Abraham Meets Melchizedek by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Perhaps there is no biblical figure more mysterious than Melchizedek. Mentioned less than a handful of times in the Bible, Melchizedek has fascinated Bible readers for centuries. Who is he, exactly, and why is he so significant? How does he foreshadow certain aspects of Jesus’ ministry, a “typology” of Christ?
Typology refers to something being intentionally like something else. Old Testament typology refers to real historical persons, things or events that symbolize Jesus’ life and ministry. God is generally considered to be the one who set up the parallel to Jesus. In this case, it is Melchizedek who is a “type” of Christ.
Melchizedek shows up in only three places in the Bible: Genesis 14:17-20, which is the historical witness of his interaction with Abraham; Psalm 110:4, where the psalmist reveals that Jesus will be a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek; and in Hebrews Chapters 5, 6, and 7 where it gives a fuller explanation of what the historical account of Genesis and prophecy in Psalm 110:4 mean.
As you will discover, there is a reason why this priest-king Melchizedek, the Priest of God and the King of Salem, is so special. Download and read the paper here. (You can also save it once it opens if you want to read it offline.)