I am journaling through the book titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story written by Whitney T. Kuniholm. In reflecting on Psalm 110 Kuniholm writes "... the New Testament refers to this psalm more than any other."
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4)Melchizedek, the King of Salem, is briefly mentioned near the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 14), in the middle (Psalm 110), and in more detail towards the end (Hebrews 5, 6, & 7).
Abraham's encounter with Melchizedek as recorded in the first book of the Bible (Genesis 14:17-20) was brief, but as we begin to learn in Psalm 110 had tremendous significance in telling us more about the Messiah.
So what do we know about Melchizedek:
- He was a King.
- He was King of Salem. Salem means peace.
- He was also "a priest of God Most High".
- He blessed Abraham and then Abraham "gave him a tenth of everything" he had just won back in battle.
- His name means "King of Righteousness".
- As pointed out in the book of Hebrews there is no record of his birth or death and so he has no beginning or end.
- He was the very first priest mentioned in the Old Testament.
- He was not a priest from the line of Levi as was required by the law established later under Moses. Aaron would become the first High Priest of the Israelites. In fact this encounter between Abraham and Melchizedek was before Levi and Aaron were born. Melchizedek was a pre-Israelite priest. Once God established the priesthood for his people all priests were to descend from the Levi tribe.
Ok, fascinating, we have a mysterious funky named king who was also the first priest recorded in the Bible. So what does this mean to me today?
King David in Psalm 110 compares Melchizedek, both a king and priest, with the coming Messiah. Before the Law was given, before the nation of Israel existed, this King of Salem, this priest of God Most High is a glimpse into the future. He is a preview, a sneak peak, of Christ. In Melchizedek God gives a hint of a new kind of priesthood before the old kind is even established. A hint of a future permanent priesthood. A new order, a new covenant. As we learn in Hebrews the Levitical priesthood was only temporary and could not ultimately change the underline problem - sin. Without a new order we humans could never have direct interaction with God.
Jesus is both our King and our High Priest. He is the King of peace. He is the King of Righteousness! He has no beginning or end. He is eternal. He is our permanent mediator between us and God. In our lives in this world where nothing is permanent, where nothing is forever, Christ is our permanent High Priest.
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The Photo in this post was uploaded to flickr.com by .:: Tomz ::. on 28 Mar 07, 5.17PM PDT. It is titled "In the light - 27.03.07". .:: Tomz ::. gives this description about the photo: "This is Mt. Keilir, a mountain that everybody see on their way to Reykjavik. I was driving and saw the clouds open and letting the sunlight shine straight on the mountain, great moment to stop and take a shoot." It was taken with a with a Canon EOS 5D.