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Melchizedek was a Priest-King of Jerusalem, he was the one who blessed Abraham after the battle with Kedorlaomer’s forces.
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” PSALM 110:4
In Genesis, Melchizedek was an obscure priest—a minor figure in Abraham’s narrative. But to the writer of Hebrews, Melchizedek was a forerunner of the Messiah Himself.
The Old Testament identifies Melchizedek as “king of Salem” and “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). Salem was a contraction of Jerusalem, the city that became capital of the Promised Land and home to God’s temple. In other words, Melchizedek was a priest before there was even a priesthood, he was king of God’s holy city long before it had a temple.
When Abraham defeated Kedorlaomer’s forces and rescued his nephew Lot, Melchizedek met him with bread and wine and blessed him in the name of God Most High. Abraham, in turn, gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils from his victory, the first tithe recorded in scripture.
Centuries later, when the writer of Hebrews pressed his case that Jesus was the ultimate priest, he appealed to the example of Melchizedek.
Skeptics might have claimed that Jesus could not be regarded as a priest, since He did not descend from the tribe of Levi. But Hebrews notes that long before there was a Levite priesthood, there was Melchizedek. Jesus, then, was a priest “in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:11).
Furthermore, by the time of the Levite priesthood, the roles of priest and king had been carefully separated, whereas Melchizedek was both priest and king. Once more the writer of Hebrews compared Jesus to Melchizedek, concluding that Jesus is the high priest “who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 8:1).
Melchizedek’s brief story served as a preview of what was to come in the
person and work of Jesus Christ.
The writer of Hebrews says that Melchizedek was “without father or
mother, without genealogy” (Hebrews 7:3). Indeed, Melchizedek quickly appears and disappears from the biblical record without any reference to his family. In an ancient source called the Tell el-Amarna Letters, a king of Urusalim (perhaps synonymous with Jerusalem) tells the ruler of Egypt, “Neither my father nor my
mother set me in this place.” Some believe this mysterious king to be Melchizedek.