Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Installation of the Priest King

The resurrection (and exaltation) of Jesus are frequently correlated with Psalm 110 in the New Testament. In fact, Ps 110 is the most frequently quoted OT text in the NT!

1 The LORD says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”

2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.

4 The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
7 He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.
(NIV 10)

The thing you have to remember is that David is the speaker of the Psalm. So Yahweh says to David's Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool," meaning that one in David's line will be greater than David. Why? Because the coming Davidide will be a king on with unprecedented authority and he will be a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Melkizzi who? Melchizedek the priest-king of Salem. He is mentioned only in three places in the Bible: Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and Hebrews 5-7. The coming Lord to whom David looks forward to will be the ultimate mediator as he converges the royal and priestly functions in his person. He is like the priest king of Jerusalem whom Abraham honored with tithes.

But keep in mind the convergence of priestly and royal roles was not limited to a messianic interpretation of Melchizedek. During Jesus' own day, the Roman emperor Tiberius minted coins with his image on them which said Pontifex Maximus (high priest). He was the ruler of the empire and the representative before the gods. He was highest religious authority of the empire in addition to his military and political hegemony too.

One thing that Resurrection and Ascension day tell us is that there is no other intermediary between God and his people. Jesus is installed as priest and king for all eternity. No emperor, no clergyman, and no temple stands in between us and God. We are a kingdom of priests and we are the holy temple of the Priest King Jesus Christ.

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