Reading: Hebrews 5
1. THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD
Israel (Jacob) had 12 sons and each became the progenitor of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The descendants of Levi, Jacob's third son, were selected by the Almighty for duties relating to the Tabernacle when the rest of Israel went astray (Exodus 32); and from this tribe of Levi, Yahweh chose the sons of Aaron to be His priests. This meant that in the Aaronic Priesthood one became a priest not by personal preference or human ordination, but by Yahweh's appointment; for He alone can decide into which family a person is born. In view of this fact it behoves all Christians to study the Aaronic Priesthood.
A Priest's Ordination/Consecration
When they came of age, priests in the Aaronic Priesthood were ordained by the Holy Spirit of the Most High, symbolized by the anointing oil poured on their heads.
|Exodus 30:30|| And thou shalt anoint Aaron
and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto
me in the priest's office.|
2. A PRIEST'S DUTIES
Yahweh designed Israel to be a theocracy, a nation governed by Himself through His priests, prophets and divinely appointed governors. The Aaronic Priesthood was responsible for carrying out the following duties: education, blessing, sacrifice and judgement.
|Malachi 2:4|| And ye shall know that I have sent
this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi,
saith the LORD of hosts |
5: My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
|Ezra:7:10|| For Ezra (the
priest) had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD,
and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.|
|Numbers 6:22|| And the LORD spake unto Moses,
23: Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them,
24: The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
27: And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
|2Chron.30:27|| Then the priests the Levites
arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard,
and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even
The Israelites were NOT allowed to offer sacrifices in places of their own choice. They were commanded by Jehovah to bring their sacrifices to the door of the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) where ordained priests officiated and explained the spiritual lessons concerning sin, sacrifice and forgiveness.
|Leviticus 17 1||And the LORD spake unto Moses,
2: Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying,
3: What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp,
4: And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people:
5: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD.
6: And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD.
7: And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
In view of the fact that the Aaronic priests knew God's law, they were best able to officiate as judges and to specify the divinely ordained penalties for various sins and breaches of the law.
|Deut.17:9|| And thou shalt come unto the
priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in
those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence
10: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:
11:According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do
3. A PRIEST'S CHARACTER
Needless to say, in view of these, and other, sacred duties all priests were to be men of good character with holiness being their first priority. The word 'holy' means set apart for sacred use, something dedicated to Yahweh and His work. Holiness is often confused with meekness, kindness or a sacred bearing. Holiness doubtless encompass these things, but is much more. Holiness is spiritual purity, dedication, total commitment and a setting apart for Yahweh, His Son and His cause. Persons, days, buildings or articles become holy when set apart for sacred use and when the Spirit of the Most High is overwhelmingly present in them.
4. THE MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD
To understand anything about the Melchisedec Priesthood we must study the Aaronic Priesthood: which was simply a shadow, type, model or blueprint of the Priesthood of Melchisedec. The Melchisedec Priesthood is eternal: so it behoves all believers in Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel to study it. A priesthood obviously consists of many priests: a High Priest and under priests. It is not possible to have a priesthood with only one priest. The very fact that their is mention of a high priest means that there are subordinate priests. There are many priests in the Melchisedec Priesthood, just as there were many priests in the Aaronic Priesthood. Who are these priests? Are they with us today? Can we recognize them? We are about to discover how to identify them.
5. YESHUA OUR HIGH PRIEST
To begin with let us consider Yeshua the Messiah, the High Priest of the Melchisedec Order. The Saviour was ordained by His Father: he became a priest not by his own choice, but by Yahweh's choice, by birth, for he is the only begotten Son of God. Proof of this is found in the following verses.
|Hebrews 3:1||Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.|
|Hebrews 5: 1|| For every high priest taken from among
men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may
offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:|
2: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.
3: And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
4: And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5: So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6: As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
|Hebrews 7:17||For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.|
|Hebrews 7:21||(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)|
Yes, there is no doubt whatsoever but that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the High Priest of the Melchisedec Priesthood. He alone met every priestly requirement concerning purity and holiness. His life was a perfect example of how the Most High wanted all His priests to be. As the High Priest of the Melchisedec Priesthood, he is the One authorized to present a believer's case before his Father's throne. Concerning our Saviour's character and other qualifications I will remind you of his great love for humanity, his absolute holiness, his tender mercy towards repentant sinners, his amazing patience with us believers and how he faithfully carried out - and is still carrying out - his duties as the High Priest of the Melchisedec Order. It is impossible for me to adequately describe the Saviour's holy character and work. Nevertheless I am eternally grateful to him for his mercy - towards Max W. Mader in particular. Never a day passes but I wonder at how much he has done for me! Here are a few texts which tell of what the Scriptures say of him?
Yeshua is the Sinless One
Peter wrote: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (1Peter:2:22)
Pilate said: 'I find no fault in him.'
Standing at the foot of the cross on Mount Calvary was a Roman soldier. Note his testimony.
Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.'
The Saviour's high standard of holiness was symbolized in the High Priest's apparel and crown. See Exodus chapter 28 which gives details of the High Priest's garments, picturing holiness and beauty.
|Exodus 28:36||And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.|
Yeshua the Teacher
The Saviour was the best teacher this old world has ever seen. His subject matter, method of instruction and the authority with which he taught are faultless and are spoken of to this day.
|Mark 6:2||And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?|
|Matthew 7:29||For he taught them as one having authority|
|John 7:45|| Then came the officers to the chief
priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not
brought him? |
46: The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Yeshua the Intercessor
The Saviour spent much time in secret prayer. Many a night or early morning would see him in a solitary place conversing with his heavenly Father.
|Mark 1:35||And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.|
|Luke 5:16||And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.|
|John 17:9||I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.|
Just as Aaron the high priest of the Levitical Priesthood offered the atoning sacrifice for all Israel, Yeshua the High Priest of the Melchisedec Priesthood offered a sacrifice for all the world: but in his case it was the sacrifice of his own life! It is vitally important to bear in mind that though the Saviour died for all mankind, as far as you are concerned he died for your sins: and as far as I am concerned he died for mine. It is not enough to acknowledge that he died for the sins of the world (which of course he did). To be certain of salvation one must believe and accept that Yeshua died for MY sin. He is firstly MY Saviour and now I am his. Without a personal commitment, salvation is not possible.
|John 1:29||The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.|
|John 3:15|| That whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have eternal life.|
16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
|Galations 1:4||Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:|
|Timothy 2:14||Who gave himself for US, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.|
|Hebrews 10:9|| Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy
will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the
10: By the which will WE are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11: And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
Believe it or not, the Almighty has ordained His Son as the judge on the final Judgement Day. Today the Saviour is willing to be your advocate; but on the great Day of Judgement he will be your judge.
|Acts 17:30|| And the times of this ignorance
God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:|
31: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained
6. ARE ALL BELIEVERS PRIESTS?
The answer is No! We have already learned that in ancient days not every Israelite was a king or a priest. The nation would have amongst its people kings and priests, but not every Israelite was a priest or a king.
|Exodus 19:6||And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation|
|Revelation 1:6||And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father|
|Revelation 5:10||And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.|
When a person is converted, he/she becomes a member of the Commonwealth of Israel. We are grafted into the Olive of Israel (Romans 11). But, as we have already seen, not every ancient Israelite was a priest. It is the same in the church today: not every church member is a priest. In modern terminology there are apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, helps, healers, miracle workers and tongues.
|1 Corinthians 12:7|| But the manifestation of
the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.|
8: For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9: To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10:
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13: For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14: For the body is not one member, but many.
15: If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16: And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17: If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18: But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19: And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20: But now are they many members, yet but one body ...
27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29: Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30: Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
The implied answer to all these questions is No! Not all are apostles, evangelists, teachers, miracle workers or speakers in tongues. Many church members will have these gifts, but not every member. This means that we Christians should not, no matter how much we may want to, assume duties for which we are not divinely equipped. Bear in mind that the ear cannot do the work of the tongue, nor the hand do the work of the foot. A believer can only do what he/she is divinely authorized and empowered to do. Note this verse:
|John3:27||A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.|
If this be the case, then how are we to know who is a priest in the Melchisedec order? The answer, I believe, is found in an Old Testament experience recorded in Numbers chapters 16 and 17. The story is as follows:
Some 250 leading men in Israel contended with Moses and Aaron over the priesthood, claiming that they had the ability and every right to officiate as priests. The case was set before Yahweh who worked a signal miracle to show all Israel how wrong they were: and that only the sons of Aaron were His priests. We read of how the Almighty miraculously blessed the rod of Aaron, which overnight budded, blossomed and bore almonds whilst the rods belonging to the other tribes remained unproductive. Here is the story.
|Numbers 17:6|| And Moses spake unto the children
of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod apiece,
for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even
twelve rods: and the rod of Aaron was among their rods.|
7: And Moses laid up the rods before the LORD in the tabernacle of witness.
8: And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.
9: And Moses brought out all the rods from before the LORD unto all the children of Israel: and they looked, and took every man his rod.
10: And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.
It is exactly the same in the Melchisedec Priesthood.
A believer is only able - with Yahweh's help - to successfully
do the job/s He has been qualified and authorized
to do. Millions of believers seek positions for which they are
unqualified, and in their frantic attempts to produce fruit end in
frustrating failure. They bear no buds, blossoms or fruit. Better
that we all pray to God to open our eyes to His plans for us:
and when we find and understand them, let us faithfully carry
them out whatever they may be. Only then will we meet with the
7. BELIEVE AND BE SAVED
Millions of people have read portions of the Bible and many know it very well. But the most important thing is not to know the Bible, but to know the God of the Bible and to know His Son Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). If you cannot honestly say that you know God as your personal Redeemer and heavenly Father, then you have missed the central message of the Bible. Always remember that you were put on earth to see if you would come to know God and be born into His family.
|John 1:12||as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:|
|John 3:16||For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.|