Bristol, Virginia
Melchizedek and Abraham

The Order of Melchizedek

Subtitle: The King-Priest

By Roderick Breem

In Genesis chapter 14 we find the brother of Abraham, lot, being taken into captivity. There was a war between rival kings in the area and Lot got caught. Abraham sent out a highly trained group and rescued him. One of the kings in this group was called Melchizedek. He is quite a mysterious figure, as very little is said about him here in Genesis.

After the return of Lot Melchizedek does something interesting and profound.

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.” (Genesis 14:18)

Here we see Melchizedek holding the duel office of King-Priest. This was highly unusual. But who was this man anyway and who made him a “priest of God Most High” anyway? We know it was the doing of God. So far in the book of Genesis we only see the calling of God on Abraham. We know about the promise to Abraham to make him the father of many nations. But nothing of Melchizedek – until now.

King-Priest Melchizedek said to Abraham:

Blessed be Abram of God Most High,

Possessor of heaven and earth;

And blessed be God Most High,

Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (Genesis 14:19-20a)

Melchizedek recognized the office and position of Abraham. And Abraham did likewise. Abraham proved that he recognized the office of the king-priest so much that he gave him a tithe of the spoils of the war with the rival kings. See it: “And he gave him a tithe of all.” (v.20b) Abraham giving a tithe was a profound thing. It meant Abraham recognized this was a man from God.

You may have figured it out by now but Melchizedek is a type of Jesus. And if I may be so bold to say we, as believers, are a type of Melchizedek. We, like Jesus, are kings and priest of the Most High. Please do not allow the profoundness of that statement escape you. You are a king-priest before God. We will learn more about those offices later on.

Psalm 110 is a Messianic Psalm and it is where we learn that Jesus was in the “order” of Melchizedek.

The Lord has sworn

And will not relent,

‘You are a priest forever

According to the order of Melchizedek.’” (Pslam 110:4)

The Hebrew word for “order” here is dibrah and means “cause, manner, reason.” We can say this word means “in the mold of.” I think of the various groups and lodges here in America. The functions and activities are according to a certain order, based on history and tradition. Well, Jesus came in the order – or mold – of the king-priest Melchizedek.

Why is this important to us? Because Jesus came and established the New Covenant and His priesthood was not based on the law but rather on the “order of Melchizedek.” The book of Hebrews helps us gain a greater understanding.

The law came under the Levitical priesthood. But it was imperfect. There was a need for another way and that was through Jesus. But Jesus came from the tribe of Judah and priests did not come from that tribe. But ahhh, we see Jesus coming from another order – the order of Melchizedek.

For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.” (Hebrews 14:14-16)

So there it is. Jesus came not “according to the law of fleshly commandment” but according to the “power of an endless life.” Isn’t that beautiful? Therefore, as followers of Jesus we do not live according to the law but according to the power of an endless life. Praise God!

Jesus as King-Priest

The role of a king (at least in ancient times) was to rule with complete authority and to provide protection to the people of His kingdom.

As we discussed earlier Melchizedek came as a king-priest. And we know that Jesus came in the same duel office. The book of revelation shows Jesus as King in all His glory. “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev 19:16) We see King Jesus making war:

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)

Now, priests, just for the sake of simplicity, had two main functions in the Old Testament.  They were set apart from the rest of the community in order to carry out certain duties associated with 1. worship and 2. sacrifice.

As New Testament believers we do not offer physical sacrifices. Jesus gave His life once and for all. But we do offer our lives as living sacrifices, as priests of the Lord.

Hebrews 4:14-16 says

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

So far we have learned about Melchizedek and Jesus as holding the duel office of king-priest. But what about us as believers in God’s kingdom? See this:

And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:6) That is you and me – kings and priests. We are according to the order of Jesus, the great King-Priest.

As kings we are to exercise our spiritual authority. As priests we are to offer praise and worship to our God. As priests we are to offer our bodies a living sacrifice. It is relieving to know we are according to the order of Jesus and not the order of the law.

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