Who is Melchizedek? Solving a Biblical Mystery Together

The name Melchizedek (originally found in Genesis 14) means “King of Righteousness” and this OT priest is also called the King of Salem (the city) which means “Peace” as in Jerusalem (“City of Peace”). He is called the priest of God Most High “El Elyon”. The two cities are the same, as it is said in Psalm 76: “His abode has been established in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.” David bought this land from Ornan the Jebusite (1 Chron. 21). This hill or set of hills is also called Mt. Moriah (where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son) or Zion and actually in Judaic literature there are 72 names for this very ancient city that had always been dedicated to Deity. And we are going to examine the connection today between Melchizedek the priest-king of Salem and Jesus! (By the way, some views state he is a pre-incarnate Christ or some type of angelic being, but I think he is a human being).

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, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
— Hebrews 7:1-10

Melchizedek was the King of the city Salem (Jerusalem) long before David ever built his palace there or Solomon built the temple there, and he was also a Priest of God Most High (the true and living God). Interestingly he is an example of worshippers of YHWH who always existed outside of the Israelites, and he is actually useful to the writer of Hebrews and His typology for exactly that reason. And here is the connection: Christ is a priest to God in a special class outside the Aaronic priesthood who is different because he is innately perfect, and is eternal, unlike Aaronic priests under the Mosaic code. Also we know he is better because Abraham (representing the covenant with the Israelites) pays tithe to the Melchizedek priesthood and then Melchizedek blesses Abraham the Patriarch (the greater blesses the lesser)!

What he is doing for you in the passage is a math equation: If A>B>C then A>C If Melchizedek is greater than Abraham/Aaron/Levi and Christ is greater than Melchizedek, then Christ’s priesthood is greater than the Aaronic priesthood. Make sense? I want you to become Bible nerds, because when you study this book it will change your life!


In Prayer Today:

Thank Christ for being your Great High Priest.