Study in Hebrews: Jesus – High Priest and King :: By Sean Gooding

Hebrews 5: 5-11

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ 6 As He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’; 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest ‘according to the order of Melchizedek,’ 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (NKJV).

We will begin a very technical part of this journey in Hebrews from here and for a while. We will do our best to take small bites and make sure that we cover all of the doctrines as best we can. There are many that have Jesus only as a New Testament character, and they do not see Him very much in the Old Testament. But we are about to explore that Jesus was not only in the Old Testament but that He fulfills a role that was set up before the Law of Moses was ever written. And that puts Him in a unique position to execute both the office of our High Priest and be the King of Israel.

It is thus very important to establish that this is possible. The writer of Hebrews had to be able to do this because in the Law and even before that, the office of king was held in one tribe, that being Judah, and the office of High Priest was given to the tribe of Levi, and the two did not mix. We know for sure, according to both Luke and Matthew, that Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah. See Luke 3:33-34, which shows Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah, who was the son of Jacob. In Matthew 1:1-3, we again see that Jesus was born from Judah. Thus, as the oldest living male from the tribe of Judah, He has the legal right to be the King of the Jews. If you will recall, Jesus was executed as the King of the Jews.

Matthew 27:36-37,And sitting down, they kept watching over Him there. Above His head they posted the written charge against Him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS(Berean Study Bible).

Notice what Pilate had written; not he claimed to be the King of the Jews, but “This is Jesus, The King of the Jews.’ So, the Roman government recognized Him as the King of the Jews. This is witnessed in John 19:19 as well. It is clear then, from the Bible, that Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah, the king tribe. It is clear that He is the oldest living male of the tribe and falls from the lineage of Mary, not Joseph. This is important, but this will take another very long lesson; as such, His claim to the throne of Israel is legitimate. He was recognized by the Roman government as such.

But what about the office of High Priest? No one from the tribe of Judah has even been a High Priest. So, to show us that Jesus also has the right to be the High Priest, the author of Hebrews – really the Holy Spirit – takes us on a historical journey all the way back to Genesis 14, and there we meet a man called Melchizedek in verses 18-20.

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all” (NKJV).

Abraham paid tithes to a person called the King of Salem, King of Peace. Then we are told in Hebrews that Jesus is ‘priest’ after the order of Melchizedek. So, this Melchizedek was both the King of Salem, the King of Peace, and the High Priest. Now, Salem was a small city that would be conquered by a people called the Jebusites in about 1000 BC, and they were then conquered by King David.

2 Samuel 5:6-7, “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, ‘You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,’ thinking, ‘David cannot come in here.’ Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)” (NKJV).

The city that we know as Jerusalem was once ruled by a man, Melchizedek, who was the King of Peace (Salem) and the High Priest. The writer of Hebrews then is telling us Jesus is going to rule Jerusalem one day, the King of Salem (Peace), and He is our High Priest now, as we have established with His intercessory work over the past few weeks. Jesus then has the right to be both for us. God established this before the Law and had Abraham pay tithes to him. Notice as well that Melchizedek also shared ‘bread and wine’ with Abraham and that He blessed Abraham. The only other person to bless Abraham was God.

Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (NKJV).

Jesus is the King of Peace, and He is our High Priest in a spiritual sense, but He is also the legal heir to the throne of David. And one day soon, He will come to claim His rightful place. Will you be ready for His return?

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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