Who was Melchizedek?

By Dr. Lee Warren, B.A., D.D. (c) 1999 PLIM REPORT, Vol. 8 #5

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Introduction

One of the great mysteries of the Bible concerns Melchizedek. Since there is very little written on him in the Old Testament, many wonder who he was. For those not familiar with this story, Melchizedek was the King and High Priest of Salem (the original name of Jerusalem). He greeted Abraham (called Abram at this time) after he had rescued his brotherís son Lot from Chedorlaomer, one of the kings who fought against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Lot captive (Gen. 14:9-18).

Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tithe of all the booty he had taken from the defeated kings, and Melchizedek blessed Abram. Melchizedek said: "Blessed be Abram by Elohim (God) Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be Elohim (God) Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand (Gn. 14:19-20)." [Note: Tithing was a common tradition of this era. (see "Can Tithing Cause Blessings?" in the complimentary issue of the "PLIM REPORT.") Later in this article this blessing will be explained.

What is the intent of this article?

The intent of this article is to examine the identify of Melchizedek and his priesthood. We will explore why there is so much importance placed on him and what is the spiritual significance of a man that so little is known about, according to the scripture.

A small amount of research along with an understanding of the purpose of Elohim will allow some light to be shed on this subject where there is so much misunderstanding. This article will also explain the role of the priests having the power to bless people and as keepers of the mysteries.

Who was Melchizedek?

Now the question that arises is just who was Melchizedek? There have been many theories put forth over thousands of years. Many claim that he was Elohim in a body. Some say that he was an angel materialized. Others think that he was just another man who was blessed with special powers. Today there are some who believe that Melchizedek was an alien race from another planet in our galaxy (Masters of Deception, by Jacques Vallee). These are just a few speculations, due to the ignorance of the scriptures and the purpose of Elohim, regarding the identity of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:11).

What is the Old Testament account of Melchizedek?

Prior to Moses writing the book of Genesis after the children came out of Egypt, there is little written in the annals of history about Melchizedek. Moses was able to write of Melchizedek about 1500 years before the Messiah as the result of a vision that Elohim shown him atop Mt. Sinai. Moses made two trips into this mountain each lasting 40 days and nights. This was revealed to Henry C. Kinley in a vision he had in 1931.

Now the only other reference to Melchizedek in the Old Testament is when David compared Yahweh-Elohim to a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He wrote the following in the Psalms about him. "Yahweh hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4)."

Now this is the first indication of the high esteem Israel held toward Melchizedekís priesthood. David by the Holy Spirit is clearly associating Yahweh Elohim with the priesthood of Melchizedek (not the Aaronite priesthood) and revealing that it was without end. This showed that the former priesthood was of a higher order than the latter, which was a temporary priesthood and shadow of the Melchizedek priesthood.

It was astonishing that the Apostle Paul spoke the following about the Aaronite priesthood. "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience (Heb 9:6-9)."

Levite Priestly functions

It must be understood that the priests were in charge of many secrets that the people did not know. For example, only the priests were allowed to officiate in the tabernacle and temple and handle the vessels therein (Num. 18:16) . They offered up sacrifices for Israel, and spoke with Elohim face to face. The people had to rely on the priestís testimony, for they were prohibited from entering the inner compartment of the temple and the tabernacle.

All of these secrets that had historically been kept from the people were revealed when the Messiah came and poured out the Holy Spirit. This gave everyone access to the Spirit of Elohim in their hearts and minds without and mediator (1 Tim. 2:5), which will be explained later in this article.

Was Melchizedek King of Salem and Priest of the most high El?

Mosesí account of Melchizedek in Gen. 14th Chapter was very brief and furnishes very little detail about the man. There is neither a mention of Melchizedekís genealogy nor life history, but there are some important facts that Moses does reveal about Melchizedek.

First, he was king of the city of Salem, which was the ancient name of Jerusalem. It appears that even at this time before the formation of Israel, Salem held some special significance among the Gentiles.

This is further confirmed when Israel under the leadership of Joshua entered Canaan Land and began to fight the inhabitants for their inheritance. A Gentile king named Adonizedek ruled Jerusalem at that time (Jos. 10:3). He called the Gentile nations together to war against Israel.

Second, Melchizedek was a "the priest of the Most High" (Gn. 14:18) that the kings of this region held in high esteem. The fact that Melchizedek was a priest implied that he communicated with Elohim and that Elohim had given him some special powers to bless people. In the same manner Elohim gave Baalam the Prophet, a Gentile, power to bless and curse people (Num. 22:5-6).

The fact that both Baalam and Melchizedek had paranormal abilities shows that Elohim was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Deut. 10:17), did communicate with the Gentiles, and gave them spiritual powers. This also disproves the belief that Melchizedek was an angel or some other supernatural being, but showed that more than likely he was just a man whom Elohim had blessed with special capacities.

The fact that King Melchizedek was a priest and blessed Abram, the father of the Israel, after he had defeated kings of Babylon, Persia and the Canaan (Gn. 14:18-20), who had taken Abramís nephew, Lot, captive, holds special significance.

Did Israel think highly of the Melchizedek Priesthood?

As has been stated earlier, it is clear from the writings of King David that the Hebrew tradition had high veneration or esteem for the priesthood of Melchizedek. This priesthood was thought of as a higher order than the Aaronite priesthood that officiated in the tabernacle and the temples because Melchizedek was equated with the priesthood of Elohim.

The fact that Melchizedek, a Gentile priest, would be used in analogy to describe the Messiahís priesthood that would replace the Aaronite priesthood is astounding. This showed that Elohim was not a respector of persons.

What is Paulís explanation of Melchizedek in the New Testament?

Paul in his writing to the Hebrews correlates the Messiah under the New Covenant as being the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6, 10), which had no beginning or end (Heb. 7:3).

This spiritual priesthood succeeded the Aaronite or Levite priesthood, which was established under the Old Covenant at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:6) and was brought to an end (Rom.10:4) by Yahshua the Messiah fulfilling this Old Covenant or the Law and Prophets (Mt. 5:17-18; Rom. 10:1-4). This is a further revelation of King Davidís writing (Psa. 110:4).

In the seventh chapter of Hebrews Paul points out various correlations between the Messiah and Melchizedek that was revealed after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Paul says the names of "Melchizedek" and "Salem" have special meaning in that they prefigured the Messiah. Now "Melchizedek" means "righteousness" and the city named "Salem" means "Peace (Heb. 7:1-2)." The Messiah is both peace and righteousness (Jn. 14:26-27), which He has revealed in our hearts by the shedding of His blood.

Moses did not reveal Melchizedekís birth, death, or his genealogy in Genesis. Paul correlates the omission of non-lineage with him having no beginning or end and being without mother and father likened unto the Yahshua the Messiah, who is Elohim in a body and the true priest throughout eternity.

The fact that Melchizedek was set up first before the Aaronite priesthood shows the end declared from the beginning (Isa. 46:9-10). The Aaronite priesthood was a type and shadow of the true priesthood that eventually had to come an end. Paul writes: "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron (Heb 7:11)?"

What is the spiritual reality of Melchizedek?

Now Melchizedek represents the Messiah who is the King and Priest in our hearts and minds. Just as Israel was made a kingdom of priests under the Law of Moses (Ex. 19:5-6), the Messiah has made all true believers, male and female, kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek under the New Covenant.

John in Revelation wrote: "And from Yahshua the Messiah, 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, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:5-6 (KJV)."

How did the Messiah fulfill Abramís deliverance of Lot?

As Abram delivered his nephew Lot out of the hands of the Persian, Babylonian, and Canaanite kings, Yahshua the Messiah, in fulfillment, (Lk. 24:21-27, 44-46) delivered man in a three fold manner. By His death, burial and resurrection, He released those souls in the graves (Matt. 27:51), quickened those alive at the time by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit establishing His ministry (Acts 2:1-4, 15-18), and kept those in the future (us) out of the hands of Satan. This resulted in Him sitting up his kingdom in the hearts and minds of mankind.

In fact, the Devil was delivered into the Messiahís hands as Abramís enemies were delivered into his hand. The devil no longer has the hold of spiritual death over mankindís soul. Paul said the following: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [the Messiah] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to Elohim (God), to make reconciliation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:14-17)."

Conclusion

The point of this article was to show that each of us is Melchizedek (King and Priest) in our hearts and minds--the temple--where Yahshua the Messiah ministers. Those enlightened with the truth are a Kingdom of Priests that have access to Heavenly Jerusalem, as the Apostle John said in Revelation.

He wrote: "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it (Rev. 21: 23-24)."

Now this dispels all the misunderstandings about Melchizedek, for the truth of the matter has been revealed in us. We no longer look for the coming of Melchizedec as some physical man, although there are many today who claim to be this Melchizedek, for he has been revealed within us.

What holds and controls the people of the world is modern day Mystery Babylon the Great (Rev. 17:3) that has us imprisoned spiritually and psychologically through various mind control techniques. Once the truth delivers us from Mystery Babylon (Jn. 8:32), Yahshua the Messiah gives us His peace and righteousness. This enables us to worship Elohim in Spirit and Truth (Jn. 4:24).

Thus, by having "peace and righteousness" in our hearts, we are not waiting to go to Heavenly Jerusalem, we currently reside in this heavenly state of mind while we are still in a physical body or temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20). So when one takes off the fleshly body the soul goes to the place that its state of mind reflects.

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