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A Biblical Figure – Melchizedek

Psalms 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

In the book of Psalms, it is written that there will be a priest who will carry out his priesthood in the order¹ of Melchizedek. In all sixty-six books of the Bible, Melchizedek was mentioned thrice. In the New Testament, the writer of the book of Hebrews revealed that he had much to say about Melchizedek.

¹ Order means a way in which a thing is done; an arrangement; a manner

Hebrews 5:11-14  We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

At the stage of the early Church, it was difficult to have complete knowledge and understanding of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was first mentioned in the book of Genesis.

Melchizedek, a Priest of God.

Genesis 14:17-20  After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand. Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Melchizedek was a priest of God who appeared in the time of Abraham², who blessed Abraham with bread and wine. In return, Abraham then presented Melchizedek with a tenth of everything.

² ‘Abram’ here is the former name of Abraham (Genesis 17:3-5).

In the Old Testament times, it was a common ritual for priests to offer animals’ blood to God when they were granted blessings, received forgiveness or established a covenant with God. However, unlike all the other priests in the old testament times, Melchizedek blessed Abraham with bread and wine.

The Reality of Melchizedek

The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament. The Old Testament contains prophecies to be fulfilled in the New Testament (Hebrews 10:1). Just as Melchizedek blessed Abraham with bread and wine, there is also a high priest in the order of Melchizedek who will appear to bless us with bread and wine.

Matthew 26:17-19, 26-28  On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover… While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

During the Passover feast, Jesus brought out bread and wine to bless His disciples with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. This was different from the existing Jewish priests who carried out blessings by animal sacrifice (Mark 14:12). Jesus was the priest who blessed with bread and wine in the order of Melchizedek, fulfilling the prophecy in the old covenant.

Let us confirm that Jesus is the reality of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:7-10  During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The author of Hebrews had insight that Jesus came as the high priest in the order of Melchizedek. However, there were some prophetical points about Melchizedek that were not completely fulfilled by Jesus. We will explore this in the next article – The Mystery of Melchizedek.

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1)   Order = a way in which a thing is done; an arrangement; a manner
2)   ‘Abram’ here is the former name of Abraham (Genesis 17:3-5).
3)   A line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor