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Types of Christ in the Old Testament

Melchizedek as a Type of Christ

Hebrews 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (KJV) . . . Melchizedek was "made like unto the Son of God." Chapter seven draws several absolute similarities between Melchizedek and Christ. It is amazing how many ways that Melchizedek and Christ are so similar to each other. The only information of any kind we have concerning Melchizedek is found in Gen.14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Heb.5:6,10; 6:20; all Heb. chapter 7.

Hebrews 7:1-2 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [2] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (KJV) . . . Melchizedek was called the "King of Peace" because of his being the King of Salem, which means peace. Christ is called the "Prince of Peace", because of the spiritual peace he brings to all who follow Him.

Melchizedek is a priest forever (Heb.7:3) as is Christ (Heb.7:17). Melchizedek is a priest forever in the sense that we have no record of the beginning or end of his priesthood. Melchizedek has no recorded mother or father. Therefore in the sense of not knowing his beginning or end, he is a priest forever. Jesus continues in his priestly role forever (Heb.7:24).

Melchizedek was not a priest after the law of Moses. He was of the tribe of Levi. He was not even a Jew. Melchizedek was a priest long before the law came into effect. Similar words are spoken in Hebrews 7:14, 16 concerning Christ. Jesus could not be a priest after the law of Moses. He was not of the tribe of Levi. His priesthood had to be a different priesthood . . . the priesthood of Melchizedek.

The priesthood of Melchizedek was far superior to that of the Levitical priesthood. We know that the priesthood paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham (Heb.7:9). In the same respect Christ's priesthood is far superior to the Levitical priesthood. If perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?" (Heb.7:11) We know that Christ need not have to offer sacrifice for His sins because He has no sin (1 Pet.2:22; 1 John 3:3,5). And he has offered the great sacrifice for our sins, Himself.

Genesis 14:17-24 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. [18] And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. [19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: [20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. [21] And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. [22] And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, [23] That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: [24] Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion. (KJV) . . . Melchizedek bringing bread and wine to Abraham suggests two important truths: #1 Abraham throughout the New Testament is presented as a pattern of a Christian under grace . . . NOT of a Jew under the law. Grace on God's part is made possible only through the death of Christ, who said "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). #2 The partaking of the bread and wine on Abraham's part may not have been fully understood by Abraham. It certainly is NOT understood by the majority who partake of it today . . . but without doubt, it had great significance in the sight of God.

There is much in the Scripture that comes under the category of typology. There are many theological terms that we use in Bible study and in Bible teaching. One of them is typology. Whenever we talk about a type, we mean an Old Testament picture of the person and work of Christ. For example, in the Old Testament, we read about a brazen serpent being lifted up, and all who looked upon the serpent were healed from the snakebites; and then we hear in John chapter 3 that that is a picture of Jesus Christ; and it says, "As the Son of Man was lifted...as the serpent was lifted up, so shall the Son of Man be lifted up, and those who look on Him in faith shall be healed from sin."

We read in the Old Testament about lambs being slain, and then we hear the words of John the Baptist, "Behold, the Lamb of God." That is referring to Christ. There are many 'pictures' in the Old Testament of Christ. These are called 'types', and Christ is the antitype (true type) or the fulfillment of that type. Types are always weak symbols, at best. A lamb cannot compare with the Lamb of God realistically. Nor does a serpent of brass compare to the cross of Jesus Christ realistically. They are just pictures, meant to help us better understand the Bible.

When we talk about a priest today, people think about many different things. They think of a man in a robe, blessing people or going through certain rituals. A Jewish priest historically wore all kinds of clothing and apparatus. To the Jew, the priesthood was very exalted, and the priesthood was very real to Judaism. The priests' job was to connect men with God. The priest was the one who built the bridge from man to God; and to the Jew, the priesthood was very important. To them, religion was access to God; and since they could not go directly to God, they had to go through a mediator; and the priests were their mediators.

On the Day of Atonement, the people could not go into the Holy of Holies and put the blood on the mercy seat. The high priest did that. He mediated between God and men. This was how God designed it, that certain men would be called out, set apart, sons of Aaron and Levi, to minister as priests.

In the Book of Hebrews, the writer is saying that there is a greater High Priest than any of the Jewish ones. This One who does NOT need to make atonement for His own sins, for He had none! The Jewish priesthood was inadequate. They had to keep doing it over and over again. There was never any final satisfaction. Every time a man sinned, he had to offer a sacrifice all over again. The priests' work never stopped.

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Hebrews shows that what we need is a new and better Priesthood, a new and better Sacrifice and points out that both of those are realized in Jesus Christ, who Himself is a Better Sacrifice and a Better Priest. The Book of Hebrews is a literal presentation of the preeminence of Christ. It presents Jesus Christ as the Exalted One. It speaks about the fact that He is the Mediator of a better covenant with a better hope. He brings a better promise and a better Sacrifice, better a better country, a better covenant . . . not earthly but heavenly, a heavenly Christ, a heavenly calling, a heavenly gift, a heavenly country, a heavenly Jerusalem. Christ gave us a BETTER WAY!

Christ Jesus IS the Perfect Priest. He fits ALL the qualifications of a priest, and He supersedes all qualifications of any priest! He's far above and beyond. The Holy Spirit writes about the priesthood of Jesus Christ, because THAT is the very heart of Judaism. Jesus is superior to prophets, superior to angels, superior to Moses, superior to Joshua, superior to anyone or anything! Jesus is superior to everything in the old covenant. But, since the heartbeat of Judaism is the priesthood; and if Jesus is really who He claims to be, then He must be superior to Aaron and every other priest.

Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. There are many different ideas about WHO Melchizedek is. Some say an angel, which is a common thought. Others think that he is Jesus Christ, and the reason they say that is because there is so much mystery around him. The whole concept of Melchizedek is an amazing mystery. But, God wrote the Bible . . . in the Book of Genesis, there are just three little verses about Melchizedek. A thousand years later, in Psalm 110:4, there is just one little verse about him; where God Himself swears to His Son that He will be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Another thousand years passes, and another . . . and then Melchizedek shows up in the Book of Hebrews. The same God that wrote the Book of Genesis also wrote the Book of Hebrews. The Bible was written by the inspiration of God.

Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. Before Abraham ran into the king of Sodom, he met Melchizedek, who was the king of Salem. Melchizedek was not only the king, but he was the priest of the Most High God. When he met Abraham, he blessed him, and then Abraham took of the spoils and paid it to Melchizedek. That's all we hear of him until the Book of Psalms.

On the one side is Aaron's priesthood. On the other side is Melchizedek's priesthood. Aaron's priesthood was national . . . it was strictly Judaistic. The priests that were under Aaron were priests of Israel. These priests were subject to the kings. They were NOT kings themselves. They were subjects in a kingdom. Aaron's priesthood offered NO permanent righteousness in peace. Just continual sacrificing, nothing permanent. It NEVER established a permanent righteousness for man nor permanent peace with God. That peace and that righteousness were shattered every time they sinned.

Aaron's priesthood was hereditary. It didn't matter how good of a man you were. If you were born into the right family, you were automatically a priest, no matter how good or how bad you were (Lev.10:1-2). Aaron's priesthood was a timed priesthood, from the age of about 25 to 50. It was limited by time. So Aaron's priesthood was a national one subject to kings, no permanent righteousness in peace, hereditary, and limited by time. This is important because Melchizedek's priesthood supersedes Aaron's in EVERY way. "Therefore," the Holy Spirit says, "Christ is a better priest than Aaron."

To the Jew that means a lot, because if Christ is a Greater Priest than Aaron, then they MUST turn to Christ. The new covenant is better than the old covenant, and that's the issue here. God is trying to reach Israel, trying to get Israel to turn FROM Judaism TO Christ and Christianity. It is very important that the Jews understand that Christianity is far superior than its priesthood in EVERY way!

Zechariah 6:13 Even 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. (KJV) . . . Christ is the King! And He shall be a priest upon His throne. This is an unheard of concept; BUT . . . it is CLEARLY prophesied in Zechariah! NO one in the Aaron priesthood could possibly be a King on the throne! Christ Jesus SHALL be a Priest, a Priest on a throne, a royal priesthood. Christ shall be Supreme Royalty! A King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev.19:16).

Melchizedek's very name was righteousness, and his city (Salem, Jerusalem) was peace. His was a kingdom and his was a priesthood of righteousness and peace.
That is typical of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the ONLY One who can provide a permanent righteousness! When a sinner comes to Jesus Christ, invites Him into his life . . . and then sins. Does he have to go back and ask Jesus to come in again, and again and again? NO. Jesus' righteousness covers him forever. And what about peace with God? When you sin (and you will), do you go back into being God's enemy (Rom.5:10) again? Will He destroy you? NO! Christ Jesus secures righteousness and peace for you on a PERMANENT basis . . . NOT like the Jewish priests.

Melchizedek as a type of Christ, even though mentioned just a few times in the Old Testament, Melchizedek is a significant 'type' of Jesus Christ. His history and the facts about him all point to Jesus as our King and Priest. Christ's priesthood is NOT an afterthought with God; He was predestined as the sinless Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. God gave us, before Jesus' Coming, many different types "proofs" of His determinate counsel concerning His Son and His royal priesthood.

Types of Christ in the Old Testament

Type of Israel, Jonah

Types . . . Eve Bride of Christ

Types of Christ's Death, Coats of Skin

Types of Christ's Death, Old Testament Sacrifices

Types of Christ's Death, Tabernacle

Types of Christ, Adam

Types of Christ, David

Types of Christ, Elijah

Types of Christ, Elisha

Types of Christ, Examples

Types of Christ, Isaac

Types of Christ, Job

Types of Christ and His Resurrection, Jonah

Types of Christ, Joseph

Types of Christ, Melchezidek

Types of Christ, Moses

Types of Christ, the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

Types of Christ, Samson

Types of Christ, the Rock

Types of Christ, the Brazen Serpent

Types of Christ, the Exodus

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