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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Melchizedek

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When Abraham was returning from victory over a group of invaders, he was met by Melchizedek, the ruler of the Canaanite city-state of Salem. (This appears to be the place later known as Jerusalem.) Like Abraham, Melchizedek was a worshipper of the Most High God. In fact, he was God’s priest, and he reminded Abraham that God was the one who had given Abraham victory. Abraham acknowledged this by offering to God a costly sacrifice, which he presented through God’s priest (Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 7:1-4).

Several centuries later, when the nation Israel had settled in Canaan, David conquered Jerusalem and made it his national capital. To celebrate his victory he wrote a psalm to be sung by the Levitical singers. It was as if David had become a successor to Melchizedek and heir to all Melchizedek’s titles. As ruler of Salem, he was like a king-priest who represented God to his people and whose authority seemed unlimited (Psalms 110).

When the psalm was applied literally to David, it was extravagant, but in later times Jews applied it to the expected Messiah. Jesus agreed that this was a correct application (Matthew 22:42-45). A song of lavish praise, extravagant when applied to David, was fitting when applied to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, and his priesthood is complete and eternal. Like Melchizedek, Christ is a king and a priest, a combination not allowed in the traditional Israelite system. The Levitical priests of Israel kept family records of people’s ancestry, birth and death, to confirm a person’s right to the priesthood. But there were no such records for Melchizedek, as his kind of priesthood was not limited by time or Levitical laws. In this way he foreshadowed Christ, whose priesthood is for all people of all eras and all nations (Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:15-17; see PRIEST, sub-heading ‘The high priesthood of Jesus’).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Melchizedek'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bbd/m/melchizedek.html. 2004.

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