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, penned by King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and other scripture 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 other priests, and all were from the tribe and order 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, and later the Temple, as ordained by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

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

Abraham was returning home after saving his nephew Lot and others from capture by raiders, and as he was passing through Salem, he encountered this unusual person.

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 (Abraham) 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 his victorious battle.

Bible scholars are somewhat divided as to who Melchizedek actually is.  Many believe that he was Jesus Christ before being born of Mary, sometimes referred to as the pre-incarnate Christ.  They cite his mysterious existence worshiping God as king and priest in what is now Jerusalem, his presentation of bread and wine, which we now recognize as the communion elements, his prophecy over Abraham, 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 in the Mosaic law.  But some 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 very different from the others.  Jesus was born into the regal line of Judah, through David, and will serve in the priestly order of Melchizedek rather than in the line Levi, who was born centuries after Melchizedek.

High Priests in the Old Testament met with the Lord behind a curtain in the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle, called the Holy of Holies. This was done once each year, and only after a blood 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 own one-time offering at Calvary. Now all His Church of believers is made into a royal priesthood, covered by His righteousness, willing to serve Him and to follow His will. He has instructed us to share the good news of His love and mercy and to make disciples of every nation on earth.  He is our mediator and our great High Priest, ever-forgiving of our sins and shortcomings as 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, Jesus will return for His Church. Let’s all 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)


Who have been the spiritual mentors in your life?  Can you recall who introduced you to the Bible and helped bring you to Christ?  Who taught and encouraged you about spiritual and faith matters and 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 vast kingdom of priests, to pray for and bless others, and to honor those who went before us.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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