Melchizedek is first referenced in Genesis 14:18-20. He was the priest-king of Salem who joined the king of Sodom in welcoming Abram back from a war to rescue his nephew Lot. Abraham gave tithe to the king of Salem. Melchizedek, means “my king is righteous” or “King of righteousness,” as the name is interpreted in Hebrews 7:2.
Jerusalem means “City of Peace” and since Melchizedek was King of Salem, he may have been the king of Jerusalem at Abram’s time. The city of Jerusalem is first attested in Egyptian records of the 19th century b.c., and was then ruled by Amorite kings. While Sodom’s king came to meet Abram with the purpose of obtaining the release of his subjects (Genesis 14:21), Melchizedek came to bless the victorious commander.
Bible commentators have speculated much about the person of Melchizedek, a priest-king who appears suddenly in the Biblical narrative only to disappear again into the impenetrable obscurity of ancient history. Such speculation is almost entirely without value.
Based on what is known from the Bible, Melchizedek was an OT figure who really lived. He was not Christ but his work prefigured that of Christ (Psalms 110:4; Heb. 6:20 to 7:21). His unexpected appearance makes him in a certain sense a timeless figure, and his priesthood a type of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. There is no lineage or historical record that tells us where he came from, which makes him a symbol of Christ who is without beginning or end and who is our high priest in heaven, or the New Jerusalem.
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In His service,
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