“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Highest God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 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,’ 3 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.
“4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”
This may seem to be a strange topic, and some may not understand why it is important to cover it. It may be that some of you have never heard of Melchizedek or have heard very little of Melchizedek. Nonetheless, He is an important character in the Bible. So much so that the Holy Spirit led the writer of Hebrews to write extensively about this man. It is important, then, that we learn what we can and try to figure out why He is so important in the New Testament. There are some qualities about Melchizedek that are mentioned that force us to ask some questions, and I will try my best to answer these questions for you.
Once again, let’s recall this man’s titles. He is the King of Salem (later to become Jerusalem). His titles are translated as King of Righteousness and then King of Peace. We are told also that He has “neither beginning of days nor end of life” and that He is a priest continually. Please note that this is before the office of High Priest, or priest for that matter, was given to Aaron in the books of Exodus/Leviticus. Let us explore and see if we can figure out why this man was so important then and also now.
- Jesus: King of Righteousness
In Jeremiah 23:6, we see this verse talking about the end times and, in that Day, what will happen. Here is the verse:
“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’”
Once again, in Jeremiah 33:15, we see this verse:
“In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.”
Jesus is righteousness. He is all the righteousness of God that we get. It is His righteousness that we are given to cover our sinfulness so that God will have fellowship with us. Jesus is the King of Righteousness. We see it here in two places, Jesus is called ‘The Lord our righteousness,’ and He is called the Branch of David who will execute righteousness on earth. Notice, He will ‘spring forth,’ so this is not David but another – Jesus.
- Jesus: King of Peace
Jesus is our peace. We are told in Zechariah 10:9-10 that He will ‘speak peace to the nations.” This is the promise for the last Days:
“I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus’ Dominion, His rule, will be one of peace to the ‘ends of the earth.’ This prophecy obviously has not been fulfilled as yet. In John 14:27, Jesus promises to give us a peace that is from another world:
“Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Jesus is called the Prince (often used of the office of King) of Peace in Isaiah 9:6 (NIV).
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
So now we have two pieces of the puzzle. Jesus is the King of Peace and the King of Righteousness. Let us look at another piece.
- Jesus: High Priest
Jesus is called our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4:
“The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’”
And then in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus, here, is our sinless High Priest, one who was tempted but NEVER sinned. Thus, we have another part of the puzzle, Jesus is also our High Priest. The conclusion, then, when we add that this Melchizedek had neither beginning nor end, is that Abraham met with Jesus. Melchizedek is Jesus, the King of Salem and the High Priest of God. Jesus, then, was the original King of Jerusalem. Before Joseph was in Egypt, before Moses was born, before the Exodus and the entrance into the Promised Land, Jesus was the King of Jerusalem. One day soon, He will return to reclaim His rightful place. Are you ready to meet Jesus? Will you meet Him as your Redeemer or as your Judge? The choice is yours.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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