Melchizedek, Type of Christ as Priest and King Upon His Throne

Genesis 14:17‑24; Psalm 110  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 8
We have thought it well to add this Chapter, as there is a link between our Lord as the Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and His carrying out of His priesthood after the Aaronic order, as set forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
A good deal of controversy has arisen over the mysterious figure of Melchizedek. Some think he was Christ Himself, but this could not be, for he was " made like unto the Son of God." Some treat him as a real man, whose history afforded types that set forth our Lord. Others think he was a special creation of God, but that could not be, for a special creation of God would have a beginning of days. Others think he was a man, who was born, lived and died, but of whom there was no record of his birth or death, and with this we agree.
The best plan is to examine the Scriptures that bear on the subject, and let them speak for themselves.
In Gen. 14 we read that four kings made war with five neighboring kings in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea. The four kings triumphed over the five, and in taking the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah they captured Lot, Abram's nephew, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. The news of this was taken to Abram, who acted promptly, armed his trained servants born in his house, pursued the kings unto Dan in the far north of the country, made a night attack, and recovered his nephew Lot and his goods, and his women, and the people.
On returning Melchizedek met him with bread and wine, and blessed him saying, " Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, which hast delivered thine enemies into thy hand" (Gen. 14:19, 2019And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Genesis 14:19‑20)). Thus suddenly and mysteriously appeared Melchizedek upon the scene. We are told three things about him in Heb. 7. His name means King of righteousness. He was King of Salem, which means King of Peace, and further he was a priest of the Most High God. He was a King and a Priest. Mark well, his double position.
Abram paid him tithes. That was equivalent to homage due to a king from a subject. Tithes mean that the person to whom they are rendered has the right to the whole, just as God has the right to all that we have, and yet graciously accepts what we render to Him. King David in 'his day in the thankfulness of his heart exclaimed, " For ALL things come of Thee, and of Thine own, have we given Thee " (1 Chron. 29:1414But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. (1 Chronicles 29:14)). One hundred per cent comes from Him, even if we render to Him a tenth.
Melchizedek is at once marked out as a wonderful person when Abram paid such homage to him. He distributed to Abram bread and wine. Anticipating somewhat, Melchizedek typifies our Lord when He shall take up Israel again in the last days. The war between four kings against five is typical of the battle of the nations in the last days when our Lord, like Abram, will interfere and deliver His ancient people from their enemies, and distribute bread and wine to them and the world. They are talking of " a new world order," but that cannot come till the Prince of Peace comes to reign, the true King of Salem. Bread speaks of sustenance, and wine speaks of joy. Sustenance and joy under such a King will mean the Millennium.
The Jewish nation rejected their Messiah. Little did they recognize that the One they rejected was their Messiah, and as far as the Jewish nation is concerned He has gone into the Holiest of All, and until He comes out, Israel waits for her time of blessing. When our Lord does appear He will appear in the Melchizedek character. What a day will that be for this poor sin-stained world, soaked in tears and sodden with blood!
Further in Heb. 7 we are told that Christ could not be a priest after the Aaronic order, for that order came of the tribe of Levi, and our Lord came of the tribe of Judah. But is our Lord not to be a priest? Yes, a priest after the order of Melchizedek. As King He came of the Davidic, the kingly family, and as King He will represent God to the people. As Priest He will represent the people to God. He will be both King and Priest on His throne.
Then the Apostle Paul argued that Melchizedek was greater than Levi, because when Abram paid tithes, Levi was still in his loins, as Scripture phrases it. If Melchizedek received such homage from Abram, Abram thus acknowledging his greatness, then Levi his descendent would have to pay similar homage.
Moreover perfection was not found under the Levitical priesthood, their High Priest was made " after the law of a carnal commandment " so a change in the priesthood was necessary, that One after the similitude of Melchizedek should arise, who is made " after the power of an endless life " (Heb. 7:1616Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (Hebrews 7:16)).
Note, there was no High Priest in the Melchizedek order, for there was only one Priest in that order. This mysterious figure suddenly arising in Gen. 14, passes off the scene, and as far as any notice is taken, there is no record of his birth or his death. Thus he finds his Antitype in the blessed Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Brief as the description of Melchizedek is in Gen. 14 he was the most remarkable type of our Lord in all time. Heb. 7 fills in details which are not found in Gen. 14.
First he was the priest of the Most High God. This is a Millennial title of our Lord, pointing to the time when He will take His rightful place with Israel as King and Priest upon His throne, His throne and priesthood covering the whole world, for " if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? " (Rom. 11:1515For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15)). " When the Most High (Hebrew Elyon) divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel " (Deut. 32:88When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. (Deuteronomy 32:8)). " That men may know that Thou, whose name is JEHOVAH, art the Most High (Hebrew Elyon) over all the earth " (Psa. 83:1818That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. (Psalm 83:18)). When the Lord takes His place over the earth, it means the Millennium.
This is borne out by the name, Melchizedek, which means King of righteousness, whilst his title, King of Salem, means King of peace. This is a grand combination, which will be seen in the Antitype, our blessed Lord, in a future day in full result. This world is needing righteousness and peace badly. Every problem solved righteously and peace reigning, what a world that will be, a world that poets have dreamed of, and sung, which politicians have striven after, but all hitherto has been failure, for
The Central Figure,
Christ, has been left out. What good is the rim and the spokes of a wheel, if the hub is left out. There can be no wheel without a hub, and there can be no " new world order " without Christ. There cannot be a circumference without a center.
And further we come to the very foundation of these titles. How can there be peace without righteousness? That is an impossibility with God. Thank God, Christ has settled the whole question of sin righteously at the cross of Calvary when He made atonement for sin. Peace how can be proclaimed, and whilst all believers share now in this righteousness and peace, one day these will visit this sad earth, and joy and gladness will come.
" He'll bid the whole creation smile, And hush its groan."
Next we have a most important statement. It says of Melchizedek, " Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually " (Heb. 7:33Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (Hebrews 7:3)). Adam was without father and mother, and without descent, but he had beginning of days and end of life, so he is ruled out. The priests could not claim the Aaronic priesthood unless they could trace their descent from Aaron, and unless they could claim both father and mother to be of the Aaronic line. Or, if we take it in its very literal meaning, it could not refer to the Lord as to His Manhood, for as Man He had a mother, and had beginning of days, and end of life. Therefore it refers to our Lord as THE SON OF GOD, in other words as the Eternal Son. Of no one could it be said but of Deity, that He has neither beginning of days nor end of life. That postulates Deity, and nothing short of that. We have no doubt, but that Melchizedek was born, and lived, and died, but evidently in a time of the world's history when a man's parentage was carefully recorded, and his birth and death as carefully noted, but here was a man whom none knew when he was born, nor when he died, in other words he appeared as having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. The great testimony given to him is that he LIVED.
He was " made like unto the Son of God." Then the Son of God existed before Melchizedek was made like to Him. What a proof of the Son as eternal in the unity of the Godhead -Father, Son and Spirit, one God, inscrutable but most blessed mystery, filling the heart of the believer with adoring worship.
At the present moment our Lord is acting with Aaronic functions for His people, and in this way Aaron is typical of Him as we have seen repeatedly in the former chapters. But the day for Israel and the world is coming, when He will come out as of the Melchizedek order, the one and only true Melchizedek, and bless Israel and the world at large. That day is surely drawing nigh.
Zechariah gives a glowing prophecy as to this. We read, " Behold the Man, whose name is THE BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord; even He shall build the Temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both " (Zech. 6:12, 1312And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: 13Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12‑13)). Note our Lord will be
A King upon His throne.
A Priest upon His throne.
Kingship and Priesthood will unite in one blessed Person. Of course it was necessary for our Lord to become Man in order to die an atoning death upon the cross of Calvary. But in the end the world will rejoice in the advent of the eternal Son of God in the character of the true Melchizedek, a Priest and King, ushering in peace and plenty and joy, bringing in bread and wine, bread to sustain and wine to give joy. Then will come the true new world order.