The Year of the Priest: Melchizedek

Meeting_of_abraham_and_melchizadekThe next stage in looking at the history of the priesthood has to be to have a look at the rather obscure character in Scripture called Melchizedek. His name might not be his name it might- and more likely was- be a title. Melchizedek means King of Righteousness, something that has profound meaning to Christians as Christ is our Melchizedek. We know, as we read Genesis that Abraham was a priest as he offered sacrifice but Melchizedek seems to be the High Priest. Both he and Abraham are priests of the same God.

In Genesis (14:18-20) Melchizedek offers bread and wine as his sacrifice of thanks to God for the war Abraham has won over the four kings of the north to rescue Lot.  At this point God has not specifically requested animal sacrifice but then this sacrifice is slightly different that the usual ones a priest had offered- it was a Thanksgiving (Todah/Eucharist). It has been long recognised that this King of Righteousness is a “type” of Jesus and some Gnostics even went so far as to say he was Jesus.  He is the symbol of the priesthood of the Firstborn; thought to represent or even be the great Shem the firstborn son of Noah.

Later (at the Golden Calf) the priesthood of the Firstborn is lost and not restored again until David is made king and priest and Solomon after him. Then in Psalm 110 David announces either of himself or Solomon “You are priest forever of the order of Melchizedek.” He recognised that they were in a very special position-not so much as kings but as men of the tribe of Judah (not Levi) who were ordained priests. The special circumstances that allowed David and Solomon to be priests do not appear to have been repeated once Israel and Judah (with Benjamin) split. The next priest-king of the line of David was Jesus.

The priesthood that Jesus passed on to the apostles is the priesthood of the Bridegroom and First born son that Adam had and passed down to Melchizadek. Jesus is the Bridegroom and First born son who made the sacrifice for his Bride the Church that Adam had refused to make- and He gives us Himself in Bread and Wine and Melchizadek offered on the day the war was won.


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