A Higher Priesthood: Hebrews 5:5-10
“5) So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”; 6) just as He says also in another passage, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” 7) In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8) Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9) And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10) being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”Hebrews‬ ‭5:5-10‬
We now have the contrast of two priesthoods made complete. Hebrews 5:1-4 talks about the priesthood of Aaron. Hebrews 5:5:-10 talks about the priesthood of Melchizedek. So who was Melchizedek.
His story was told way back in Genesis 14:17-24. He met Abram when he returned from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him. At that time Abram had rescued Lot and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who had been taken captive.
According to vs 18, Melchizedek brought bread and wine. The comparison to the upper room when Jesus took the bread and wine during the Passover meal and instituted the Lords Supper should not be overlooked. (See Matthew 26:26-35)
Notice that Melchizedek was king of Salem as well as priest of the Most High God. Hebrews 7:1-2 tells us the translation of His name is “king of righteousness” and “king of peace.” Both names also apply to Jesus Christ.
The writer of the book Hebrews develops his case about Jesus being in the priesthood of Melchizedek all the way through Hebrews chapter seven. Let’s look at a few characteristics in this comparison.
First, the appearance of the priesthood of Melchizedek was approximately 500 years prior to the priesthood of Aaron. It was while Abraham still had the name Abram. This priesthood of Melchizedek predated the priesthood of the descendants of Aaron. That is significant.
Second, the priesthood of Melchizedek was connected directly to God, while the priesthood of Aaron was connected to man. The priesthood of Aaron is also called the Leviticus priesthood. (See Hebrews 7:11) By contrast, notice that Hebrews 5:5-6 connects the priesthood of Melchizedek to the Son of God.
Third, the priesthood of Melchizedek was described as being an “eternal priesthood” in Hebrews 5:6. Later in Hebrews 7:3 the text stresses that Melchizedek “… had neither beginning of days or end of life, but was made like the Son of God, he abides as a priest perpetually.” Many scholars believe Melchizedek was in fact the pre-incarnate Christ. He had a heavenly priesthood.
Fourth, Hebrews 5:7-8 stresses that Jesus learned obedience by what He suffered. He offered both prayers and supplications. He walked in human shoes and yet remained sinless.
Fifth, Hebrews 5:9 stresses that because Jesus was perfect He became the source of eternal salvation. He was not only the priest, He also became the perfect sacrifice for sin. He was indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (See John 1:29)
Finally, according to Hebrews 5:10, God Himself ordained Jesus Christ as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. This is one of the greatest mysteries about Jesus Christ in the whole Bible. In the next three chapters the writer of the book of Hebrews is going to argue that this mystery is incomprehensible to carnally minded people.
This is where the book of Hebrews begins to identify mystery after mystery of heavenly realities hidden in Gods Word. He begins to look at many types, figures, symbols and shadows of heavenly realities. (See Hebrews 8:5) The Holy Spirit illuminates these mysteries to true believers over time.
Many have wondered where the Catholic and Orthodox priesthood comes from? That is a great question and I have no biblical answer. Jesus Christ alone is the only High Priest ordained for Christianity in the New Testament. His priesthood is perpetual. He is the only mediator between God and man mentioned in the New Testament. (See 2 Timothy 2:5-6)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global