LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (3)
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him [Abram], and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blesssed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20).
We can see Jesus on every page of Scripture when we have the heart for Him. We have seen Him in creation. We have seen Him in the fall of Adam and Eve, and in God’s provision for them through the death of the victims of that first sin of rebellion. Now I want us to see a shadow of Christ in the person who is named above. That is Melchizedek, king of Salem.. Just who is this king of Salem. He is a mysterious character who is mentioned only about three times in all of Scripture. He is first mentioned in the above text. He is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4, and then, there is practically a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews dealing with him. He is a shadow of Jesus in His priesthood.
Jesus’ priesthood is not after that of the Levitical system. He is like that of Melchizedek whose priesthood was unchanging.
The Levitical system required a changing priesthood. Hebrews speaking of Melchizedek says, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Let me try and make this as simple and easy to understand as I possibly can.
The system of the Levitical priest required a continuing offering for sacrifice. The priests had daily duties to fulfill for themselves, and for the people concerning their sins. Daily they would offer a burnt offering at the altar of burnt offering, wash their hands and feet at the brass laver, then proceed to the lampstand (Menorah) making sure there was plenty of oil, and then putting fresh bread on the table of showbread, and keeping the altar of incense fragrant before Holy God. It was a daily task. Once each year the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat, which served as a cover for the Ark of the covenant. Now, I do not know about you, but it would have been very difficult for me to remember all of that ritual ceremony. It would have been amazing just to get out of the tabernacle alive. Daily offerings, daily sacrifices, daily ministry in the holy place, and no place to rest. That is right there is no place to sit down. The duties of the Levitical priesthood was never finished. There was also a change which happened within the priesthood. There would be a new priest ever so often.
The priesthood of Melchizedek was eternal in type, because there is no genealogy for him – “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life…”. It is my opinion that there is no record of Melchizedek’s lineage for this specific purpose – Scriptures are inspired by God. He gave us what we needed to know.
He was a Gentile, because there were no Jewish people as of yet. He is said to be the Priest of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. He was appointed a priest by God.
It is a promise given to the Son of God, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4).
The Priesthood of Jesus is unchanging. “…But this man [Jesus], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them…” (Hebrews 7:24-25). Jesus finished the work of salvation. He has entered the Holy of Holies. The veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom to show us that, now there is a way to God. This happened as Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, died, taking the wrath of the Father for the judgment of sin. This was what all the sacrifices of the lambs, goats, bulls, red heifers, doves, and unleavened cakes were about. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law.
When the sacrifice was finished and Jesus was in the Most Holy Place He sat down. That is why, “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin…” (Hebrews 10:26). When you have trusted Jesus the work for salvation is done. How do we know Jesus sat down? When Stephen was being killed by the angry mob, we see Him “standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56), which in my thinking means, that before the event with Stephen, He would have been seated at God’s right hand.
There is so much more that could be written of Melchizedek and his being a shadow of Jesus, but I will not attempt to go any further. Trusting Jesus and His finished work on the cross will give you an unchanging Priest, who cares for you, who interceeds for you, and will see that you will spend eternity with Him.