Author: Ron Graham
This lesson is based on this prophecy: "The Lord has sworn, And will not relent,'You are a priest forever of the order of Melchizedek' " (Psalm 110:4).
The Bible begins with the message, "Someone is coming!" Later, the Bible tells us, "Someone has come!" Finally the Bible says, "Someone is coming again!" Of course, we all know who this Someone is. We have just read a prophecy that "Someone is Coming!" the Christ (Messiah) who will fill the highest kingly and priestly offices as one.
The psalm likens this man of the future to Melchizedek, who was the king of Jerusalem long before the Jewish people existed. The Hebrew writer explains that Melchizedek was a symbol of Christ: Melchizedek was both king and priest; greater than Abraham; without a genealogy (Hebrews 7:1-25). On one occasion, Melchizedek blessed Abraham (forefather of the Jews) and received tithes from him.
In giving the blessing and in receiving tithes, Melchizedek acted in both his priestly and kingly capacities. This symbolic event happened when God was making the promises to Abraham —especially the Messianic seed promise, that exciting promise that one of Abraham's seed (or offspring) would bless all nations and be King of kings.
The genealogy of Jesus entitled him to be king, but he had no genealogy that entitled him to be priest. He became priest on the basis of God’s oath that his priesthood would be "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 5:6, Hebrews 6:20).
Melchizedek was a priest without genealogy. He was not part of a succession of priests. His priesthood stood alone. He was not begotten of a priest nor did he beget a priest to succeed him. Symbolically his priesthood was endless. Thus the endless and heavenly priesthood of Jesus is guaranteed by God’s oath (Hebrews 7:3).
We have gone into the symbolic aspects of Melchizedek's royal priesthood for a very good reason. There are certain conclusions one must draw if one comes to believe in Jesus Christ as both priest and king.
There is a popular and widely published teaching today, that Jesus is soon returning to this earth to sit upon the throne of David, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, reinstate the law of Moses, and bring back animal sacrifices.
The doctrine cannot be true, because Jesus must, "according to the order of Melchizedek", be a priest on his throne. "If he were on earth he would not be a priest" (Hebrews 8:1-4) because he is not of the priestly family of Aaron and Levi as required by the law of Moses. Christ’s throne and his priesthood are in heaven and will forever remain so.
Someday Jesus will gather his elect from earth and take them into his heavenly kingdom . They are a living temple that cannot be destroyed, the Lord is their altar, their Lamb, their High Priest, their firm foundation.
We find the conclusion in Hebrews 7:11-14 that "There has been a change of law." This means total abolition of the old law, not a mere ammendment to it. The law-covenant of Moses has been replaced by a new and better law-covenant (Hebrews 7:18,22, Hebrews 8:8-9,13). This better covenant provides for one Man to be both Highpriest and King —not possible under the old covenant.
The writer acknowledges that "Our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood", and from this tribe "no man has officiated at the altar" (Hebrews 7:13-14). If Jesus is the "priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" then he is not a priest according to the order of Levi and Aaron, but according to an entirely new order superceding theirs. In which case a new law-covenant must exists to validate the new priestly order. The new law-covenant must at the same time invalidate the old order, and the old law-covenant under which it served. This is a far-reaching but necessary conclusion.
So what of the popular and widely published teaching that Jesus is soon returning to this earth to sit upon the throne of David, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, reinstate the law of Moses, and bring back animal sacrifices? It's wrong because it goes quite contrary to "the order of Melchizedek".
¶“13Behold the man whose name is Branch.
From his place he will branch out
And he shall build
the temple of the Lord.
Yes, he shall build
the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory
And shall sit and rule on his throne.
So he shall be a priest on his throne,
And the counsel of peace
shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:13).