In the series “12 reasons why Melchizedek was actually the pre-incarnate Word of God” the following article is reason # 9.
Melchizedek was a heavenly high priest, not an earthly one.
Hebrews 8:1-5 says:
(1) Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
(2) A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
(3) For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
(4) For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there [on earth] are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
(5) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Hebrews 7:8 says:
And here [i.e. on earth] men that die receive tithes; but there [i.e. in Heaven] he [i.e. Melchizedek] receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
According to Hebrews 7:5, the mortal Levitical priests received tithes from the other twelve tribes (). This observation is contrasted with the fact that “there” (i.e. in Heaven), the everlasting high priest Melchizedek also receives tithes. The points of contrast are worth mentioning. Earth vs. Heaven, Mortal vs. Immortal.
Did you also notice how Hebrews 8:3 could present a problem for those that claim Melchizedek was an earthly king and priest practicing the true religion in Salem? The verse clearly states that since every high priest must offer both gifts and sacrifices that it was, therefore, necessary for Jesus being a high priest to have something to offer as well. And indeed He did have something to offer; for He offered His own shed blood in the holy place in the heavenly tabernacle, once and for all! But what of Melchizedek? What did he have to offer? It certainly couldn’t have been the blood of bulls and goats since Hebrews 10:4 says that such a sacrifice would have disqualified Melchizedek’s priesthood from being one which promises (in Hebrews 7:11 & Hebrews 10:1) to perfect its subjects. Neither could Melchizedek have offered his own shed blood since that would have obviated Christ’s sacrifice. So again what did he offer? Such is the dilemma for those that espouse the idea that Melchizedek was an earthly priest in Salem.
Moreover, Hebrews 8:4 rules out the idea that Melchizedek’s priesthood was being practiced on earth during Abraham’s time since it tells us that there is no way that Jesus could be a priest on earth. Hebrews 9:24 confirms this by stating that Christ is serving as a high priest in heaven. Since Jesus is a high priest after the order and similitude of Melchizedek it follows that Melchizedek couldn’t have been a priest on earth either. Furthermore, Hebrews 8:5 says that the heavenly tabernacle not only preceded the earthly tabernacle used by the Levitical Priesthood but was the basis for its blueprint. This fact combined with the realization that Melchizedek was the first priest mentioned in the bible seems to indicate that he was a high priest in heaven before there was even one on earth.
Regarding Hebrews 8:3-5; 9:2, Dr. Henry Morris states:
The only true tabernacle is in heaven (Rev_21:3, Rev_21:10-11), but God’s glory had filled its earthly model (Exodus 40:34) when its construction was carried out according to the pattern given by God to Moses (Heb_8:5)…The “example” [in Hebrew 8:5] is an actual set of plans, as it were, and Moses was instructed concerning all its details…The design of the tabernacle in the wilderness, with its appurtenances, is described specifically in Exodus 25-27. Many of these details, as well as the worship services specified for the tabernacle, were models of the heavenly tabernacle and types of the spiritual ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest…The heavenly tabernacle is a real physical structure in the real place called Heaven.
Since the true tabernacle in heaven preceded the earthly tabernacle of the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 8:5) and the true tabernacle has a “minister of the sanctuary” (Hebrews 8:2) then it is not unreasonable to think that the perpetual intercession of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:3) was and is being carried out in the true tabernacle and that Melchizedek is actually Jesus the Christ the perpetual high priest who intercedes with His blood which was shed “from the foundation of the world.(Revelation 13:8)”
1. See notes on Hebrews 8:3-5; 9:2, The DEFENDER’S Study Bible, Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D.