The King of Salem
By G.T. Haywood
When Abraham left his father’s house and started forth unto a land that he was afterwards to receive for an inheritance, little did he realize the many experiences that he was to pass through during his journey to the land of promise. neither did he know of all the ways in which God Almighty had intended to lead him, for it is written, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Heb. 11:8. It was this thing that pleased God.
Upon his arrival in Canaan he builded an altar and there he called upon the name of the Lord. From thence he went down into Egypt because “the famine was grievous in the land,” and there he encountered a great difficulty through fear of his wife being taken from him, but God delivered him from the land of Egypt, and he came forth very rich.
The strife between his herdsman and those or Lot came unexpectedly upon him. The dispute was no little matter to settle. Somebody must give in.
Abraham was master. The great man humbled himself and took the lowest place, saying, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren.” Lot chose the better part, while Abraham submitted himself to the lesser part with a silent, but contented amen. Submission is a stepping stone to advancement. Humility is the path to honor and exaltation. The lesser is blessed by the better.
A blessing awaited Abraham. This was God’s way to bring it about. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. In order that He might bless Abrahm, God stirred up four kings against the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Ziboiim and Zoar, and overcame them, taking Lot and all his goods among the captives of Sodom. And when Abraham heard of it he armed his trained servants and went forth in the name of God Almighty, smote the enemy and brought back all the goods, and his brother Lot, his goods, the women and all the people.
On his return from the slaughter of the kings, Abraham is met first by the king of Sodom, who comes for the purpose of offering him worldly possessions, but Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High
God, in the meantime, intervenes and brings forth bread and wine, and blessed him with a blessing that far exceeded the blessings of any earthly king. And to him Abraham gave a tenth of all that he possessed. So great was that blessing that Abraham spurned the offers Bera and kept his vow which he had made to the Most High God. Gen. 14:17-24.
How great this man must have been! Greater than Enoch! Greater than Noah! Greater than Shem!!! How great this man (if it be lawful to call him a man) must have been, to whom the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. Greater even than Abraham, to the extent that he blessed him that had the promises. And without contradiction the less is blessed by the better. Heb. 7:1, etc. Was he of the descent of the sons of men? That has long been the question that has confronted the students of divinity in almost every age.
By some he is said to be the king of an earthly city called Salem, a city of the Jebusites, but this is merely supposition, and most of the Biblical students consider it as such, ending their statement with (?) question mark. There are others who have ventured to claim this Melchizedek to have been Shem, but this could not be true and yet be in harmony with Scriptures. Shem had both father and mother; beginning of life and ending of days. Gen. 5:32; 11:10, 11. Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” Heb. 7:3. This cannot be said of Shem.
There are many that reckon him with the ancient Egyptian record of “hykos” or “shepherd king,” who was supposed to have invaded Egypt and built the great Pyramid, and then departed as peaceably as they came. To one who has studied the structure of this great “stone witness” in the land of Egypt, that in a measure might be true, but who was this “shepherd king,” is the question that is before us. In the construction of this pyramid is revealed some most astonishing facts. (See “A Miracle In Stone,” by J. A. Seiss.) In its descending and ascending passages, its grand gallery, anti-chamber, king’s chamber, queen’s chamber, etc., is portrayed a most wonderful plan of the ages, and who could know such things at so early an age but God. No mortal could have known it. But let us return to the word of God for our proof and conclusion.
Melchizedek was, or rather, is a priest of God and “abideth a priest, continually.” His priesthood is an everlasting priesthood, and even today “it is witnessed that he liveth.” A high priest is a mediator between God and man. And since Melchizedek has an endless priesthood, and yet liveth, who, then, is “this that cometh up from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” Who is this that now cometh forth after the order of Melchizedek, made not after the law of carnal commandments, but the power of an endless life?”
That this is Christ Jesus every one must admit. The word declares that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men. I Tim. 2:5. And no man can come to God but by Him. John 14:6. From this it is impossible for us to have two Mediators. If Melchizedek abideth a priest continually, and Christ being come an high priest continually, then it is evident that Christ and Melchizedek are one, for there is but “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
The apostle tells us that he had “many things to say, and hard to be uttered” concerning Melchizedek, seeing that the saints were dull of hearing. Heb. 5:10,11. From this we see that the depth of the personage of Melchizedek was withheld, because the people were not ready to receive them. In chapter 7 he ventured to give a little further account of him by comparing him with Abraham, and giving the interpretation of his name. Here he declares him to be King of righteousness (note capital K), after that King of Salem, which is King of peace. Who is the King of righteousness save our Lord Jesus Christ? Jerk 23:5,6; Zech. 14:9; I Cor. 1:30. Who is the King of Peace, but Christ Jesus our Lord? Judges 6:24; Isa. 9:6,7; Lu. 2:14; Eph. 2:14, 17.
To eliminate the thoughts of Melchizedek being of human lineage, he further states “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” What could be clearer? And finally he openly declares, and yet treading softly, “made like unto the Son of God.”
That Christ and Melchizedek are one may also be seen through the words of Jesus himself: “Your father Abraham rejoice to see my day: and he saw it and was glad.” And when the Jews said, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” Jesus answers, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.” When did Abraham see his day and was made glad, or blessed, was it not when Melchizedek met him?
Moreover, as Melchizedek administers Bread and wine to Abraham (the first communion service) evenso does Christ administer Bread and Wine to the new generation of the seed of Abraham. From the fact that Melchizedek still lives and abides a priest of God, and that Christ still lives and abides a priest forever, it is my honest conviction that Melchizedek was Christ before His incarnation, but since his incarnation he has become a High Priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, having been tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. It became him to become liken unto us that he might be a faithful High Priest that He might have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way; for that He himself also is compassed with infirmities. He knoweth our feeble frame and remembers that we are but dust. There is no weakness, no sin, no failure so great but that our merciful high priest can reach our case.
The blessings that Melchizedek bestowed upon Abraham are bestowed upon us, the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:26-28), through Christ Jesus. It was after that Melchizedek had given Abraham the bread and wine that he blessed him, so Christ, after he had prepared the bread and wine (His body and blood), that he led the disciples out as far as Bethany and blessed them. See Mat. 26:26-28; Lu. 24:50. It was through His broken body and His shed blood on Calvary that made peace between God and man. Christ is the King of Salem! Christ is the King of PEACE!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY APOSTOLIC BOOK PUBLISHERS, PORTLAND, OR, 1968, PAGES 37-43. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.