Who was Melchizedek?

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Who is the mysterious man, named Melchizedek, who is mentioned only a few times in the Bible?

Surprisingly, his name is more of a title than a personal reference. It comes from two Hebrew words, melek and tsedeq. The word melek means 'king' and tsedeq means 'righteousness' (Strong's Concordance #H4442). Because a king is preeminent in his jurisdiction, he had to be preeminent in righteousness. Before reviewing our first scriptural reference, note that this priest in the book of Genesis, chapter 14, was the king of SALEM. The word Salem, as defined by Strong's #H8004, means 'peace.' This makes Melchizedek the "King of Peace" (Hebrews 7:2).

The first scripture referring to this priest is in the book of Genesis chapter 14, near the middle of the chapter: "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'" (Genesis 14:14, 16 - 18, NKJV throughout).

The second reference to this priest of God is in the book of Psalms: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool . . . ' The Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek' " (Psalm 110:1 - 4).

Did Jesus say He was NOT good?

Jesus said no one, including Himself, is inherently good [righteous]: ". . . Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one – God" (Matthew 19:17). Melchizedek was the epitome of righteousness, and since no human is inherently righteous, it is evident that he could not be human. If he had been human, he would have been the same as Aaron or anyone else, i.e. a sinner. As the King of Righteousness, he was the image of God's Spirit (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3). He is also in Psalm 10:4.

Malachi refers to Melchizedek indirectly when he said that the SUN of Righteousness would arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). Malachi did not use the term "SON" for him because that would have suggested that Jesus was in some way a son or a descendant of the priest. This would have implied that the One who became Jesus Christ in the flesh was someone other than the king of Salem. In Hebrews 7, the Apostle Paul makes some startling statements about this person.

"For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him . . . first being translated 'king of righteousness,' and then also king of Salem, meaning 'king of peace,' without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life . . ." (Hebrews 7:1 - 3).

The Apostle Paul made some amazing statements concerning this priest because he was emphasizing his deity. The One who became Jesus Christ is the father of all life except for one human life - His own. The Most High God is the Father of Jesus Christ, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest . . ." (Luke 1:32).

Paul, however, does not state that God was the father of Melchizedek. He is clearly saying that he, like the Most High God, was without parents. Neither of them had beginning of days nor end of life. The two of them had always lived and there had never been a time that each of them had not lived. Jesus was willing to relinquish His immortality (John 10:18) so that He could become not only the King of Righteousness, but also the Lamb of God. Jesus succinctly put it this way: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM'" (John 8:58).

Jesus' human conception was the fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 2:7, Hebrews 1:5). Because the Son promoted God's righteousness and hated iniquity, God said to Him "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter (symbol) of Your kingdom" (Hebrews 1:8 - 9). The man who had been the King of Righteousness became the Son of God and the fulfillment of the scepter promise of Genesis 49:10.

Did he receive an anointing?

Every priest taken from among men is ordained to serve on behalf of men in things pertaining to God so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sin. No one takes this honor to himself. God must call him, as he did Aaron (Hebrews 5:1, 4). Christ did not glorify Himself to be made a high priest, but it was said of him: "'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.' As He also says in another place: 'You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek . . .'" (Hebrews 5:5 - 6).

The person whom Abraham met served as the Priest of the Most High God. There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office. Jesus must have been the person who met Abraham, since the only interaction between God and man has been through Jesus.

Because He had loved righteousness and hated iniquity, God made Him a Son and anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His brethren.

"You loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; because of this, God, even Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions" (Hebrews 1:9)

The word translated "anointed" is the Greek chrio (Strong's Concordance Number #G5548) which refers to contact between the one anointed and the one doing the anointing.

The anointing of Jesus is in Luke 3:22. It occurred when the Holy Spirit (the One who fathered Jesus, Luke 1:35) descending upon Him in a bodily shape like a dove. It was at this anointing that he became the author of salvation to all who obey Him, being called of God as High Priest (Hebrews 5:9 - 10). Jesus Christ became God's High Priest because perfection and salvation were not attainable through the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:11).

Christ was made a Priest forever by an oath of the Most High God (Hebrews 7:20 - 21). His righteousness is the one manifested in the true saints of God (Romans 8:4). The church shares in the priesthood of Christ and the resurrected saints will, like Him, forever be kings and priests (Revelation 5:10). Jesus Christ is the one and only Melchizedek, the King of Peace and Righteousness.

Additional Study Materials
Why did God ask Abraham to KILL his only son?
What are the different names of God?
Who was the High Priest at the time of Jesus?
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