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Melchisedec, Melchizedek [Mĕlchĭs'e dĕc, Mĕl chĭz'e dĕk]—king of righteousness or justice. The priest and king of Salem, who met Abraham and blessed him (Gen. 14:18; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1-21). His pedigree is not recorded (Ezra 2:59, 62).

The Man Who Prefigured Christ’s Priesthood

Although a mysterious figure, Melchisedec is yet a figure of great importance. His biography is short. He comes before us in history (Gen. 14); in prophecy (Ps. 110); in doctrine (Heb. 7), and prefigures Christ’s priesthood. He is King of Righteousness, and King of Peace—cause and effect. Christ alone can bring us peace since He is our righteousness (Isa. 32:17). In a book consisting of genealogies, Melchisedec has no record of father, mother, birth or death. Such silence is part of the divine plan to make him typify more strikingly the mystery of Christ’s birth and the eternity of His priesthood.

The priesthood of this mysterious man was not based on what he was, or on any inherited right. Christ was without father on earth as to His humanity, and without mother as to His deity. He was the only-begotten of the Father, and without pedigree as to His priesthood. The greatness of Melchisedec is seen in that Abraham gave him tithes, and was blessed of him. Christ being greater, deserves and demands our all.

In Christ we have an unchallengeable priesthood, for He was made Priest by the solemnity of a divine oath. His is also an uninterrupted priesthood, for death cannot overtake Him. His priesthood is likewise nontransferable—it cannot be delegated to anyone on earth. Christ, like Melchisedec, had in His office as Priest, no ancestor, no associate, no descendant. With the Aaronic priesthood it was different.

Tradition identifies Melchisedec as Shem, the son of Noah (Gen. 11:11), or as Philitis, the builder of the great Pyramid of Egypt.

Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.

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