I finally get Melchizedek, the High Priest in our lives! For years, during my personal Bible study, the first few chapters of the book of Hebrews befuddled me. All because of one name – Melchizedek, the High Priest. In those days, I read only the King James Version (which would confuse anyone), and I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of Melchizedek.
I loved the Bible and delved into it with all my might. I especially loved the New Testament Gospels. For instance, Matthew was my friend. I loved the book of Matthew! I understand that book, but Hebrews with Melchizedek, the high priest, sincerely baffled me.
“Who the heck is Melchizedek, the High priest?” I wondered in my teens. I could never get a grasp on him, so I’d usually fast-forward past his part and get to the “good” and easy-to-understand stuff in Hebrews 11 and 12.
Melchizedek is a figure mentioned in the Bible, primarily in the Book of Genesis and the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament. In Genesis 14:18-20 (New International Version), he appears in connection with Abraham:
“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
Melchizedek is described as both a king and a priest, and he blesses Abraham. The name “Melchizedek” is a combination of two Hebrew words, “melek,” meaning king, and “zedek,” meaning righteousness. So, his name is often interpreted to mean “King of Righteousness.”
In the New Testament, particularly in the Letter to the Hebrews, Melchizedek is used as a type or foreshadowing of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 5:6-10 and Hebrews 7:1-28 discuss Melchizedek’s priesthood and draw parallels between him and Jesus, emphasizing the superiority of Jesus’ priesthood over the Levitical priesthood. The idea is that Jesus is a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Despite the significance given to Melchizedek in the Bible, there is limited information about him, and his background and identity remain somewhat enigmatic. Some view him as a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, while others see him as a historical figure who serves as a type and foreshadowing of Christ. The mystery surrounding Melchizedek has led to various interpretations and speculations throughout theological history.
The Bible as a whole is more useful than a piece.
I later discovered that the Bible is multi-dimensional and pregnant with astonishing life lessons and principles for Christian women like me (and you). While I loved the New Testament, each part of the Bible works together with the others.
You can’t read only parts of the Bible. You have to allow the Bible to interpret the Bible.
Hebrews chapter 7:2 depicts Abraham (then Abram) as he encountered Melchizedek after a victory in Chedorlaomer. (Genesis 14:17-18 NASB). (Other translations interpret the place differently.)
Anyhoo, it wasn’t until I read Genesis that I got perspective on this mysterious dude, Melchizedek.
Here’s what happened…in my simple understanding.
After a battle, Melchizedek, the High Priest, came to meet Abram and those with him.
Just after meeting them, Melchizedek broke out bread and wine to feed and fellowship with them. Not long after, he began to bless them and bless the Lord (verses 19-20).
I saw so many beautiful parallels in this depiction!
First, Melchizedek gave “bread and wine” to Abram as an act of friendship and ministry. Just like Jesus is our bread – He’s our bread of life! See it???
He blesses us with all we need after long, wearing battles on this earth. His nourishment is much more satisfying than that of natural food. With Him, we’ll never be hungry again as we trust and rely on Him (Read Luke 19:10).
He supplies a spiritual fullness we can’t get anywhere else.
But, the onus is on us to fellowship with Him, to experience Him, to explore Him.
A blessing…lots of blessings!
Then, Melchizedek, the High Priest, blessed them. I don’t have to explain that parallel. Jesus lavishly blesses us every second, minute, hour, and day.
Our most precious blessing is salvation, communion with, and access to God in prayer for fellowship and direction. Still, let’s not forget the natural blessings too.
God just does unexplainable things to care for us, sometimes without us even knowing it.
One more parallel
Well, after the blessings from Melchizedek, Abram offered his gift of tithes. An offering. That’s the proper response to such generous, unfailing love.
After receiving God’s love, forgiveness, patience, and kindness, it’s only natural to want to give Him our sacrifice – US!
It is utterly impossible to repay God for all He has done and will do. No way. We just demonstrate our love humbly, offering what’s in our hand (or power) to give.
Romans 12:1 says that we should offer our bodies “holy and acceptable as our spiritual act of worship”. Present your body, your habits, your strengths, your weaknesses, your time, your talents, and your obedience as a start. Lay on the altar everything you are and all that you hope to become.
That would be a perfect sacrifice to offer to your High Priest. Yeah? Yeah.
More information on the web:
Theologian John Piper from Desiring God.