the Most Mysterious Figure in the Bible
*An imaginary interview based on the Bible
There are many great people of faith in the Bible, all amazing human beings of both joy and sorrow, weakness and failure. But our special guest today is different. Even the greatest theologians are hesitant when it comes to this high priest veiled in mystery. Please welcome Melchizedek, one of the most mysterious figures in redemptive history who appears in the Bible only once! We will throw as many questions as we can.
The only person in the Bible who met you in person was Abraham. You met Abraham after his return from defeating Chedorlaomer and his allies, right?
Yes, I did! I brought out bread and wine to bless him.
Why bread and wine?
Well, bread and wine is very significant. Remember how Jesus blessed the disciples with bread and wine at the Last Supper? The bread was Jesus’ holy body that would be torn on the cross, and the wine was the New Covenant made in His blood.
That sounds very foretelling… are you saying that you foreshadow Jesus?
*Smiles* If you read Hebrews 5:10, it says that Jesus was designated by God as a high priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.” Just as it says there, I am king of Salem, which means “king of peace.” And my name, Melchizedek, means “king of righteousness” in Hebrew. Both titles, “Prince of Peace” and “King of Righteousness”, are all titles of Jesus (Isa 9:6-7).
That is true, but don’t all the 77 high priests, beginning with Aaron, foreshadow Jesus Christ? We already have the order of Aaron, why does there need to be an order of Melchizedek?
That’s a very good question! I’ll try to explain it as simply as I can. After the fall of the first man Adam, the only way for man to come before God was through sacrifice, but sacrifice requires shedding of living blood. Three things necessary for a proper sacrifice are the offering, the temple, and the priest. But just sacrificing animals cannot eternally solve the sin of mankind, so Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for the sin of mankind. All the previous sacrifices were meant to show the world the true sacrifice that is needed: Jesus. Jesus is the true High Priest who can offer the one true sacrifice. Remember how I said that a sacrifice needs three things? Well, Jesus Himself is the perfect sacrifice, the perfect temple, and the perfect priest.
The high priests in the order of Aaron played the role of foretelling the work of Jesus as a High Priest. But it was not complete because they were still just human beings with their past flaws. They can’t solve the problem of sin themselves. God needed a blameless high priest. Jesus came to this earth with humanity like Aaron, but also with God’s divinity. He was not born an imperfect human being like the other high priests; He was the perfected man who followed God.
Is that why Jesus did not come through the tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe?
Great observation! People thought – and justifiably so! – that the Aaronic priesthood in the tribe of Levi was the only path for priesthood. But contrary to expectation, God raised a true priest through the line of the tribe of Judah. Even the tribe of Judah could have never imagined this!
But I’m confused. You are a being without a father or mother or any genealogy, with no beginning or end (Heb 7:3). If you signify Jesus but have no genealogy, then why would Jesus need the genealogy of Judah?
Because that signifies the power of an indestructible life! (Heb 7:16)
The power of an indestructible life? What do you mean?
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit; He is the Word that became flesh. This means that He was not born through human bloodline, or in other words, “without father, without mother” (Heb 7:3). However! At the same time, every high priest must be “taken from among men” (Heb 5:1), so Jesus came through the genealogy of men. But since He was not born through human bloodline, He cannot be confined in the genealogy. He is the One who is, was, and is to come. Remember that Jesus asked, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?” And the Pharisees answered, “The son of David.” Then we see Jesus asking back, “Then how is He his son if David calls Him ‘Lord’?” (Matt 22:42-45)
This may be ignorant of me, but I have to ask. Are you greater than Abraham?
Oh, you can find that answer in the Bible!
*Laughing* When I met Abraham, of course! Remember how I blessed Abraham in our encounter? Well, Hebrews 7:7 shows that the lesser is blessed by the greater. The Bible showing that I am greater than Abraham means that Jesus is incomparable to the high priests of the tribe of Levi, who were only descendants of Abraham. Among the high priests of the tribe of Levi, there was not a single person who could truly understand and directly feel the suffering of the people, nor could any of them solve the people’s pain by going through it together. But Jesus could! He triumphed through prayer in the midst of that extreme agony of death, because He learned obedience and humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross. So He has all the qualifications of a high priest. Moreover, He was designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:7-10). Unlike the high priests among men, He is the One and only high priest of God’s covenantal oath, the Eternal High Priest!
May I ask one more ignorant question?
*Smiles* There are no ignorant questions. Please ask!
After listening to you, I now somewhat understand a bit about you. But it’s still very difficult to understand… is it necessary to learn about you?
Absolutely! Please try to learn more and more about me, for your own sake! To know more of me is to know more of Jesus, and you must know Jesus in order to go to heaven! You must never stop in your pursuit knowing the Word! To know me is to go beyond drinking milk like an infant and finally eating solid food. You can be acquainted with the word of righteousness and practice your senses to distinguish between good and evil! (Heb 5:11-14; 1 Cor 3:1-2).
Think about the time of Jesus. What did Israelites do because they could not recognize Jesus as the eternal high priest who came in the order of Melchizedek? Please do not repeat that! Look back on things that Jesus had to go through, all the poverty, hunger, diseases, inhospitality, ostracism, and torture. He shed tears when He heard that the people He loved died of illness, and wept in torment for the future of the nation. He was innocent but falsely accused, and He was betrayed by His beloved disciples. But He overcame all those hardships and trials through the Word. He partook and will help you in the midst of all your hardships and tribulations, and allow you to overcome it all (Heb 2:18). He is the eternal High Priest who came in the order of me! Please study all there is to study about the High Priest!
*This article has reassembled parts of the 6th book of the History of Redemption series: The Genealogy of High Priest in Light of God’s Administration in the History of Redemption.
We recommend reading the whole book to understand the full content.
*This post can also be read in 'Champyungan'. (http://champyungan.com/en/)