Who is Melchizedek? We’ve ignored him until now, but Melchizadek (Mel-chi-SE-dek) is an important figure to wrap our heads around as we continue into chapters 7 and 8 of Hebrews.
Melchizadek means “king of righteousness” and he was both a king of a city (Salem – meaning peace) that had links to Jerusalem and he was a priest of God. You now know as much as we do! Melchizedek is a mysterious character for sure. In fact, he’s probably the most mysterious figure in all of the bible! He suddenly appears in Genesis and then disappears.
Abraham and Melchizedek first meet after Abraham rescues his cousin Lot by defeating the king of Sodom and his allies at Cherdolamer. Melchizedek presents bread and wine to Abraham and his tired men, demonstrating friendship. He then blesses Abraham in the name of El Elyon (meaning “God Most High”) and praises God for giving Abraham a victory in battle. Abraham then presents Melchizedek with an offering (a tithe, what was a tenth) of all the items he had won through the battle. By giving this tithe, Abraham is recognizing that Melchizedek is a priest who ranks higher than even Abraham!
Type of Christ
In Psalm 110, Melchizedek is presented as a type of Christ. This means, that as we look at the character and actions of Melchizedek, we see a Christ-like figure that points us forward to what God will provide in Jesus. You could call them signs pointing to Christ.
In Melchizedek’s case, he was both a king (of righteousness) and a high priest. Jesus is the King of Righteousness, and the great High Priest (as we’ve already discovered). This begins to make sense of Hebrews 6:20 where the author writes: “[Jesus] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
Throughout the entire Old Testament, we see many types of Christ. They are shadows of the real thing. When Jonah spent 3 days inside the belly of the fish, that real story is also a foreshadowing of the time Jesus spent in the tomb. These types are not by accident. They are signs. God since the beginning of time had planned for His Son Jesus to save the world. The first time we see a promise of Jesus is right back in Genesis 3:15 where God rebuking Satan says: “You will strike his heal, and he will crush your head.” This is called the protoevangelion, and it is the first promise God makes to restore the world through the coming of His Son defeating Satan and sin.
Isn’t it great that God had a plan for our redemption all the way back in Genesis! You can trust him to save you, since he’s had you in his mind all along.
- What does it mean for Jesus to be both King and Priest of your life?
Father God, thank you that you are a God of salvation! Help me to put my trust in Jesus as both Lord (King) and Saviour (Priest). Amen.