The Amazing Identity of Melchizedek
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
In yesterday’s commentary we looked at what Genesis 14 tells us about this mysterious individual named Melchizedek. But in order to understand the full significance of Melchizedek, we have to go to the book of Hebrews. The author of Hebrews reveals that Melchizedek’s true identity was much more than a king over a city-state in Canaan.
In Hebrews 5:5, 10 we learn that Jesus Christ is the High Priest of the New Covenant “according to the order of Melchizedek.” This means that Jesus Christ does not serve as a priest according to the human Aaronic order (Exodus 28:1). The point is that Christ serves as a priest according to a priestly order that is higher than any human order of priests.
This is our first clue that Melchizedek was more than a local king. Since we are told that Christ serves as a priest according to the “order of Melchizedek,” we see that this order outranks the physical order that was established by God for Israel.
Additional details about Melchizedek found in Hebrews 7 include:
- Melchizedek’s name is translated as “king of righteousness” (verse 2). This shows us that Melchizedek was not a king and priest over a geographical location in Canaan. He was the King of Righteousness and Peace.
- Melchizedek had no physical parents or genealogy (verse 3).
- Melchizedek had neither “beginning of days nor end of life” (verse 3). This essentially tells us that Melchizedek was an eternal being. John 1:1-3 reveals that there are only two Beings who existed in the beginning (before the creation of everything, angelic or physical)—the Father and the Word (who became Jesus Christ).
- Melchizedek was “great” and outranks the Levitical priests (who collected tithes from Israel). Because Abraham tithed directly to Melchizedek, in essence, the Levitical priests (who descended from Abraham) tithed to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4, 9-10).
The above points lead us to one conclusion about the identity of Melchizedek: Melchizedek was the Being called “the Word” (John 1:1-3) who later became Jesus Christ.
Melchizedek was Jesus Christ!
When Christians pray to the Father today, they pray in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:14; 16:23-24; Hebrews 7:25). Christ now fills the role of High Priest—or Intercessor—of the New Covenant. Instead of communicating to the Father through a physical priesthood, Christians communicate to the Father through Jesus Christ, who serves as the High Priest according to the spiritual priestly order of Melchizedek.
To see more proof that Melchizedek was the preincarnate Jesus Christ, read our article “Who Was Melchizedek?”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “A Tithe of All.”