the high priesthood before God Most High.

WAS HE SHEM?

In Genesis Noah calls the LORD (Yahweh) “the God of Shem”.

Gen 9:26a He said, “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Shem.” (World English Bible)

The Midrash 1 records that Shem functioned as kohen gadol (high priest) in that he taught Torah to the Patriarchs before it was publicly given at Mount Sinai, while the official title of High Priest was conferred upon Aaron after the erection of the Tabernacle. 2

1 Any of a group of Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures compiled between 400 - 1200 AD and based on exegesis, parable, and haggadic legend. 2 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek

WAS HE SHEM?

In his “Commentary on Genesis”, Ephrem the Syrian, a Christian theologian of the 4th century writes, “Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine... (Gen 14:18-20). This Melchisedek is Shem, who became a king due to his greatness; he was the head of fourteen nations. In addition, he was a priest.”

WAS HE SHEM?

Ephrem the Syrian (c. 306-373)

Martin Luther also believed that Melchizedek was Shem:

Thus I am pleased with the general opinion that Melchizedek is Shem, because there was no greater patriarch at that time, especially in spiritual matters. By common consent the churches and the people honored him with this name and called him [Melchizedek], which means righteous king, because of the office he held. He held both offices, that of king and that of priest.” 1

1 Luther’s Works 2.382

WAS HE SHEM?

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Q: But why then is this priest who met Abram not simply referred to as ‘Shem’ rather than ‘Melchizedek’?

Chazalic literature, specifically Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, and the Babylonian Talmud, presents the name (מלכי־צדק) as a nickname title for Shem, the son of Noah. 1

We saw earlier that Melchizedek is not a name, but a Hebrew title meaning “king of righteousness” (Heb 7:2). Philo (20 BC – 50 AD) the Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria writes, “Melchizedek also has God made both king of peace, for that is the meaning of Salem, and his own priest… For he is entitled ‘the righteous king’…” 2

1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek 2 Leg. All. 3.79-82

WAS HE SHEM?

And Josephus writes:

… Melchisedec, king of the city Salem, received him. That name signifies, the righteous king… 1

There is a parallel with the titles Melchi-zedek and Adoni-zedek (“my lord is righteousness” in Hebrew). Interestingly Adoni-zedek was king of Jerusalem at the time of the Israelite invasion of Canaan which again points to Salem and Jerusalem being one and the same.

Joshua 10:10 Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it…

1 Antiquities of the Jews - Book I Chapter 10 v 2

WAS HE SHEM?

The identification of Shem with Melchizedek is predicated on Shem and Abraham being contemporaries (at least in the Masoretic Text)

In “Hebrew Questions on Genesis” the early church father Jerome (c. 347-420) records the Jewish tradition of his own day:

And Melchisedech king of Salem... Because our little book is, in a word, a collection of Hebrew questions or traditions, let us therefore introduce what the Hebrews think about this. They declare that this man is Sem, the son of Noah, and by calculating the years of his life, they show that he lived up to the time of Isaac; and they say that all the first-born sons of Noah were priests before Aaron performed the priestly office.

WAS HE SHEM?

Using the genealogical records in Genesis we can calculate that if Melchizedek was indeed Shem, he was 525 1 years old at the time and Abram was 75 years of age.

1 Some calculate 465 based on differing views on the age of Terah when Abraham was born. Either way they would be contemporaries if the Masoretic readings are correct.

However it is important to note that only the genealogies of the Masoretic Text allow Abraham and Shem to be contemporaries. This is not the case if we follow the genealogies from the Septuagint, which has Shem dying hundreds of years before Abraham’s birth. The Samaritan Pentateuch agrees here with the Septuagint. In the 1st century AD, both Philo and Josephus follow the Septuagint chronology. 1

1 The Hebrew Masoretic text is based on texts preserved by the Jews. The Septuagint predates Christianity by 2-3 centuries and was a Greek translation of the Hebrew text of the day. The oldest copies of the Masoretic Text only date back to the 9th century, over 800 years after the time of Christ – 1000 years later than the Hebrew source used by the Septuagint.

WAS HE SHEM?

Some feel that Melchizedek was a normal earthly king descended from Ham, because Salem was in the Canaanite territory which was inhabited by the descendants of Ham at that time.

Others say that he was a normal earthly king descended from Shem, because he was a priest of God in Salem and in Genesis 9:26 Noah calls Yahweh “the God of Shem”.

Now while it is most likely that he was an ordinary earthly king, there does seem to be something special about Melchizedek – especially since the author of Hebrews pays so much attention to the fact that he is a type of Christ and his priesthood.

WHO WAS MELCHIZEDEK?

Q: If Melchizedek was a normal man, why does it say that he was “without father or mother, without genealogy” (Heb 7:3)?

Some assert that this verse excludes earthly kings and indicates that Melchizedek must have been Jesus or a theophany of God. The reasoning is that no human could be without father, mother or genealogy and therefore Melchizedek must have been of divine origin.

However I believe that this verse simply indicates that Melchizedek was not a priest because of lineage - in other words, “without descent” meaning not a descendant of Levi as required by Mosaic Law.

6) WITHOUT GENEALOGY

In fact Vines Expository Dictionary says of the Greek word ‘agenealogetos’ rendered “without genealogy” in Heb 7:3 that it denotes “without recorded pedigree” 1 while Strongs (Greek 35) defines it as “of unrecorded genealogy, whose descent cannot be traced.”

In support of this view, we know that Jesus who had a priesthood “in the order of Melchizedek” had an earthly mother and father and a genealogy. So if Heb 7:3 really meant that Melchizedek himself had no father, mother or genealogy, then Jesus wouldn’t fulfil the type.

1 Vine, W. E. “Genealogy”, Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 7 Nov 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/ Search/ Dictionary/ viewTopic.cfm?type=GetTopic&Topic=Genealogy&DictList=9#Vine's

6) WITHOUT GENEALOGY

The context of Hebrews 7 seems to favour this view that it simply means Melchizedek was not a priest because of lineage. The author of Hebrews is clearly arguing that like Melchizedek, Jesus’ priesthood was not determined by a physical lineage, as in the case of the Aaronic priests.

Heb 7:15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

1 Wikipedia – Melchizedek http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Melchizedek

6) WITHOUT GENEALOGY

Q: If Melchizedek was not Jesus, why does it say that he was “without beginning of days or end of life”?

The meaning is that his priesthood was not for a fixed term as with the Levitical priests. The Levites served from age 25 to 50.

Num 8:24 “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.

In this aspect he again foreshadowed Jesus who serves continually as our priest throughout the period of the current Age of Grace.

7) ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

Why is the order of

Melchizedek greater?

The priestly order of Melchizedek is better than the Aaronic priesthood because:

It is not based on ancestry

Both priestly and kingly office

It is an eternal priesthood based on an oath from God

Jesus’ priesthood is of the order of Melchizedek and not of Aaron.

ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK

Melchizedek is a type of Jesus in the following ways:

Priesthood not based on ancestry

Both were King-Priests

Similar priestly elements

Both were greater than Abraham

Both were kings of righteousness

Both were kings of peace

Both had an eternal priesthood

ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK

Melchizedek predates Levi by three generations and Aaron by six:

Abraham

Isaac

Jacob

Levi

Kohath

Amram

Aaron

1) ANCESTRY

Unlike the Aaronic priesthood, Melchizedek’s priesthood was not based on his genealogy i.e. it was not handed down from his father. Likewise with Jesus:

Heb 7:13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

1) ANCESTRY

Melchizedek was both a king and a priest (Heb 7:1). In the OT, you could not be both priest and king. The kings were from the tribe of Judah and the priests from the tribe of Levi. Jesus is of the tribe of Judah and the royal line of David, and has a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36).

John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king…”

Matt 21:5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey…’”

But the priesthood in the order of Melchizedek allowed Jesus to be a priest too.

Heb 3:1b … Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

2) KING-PRIESTS

Jesus was a prophet, priest and king. During his 3 year ministry he operated as a prophet representing God to the people. Currently he operates as our high priest representing the people to God in heaven. After his second coming his will reign as king from Jerusalem.

PROPHET

Represents God to the people

PAST

Jesus 3-year ministry

PRIEST

Represents the people to God

PRESENT

Intercedes for us before God’s throne

KING

Rules the people

FUTURE

Millennial rule

2) KING-PRIESTS

Melchizedek and Jesus had similar priestly elements which were used as covenant symbols:

Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High…

And at the Last Supper we read that Jesus instituted bread and wine as symbols of our New Covenant and as elements to remind us of his redemptive death:

Matt 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

3) PRIESTLY ELEMENTS

Matt 26:27-29 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

3) PRIESTLY ELEMENTS

Melchizedek was greater than Abraham:

Heb 7:6-7 … he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.

Jesus too was greater than Abraham:

John 8:53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” … 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

4) GREATER THAN ABRAHAM

The title Melchizedek means “king of righteousness” (Heb 7:2)

5) KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

We read of Jesus: “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” (Heb 1:8)

Nimrod has traditionally been considered the leader of those who built the Tower of Babel (e.g. Josephus), though the Bible never actually states this. 1

For those in the “Melchizedek equals Shem” camp, it’s notable that in a few extra-biblical sources, Shem is credited with killing the wicked Nimrod. (But again this is dependant on the Masoretic Text chronology being followed as the Septuagint does not allow them to be contemporaries).

1 Judaic interpreters as early as Philo and Yochanan ben Zakai (1st century AD) interpreted “a mighty hunter before the Lord” (Heb. : לפני יהוה, lit. “in the face of the Lord”) as signifying “in opposition to the Lord”… Some rabbinic commentators have also connected the name Nimrod with a Hebrew word meaning ‘rebel’. - http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Nimrod

5) KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

5) KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

11Q13 or the Melchizedek document, is a fragmentary Hebrew manuscript among the Dead Sea Scrolls which mentions Melchizedek leading the angels in a war in heaven against the angels of darkness. Interestingly this non-canonical document says the following which seems to be prophetic about the future role of Jesus (who Melchizedek prefigured).

11Q13 2:5-7… and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, f[or … Melchize]dek, who will return them to what is rightfully theirs. He will proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing th[em from the debt of a]ll their sins. [He shall pro]claim this decree in the fir[s]t [wee]k of the Jubilee period that foll[ows nine j]ubilee periods.

5) KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Then the “D[ay of Atone]ment” shall follow af[ter] the [te]nth [ju]bilee period, 8 when he shall atone for all the Sons of [Light] and the peopl[e who are pre]destined to Mel[chi]zedek. […] upo[n the]m […] For 9 this is the time decreed for “the year of Melchiz[edek]’s favor” (Isaiah 61:2), [and] by his might he w[i]ll judge God’s holy ones and so establish a righteous ki[n]gdom, as it is written 10 about him in the Songs of David, “A godlike being has taken his place in the council of God; in the midst of the divine beings he holds judgment” (Psalm 82:1).

Thus Melchizedek is associated in 11Q13 as God’s deliverer / kinsman redeemer, but also as God’s agent for the execution of divine judgment.

2:13 Therefore Melchizedek will thoroughly prosecute the veng[ea]nce required by Go[d’s] statu[te]s. [Also, he will deliver all the captives from the power of B]elial, and from the power of all [the spirits predestined to him.]

Manuscript of 11Q13 Col. II

5) KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Melchizedek’s other title meant “king of peace”:

Heb 7:2… then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”

Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace”:

Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… And he will be called… Prince of Peace.

6) KING OF PEACE

Acts 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

6) KING OF PEACE

Melchizedek again foreshadowed Jesus who serves continually as our priest throughout the period of the current Age of Grace.

Heb 6:3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

And so four times this quote from Psalm 110:4 is used of Jesus:

“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 5:6, 6:20, 7:17, 7:21)

7) ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

This again indicates superiority to the Aaronic priesthood:

Heb 7:23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them…

Heb 7:8 In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.

7) ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

God confirmed Jesus’ eternal priesthood with an oath:

Heb 6:16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

7) ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

This oath not only shows superiority to the Aaronic priesthood, but demonstrates the superiority of the New Covenant:

Heb 7:18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 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.’” 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

7) ETERNAL PRIESTHOOD

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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