The High Priest Jesus may be descended from the tribe of Levi by way of his Mother the Virgin Mary
Messiah King and Messiah Priest
Both the Old and the New Testament testify to the High Priest Jesus Christ. The title Christ is of Greek origin and translates the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning the anointed one. In the biblical laws of ancient Israel it is written that only two people can be anointed as Messiah, one being the king, the other the high priest. According to Scripture, the King has to descend from David and the tribe of Judah, whereas the high priest has to descend from the tribe of Levi. Following the Evangelist Luke, it appears that Jesus was born to both of these tribes.
Melchizedek King and Priest
In chapter 14 of the book of Genesis it is written that King Melchizedek appeared to Abram, whom God was later to name Abraham. He makes himself known to Abram as king of Salem and priest of the Most High God. The city of Salem cannot be attributed to any known place in history, but it may refer to Jerusalem within a prophetic context.
This encounter occurred many centuries before the foundation of the biblical priesthood of the Levites on Mount Sinai, and so the priesthood of the One God in the person of King Melchizedek could not have been of human origin. According to the Christian Faith, Melchizedek's appearance to Abram was a prophetic manifestation of Jesus as King and High Priest.
The name is composed of the Hebrew words melech and zadek, meaning respectively king and justice. It is of profound interest to note that he is a king and at the same time a priest of the One God, these being the two messianic titles pertaining to Jesus.
David King of Israel lived 800 years after Abraham and 1000 years before the birth of Jesus. In Psalm 110, David made a prophetic reference to a divine Person whose authority comes directly from God. The first words of the Psalm, in verse 1, are: "The Lord said to my Lord: sit here at my right." According to the Christian interpretation of these words, God spoke to His Son, who is Jesus Christ, giving him divine authority. King David recognised the authority of God's Son by calling him Lord.
In verse 4 of the same Psalm it is written: "You will be a priest for ever in the priestly order of Melchizedek." According to this prophecy, David's Lord, who is divinely seated next to the Throne of God, received from the Father the title of High Priest, while at the same time being King of justice.
Jesus as Messiah King
In the days of Jesus, many Jewish families had records tracing back their forefathers to one or the other of the tribes of Israel. Joseph, the husband of Jesus' Mother Mary, was from the tribe of Judah, as was his ancestor King David. The Old Testament reveals that the Messiah would be born to the House of David. In the book of Jeremiah, chapter 23, verse 5, it is written: "The Lord says: the time is coming when I will choose as king a righteous descendant of David." Jeremiah writes that this king will be called: "The Lord Our Salvation."
The Gospel according to St. Luke narrates how the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced that she would conceive by the Spirit and give birth to a male child, whose name would be Jesus. The divine origin of Jesus Christ born from the Virgin Mary indicates that he is the Son of God in High. He was born into David's royal line, for Joseph, Mary's husband, descended from the house of King David.
Jesus as Messiah Priest
Following the Law of Moses, the Messiah of Israel, in order to be the High Priest, would have to descend from the tribe of Levi. The Gospel according to St. Luke gives information regarding the origins of Mary Mother of Jesus. In the first chapter of his Gospel, Luke writes that Mary is a relative of John the Baptist's mother Elizabeth, who belonged to a priestly family. Being of a family associated to the priesthood, Elizabeth descended from the tribe of Levi. Elizabeth's husband, Zechariah, who served as a priest, is from the same tribe, and so their son, John, who was to become the Baptist, is a Levite. His duties as Prophet among the Judaeans, to whom he preached a baptism of conversion, is a prophetic mission inherent to the priesthood.
The physical relationship of Jesus to all peoples on Earth is evident in his biblical title of Son of Man, which is in addition to his being Son of God. Being born from the Virgin Mary but not from Joseph, Jesus' human relationship to people of all nations derives from his Mother, Mary, of whom it can be reasonably suggested that she descends from the tribe of Levi owing to her family ties with John the Baptist.
The origin of Jesus' Mother in relation to the tribe of Levi is essential in order to confer on Jesus the title of priest among the Judaeans. Only as a member of the tribe of Levi could he become High Priest. The New Testament testifies to Jesus being the rightful Messiah as King and High Priest and upholds his divine origin as Son of God.
The spiritual dedication of the Church is recorded in the book of Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke. On the day of Pentecost, not long after Jesus had ascended to the Father in Heaven, the Spirit came to a house in Jerusalem where his adherents had all gathered, and at that very moment this house became the place of the new Altar in Jerusalem. At that hour Jesus conferred the priesthood upon his adherents, who then immediately started preaching the Gospel to the multitudes gathered in the streets.
The Rainbow Good News Bible, the Bible Societies/Collins:
- Book of Acts of the Apostles;
- Book of Genesis;
- Book of Jeremiah;
- Gospel according to St. Luke;
- Psalm 110.
Written by D. Alexander
Where did the Spirit descend in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost? On the house where the followers of Jesus were gathered. This was the foundation of the New Altar and the new Temple. Read on:The new Temple in Jerusalem and the Church of Jesus Christ:
Do you know the real meaning of Zion?Read about St. Peter's primacy from Zion the High City: