The name Melchezedek is made up of smaller words collectively meaning “my king is righteous” and is name that echoes an individual who has both kingly and priestly functions. In the Hebrew Bible He is the first individual to be given the title Kohen, or the Hebrew word for priest.
The Law of Moses stipulated only the male descendants of Aaron would be commissioned to serve as Jewish priests before the God of Israel and the Jewish nation. This commission is believed in Judaism to be a covenant of everlasting priesthood” (“Brith HaKehuna”) or the Aaronic priesthood. A verse in Psalm 110 mentions a priest who reigns forever of the order of Melchizedek.
A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Psalms 110:1-4
Some people would say that Melchezedek is a christophany or a spiritual appearance of Christ. Often they offer the example His moment of ascension into Heaven in the book of Acts. However, Jesus Christ has existed since the beginning of time, just like God, and scriptural evidence of this proving His deity can be found written in scripture. The first verse in the book of John leaves no question as to the Word being the Son Jesus Christ of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit since the beginning of time.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
Melchezedek is first mentioned in the book of Genesis. The King of Salem, also known as Melchezedek, has an encounter with Abram (later known as Abraham). Salem is an area that is widely thought to be where Jerusalem was located.
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. Genesis 14:14-18
Not only was Melchezedek found living in Jerusalem but was also was the priest of the most high God. Both of these strongly point toward him being Jesus Christ, the Son of the Trinity, and an Old Testament picture or reference of the coming Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
The New Testament also refers to the King of Peace and Righteousness, who is also called the King of Salem.
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Hebrews 7:2
For this Melchisedec, 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 by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Hebrews 7:1-3
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:5-6
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (this was prophecy fulfilled) Psalms 45:6-7
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Hebrews 1:8-9
Did he receive an anointing?
Every priest taken from among men is ordained to serve on behalf of men in things pertaining to God so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sin. No one takes this honor to himself. God must call him, as he did Aaron (Hebrews 5:1, 4). Christ did not glorify Himself to be made a high priest, but it was said of him: “‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ As He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek . . .'” (Hebrews 5:5-6)
The person whom Abraham met served as the Priest of the Most High God. There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office. Jesus must have been the person who met Abraham, since the only interaction between God and man has been through Jesus. Because He had loved righteousness and hated iniquity, God made Him a Son and anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His brethren (Hebrews 1:9). The word translated “anointed” is the Greek chrio (Strong’s Concordance Number #G5548) which refers to contact between the one anointed and the one doing the anointing.
The anointing of Jesus:
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.Luke 3:22
It was at this anointing that he became the author of salvation to all who obey Him, being called of God as High Priest:
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Hebrews 5:9-10 KJV)
Jesus Christ became God’s High Priest because perfection and salvation were not attainable through the Levitical priesthood:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11 KJV)
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4 KJV)
The point is, the very righteousness of the law which the Jewish mind sought was not by keeping all of its outward physical (i.e., fleshly) practices, but rather by observing spiritual principles of faith in Christ.
And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) (Hebrews 7:20-21 KJV)
Christ was made a Priest forever by an oath of the Most High God (Hebrews 7:20-21). His righteousness is the one manifested in the true saints of God (Romans 8:4). The church shares in the priesthood of Christ and the resurrected saints will, like Him, forever be kings and priests (Revelation 5:10). Jesus Christ is the one and only Melchizedek, the King of Peace and Righteousness.
Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4), and so Jesus plays the role of the king-priest once and for all. According to the writer of Hebrews (7:13-17) Jesus is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek because, like Melchizedek, Jesus was not a descendant of Aaron, and thus would not qualify for the Jewish priesthood under Law of Moses.
Melchizedek is referred to again in Hebrews 5:6-10; Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 7:1-21: “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”; and Hebrews 8:1.
And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises” (Hebrews 7:5-6).
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” (Hebrews 7:11-12).
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the New Testament discussed this subject considerably, listing the following reasons for why the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to the Aaronic priesthood:
- Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek; later, the Levites would receive tithes from their countrymen. Since Aaron was in Abraham’s loins then, it was as if the Aaronic priesthood were paying tithes to Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:4-10)
- The one who blesses is always greater than the one being blessed. Thus, Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. As Levi was yet in the loins of Abraham, it follows that Melchizedek is greater than Levi. (Heb. 7:7-10)
- If the priesthood of Aaron were effective, God would not have called a new priest in a different order in Psalm 110. (Heb. 7:11)
- The basis of the Aaronic priesthood was ancestry; the basis of the priesthood of Melchizedek is everlasting life. That is, there is no interruption due to a priest’s death. (Heb. 7:8,15-16,23-25)
- Christ, being sinless, does not need a sacrifice for his own sins. (Heb. 7:26-27)
- The priesthood of Melchizedek is more effective because it required a single sacrifice once and for all (Jesus), while the Levitical priesthood made endless sacrifices. (Heb. 7:27)
- The Aaronic priests serve (or, rather, served) in an earthly copy and shadow of the heavenly Temple, which Jesus serves in. (Heb. 8:5)
- The epistle goes on to say that the covenant of Jesus is superior to the covenant the Levitical priesthood is under.
Some Christians hold that Melchizedek was a type of Christ, and others believe that Melchizedek indeed was Christ. Reasons provided include that Melchizedek’s name means “king of righteousness” according to the author of Hebrews, and that being king of Salem makes Melchizedek the “king of peace.” Heb. 7:3 states, “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he (Melchizedek) remains a priest forever.” Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine, which some Christians consider symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice to confirm a covenant.
Some Christian evangelicals and Messianic Jews hold that Christ will return as the true Messiah in the name. According to this view, which is taken from a literalist interpretation of Revelation 20, he will serve as both King and High Priest (e.g. the Melchizedek priesthood) in a coming millennium of the Messiah.
A more common theological understanding simply holds that the mysterious appearance of the Melchizedek priesthood refers to Jesus as the eternal priest. His once-made sacrifice fulfilled the need for atonement of sins and he currently rules within the Church. In this via traditions of the Book of Hebrews, Jesus has ever been, is, and will ever be the only totally perfect priest (Hebrews 9–-7). Amillennialists believe that the messiah has already come, and his earthly role has been fulfilled. This is contrary to millenarianism which expects a pre-millennial return of Christ as Messiah.
Some Christians believe Jesus Christ the Son came to Earth at various times before the New Testament, including once as Melchizedek himself. These appearances are called Christophanies.
Since God clearly states the Bible can be rightly divided:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
The question Who is Mechizadek? can be rightly divided through diligent study of His Word.