Saturday, January 1, 2011

90 day Bible- Who was Melchizedek?

This is my 3rd 90 day Bible challenge and I'm amazed at the new things I see and ponder each time through.  This time I've been really thinking about Melchizedek. 

What do we know about Melchizedek?

1.  From Hebrews (5:5, 6:20, 7:9-11, 7:15, 17, and 21) we know he is a type of Christ.  For this reason I believe he merits further investigation.

2.  He was king of Salem.  (Genesis 14:18)Some say this Salem would later become Jerusalem.  At any rate, Salem means peace.  He was a king and not just any king, but the king of peace.

3.  He was the priest of God Most High.  (Genesis 14:18)  This is fascinating to me.  I've always thought of the priesthood originating with Aaron.  Melchizedek was a non-Levitical priest.  So he was a priest of a different order.  In other words, this Melchizedek was a priest who superceded the Levitical priests and operated in a different way.  The language of Hebrews stresses this distinction.  Melchizedek did not offer up animal sacrifices for his people.  And the name God Most High refers to El Elyon, further clarified in Genesis 14:18 and 22 as "Possessor of heaven and earth".  So this God Most High was the same God Abram believed and worshiped.  Interesting.

4.  His name, Melchizedek, means "righteous king".  So not only was he a king and a king of peace, but he was a righteous king, according to his name.  Starting to see why he's a type of Christ?

5.  No geneology is given for him.  Although Melchizedek certainly had parents, it's strange that they aren't mentioned.  He seems to arrive mysteriously and then disappear in an equally mysterious way.  Some think Melchizedek may have been Shem.  I don't know about that, but the fact that his geneology isn't given makes him appear to be eternal- with no beginning and no end.  This perception of Melchizedek is used by the writer of Hebrews to make him a type of Christ, who actually is eternal.

6.  He blesses Abram.  (Genesis 14:19)  We think of Abraham as being the father of our faith, yet here is one with the position and authority to give a blessing to Abraham. 

7.  Abram gave a tithe to him.  (Genesis 14:20)  Some say this is a "payment" for services rendered- for either the provision of food or soldiers, but that's not the language used.  A tithe is an offering, an act of worship to God.  Again, this causes me to think that Abram saw Melchizedek as a priest, a representative of God Most High, whom according to Melchizedek delivered Abram's enemies into his hand (Genesis 14:20).

Interesting, is it not?  When the writer of Hebrews calls Christ a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, as opposed to the Levitical priests, what does this mean?  I think it means several things that we learn from the characteristics of Melchizedek given above.

1.  Christ is King, He rules over all.
2.  Christ is eternal, with no beginning and no end.
3.  Christ is the prince of peace.  It is through Him alone that we can have peace with God.
4.  Christ is deserving of our worship.
5.  Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for our sins once for all.  There is no need for the continual offering of animals.

What do you think?  What are you learning as you read through the Bible?


  1. Wow!! I'm amazed that you were able to learn so much about Melchizedek just from reading the Bible. You are really studying and learning. You make me want to do more of that too.

    I am a Mormon, and we have more scriptures that explain more about Melchizedek if you are interested. I know that many Christian religions view Mormonism as a cult, but they should read the Book of Mormon itself before making such a claim. I think they would be surprised at what they would find.

    Alma in the Book of Mormon talks about Melchizedek starting in chapter 13:14 at this link:

    Joseph Smith added the following verses to Genesis 14:25-40:

    We use the King James version of the Bible, but in the index we have parts of Joseph Smith's retranslation of the Bible which clarifies some confusing sections and gives more info. Melchizedek happens to be one of those.

    I am really impressed with the study and learning that Christians gain from the Bible. I rely heavily on the Book of Mormon and sometimes I miss how very similar they are. You make me want to learn more of God and to acknowledge his greatness better. Thank you.

  2. Thanks, Amber. I do have a book of Mormon and have read parts of it. I would love to discuss with you via email. You should be able to contact me through the contact tab above. I say should because it usually works, but not always. I'd love to talk more with you.


  3. I'm not doing the 90-day Challenge, but I am digging for great boy names from the Bible with stories behind them just like this. Though Melchizedek might just be too big of shoes to fill. ;) The lack of information about Melchizedek reminds me of Job. I'm particularly fond of Manasseh, after I read a sermon a few years ago by Spurgeon on him (text from 2 Chronicles 33). If you have any other surprising little nuggets to share, shoot them my way!! :)

  4. When our pastor was preaching through the book of Hebrews he presented some very compelling arguments for the view that Melchizedek was actually a Christophany.

    I too am impressed with your depth of thinking when reading at the Bible in 90 Days pace. I tend to get more big picture type stuff. God has blessed you.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.