Who was Melchizedek?
How is it pronounced? We know the two words that the name comes from are
Melech (King) and Tzedek (Righteous). There are a couple of differences in how
it is pronounced. The original Hebrew Scrolls (OT) did not have any vowels. The Masorites (Masoretic) put them in. So was it MalCHEEtzedek or MalachZahDeek? It could be either.
Back to it’s meaning. Malchee means “My King,” the ee makes it “mine.” Tzedek should be a familiar word to you. It’s the same word “Zadok” in English. We know Zadok was the son of Aaron and was the forefather of the Zadokites. Who were the Zadokites? You would know them by their Greek name, “Sadducee.” It was the same Sadducees that we read of in the New Testament. By that time they had already been around for a couple of centuries.
So who was this Melchizedek? There are a few different ideas, let’s examine them. This isn’t the first time in history that there has been debate concerning who Melchizedek was. Some Gnostics1 believed Melchizedek was Michael the archangel. This view is also held by some today in the Catholic Church. Some believed, such as Philo (a hellenized Jew), that it was an allegory - that Melechizedek was “reason personified.” He basically had a middle Platonism idea of him. Other Gnostics believed it was an apparition of Yeshua. It was this idea that led to today’s Church believing that it was indeed Yeshua.
It’s said that because Melchizedek had no father and mother (Hebrews
7:3) that he is called the King of Peace as he was King of Salem (Peace), that it must be Christ To go further they quote:
“having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like
unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually”.
Sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it? There’s more:
Hebrews 5:5: “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 6:20: “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:17: “For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 7:21: “For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath
by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou
art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
Hence the conclusion that Jesus and Melchizedek are one and the same.
Then to top it off, an Old Testament reference:
Genesis 14:18-20: Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and
wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and
said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and
earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your
enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all. (NKJV)
Gotta be Jesus!
But, he’s not. First lets look at why he’s not. We’re going to use the exact
same Scriptures that are used by those who say He is Melchizedek.
Let’s look at the word “order” in the phrase “order of Melchizedek.”
The word in Hebrew is “devrah.” It means “same type.” So whoever it
was, we know he was a similar type” as Yeshua. What were those
similarities? Well, Melchizedek was a king, just like Jesus. He ruled
over Jews and Gentiles, just like Jesus. He was a priest, just like
Jesus. He was a man just like Jesus. Notice that the Bible says
that Melchizedek was a man!!! Hebrews 7: 4: “Now consider how great
this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of
the spoils.” Jesus wasn’t a man then! He was G-d.
Many like to say that Melchizedek had no mother or father, well that
could only be Yeshua. Excuse me? Jesus did have a father named Joseph
and a mother named Mary. He had a genealogy too - He was from the
tribe of Judah from the house of David. Genealogies were very
important by this time. So how could Melchizedek have no parents
then? Well, he did have parents, it’s just that he’d lived for so
many years (around 600 years) that no one was around to tell them who
those parents were. It seemed as if he didn’t have any parents. It
seemed like he was ageless.
Why else do we know that it wasn’t Jesus? For one we know that Jesus didn’t hang around talking to the King of Sodom and bring some wine and bread to the party. We also know that whenever Yeshua appeared in the OT, everyone fell flat on their faces, just as Abram had in the past and later Moses at the burning
bush. It was holy ground. It also says that Melchizedek never died.
We know Jesus did die. He died on the cross to forgive us our sins.
Another thing we see is that Abram brings Melchizedek a tithe. This
is not a sacrifice, it’s a tithe. Tithes go to the priests,
sacrifices went to G-d. The spoils wouldn’t have been made a
sacrifice, but a tithe to the leader and high priest of your country
would have been appropriate.
So who was he? The Rabbis say, and I agree with them, that it was
Shem, the son of Noah. He would’ve been around during Abram’s time (Jacob
and Esau were already 15 years old before Shem died). He lived to be
600 years old. He outlived his entire family - he seemed to have lived
forever. He was also the great grandfather (eight times back) of Abram
and the father of all Semites. He being the patriarch of the Semites
as well as the high priest, Abram would have given him tithes.
Melchizedek said “blessed be Abram of G-d most high” - not “Blessed be
Abram by ME.” We also know that he must have been a man because Paul
thought he was a man. All the mainline Jews did, we know that from
Josephus, a Pharisee just like Paul was. He said it was a man - not an
angel, not an apparition, not an archangel, but a man.
We also know that Melchizedek couldn’t be Jesus from Hebrew 7:15: “And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life.” Likeness! Jesus couldn’t say, “I am like Melchizedek” if He WAS/IS Melchizedek. That’s like looking at a piece of gold and saying “this is like gold.” Also if Melchedik was Jesus, then who is “another priest who had an endless life?”
1 A person whose worldview embraces Gnosticism [CE], the thought and practice of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis [passing down of knowledge, perhaps secret knowledge]. The word Gnostic derives from the Greek gnostikos, meaning "of knowledge.”