The Priest Who Never Dies
How can we understand something we have never encountered? An architect will commission a model to be made. Although small, it gives a good impression of the shape and style of the building and how it fits into its environment. God used that approach to help His people understand. So, the flood was a 'model' or 'type' of judgement (Matthew 24:36-39); the tabernacle depicted the different elements of worship, which will be fully consummated in heaven (Hebrews 9:11); the substitutionary sacrifices of Isaac and the Passover foreshadowed the atoning sacrifice of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Melchizedek, although a minor character in Genesis (Genesis 14:18-20), provided an insight into the unique priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. King David wrote about that in Psalm 110:4. He knew that the priests were fallible and there must be a better way to interact with God. Although the kings of Israel had authority over the high priests, they were forbidden to do any of the priestly functions. When King Uzziah did so, he was struck with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). David, through the Holy Spirit's inspiration, understood that Melchizedek pointed forward to a different kind of king and priest whose rule and mediation would be uncorrupted and undisputed (Psalm 110:1,5-7).
In the Old Testament, tithes and offerings were accepted by the Levitical priests. But they all died, and their priesthood became redundant after the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10:12). However, Jesus is now always alive and continues to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:23-25). Melchizedek was the model of that priesthood – having no recorded death (Hebrews 7:3).
Although we become used to a variety of worship styles and religious structures, and we easily become attached to a particular pastor or preacher, our security must not be in any of them – but only in Jesus. He is our leader, our King; He is our intercessor, our Great High Priest. So as Hebrews 4:14-16 says, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Do not throw away your confidence in Jesus, it will be greatly rewarded (Hebrews 10:35).
© Dr Paul Adams