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Fact About Christ from page 4: Christ is as Melchizedek.
Jesus… having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek– Hebrews 6:20
Today’s picture of Christ in the Old Testament comes from a story in Genesis 14. Genesis 14 recounts a story of what you might call an ancient world war. There are five kings that come together and rebel against Chedorlaomer, the king of Elam, who has three other kings as allies to fight alongside him (one of whom is the King of Shinar — Babylon). Among the defeated are the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. And thus, the cities of Sodom and Gomorroh are sacked and the inhabitants and all their possessions carried away. Because Lot, Abram’s nephew, was living in Sodom at that time, he is also taken captive. Upon hearing this news, Abram takes the trained men of his household (only 318 of them!) and chases the victorious armies, defeats them, and pursues them all the way to Hobah, a city north of Damascus. This is an incredible journey and an incredible victory! (To go from today’s Hebron to today’s Damascus is a 330km journey, around 70 hours of walking!)
This sets the scene for the introduction of Melchizedek, the type of Christ we are interested in today: Abram fighting the kings of the world for Lot, who frankly, is a disappointment. What was he doing in Sodom anyway? Yet upon his return, he meets Melchisedek, who gives him bread and wine and blesses him. Melchizedek is firstly the King of Salem (meaning peace) and secondly a priest of God Most High. Let’s read the verses below.
After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.– Genesis 14:17-20
What does the New Testament say about it?
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.– Hebrews 7:1-3
(Note: Abram is renamed Abraham in Genesis 17:5)
Melchizedek is described as a priest of the Most High God, as well as being king of righteousness and king of peace. In the fact that he has no recorded genealogy, nor a recorded end to his life, the author of Hebrews concludes that his priesthood continues forever. This is how he resembles Christ as the Son of God, “a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17).
Hebrews is a book that describes Jesus in terms of His heavenly ministry. The gospels describe the earthly ministry of Christ, what Jesus did and taught while living on the earth. However, Jesus’s ministry did not end with His death on the cross—after His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God, He began His heavenly ministry. Thus, the focus of the book of Hebrews is not redemption or justification, but helping us experience Jesus Christ in His heavenly ministry as our high priest and king. It is a “pressing on” kind of book. The Lord’s death and resurrection opened the way for us to receive new life from above, but once we are redeemed, then what? Who is the Lord to you today? He is King of righteousness and King of peace. He is forever serving as a high priest on our behalf before God. This is our Jesus right now! He serves “by the power of an indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16b). Because “he holds his priesthood permanently… he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
So what does this picture say about Christ?
It is really good to know Him as a priest. A priest helps people come to God. As a Christian, we do not need a physical man on Earth as a priest, but we definitely need this priest. The priesthood of a physical man is limited by his physical presence and his lifespan—furthermore, through Christ all believers have access to God the Father (Ephesians 2:18). But Christ as a priest can always minister bread and wine to us. In our walk with the Lord, there is “bread to strengthen and wine to cheer” (hymn: Jesus, Lord, we know Thee present and Psalm 104:15). As a priest, He can come into our situations and give us a blessing.
What does this mean for me as a Christian?
To answer this, we need to ask: What was Abram doing when he met Melchizedek? He was returning from the rescue of Lot. Melchizedek did not come to Abram when he was in Egypt—when he perhaps was at his lowest point, but rather, Abram was blessed after his war with the kings of the world. So when we are advancing, when we are fighting, when we are pressing forward with the Lord, then our experience can match this picture. In Abram’s case, it was specifically when he was caring for Lot. Though Lot may have been a disappointment—after separating from Abram, he eventually moved to Sodom, despite the wickedness of the city—Abram still fought for him. From this picture, we can see that we will experience Christ as Melchizedek when we are caring for people. When we’re fighting to recover a lost brother or sister. When we’re striving against the armies of the world to save a captured kinsman in the Lord. This is when the Lord ministers bread and wine to us. Do you want to know Christ as a heavenly priest, a minister of strength and supply and blessing? Make this your whole life: fight for the brothers!
Have any inspirations or questions about the content of the article? Or do you just want to say hello and introduce yourself? We’d love to hear from all our readers! Leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com with the title of this post in the subject line. If you are burning to engage with us, but don’t know what to say, here are some questions that could be a help:
- Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, who was a king and a priest. 1 Peter 2:9 calls all believers “a royal priesthood.” How does this picture of Melchizedek inform us of our priestly duties as believers here on earth?
- After Abram receives the bread, wine, and blessing of Melchizedek, he is able to refuse the spoil from the hand of the king of Sodom, citing a fear that the king would be able to say “I have made Abram rich.” In our service for the Lord and our caring for the brethren, are we satisfied with receiving supply from God or do we look for the reward of worldly riches?
- In this incident, the Lord is called God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth. Could it be that here His nature as the possessor of heaven and earth is highlighted because at that time, He had Abram to fight for Him on the earth (so not that He needs us to possess the earth, but He is introduced in this way for the first time in Scripture here in this story). Can God be the possessor of heaven and earth in your environment because He has you? What might this look like practically in your life?