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JESUS, A PRIEST FOREVER
(JESUS represents a change from the Levitical priesthood)
Way back in Genesis 14, after Abraham (then Abram) had defeated a band of armies led by King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and rescued his nephew Lot from certain doom, we are introduced to one of the most obscure, and yet, important figures in the annals of Old Testament history. Upon Abraham’s return from battle, he is met by a man named Melchizedek in the valley of Shaveh.
Melchizedek was the King of Salem (now Jerusalem) and was also a priest of our GOD Most High. His name means “king of justice”, and the name of his kingdom, “Salem”, means “peace”. And so, by his very name and position he was both, “king of justice”, and, “king of peace”. He was high enough in stature and importance, that, he could both, bless Abraham, and, receive a tithe from Abraham.
Here in Hebrews chapter 7, the author emphasizes the fact that JESUS’ priesthood does not derive from Aaron’s Levitical line of priests, but rather, it derives from the line of Melchizedek, a superior priesthood. Here in verses 1-10, the author establishes two things: First, the greater always blesses the lesser. Here the author is showing that, by blessing Abraham, Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. And secondly, Abraham, who was the great, great-grandfather of Aaron, the first of the Levitical line of priests, paid a tithe to Melchizedek, and thus personally acknowledged the superiority of his priesthood.
As, it is written by king David in his prophetic Psalm 110:4, GOD’s ordaining someone as a “priest forever in the line of Melchizedek” is a clear indication that GOD always intended to make a change in the Aaronic priesthood. Such a change would also require a change in the whole system of the Mosiac Law, of which that priesthood was a part (Vs. 11-19).
JESUS’ priesthood is better simply because it is flawless, and it is forever, or, eternal. In the Old Testament, you’ll find that, neither Melchizedek’s birth, nor his death, are recorded. There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors, and no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever resembling the SON of GOD. His priesthood is also permanent, just as JESUS lives eternally as our Heavenly priest, and, can save us continuously and completely.
JESUS’ priesthood is able to meet our needs, by way of HIS vicarious sacrifice, which settles forever, the issue of our sins. HE is the only one WHO can speak for us, and intercede for us before GOD the FATHER. The priesthood of CHRIST differs dramatically from the Levitical priesthood in, that, it was instituted with an oath. By contrast, the descendants of Aaron assumed their jobs without any oath.
In the Greek, the word used in Hebrews 7:22 for “surety” is “engyos”. This is the only time this particular word is used in New Testament scriptures. It is a legal term which identifies a bond or collateral. It means that the signer of the guarantee pledged his resources as security for the commitment that is made. JESUS is the living guarantee that the forgiveness GOD offers us under the New Covenant will surely be ours. In fact, because of HIS oath, HE became the guarantee of a better Covenant. With HIS OWN life, JESUS assured the superiority of the new order over the old, because HIS oath also secured HIS permanent installation in the priestly office of GOD.
No Old Testament priest ever functioned in this permanent manner, simply because, all of them were subject to death and mortality. JESUS not only prays for us, HE also has empowered us to live a more righteous life here on earth, through HIS examples and gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. As an ever-living HIGH PRIEST, JESUS is always available to represent us before GOD, and thus, HE is able to save us completely.
Remember, everyone who has been saved by CHRIST, was saved when they were still sinners. When we stumble after receiving salvation, JESUS remains there with us to keep us from falling, because HE is always holding us by the hand. HE remains committed to us so that HE can save us completely. If salvation depended on us, then, we would have a right to worry. But, because salvation depends on JESUS, we can be free from fret and worry, because our futures are completely secure, through HIM.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website