Under Foot from Hebrews

Under feet and footstool are mentioned several times in the Book of Hebrews.  Jesus and Melchizedek are whose appendages and furniture we are referring to.  Of course, these references come from Psalm 110 that was written by David.  I will bring in other references so that we can have a larger picture of this topic.  This study will end with Hebrews 12:13 which after some reflection really surprised me.

Footstool – Hebrews 1:13 and 10:13 are the references to Psalm 110:1 and a footstool.  This is the beginning of the tradition of Melchizedek being a military messiah as well as a priest forever of the Lord.  1:13 is in a set of verses that deal with the “Son” and His superiority to angels.  (The name Jesus is not used until 2:9.)  10:13 has the enemies of Jesus being the footstool but this is because of The ONE SACRIFICE that allowed Him to take back the keys.  The concept is that Jesus is waiting for this to happen.  Luke 20:43 and Acts 2:35 reference Jesus speaking of David and the Messiah and again Psalm 110 is the verse He is quoting. 

Enemies are not the only thing that is a “footstool” in Scripture.  Matthew 5:34 and Isaiah 66:1 note that the earth is God’s footstool. David in 1 Chronicles 28:2 wants to build a house for the Ark as a footstool for God. (Some translations give the idea that the house is the stool while others seem to imply that the Ark is the footstool.)  I think, that Lamentations 2:1 pulls in Jerusalem as the “splendor of Israel” into the Temple and Ark.

We are also directed in Psalm 99:5 and 132:7 to worship at the Footstool of God.

Under Foot or Feet

I guess I separated footstool and underfoot because if you are using a footstool you should be sitting down.  Things can be “underfoot” if you are walking or standing.  Also, people have Creation under their feet in Psalm 8:6 and the Woman in Revelations 12:1 has the moon under her feet.  God in Exodus 24:10 has dinner with Moses and the seventy elders with a lapis lazuli pavement under His feet (that always sounds like the blue ball we live on).  2 Samuel 22:10 and Psalm 18:9 has God parting the heavens and there are dark clouds under His feet and not a footstool.

Enemies and everything is the main things that will be under Jesus’ feet.  There are many references – Hebrews 2:8, Ephesians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 15:25+27, Matthew 22:44, and Mark 12:36.

Hebrews 12:13

This verse echoes Proverbs 4:26. My reflection on this verse is that Jesus is stepping on enemies and putting everything under His feet, so when we are not turning to the left or the right the path behind Him is smooth.

Melchizedek in Hebrews

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews did a tour de force presentation of Melchizedek as a type of Jesus.  As a Book, Hebrews beautifully joins the Old Testament to the New Testament. The main topic in chapters one through ten is Jesus as the new High Priest of God and His superiority above all priests and other apostles or “sent ones”.  This is shown by His personal commission from the Father and by His sacrifice and His blood.  But why spend so much time dealing with Melchizedek?  (A reference source I used is pages 406 – 438 of The New American Commentary of Hebrews by David L. Allen.) He is mentioned only three times in the Bible.  

  1. His introduction is in Genesis 14 where he interacts with Abraham.
  2. Psalm 110 where his messianic typology is recorded by David.
  3. In Hebrews where His priesthood is expounded and compared with the Messiah, Jesus. 

Hebrews was written to exalt and “explain” Jesus.  Because Melchizedek, through David, had become a type of messiah we feel we must attribute many great things to him.  He is a type of Jesus, not a competitor.  So, “in the order of Melchizedek” is not a super-secret priest club.  He was a Canaanite king that was not in the family line of Terah, as far as we know.  He is associated with Jerusalem/King’s Valley because he has the title of “king of peace” and he was a priest of the God Most High.  (Jerusalem is a footnote in my Bible, it is not named until Joshua 10:1.) 

History 

  1. Canaan is the son of Ham, who was cursed by Noah in Genesis 9:25.
  2. Joshua 10:1 has Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem forming an alliance to attack Gibeon/Israel.  Adoni means lord and Zedek translates into righteous, but he did not act like Melchizedek.  His plan was to attack God’s chosen people, not bless and refresh them with a meal.
  3. The uncomfortable thought that God had connected with someone (Melchizedek) outside of Abraham’s family may offend many of our paradigms.  That, however, is the foundation of the greatness of Jesus’ Priesthood outside of the family of Aaron.  
  4. Balaam is not identified as a prophet or priest but as someone who worships God, hears the Lord speak, and had the Spirit come on him.  He walks in the promises of Abraham (Numbers 22:6).  I can see him as a descendent of Abraham through Keturah, his third wife, or even Ishmael his first son. (Numbers 24:2 and 22:18 are verses for his relationship to God.)  The reality of Balaam is he heard God and he did offer sacrifices, even if it was through divination and not relationships.  He also loved money and betrayed the Children of Israel.
  5. Exodus 19: 22 and 24 mention priests in Israel before Aaron, his sons, and the Law.  Were they inferior imitators of Melchizedek? 
  6. Gideon was from Manasseh, yet the Lord (Hashem) order him to build an altar and offer a sacrifice (Judges 6:25).  Was he acting as a priest in the order of Melchizedek?
  7. Job is identified as a servant of the Lord, nothing else!  In chapters one and forty-two he offers sacrifices for his family and friends.  He may have been a contemporary of Abraham but like Melchizedek, we do not know about his family tree.
  8. David does many things that are “priestly” in nature.  He could not be a priest after the order of Aaron because he is from the tribe of Judah.

Psalm 110 and David

Psalm 110 certainly extends the idea of a messiah for Israel being a military leader. I can see this psalm written in the timeframe of 2 Samuel 2:1 when David was made king in Judah.

Many times, Jesus was asked if He was going to “restore the kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1:6).  This was in part because of the legends that were built around Psalm 110 and “another David” who would lead Israel.   Matthew 22:43-45, Mark 12:36+37, Luke 20:42-44, Acts 2:25+34 are all verses about Psalm 110.  It is clear that David was not talking about himself.  

LORD VS. Lord – In Psalm 110 these two words are used and it can cause some confusion.  The Gospel references highlight these different terms.  LORD is Hashem (OJB) and means “the name” or God.  Lord is Adonai, this does mean lord but is used in a wide variety of references.  It can refer to God, a king, a husband, or your boss.  This is the point that is made in the Gospel references.  Verse one could be read – God says to my king.  In verse five, I keep feeling that has the king, Adonai, at the right hand of God.  Christians clearly see these as references to Jesus, which is what the writer of Hebrews is also referring to. 

A Kingdom of Priest

Exodus 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. (KJV)

Revelations 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (KJV)

In Exodus 19:6 it is clear what the Father wanted to do.  This is written before Moses starts his many coming and goings on the Mount.  God wanted a holy group of people who could act as priests.  This is still the heart of the Father and what the Church should be.  In Revelations, the thought is still there but it sounds like we have/are catching up to God’s original plan.

What About …

Is Melchizedek a supernatural being?  Is he an example of the pre-incarnate Jesus?  Is he a non-Hebrew priest of God Most High that we know very little about, especially his linage?  According to David L. Allen the phrase “without mother or father” indicates there is nothing listed/known about that part of his life.  So, a pre-incarnate Jesus is a possibility, or like Terah and Abraham, he had a heart open to God and chose to follow Him.

Personal Takeaway 

I have tried to explain why Mary must or could have had a priestly ancestor.  I have not done well with that thought.  Now, I know and understand that my striving was unnecessary.  Jesus’ priesthood does not depend on the Law.  When there is a change in the Law there is a change in the priesthood.  I believe I am correct in this thought – Melchizedek, no Law; activate the Law, Aaron; Jesus satisfies the Law and now the priesthood is in the “order of Melchizedek” like the writer of Hebrews explained.  Like Jesus, we are priests unto God in the order of Melchizedek.

Was David a Priest?

Yes, David was a priest in the order or “in the way” of Melchizedek.  No, he was not a priest after the order of Aaron or anything to do with the Tabernacle or Ark.  David had a heart for God so he did many good works.  Near the end of his life (1 Chronicles 22 -26), David made plans for the Temple and helped to organize the Levites and Priest.  At times in his life, David did things that might border on priestly rights and duties and we will look at all (or many) of these.  This topic cannot be discussed without Psalm 110 being brought into the conversation, so it will be.

I will start with the NO answer.  David could not work in the Tabernacle or with the Ark simply because he was not a son of Aaron or Levi. (Levities 8 + 9) David did do some questionable things that could be mistaken as priestly duties and rights.  But even these actions need to be viewed in the light of some other leaders.

  1. King Saul – 1 Samuel 13 is the story of Saul offering a sacrifice.  Verse 9 has Saul ordering “someone” to bring the offering to him.  The context of the story makes it sound like he did the cutting and sprinkling of the blood.  Verse 13 has Samuel telling Saul his kingdom and lineage will not last.  (Saul’s line could have ruled “for all time”.)  He actually “lost the kingdom” in 1 Samuel 15.
  2. Jeroboam – 1 Kings 11,12, and 13.  11:6 explains that Solomon had not followed God or His commands and that the nation of Israel would be divided.  Jeroboam also had a promise of a lasting kingdom if he did right (vs. 39).  12:31 (NIV) Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.  13:33 +34 repeats his disobedience and the outcomes.
  3. King Uzziah – 2 Chronicles 26: 18,19,21.  Uzziah was a grandson of David who actually had done well until he gave into his pride.  He went into the Temple and was offering incense.  The real Priest confronted him.  He broke out with leprosy and lived separately until he died.

Please set these examples and all of the other “kings” of Israel next to Deuteronomy 17: 14-20.  These verses were the Lord’s rules for the kings who would reign over His people.  Verse 18 states that he is to make a copy (his own) of the Law and read it every day.  If David had done this it is a good bet that Solomon did not, because he broke the rules in verses 14 -17 very well.  In Jeremiah, King Josiah held a Passover because the Book of the Law was found during a Temple cleaning and he had never seen or read it before. Makes you wonder what the priest was working from?

If my three examples were judged for making sacrifices, burning incense, and allowing non-Levitical priests.  It would stand to reason if David had done these types of things he also would have been held guilty.  He had his problems but acting as a Priest in the order of Aaron was not one of them.

WELL HE DID –

  1. Eat the Bread of Presence (1 Samuel 21:1-9).  Yes, this was after he lied and deceived Ahimelech the priest, and thought about killing Doeg. I will give this one up as God’s grace and mercy and not David’s right behavior. A point of interest here is that Ahimelech’s questions to David were about legal purity and not a family origin.
  2. Wear a linen ephod. 2 Samuel 6: 12 – 23 and 1 Chronicles 15:27 has David along with the Levites wearing linen ephods as they moved the Ark of God to Jerusalem.  An ephod is a piece of clothing.  Yes, ephods are frequently associated with “priest”.  In the case of the tribe of Dan stealing one and the “house priest” it belonged to, it may seem that the robe was also worshiped.  Even if David was trying to “blend” in at the start of the parade by the end he may have taken off the ephod and was dancing around in his underwear.  A priest of the order of Aaron could not have done that, but one from the order of Melchizedek could have.  Sorry, David wearing an ephod, to me, is more like everyone trying to dress like the pastor.
  3. Move the Ark to Jerusalem.  This is David acting more like Melchizedek than Aaron.  The Tabernacle of Moses was still in use in Gibeon (2 Chronicle 1:3).  This Tabernacle of David or Tent of David has more to do with him wanting the blessing of God than him doing priestly functions.  The Tabernacle of David is a type of how to worship by grace away from the rules of the Law. 1 Chronicles 16:1-7 has David putting the priest and Levites in charge of a 24-hour praise session around the Ark.  Verse 37 – 40 has the priestly families split into two groups and doing duty in two locations – Jerusalem and Gibeon.  
  4. Build his own altar.  In 1 Chronicles 21: 18 – 30 and 2 Samuel 24: 18 – 25 David was ordered to build an altar by the prophet Gad.  He had to do this to stop a plague that his actions had started (counting the people).  This altar became the area where the Temple of Solomon was built.  David had people with him so I will suggest that he did not build the altar or kill the animals, which had to be done by a priest.
  5. Arranged the priest and Levities into divisions.  He also ordered that provisions be made and collected to build the Temple, that the leaders of the people were to help Solomon, and he changed the duties of the Levites because they were not going to be carrying the Ark and the Tabernacle around (1 Chronicles 22+ 23).  Chapter 24: 3 states that the heads of the priestly families were there with him.  He was not making these decisions by or for himself, but as a king who wanted Jehovah served and glorified.
  6. Write Psalm 110.    Some scholars will state a slightly different view on that – did he write it, was it written in his style, or was it written about him?  To me, because it is so prophetic, David wrote it and I just don’t feel he is the object of the conversation.  Matthew 22:43-45, Mark 12:36+37, Luke 20:42-44, and Acts 2:25 + 34 deal with verse one and the question of how David can call his son Lord and Messiah.  If you rewrite verse one as it should be, it would say – “Jehovah says to my Adonay”. Adonay has several meanings – God, ruler, husband, or someone in authority, that is an earthly authority.  (Check the lettering to see the difference in the word Lord.)   I am not sure that David would have talked about himself as a priest in the order of Melchizedek (vs 4), that is very boastful. If he did he would have had all of his clothes on!

Yes, David was a priest but of the order of Melchizedek. (<- That link is to Melchizedek in Hebrews, which I hope explains him at a deeper level)  Melchizedek is an interesting character, he is mentioned in three books of the Christian Bible but volumes have been said about him.  He is first mentioned in Genesis 14:18 as the “priest of God Most High” who shares a meal with and then blesses Abraham and is given an offering.  Psalm 110 adds to Melchizedek’s persona by bringing in the concept of eternal priesthood and adding the word “order”.  The Hebrew word dibrah (#1700 Strong’s) left me confused so I went to several translations for clarity.  The KJV and NIV use the word “order” while others use “like” or “in the same way”.  The Book of Hebrews (Chapter 7 discusses Melchizedek’s history) really adds to Melchizedek’s resume when he and Jesus are compared to each other. (More will be written later as this ballooned out of this study in ways I did not expect.). But back to the question of was David a priest.  Hebrew 7:12 states that a change of the priesthood and a change of the Law must go hand-in-hand, and verse 14 dispels David as a priest under the Law of Moses because he was of the tribe of Judah. So, David was a priest but not in the order of Aaron because the Law did not change and he was from the wrong tribe.

It took a while to piece together the thoughts on righteous kingship and priest. Moses gave me an example of that type of leadership.  There is no doubt of Moses’ calling and his authority but the plagues and other miracles were before the Law was given. Moses’s work before Aaron and his sons were selected, should show that he was working as Melchizedek did, a “king/priest of righteousness”.   Exodus 19:6 (which is before the giving of the Law) says all of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The episode with the golden calf changed what could have happened.  When God gave the Law the priesthood was given to Aaron.  The priesthood of “all of Israel” in the “order of Melchizedek” went to the family of Aaron, not the entire nation.  David would fit into the order of Melchizedek because he was the king of Jerusalem and righteous, having a heart for God.

This thought is found again in Revelation 1:6 – we are kings (kingdom) and priests unto God.  Different translations use kings or kingdoms but it is in line with Exodus 19:6. I have seen several of these “plan A/plan B” or “what if” things recently.  God had a big plan but stubborn hearts temporally changed the first plan to a second plan.  God’s plan A is not dead but on hold until we accept God’s plan, which is what Jesus gave us at the cross.

So, the bold things David did, he did as a king/priest in the “order” of Melchizedek.  Some of his actions would not have fit under the Law of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron. 

Imagine – Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org

Easter 2015 – Reflections – Priesthood

Reflections on Jesus’ Priesthood and Melchizedek.

Several studies have come together this Easter to clear up and create more things to study: Salem or Sodom, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, It Is Finished, and one of Hebrews. They deal with Jesus our High Priest, Melchizedek, and the things finished on the Cross combining the mysterious priesthood of Melchizedek, the natural priesthood of Aaron, and being settled in the supernatural priesthood of Jesus. Psalm 110 affirms the priesthood of Jesus but combines it with the victorious conqueror He will be in the Book of Revelations. Jesus finished the need for the work of Aaron and sacrifices while being added to the Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedekorder of Melchizedek. The link below has part of a Dead Sea Scroll which points to Melchizedek as a “leader of God’s armies.” In the study of Jeroboam and the rest of the kings of the Northern Tribes the “sin of Jeroboam” is mentioned frequently. I thought the main problem was the idols he had made but Hebrews 7:12 showed me the real sin. When Jeroboam changed the priesthood he changed the Law!

The list from Hebrews works through Jesus’ completion and right as Priest. The list from Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 are the different names and titles of God in those passages. Those names by extension show Melchizedek’s importance as God’s priest.

  • Hebrews 13:12 Jesus suffered outside of the city to make us holy through His blood.
  • Hebrews 7: 26 Jesus as a High Priest met our needs by being holy, pure, set apart, and exalted in the heavens.
  • Hebrews 7: 12 When the priesthood changes there is also a change in the Law!
  • Hebrews 8: 10 (Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34) God WILL put in our minds His laws and write His Laws on our hearts so we WILL be His people because He is our God.
  • Hebrews 5:6, 7:1 – 28 and other discussions of priest Chapter 8 and 13: 11

Genesis 14: 19, 20, 22

  • Elohim (God) a title used in combination with other names it is a title of majesty and power.
  • Elyon (Most High) is a title of God that focuses on supremacy in power.
  • Qana (Creator) to create or bring forth; the NIV footnote says it is Possessor.

Psalm 110

  • LORD or Jehovah – the Eternal
  • Lord or Adon – (vs. 1) supervisor or owner; Adonay – (vs. 5) a title of the one true God with a focus on majesty and authority or “Lord overall” and also carries the idea of Father or a Friend (see LORD vs. Lord)

http://ad2004.com/Biblecodes/Hebrewmatrix/melchizedek.html this has a translation of a Dead Sea Scroll that talks about Melchizedek. If you are interested it goes into Bible Codes which I have mixed feelings about.

Definitions are from Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance and from Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance

pic from http://www.heiligenlexikon.de/BiographienA/Abraham.htm. or Dieric Bouts (circa 1420-1475) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMeeting_of_abraham_and_melchizadek.jpg