In chapter seven of Hebrews, Jesus is compared to him, saying He was “greater even than Melchizedek.” The author believes the priesthood of Melchizedek surpassed the Levitical priests’.
First, the author believes Melchizedek’s priesthood universal and not just national. Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God. The priests officiated over the sacrifices and the atonement of sins for the people, yet Melchizedek had authority over that nation.
El Elyon (a more universal name for God and for whom Melchizedek is a priest) represents God as possessor of heaven and earth making would make him over Jew and Gentile – or Israel and the rest of the world.
Melchizedek’s priesthood was royal; he was a king and a priest. The Levitical priests had no power and could not rule anything. A political body ran the country.
Melchizedek’s name means “King of Righteousness” or “King of Peace,” but he could not bring a lasting peace or righteousness for his people, the Levitical priests of Israel had no permanent righteousness.
Each year they repeated the sacrifices to remove the sins from the people. It was ongoing and never ending. They could promise no peace. Only Jesus did that.
Continuing, Melchizedek’s priesthood was personal and not hereditary. In Hebrews 7:3, this character is said to have no father or mother and is without beginning or end. This does not mean that he just appeared, but that the Old Testament does not record his origin or death.
The Greek word “Agenealogetos”, found nowhere else in the Bible or Greek literature, means “without genealogy” and is only used here in the New Testament. The author of Hebrews made up a word to solidify the concept of Melchizedek’s lasting value to the Hebrew people.
The point that can be made here is that Melchizedek’s parentage and origin are irrelevant to his priesthood. He was a Canaanite who reigned in early Jerusalem and led worship for the one and only God.
In comparison, the Aaronic priesthood depended upon its lineage. No one could lead worship for the Hebrew people if he could not trace himself back to Aaron.
Jesus, himself was not from the Levitical line yet was considered the Great High Priest. This Savior was from the line of Judah which would correlate to the non-priestly line of Melchizedek.
Finally, Melchizedek’s priesthood was eternal and not temporary. When looking at the priests from the tribe of Levi, their work in the temple only lasted 25 years. After that, they grew too old to complete the sacrifices for the people.
Jesus is a priest like Melchizedek in that his priesthood would never end.
Jesus’ priesthood was universal, righteous, royal, peaceful, personal and eternal. These same qualities were attributed to the priest-king Melchizedek by the writer of Hebrews, which makes him a paramount character in this theologically significant book in the New Testament.