The Apostle Paul had mentioned three times that the Lord Jesus Christ was a high priest “according to the order of Melchizedek” (5:6 & 10; 6:20). In chapter 7 Paul explains exactly what that means. Before we look at some key verses in the chapter, it is crucial to see that Melchizedek is a TYPE of Christ. What do I mean by that? I mean that what is said about him RESEMBLES and FORESHADOWS things that are true of Christ. He is mentioned briefly in Genesis 14:18-20 and then he disappears from Scripture until King David refers to him in Psalm 110:1 & 4, “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand…You are a priest forever ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” It is clear from the repetition of these words that the priesthood of Melchizedek gives us a PICTURE of the priesthood of Christ. Knowing this, we are prepared to look at some verses in Hebrews chapter 7.

In verses 1-3 we read, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ 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.” In this passage the apostle alludes to the only historical account (from Genesis 14:18-20) that we have of this mysterious person (mysterious to us, that is). In both passages we learn that he was both a KING and a PRIEST. We said that he is a TYPE of Christ for he RESEMBLES Christ who is both a KING and a PRIEST. Yet he adds something here; he gives us the meaning of Melchizedek’s name and the meaning of Salem. This man was “king of righteousness” and “king of peace.” When Christ returns to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16), “righteousness” and “peace” will characterize His kingdom. This is borne out in Psalm 72:7, “In His days shall the RIGHTEOUS flourish; and abundance of PEACE until the moon is no more.” So, this man also had a kingdom characterized by righteousness and peace and he thus serves as a beautiful “TYPE of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is said about Melchizedek in verse 3 has baffled Bible students for it APPEARS he had no parents, or genealogy, or birth, or death, and that his priesthood was continual and endless. I used the word “appears,” for I have no doubt that this man was actually born to human parents and at some point he died. There are some who have wrongly concluded that Melchizedek was actually the Son of God who appeared in human form, but verse 3 tells us that he was “made LIKE the Son of God.” He was NOT the Son of God, but God allowed this man, and the details of his life, to furnish us with this BEAUTIFUL TYPE of the Lord Jesus Christ, for in truth the Son of God had no “beginning of days nor end of life” and He will “remain a priest continually.” His priesthood, unlike that of Aaron and his sons, did not require a genealogy proving he was of the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron for his priesthood was BEFORE the Aaronic priesthood and it was of an altogether different order. Christ too did not require a genealogy to prove He was eligible for the Aaronic priesthood since His priesthood is “according to the order of Melchizedek.” Thus, we read this in verse 14, “For it is evident that our Lord arose from JUDAH, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.”

 These truths of Christ’s unique priesthood continue through the rest of the chapter and its teaching was meant to convince the Jews who had confessed Christ as their Messiah that Christ’s priesthood is not only different than the Aaronic priesthood, but it is vastly superior. Melchizedek’s priesthood illustrates this in THREE WAYS:

1) Melchizedek “was GREATER and thus BETTER than Abraham and the sons of Levi” in that Abraham “paid tithes to him” and was “blessed by him” (verses 4-10). Thus, Christ is BETTER than them!

2) Melchizedek’s priesthood pictures “a CHANGE in and REPLACEMENT of the Aaronic priesthood” due to the imperfection of the Law and its priesthood (verses 11-20). Christ’s priesthood brings PERFECTION!

3) Melchizedek’s priesthood pictures “a PERPETUAL priesthood” which was never true under the Levitical priesthood “by reason of death” (verses 23-28). Christ’s priesthood is FOREVER!  (443.3)  (DO)