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Who was Melchizedek?

q.gif (1639 bytes)    Will you give me a run-down on Melchizedek? In Genesis chapter 14:18, he was the king of Sodom and also the priest of the most high God. I don't understand all of this, I need your help. Thank you.


a.gif (1659 bytes)   Genesis 14:14-20 says, "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And THE KING OF SODOM went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. And MELCHIZEDEK KING OF SALEM brought forth bread and wine: and HE WAS THE PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

    There was more than one person who came out to meet Abraham when he returned from the battle. The king of Sodom was one that went out to meet Abraham. In verse 2, we are told the names of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. "...BERA king of Sodom, and with BIRSHA king of Gomorrah." (Genesis 14:2). So the name of the king of Sodom who came out to meet Abraham was "Bera."

    The Bible also tells us that another man went out to meet Abraham — Melchizedek. Notice that it does not call him the king of "Sodom," but the king of "Salem." "And MELCHIZEDEK KING OF SALEM brought forth bread and wine: and HE WAS THE PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD" (Genesis 14:18). We read that "Salem" is simply a shortened form of the word "Jerusalem."

    In King David’s time, Jerusalem was wicked, and he had to conquer it to live there. II Samuel 5:4-9 says, "David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and IN JERUSALEM he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of ZION: THE SAME IS THE CITY OF DAVID. And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward." Jerusalem was also referred to in this passage as "Zion," and "The city of David."

    But back in Abraham’s time, there was at least one godly man living in Jerusalem, and possibly many more. The one that we know about for sure is Melchizedek. The Bible tells us that "HE WAS THE PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD" (Genesis 14:18). Notice also that Abraham gives tithes to Melchizedek. It is very doubtful that Abraham would have done that, had he not known who Melchizedek was, and if he was indeed a godly priest. This also tells us that God’s people tithed long before there was ever given such a command (in the Law given to Moses).

   Jacob is another example of one who talked about tithing to the Lord, before that command was ever given. Genesis 28:20-22 says, "And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give THE TENTH unto thee."

    Other than the above, we do not know a lot about Melchizedek, and the Lord kept it that way on purpose, so that Melchizedek might be a "type" or "picture" of the Messiah to come. Hebrews 6:20-7:4 says, "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and after that also KING OF SALEM, which is, KING OF PEACE; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils."

    Melchisedec was a good "type" of Christ, in that he was a righteous man in a very wicked day, and king over "Jerusalem," which means, "peace."

    Verse 3 is where matters could be confused. It states, "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." To make Melchisedec a clear "type" or "illustration" of Christ, some abnormal things would be done in regard to him. First, there would be no listing of his father in the Scriptures. That is rare. Most of the time in the Old Testament, the person would be stated to be "the son of ..." Genesis 11:31 says, "And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son..." There is also no reference to Melchisedec’s mother in the Scriptures. Another notable omission about Melchisedec is that his age is never listed, nor the time when he died. It is very unusual in the Old Testament not to have this information about a man. All of this was purposely omitted to make him a clear "type" or "picture" of the coming Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is eternal, and had no beginning. Micah 5:2 says, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING."

    Little is really known about Melchizedek. His name is not a household word. But what we do know, is that he was a godly man. Could that be said about us? Are we enough like Christ, where anyone could actually picture what He is like, from our lives?

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