This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”
What do you think of the Old Testament? What impact has it had on your thoughts about the Christian life? For Jesus and the Apostles what we call the “Old Testament” was their written Scripture. When Paul entered a synagogue, the attendant would pull out a scroll of Genesis or Jeremiah, for example, and hand it to the teacher of the day who would then expound on the passage that was read. The Old Testament was the powerful word of God, “sharper than any two-edged sword.” That may be a hard thing for us in the Church Age who may be jaded into thinking the Old Testament has been outdated by the coming of the New Testament.
The Old Testament is foundational to our understanding for who Jesus Christ is, based on the covenants and promises of God expressed to the Hebrews. It is in the Old Testament that we are told the Messiah would be greater than the priesthood of Aaron. It is the Old Testament that we read David’s prophecy in Ps 110:4 “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” And not just a priest, but a king as well! David wrote in Psalm 110:1 “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
The author of Hebrews uses Psalm 110 to interpret and apply Genesis 14 in a way to show us there is much more going on in the Old Testament than we ever realized. We have already seen how Hebrews used Psalm 95 to interpret the reason why the Hebrews could not enter Canaan to find rest in chapters 3 and 4. The Scriptures are the best tool we have to interpret any passage of Scripture. Allow this to encourage us to study our Bibles much more thoroughly because we can see time after time that the pages of Scripture contain much more than meets the eye at a casual reading.
It is the Book of Hebrews which demonstrates Melchizedek and Messiah are both kings and priests. While this was specifically prohibited by the Law of Moses, this can and does happen under the New Covenant, with Christ as our Great High Priest — just as we see in Psalm 110. But you and I need to keep in mind that we, the church, are a “kingdom of priests” and will reign with Him. A part of our daily walk with Christ needs to be careful consideration of how we should exercise our role as a “kingdom of priests” now and for all eternity.