Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Who was Melchizedek?

"This Melchizedek was king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him" (Hebrews 7:1)

The book of Genesis is a book of genealogies, particularly the genealogies of the servants of God. But there is one man who is identified as a priest of God who appears suddenly without any genealogy: Melchizedek. This Melchizedek met Abram as Abram was returning to the Promised Land after defeating Chedorlaomer and rescuing Lot (Genesis 14:18–20).

Melchizedek brought bread and wine and gave them to Abram. Bread and wine were tokens of the kingdom of God even at this early stage of history. Later we find them in the tabernacle on the table of showbread. Melchizedek was blessing Abram by giving him these tokens.

Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem, almost certainly the original name of Jerusalem. He was also the priest of that city and served the true God under the name “God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth.” Like Adam, he was both priest and king under God, but unlike Adam, he was faithful.

Melchizedek means “king of righteousness.” Salem means “peace,” so as king of Salem he was “king of peace.” The righteousness of God threatens war against sinners, but in the person of Melchizedek, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Clearly this man was a symbol and type of the coming Messiah.

The author of Hebrews argues that God deliberately left out the genealogy of Melchizedek in order to make clear that this order of priesthood is not received by inheritance. Rather, it is received directly from God. In the same way, the Son of God received His priestly mantle directly from God the Father, not from the line of Aaronic priests, because Jesus was not descended from Aaron but from the royal tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:1–3).

When Abram paid tithes to Melchizedek, he acknowledged the latter’s superiority. Levi was descended from Abram, and Aaron from Levi. Thus, the entire Levitical and Aaronic priesthood was always inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4–10). The Old Testament made it plain from the very beginning that a higher priesthood would eventually come.

How “Melchizedekian” is your life? Are you one who tends to major on righteousness or on peace? Righteousness-lovers tend to be contentious, while peace-lovers tend to be compromisers. How is it possible to stand firmly for both? Maintain the full vigor of God’s law while offering the peaceful feast of bread and wine to all men.