In this post I would like to show some verses about Melchizedek in the Old Testament which was given as shadow for the spiritual Melchizedek, which was to be fulfilled in the New Testament. To understand the reality of Melchizedek in the New Testament, first we have to look at Melchizedek of the Old Testament. By looking at the life and work of Melchizedek of the old covenant, we can know the one who would come as the reality of the Melchizedek by fulfilling the work in the spiritual way.
Melchizedek in Genesis
Genesis 14:17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.
This is the almost only description of Mechizedek in the Old Testament. But here we can see all the important characteristics of Melchizedek we must know to understand the spiritual Melchizedek. The very first thing we should look at about Melchizedek is that he was a priest of God. A priest of God is the one who present offering to God.
Hebrews 8:3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.
A priest is a person chosen by God to give offerings to God so that he could mediate between God and God’s people when God’s people committed sins against God. According to this regulation the priesthood was given to Aaron and his descendants and they were to give offerings of animal sacrifice by shedding blood of animals so that people’s sins would be forgiven.
But the offerering Melchizedek was presenting is completely different. He is offering to God bread and wine which is mentioned nowhere else in the Old Testament and through this we can see his priesthood was not conventional to the laws of old covenant.
Another thing important in this description of Melchizedek is his blessing of Abraham with bread and wine and Abraham’s presenting “a tenth of everything” to Melchizedek. What is the meaning of all this? First, to understand this scene we have to understand who Abraham represents. Abraham is called a ancestor of Israelites as we can see the genealogy of Israelites. The genealogy starts with Abraham since he was the progenitor of this ancestry.
Matthew 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Jacob the grandson of Abraham had 12 sons and those 12 sons of Jacob came to be called the 12 tribes of Israel. (Actually the name Israel was given to Jacob later and therefore 12 tribes of Israel means 12 tribes of Jacob.) In this sense Abraham represents the Israelites itself who was still in the body of Israelites. Therefore, Abraham’s presenting a tenth can represent Israelites’ presenting a tenth (or tithe) to Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:9 9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth (or tithe), paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
So in this scene Abraham represents Jews and then who does Melchizedek represent? To answer this question we need to know about “a tenth” mentioned above. A tenth means “tithes” God commanded His people to present to him.
Leviticus 27:30 “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord. 31 Whoever would redeem any of their tithe must add a fifth of the value to it. 32 Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the Lord. 33 No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’”
A tithe or a tenth belongs to God. Then who is Melchizedek who received a tenth or tithes from the Israelites through Abraham? He must be representing God himself. So the spiritual meaning of this scene is actually a illustration of God’s blessing God’s peoples with bread and wine. But in this priesthood a man is not set up as a meiator as in the priesthood of Aaron and his descendants, but God himself is acting as mediator to bless his people.
And also as I have mentioned before, the offerings or gift used for the minstry is also different. In the Order of Aaron, priests sacrificed animals such as cows, bulls, sheeps, and goats by shedding the blood for the forgiveness of sins. But in this Order of Melchizedek, “bread and wine” are presented as offerings instead of animals.
Spiritual Melchizedek Who Was To Come
Then why was this story of Melchizedek was recorded in the bible? Seemingly, this story is very short and mentioned in a passing way, so we might think that this is not that important. All the prophecies of the bible seem to be the same. They seem to be unimportant and neglected by people. But when the time of fulfillment for those prophecies comes, the words of God suddenly stand up alive and do everything as it is recorded in the bible.
The prophecy of Melchizedek is the same. This story was given as copy and shadow to teach us the one who was to come as spiritual Melchizedek to bless God’s people. Through the Melchizedek in Genesis, we can find out some characteristics of Melchizedek so that we can know the spiritual Melchizedek who would come and bless God’s people. The first one is that he is the priest of God and working as mediator to bless God’s people with the forgiveness of sins. Second, he is coming with bread and wine to bless us unlike the priests of the Old Testament who practiced animal sacrifices according to the Law of Moses. And third, most importantly he represents God himself since he received tithes from Abraham, which belongs only to God.
To fulfill the prophecies of Melchizedek, the bible teaches “another priest like Melchizedek” would appear to bless God’s people.
Prophecy of the Appearance of Spiritual Melchizedek
Psalm 110:1 The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. 4 The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. 7 He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.
This verses were written by King David who lived around 1000 BC and he is speaking about a one who would appear as a priest in the order of Melchizedek. He cannot be talking about Melchizedek in the time of Abraham because the time frame of Abraham was about 1800 BC which happened about 800 years before the Book of Psalm was written. So the Melchizedek who would appear is not the Melchizedek of old, but a spiritual or prophetical Melchizedek who would appear later.
This prophecy was about Christ who would appear as Savior to God’s people. In the time of Jesus, there was an argument about who the Christ is and Jesus quoted from this verse of Psalm to teach us that Psalm 110 was concerned about the Christ who was to come. (Matthew 22:41)
Here we come to know about physical Melchizedek in the Old Testament. And this Mechizedek was given as type or pattern to teach us the one who would come as spiritual Melchizedek to fulfill the prophecies. According to this prophecies, he would come as priest of God to mediate, he would mediate by offering bread and wine as gift to God, and he would be God himself.
In the next post, I would like to show the fulfillment of this prophecy of the bible. Who is the spiritual Melchizedek? What would he do? How can we recognize him? All these things through the prophecies of the bible. This prophecy of Melchizedek was finally fulfilled by Christ Ahnsahnghong who came with bread and wine of Passover to mediate for our sins so that we can receive the forgiveness of sins.