Scripture Notes and Queries

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 9
“Ina Kent,” asks— What is the character of Christ’s priesthood now; Aaronic or Melchisedec?
Is Aaronic priesthood, intercessory? and Melchizedec, blessing If so, can Christ assume the latter order of priesthood until the millennium?
A:—1. As a rule, Aaronic priesthood is characterized by atonement and intercession; that of Melchisedec by power and blessing. He is “the high priest of our profession,” as Christians: He will be in result “priest of the Most High God”—God’s millennial name.
The order of His priesthood is (as ever) that of Melchisedec —its exercise at present after the pattern or character of Aaron, i.e., intercessional. He was “called” to the priesthood by the word of Him that said unto Him, “Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5:55So 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. (Hebrews 5:5).) This has reference to His being the Son of God, as born of a woman, and born in time on earth. Compare Psa. 2:77I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalm 2:7), and Luke 1:3535And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35). This is distinct, from His being God’s eternal Son.
He is installed in His priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, as having gone on high when he had been rejected on earth, had died and risen, and had ascended to heaven. Compare Heb. 5:66As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:6), and Psa. 110:44The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 110:4).
He was perfected for His ‘priesthood (especially for its present exercise), “in the days of his flesh,” through strong crying and tears, and His pathway of sorrow and suffering, and then He went on high. Heb. 5:7-97Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:7‑9); Mark 14:33-4033And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. (Mark 14:33‑40); Luke 22:40-5340And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. 47And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. (Luke 22:40‑53).
Having gone through all this, He was “saluted of God a High priest after the order of Melchisedec,” (Heb. 5:1010Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:10)), when. He ascended into the heavens. There and then He first practically exercised His priesthood. (See query 3.) When He comes forth again He will exercise it after its true order, as Melchisedec.
There was an action done on the cross by Him as priest before He took His seat on high. It is noticed in Heb. 2:1717Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17). But strictly speaking it was not a priestly act, though it was the act of a priest. I allude to His making propitiation for the sins of the people. In scripture you will find that priesthood m its true character follows the work of redemption. As sinners the people needed a sacrifice, but as saints they need a priest. The High Priest standing confessing the sins of the people, was not, in this act, in his normal place as standing between a reconciled people and God. Christ was both priest and sacrifice to make propitiation for the sins of the people; but having done this as a priest He enters on the exercise of His priesthood, standing between a people who have been reconciled to God, and a God who has reconciled them to Himself.
Then follows an immense heavenly interval, characterized by the presence of the Holy Ghost dwelling on earth, before Christ comes forth to minister joy and strength and blessing as Melchisedec, in the age to come. Here then, is where Christianity comes in. In the epistle to the Hebrews, He is only known as gone in, never has come out: though here is a promise that He will. This stamps the primary application of the epistle to. Christians in the most characteristic manner. For, as Christians, we have to do with a Priest who is gone in to the holiest; Israel has to do with a priest who has come out
No doubt, His priesthood in the holiest now sustains His people Israel as a separate people on earth, till the morning of their history arrives. They are apparently lost to man’s eyes, but the true Priest orders a light for this people “before the Lord continually,” “from the evening unto the morning” of their history: the twelve loaves on the pure table in their two rows, with the frankincense put on them, in type shows how He maintains them in a perpetual memorial before the Lord. (See Lev, 24:1-9.)
The typical exercise of the Melchisedec priesthood is seen in Gen. 14:18-2018And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:18‑20). Abram returns from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the confederate Kings in Shaveh, and Melchisedec comes forth in connection with the name of the “Most High,” God’s millennial name—then, in millennial day, “possessor,” manifestly, “of heaven and earth.” He deals strength and joy (bread and wine) to the victorious Hebrew—blesses him, and blesses the God of Abram who had delivered him from his foes.
Thus, in the opening of the age to come, when the great confederate battle of the kings of the earth is fought, and the seed of Abraham delivered from their foes, Christ appears, introducing joy and strength, and as Priest of the Most. High God—then manifestly possessor of heaven and earth—the one now the abode of evil spirits, and the other the scene of man’s evil and Satan’s lie. He sits as a Priest on His throne (Zech. 6:1313Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:13)), the link between the then cleansed heavens, and the renewed earth, and Jehovah will “hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel “ (the seed of God), “and I will sow her unto me in the earth—i.e., the restored and delivered people, which He never yet has done (Hos. 2:21-2321And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. (Hosea 2:21‑23)). A stream of full blessing then flows from God in that day through Melchisedec.
Thus this priesthood is all blessing, after He has come forth, at a future day. This answers much of query 2.
At present we only know Him as gone in to the heavens, ever living (there) to make intercession for those that come unto God by Him (Heb. 7:2525Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)). His order of priesthood never changes. His exercise of it is certainly not after its true order but the activities of intercession constantly exercised to reconcile the condition of a poor, failing, feeble people on earth whom He has redeemed, with the perfection of the place of glory in. which He has set them on high.
Ready on the one side to give loose rein to all that is in our hearts, in a scene of corruption suited to its evil; capable on the other hand of enjoying God in all His holiness in the light of heaven; the priesthood of Christ supports our weakness in the divine desires, and all that God has caused to spring up in our hearts, and sustains us against the encroachments of the flesh and the world-ministering to us the grace we need here below, which He learned in His own path; because He has seen to the righteousness we did need on high before God; and thus we find from our God (not as it is translated “help in time of need” but,) “opportune succor” (εὔκαιρον βοἡθειαν) to prevent failure, and falling by the way. To pick us up when we have fallen, might be, indeed, “help in time of need”; but to minister “opportune succor”, supposes that we have discovered our constant need of it, and that we are in the place of danger and liability to fail. Thus prevention is better than cure. His present intercessional priesthood is active to sustain us before God by the way.
Advocacy and washing of our feet come in as actions which flow from priesthood, while not themselves strictly so.