No father, mother, genealogy, no beginning of days nor end of life- Who is this mysterious person suddenly appeared and disappeared to Abraham?
Melchizedek is definitely a very interesting person in the Bible. People are naturally curious to discover who this person is!
Let us look into the chronological development regarding the description of this apparently mysterious person called Melchizedek. Bible provides progressive revelation and it progressively reveals the truth as we move from the Old Testament books to the New Testament Books. The whole counsel of God can be gained only by studying Bible as a whole. In other words, we don’t come to a final understanding about a topic of interest by looking at one testament, one book, and one verse. Bible has to be studied holistically and progressively. In addition, Bible must also be studied literally with an understanding of the then culture. We will allow for figurative interpretation only if the passages suggests figurative interpretation. If Bible doesn’t provide figurative interpretation for a passage, we will use only the literal explanation. For example, If a verse is figurative, the Bible says it is figurative usually before or after the verse. For example, the Book of Revelation says the mystery of seven stars and seven golden lampstands immediately after Revelation 1:20. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Now we know seven stars and seven golden lampstands are used figuratively.
1 Corinthians 5:7 says in the New Testament, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”. Now we know Passover lamb was a shadow of Christ. Bible interprets and it doesn’t we will allow literal explanation. This is the right way to interpret all literature and the same is applicable to Bible literature as well.
The problem with Melchizedek is Bible doesn’t say he is Christ nor it says he is a type of Christ. But the descriptions about this apparently mysterious person gives us an idea that he is not a mere king or man.
Melchizedek is introduced for the first time in Bible in Genesis 14:18-20 and it says,
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.”
This was a sudden and unexpected visit of Melchizedek after Abraham and his people defeated Chedorlaomer and the three allies with the help of the Most high God, Yahweh. An amazing victory over the enemies because Abraham delivered and brought home Lot from their hands. Melchizedek, king of Salem brought out bread and wine to a tired Abraham and his people to refresh and rejuvenate them. Bringing bread and wine also shows friendship and care. It is interesting to note the two descriptions about Melchizedek – King of Salem and then it says he was a priest of God Most High. Not only that, Melchizedek blessed Abraham and it says Abraham gave him a tenth of all that he accumulated. In other words, Abraham recognized and acknowledged Melchizedek as the priest of the Most High God and Abraham shared his apparent gratefulness of the victory with this superior and highly ranked person visited Him. To bless Abraham means Melchizedek had apparently a position of higher rank spiritually.
Then the name Melchizedek appears in Psalm 110 which is written by King David. This is a psalm regarding Christ Jesus. Several Psalms are written by David by the inspiration of God, that goes beyond his life experiences. Psalm 22 is another example of a messianic Psalm that describes how God the father allowed Christ the son to go through the experience of the cross for our sins.
It is interesting David says “The LORD says to my Lord”. In other words, Yahew (The LORD) says to David’s Lord- Christ Jesus. This is explained by Jesus in Matthew 22:42-46. It says Jesus, the Messiah, is not only the son of David but He is also the Lord of David because David called Him the Lord in Holy Spirit (by the inspiring work of the Holy Spirit in David). Jesus said in Matthew 22:43 that David called Him the Lord in Psalm 110 by the Holy Spirit. By the way, Psalm 110 proves another important doctrine of the Bible – The trinity or triune God. ‘The LORD’ – God the father, David says ‘my Lord’- Jesus Christ and the whole incident of David’s inspiration to write these words was because of the work and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Him.
Psalm 110:1 let all of us understand the conversation between God the father and God the Son. The Lord says to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” This is fulfilled at the time of the ascension of Christ into heaven after His sacrificial death for us. Listen to what Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted [ag]to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into [ah]heaven, but he himself says:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’
Now the next verse, Psalm 110:2 says, “The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” Psalm 110:1 is already fulfilled as Christ was exalted to the right hand of God after accomplishing our salvation by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Now Christ is at the right hand of God. Verse 2 says The LORD will stretch forth Your (Christ’s) strong scepter from Zion. This will be accomplished when Christ will rule by his strong scepter from Zion or Jerusalem. This will be the time of the Davidic covenant and even it goes back to Genesis 46:10 where the Bible says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. The scepter of rulership from the headquarters in Jerusalem belongs to Christ.
Now verse 4 of Psalm 110 says, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” This is an eternal declaration of the LORD and He will not change His mind on this matter. What is the declaration? Christ is the priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”. Christ is the King and the priest.
In other words by saying Christ’s priesthood last forever by the order of Melchizedek and not by the Levitical order. Levi and Levitical order was familiar to Jews. The passage teaches us few important points. One, Christ’s priesthood did not originate with Levi or Levitical systems which came in to being only later at the time of Moses. Christ’s priesthood is much older in its order and it goes back to the time of Abraham, even before the time of David who wrote Psalm 110. Secondly, Christ’s priesthood is more superior when compared with the Levitical priesthood.
The Book of Hebrews.
This superiority of Christ’s priesthood apparently explained in the book of Hebrews. This is the third place Melchizedek is mentioned and explained. Let us dive into this section now.
Hebrews 6:20 says about Jesus Christ. “having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Christ’s highly priestly role is according to the order of Melchizedek. When it says “order of” we expect high priests before Christ or we expect a line of high priests so that we can comfortably say Christ is in the order of this High priestly line. But the fact of the matter is there was no one name mentioned in the Bible after the name of Melchizedek. No one in between Melchizedek and Christ mentioned in the Bible.
Adding to our curiosity, Bible says in Hebrews 7:3 describes Melchizedek as, “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
Hebrews 7:2 gives us the translation of the name Melchizedek as “king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, Which is king of peace.”
Now let us analyze all these points. We understand from New Testament that Melchizedek:
• doesn’t have father
• doesn’t have a mother
• doesn’t have a genealogy.
• doesn’t have a beginning of days nor end of life.
• He was made like the son of God. He remains a priest perpetually.
• He is the king of righteousness and
• the king of Salem which means king of peace.
All the above descriptions except one that says “He was made like the son of God” point toward Christ because King of righteousness, king of Salem which is king of peace, no father, no mother, no beginning of days and no end of life fits the description of Christ. No other human being can be attributed with these traits. However, the usage ‘like the son of God’ seems to be a strong argument for viewing Melchizedek as a type of Jesus Christ. However, we also should keep in mind that the phrase ‘like the son of God’ was used about pre-incarnate Christ in the book of Daniel in Daniel 3:25.
Who is He?
When we read all these progressive revelations about this mysterious person who appeared and disappeared to Abraham at a very critical time in Abraham’s life, are we learning Melchizedek and Jesus Christ are the same? Is it true that the eternal Son of God visited a tired Abraham and blessed him after his war with Chedorlaomer and his three allies and received a grateful tithe from him as a supernatural divine second person of the Trinity, who deserved to be honored? Is the Genesis account of Melchizedek a Christophany like other similar instances in the Old Testament? Refer other instances of Christophany in Genesis 17:18 when Abraham talked to the LORD like a man talking to another man.Alternatively, Is Melchizedek was a historical figure who was a type of Christ?
Theophany and Christophany in the Bible
We know for sure there are Theophany and Christophany in the old testament Scripture. Theophany is a manifestation of God but not necessarily in human forms or terms. There are several examples and one of such is Exodus 3:2-4:17 when God appeared to Moses in burning bush and advised what to do. Christophany is the appearance of pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament. There are several examples. But one example for the limited time of this article is Genesis 32:22-30. Jacob wrestled with what appeared to be a man.
The international standard of Bible Encyclopedia gives Qumran identification of Melchizedek under the name of Melchizedek (page 313, Volume Three K-P) In 1956 thirteen fragments of a first-century manuscript were found in Qumran Cave 11 (11QMelch). “A.S. Van der Woude, the original publisher of 11qMelch, saw Melchizekek as playing a significant role, standing in the assembly of God among the angelic beings. There he is depicted as executing divine judgment, which is somehow related to the Jubilee Year. He also seems to be involved either as the one who atones for the sins of the people or as the priest who mediates atonement to them. A few students of Qumran literature identify the Melchizedek of 11QMelch as an earthly person who met Abraham (Gen 14) and whose likeness will be reproduced in the coming Messiah. Most Qumran scholars, however, view the Qumran Melchizedek as a high angelic being who was thought to have appeared to Abraham. This tradition, preserved in Qumran, may provide the background for the use of the Melchizedek figure in Hebrews 7.”
It is very interesting to note that this simple incident that happened in Abraham’s life – the sudden appearance and disappearance of Melchizedek- later became a huge area of curiosity and interest among Jewish and Christian scholars and to the minds of ordinary people. We understand a lot of curious generating people appeared and disappeared from the historical account of the old testament literature and they didn’t get this much attention. I have in mind other theophanies and Christophanies as well. Melchizedek still remains as a mysterious person in scholars and ordinary people’s mind.
At the final outset Who is Melchizedek?
At the final outset -there are three major kinds of thoughts regarding Melchizedek. The first one says he is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. The second thought is Melchizedek is a man, king and a type of Christ and he portrays or pre-figures Christ’s High Priestly ministry. However, it appears one important conclusion emerges from the above study of his progressive descriptions that Melchizedek was more than a mere human king or king, doesn’t it? There is also a third thinking that Melchizedek is an angel appeared to Abraham (Angelophany). However, Bible says the angels are created by God (Colossians 1:16) and they have a beginning. The description of ‘no beginning’ regarding Melchizedek suggests this appearance was not an angelic appearance because of the fact that the angles are created beings. But the thought that pre-incarnate Christ appeared to Abraham after his weary and rigorous battle and Abraham gave his honor to Him seems a good possibility.
Prayer time: Bible says Jesus Christ is the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Bible says it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. “Every human priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, But Jesus Christ, having offered one sacrifice for sins of all time, sat down at the right hand of God…. For by one offering (of his sinless body and blood) He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:11-14
If you call upon the name of Lord Jesus Christ, who is the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, your sins will be forgiven and you will be granted eternal life with Him in heaven. He declares you perfect based on His sacrifice on the cross and your faith and trust in Him. Just by looking the cross and believing in Christ as your savior and Lord. Your perfection doesn’t come from your works or deeds. Your perfection doesn’t come by visiting few holy places. You achieve perfection only by the blood of Christ.
Pray with me like this. Jesus, I believe you died, buried and risen for my sins. I believe you are the only High Preist who can save me from my sins and make me perfect in the presence of God. Please come to my life and save me. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, please go to contact/prayer tab and send me a note. Thank you.