Here is today’s Calendar Piece, Aaron, symbolic of priesthood in general:
December 14th | A Priest Forever
Bible Background: The Hebrew name “Melchizedek” comes from two Hebrew words: Melek, which means “king” and Tsedeq which
means “righteousness”. Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness”! Melchizedek was also King of Salem. Salem is from the Hebrew for “Peace”. David said that the Messiah (the King) would be a priest like this Melchizedek. There was no distinction between Jew and Gentile in Melchizedek’s time: He was priest over all people, hinting that this would be the future state of priesthood for the Messiah. Priest AND King. Who could possibly fit that bill?
While some people like to think of Melchizedek as a pre-incarnate appearing of Christ (as with “the Angel of the Lord” sightings in Scripture), Melchizedek is traditionally considered to be Shem (Noah’s son) who during the time of Abraham was still living at several hundred years old (Stone, Perry. The Melchisedec Priesthood. [Online Digital.] November 16 2012). The lack of ancestry mentioned for Melchizedek in Genesis does not necessarily mean there was none (in fact, its absence indicates that the ancestry is presumed or already known). We are given a “snapshot” of Melchizedek in Genesis; he becomes a perfect analogy to Jesus because there are no details given about him that would distract from that picture or prediction of the Christ.
(FYI: The longevity of the post-diluvian patriarchs fits the decay curve that we typically see in genetic “bottlenecking”: it is currently thought that the ante-diluvian humans had an ability to produce Telomerase in a way that prevented the Telomere reduction we see occurring in humans today. It could be that the genetic encoding for such Telomerase production was obscured or deleted by a genetic mutation which, through the limited genetic pool of the eight occupants of the Ark, bred long life-spans out of the general population. The implications of this are tremendous: not only were there people in Abraham’s day living to be over 400 years old, they may have been the Neanderthal peoples we see living independently of modern humans and with all the sophistication of their contemporaries. Neanderthal or not, the post-diluvian patriarchs were likely the historical sources of pagan myth and legend, forming the basis for mythologies that in many ways confirm the Genesis account. Imagine outliving your grandchildren and great-grandchildren for multiple generations: you would wonder why they were all dying off before you! They spread out from your camp in search of greater resources, leaving you alone with other “extreme-old-timers”. It stands to reason that several generations removed from you, your descendants would begin to make customs of ancestral worship even though you preferred to live apart from them and worship differently. They would see your longevity as confirmation of a demi-god status. One person who could have been regarded as such, Shem, went against the grain as priest of God Most High, King of the place that later became Jerusalem. Fascinating!)
Melchizedek (perhaps Shem) represents something of ancient Man and his understanding of a God who judges sin, provides atonement, and preserves the righteous; Melchizedek is a figure of the old, primeval order of Elohim-worship. The baton of authentic worship of the One, True God was handed to Abraham: The King of Salem acknowledged him as the progenitor of the next spiritual “generation” of monotheistic worship which had all but dwindled in the time between Shem and his seventh-great grandson. The ability to worship God in spirit and truth was ultimately provided by Abraham’s descendant, Jesus: a priest forever according to the order of his foreshadower, Melchizadek.
Bible Study Question: Read Hebrews 7 and 8. How is Jesus like Melchizedek?
Today’s Main Idea: There were two types of priesthood in the Old Testament. The first was Melchizedek’s priesthood: in His day there were no Jews, He was priest over everybody. The second priesthood came over 400 years later, when God gave the Law to Israel. He picked the tribe of Levi to be His priests; Aaron (Moses’ brother) was the first High Priest. Today there is a third priesthood—like Melchizedek’s—where Jews and Gentiles alike offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving through Jesus our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). Jesus is our “Melchizedek”! Melchizedek was both a king and a priest: Jesus is our King of Righteousness and Great High Priest over all, Jew or Gentile! Because we are in His Kingdom, we are priests under Him! (Reuben, Dick. Our Great High Priest. [MP3.] 1995).
Application: In recent years there has been outrage against Catholic priests and other clerics who have used their positions of influence to exploit their parishioners. It is terrible when anyone abuses another, but there is something extra-awful about a person in an official, spiritual capacity causing harm. I am not trying to make a case against any person in a pastoral occupation, except to point out that there is an extra expectation and responsibility associated with his position of influence. Have you ever thought that this may apply to us? The Bible makes it clear that WE are priests in Jesus’ kingdom; we have been given authority and God expects us to use it for good.
Too often, we consider ourselves merely to be beneficiaries of God’s Grace when in fact, we are supposed to be stewards of it (1 Peter 4:10)! God poured His grace on us for a reason, not only to save us, but to equip us to do the good works He prepared for us from the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10). You and I are not lay people, if we follow Jesus: we are priests administering His Grace to a broken world. We are missionaries, we are intercessors, we are influencers, and we are preservers. All of us who believe. Not because we are paid by a church or a congregation but because we have been commissioned by our Great High Priest, Jesus.
This Christmas, realize that if you follow this Great High Priest Jesus, you are not merely a participant; you are an officiating celebrant. You offer praises like sweet incense that change the spiritual landscape around you so that when others walk into your home, there will be an air of God’s peace about you. You speak words of spirit and life that penetrate the hardest of hearts and minds so that when your family members return home, they take a seed of truth along with them. You intervene, prayerfully “standing in the gap” between your loved ones and death, offering the incense of God’s Word before Him–reminding Him of His promises and asserting your faith in them–as you pray for your loved ones this Christmas; physically, you “head them off at the pass” by redirecting foul conversation and steering loved ones away from making poor life choices, encouraging them to do well. You are Salt. You are Light. You are the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, that His kingdom may come and His will be done in your home, in your Christmas celebrations, as it is in Heaven. What an awesome privilege and opportunity you and I both have this Christmas! Let’s not just bask in God’s glory this Christmas; let’s administer it to everything that has lost its shine and yet doesn’t realize it.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving us physical symbols so we can understand spiritual things. Melchizedek helps us to understand that Jesus is our Great High Priest AND our King. Help me to be a good priest in Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name; Amen.
Family Activity: Altar Box. Take an old tissue box and cover it with Gold (see Exodus 30:1-6). Make “Incense Paper” by spraying perfume on a notepad; write a lovely thought about God or something to thank Him for and put it into your Altar Box. This is your sacrifice of Praise, a sweet smell to God! You can read them on a rainy day or whenever you don’t exactly feel up to your priestly duties!
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