Christ’s Melchizedekian Priesthood (2)
by Rev.Angus Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC, Ballymena, N.Ireland
Many things are asserted of Melchizedek in the subordinate clauses of Hebrews 7:1-3. But this is the main statement of that long sentence: “For this Melchisedec ... made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (1, 3). To put it simply, Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ in that God “made [him] like unto the Son of God.” Melchizedek is a type of Jesus Christ not with regard to His divine and human natures, nor His prophetic office (Moses is the great type of Christ as prophet, according to Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Melchizedek is a type of Christ in His priestly office, for he was “made like unto the Son of God; [and] abideth a priest continually.”
This turns the argument of the Jews against Christ’s priesthood on its head. First, Christ has the office of priest according to the Torah or the five books of Moses (Gen. 14:18-20) and the Psalms (Ps. 110:4), so His priesthood is in accordance with Old Testament prophecy and typology. Second, Christ’s priesthood is more ancient than the Aaronitic priesthood, for the latter came about 400 years later. Third, Christ’s priesthood is a much better priesthood in so many ways, as Hebrews 7 makes clear.
We are not impressed with the fidelity of the Jewish priesthood (cf. Mal. 2:8-9). Just think of the biblical record of their sins! Aaron made the golden calf (Ex. 32). His two oldest sons, Nadab and Abihu, offered strange fire and were consumed by the Lord (Lev. 10). Eli failed to discipline his two sons effectively (I Sam. 2-3). These two priests, Hophni and Phinehas, fornicated at the tabernacle, oppressed the people and stole from God’s offerings (I Sam. 2-3). Time and time again, the priests were idolatrous, especially in the days of King Ahaz and King Manasseh, and opposed God’s true prophets. Finally, Caiaphas, the high priest, with the chief priests, condemned Jesus Christ and saw to it that He was crucified. Then they persecuted the apostolic church.
The Jews did not faithfully adhere to their priesthood. Instead, they often joined in with the sins of the priests and loved “to have it so” (Jer. 5:31). From Jeroboam onwards, the ten northern tribes rejected the Aaronitic priesthood (I Kings 12:26-33). Even Judah did not always pay tithes to the priests and Levites (Neh. 13:10-11; Mal. 3:7-9). During the wilderness wanderings, the Israelites frequently complained against Moses and Aaron, their first high priest. On one notorious occasion, they claimed that the sons of Levi took “too much upon” themselves (Num. 16:7). Numbers 16-17 records how God put down their wicked rebellion against the house of Aaron.
When the Messiah came, Israel crucified Him, claiming instead that they were faithful to the priests in the line of Aaron according to Jehovah’s law! Thus they rejected Christ’s superior Melchizedekian priesthood and the only sacrifice for sin!
- Volume: 14
- Issue: 23
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851