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By: Sheldon Monson
August 16, 2022
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QUESTION: Who was Melchizedek?

ANSWER: Genesis 14 introduces an intriguing figure named Melchizedek. During the war between a number of ancient city states in Canaan and Mesopotamia, Abraham's nephew Lot and his family were captured and their goods carried off. One of their number escaped and brought the news to Abraham, who armed 318 of his servants and pursued them. Abraham and his men successfully rescued Lot and his family and returned them safely to the Canaanite cities. On the return trip Melchizedek met Abraham.

Here is the account: "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abram] 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.' And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] a tithe of all." (Genesis 14:18-20).

Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High (see above - Genesis 14:18). "Salem" comes from the Hebrew word meaning "peace." Melchizedek was the "King of Peace." The Hebrew name for Melchizedek itself means "King of Righteousness." This same individual is mentioned in Psalm 110:4. Speaking prophetically of Christ, David stated: "The LORD has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." This verse is quoted again in Hebrews 5:6, 10).

The Apostle Paul wrote this concerning Melchizedek: "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness,' and then also king of Salem, meaning 'king of peace,' without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually" (Hebrews 7:1-3).

God names individuals what they are. This man is identified as the "king of righteousness." Righteousness is obedience to God's law. Such an expression applied to any, but God would be blasphemous because all humans have sinned (Romans 3:23). Romans 3:10 states: "As it is written: 'There is none righteous, no, not one.'" Melchizedek is also called the king of peace. Jesus is called the "prince of peace" (Isaiah 9:6-7). Men do not know the way to peace (Romans 3:17). Melchizedek was "without genealogy." He had no descent or pedigree from another, He was self-existent. Therefore He has always existed - from eternity! That is true only of God!

Who was this Melchizedek? He could not have been an angel, for angels were created by God; therefore, they have had a "beginning of days." All humans have both a "beginning of days" and an "end of life." God only is without a beginning. Therefore, Melchizedek has to be either the Father or the Son. Which One was He?"

The Scriptures reveal, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:18). Furthermore Christ said, "And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form" (John 5:37). Since many thousands saw Christ and heard him on numerous occasions, the Scriptures which say that "No one has seen God at any time" can only refer to the Father. The Bible reveals that Abraham actually saw and spoke to Melchizedek. The ancient King of righteousness could be none other than the divine Spokesman who later became Jesus Christ!

Notice he was "Like the Son of God." He was not yet the Son of God until he was specially begotten of the Father in the womb of the virgin Mary.

In addition, Melchizedek "remains [abides] a priest continually [Moffatt translation states it: 'continues to be Priest permanently']." Melchizedek's continuing function as a priest would not make sense if the Father was being indicated. A priest is a mediator between man and God. Jesus Christ fulfills that role even now (I Timothy 2:5), and forever will! "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15). He is "called by God as High Priest 'according to the order of Melchizedek'" (Hebrews 5:10).

Some people have stumbled on the statement that Melchizedek has no "end of life." They contend that since Christ died, He had an end of life. If that were true, then Christ is still dead! But Christ is not dead. He is alive. It was not possible for Christ to be held by death (Acts 2:24). Melchizedek would never have fulfilled His office of High Priest if He had not died for the sins of the people and risen again. It is the function of the High Priest to lead the way to salvation. Jesus Christ is the "author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" salvation (Hebrews 5:9). And, He is "the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).

The conclusion is inescapable - Melchizedek and Jesus Christ are one and the same person.

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