In Genesis 14 we are introduced to Melchizedek following Abraham’s victory against the five kings. Melchizedek is introduced as the king of Salem and priest of God the most high. There is much significance to Melchizedek’s name and his title. The name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness,” and he is introduced as the king of Salem, which means “peace.” He is also priest of God the most high. Put together, this one is presented to us as the king of righteousness, the king of peace and a priest of God—a royal priest. Interestingly, the Word does not mention a lineage with Melchizedek—neither forefathers nor progeny—thus, according to Hebrews chapter 7, he is without beginning or end.
The significance of Melchizedek is glorious! He is a type of Christ, portraying both what He has done and what He is doing. Isaiah 32:1 speaks of the Lord as the King of righteousness, and Isaiah 9:6 describes Him as the Prince of Peace. As the King of righteousness, Christ has reconciled us to God and has appeased God toward us. Isaiah 32:17 shows that righteousness issues in peace: “And the work of righteousness will be peace, / And the result of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” Through His righteousness, Christ has brought us peace with God. Ephesians 2:14-15 says that Christ Himself is our peace and that through His death He made peace between all believers (v. 15, note 9). Furthermore, Colossians 1:20 shows that through Christ’s righteous blood, all things in the heavens and on the earth have been reconciled to God, making peace in the universe. This marvelous truth may be beyond our comprehension; nevertheless, we praise our glorious Christ—it is an accomplished fact!
Many Christians may have experienced Christ as their Melchizedek without even knowing it. Life Study of Hebrews points out:
With Melchizedek there was both righteousness and peace. Based upon this righteousness and peace, he ministered the bread and wine to Abraham…Our basis…for coming to the Lord’s table is [neither] pity [nor] mercy…It is righteousness and peace. According to Romans 3, 4, and 5, righteousness has been reckoned to us, and we have been justified. As a result, we enjoy peace. Romans 3 and 4 give us righteousness and justification, and Romans 5 gives us peace under righteousness. Based upon this righteousness and peace, we may enjoy the bread and the wine at the Lord’s table. The One who brought in righteousness and peace is the One who ministers the bread and wine to us. He is our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (pp. 307-308 or Ch.28 Online Section 2)
Hebrews 7 presents Christ as our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Christ our High Priest cares for us in our situation by interceding for us. Every morning Christ prays for us that we may rise up to fight the enemies we encounter in our daily walk. He prays that we would take up the sword of the Spirit and slay the enemies of the self, the natural mind, the unruly emotion, the contrary will, and the many other enemies that try to prevent us from enjoying the good land in our spirit. While we are slaughtering the enemies during the day, Christ is interceding for us. In the evening, when the slaughtering is done, Christ comes to us to minister the bread and wine, which is simply His ministering the processed Triune God to us for our enjoyment and satisfaction.
Christ, the real Melchizedek, this King-Priest, does not function in this capacity only for our individual walk but moreover for the carrying out of His economy. Through Christ imparting His life and nature into us and transmitting all of His attainments to the church, we become His continuation and enlargement. Revelation 1:6 and 5:10 say that Christ made us a kingdom of priests, and 1 Peter 2:9 calls us a royal priesthood. The matter of kingship and the priesthood is perhaps expounded most in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah—the books of recovery of God’s people and the rebuilding of His temple. The footnotes in Ezra 5:1 point out that for God’s building and rebuilding work, the ministries of both the kingship and priesthood are needed and that the function of these two ministries is strengthened by the function of the prophets. However, in God’s economy the priesthood and the kingship will remain forever, whereas after the age of grace, the prophethood will no longer be needed.
It is critical for us to realize that in these days the Lord desires a royal priesthood to complete the building of God’s dwelling place on earth. He expects us to reign in life by the abundance of grace. This means that we must not be paralyzed or delayed by our situations, but rather by the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness we have received, we are able to reign over sin, death, the old man, the flesh, Satan, the world and all persons, matters or things that do not submit to God (Romans 16:27, note 1). Too often we excuse ourselves from responding to God’s call to build according to the vision He has given us. Too often we tell ourselves we will function when the environment is more suitable. We must claim our status as royal priests to reign over any frustration so that we may function as priests of God. As priests, we should bring God to man and bring men to God. As the priesthood, we should function in fellowship and coordination with our fellow priests for the building of God’s dwelling place on earth. May the Lord fully gain the royal priesthood He desires from among our generation!