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Who is Melchizedek?

Question: Who was Melchizedek in the Bible?

Answer: Melchizedek is king of Salem (meaning "king of peace"), he is the king of righteousness by definition and the high priest forever to God Most High. According to Hebrews, Melchizedek had no beginning or end; no parental lineage, and is thus eternal and not a created being like man or angels.

Question: How do you pronounce Melchizedek?

Answer: Mel-khiz-ed-ek.

Question: Where do I find Melchizedek in the Bible?

Answer: Melchizedek is mentioned in the Bible books of Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews, respectively. Scroll down for each of the passages.

Question: What is the priestly order of Melchizedek?

Answer: There were two priesthoods: the priestly order of Aaron under the Mosaic Law, and the order of Melchizedek under Christ Jesus. In Christ, Jesus is our high priest and our sacrificial lamb. Under the Mosaic covenant Law and priesthood, man is separated from God by his sins and temporarily covered by the blood of animals, but man remained irredeemable. Redemption comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Question: What does the name Melchizedek mean?

Answer: Melchizedek in Hebrew means "king of righteousness."

Question: What is a christophany in the Old Testament?

Answer: A christophany in the Old Testament is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus.

Question: Is King Melchizedek an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament?

Answer: There is really no way around this logically: Melchizedek shares the same titles and attributes of Jesus Christ. He is eternal, uncreated, high priest forever, the king of peace and king of righteousness. There is no eternal king of righteousness besides Jesus Christ.

Question: Was Melchizedek actually Shem?

Answer: No. We know from the table of nations in Genesis chapter 10 that Shem had a parental lineage, and the author of Hebrews states that Melchizedek had no parental lineage is without beginning or end. Shem was a mortal man and not Melchizedek.

The Genesis 14:17-24 account of Melchizedek

Let's examine the scriptures, beginning with the battle of the kings in Genesis 14 when Abram meets Melchizedek.

Genesis 14:17-24:

Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

He blessed him and said,
            “Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
            Possessor of heaven and earth;

      And blessed be God Most High,
            Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
            He gave him a tenth of all.

The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

Psalm 110:4 designates Jesus as our priest forever

The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Psalm 110:4

Hebrews unravels the mystery of Melchizedek

Hebrews chapters 5 and 6:

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. Hebrews 5:11.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20.

Hebrews chapter 7:

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.

      Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

      Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.

For it is attested of Him,

For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as it was not without an oath

(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him,
            “THE LORD HAS SWORN
            ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER’”);

so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

      The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

      For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

For an in-depth study of Melchizedek from Hebrews 7:1-10, check out this sermon titled Melchizedek.

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