I have often been drawn to the passage in Hebrews that talks about Melchizedek. I have also been asked several times by others why would God set up a second priesthood when He had planned to appoint priests from the tribe of Levi. I thought today I would share some thoughts about this amazing picture in Scripture.
First, God’s priestly line through the tribe of Levi was not competitive or opposing Melchizedek as we often think. (Hebrews 7-11) God was setting up a picture of the new covenant to come and the old covenant being fulfilled by it. In fact, we even see that before the priesthood of Levi was even born Abraham recognizes Melchizedek as a priest by paying him a tithe when he returns from a journey.
So why this random person named Melchizedek? Well V.15-17 talk about how he loved people and embraced the power of an indestructible life. The Levites were given their position as priest not out a heart choice necessarily but as a part of their lineage. If you were in the tribe of Levi you were in the line of priests. However, Melchizedek had to choose to lay down his life for others. He had to decide in his heart to live a life of service not because he would receive a reward or position but because of love. Melchizedek laid the framework for Jesus choosing to sacrifice Himself for us.
The law came to try and bring righteousness by judgment to man but Jesus fulfilled the law’s need for sacrifice that we may walk in forgiveness and grace. Likewise the Levitical priesthood was replaced with the priesthood of Melchizedek. We see in the verses below that Jesus is appointed as a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
“And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The LORD has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’ ”), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.”
Hebrews 7:20-28 NKJV
So what is the power of an indestructible life and how do we live one? The beautiful news is that Jesus has already made a way for us to live an indestructible life. When we come to God admitting we are sinners and can’t earn our way or be good enough (Levitical priesthood teaching) Jesus gives us all that He paid for at the cross (Melchizedekian priesthood). We become adopted into God’s family, fully equipped to live a kingdom life; indestructible because of the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
I Peter 2:9 NKJV
We can live an indestructible life by choosing to receive the gifts Jesus offers to us freely. If we consider all that changed because one man made that choice imagine what God can do in and through our life when we choose to live an indestructible life.