Who was Melchizedek in the Bible?

Melchizedek was a king and priest of God in the time of Abraham. He blessed Abraham and received tithing from him. Melchizedek means “king of justice”. In the New Testament, Jesus is compared to Melchizedek, because he is also a priest.

Melchizedek and Abraham

Once Abraham went to fight some kings who had captured his nephew Lot. After defeating the kings and saving Lot, the priest Melchizedek came to meet him with bread and wine and blessed him. Then Abraham gave him a tithe of all the spoils ( Genesis 14: 18-20 ).

Everything we know about Melchizedek’s life comes from this episode:

  • He was king of Salem– Salem means “peace” and was probably a city
  • He was a priest of God– Abraham was not the only person who worshiped the true God at that time
  • Abraham recognized his authority– when Abraham gave him a tithe, he recognized Melchizedek as a legitimate priest

Jesus and Melchizedek

In Psalm 110: 4 , God promised to bring a new priest, according to the order of Melchizedek. That priest is Jesus. In Hebrews 7 Jesus is compared to Melchizedek. Like Melchizedek, Jesus:

  • He was not of Levi’s lineage– according to the Law of Moses, only the Levites could serve as priests; the Bible does not tell us the Melchizedek genealogy but he was not a Levite, because Levi was not yet born; Jesus was of the line of Judah, a tribe that had no priests – Hebrews 7: 14-16
  • It is above Abraham– Abraham recognized Melchizedek as his superior; Jesus is superior to Abraham because he is God

Melchizedek was not Jesus, he just had similarities. It served as a symbol of Jesus’ coming. Jesus is our king and priest, who came to bring justice and peace.

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