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Who Was Melchisedec?

by David A. DePra

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God,

who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and

blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first

being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also

King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 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. 7:1-3)

     Melchisedec is a mystery figure in the Bible. Some have even

said that he was actually Jesus Christ before Christ became a

man. So who was he? Or does it really matter?

     The reason some say Melchisedec was Jesus before His

earthly birth, is that in the above verse it seems to say that he had

no father or mother at that time. But wait. Let's read, not only the

words of the passage, but the context and the intent.

     Verse 3 does state that Melchisedec somehow had no father or

mother. But it is referring to the record of the text in the OT. In

other words, there is no record of his mother or father. He simply

seem to appear out of nowhere. All God is saying is that the

geneology of Melchisedec is not recorded for us -- and for a

good reason. God is using him as a "type." In keeping with this

type," the scripture does not tell us when he was born, or when he

died.  Melchisedec simply comes on the scene for this one

episode with Abraham, and then we never hear of him again.

     God was giving a picture lesson. He deliberately inspired the

brevity of information concerning Melchisedec so that he could be

used as a "type" of priest with no mother or father, etc. What

characteristics Melchisedec is said to have here, in type, Jesus

Christ, has in reality. He is a "type" of an eternal priest.

     We must remember the importance that geneology and

inheritance had in Old Testament days. It meant EVERYTHING.

All property, indeed, one's own existance, was tied to the birth

family, and to the inheritance received. This is why Abraham, and

some of the other Old Testament figures, were so concerned

about whether they had a son. It was to the eldest son that all that

the father owned would eventually pass. Without a son who could

inherit all the father's property, it would pass either to a servant, or

would eventually be divided among others. That was a terrible

situation for any family in those days, as it meant that the death of

the father virtually meant the end of everything the family had built

up over the centuries.

     Thus, when Melchisedec is mentioned in the Bible, WITHOUT

reference to his geneology, it is an exceptional event. Rarely do

we read of anyone in the Old Testament without being given some

sort of geneological background. Melchisedec is therefore likened

unto one who is without parents, and unto one who abides forever

-- for even his death is never spoken of. By reading only the text

we are left with the impression that "he abides a priest continually."

     Who was this Melchisedec? God doesn't tell us. Some have

supposed he could have been Shem, the son of Noah. If he were

Shem, it would make some sense, since he could have, at the time

Abraham met him, been the sole survivor from the other side of

the flood. That would sort of fit the type of Melchisedec being

"without geneology." But it doesn't matter, for where God is silent,

it is of little profit to speculate.

     The important thing is that Melchisedec is a "type" of Jesus as

our High Priest. Jesus is the High Priest who abides forever, and

forever makes intercesson for us. His priesthood cannot end

because of death, and neither can His sacrifice lose any of it's

power. He is a High Priest forever, after the "order of Melchisedec,

that of indestructible life.

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