Melchizedek And The Letter To The Hebrews

Q. I am reading Hebrews and I saw the order of Melchizedek ending I think two verses, so I looked it up to understand what that is I am still a bit confused though could you kindly explain to me what exactly is the order of Melchizedek and why reference was made to it in Hebrews ?

A. Melchizedek is mentioned briefly in Genesis 14:18-20.During Abraham’s time he was the king of the city of Salem, as Jerusalem was originally known, and was also the priest there. This means he was both king and priest, a combination forbidden under the Levitical Law, which came later. In Psalm 110:4 David wrote that God made Jesus a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. The writer of Hebrews used this to show that the priesthood of the Lord Jesus is superior to the priesthood of the Levitical Law, and by implication that the righteousness given to believers through faith in Jesus (New Covenant) is superior to the righteousness one can earn by keeping the Levitical law (Old Covenant).

In reading the Letter to the Hebrews it’s important to understand that the recipients were Jewish believers in Jesus who were under a great deal of pressure to return to the practice of Judaism. Many of them had been Levitical priests and needed to hear a defense of the New Covenant from someone who understood the Old Covenant. That doesn’t mean the letter is not for Gentiles, but holding on to that perspective as we read it can help us to understand it better.

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