The protestant reformation emphasised the ‘Priesthood of all believers’, and the potential ‘sainthood’ of all believers, and that there is one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus.
This is not a required belief by any means. If you are a Catholic or Orthodox Christian, this idea may not sit easily with you. Nevertheless, you may like to explore the idea to see what you can glean from it.
We are all called (as Israel was) to be a “Kingdom of Priests”:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9,10
Therefore, there are both no priests, and no laymen, or another way of looking at it is that every believer has a Priestly function.
Who was Melchizedek?
Melchizedek was a Priest of the Most High God, to whom Abraham paid tithes and received blessing. In Jewish tradition, he is identified as Shem, the son of Noah (this is possible, since according to the genealogies and dates / number of years of Shem’s life, he was not only contemporaneous with Abraham, but he outlived him.
The name Melchizedek means ‘King of Righteousness’ in Hebrew, and so in Christian thought, he is often considered an early ‘Christophany’ or pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.
Paul tells us that Jesus was not a priest in the Order of Levi as were the other priests of Israel, but a Prophet, Priest and King in the Order of Melchizedek.
Believers and followers of Jesus Christ are His Body on earth, ushering in the Kingdom. Therefore in a sense, we act in accordance with the authority of the Order of Melchizedek.
(See also: Tzadik)