Scripture Notes: Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-3

Genesis 14:18‑20; Hebrews 7:1‑3  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
While Melchizedek is confessedly a mysterious personage, his typical significance is clear from the inspired explanation in the epistle to the Hebrews. In Genesis we learn that he was king of Salem (undoubtedly Jerusalem, see Psalm 76), and priest of the most High God, and that, bringing forth bread a n d wine, he blessed Abraham on returning from the slaughter of the kings. This is all the information the history affords. When we come to the Hebrews, the Apostle tells us how and in what manner he was a figure of the priesthood of Christ. First, his name, Melchizedek, means king of righteousness, and then king of Salem, which is, king of peace. Now these are the two characters in which Christ will reign in the kingdom—first as David, and then as Solomon, though He will ever combine the two—for He will reign throughout the thousand years in righteousness, and the effect of this will be peace, according to that word, "The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness" (Psalm 72:33The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. (Psalm 72:3); compare Isaiah 32:1717And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. (Isaiah 32:17)).
But Melchizedek was also a priest, and it is of Christ as the royal priest that he is specially the shadow, even as we read in the Psalm, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Psalm 110:44The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 110:4). It is this of which the Apostle writes in Hebrews 7, where he is showing the superiority of the priesthood of our Lord to that of Aaron; and in doing this, he tells us that Melchizedek was "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." Some, pressing the literal meaning of these expressions, have raised difficulties; but the term "without descent," or, without genealogy, makes all plain. It simply means that Melchizedek has no recorded genealogy in the Scriptures—that in this sense he is without father or mother, and that his birth and death are left unnoticed, to the end that he might be a type of the everlasting priesthood of Christ. In this way he is "made like unto the Son of God"; he appears on the scene as God's priest, and, inasmuch as there is no account of his having ever passed away, he is regarded as being a priest continually; and he is so regarded that he might be a more perfect type of the glorious and unchangeable priesthood of our Lord and Savior. He was not, as some have ventured to assert, the Son of God, but only a figure of Him in the character of His priesthood.
It may be added, that the present service of Christ as the Priest is after the pattern of that of Aaron; but when He comes forth in His robes of glory and beauty, He will assume the Melchizedek character; for He will then be a Priest on His throne. But if He is king and priest, all believers, through virtue of association with Him in the grace of God, will also be kings and priests (see Rev. 1:5, 65And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5‑6)); and hence the twenty-four elders are seen seated on thrones, robed with priestly garments, and with crowns of gold on their heads (Rev. 4).