Saturday, February 25, 2012

the power to do what his heart desires

The Word for today:
Hebrews 7:15-28

Yesterday, we went to the far side. We had some fun with the mystical side of Melchizedek, because I wanted you to get a sense of what we don’t know before I tell you what we do know. We wanted to let you hear deep calling to deep before we brought the subject of Melchizedek back down to earth.

Here, then, is what we know we know, what we need to know, about Melchizedek:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 14:18-20)

That is the only historical record of Melchizedek in the Bible. What we have just read is all we know of him! That was around 2000 B.C., and for a millennium there is no mention at all of Melchizedek. But in 1000 B.C. the Holy Spirit inspired King David to write—

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
(Psalms 110:4)

There, God declared that he was going to do something so old that it was new. He would bring into history a priest, like Melchizedek, who would also be king. And his priesthood would last forever.

The next mention of him in scripture occurs here in Hebrews:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. (Hebrews 7:1-3)

The dual role of priest-king is shown to be both before the law and above the law (otherwise, it would be against the law!). Priests were to be descended from Aaron (of the tribe of Levi) while kings must be of the tribe of Judah.

But Jesus, from the tribe of Judah and the order of Melchizedek, fulfilled what was promised through Zechariah regarding the Messiah:
He will build the LORD's Temple, and he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between the two. (Zechariah 6:13)

“Melchizedek” means “King of righteousness.” He is also the King of Salem (‘Shalom’), the King of Peace. This fulfills the prophecy of Psalm 85:10, where righteousness and peace meet (literally, they “kiss each other”) in the person of the Messiah.

No genealogy.
Melchizedek was “without father or mother, without genealogy.” His priesthood, like Jesus’ priesthood to come, was based solely on the call of God, not on heredity.

No beginning / end.

All Levitical priests served limited terms of office—no more than thirty years. Melchizedek, like Jesus to come, would be a priest forever.

Tithing and superiority.
In the ancient world, paying tithes to another was recognition of the other’s superiority. Thus Abraham recognized Melchizedek as a person of transcending preeminence.

Blessing and superiority.

In a formal biblical blessing the superior always blesses the inferior. Abraham, the supreme blesser, through whom all the peoples on the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3), nonetheless sees himself as inferior to Melchizedek and receives his blessing.

Bread and wine.
Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine, symbolic of the flesh and blood of Christ, which have secured our righteousness and peace.


Summary: the Priest out-of-order

Year after year, century after century, the priests served God under the Mosaic "economy" (God's specific procedure at any given time). Then suddenly David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, cries out concerning the Messiah, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

Amazingly, a priest is coming who is not after the order of Aaron. His priesthood nullifies the Old Testament sacrifices; consequently, to hang on to the Levitical economy in the time of Jesus Christ is to hang onto something that God has put away. This seemingly out-of-nowhere cry signals a new day and a new way. It marks a radical departure from the past (and should be marked in your Bible!)

The Aaronic priest was only a priest, whereas Jesus is a King Priest.
He not only has compassion, but he has the power to do what his heart desires for his own.

Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek…
Jesus died to bring us into fellowship with God and He lives to maintain that relationship. Since life in scripture is a relationship with God, Jesus not only saved your life yesterday, but he's saving it today.


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