Messiah as High Priest – Psalm 110


The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4 NKJV

David’s Psalms as well as other prophets tell us that the coming Messiah (or Christ in Greek) will be King over the entire earth as well as over all heavenly realms.  This King and His kingdom will last forever.

But Messiah will be more than that – Psalm 110 by David tells us that the Messiah will also be our eternal High Priest, a mediator between God and man, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.

A High Priest in the Old Testament was head over all priests, but they were all from the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  These Levitical priests were the people’s mediators and representatives before God. They served to offer sin sacrifices for themselves and for all people at the holy tabernacle, as ordained by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

But 400 years before Moses, well before God had established Israel’s Levitical priesthood, there came on the scene a mysterious priest, Melchizedek, who also worshiped God.  He was a king and priest of the city of Salem, which means “Peace” and is now known as the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Abraham had just returned from saving his nephew Lot from raiders, and as he was passing through Salem, he encountered this unusual king.

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:

“Blessed be Abram (Abraham) of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”

And he gave him a tithe of all.  Genesis 14:18-20 NKJV

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament gives us a little more insight into this singular king and priest:

without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.  Hebrews 7:3 NKJV

This was certainly not an everyday encounter for Abraham as he made his way home from a victorious battle.

Bible scholars are somewhat divided on who Melchizedek is.  Many believe that he was Jesus Christ before being born of Mary, sometimes referred to as the pre-incarnate Christ.  They cite his existence worshiping God as king and priest in what is now Jerusalem, his presentation of bread and wine, which we now recognize as communion elements, and the divine description of his genealogy found in Hebrews 7.  Melchizedek also received a tithe or a tenth of the bounty from Abraham’s victory, long before God had installed this practice.  Other scholars have differing viewpoints as to Melchizedek’s identity.

David’s Psalm 110 tells us that Messiah will be a High Priest who is different from the others.  Jesus was born into the line of Judah, through David, and will serve in the priestly order of Melchizedek rather than Levi, who came centuries later.

High Priests in the Old Testament would meet with the Lord behind a curtain in the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle, called the Holy of Holies. This was only done once each year, and only after a sacrifice to cover their sin. 

Through His own sinless sacrifice on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus Christ tore down the holy curtain separating God from man. This allows us to boldly approach the Father at any time through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Instead of needing an army of priests to perform daily sacrifices, Jesus has washed believers clean with His one-time offering of Himself. Now all His Church is a royal priesthood, covered by His righteousness and willing to serve Him and follow His will. He instructed us to share the good news of His love and mercy to make disciples in every nation on earth.  He has become our mediator and our great High Priest, ever forgiving our sins and shortcomings when we come to Him in repentance.

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV

17 then he (the Holy Spirit) adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV

One day, He will return for His Church. Be there!

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV

Reflection

Who have been the spiritual mentors in your life? 

Who introduced you to the Bible?  Helped bring you to Christ?  Taught and encouraged you about spiritual and faith matters?  Prayed for you?

We thank You, Lord, for using these special people throughout our lives to bring us closer to You.  Help us to grow in love and divine service to You as one of a kingdom of priests, to pray for others, and to honor those who went before us.  Amen.

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