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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


A compound name of Melek, king; and Tzedec, justice; and a well-known name in Scripture, but little understood in person or character. There are several things said of Melchizedec, which must ever render it difficult to explain, so as to come at a perfect knowledge of him. He is said, in the first mention of his name, to be a priest of the Most High God, Genesis 14:18; and this was said at a time when the church had not been formed into a regular church, as it was afterwards in the wilderness, and, as far as the word of God teacheth, had neither temple, nor altar, nor sacrifice. Perhaps the bread and wine Melchizedec brought forth, as said in this Scripture, at the first meeting of Abraham, might not be given to the patriarch for the refreshment of the body, but sacramental—perhaps so, but by no means certain. The Holy Ghost, by his servant the apostle Paul, in his account of Melchizedec, # Hebrews 7:l| etc. saith, that he was king of righteousness. His name indeed saith as much, as hath been before noticed; and from the same authority we learn, that he was "without father without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." Had the apostle stopped here in his relation of Melchizedec, we should at once have concluded, that it was Christ himself; for we well know, that the Lord frequently made some sweet personal manifestations of himself, in the Old Testament days, long before his incarnation. His goings forth, we are told by the prophet, "have been from of old from everlasting, (Micah 5:2) that is, goings forth, not JEHOVAH one with the Father, for in this sense the expression, I humbly conceive, would not have been correct; for in the essence of the GODHEAD there can be neither goings forth, nor withdrawings, consistent with that perfection of the divine nature, his immensity. But the account we have in Scripture of the Lord's appearing, in a visible from, sometimes as an angel, and sometimes as a man, must have been in the character of Mediator; as if to tell the church of the love he bore to his church, and these many manifestations were intended as so many proofs how much he longed for the time to come, when he would openly tabernacle with his people in the substance of our flesh.

Had the apostle therefore, when giving this account of Melchizedec, in describing the eternity of his nature, and the everlasting nature of his priesthood, stopped at this, we should have concluded that Melchizedec was Christ; but when the apostle proceeds farther to say, that Melchizedec is made like unto the Son of God, we pause over this conclusion, and know not how to pronounce sameness from what is said only to be a likeness.

But as the Holy Ghost hath left the subject in some obscurity, there it becomes us to leave it also, and undetermined. In reading what is said of Melchizedec, we are unavoidably led to contemplate what is revealed of the Lord Jesus; and if we are told of the one, that he was "without father, without mother, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; we cannot overlook the other, concerning whom the prophet demands, "Who shall declare his generation?" (Isaiah 53:8) No one that reads of the fatherless and motherless Melchizedec, can fail to recollect him that, like "the stone cut without hands, which became a mountain, and filled the earth," (Daniel 2:34-35) was, as man, without a father, and as God, without a mother, and "a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec." (Psalms 110:4) Here then, if we desire not to be wise above what is written, we shall rest satisfied, blessing the Holy Ghost for what he hath revealed, rather than coveting to know what he hath not revealed. Jesus is our High Priest, and a priest upon his throne; (Zechariah 6:13) this is our assurance. Here then we may always hail our great Melchizedec!

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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Melchizedec'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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