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Who is Melchizedek?

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Who is Melchizedek?

You know what?  I'm not going to go to the stake on this.  I believe Christ was active in the Old Testament.  He was known as God-from-God, the Divine Mediator of the Most High.  Many people met Him.  All faithful Israelites trusted in Him and in His future incarnate work.  But none of that commits me to saying Melchizedek was one of His titles.  But, having said that, I think it's a pretty good bet!

He is a beginningless, parentless, everlasting, royal priest of God Most High.  He's the King of Righteousness, King of Peace, King of Jerusalem.  Ring any bells?

"Ah but what about Hebrews 7:3?" someone will say.  Indeed, what about about Hebrews 7:3?

without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, and being made like to the Son of God, doth remain a priest continually.  (YLT)

Is that true?  Is he really without beginning of days and end of life?  And does he remain a priest continually?  I'm aware of more sophisticated arguments on this point but I try to be a simple sort.  In which case he's either the pre-incarnate Jesus or there's four members of the trinity.

Ok, but what about "being made like to the Son of God"?  Well:

a) "Son of God" is a title - and a crucial one in Hebrews.  So much of the book is a comparison of "Son" to other titles: "angels", "Son of man", "servant", "high priest" etc.  "King of Righteousness" is like "Son of God" especially when you consider  Heb 1:8 - 'the Son' has the 'sceptre of righteousness.'

b) The perfect passive ("being made") is common in Hebrews for what happens to Jesus. So in Heb 1:4 He becomes superior to the angels because of the more excellent name He has inherited (i.e. "Son").  In Heb 2:9 He is crowned with glory and honour (high priest's clothing - Ex 28:2,40).  In Heb 2:17 He is made like His brothers.  In Heb 3:3 He is found worthy.  In Heb 5:5 He is appointed high priest, in v9 He is made perfect, and in v10 He is desgnated high priest in the order of Melchizedek.  In fact it's this verse that prompts the discussion of Melchizedek.  And in Heb 6:20 it is repeated that Jesus has become high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

So Melchizedek in Genesis 14 is a type - but a type of Himself, i.e. His future incarnate work.  He is indeed the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace and the eternal Priest of God Most High. And He is that as He meets Abraham.

God was not trying to deceive Abraham by having a mere man appear in such an exalted Role.  So it truly was the Son of God who appeared as Melchizedek.  But His appearance as Melchizedek was a foretaste of His future priestly work.  This is just the same as His appearances as "The Angel (i.e. Sent One) of the LORD."  They were foretastes of His future incarnate work as Sent from the Father.

So for Melchizedek to effect His true priesthood, He would need to lay hold of the Seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16), to take flesh and perform His true priestly work.  In other words, He would need to be made like "the Son of God."  You see He always has been Son of God, but the title while eternal is also inherited through His incarnate work!  Get your head around that one if you can - but Heb 1:4 and 5:5 state it plainly.  So Melchizedek (who is pre-incarnate Son of God) must be made like "the Son of God" in order to be a true Priest.

The argument of chapters 5-7 therefore is something like this:  He's superior to Aaron because He is also King.  And He's superior to Melchizedek because He's also man.

You might ask why He's in the order of Melchizedek.  Well I think the real problem would be if He was in someone else's order.  Jesus is in a class of His own!  He started the club (as Priest-King) and then slotted into the fullness of the Role: incarnate-Priest-King.

That's my understanding at the moment anyway.

Of which I'm sure about 3% will make it into my Sunday sermon.

Any thoughts of your own?  Tips on how to preach Hebrews 7?

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0 thoughts on “Who is Melchizedek?

  1. Moore to ponder

    You said that Melchizedek was a type of himself. I am not sure exactly what you were saying there. I have often wondered about him. I have also have heard that Joseph ( Genesis 50:19-21) was also a "type" of Christ. I think I will read some more on"Melchizedek.

  2. Glen

    Hi Moore to ponder,

    What I mean by being a 'type of himself' is that Genesis 14:18-20 was an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. But this appearance (under the title 'Melchizedek') foreshadowed His future incarnate work. If you like, this was Jesus showing us what He would do when He took flesh as Jesus.

    Joseph was a type of the Christ-to-come. But He wasn't the pre-incarnate Christ Himself.

    Melchizedek was also a type of the Christ-to-come. But He Himself was also the pre-incarnate Christ. And in the fullness of time He was made like unto 'the Son of God' (Heb 7:3, KJV) when He took flesh.

    Is that slightly less unclear? :)

  3. Moore to ponder

    I have read that account before, but I don't think I fully grasped it. I hope it is alright if I ask another question and hopefully it will not seem like a digression. I am thinking about Genesis 32 and verse 30 in particular. Would it also be a true statement to say, "that Jacob wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ"?

    I have always found some of the special encounters with God like the burning bush, the transfiguration, the time God spoke to Samuel when he was a boy, and Eljah in 1Kings 19 fascinating. But I have had trouble differentiating the differences in terms like "The Angel of the Lord" from what you might call "The Pre-incarnate Christ).

    I do believe in the Trinity, and that they are all eternal, for example, when God was creating Genesis 1:26 says "Let us". Then in John 1 there is more about that.

  4. Moore to ponder

    After I made my last comment I noticed the category at the top of the page called "Christ in OT". I clicked on it and read a little. I am looking forward to reading more.

    Thank you for replying to my comments and questions.

    Looking unto Jesus,

    Theresa

  5. Glen

    Hey Tim, yes indeed. What an awesome truth - the blood of the eternal covenant. And to mix the terms of Hebrews with those of Galatians 3 - isn't it true that the "new covenant" (Gal 3:6-9, 16, 29) is much older than the "old covenant" (Galatians 3:17-25).

    I've got some diagrams on it (and an mp3 of my law seminar) here: http://christthetruth.fourkindsofchristmas.com/2009/05/13/ot-law-seminar/

    The new covenant has ever been new, in-breaking, life-giving, inwardly-renewing, all-encompassing, unlimited. The old covenant has ever been old, shadowy, death-dealing, externally-ineffectual, partial, fading.

    Are your posts closed to comments?

  6. Tim C

    I have comments on them but haven't got round to turning them on. I will do so, however, just for you! :-) If you check in about an hour they should be there...

    Looking forward to hearing the mp3!

  7. Rick

    I am of the opinion that the REAL identity of Melchizedek can not be determined. To me, he cannot be Christ-preincarnate. He certainly has the titles correct. But in Hebrews 7, the Greek word is used that implies a comparison between 2 people. How can Christ be compared to Himself? Melchizedek is mentioned in the Bible as a TYPE of Christ, as you have stated. That would make the incarnate Christ Jesus the ANTI-TYPE. I am of the opinion that Melchizedek is simply a metaphor that was pointing to Jesus' role He should have in the life of a disciple. If it were meant for God's people to KNOW more about Melchizedek, I am confident there would have been more mentioned about him. But if you think about it, there are only 2 (TWO) core topics in God's Word, the Bible. Those TWO main topics are God's plan of salvation and God's plan of service. In this life, that's all we need to be concerned with.

    Another question of the ages for you: Who wrote the book of Hebrews? Just like with who Melchizedek is, there are many theories on the author of the book of Hebrews, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. I don't think that will ever be answered satisfactorily as far as beyond a shadow of any doubt. Again, it's not important who wrote Hebrews; the messages given in Hebrews should be our only concern. Authorship is moot. Those who claim to be God's people, more times than not, try to read too much into God's Word rather than concentrating on the important things like winning souls to God and how to serve God to the best of our abilities.

  8. Glen

    Hi Rick,

    On the list of "Questions that need answering" I don't put the identity of Melchizedek high on the list. But it's there. And every now and again it's worth visiting those questions that are further down the list.

    I don't think I'd summarize the bible in the way you do "God's plan of salvation and God's plan of service." Where do you get that idea from? The absolute centre of the bible is not a plan but a Person - the LORD Jesus Himself. Hence, identifying Him in Scripture would, I suppose, be more important for me than for you.

    I agree that Hebrews 7 is making a comparison but I think it's a comparison of 'titles' rather than 'persons'. I think Mel is the pre-incarnate Christ typologically foreshadowing what He would do as incarnate High Priest. I believe that all His pre-incarnate appearances have an element of typology to them (think of the burning bush He appears in and all that this signified about His future incarnate work). So it's not an either-or (either typology or personal appearance).

    Mostly I think Mel is the Son because of how people in Scripture address and speak of Him. I don't think Abram or David would think so highly of a creature.

    But as I say - this isn't high on my list. But it's there, along with the whole counsel of God. And all of it is a testimony to Jesus. The more we see this, the more we are equipped to win souls to God and serve Him.

    :)

  9. Michael Baker

    I personally believe with my heart that he is a pre-incarnation of Christ but im not saying that its right or wrong but at this stage,thats what i believe.

  10. Guest

    "Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (11) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing." (Hebrews 5:10-11)

    If Melchisedec were simply a human being without a traceable lineage, what would be so "hard" to understand about that? If Melchisedec were a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus... it is easy to see how that would be difficult to understand!

  11. Bala Buba Ismaila

    I have a doubt about Christ being Melchezedek. Because, the bible described christ as a son of David, even though not a son of Human union. But was born by a woman?
    Which means, christ has the beginning? Not like that of Melchezedek who is described as somebody who doesn't have beginning and end. Remember also, Melchezedek wasn't a jew? I know, God can use any race to fulfill His agenda. Yet there is no place in the Bible where God choose His Prophet from the heathen nation, all the prophets in the Bible were Jewish.

  12. Arlen Beiler

    The Book of John starts out with "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God...John bear witness of him and cried saying..." So Jesus also didn't have beginning of days (though he may have of life), because he already was when time started.

  13. Crockett

    Christ is a discription of Gods own power. Each one of us can receive Christ. It is not inconsistant that Melchizedek and Jesus were both identified as Christ (one who is anointed).

  14. robind333

    I agree with Glen. Look at what Melchizedek's name means; King of Righteousness, King of Salem(Jerusalem), King of Peace. Do you really believe anyone else beside Jesus could represent these meanings?

    Jesus was there from the very beginning because we're told this in John 1:1. This means he was there in the old testament as well as the new testament.

    Even God tells us when Moses asked what his name was I am, that I am. God has many names....

    Thanks for this wonderful post, many, many blessings to you...Robin

  15. Teinor

    One can but only admit that indeed Christ was Melchizedek. No wonder Christ made this statement"Before Abraham,I was"

  16. Errol Crockett

    Christ is another name for God's own power. Any man or woman or child has access to Christ; Jesus, illustrated this perfectly. Why all the confusion? Christ is a title, NOT A MAN.

  17. Glen

    So before the foundation of the world God was loving "a title"?

    Jesus prayed "Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." (John 17:5)

    He continued in prayer to His Father: "you loved me before the foundation of the world." (John 17:24)

    How can God love a mere "title" or "power"?

  18. Errol Crockett

    Yes, a power that God prepared for all of mankind in the very beginning. That's why it's not a conflict or surprising that Melchizedek, is also Christ.

    All mankind can accept and receive Christ.

  19. Si Hollett

    Errol - you are right that Christ is a title. Given it means 'anointed one', however, how can it refer to a "power". Who is the one that is anointed?

  20. Glen

    We are *persons* who are anointed. But then, surely Christ is a Person who is anointed.

    You say that "Christ" is merely a title or power. But that makes God's eternal love impersonal. For all eternity He has loved "a power". How very uninspiring! In wanting God's love to be available for "all mankind" you have robbed *everyone* of true love. Because true love is personal. It began with the Father's love for the Son. *In* the Son we have that love. But you would rob the world of true love and instead give them an impersonal "title."

    It would be better to stick to the Bible Errol!

  21. Errol Crockett

    It's not "impersonal". The plan of salvation is meant especially for you. I am sticking to the Bible. I believe its the interpretation that you're disagreeing with.

    And didn't Jesus correct his disciples when, they tried to worship him?

  22. Glen

    Errol - your "plan" is utterly impersonal. For you God is not, fundamentally, a Father, only an Architect. In eternity He has not been personally loving, only planning. He *needs* creation in order to finally love. Creation fulfils his needs to love.

    On the contrary the orthodox Christian view is that God is eternally Father because He has eternally and personally been loving His Son. That personal love is now offered to the world in the Person of His Son.

    You have stripped out the Person in favour of a plan, but you lose love!

    And Jesus never corrected His disciples for worshipping Him. You are seriously mistaken Errol. Return to Christ - the eternal Son of the Father - in *Him* is the personal love of God.

  23. Errol Crockett

    Book of Mark

    17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

    18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.

    I know some worshipped him, but he didn't require it and didn't want it either. He was merely pointing the way back to our Heavenly Father.

    Don't worry, I'll forgive your insults. I am a Christian, afterall:-) Thank you; but I haven't left Christ.

  24. Glen

    Hi Errol, I'm not trying to insult you at all. But I do think you're blaspheming the divine glory of our LORD Jesus. Just pointing that out.

    The rich young ruler wasn't even attempting to worship Jesus so I don't see how that counts as an example of Jesus refusing divine worship. Jesus merely asks the man if he knows what he's doing (which he doesn't).

    On the other hand Jesus clearly receives worship throughout the Gospels (Matthew 14:33; 28:17; John 20:28) as well as in Revelation (1:17-18) where other glorious creatures clearly refuse it (22:9).

    It boils down to this - either Jesus is a blasphemer or you are. I know that you don't mean to blaspheme - but you appear to be on the wrong side of a line that has long divided true faith in Christ and false faith. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who has pre-existed with His Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. This confession or Trinitarian faith is the only way to do justice to Christ's words and works and the testimony of the Scriptures. I pray that you will reconsider things and begin again with the divine glory of Jesus.

  25. patrick

    hi glen;
    just a few comments
    * Jesus meets up with Abraham and Sarah {before the Sodom incident}
    is he an old man ?
    isn't Melchizedek an old man at the of his bringing out the bread and wine?

    i have Melchizedek as Shem and the order of Melchizedek is the genealogy from Shem to Jesus.especially the points of Matthew one verses one to six

    i have noticed that god divided mankind into seven divisions in the post genesis story {IN ORDER TO BRING OUT THE GOSPEL POINTS}
    In the verses of Matthew one :1-6
    we get 12 of this as we get the line to Jesus and we need to think of that in which is not the line to Jesus

    we have .....
    Abraham not Lot
    Isaac not Ishmael
    Jacob not Esau

    with me so far?
    GOING BACK TO ABRAHAM
    we know Abraham is from Shem ;
    but let us consider him as Melchizedek for a minute

    who does Shem drop off from not being in the line to Jesus ?
    would the not's seen here be 1- Japheth
    ------------------------------------ 2- HAM
    MAKING ------------------------- 3- LOT
    ------------------------------------ 4- ISHMAEL
    ------------------------------------ 5 ESAU

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHT {are these the five loaves in the feeding of the 5k?}
    so we need the two fish
    and in Matthew one we see
    6- his brothers ; led by EPHRAIM { Jacob divides the family birth-rite promises; between 2 of his sons}. all but two go to Joseph {though the sons of Joseph}
    7- Judah gets the other two; lawmaking and king ship
    this is the dividing point of the split of the northern and southern kingdoms
    note; the first king saul ; is a Benjaminite and they are the other tribe that aligns with Judah in forming the southern kingdom

    continuing the Gospel story we move to the
    "WHOSE MOTHER WAS 'es
    as genesis ends we get TAMAR
    before we end the journey to the promised land we get REHAB
    in the time of judges we get RUTH
    and when David is King we get BATHSHEBA

    THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK IS THIS STORY
    THIS genealogical line from Shem through these time periods bring out issues
    that JESUS answers in his time here on earth
    with his birth; his genealogy shows us this story of the order of Melchizedek
    with his life; he fulfills the law {given in the journey to the promised land}
    at his death he becomes the kinsman redeemer {Ruth story in the time of judges}
    and upon his return; he will be king of kings {like david was king}

    why David?
    looking again at those four women
    we easily see Ruth is a Moabite ; descending from Ruth
    BUT DID WE NOTICE THAT BOAZ IS THE SON OF REHAB ?
    AND THAT THE PRODUCT OF THIS UNION LEADS TO DAVID?

    IS TAMAR from ESAU whose wife was the daughter Ishmael?
    is REHAB from HAM {through the Nimrod line that the prophet Jonah spoke to}
    is BATHSHEBA from the lands of JAPHETH ?

    IS JESUS THEN "KIN" TO ALL OF MANKIND? AND THUS MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR JESUS TO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS OF A KINSMAN REDEEMER
    1- MUST HAVE THE PRICE { his perfect life ; not beholden to wages of sin and death}
    2- MUST PAY THE PRICE { his death; undeserved and now owed life }
    3- must be of kin { kin'ed to all through those four women }

    it is my opinion this story is the order of Melchizedek ;
    at least you have something to look at ~lol

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