Who Is Melchizedek in the Bible…Or As I Like to Call Him, ‘Mel’?


If one goes to the Internet to answer this question, there are all sorts of claims made in the name of ‘Melchizedek”.  I’ve come across the name, once again, in bible study in The Letter to the Hebrews 7:1-22, and to save me the time of writing down “Melchizedek,” over and over again, I took the liberty of calling him ‘Mel’.

Many religious groups with ties to Christianity make claims regarding Melchizedek.  Ancient Gnostics go to great explanations of claiming Melchizedek was actually Jesus [For more on the term “Gnostic,” go to GotQuestions.org/”What is the definition of the term Gnostic? ]. Others say he was the archangel, Michael.

Suffice to say, I don’t recommend an Internet search answering these sorts of questions.

In Hebrews 7, the information presented gives the most information about ‘Mel’ in the entire Bible.

Of course, Melchizedek first shows up in our Bible in Genesis … 12 pages into my Bible.

  • Genesis 12 contains God’s call of Abram and God’s promise that would make Abram a great nation and Blessed him (Genesis 12:2).
  • Genesis 13 includes the story of Abram (Abraham) and his nephew Lot agreeing to separate and occupy different territories in the new land.
  • At the beginning of Genesis 14, there’s a report of war among several kings.  Caught up in the plunder of war, Lot was carried off by the victory and apparent victim of circumstance, Lot was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • In the middle of Genesis 14, Abram learns of his nephew’s plight, takes a group of 318 soldiers, routs Lot’s captors and liberates Lot, his possessions, and all the people with him.

It was after Abram’s return from the victory that the story unfolds with Melchizedek.  Even though it is contained in just three chapters in our Bibles, it was a significant encounter for Abram.  Mostly because it’s a moment in which Abram acknowledged God’s Blessing on his life:

  • He chose the Blessing of the priest over the spoils of war offered by the other kings.
  • He credited God for the victory won.
  • He tithed, giving an offering in worship to “God most high”.

AND THIS IS THE END OF THE ACCOUNT.

There are no more details about ‘Mel’ to be found in Genesis.

Most history books I’ve run across don’t deny the existence of Melchizedek, but they don’t have much else to add either.

Aside from our text in Hebrews in this study, the only other place I could find in the Bible was Psalm 110.

Psalm 110 is what Bible scholars call a Messianic psalm, a prophecy that describes the ultimate Savior, the Victor that would deliver God’s people for all eternity.

And this particular Psalm describes the Messiah as “a priest after the manner and order of Melchizedek”  (verse 4).  

Sound familiar?

Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.

He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

This duplication of this specific language presented at the end of Chapter 6 of Hebrews is in the precise language of Psalm 110.

Hebrews 6:20 (AMP)

[20] Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

This is to remind us that none of this is primarily about ‘Mel’…it’s all about Jesus!

Although, as a Word Detective, it might be really tantalizing to think of all this in terms of unlocking some great mystery about this baffling Melchizedek.  The main point I find here is to tie Jesus to the prophecy found in Psalm 110.  So we will be best served to look at this passage of Scripture not so much for answers to the question “Who is Melchizedek?”  Rather, what we should really be after are the answers to the greater question, “Who is Jesus?”

The author who penned these words under the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit has no interest in leading us as readers to Melchizedek.  We are being led to Jesus!

What is found in this passage of Scripture now is Melchizedek being used as an illustration to help us understand more about Christ Jesus.

Melchizedek’s position is worth taking a close look at in Hebrews 7.

The beginning of the chapter explains that he is both king and priest.  Specifically king of Salem (ancient Jerusalem), priest of God Most High.

Jesus too is both King and Priest.

This mention of genealogy seems curious when it comes to studying this in the context of the Bible, especially the Old Testament historical books.  Unlike almost every other figure in the O.T. historical books, ‘Mel’ has no genealogical context.  He isn’t identified as “the son of” anyone, no begat.

Neither his birth nor death is recorded.

In Melchizedek’s case, scripture is silent about all that made him unique.  In this case, what distinguishes Melchizedek isn’t his genealogy, but his righteousness, peace, his association with God Most High!

Verses 4-10 makes us aware of Abraham’s position in respect to Melchizedek.

Abraham, the father of faith, the one through whom God chose to create a special people for Himself, subservient to Melchizedek.

  1. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek–giving him, in an act of worship, a tenth of what he had.
  2. ‘Mel’ blessed Abraham.

First the blessing and then the tenth. 

The lesser person is blessed by the greater.  Abraham wasn’t BLESSED because he tithed.

He gave because he was already BLESSED!

Jesus, too, is greater than Abraham.

Jesus, through this illustration, is associated in a superior order than all kings and priests, especially all those kings and priests that would come from Abraham.

Verses 11-14 make more of this idea of genealogy and ancestry.

The LAW given by Moses, established the tribe of Levi, the tribe of priests.

But Jesus wasn’t a Levite, as ‘Mel’ wasn’t a Levitical priest; Jesus was from the tribe of Judah.

Under the old covenant, one would be a law-breaker if one claimed to be a PRIEST but not qualified by his genealogy,

If you weren’t a LEVITE, you couldn’t be a PRIEST.

But like Melchizedek, who preceded the Levites, Jesus is a PRIEST superior to the Levitical priesthood not on the basis of RULES or ANCESTRY, but on the basis of the POWER of an indestructible life…a life everlasting! 

So, Jesus makes possible what the imperfections of the old priestly order could never deliver.

Jesus introduces “a better HOPE” as described in verse 19.

In the priestly order, only a select few could dare approach YHWH, but Jesus set aside what “was weak and useless” and made a way “by which we draw near to God.”

The old order of SACRIFICES made in the old order of Levitical priests, in which men continually offered payment for SIN through offerings, was set aside.

There were no chairs in the Temple or Tabernacle, for the work was not done.  But Jesus accomplished for us, once and for all, A NEW HOPE by which we draw near to God.

Finally, these last verses in the passage take our mind and spirit back to the prophecy in Psalm 110.  We have to remember, the point here is that Jesus isn’t merely like a king, like a priest, like a Messiah.  

The POINT here is…Jesus IS that Messiah!

He is sealed with an oath from the Creator (“The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind” Psalm 110:4) and not a priest by association or ancestry, but a PRIEST by declaration.

God said to him:  “The Lord has sworn (made an OATH) and will not change His mind:  ‘You are a priest forever'”

(verse 22 b.) – Because of His OATH. Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.  A whole new order, a new way, a new deal, a better covenant…

“SO WHAT?” you might say.

At one level, the “so what,” is simply the benefit of study.  The illustration found in Hebrews regarding Melchizedek gets a little technical, I’ll admit, but it’s powerful!  There’s a real reward that comes with a clearer understanding of God’s Word.

That understanding draws us closer to God and for this confidence that comes from the Word, we can shout, “AMEN”!

There’s of course, this very practical reminder…to keep our focus on Jesus.

‘Mel’ is one of those figures that has been hijacked and made into something that was never intended by many.

If you were googling Melchizedek, you’d soon find yourself way out in the theological weeds.  You can also go to Amazon.com and find all sorts of books that would want to take you down all sorts of weird roads.

But those “roads” take people away from the plain and simple basics of our faith.

We should take away from this study, a reminder that Scripture points us to Jesus.  We don’t need to search for secrets and mysteries about Melchizedek; the intent of this passage of Scripture is clearly to draw our attention and understanding to Jesus:

He is…

  • King of Righteousness
  • King of Peace
  • Priest Forever.

We’re reminded of the continuity of our faith.  That all ancient history points to the hinge of history, Jesus our Savior.

…that all religious practice, all rules, and law, all sacrifice and worship…ALL of it is trumped (if you will), superseded by a Superior Order, Jesus, the promised priest forever!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS

The New International Commentary On The New Testament – The Letter To The Hebrews

PHOTO/IMAGES:  Google Image Search – Settings, advanced.

Bible Translations used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); and other translations used are so noted.

 

 

“Blessing Blockers” Revisited

This past Sunday after church, a  young man said to me as I left my seat, “God bless you.”  In fact, every time he sees me, in greeting or in departure he repeats the same sentence and his intentions are true.

Should we as believers use the word “bless” as a greeting; when someone ‘sneezes’; at meal times or when we sing a patriotic song at a gathering?  Are we all blessed because we live in America?  In my questioning I decided to revisit a past blog of The Word, the Glory, and The Blessing, originally inspired by notes that I took from Dr. Creflo Dollar.  I decided to get a fresh look at the word BLESSING, especially during the economic restraints placed on the family plaguing society and the church today.

The Blessing of God is upon us:

“May blessing be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm”  (Ephesians 1:3).

Say out loud where you sit (no one is listening to you):  “I am Blessed!”  With every spiritual blessing; not with ‘some‘ spiritual blessings but every spiritual blessing.  And there is more!

[13]  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  [14]  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  [29]  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs [of the “blessing”] according to the promise.   (Galatians 3:13-14; 29 NIV Version).

So, the BLESSING, according to the promise of God’s Word,  is  IN me; ON me; and AROUND me.  Then if we truly believe by faith, that we have received the blessing as our root, where then is the fruit on the tree of some believers?

Is there a DIFFERENCE between “The Blessing” and “A Blessing“?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I hope you will have many blessings in all the days of your life”? 

The Difference:

“THE BLESSING of the Lord–it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it”  (Proverbs 10:22)

The Blessing isn’t just any blessing. 

The Church over time has DE-synthesized the meaning over the course of ‘well-meaning’ greetings.  The Blessing is the empowerment; an ability that God puts on you.  His ‘super‘ on my ‘natural; an anointingIt makes“…when the blessing is on you and you won’t stay the same.  The BLESSING will attack lack in our lives.

You might be saying to yourself, “Okay, I think I understand what the Blessing is but what is ‘a blessing’ then?”

The glory is ‘a blessing‘.

GLORY is the manifestation of God; the manifestation of the Word.  In Genesis 1, God spoke and then He saw.  What He saw was His words manifested into His glory.  Therefore, the Garden became The Glory; which became ‘a blessing’.

If you look out your window on a blustery day and the trees are swaying to and fro, you might say, “I can see the wind blowing outside.” You can’t see the actual wind but are really seeing the manifestation, or the glory of the wind; the trees are moving as the result; ‘a blessing’.

John 1:1-5 – ‘Let there be the Light’  The LIGHT is not referring to ‘day and night’.  The Light is the Word and the Glory and out of Jesus came “the blessing”.

We are changed in God’s promise.

“And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit”  (2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP).

The “Blessing Blockers”:

“Like a sparrow in her wandering, like the swallow in her flying, so the causeless curse does not alight”  (Proverbs 26:2).

Is something BLOCKING the Blessing in your life?

A curse doesn’t come without a cause.  If a definition of the blessing is an empowerment to succeed, then a curse becomes an empowerment to fail at what you do!

A curse is a ‘blocker; there has to be a foundation for it as demonstrated by the inserted photo of the building blocks in today’s blog.  In the Old Testament; Numbers 23:8, 20, it says that ‘no one can curse what God has already blessed’.  But, we who have been blessed can cause a foundation that is not supporting a blessing.  Job 4:8 says, “those who plow iniquity (sin) and sow trouble and mischief reap the same.”  You are supporting a foundation that causes the curseThe Book of Job continues this thought:

“He withdraws not His eyes from the righteous (the upright in right standing with God); but He sets them forever with kings upon the throne, and they are exalted.  And if they are bound in fetters [of adversity] and held by cords of affliction,  Then He shows to them [the true character of] their deeds and their transgressions, that they have acted arrogantly [with presumption and self-sufficiency]”  (Job 36:7-9 AMP).

Revisiting the Ways to Withdraw the BLESSING:

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse– The blessing if you obey the commandments of the Lord your god which I command you this day;  And the curse if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God…”  (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

When you set aside monies in your Bank; checking, savings, etc.; to redeem the money… you are going to have to make a ‘withdrawal slip’ of some sort.  God has already deposited the BLESSING IN you, ON you and AROUND you.  For you to be able to witness the benefits of the deposit you are going to have to make withdrawals.  “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.” ~ Deuteronomy 28:3;  “The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake” ~ Deuteronomy 28:8.

We have a ‘fat storehouse account’ that is sitting there for us; and in The Blessing, we are given a choice:

“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curses; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live”  (Deuteronomy 30:19).

4 – Ways to WITHDRAW THE BLESSING:

1.  OBEDIENCE to the Word of God in ALL things.

2.  FAITHFULNESS.

3.  A PURE HEART.

4.  THE TITHE EXCHANGE.

THE 4- OPPOSITE WAYS to BLOCK THE BLESSING WITHDRAWALS:

1.  DISOBEDIENCE.

2.  UNFAITHFULNESS.

                                                 

3.  NOT A PURE HEART.

4.  NO TITHE EXCHANGE.

The Choices –  Obedience Vs Disobedience:

Partial obedience and delayed obedience is still disobedience.

Faithfulness Vs Unfaithfulness:

“I am BLESSED!” According to Galatians 3:13-14; 29.  The Blessing deposit has been made, BUT…the BLESSING is blocked; ‘a curse without a cause can’t happen.’ 

Look at you life honestly where you are right now.  “A faithful man shall abound with blessings” (Proverbs 28:20).  Abound means to flow or richly supplied.  Faithfulness requires a test; it takes time of proving.  If we are not dependable through the testing; our hearts, minds, thoughts are not pure, we’re not tithing for whatever reason; that is unfaithfulness, a BLESSING BLOCKER.

Revisiting PURITY and THE TITHE EXCHANGE:

I didn’t want to revisit the Blessing Blockers of a UN-Pure Heart or Not Tithing in this blog; but if you need some encouragement and interest in the BLOCKERS, you might read,

1.  Purity–The Gateway to the Flow of THE BLESSING posted 2011/03/09.

2.  The 4th Key to the Flow of The Blessing – The Tithe Exchange posted 2011/03/11.