He’s a figure of mystery, this
Melchizedek. Some say he is the pre-incarnate Christ. Others take
him at face value; he is the king of Salem (which means peace; shalom).
The theories abound. But we may note two things about him:
greets Abram (Abraham) with bread and wine, the same elements used in Passover
and in the Lord’s Supper.
tithes to him, thus marking him as superior.
The event then seems to
disappear. There is no mention of Melchizedek in the Scripture until
about a thousand years pass, when he is mentioned in one of the prophetic
Psalms. The explanation, such as we have, is found in the book of
Hebrews. So it seems that he remains a mystery—until you consider what
The chapter divisions don’t help
us much here. For the very next thing to happen to Abram is that God
establishes his covenant with Abram. It is a covenant of promise and
He promises Abram three things
1. God will be his shield and
reward. Protection from evil and reward for righteousness will come from
2. Despite his age (about 99) he
and his wife will have a son. This, of course, is Isaac.
3. His descendants will be as
numerous as the stars.
is prophecy also:
1. His descendants will return to
the land of Canaan in four generations—because of the sins of the Amorites.
2. His descendants will be
enslaved for 400 years—but at the end of that time God will lead them out of
slavery into the Promised Land.
3. Then, there is The Land.
A large section of the Middle East is promised to his descendants.
Is there a connection? It
seems so—for bread and wine mediate two more covenants, the one with Moses and
the one from the Messiah. It seems God has a menu for the occasion.
He also insists upon a priest, evidently. Abram had Melchizedek; Moses
had Aaron; we have Christ.
What does a priest do? May
I suggest these three:
priest intercedes—speaking on behalf of the others to Almighty God.
also is to bring God’s will to man, so that we might learn obedience to God.
the priest is empowered to pronounce God’s blessings upon us.
priest, Christ, does all this for us and more. The name of Melchizedek did not
vanish with Abram; in David’s time his name is recalled—so that we might
understand that Christ is our High Priest. This priesthood was bought
with a price at Calvary; what He paid, we could not. Let us remember His
intercession for us in the simple elements used by Melchizedek so long ago.