The “Likeness of Melchizedek”
1. Who was Melchizedek, and who was made “after his likeness”?
MELCHIZEDEK was a royal priest, and the royal priesthood was made like him. The apostle Paul teaches: “Christ did not glorify himself by becoming a high priest, but was glorified by him who spoke with reference to him: ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ Just as he says also in another place: ‘You are a priest forever after the likeness of Melchizedek.’ . . . he has been specifically called by God a high priest after the likeness of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 5:5, 6, 10, NW) What is this likeness? and what does it mean?
2. Briefly state the circumstances that bring Melchizedek into the record at Genesis 14, and what does Paul have to say about this king-priest?
2 The original record of this royal priest shows his appearance on the scene in connection with the most ancient war reported in the Scriptures. It was an invasion of the Jordan valley. A great fight resulted between the kings of those days and the people of the valley. The invaders won and took spoils and prisoners, including Lot and his family. Lot’s uncle, Abram, when informed of the capture, gathered together his trained slaves and pursued the victors, overcame them, rescuing the prisoners and returning the spoils. It was on Abram’s return from this victorious warfare that Melchizedek came forward. (See Genesis 14:1-20.) Paul in a most interesting way explains at Hebrews 7:1-3 (NW): “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him and to whom Abraham apportioned a tenth from all things, is first of all, by translation, ‘King of righteousness,’ and is then also king of Salem, that is, ‘King of peace.’ In being fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor an end of life, but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.”
3. What is Paul’s argument at Hebrews 7 concerning the “likeness of Melchizedek”?
3 Following these events “Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine, and he was priest of the Most High God. Then he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your oppressors into your hand!’” (Gen. 14:18-20, NW) Paul states: “Behold, then, how great this man was to whom Abraham, the family head, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils. . . . and [Melchizedek] blessed him who had the promises. Now without any dispute, the less is blessed by the greater. If, then, perfection were really through the Levitical priesthood, . . . what further need would there be for another priest to arise after the likeness of Melchizedek and not said to be after the likeness of Aaron? And it is still more abundantly clear that with a similarity to Melchizedek there