Hebrews 5-7: Melchizedek
One of the most fascinating people in the Bible to me is Melchizedek. He is mentioned in three books in the Bible. He is first seen in his meeting with Abraham in Genesis 14. Abraham, along with 318 fighting men from his own “house” had just come back from a successful military campaign against four kings who had taken his nephew Lot and many others as prisoners. As he brought back those miserable souls and all the spoil of war, he was “intercepted” by Melchizedek. The pagan and wicked king of Sodom had designed to meet with Abraham and offer him a very impressive compromise but before he could do so, Melchizedek met Abraham and “communed” with him. The scriptures say that he brought forth bread and wine. (Gen. 14:18) Abraham was blessed by him and gave him tithes of all he had. To be sure, there is much speculation around who he might be. He simply shows up and in a flash, he goes away forever. We never see him again in all the Bible and we don’t even know where he came from in the first place. I mean, we don’t know who his people are or who his parents are or how he came to be the priest of the most high God. Because of this, there are many who believe that He might actually be Christ making an Old Testament appearance. Some speculate that due to the fact that he is obviously a person who knows and serves the true God, he might be Shem, one of the sons of Noah who was possibly still alive. Needless to say that while we can’t be sure about any of that, we can be sure that his appearance in the Genesis is worth more to us than we might first believe.
The next time Melchizedek is mentioned is in Psalms 110:4. This psalm which is written by David is clearly a Psalm about Christ. In it, Christ is declared to be “a priest after the order of Melchizedek”. In this prophetic passage, the coming priesthood of Christ is likened to that of Melchizedek. The question that comes to my mind is, what exactly does it mean for Christ to be a priest “after the order of Melchizedek”?
The answer to that question is found in the book of Hebrews where we read about Melchizedek once again. His name is mentioned nine times in the book and it is here that we begin to have more light shined upon him. Chapters 5,6, and 7 all mention Melchizedek, and it is in these chapters that we see the preeminence, perfection, and permanence of Christ’s priesthood in comparison to Melchizedek’s priesthood and in contrast to the priesthood of the Levites. The point is simply that Christ and his kingly priesthood (like Melchizedek’s) is superior in every respect to anything in the Levitical system.
I encourage you to enjoy your readings this week and to pay close attention to what God is teaching us about our lovely Lord Jesus through the person of Melchizedek.