“Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever” ( Hebrews 7:3 )
I was talking with a friend who has always struggled over the significance of Melchizedek. He wasn’t sure why he was mentioned in the Scriptures and didn’t understand why it was important to us today. He wrote off this quest for understanding after his Sunday School teacher told him it wasn’t that important, after all Melchizedek is only mentioned three times in Scripture. I on the other hand believe that understanding who Melchizedek was and why Scripture mentions him so many times is very important, especially since Jesus became a High Priest after and with the rank of his order ( Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 7:17 ).
This passage in Hebrews 7 is quite an amazing statement because it says Melchizedek had no beginning or ending. There are no records of his father, mother or ancestral line. In the same way there are no records of his death. This is odd because genealogy is very important to Jewish heritage. If you’ve ever read through Scripture chances are you eventually read through some long lists of genealogy. Even Jesus’ genealogy was covered from every angle. Matthew showed it through Joseph’s line. Luke told of Mary’s ancestry and John showed his connection to God as his one and only son. But Melchizedek has no records.
The writer of Hebrews makes this connection that without records, Melchizedek had no beginning or ending of life. In other words he has always and will always exist. Because of this, he remains a priest forever as the position of High Priest was a lifetime position ( Numbers 35:25 ).
This is extremely significant to us because Jesus has been appointed our High Priest before God after the order of Melchizedek, not the order of Aaron. The Levitical priesthood was subject to and interrupted by death. But Jesus’ priesthood was after the pattern of one who did not die, which means that His priesthood is forever and as such He will always be able to intercede on our behalf ( Hebrews 7:25 ). Death has no power to remove this office from Jesus.
Because Jesus is of Melchizedek’s order, we can ascertain certain expectations about Christ and His priesthood. First, as mentioned it is an eternal position ( Numbers 35:25, Hebrews 7:25 ). Secondly, it is based not in ancestry, but according to the power of an indestructible life ( Hebrews 7:15-16 ). Next, the change in priesthood also changes the law and its requirements ( Hebrews 7:12, Galatians 3:13, Colossians 2:13-14 ). Lastly, just as Melchizedek met Abraham and blessed him, through Christ we have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing ( Ephesians 1:3 ).
Adding up all these things helps us to understand why Melchizedek is mentioned in Scripture and why it is important. He is the pattern that shows us the incredible office that Christ Jesus holds. Understanding Jesus’ role as our High Priest brings us to a place where we can boldly approach God through faith. When we do, we know that we will find grace and mercy to help us in our times of need ( Hebrews 4:16 ).