Chapter 46 Melchizedek's Blessing

Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God (Genesis 14:18).

Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 5:6).

This is a marvelous, wondrous scene. Abraham is moving toward home after a great victory and is laden with spoil. Suddenly, a strange person meets him in the way. He is both a priest and a king. But his lineage none can tell. His descent is hid from our eyes so that it can be said of him, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3).

Thus he is made a special type of our Lord, who is, by eternal generation, the coequal Son of the coequal Father-God of God, and very God of very God. That is too deep for finite minds. We would have to have God’s mind to understand God’s essence, and to have His infinitude to understand His nature. From eternity past to eternity to come, our Lord’s being is never other than the eternal Son of God.

King of Righteousness

In being king of righteousness, Melchizedek is but a type, for none can claim that title but the Son of God. Since Adam fell, this earth has seen no righteous man apart from the Lord Jesus. So we learn that, first of all, the Lord’s kingdom is one of righteousness (Romans 4:17). His throne is pure white in righteousness. Every statute, decree, ordinance, commandment, precept, reward, and penalty, is altogether righteous.

King of Peace

Melchizedek’s city was Salem, meaning “peace.” There may have been wars and quarrels outside, but within the gates of Salem all was peace and quietness. Here again Melchizedek stands as a type of the Lord Jesus, whose kingdom is a realm of peace.

Those who belong to that kingdom have surrendered their arms of rebellion. There is no more enmity. Our Lord has changed the heart of stone into a warm heart of filial love. The delight of His subjects is to walk by His side, to listen to His voice, to sing His praise. There is no peace save in Jesus’ kingdom of Salem.

Priest of the Most High God

So Melchizedek was consecrated to stand before God and thus to exhibit Christ in His function as Priest of His people. Christ is our Altar, for only He could bear the load of human transgression. He is also our Sacrifice upon the altar, and in this office He is the Lamb of God to make a full and sufficient sacrifice for sins.

But He is also our Priest, who can draw nigh to God on our behalf and offer His own blood within the veil. Having obtained eternal redemption, He has entered the holiest of all with His own blood; in doing so, He has abolished all our need for other priests, other sacrifices, other altars here on earth. His work below is finished.

He, however, lives as our High Priest above forever, and there He sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high. The voice of His intercession prevails. We are blessed because of His prayers. Our offerings of worship, adoration, prayer, praise, thanksgiving, and service, are all perfumed with His adorable merits. All are made worthy in His worthiness.

Food for the Believer

“Melchizedek… brought forth bread and wine.” At this time, Abraham was returning from battle and was faint and weary. But Melchizedek met him, and the anointed priest refreshed Abraham with bread and wine. Here again we see Jesus in figure—our great High Priest on high making provision to renew our wasted strength, to lift up our drooping spirits, to revive our fainting hearts. What can this point to but the memorial feast which was left us by the Lord Jesus, and which is His provision for His people’s needs.

The fight of faith is fierce. The journey of life is sometimes long and very arduous. But the Lord has opened His banqueting house along the way and spread His feast. There is no greater refreshment for the saints of God than to come to this feast and feed upon the bread and wine. These are but tokens of what He is in Himself, a spiritual feast and food abundant, His own body given, His own blood shed. Jesus is the true Melchizedek and comes forth to meet us in life’s way. While we sit at His banqueting table and regale our souls by feasting upon Him, we hear Him say what I believe was said to Abraham: “Blessed be thou of the most high God.”

In gratitude for this bounty, the patriarch of old, Abraham, made an offering of the tenth part of all to Melchizedek. When we come to the Lord’s remembrance feast, the bread is a whole loaf, the cup is full, the money bag is empty. But the bread is eaten; the cup is drunk; and then, in gratitude, the bag is filled with the offerings of His people. Let us not suppose such offerings to be a compulsory obedience to law. They are, for believers, the expressions of their gratitude that, through our Lord’s redeeming love, they have come within His kingdom of righteousness and peace—bought by precious blood, drawn by melting grace, called by His constraining voice.

The atoning work is done,
The Victim’s blood is shed;
And Jesus now has gone
His people’s cause to plead:
He stands in Heaven, their great High Priest,
And bears their names upon His breast.

No temple made with hands
His place of service is;
In Heaven itself He stands,
A heavenly priesthood His:
In Him the shadows of the law
Are all fulfilled, and now withdrawn.

And though awhile He be
Hid from the eyes of men,
His people look to see,
Their great High Priest again:
In brightest glory He will come
And take His waiting people home.

Thomas Kelly