Not too far back in history when one would stand looking out across the ocean they would easily conclude that it had no end. The sea just went on forever, water and sky, on and on, with no end. Land has bounds but the sea was limitless. We know today that it does have bounds. The ocean has a beginning and an end.
What Is Permanent, I Mean Really Permanent?So what around us, in our lives, is permanent? What goes on forever? What has no end? With age and a little life experience and maybe a little science most of us come to the conclusion that nothing on this earth is permanent. At best there are things that appear permanent, but given enough time all things change, everything has limits, nothing is without an end.
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4)The Lord does not change his mind and the Messiah will be a priest forever. OK, but who is Melchizedek?
Who Is This Guy?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 from the Bible 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.
It is also important to point out that the Levitical priesthood was separate from the Kingship of Israel. Priests were not kings and kings were not priests. The priests were set apart to be mediators between the people and God. The High Priest was the only person permitted to enter the Most Holy part of the temple and only once a year and with animal sacrifice to cover the sins of the people and priests.
So What?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.