Who Was Melchizedek?
There is a booklet entitled Who Was Melchizedek? authored by Wayne Carver. Here are some quotes from this excellent treatise on Melchizedek.
"For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, priest of God the Most High, 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 (genealogy or pedigree), having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth (remains or endures) a priest continually (in perpetuity). Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils" (Hebrews 7:1-4, Amplified Version).
"This commentary from Hebrews has surrounded the historical man Melchizedek with much mystery. Although his appearance in Genesis 14 was sudden and without explanation, there is nothing in the record to indicate that he was other than a man. He was simultaneously priest to the Most High God and king of Salem. The Genesis record offers no explanation as to how these offices came to exist, or how Melchizedek succeeded in filling them.
"It would seem that there are only two possible answers to the question `Who was Melchizedek?' (1) He was a theophany of the preincarnate Christ. ['Theophany: theo is God, phany is appearance; thus, 'appearance of God.'] (2) He was an historical, human person who typified Christ. The correct answer must he found from Hebrews 7.
"Hebrews 7:1-4 actually contains only two sentences. The first sentence is contained in verses 1-3. The second is complete in one verse -- verse 4.
"Note carefully the structure of that first long sentence. The subject is contained in the first phrase and the remainder of the sentence is contained in the last phrase. What comes between is a parenthetical description of the one introduced in the preceding sentence, who is the subject of this sentence. 'FOR THIS MELCHISEDEC ... endures [remains, abides, dwells, lodges, continues firm] A PRIEST IN PERPETUITY.' We are told that this Melchisedec, because of what Scripture says of him, is 'imprinted upon the pages of God's Holy Word as a priest in perpetuity.'
A King and A Priest
"Melchizedek stands upon the pages of history without a written record concerning his father or his mother. He is without 'genealogy.' The Greek word for 'genealogy' used here refers to a written record. Since Melchizedek stands upon the pages of God's revelation without genealogy, there is no record of the beginning of his days nor of the end of his life. This lack of a genealogical record was intentional on God's part because through this omission he is 'made like' (that is, made a type of) the Son of God.
No Genealogical Records Presented
"Hebrews 7:3 simply declares that so far as Scripture is concerned Melchizedek appears upon its sacred page 'without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God, abides a priest continually.' That is, in the book of Genesis (a book designed to provide genealogies) this man, in spite of his tremendous importance, has no genealogical records.
"There is no record of his parentage, birth or death. He simply appears for a moment, then vanishes from sight, never to be mentioned again in the Word of God until the prophecy of Psalm 110. Thus he, a man, is an appropriate type of our ever-living Saviour and High Priest.
"We conclude that Melchizedek was not a theophany (appearance of God) of the preincarnate Christ. He was not a supernatural being at all. He was a man; and because of the absence of any genealogical records concerning him, God has made him a marvelous type of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in his kingship and in his priesthood." [End of quotes].
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