There is much mystery about who this person was. He is only mentioned historically in Genesis 14:18-20. That he was a priest of the most high God and a king of Salem is all we know .( Most identify Salem with Jerusalem). No mention is made of his’ parentage, predecessors and successors. How he ruled his’ kingdom and how many of his’ people followed his’ example and worshiped the true God would be interesting to know.
That there remained at this time worshipers of the true God among the gentiles is evident. This priest king and people like Job and his’ friends being examples.
Returning after rescuing Lot and the others captured with him. Melchizedek blessed Abram and brought food and wine to him. Abram in turn presented him with one tenth of the spoil. He showed great deference to Melchizedek ,while the king of Sodom was brushed off. This suggests he was a significant person.
Many old writers saw in this a pre-incarnation appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is pure speculation and pious imagination.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews looking at this portion of scripture and a verse in Psalm 110:4 makes Melchizedek a Type and pre-figuration of Christ, Hebrews. 5,6,7. He uses him to prove that the priesthood of Christ was superior in every way to the levitical priesthood, which was passing away.
While much of the Levitical priesthood speaks of the priestly work of Christ it was not royal. Also while David typified much of Christ’s kingship , he was not a priest.
So in this priest king we see Christ as the God ordained successor to the Levitical priesthood. Also we see Christ as the Priest/ King , imparting righteousness and peace as typed by Melchizedek His’ name meaning King of righteousness and Salem meaning peace.
We might say this is all very interesting but what does it mean to us?
Any portion of scriptures, which highlights an aspect of Christ and His’ work, should be precious to us. It is all on our behalf.
In this day many Christians are looking for a re built temple and a revived priesthood. When we see that the priesthood of Christ is superior to the old temple order, and that he is the king as well , it makes any return to this order redundant.I am not saying that the day may not come when we do see a temple in Jerusalem. But,
We look to the heavenly sanctuary and the Great High Priest who intercedes there.
J.C. Ryle says of the sermons of George Whitefield, that in print there is nothing amazing about them. They are good plain gospel preaching. Yet those sames sermons were used by God for the saving of thousands during the Evangelical Revival. Whitefield and those like him thought of nothing else than the Glory of Christ and the salvation of sinners.
We can hardly tell people they are sinners let alone tell them they are lost. Perhaps the day of mass evangelism is past. I confess it is easier to tell people to follow Christ or to decide for Jesus.
Yet the whole Bible front front to back talks about sin and salvation. We must take our emphasis from scripture and stand where it stands. It is God’s word to man after all. If we do not deal with our sin in a meaningful way we miss the meaning of the Cross utterly.
If Christ began His’ preaching with “Repentance” so must we.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Some people can read the Bible and it remains a closed book. Others can read the Bible and it brings them to the Saviour.
“How do you read it?”Luke 10:26b