Posted in bible, king, melchizedek, priest, prophecy

The Altar is Closed Forever!

This is a sermon given by my pastor of North Avenue Church in Athens GA. We are going through Genesis, and our Pastor has arrived at a “difficult and puzzling” verse about the mysterious figure of the Priest-King Melchizedek in Genesis 13-14.

First to mention, is that I am completely proud that our pastor does not skip difficult or puzzling verses. He digs right in with studious joy, and delivers the information in a comprehensible and engaging way. Listen through to the last part where the Gospel comes rushing at you.

Here is the blurb for the sermon, “How can Jesus be both our great High Priest and our King? How can he be both David’s son and Lord? What does this mean for our lives? The author of Hebrews says this story is “hard to explain” and that it contains “meat for the mature” not “milk” for infants. So get ready to put on your floaties and hop into the deep end of the pool!”

https://www.podbean.com/media/player/uesua-5eb751

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Further Reading:

The End Time: Jesus as High Priest

The End Time: Melchizedek, one of the Bible’s most mysterious Characters

Let Us Reason: The Priesthood of Melchizedek

Grace To You: Bible Q&A- Who was Melchizedek?

Posted in abram, jerusalem, king, melchizedek, priest

Melchizedek: one of the Bible’s most mysterious characters

One of the most mysterious characters in the Bible is Melchizedek. There are only a few bare references, and what we do know according to the Biblical record, only makes us ask more questions than apparently God has granted answers.

  • What does it mean when we read Melchizedek has a priesthood that will last forever?
  • Why did God establish a priesthood superior to the Levitical priesthood, and is it a precursor to the priesthood of Jesus?
  • How did Abram know Melchizedek ?
  • Is the bread and wine that Melchizedek brings to Abram a precursor of the bread and wine ministration Jesus put into effect at the Last supper?
  • Why doesn’t Melchizedek have a genealogy?
  • Is Jesus Melchizedek in a pre-incarnation?

Sigh.

Anyway here is what we do know about Melchizedek.

His name means “King of Righteousness”: he was both king and priest of Salem, an early name for Jerusalem. Melchizedek blessed Abraham. Jesus Christ succeeded to this role and became a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 

Melchizedek was both king and priest. As a king, Melchizedek entertained Abraham. (Genesis 14:18 See also Heb 7:1.) 

As a priest, Melchizedek blessed Abraham. (Genesis 14:18-19). 

Abraham acknowledged Melchizedek as a priest of the LORD. (Genesis 14:20,22). Melchizedek here points ahead to Jesus Christ, who is also priest and king. 

The status of Melchizedek 

David appropriates Melchizedek’s office and authority for himself and his descendants Ps 110:1-2,4 The word “order” here means “in succession to”, meaning that Christ assumes the status and function of Melchizedek. 

The Davidic Messiah (Christ) inherits the office of Melchizedek. Jesus Christ was at that time being acclaimed as the “Son of David” and by implication here claims to be the Messiah. 

Jesus Christ as high priest after the order of Melchizedek
Heb 5:8-10; 6:19-20 Only the high priest could sacrifice for the sins of the nation in the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 

The characteristics of the order of Melchizedek according to Hebrews 7:2-3,
Melchizedek’s order of priesthood was one of kingship, peace and righteousness; it did not depend on genealogical descent (unlike the Levitical priesthood); it is eternal, without known beginning or end. (See also Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6; 6:20; 7:21). 

The uniqueness of Jesus Christ’s high priesthood in the order of Melchizedek Heb 7:6-7 Melchizedek was superior to Abraham and therefore to the Levitical priesthood descended from Abraham; Ps 110:4 The priesthood is secured by God’s oath. See also Heb 6:17-20; 7:16,20-22,26-27; 8:1-2. 

Jesus Christ’s high priesthood makes the Levitical priesthood obsolete Heb 8:13 See also Heb 7:11,18-19; 8:7-13

Source: Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

Melchizedek in the Old Testament

Genesis 14. Melchizedek first appears after Abram’s victory over Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:1–12). The king of Sodom and Melchizedek, “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High” (Gen 14:18 ESV), approaches the victorious patriarch. Melchizedek shows hospitality to Abram and pronounces a poetic blessing upon him. Abram responds by giving him a 10th of his spoils (Gen 14:18–20). 

Genesis provides no additional details about the identity of Melchizedek and doesn’t explain how a Canaanite city-king came to be a priest of God Most High. Further, Melchizedek does not appear in any genealogy. 

McKeown focuses on the function of Melchizedek within the narrative, drawing on the contrasting parallels between the kings of Salem and Sodom. Both kings approach Abram after the battle, but only Melchizedek comes bearing gifts. The first words of the priest-king form a poetic blessing, while the king of Sodom issues a command: “Give me the persons” (Gen 14:21 ESV). Within the broader context of Genesis, Melchizedek reminds the reader that Abram has been blessed by God. The character turns Abram’s victory into “a sign of God’s ability to deliver on the promises that he has made” (McKeown, Genesis, 88). 

Psalm 110. Melchizedek’s only other Old Testament appearance is in Psa 110, a psalm addressed to the king of God’s people. In it, the LORD promises to bring victory in battle and to establish the king as “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psa 110:4 ESV). The psalmist then declares that God will stand at the right hand of the king, using him to bring judgment upon the nations (Psa 110:5–6). 

This eschatological reading of Psa 110 piqued the curiosity of Jews and later Christians, especially in regard to Melchizedek. Hughes illustrates: “Psalm 110 declared that God was going to do something new by bringing into history a priest-king like Melchizedek. His priesthood would last ‘forever.’ He would be appointed directly by God. A divine oath guaranteed it: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind.’ What an intriguing prophecy. God was going to establish a totally new priesthood” (Genesis, 215).

The New Testament. 

The first reference to Melchizedek in the New Testament is a quotation of Psa 110:4 found in Heb 5:6. The writer quotes the passage to affirm that Christ was appointed as heavenly high priest: “And being made perfect, [Christ] became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:9–10 ESV). Hebrews 7, a commentary on the Old Testament appearances of Melchizedek, elaborates on this teaching. 

The author of Hebrews then turns to Psa 110, citing God’s promise to appoint a priest “after the order of Melchizedek” as indication of the Levitical priesthood’s imperfection (Heb 7:11 ESV). Christ fulfills the eschatological hope of the psalm not by meeting the legal requirement of descent, but by the eternal quality of His life (Heb 7:13–17). He is a superior high priest, bringing a new covenant which grants salvation to all who believe (7:18–25). 

Melchizedek provides Christians with a template for understanding the heavenly priesthood of Christ. This challenges our attempts to substitute human mediators for the divine, revealing a high priest whose saving work cannot be confined to any one culture or bloodline (Thompson, Hebrews, 164). 

Brockway, D. (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). Melchizedek. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Melchizedek blesses Abram

‎Abram’s remarkable victory made him a hero in the land wherein he dwelt. His return from the battle field of Dan was a triumphal march. The king of Sodom came to thank him and bade him keep the grain and treasures which he had regained; but Abram returned everything to the Sodomites, “Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me,” his allies. 

‎Here also occurred that mysterious meeting with Melchizedek, king of Salem, of whom the Bible says, “he was the priest of the most high God.” It would seem, therefore, that God was still worshipped by some people of Canaan. Melchizedek, His minister, came forth from Salem, which may have been Jerusalem; and he bore bread and wine to Abram. The priest king blessed the victor, and Abram gave him a part of all the spoils. Then they separated, apparently forever, two mighty servants of the Lord, who had recognized each other for a moment in passing, and then gone each his way.

When we get to heaven, won’t it be wonderful to seek these answers from the people themselves? If the LORD permits, that is. On the other hand, perhaps some of these questions we find so burning today will wither under the glory of truth shining from the from the face of Jesus. In any case, it will be humbling and thrilling to worship El Elyon alongside such a mighty and worthy king as Melchizedek, whose very name means “Righteousness.”

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Further Reading:

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

Bible Q&A: Who was Melchizedek?

Posted in easter, king, resurrection, triumph, truth

Resurrection Sunday

The Resurrection

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

~Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 
John 11:25
Posted in jesus, king, prophecy

The coronation of Jesus

I read Daniel 7 the other day and I still can’t get the spiritual-awesome out of my mind. I’m still mulling the scenes and pondering them in my heart.

I think of this scene with much joy:

The Son of Man Is Given Dominion

“I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

The Lord is presented to the LORD! His coronation is seen! He comes into His kingdom! O, what long years and epochs the Son of Man has waited. What patience, what obedience, what submission!

Yet at the moment the Ancient of Days enters the heavenly throne room (Daniel 7:9), and the Son of Man is presented to Him, it is glorious all-joy! Jesus comes into His kingship. This is just before He calls His bride Home, and then returns with us. By then he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But now, as in Revelation 4, we see the moment He is given all absolute authority.

I long for when Jesus will come into His kingdom! I long for when the honor due Him will be expressed fully. He is due ALL, and this moment in the scripture shows the honor that is gloriously given Him.

Don’t you long for the day when Jesus is absolute King? When no man dare to sully His name on sinful lips? This scene in Daniel is uplifting in the extreme. I hope it blesses you as well.

His grace that saved us sinners is infinite. It was showered on us, and we will be privileged to dwell with the coronated King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

O, come soon, Lord Jesus. Come into Your Kingdom!