Thursday, October 25, 2012
The author resumes his argument that the "High Priesthood" of Jesus supercedes all previous priesthoods. He likens this priesthood to the priesthood of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was king of Salem in Genesis (later called Jerusalem) and was honored by Abram (Abraham) with a tithe of the spoils of war from the rescue of Lot from Shinar (see Genesis 14). Melchizedek appears to have no beginning or ending and he blesses Abram (Genesis 14:19-20). The writers in the first century looked at Melchizedek as an eternal high priest that presaged the arrival of the ultimate high priest. Early Christians, and the author of Hebrews, believed that Jesus was this high priest after the order of Melchizedek. For the modern reader this seems a bit convoluted but in the first century this was a significant issue.