The Melchisedec Priesthood of Christ

The Melchisedec Priesthood of Christ

A Summary by Sosthenes of a Paper by John Nelson Darby

For the original paper click here – JND Collected Writings Vol 7 (Doctrinal 2)

J N Darby
Here are few words on this the extent and blessing of Christ’s priesthood.

The blessing of Abram, by Melchisedec, reads: “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand” (Gen. 14:19) . Paul presents Melchisedec as a type of Christ, according to the word of the oath: “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Psalm 110:4).

Melchisedec in Order; Aaronic in Function

Christ the Lord is not currently exercising His Melchisedec priesthood.  Not that He is not a priest after that order – we know fully that from the Hebrews, and Psalm 110, and that He is not of any other order.  The Lord is currently exercising priesthood according to the typical character of Aaron’s on the day of atonement, as Hebrews also shows.  The whole of the present order of things answers to the day of atonement.  The High Priest has gone within the veil, with the blood of the sacrifice  – of Himself – His own blood.  So there He is, whom the heavens must receive till the time of the restoration of all things, which God hath promised by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.  The Lord, a priest in perpetuity after the order of Melchisedec, exercises priesthood practically for us according to the type of Aaron, though not according to the order of Aaron, as within the veil, on the great day of atonement.  We see this in Hebrews 8 & 9.

Christ as High Priest

He has gone within, not the typical veil, but into heaven itself (above all heavens), now to appear in the presence of God for us.  He has gone, not with the blood of bulls and goats, patterns of things to come, but with His own blood – a better sacrifice by which the heavenly things themselves could be purified.   Jesus is said to be crowned with glory, an honour compared with the consecration garments of Aaron and his sons after him.. (Compare Heb. 2:7 and Ex. 28:2, in the LXX, where the words are literally “for honour and glory.”)

Melchisedec vs. Nebuchadnezzar

in the type of Melchisedec, Christ has a glory of its own character.  It is the Lord’s glory, the glory of the Son of the Father.   The priesthood of Melchisedec is a royal dominion, representing the Most High God, and also speaking also for man to God as to praise. Nebuchadnezzar was given universal dominion, as king of Babylon, and he abused his power.  In evil and apostasy, he set up a false god – an image.  But the result was that God was owned by the king as “the Most High God”: He was punished till he learned that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will (Dan 5:21)

But there is another portion of the divine inheritance corrupted and debased, the scene of power, however, and blessing – the heavenlies.  “The saints of the Most High (that is, of the heavenlies – Heb. elionin) shall possess the kingdom.” (Dan 7:22)  But we wrestle with principalities and powers, with spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies (Eph. 6:12); that is, apostate power holding the earth, and spiritual wickedness, principalities and powers holding the heavenlies.  Therefore both the earth, and the heavenlies are possessed by a present evil power.

 The Day of the Glory of the Lamb

However, in the day of the full glory of the Lamb, there shall be one Lord, your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, … the God of all the earth (Isa 54:5).  In that day shall Jerusalem be called the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it. (Jer 3:17).   The nations will be blessed through Him.  The Son of man, Son of David, King of the Jews, Jesus of Nazareth, will be on the throne, not on the cross.  He will be owned not just in Hebrew,  Greek and Latin, but in every language of power which despised Him.   So we find that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He should gather together in one all things in Christ; both which are in heaven and which are upon the earth. (Eph 1:10).  We have the sure mercies of David by virtue of His resurrection. They will be made sure to the Jews (Acts 13:32-34), when He sits upon the throne of David His father, and reign over the house of Jacob for ever (Luke 1;32), all nations serving Him.

But we have a better portion.  We are to be with Him in heavenly places, as His body, the Church.  We have not merely the fruits, but the power working towards us, power that was wrought in Him, when God raised him from the dead …and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (See Eph. 1:19Eph. 2:7.)   We see the saints in the heavenlies, sitting there as raised with Christ, and having overcome through grace, sitting down in His throne, as He overcame and sat down in His Father’s throne.  Hence we see His universal dominion, all power given Him in heaven and on earth, – the Son of God, Son of man, Lord over all, as well as God over all, blessed for evermore.

Priest upon His Throne for Blessing

Now there is another character.  He is a Priest upon His throne (Zech. 6:13); and here we have the real full exercise of the Melchisedec priesthood.  He sits on His Father’s till His foes are made His footstool, and is now gathering all things in heaven and on earth into one.   He will sit on His own throne.

Dreadful evil came in: Satan, sitting in heavenly places, had made the poor inhabitants of earth worship demons, gods many and lords many, persecuting and degrading the children of God.  Earthly power was associated with false worship and apostasy, as we see typified in the great image set up by Nebuchadnezzar.  Now that which was specifically opposed to this was this title of the Most High God; so Nebuchadnezzar has to confess the Most High God. Now Melchisedec says, “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth ” (Gen 14:19).    As the title of the Most High God is given here, witnessed in the priesthood of Melchisedec, so also will the blessing proceed.

Oh what blessing will be there, when there will be no principalities and powers in heavenly places to taint the very source of blessing.   There will be no corruption below to make evil what God had made good, nor any spirit of corruption and rebellion to bring the curse of opposition to the blessed God.   Oh what blessing there will be when the Most High takes possession of heaven and earth, and our High Priest is His High Priest!   Thus we have total exclusion of all other gods but one, the only One.

With the Most High as Possessor, where will the tempter be then?  Not in heaven, the Most High possesses that; not on earth, the Most High possesses that.  But Melchisedec, though priest of the Most High God, has other characters.  He is King of righteousness, for where righteousness is, there is blessing.   He is king of Salem, which is king of Peace; for the fruit of righteousness is peace; the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.  The Melchisedec priesthood is the security of the blessing from the Most High God, with the union of heaven and earth under Him.

But we have also to look at the object of this blessing – Abram, the father of the natural seed. Then he is the father of Israel (and in Israel the blessing of many nations), blessed of the Most High God, by the King of Peace and of righteousness, the representative of the natural seed of Israel, blessed from on high. Thus, in the title of God – in the priest himself – in the object of universal blessing, we see the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ (Eph 1:9).  The Jews are the objects and channels of earthly blessing; but we are sitting in heavenly blessings, priests with Him.

Aaron Intercession;  Melchisedec Blessing

The Aaronical priesthood was a priesthood of intercession – He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).   The saints of God, in our weakness are the constant object of His sure and never-failing care and intercession. He appears in the presence of God for us.

But the priestly act of Melchisedec is blessing, not intercession; blessing from the Most High God.  He is the King of righteousness and peace, and He blesses the seed of God’s acceptance.   Evil is removed, the enemies destroyed, (God’s strange work), and blessing flows unhindered, out through the great High Priest, the Priest of the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth.  How our hearts long for the day of universal blessing from the Most High God of heaven and earth!   How heaven and earth will ring with the witness of the blessing of the heavenly creatures, and the earthly seed unfettered in its praise!  All are one in Him; one with the Father, the Most High God; and who Himself took on Him Abraham’s seed, now come forth in His kingly glory to bless us from God Most High, and God from us – the Man of blessing, the Blessing Man, the Lord Most High.

Now Melchisedec brings forth bread and wine: the bread of Salem where the King dwelt, and wine, drunk new, of the kingdom, to give the joy of deliverance and the refreshing of love.  Their Melchisedec makes them to sit down to eat, takes the yoke from off their neck, blessing always, as the less is blessed of the greater.

So we have the accomplished character of the Most High God, as to all things in heaven and earth: universal blessing, joy, the unity of all things in Christ, the priesthood of Melchisedec, and the blessing of the redeemed of God.


May the blessing of Melchisedec, of Christ, the Lord, the King, dwell on our spirits.  It is our  joyful portion now that He intercedes for us.  He is Head, and leader of our praise.  How imperfectly we declare the joy of all this!  May the Spirit of God teach us a more skillful tune, because the chord struck unskillfully has awakened the thoughts of praise in our hearts; and after all, our feeble notes here are but poor witnesses to that new abiding song of praise.  We have a better portion than reigning – our calling to be with Him.   His reign will be the source of sweet and rich blessings to a delivered earth.

Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.

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