We first meet Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18 – “and Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” This is after Abram rescues Lot at the slaughter of the kings. In the book of Hebrews 7:1 we read “For this Melchisedec (Melchizedek), king of Salem, Priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.”
Jesus is spoken of as our Melchizedek High Priest, as confirmed in the Old Testament in Psalm 110:4 – “the LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus is a relative of King David, and references Psalm 110 of himself in Matthew 26:64 – “thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Again in Matthew 22:42-45 we read, “what think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, ‘The Son of David’. He saith unto them, ‘How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then called him Lord, how is he his son?’”
Jesus is our High Priest. As Hebrews 4:14 states, “seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Further, in Hebrews 6:20 we read, “whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
We have identified Jesus as our Melchizedek high priest, as we will soon see there are two main Priesthoods in Scripture. These is the “Levitical Priesthood” and the “Melchizedek Priesthood.” We are at the very beginning of our study. The goal is to help bring a Biblical understanding from the New and Old testaments of these Priesthoods, shedding light on Jesus’ priesthood, and our callings as Priests of the New Covenant. As it states in Isaiah 28:10 – “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” In second 2 Timothy 2:15 it says “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” When you approach God’s word in this way it won’t be just a study for knowledge, it will be a journey towards your destination.
The first thing we need to understand is Jesus does not qualify to be a Levitical Priest. Hebrews 8:4 states, “for if he were on earth, he should not be a Priest, seeing that there are Priests that offer gifts according to the law.” If Jesus is our High Priest how is it that he could not be a Priest? The answer is that he is not a Levitical Priest, he is a Melchizedek. The Levitical Priesthood offered gifts according to the Book of Law and the Melchizedek Priesthood offers gifts according to the Book of the Covenant. Jesus is from the Tribe of Judah. In order to be a Levitical Priest you had to be from the tribe of Levi, and more specifically a descendant of Aaron. There are two things that need to be considered here. First we need to understand the book of covenant versus the book of the law. It is important to understand that it is the Levitical Priests’ job to administer the Book of the Law and the Melchizedek Priests’ job to administer the Covenant. Second, God’s original intent was for His People to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. As Exodus 19:6 states, “and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” We also read in 1 Peter 2:9 – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”