Melchizedek (King of Righteousness, King of Peace)

Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was described as a king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God in several places in Scripture:

  • Genesis 14:18–20

Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High. He blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave him a tenth of all.”

  • Psalm 110:4

YHWH has sworn, and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.””

Here is a messianic psalm written by David (reiterated in Matthew 22:43 by Jeshua), Melchizedek is presented as the Messiah, the Son of YHWH.

  • Hebrews 5:6–11

As he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. About him we have many words to say, and hard to interpret, seeing you have become dull of hearing.”

  • 6:20—7:28

where as a forerunner Yeshua entered for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek…“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, “king of righteousness”, and then also “king of Salem”, which means “king of peace”, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God), remains a priest continually. 

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the best plunder. They indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the Torah, that is, of their brothers, though these have come out of the body of Abraham, but he whose genealogy is not counted from them has accepted tithes from Abraham, and has blessed him who has the promises. But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. Here people who die receive tithes, but there one receives tithes of whom it is testified that he lives. 

We can say that through Abraham even Levi, who receives tithes, has paid tithes, for he was yet in the body of his father when Melchizedek met him. Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law. For he of whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 

For it is evident that our Lord has sprung out of Judah, about which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. This is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there arises another priest, who has been made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life; for it is testified, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 

Inasmuch as he was not made priest without the taking of an oath (for they indeed have been made priests without an oath), but he with an oath by him that says of him, “The Lord swore and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’” By so much, Yeshua has become the collateral of a better covenant. Many, indeed, have been made priests, because they are hindered from continuing by death. But he, because he lives forever, has his priesthood unchangeable. 

Therefore he is also able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, seeing that he lives forever to make intercession for them. For such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who doesn’t need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For he did this once for all, when he offered up himself. For the Torah appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the word of the oath which came after the Torah appoints a Son forever who has been perfected.

This theme is repeated here, where both Melchizedek and Yeshua are called kings of righteousness and peace. By citing Melchizedek and his unique priesthood as a type, the writer shows that Yeshua’s new priesthood is superior to the old levitical order and the priesthood of Aaron (Hebrews 7:1–10).

Melchizedek’s sudden appearance and disappearance in the book of Genesis is somewhat mysterious. Melchizedek and Abraham first met after Abraham defeats Chedorlaomer and his three allies. Melchizedek presented bread and wine to Abraham and his weary men, demonstrating friendship. He bestowed a blessing on Abraham in the name of El Elyon (“God Most High”) and praised God for giving Abraham a victory in battle.

  • Genesis 14:18–20

Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High. He blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave him a tenth of all.”

Abraham presented Melchizedek with a tithe (a tenth) of all the items he had gathered. By this act Abraham indicated that he recognized Melchizedek as a priest who ranked higher spiritually than he.
Clearly this is actually a pre-incarnate appearance of Yeshua Messiah. This is undesputable, given that Abraham had received such a visit before. Consider Genesis 17 where Abraham saw and spoke with YHWH (El Shaddai) in the form of a man.
Hebrews 6:20 says, “[Yeshua] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” This term order would ordinarily indicate a succession of priests holding the office. None are ever mentioned, however, in the long interval from Melchizedek to Yeshua, an anomaly that can be solved by assuming that Melchizedek and Yeshua are really the same person. Thus the “order” is eternally vested in Him and Him alone.
Hebrews 7:3 says that Melchizedek was “without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.” There is no question in my mind that the author of Hebrews means this actually not figuratively.

Since the description in Hebrews is clearly literal, then it is indeed difficult to see how it could possibly be applied to anyone but Yeshua Messiah. No mere earthly king “remains a priest forever,” and no mere human is “without father or mother.” If Genesis 14 describes a theophany, then the pre-incarnate Messiah came to give Abraham His blessing (Genesis 14:17–19), appearing as the King of Righteousness (Revelation 19:11,16), the King of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and the Mediator between God and Man (1 Timothy 2:5).

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