In our study for today we are going to ponder Hebrews 7, which continues to contrast the Melchizidekan priesthood with the Levitical priesthood. Why does the author of Hebrews devote so much space to this?
Remember that the Hebrew audience was in peril of devolving back to strict Judaism, with a sprinkling of Jesus thrown in for good measure. The author is making the important point that Jesus is not a condiment, but is the main course. When Jesus came on the scene and did the work God the Father ordained Him to do, He changed everything, even down to the foundations of Judaism, even the priesthood. He transformed worship and relationship, from the Levitical priesthood which came through Aaron (Moses' bro) to a holy priesthood foreshadowed by Melchizedek and fulfilled by Himself (Jesus).
In a recent post, I put forth 3, well, really 4, schools of thought about Melchizedek. I'd like to delve deeper into one of those today. For reference, here is the post from a few days ago. If you didn't get a chance to read it, I'd recommend you do so before proceeding: http://resplendentdaughter.blogspot.com/2017/01/mystery-man.html
The Bible does not tell us explicitly much detail about the Melchizedekan priesthood, other than that Jesus is our High Priest, and He is of that priestly order - - an order from which Melchizedek also was (or is) priest. One of the (lesser well-known) schools of thought about Melchizedek is that he was/is an angelic being who took the form of a human to fulfill the role of King of Salem. If that sounds far-fetched, hang with me. I'm going to share here a synopsis of some serious study done by David W. Lowe1, in his ground-breaking (sorry for the obvious pun) book, Earthquake Resurrection.
Before I do that, though, go back and read the bulleted list of descriptors in the Mystery Man post (link above).
Although the Levitical priesthood was replaced by Jesus' superior priesthood, the Levitical priesthood served an important function in its day. It is very crucial to remember that the Bible is a book of patterns and parallels, of foreshadowings, prophecies and fulfillments. Specifically relevant to this discussion, the Temple and the Levitical priesthood were patterned after design and service in Heaven, because this is what God commanded Moses and David to do. This was established in 1 Chronicles 24-27 and is verified in Hebrews 8:23 and 9:24-25. Hebrews 9:23 likens the earthly representations to be how we might sketch the design of our home on a scratchpad. Unless we were talented artists, the resulting sketch could be very similar, but still paling in comparison to the "real and actual".
Reading 1 Chronicles 24:4-5, we see that King David appointed 24 divisions of the Levitical priesthood, from both Eleazer's and Ithamar's (Aaron's sons) descendants. Now, I invite you to go read Revelation 4 and refresh your memory as to the equally mysterious "24 elders" and "4 living creatures". 1 Peter 3:21-22 state that Jesus Christ is surrounded by different types of angelic beings as He now sits at the right hand of God. From Revelation 4-5, a picture of the throne room of God shortly after Jesus ascended to Heaven, we see some of those angelic beings. Because the Levitical priesthood had 24 orders of the priesthood, and was a pattern of what is in heaven, it follows that the 24 elders are a heavenly parallel of the priestly order of the 24 descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar. They serve the Melchizedekan priesthood of the high priest of heaven, Jesus Christ.2
Is it possible/plausible that Melchizedek was a high priest before God, an angelic being of that same priestly order? Could it be that he is in Heaven now, continuing his service to the Son of God, our great High Priest?
In the next post, we will continue to explore Hebrews by examining what this book says about the ceremony of transfer from the Levitical priesthood to the Melchizedekan.
1 @davidwlowebooks . earthquakeresurrection.com .
2 Lowe, D. W. (2005). Earthquake Resurrection: supernatural catalyst for the coming global catastrophe. ISBN: 1-4116-3970-7. Place of publication not identified: D.W. Lowe.