Summary: Melchizedek, Priest and King
Abraham, a man of Challenge, Faith, Promise
Melchizedek, Priest and King
Reading: Genesis 14:18ff
We have in our reading a figure that is very much a person of mystery. In the O.T. there are actually only two references to him, here in our reading and in Psalm 110:4, where David is speaking prophetically of the Messiah’s reign. It is a point to be noted that it is this Psalm that Jesus quotes to the Pharisees, when He asked them about the Christ. Also Peter quotes the same Psalm in his Day of Pentecost sermon, which us giving some insight to the prophetic caliber of this man of God. It also tells us that the new order that the Messiah was coming to establish was different in the issue of Priesthood and Kingship.
Melchizedek by name was called the King of Righteousness and by title the King of Salem (Peace.) The name Melchizedek is derived from two main root-meaning words. Melek basically means a King, one who has ascended to the throne, one who has been inducted into royalty, there is the sense that this person is one in whom you may take good and wise counsel, as their reign is found upon such. In the Greek this first part of the word comes from the same group of words that means honey. The second part holds the meaning of rightness, rectitude, justice and virtuous prosperity, which come from a word which means, "to be right morally and forensically."
His title is King of Salem. The name Salem simply means PEACEFUL, but the sense of the word and from the words that it comes from, implies that this peace exists because of a conscious action rather than a natural occurrence. As the word has in it’s meaning being friendly, and that friendliness come from the sense of safeness that is generated in the person, safeness of mind, body and estate. They are safe because they are complete there is no point of division as there is the conscious action to ensure that there is unity.
Melchizedek, who by his name holds righteousness and justice as something that is sweet to those who will walk in the ways of God. Also by his title reigns over a Kingdom of peace that is that way because of the conscious action of not only the King, but of those who are citizens of that Kingdom. Salem is thought by many to be Jerusalem, the earlier part of chapter 14 tells us of the various Kingdoms and city states that rebelled against the King of Elam, as they has at sometime been subjugated by him. Yet it would seem that Salem was not apart of this throwing off of the yoke. Why? On the basis of his name and title, along with the fact that he was a priest as well as a king, might indicate that his kingdom was not under the rod of the oppressor. Notice also that the King of Elam is also called the Tidal King; directly referring to the location of his capitol city, i.e. in the region of the rivers. Yet have you notices that the attack and oppression of the enemy comes in waves.
There is also a lesson for us here to learn concerning our setting free from any yoke. If we attempt such things outside of the ways of God and with the transfer of our citizenship from the kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light, then it is nothing more than rebellion. The net result of rebellion is greater bondage and weightier yokes, as the rightful rule will come and extract his right revenue and punishment. But when you become a child of the Kingdom of Light and Life, then the armies of the Lord encamp about those who will trust Him and serve Him. Notice how that Lot who took the semblance of Abram’s faith, but denied it reality, was taken captive along with those who rebelled. The land had been given to Abram and his decedents, and no rebellion from anyone or anything was going to change that. There is a sense that Abram recovered nothing more than what was rightfully his, yet he refuses to be indebted to anyone other than his Lord and God.
Here we find that the named king of Righteousness, who’s Kingdom is Peace, comes out to the returning Abram, not as a King, nor as the bearer of peace, but as a Priest. As one who would stand before the presence of the Most High and intercede. We are now starting to get a clue as to why his Kingdom was one of peace, it is because of the actions of true priesthood. Why was Melchizedek kingdom at peace when others were not? Paul a few thousand years later tells us in terms that quite possibly Melchizedek had learned in experience; "I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (1 Timothy 2:1-3)