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Chapter 1

By David Holland

The mystery of Melchizedek, and who he was, is a pivotal part of unravelling the underlying power of the Word of God in the scriptures and the basis for believing them.

Through the early chapters of this book we will be establishing the credentials and characteristics of Melchizedek and the Melchizedek priesthood.

We will be pulling together as much as we can glean from the Biblical texts about whom he met and try to fill in some of the background of the times from Adam through to Abraham that is related to the personage of Melchizedek.

This will involve moving about the historic time line and referring to relevant places and persons, so it may be helpful to reference the maps, chart and tables in the back of the book throughout these chapters.

In those days names were basically a description of whom a person was, or a prophetic word on whom he/she will become.

A good example of this was how God himself renamed Abram to Abraham as father of many nations. (Genesis 17:5)

The word Melchizedek is a name referring to a King in the old Biblical testament, which is derived from two Hebrew meanings.

If we look at the second part of the meaning of the name first, it is spoken like “tseh-dek” which points to a meaning of ‘right’ or perhaps ‘just’ and ‘righteous’. It also has a meaning of prosperous.

Could this mean that this Melchizedek was a righteous man? Was he the rightful or legal ruler of a kingdom called Salem? Since Salem (Shalem) means peaceable, just, perfect, quiet and whole in the Hebrew, and some of these meanings fit the name of Melchizedek well, then the name Melchizedek could nicely align to the identity of Jesus.

Or is there more to be told about how He has the right to rule?

The first part of the word of Melchizedek, pronounced similar to “meh-lek” means a king, or royal. This means that Melchizedek was of a royal lineage.

We first hear about this King when he meets Abram after Abram defeated King Chedorlaomer in Genesis 14:17.

This is an interesting meeting that took place in the Valley of Shaveh or the Kings Valley, which seems to have been in the presence of the King of Sodom. It is more than likely that the King of Sodom knew the King of Salem, who was most likely considered the Great King of the region.

Sodom was located at the southern end of the Dead Sea within the valley of Siddim. This valley was described in Genesis 13 as well watered and as the garden of the Lord. It was likened to the fertile delta of the Nile in Egypt. It must have been a very beautiful and prosperous area and at the time Lot chose this area to settle, it was producing good agricultural produce.

In contrast, it is likely that Melchizedek ruled an area around Jerusalem on the mountains on the west of the Jordan River valley. At the time Abram lived around Hebron, north-west of Sodom. This place was called Mamre. Gen.13:18.

The story is told in Genesis chapter 14. Many of the kings living around the region of Sodom were in service to another greater King. The King Chedorlaomer, whose kingdom lies on the lower parts of the Euphrates River near the Persian Gulf. He had many kings in servitude to him, probably because of the considerable wealth of the region of the Fertile Crescent near cities like Ur. These kingdoms included kingdoms up and down the Jordan River valley and kingdoms as far as the wilderness to the south of the land of Canaan. Gen. 14:5-7

Because these western kings stopped paying tribute to the great king after twelve years, he gathered up an army, which included three kings probably in covenant to him, and started northwest up the Euphrates River valley and then south along the King’s Highway on the western side of the Jordan River in the fourteenth year. He plundered towns and cities along the Rift Valley and went to the south of the Dead Sea not tangling with the King of Sodom and the other kingdoms located in the Siddim Valley.

The Siddim Valley is now located within the boundary of the waters of the Dead Sea. The extreme change to this landscape from a fertile valley to a flooded valley that became the Dead Sea, where nothing could live, would have happened in the great volcanic upheaval described in Genesis when Lot was leaving the city of Sodom after God had warned him of the impending disaster.

Genesis 19: 24

“Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of the Heavens.”

Most likely this fire was from volcanic action somewhere in the Siddim Valley.

Genesis 19:28

“Then he (Abram) looked towards Sodom and Gomorrah, and towards all the land of the plain; and he saw, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace”

Clearly, as Abraham looked down towards the plain of Siddim, he saw great tumultuous volcanic and seismic upheavals. This upheaval must have allowed the valley floor to drop and allow the waters of the Dead Sea to flow in, thus destroying the fertile oasis of Sodom.

However, at the time of the king of Sodom rebelling against the great King of the East, King Chedorlaomer, before the destruction of Sodom, King Chedorlaomer continued to overcome cities around Sodom. This included cities as far west as those around Mount Sier where the Horites lived, which is the place where the Edomites later lived. (These were the decendants of Esau, who was the brother of Jacob.)

Then he started his return and took Kadesh to the south on the edge of the wilderness, and then travelled north to the kingdoms of the southern end of the Dead Sea.

It is likely that the kind of relationship these kings had with King Chedorlaomer was not a covenant relationship, but more like a trade relationship and a protection treaty. If it were a true covenant these kings lives would have been forfeit to the Great King.

The five kings of the Siddim Valley had moved out of their cities and gathered to wait for this great king and his armies, who included the king of Sodom. However, they too succumbed to the might of King Chedorlaomer, possibly because their army became entangled in the dangerous asphalt pits in the region and were not able to fully engage King Chedorlaomer’s army.

Gen. 14:10-11

“And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.”

When this verse says that the king of Sodom fell there, it could not mean that he was slain, because clearly he was having a conversation several verses later with Abram. (Gen.14:21) So it must mean that he was caught in the oil slime when attacking. As a result, King Chedorlaomer walked into the undefended cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and carted off the people and their wealth.

Unfortunately for King Chedorlaomer, in the process of taking the spoils from the city of Sodom, he carted off the nephew of Abram, a man now blessed by God.

Genesis 12:3

“And I will bless them that bless you and curse him that curse you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

It is likely that the King of Elam then went north on the eastern banks of the Dead Sea along the king’s highway, an ancient trade route, making his way back to the land of Elam. The land of Elam is on the northern most part of the Persian Gulf of today.

As he was attempting to go back the way he had come via the Fertile Crescent, or Mesopotamia, Abram gathered 318 trained men of his household at Hebron. Abram after travelling through the area of Sodom, chased after King Chedorlaomer and the king of Shinar plus two other kings moving victoriously towards their homes in the east. With all their booty of the conquests plus their own wealth, Abram and his 318 men caught up with them at a town called Dan not far from Damascus and engaged in battle with them.

After Abram’s victory, and as he was coming back towards Sodom bringing back Lot and the people of Sodom to the King of Sodom, it is recorded that this King of Sodom went out to meet him in the Kings Valley. (Gen. 14:21).

This would mean that the meeting place of the kings was in the Jordan Valley, a wide valley described as a ‘dale’ in the King James Version of the Bible, and as a wide valley described in Strong’s Hebrew dictionary. This meeting place was probably north-east of Jericho, on the eastern banks of the Jordan River.

It is highly likely that Melchizedek saw all of the activity up and down the valley from his mountain vantage, and may have seen or heard evidence of Abram’s rout of the King of Elam and his men.

Melchizedek, seeing the favour of the Lord on Abram, went down to meet him. Melchizedek, “King of Salem”“Priest of the Most High God” realised that this man Abram was a man favoured by God and was the man that he had been waiting for.

Genesis 14:18

“And Melchizedek, king of Salem (Jerusalem) brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of the Most High God.”

When the King of Sodom met Abram in the King’s Valley, it is likely that the King of Sodom treated him as a king with great favour with God.

At this point Melchizedek, a Great King, meets Abram and formalises Abram’s kingship, makes covenant with him and blesses him. It is evident that Melchizedek was wishing to make covenant with Abram because he had with him the bread and the wine which were the Christian symbols use for covenant making by Jesus. (Matt. 26:26-28)

These symbols were used by Jesus when making covenant with his disciples, then representing the Church. Jesus was making covenant as a Melchizedek priest, similar to the way the first Melchizedek broke bread with Abram.

Once a covenant was exchanged with Abram, Abram was obliged to share his booty with Melchizedek, as Melchizedek was obliged to share his anointing and righteousness with Abram.

Gen. 14:20

“And he (Abram) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all”

These riches were such a small part of Abram’s substance to give the great king compared with what Abram received in return.

Abram was already of the royal line, but now he had acquired the righteousness of God not by decree of God like Jesus, but by covenant through Melchizedek. Isaiah 42:1-7, Matthew 3:15-17

Now Abram was in a different league because of his righteousness, and had the ability to believe God at His Word. God recognised this and because Abram believed, God gave power to Abram’s belief so it could become manifest.

Gen. 15:6

“And he (Abram) believed in the Lord; and he (God) counted (accredited) it to him (Abram) for (Abram’s) righteousness.”

Melchizedek now continues to expound what Abram has gained through covenant with him.

Genesis 14:19.

“And he blessed him, and said, blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth.”

In this verse Melchizedek proclaims that Abram be “the blessed” by the Most High God, and then proclaims “possessor of heaven and earth”.

This proclamation should be read as a proclamation towards Abram, because the next thing Melchizedek proclaims is; “blessed be Most God High”.

Genesis 14:20

“And blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Abram, who was already blessed by God, had also become the possessor of heaven and earth, as well as righteous by covenant. (Genesis 12:2-3)

However, the Bible says that Melchizedek was the greater, even over Abram, because Abram gave tithe to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4), (who was soon to be called Abraham; father of a multitude because he was righteous and believed God) and now proclaimed possessor of heaven and earth by Melchizedek Himself.

So let’s recap. Melchizedek is the rightful ruler of Salem, he is the Priest of God, greater than Abraham and therefore possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed by the Most High God and his name means righteous and of royal descent.

Now comes the interesting part. In Psalms 110:4 the Bible foretells the existence of the Messiah and describes Jesus the Christ, the Living Son of the Living God as “a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”.

The book of Hebrews confirms this through chapters five, six and seven. Referring to Jesus, God said; “you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”.

So we see the similarity of Jesus to Melchizedek, who had been proclaimed King of Kings.

But is Jesus indeed Melchizedek?

Let’s look at this one logically.

If Jesus were Melchizedek, then why would God proclaim him “a priest forever” after His death and resurrection? And if he is proclaimed to be priest after the order of this ancient King/Priest, then surely Jesus is not this King Melchizedek.

If Jesus is not the ancient King of Salem, but is one who will follow after this order, then who was this King, intimately known by many of the ancient kings of His time and in particular the King of Sodom who rules over a city of unruly men, “sinners against the Lord.” (Genesis 13:13)

If we rule out Jesus as the mystical Melchizedek, then who was He?

 

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