Melchizedek is known as being a high priest of God unto Abraham. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus Christ is spoken of as being made a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. First, let's notice what the Book of Hebrews has to say concerning Melchizedek:
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all (tithe), and who first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace, and being without father, without mother, without descent, and having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like [Gk.-"modeled after, to copy like, to produce a facsimile, to render similar"] unto the Son of God, now continually [forever] abides a priest. (Hebrews 7:1-3) This story of Melchizedek is introduced on an occasion when Abram (whose name God later changed to Abraham) went to rescue his nephew, Lot, who had been taken captive by invading kings (Genesis 14). At this point, Melchizedek met Abram as he was returning from the victory he had over the kings. Lot returned with Abram, along with all the people and goods that had been taken away. It says that Melchizedek met Abram and blessed him, and that Abram paid his tithes to Melchizedek.
The story is very general in nature, but Paul used it to teach some very important lessons to the Hebrews concerning the importance of Jesus Christ, who was now the High Priest of God forever, after the order of Melchizedek.
The story is important for reasons other than what Paul addressed. As it says in Hebrews 7, this Melchizedek was without father, without mother and without descent. He was a man in physical appearance, but it is clear he was not born of mankind, since he had no father or mother, and he had no lineage of mankind. Some have speculated he may have been an angel or even Jesus Christ, but neither is true.
It states that this Melchizedek had "neither beginning of days, nor end of life." Angels were created, and therefore, they had a beginning. Jesus Christ died and was placed in the tomb for three days and three nights, so certainly He had an "end of life," and, as we have already covered, He did not have life until He was born of His mother, Mary.
It should be easy to understand who Melchizedek was. There is only one being that has never had a beginning of days or an end of life, and since this is the definition of eternal life, then Melchizedek could only be the ETERNAL God. But how is this possible?
This is similar to what we read earlier, where God manifested a human body for Abraham to see, through which God then visited with him. Melchizedek was another means through which God worked with Abraham, and Melchizedek was a representation of what Jesus Christ would become.
Rather than speaking directly to Abraham through a physically manifested body, God worked through a physically manifested man who was presented to others as the priest of God. Abraham's attitude and respect toward a physical appearing priest of God was an important part of Abraham's training and testing. Abraham regarded Melchizedek with the honor he should have shown a representative of God, but in this case, it was God who was working directly with him. Again, this physical manifestation of Melchizedek could not contain the ETERNAL God, but God did work through this Melchizedek to further accomplish His work with Abraham, through whom He (God) would bring about great things in His plan.
Hebrews 7:3 states that this Melchizedek was modeled after the likeness of what Jesus Christ would become. At the time of Abraham, there was no one who would continually abide as God's high priest in direct service to Him, but since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is one who will continually abide before God as High Priest—His very Son!
Melchizedek functioned only as God lived through him. Melchizedek was not a separate individual living being, but only a vessel through whom God worked. Melchizedek functioned (in physical appearance as a priest) as a representative of God. Notice what is said of Christ who became High Priest:
So also, Christ did not glorify Himself to be made a high priest, but He who said to Him, "You are My Son, today have I begotten you, " and as He said also in another place, "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:5-6)
It would be good to notice from where both of these scriptures were quoted.
The first quote is from a Psalm that is a prophecy about something that Christ would later declare:
"I will declare the decree, " the ETERNAL ONE [Yahweh] has said to Me, "You are My Son, and this day have I begotten you. " (Psalms 2:7).
The second quote is a prophecy David wrote concerning Jesus Christ:
The ETERNAL ONE [Yahweh] has sworn, and will not change, "You [the Messiah] are a priest forever after the order [Heb.-manner] of Melchizedek." (Psalms 110:4)
Jesus Christ has become God's High Priest forever, and He will continually abide in this office for mankind.
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