Friday: The Order of Melchizedek

Friday: The Order of Melchizedek

Written on 10/04/2019
James Boice

By James Boice

Theme: The Need to Trust in Jesus

In this week’s lessons we learn how Psalm 110 and the book of Hebrews points us to the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who brings a new and better covenant.

Scripture: Psalm 110:4-7

The third and last point of exposition of the words “in the order of Melchizedek," which we began in yesterday's study, is that the priestly work of Jesus was superior to that of the Aaronic priests in that it was done once for all and did not need to be repeated. Jesus made a true atonement for sins, and when he had completed his work he showed he had done it by sitting down at the Father's right hand:

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Heb. 10:11-14).

The exposition of Psalm 110:4 in Hebrews is difficult, as the author said at the start, but it is important and the conclusion is practical. What is the conclusion? It is to leave the lesser ceremonies (or no ceremonies at all) and place one’s full faith in Jesus Christ, as the writer of Hebrews says,

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb. 10:19-25).

Have yoụ done it? Have you trusted Jesus as God's appointed priest who has made atonement for your sins? If not, you have nothing to look forward to but condemnation, when he who now is offered as your Savior will appear again at the end of history as your Judge. The author of Hebrews reminds us that “the LORD will judge his people” (Deut. 32:36), adding, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30, 31).

Which is where Psalm 110 also ends. Remember the psalm? It is about the person and work of Jesus Christ, God's Messiah, and the order of the psalm in regard to Jesus is: 1) his enthronement; 2) his governmental rule through his people; 3) his priestly work of atonement and intercession; and 4) the final judgment. The last three verses of the psalm introduce this work of judgment, thereby moving, if we may put it this way, from Hebrews to the themes of the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

In verses 5-7 God the Father and his Messiah are seen working together. The army of verses 2 and 3 has dropped out of the picture, and it is God himself, the Father and the Son, who judge and destroy all who have taken up arms against the deity. We remember that Melchizedek means “king of peace.” But here this King of peace is engaged in a terrible war. These last verses recall Psalm 2, which prophesy of Jesus and his enemies: “You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery” (v. 9). As Alexander Maclaren says, “The choice for every man is, being crushed beneath his foot, or being exalted to sit with him on his throne. ‘He that overcometh, to him will I give to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne.’ It is better to sit on his throne than to be his footstool.”1

1Alexander Maclaren, The Psalms, vol. 3 (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1894), p. 192.

Study Questions:

  1. What is the order of Psalm 110?
  2. According to Maclaren, what is the choice each person must make?

Reflection: How do your attitude and actions need to reflect better the reality of Jesus’ atonement performed on your behalf?


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