Melchizedek (meaning: king of righteousness) was the King of Salem (meaning: Peace) and priest of the most high God. The book of Genesis records that after Abraham rescued his nephew Lot from the King of Elam, Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham, blessed him, and received tithes (a 10th of all the spoil of war) from Abraham.
To the majority of Christian and Hebrew scholars, Melchizedek is an unsolved mystery. Some believe he was an angel, others believe he was the son of Shem (who was the son of Noah), and others dismiss any physical appearance as an abstraction. There is no general consensus within the Christian or Hebrew faiths as to the identity of Melchizedek.
However, Melchizedek cannot be ignored, as the most significant authors of the Holy Scriptures (including Moses, David, and Paul) emphasize his importance and inseparable link to the Messiah.
Guided Bible Study (ESV)
1) Melchezidek was a priest and king:
- This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek Hebrews 7:15
- The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Psalms 110:4
- For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him Hebrews 7:1
2) Melchizedek was greater than Abraham:
- ...and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. Hebrews 7:2a
- It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. Hebrews 7:7
3) Melchizedek was immortal:
- He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. Hebrews 7:3
- But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Hebrews 7:6
- In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. Hebrews 7:8
- This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 7:15 - 17
- The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Hebrews 7:23-24
4) Melchizedek and Jesus both served communion:
- And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) Genesis 14:18
- Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, Matthew 26:26, 27
5) Melchizedek looked like the Son of God:
- ...resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. Hebrews 7:3b
6) Only God can be immortal:
- ...he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality... I Timothy 6:15b, 16a
7) The immortal God can appear as a man:
- And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. ...So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,[g] saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” Genesis 32:24, 30
- And the LORD said to Moses... “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” ...and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:17a, 20, 22-23
- Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” Daniel 3:24-25
- And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks[a] of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.…And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. Genesis 18:1-3, 33
God has the ability to take whatever form he desires, be that the form of an angel or the form of a man. However, in order to save humanity as a kinsman redeemer, God had to take on not only the form of man, but the lineage of man.
- For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Hebrews 7:26, 27
Based on Paul's teachings, Melchizedek appears to be God in the form of a man. However, because Melchizedek was not born a man, he could not die or become a sacrifice for the sins of man. Melchizedek was therefore not the Son of Man, while Jesus was the Son of Man.
Melchizedek was immortal (Jesus died), Melchizedek had no father or mother (Jesus had God as his father, and Mary as his mother), Melchizedek was the King of Peace (Jesus was the Prince of Peace), and Melchizedek was resembling “the Son of God” (and Jesus was the Son of God).
The Bible says that in Jesus "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Colossians 2:9).
Those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God may end up seeing Jesus as Melchizedek - God in the form of a man, but without the attribute of redeemer - at which point the Saviour becomes the Judge (King of Righteousness). Jesus, who was the "the beginning of God's creation." (Revelation 3:14) said that Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58) but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33)
Understanding Melchizedek is an important link between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Teachings of William Branham
William Branham taught that Melchizedec was God in the form of man. However, as Melchezidec was not born a man, he could not die or become a sacrifice for the sins of man. So even though Melchezidec was not the son of God or the son of Man, he was still God in flesh and a pre-figure of Jesus Christ in maturity. For example, Melchszidek was the "king of peace" and was made "like unto the son of God", while Jesus is "the prince of peace" and is the "son of God".
The following quote is taken from the sermon "Who is this Melchesidec", preached on February 21, 1965:
||Now, the true revelation of Melchisedec comes into view was--that He was God, the Word, before He became flesh, God the Word. 'Cause He had to be; no one else could be immortal like Him. See, I had father and mother; you did too. Jesus had father and mother. But this Man had no father or had no mother. Jesus had a time He started; this Man didn't. Jesus gave His life; this Man couldn't, because He was Life. And it's the self same Man all the time. I hope God reveals it to you, the self same Person all the time.