Some Thoughts on Melchizedek ~ Part 1
In the book of Hebrews we read that Jesus was made “a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. Hebrews 6: 20
Chapter 7 in Hebrews expounds a little more on Melchizedek and tells us that this king, who was a most high priest, met Abraham.
“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;” Hebrews 7:1
There is a lot of controversy as to who Melchizedek was, and these are some of my thoughts about it after studying the subject.
First of all, Melchi means King and Zedek means righteousness, so Melchizedek means king of righteousness. I tend to think this is a title rather than a name.
If you’d like to follow my thought process and see what you think, go with me back to the Old Testament, back to Genesis, and let’s see what we find there.
Melchizedek is mentioned twice in the Old Testament …
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. ” Genesis 14: 18 -20
“The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4
Going back a little further…Noah was 600 years old when “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the floodgates of heaven were open“. His sons Shem, Ham and Japheth survived the flood with their father Noah on the Ark.
“These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread“. Genesis 9:19
Noah lived for 350 years after the flood. Shem was 100 years old when he begat Arphaxad which was 2 years after the flood. So Shem was 98 years old during the flood. He lived 500 more years after this, which gives him a total life span of 600 years. He was 448 years old when his father Noah died.
Noah’s Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward Hicks, 1846 Philadelphia Museum of Art
Bare with me here. I’m doing some calculations to show some evidence of who Melchizedek may have been. Before Moses the office of priesthood was held by the fathers…
I figured out how old each of Noah’s offspring were when he died…I had never thought about it before but in the 350 years that Noah lived after the flood many children were born and he lived to see this.
Shem’s son Arphaxad was 348 years old when Noah died.
Arphaxad’s son Salah was 313 years old when Noah died.
Salah’s son Eber was 283 years old when Noah died.
Eber’s son Peleg died 10 years before Noah’s death.
Peleg’s son Reu was 219 years old when Noah died.
Reu’s son Serug was 189 years old when Noah died.
Serug’s son Nahor died 11 years before Noah died.
Nahor’s son Terah was 130 years old when Noah died.
And Abram was 60 years old when Noah died.
Wow! I never really realized that Abram could have known Noah!
This is all recorded in Genesis 11. It takes a little math to figure it all out, and I may not have the numbers all correct, but here is a chart that visually portrays this scenario.
Chart from World Wide Flood
So we see here that Noah may have known his grandchildren to the 10th generation.
Abraham most likely would have known his great great great great great grandfather Shem and Eber who was the father of the Hebrews. Both Shem and Eber were still alive when Abraham returned from the slaughter of the kings mentioned in Genesis and Hebrews.
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1
The Book of Jasher is mentioned twice in the Old Testament…and because it is mentioned twice there must be some importance to it.
“And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” Joshua 10:13
“Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.” 2 Samuel 1:18
In the 9th chapter of the Book of Jasher, it mentions that Abram went to live in Noah’s house and was instructed by Noah and Shem in the ways of the Lord.
“And when Abram came out from the cave, he went to Noah and his son Shem, and he remained with them to learn the instruction of the Lord and his ways, and no man knew where Abram was, and Abram served Noah and Shem his son for a long time. And Abram was in Noah’s house thirty-nine years, and Abram knew the Lord from three years old, and he went in the ways of the Lord until the day of his death, as Noah and his son Shem had taught him;” ~ Book of Jasher
In the 16th chapter of the Book of Jasher there is an account of Abraham meeting Melchizedek or Adoni-zedek. Adoni means Lord or Master…
“And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people, with bread and wine, and they remained together in the valley of Melech. And Adonizedek blessed Abram, and Abram gave him a tenth from all that he had brought from the spoil of his enemies, for Adonizedek was a priest before God.” ~ Book of Jasher
Comparing the Biblical account in Genesis… “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth;and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.” Genesis 14: 18 – 20
In pre-Mosaic times priestly duties were performed by the father or patriarchal head of the family or tribe…
In patriarchal times the office was held and its duties were discharged by those who occupied some sort of headship, and particularly by the father or the chief of the family and of the tribe. Thus, Noah in his capacity of priest and in behalf of his household ” builded an altar unto Yahweh, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar” (Genesis 22:13). Abraham offered the ram “for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son” . In like manner Job offered burnt offerings for his children, and likewise by divine direction for the three “comforters” when the great trial had passed. (Job 1:5) In these and the like instances there was priestly action no less certainly than in that of Aaron or of any regularly appointed priest in Israel. Melchizedek was “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). Isaac “builded an altar there and called upon the name of Yahweh” (Genesis 26:25), as did Jacob (Genesis 33:20). In these cases priestly acts were performed by the patriarchs in their capacity as fathers of the family or heads of clans. From the beginning, priesthood with its acts of expiation and of worship was thus recognized as a divinely-instituted office. ~ Net Bible
As you can see from the chart above Noah carried the priesthood through the flood and it would have been passed on to Shem, then Eber and then the next one who was alive when Eber died would have been Abraham. Melchizedek or Adonizedek seems to be a title of an order of priests who, unlike the Levites, were also kings. Jesus came through the line of Judah, not the line of Levi. Jesus certainly is the High Priest and King of Kings and is descended from the line of Noah through Shem, Eber (the father of the Hebrews) and Abraham who was accounted as righteous.
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3
So, would Shem have been Melchizedek, the king of righteousness who blessed Abraham?
Well, this is a lot to think about. Are you still with me? I have some more thoughts before I conclude in Part 2. What are your thoughts?