“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Mat. 5:17)
In Numbers chapter four and verse three we read of the age of assumption of priestly duties,
“From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Num. 4:3)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus waited until He was 30 years old before He was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist and revealed unto Israel as the Messiah? He had to be 30 years old in order to fulfill the Law of Moses concerning the assumption of priestly duties before He could establish a new priesthood after the order of Melchisedek.
We read of Christ’s fulfillment in Luke chapter three verses 21 through 23,
“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” (Luke 3:21-23)
In Exodus chapter 29 verse four we read where the Law gives instructions for the washing of the Levitical priest,
“And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.” (Exodus 29:4)
Before a priest could assume his priestly duties he had to be washed with water by another Levitical priest. We read this fulfillment in Matthew chapter three verses 14 and 15,
“But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Matt. 3:14-15)
John the Baptist realized that Jesus was the Messiah; the One prophesied Who would deliver Israel. This is why he told Jesus, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” However, Jesus told John that He needed to be baptized of him in order to “fulfill all righteousness.”
In order to fulfill the Law, before He could assume any priestly duties such as offering a sacrifice for forgiveness of sin, Jesus had to be washed by another priest. Since the priesthood was inherited and John the Baptist’s father was a priest, then that made John a priest also.
The Bible says that Jesus was made a priest after another priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek. We first read of Melchizedek in the Book of Genesis.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” (Gen 14:18-20)
Abraham had gone to the battle of the Kings and was returning home after his victory when he encountered this man called the king of Salem, the priest of the most high God named Melchizedek.
We read more of Melchizedek in the seventh chapter of Hebrews,
“For this Melchisedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” (Heb. 7:1-4)
According to the Law of Moses, a man could not be a priest unless he was the son of a priest. This was the reason that Samuel could be a prophet but never inherit the priesthood from Eli, no matter how godly Samuel was.
Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law of Moses. We know that Jesus is the Son of God but He walked as the Son of Man anointed with the Holy Ghost.
In order for Him to become a priest Jesus had to be the son of a priest, so in order to satisfy the Law, God manifested Himself upon the earth as Melchizedek thousands of years before the birth of Christ.
In Hebrews chapter seven, Melchizedek was called King of Peace. In Isaiah chapter nine verse six, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6)
A prince is the son of a king.
The Bible says in Hebrews that Melchizedek was “made like unto the Son of God.” How was the Son of God made? He was God manifest in the flesh.
Melchizedek was made in the same fashion, made “like unto the Son of God.” He was God manifest in the flesh.
God the Father spoke into existence a body so that he could appear as Melchizedek, the King of Peace, the King of Salem, the Priest of the Most High God. This was done so that thousands of years later Jesus Christ could be born of a virgin, grow up, and become a priest after His order.
This fulfilled the Law saying that a priest had to be the son of a priest.
Thereby, Jesus Christ was able to be baptized in the River Jordan, washed by a Levitical priest, ordained as the Son of a Priest in another priesthood, and could go about forgiving men of their trespasses and performing priestly duties.
The Bible says in Acts ten and verse 38,
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)
Why did God go through such intricate detail over an expanse of thousands of years just so Jesus could fulfill the law in all points?
First, the Bible teaches in the Book of Hebrews that before the old covenant (the Law) could be done away with and a new and better covenant could take its place, it had to be satisfied, or fulfilled.
Secondly, Jesus had to obtain the righteousness and the blessings that were contained in fulfilling the Law in order that He could transfer them unto us through our faith in His atoning work at Calvary.
God ordained from the beginning of time that it would be so.
The problem is not whether we have enough faith. The answer is to direct our faith towards the righteousness obtained by Jesus Christ through His fulfillment of the Law but yet rejected when He took our sins at Calvary.
The Bible calls it the “atonement” which means the “exchange.”
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:11)
It’s not whether you think that you are knowledgeable enough, or strong enough, or in the word enough. It is totally by your faith in Jesus Christ that you have the righteousness that Jesus Christ obtained.
When God looks at you he sees the same righteousness that Jesus had. We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ.