The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Ps 110: 4
It is very interesting that this passage appears in the old testament of the bible. There is no doubt that this was inspired by God, because David, in himself, would never have wrote this. Why would God say to the Christ, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek?” Why wouldn’t He say, “according to the order of Aaron?”
Much of the old testament is devoted to Aaron’s priesthood. If you remember, Aaron was Moses’ brother and God called him to be high priest over Israel. God also called his sons to be priests. As a matter of fact, no one was allow to be priest except a descendant of Aaron. So throughout all of the history of Israel, until the temple was destroyed, there was always the descendants of Aaron serving as priest. His role was very important. He was the father of all the priests of Israel.
But, now, lets talk about Melchizedek. In contrast to the many times that Aaron’s priesthood is mentioned in the old testament, Melchizedek is only mentioned one time.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he [was] the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “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.” And he gave him a tithe of all. Gen 14:18-20
That’s it. One time. The other places in the bible that speak of Melchizedek are just referencing this scripture here. So this is the only spot where the man appears. This is all we know about him.
But, even though he is briefly mentioned, he is extremely important. And that is evident because of this scripture: “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” Who is this scripture referring to? It’s referring to Jesus. Jesus is a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
To me, this is profoundly remarkable! And I will try to explain why.
Before Moses, before Aaron, before the law, before the 10 commandments, even before the nation of Israel was formed, there was Abraham. Abraham was and is the father of faith. There was no law given to Abraham. But there was a promise given to him. Abraham believed God and God accounted that faith to him as righteousness. What does this mean? This means that God considered nothing else when justifying Abraham. God didn’t consider the good or the bad he had done. He justified him by faith, just as you and I are justified by faith. Abraham became blameless in the eyes of God. Was it because he never sinned? Was it because he did enough good to outweigh the bad he had done? No, it was because God purified his heart by faith.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand,saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed. Gal 3:8
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Acts 15:9
In laymen’s terms this means that God accepts us based on what we believe and not on what we do. When determining who God calls holy, He judges us based on what we embrace by faith and not on whether we do good or bad. This means that God looks favorably upon people who embrace Christ by faith despite all the evil they have done. The good and the bad do not matter. Faith is what matters.
This is why the priesthood of Melchizedek is so remarkable. The priesthood of Aaron was all about the law, obeying the law and doing the law. But the priesthood of Melchizedek was not. Melchizedek was before Aaron and represented what was to come to us, righteousness by faith. This shows that God’s original intention was to justify us by faith and not by the works of the law. The law was added later and served as a temporary measure until Christ was to come. Don’t believe me? Look here:
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made Gal 3:19
So the law was added and it would last until the Seed (Christ) should come.
Melchizedek was king of Salem (king of peace, Heb 7:2). Even so, Christ is Prince of Peace. Melchizedek was the priest of God most high. Even so, Christ is our High Priest and our Mediator. Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to Abraham. Even so, Christ brought the bread and wine to us (His body and his blood) and commands us to eat and drink that we may be righteous and live forever before him. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Even so, Christ blesses us by giving us favor with God through Him. We may now boldly appear before God to obtain mercy in our time of need. Christ has cleansed us of a guilty conscience because He has washed away all of our sins. We now stand holy and pure before God as if we had never sinned. He casts all our sins, past, present, future, into the sea of forgetfulness. We are now priests unto God with Jesus Himself as our High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek.
And now Jesus, our High Priest, serves God continually because He is endless. His sacrifice is ever before God and therefore is always there for us. If we sin and then confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us all all our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
Way to many people are still caught up in Aaron’s way of doing things. They are trying to please God by what they do, or they are trying to gain God’s approval by doing good. God was never pleased with this and never will be. But, when we embrace by faith what God has done for us in Christ, then God is pleased.