Melchizedek is a unique figure in all of Genesis. Where everyone else appears in the middle of some kind of genealogy, Melchizedek seems to appear out of nowhere, bless Abraham and receive a tithe of honor from him, and then disappear again. No genealogy, and never mentioned again. It’s as if he is above the rest, this king of “Salem” – which could be Jerusalem. It’s as if he is a priest above all priests, this “priest of the Most High God”, who brings peace – “Salem”. It’s as if he is king over all the other kings, this “king of righteousness”, which is how his name is translated.
Then, silence, about Melchizedek. Though brief, his appearance in the Old Testament is striking, and memorable.
So memorable he appears again in Psalm 110, which Jesus references to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 22. There, Jesus says, David refers to someone else as his “Lord”, who sits at the right hand of the LORD – God. He is a “priest forever”, this Lord of David. Though, it’s also true, that this Lord of David would come from David, as the Messiah must be an offspring of David. This Lord-Messiah will have offspring, people who will, when this Lord reigns, offer themselves to him willingly, because He gives them “holy garments” – righteousness. And he will defeat all the kings of the earth, giving his people peace – “shalom” – “Salem”.
Until the book of Hebrews, when the writer picks up the theme again, especially in chapter 7. Looking back through God’s working in history, he sees that Melchizedek was a “type”, a picture that anticipated the later real thing. That “thing” is Jesus the Messiah, who comes down from heaven, to provide “bread and wine” (Genesis 14:18) – his body and his life, to secure for us peace with God and righteousness before Him, forever.
This was always God’s plan, from before time, and therefore before any law. To act by His grace alone, to save, by faith alone.
He is worth trusting, because of the power of His “indestructible life” – He lives forever (Hebrews 7:24). We can trust Him today, as long as it is called today, because of what he does with his unending life: he saves to the uttermost – completely – those who come to him by faith – because every moment, of every day, he “lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). As our King, working peace for us; as our Great High Priest, standing in our place before the Father, always our cleansing, for every sin.