A Priest Forever in the Order of Melchizedek

Hebrews 6:13–7:9

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  [Hebrews 6:19-20]

This, I believe, is the height of the Hebrews letter:  Jesus is our Great High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  This takes us into Hebrews 7-10, which focuses on Jesus’ ministry behind the veil, in the Holy of Holies, as our Great High Priest.  He for sure is better than Aaron, “according to the order of Melchizedek.”

So before we get into Jesus’ ministry as our Great High Priest, the Hebrews writer describes this “priest of the Most High God” [Heb 7:1], Melchizedek.  Now, who in the world is Melchizedek?  Because in our passage today, we see that he is very significant, someone who even Abraham gave tithes and was blessed by him [ref. Heb 7:6].

The way it worked in biblical times is that “the lesser is blessed by the better” [Heb 7:7] and tithes were given to a greater, usually an offering to God.  So here we have Abraham, a prominent man of faith seemingly a lessor to Melchizedek because of the tithes and blessing.  But we don’t really know who Melchizedek is.  He appears out of nowhere in Genesis 14 and disappears just as fast.  And then King David refers to him [or maybe Him] in Psalm 110.  We will refer to both passages this morning.

There are so many opinions on Melchizedek’s identity, and from a lot of smart people.  That should tell us [at least it tells me] to leave it alone until we get to heaven.  We will for sure know for sure in heaven.  I think, too, that perhaps why the writer of Hebrews didn’t just spell it out for us is maybe he didn’t know for sure either?  What do you think?  Do you think the Hebrews writer just didn’t want to tell us definitively or he simply didn’t know either?

The important thing we can know, however, is the message:  Jesus is our Great High Priest Who is a better priest with a better ministry.  And while we will touch on the question of who Melchizedek is this morning, we will more focus on the message of Jesus’ Great High Priestly ministry to us behind the veil inside the Holy of Holies.

“Let us go on to perfection” [Heb 6:1] and that we can do by focusing on what we clearly know:  Jesus is our Great High Priest Who ministers to us inside the Holy of Holies.  May we all enter in and grow up and mature.