“The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’” (Psalm 110:4)
The first books of the Bible contain many detailed prescriptions about sacrifices. These were necessary to atone for the sins of the people, so they could come into God’s holy presence. God accepted the blood of animals as a substitute; these animals were killed instead of the people who had deserved the punishment. However, since the people sinned again and again, the sacrifices were also needed again and again. They did not bring a final solution to the problem of sin. They actually were pointers to an ultimate sacrifice.
God had ordained the tribe of Levi to serve as priests. However, in Psalm 110 we read about a priest “after the order of Melchizedek”. This Melchizedek lived long before the Levite priests were ordained, in Abraham’s day. We don’t know much about him. But in this Psalm, God swears that someone who sits at His right hand and rules the nations will be the kind of priest Melchizedek was — forever. He will be a ‘different type of priest’, so to speak, not like the Levite priests who could not provide an ultimate solution for human sin. The book of Hebrews argues that Jesus is this priest. He deals with sin once and for all.
Tomorrow, we’ll read how He did this!