Hi. I’m Wes White from cgi.org and welcome to another program of Bible Q&A.
We have been asked about this mysterious person in the book of Genesis. His name was Melchizedek. People want to know more about him. We get asked questions like, “Maybe he was Shem?”
We start to answer our question by noting that the word Melchizedek is actually a title. It’s not a name, but a designation of honor. Melchizedek is a position or office that can only be filled by the most worthy of candidates.
The term Melchizedek is actualy a transliteration of two Hebrew words Melek and Tsedeq. Meleq means king and Tsedeq means righteous. So the name Melchizedek literally means King of Righteousness. And then, when we read Hebrews 7:2, we see that Melchizedek is also the King of Peace.
Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 19:17 that: “There is none good but one, that is, God.” Yes, we know that none can be righteous but God. And Jesus is God in person! No human can be called the King of Peace. That title can only be claimed by Jesus as we see in Isaiah 9:6.
The first six verses of Hebrews 7 is a comparison of two priesthoods—the priesthood of the Levites and the priesthood of Melchizedek. Again, another indication that Melchizedek could never be a mortal man.
And when Hebrews 7:3: says that Melchizedek was “without mother, without father, without descent,” it is showing us that he was not born as human beings are. He was without human father and mother. Some might think that this Scripture means that Melchizedek’s record of birth was somehow lost or misplaced. No way. Because without such records, human priests could not serve. This is made very clear in Ezra 2:62.
Melchizedek had no such human genealogy because He was not an ordinary mortal. He had no descent or pedigree from another, but was self-existent. Notice Paul’s own inspired interpretation of this fact in Hebrews 7:3: “Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” Therefore, this Melchizedek has always existed from eternity! He was not created, like angels. Angels have not existed from eternity. There was a time when they were created. They have no past eternity. But Melchizedek has existed eternally from the past. He is eternally self-existing.
Hebrews 5:5 removes any doubt about this matter: “So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He [God the Father] that said unto Him, You are My Son, today have I begotten You. As He says also in another place, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (verses 5–6). Jesus held the rank of Melchizedek even back when He received tithes from Abraham during the times of the patriarchs. This priesthood was superior to the priesthood of the Levites because it was Jesus Christ Himself. Christ is the mediator of a better covenant based upon better promises. We find that in Hebrews 8:6.
No, Melchizedek was not Shem or any other mortal man. This Melchizedek that we find in the book of Genesis is none other than Jesus of Nazareth.
We’ll see you again on Bible Q&A. In the meantime, please keep reading your Bible. And please keep asking questions.