Jacob (also called Israel) had 12 sons. The family of each son increased to become a large group of people, called a tribe. So those families became the 12 tribes of Israel.
Each tribe was important for a different reason. For example, Israelís kings came from the tribe of Judah. And its priests came from the tribe of Levi.
Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah. We can see that fact in his family records (See Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38. Matthew 1:2 and Luke 3:33 both mention Judah). Or we can read it in the Old Testament (the 39 older books in the Bible) Ė see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1 (Jesse belonged to the tribe of Judah). Those verses may not be easy to understand. But they show that Christ had to come from the tribe of Judah.
But Israelís priests had to come from the tribe of Levi. They were the male members of Aaronís family, and Aaron belonged to that tribe. God showed the people that he had chosen that tribe to serve him (Numbers chapter 17). And he separated them to carry out their special duties for him (Numbers 18:21-29),
So nobody from the tribe of Judah could ever be a priest, except Christ only. And Christ had to be a priest in order to carry out his special work for God. But he could not be a priest by the laws that Moses gave. Christ was from the tribe of Judah, not of Levi.
So Christ had to be a priest by some other rule. And there was such a rule. Melchizedek was a priest although he was not from the tribe of Levi. And Melchizedek was a greater priest than anyone from Aaronís family. It was by that same rule that God appointed Christ to be our chief priest.
And Christ is an even greater priest than Melchizedek. Melchizedek is only important for us because, by him, God has taught us about Christ.
Next part: Think about Christ (Hebrews 7:15-17)
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© 2013, Keith Simons.