A MYSTERY MAN
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name "Melchizedek" means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever (Heb. 7: 1-3).
Up to this point, the writer has mentioned Melchizedek several times but given no information about this man. This "mystery man" was to play a brief but important role in Abraham's life, and would be a part of the prophetic fingerprint of the Messiah.
Melchizedek was a king-priest in the city of Salem, i.e. Jerusalem, an unusual office because, according to God's instructions, no king was permitted to carry out the office or functions of a priest. On the few occasions in the history of God's people, kings were judged for burning incense e.g. King Uzziah.
But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. They confronted the king and said, 'It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense . . . (2 Chron. 26: 16-18a).
Why, then did God specifically designate Melchizedek to be the head of a unique order of king-priests especially since there is no biblical evidence that anyone else served as a king-priest in the order of Melchizedek except Jesus? Melchizedek was a type of Jesus for several reasons:
1. His name means "king of righteousness". His name was a prophetic utterance of character - he was a righteous king, i.e. he walked in the ways of Yahweh, doing the right thing in his rule over his people. Jesus was a righteous man - without sin - and a righteous king.
Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isa. 9: 7).
2. He was "king of Salem" i.e. king of peace. His reign also apparently was a reign of peace.
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 . . . Prince of Peace (Isa. 9: 6).
3. There is no record of his parents or his genealogy. This does not mean that he was not human or that he had a supernatural birth. The writer used this lack of information as a type of Jesus whose human birth and genealogy although significant because He has to be a true representative of the people, did not mean that He only came into being at His human conception. He is both God and man, two natures in one person to represent God to man and man to God.
4. Melchizedek's pedigree did not include a record of his birth or his death. Again he was a type of Jesus who existed with the Father before He came to earth and who returned to the Father after His resurrection. He lives forever as a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
5. Unlike the Levitical priests who could not be kings, and the Davidic kings who could not be priests, Jesus is both king and priest. As our king He rules over His people with justice and righteousness, and a priest, He represents His people to God, presenting His own blood as an atoning sacrifice for sin to God.
Jesus is eminently qualified to be our high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.