Jesus Christ is High
Priest of the Order of Melchizedek.
A strange Priest "King of
Salem" by the name of Melchizedek met Abraham after
he fought with kings in the valley to rescue his
Salem is called Jerusalem
in latter days in the Old Testament. The old name
Salem is referred to in the Psalms and means,
"founding of peace," or "possession of peace," "the
peaceful," hence "city of peace."
All that we know about
Melchizedek is found in Genesis 14:18-20.
"And Melchizedek king of
Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a
priest o God Most High. He blessed him and said,
'Blessed be Abram of God
Possessor of heaven and
And blessed be God Most
Who has delivered your
enemies into your hand.'
He [Abraham] gave him
[Melchizedek] a tenth of all" (Genesis 14:18-20).
TWO GREAT MEN
Melchizedek brought bread
and wine from Salem to supply the exhausted warrior.
For obtaining peace, freedom and prosperity for him
Melchizedek expressed his gratitude to Abraham.
"Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the founder
of heaven and earth: and blessed be God, the Most
High, who has delivered your enemies into your
Abraham reciprocated this
priestly blessing by giving to Melchizedek a tenth
of all of the booty taken from the enemies. By
giving the tenth, Abraham acknowledged the divine
priesthood of Melchizedek whose God reaches beyond a
local deity; He is the "Most High God, founder of
heaven and earth," the God of "all the families of
Keep in mind Abraham
would not keep the property belonging to the king of
Sodom because he would have nothing in common with
him. However, he accepted from the king of Salem not
only bread and wine for the invigoration of the
exhausted warriors, but a priestly blessing as well.
In return, he gave a tenth of all his booty. This
was a definite sign that Abraham recognized
Melchizedek's God and submitted to the royal
priesthood of Melchizedek.
self-subordination to Melchizedek was the practical
benediction of a royal priesthood that is higher
than the priesthood entrusted to Abraham's
descendants who would come many years later.
Melchizedek's name means,
"king of righteousness." No doubt, he was a king who
ruled his people in righteousness. He was
characterized by righteousness, and is an
appropriate type of our everlasting Savior and High
ONE GREAT KING-PRIEST
Jesus Christ is forever a
priest in the order of Melchizedek. What makes the
order of Melchizedek superior to the order of Aaron?
Jesus is preeminently the King of Righteousness and
the King of Peace who is also a High Priest of the
God Most High.
Melchizedek provided a
type of Christ whose person and work accomplishes
true righteousness and peace. Christ is "the Holy
and Righteous One" (Acts 3:14). Christ satisfied the
righteousness of God as our substitute, and provides
peace with God for all believers (Rom. 5:1; 8:1).
Our Lord Jesus Christ
"made peace through the blood of His cross"
(Colossians 1:20). By faith in Him we are pronounced
righteous. "Being justified by faith we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1;
cf. 3:21-26). Paul goes on to say, "For the Kingdom
of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and
peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).
The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah said of Him, "He shall
be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah
Moreover, Melchizedek is
also described in the Scriptures as having no known
genealogy. There is no account of his descent, or of
the beginning and end of his life. He is "without
father, without mother, without descent, having
neither beginning of days nor end of life" (Hebrews
7:3). Melchizedek simply appears for a moment in
time, then vanishes from our sight, never mentioned
again for another thousand years until King David
writes Psalm 110:4. Then he is not mentioned for
another thousand years until the writer of Hebrews
picks up his pen.
Please remember that it
is not the type that determines the antitype, but
the antitype determines the type. Jesus is not
portrayed after the pattern of Melchizedek, but
Melchizedek is "made like unto the Son of God" (Heb.
The historical account in
Genesis 14:18-20 depicts Melchizedek as a royal
priest reigning in the city of Salem, known later as
Jerusalem. Of interest to Bible scholars is the fact
that the book of Genesis is filled with genealogies,
whereas Melchizedek, in spite of his importance, has
no record. He simply appears for a moment, then
vanishes from sight. He is described in Genesis as
being "without father, without mother, without
genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end
of life." This is what makes him an excellent
type of our ever-living Savior and High Priest.
This does not mean that
he was a biological abnormality or even an angel in
human appearance. The important thing is the account
given of Melchizedek in the Scriptures and what is
not said in silence. The silences of Scripture were
as much due to the divine inspiration as were its
statements. Melchizedek appears as a living man,
king of Salem and priest of God Most High. Then he
In the record of his life
Melchizedek is indeed an appropriate type of Christ
as the eternal Son of God who has "neither beginning
of days nor end of life." As the king of
righteousness He is exalted at the right hand of God
the Father. As our great high priest He "abides a
priest continually." The type Melchizedek remains a
priest continually for the duration of his
appearance in Genesis, but his antitype remains a
priest continually without conditions or limitations
upon Him. The antitype Jesus Christ is our eternal
high priest without any qualifications whatsoever.
Some scholars see this
passage as a Christophany, the pre-incarnate
appearance to Abraham by the second person of the
God head. But Melchizedek loses the typology when
you interpret him as a Christophany. It is best to
interpret one or the other and the evidence all
tends toward a type. There is probably no reason to
interpret Melchizedek as a supernatural, mysterious
In His eternal being the
Son of God has reality, as Melchizedek has
typically, "neither beginning of days nor end of
life." He is exalted at the right hand of the Father
in heaven. He "abides a priest continually."
Melchizedek remained a priest continually for the
duration of his appearance in the biblical
narrative. However, the antitype Jesus Christ
remains a priest continually without qualification
The divine commentary on
this great passage in Genesis makes it very clear
that Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest of whom
Melchizedek was a type. Hebrews chapters five
through ten explains how the priesthood of Jesus is
superior to Aaron and the Levites. The whole
emphasis of Hebrews is on a better priest, a better
covenant, a better sanctuary, a better sacrifice and
consequently better promises. Jesus is acclaimed the
perpetual High Priest "after the order of
Now, if Melchizedek was
greater than Abraham, his priesthood must be greater
than a priesthood, which traces its descent from
Abraham. Abraham recognized Melchizedek's
superiority by giving Melchizedek tithes and
receiving his blessings. The priesthood of
Melchizedek enjoys higher status than the Levitical
priesthood in Hebrews. Jesus was from the tribe of
Judah, not from Levi. He could never serve as a
Levitical priest. Moreover, no Levite could ever
serve as the Messiah King.
The perpetual priesthood
of the Messiah was confirmed by a divine oath: "The
LORD has sworn, and will not change His mind: Thou
art a priest forever." The order of Levi had many
priests in number, because they continued to die
off. "The former priests, on the one hand, existed
in greater numbers because they were prevented by
death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand,
because He continues forever, holds His priesthood
permanently. Therefore He is able also to save
forever those who draw near to God through Him,
since He always lives to make intercession for them"
(Hebrews 7:23â€“25). Jesus' eternal priesthood is
similar to Melchizedek who had no descendants, and
there were no priests to follow him.
ONE PERFECT SACRIFICE
Moreover, our Great High
Priest "does not need daily, like those high
priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own
sins and then for the sins of the people, because
this He did once for all when He offered up Himself"
(vv. 27-28). He is the Great High Priest who
voluntarily offered up the perfect sinless sacrifice
of Himself as a substitute for sinful people.
It took the death of the
Son of God to make a true atonement for sin. The
Levitical animal sacrifices could not make real
atonement for sin, since the death of animals is
inadequate. They taught the way of salvation through
the death of an innocent victim, but that victim had
not yet arrived and would not until the coming of
the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the perfect High
Priest who offered the perfect
sacrifice--Himself--that takes away sins and guilt.
The sacrifice made by Jesus was perfect. It actually
paid the price for sin. The sacrifice of Jesus was
complete and eternal.
generation of High Priests of Israel died and the
office passed to another until in all, Josephus
reckons that 83 high priests officiated from Aaron
to the fall of the Second Temple in A. D. 70.
However, the priesthood that Jesus Christ holds is
perpetual, because "He remains forever." Our eternal
High Priest Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of
the Father ever ready to make intercession for us
today. He will never have to hand it over to someone
else. Those who have Him as their high priest and
mediator with God have in Him a savior whose saving
power is available without end. He lives eternally
always engaged to bless and protect those who have
put their eternal trust in Him.
The way of approach to
God through Jesus Christ is always open, because He
is forever in the presence of God. He represents His
people forever. He is living to plead your case
before the Father in heaven right now. He is willing
to be your merciful and faithful high priest. Call
upon His name and He will save you.
Jesus is not only our
Great High Priest, but He is also the Divine
Melchizedek, King of Righteousness and King of
Peace. Oh come and worship Him who is the sovereign
king whose "name is above every name." "For this
reason also," writes the Apostle Paul, "God highly
exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is
above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every
knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on
earth and under the earth, and that every tongue
will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father" (Philippians 1:9-11).
In noble form this
priest-king was a type of the God-King and eternal
high priest Jesus Christ. It was King David under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who spoke
prophetically regarding the coming Messiah, "The
Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You
are a priest forever according to the order of
Melchizedek'" (Psalm 110:4). David wrote these words
a thousand years after Melchizedek lived and served
as priest of the Most High God. David declared that
the ultimate priest should be one like Melchizedek,
without father, without mother, without genealogy.
The priesthood of Jesus
Christ, our Great High Priest, was after the order
of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:5-6, 10; 6:19-20; 7:1-3,
17, 20-28; 8:1-6, etc.). The Son of God entered
within the veil as a forerunner, and there abides,
exercising His priestly function. All of the
mystical qualities revealed in the historic account
of this priestly king came to their ultimate
fulfillment in Christ.
In the person of Jesus
Christ, the Son God and our blessed Savior,
Lovingkindness and truth
have met together;
Righteousness and peace
have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10).
But please keep in mind
that it is not enough that Jesus came and offered up
Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We
must appropriate that sacrifice by faith in Him.
Salvation is not automatic just because Christ died
for us. It is a free gift, paid in full by His death
on our behalf, but we must receive it by faith. "How
will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
After it was at the first spoken through the Lord,
it was confirmed to us by those who heard" (Hebrews
2:3). "And there is salvation in no one else; for
there is no other name under heaven that has been
given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts
4:12). Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus today;
ask Him to be your savior. "Believe on the Lord
Jesus and you shall be saved."
14:18-20 Priest of the Order of Melchizedek
Christ in the Old Testament