SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
THE MYSTERIOUS MELCHIZEDEK
A mystery man. Who is he? Where did he come from? Where did he go? And yet his life foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah thousands of years before He came to earth. Was he a real human being? Was he an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament? Let’s look into this enigmatic figure of the Old Testament and try to solve the mystery of MELCHIZEKEK.
The story of Melchizedek is found in only three places in the Bible (Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews): (Gen 14:18-20) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And 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.” And he gave him a tithe of all. The background is that after Abraham rescued Lot from being kidnapped by a coalition of kings, Melchizedek, a king and a priest, came to greet Abraham and offered him bread and wine. He then blessed Abraham and afterward Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek.
Then over in Psalm 110 there is the second mention of Melchizedek. (Psa 110:4) The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” David predicts here that in the future the people of the Messiah will have an eternal High Priest. Melchizedek was a king and priest and in the coming Kingdom the ancient unity of priest and king in one person will be reunited in the Messiah. Finally in Hebrews the writer exercises a brilliant stroke in combining the Genesis and Psalm references concerning Melchizedek and relating them to the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Heb 7:1-25).
Now let’s try to pull it all together. The author of Hebrews brings out the similarities of Melchizedek and Jesus to argue that Jesus is eternal and superior to the Old Testament Aaronic priesthood. These similarities include: 1) Their dual roles: They were both priest and king. (Heb 7:1; Psa 110:4). 2) Their eternal nature: (Heb 7:3; Psa 110:4). 3) Their description of character: King of righteousness (Heb 7:2; Jer 23:6) and king of Salem, or peace (Heb 7:2; Isa 9:6). 4) Their free gift of grace: Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to Abraham (Gen 14:18). Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper (communion) with the elements of bread and wine (1 Cor 11:23-26).
Was Melchizedek a real person? Or was he a preincarnate appearance of Christ in the Old Testament? One cannot be certain but consider some other Christophanies in the Bible: Gen 18:1, Gen 32:24, Josh 5:13-15, and Daniel 3:24-25.
I hope the figure of MELCHIZEDEK is less of a mystery to you and more of a reality as seen in Christ. If you ask Him He will walk off the Bible pages and right into your heart. Let Jesus be your priest and king today!