Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was a king of Salem  (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis  14:18-20; Psalm 110:4Hebrews  5:6-11; 6:20-7:28). Melchizedek’s sudden appearance and  disappearance in the book of Genesis is somewhat mysterious. Melchizedek and  Abraham first met after Abraham’s defeat of Chedorlaomer and his three allies.  Melchizedek presented bread and wine to Abraham and his weary men, demonstrating  friendship. He bestowed a blessing on Abraham in the name of El Elyon (“God Most  High”) and praised God for giving Abraham a victory in battle (Genesis  14:18-20).

Abraham presented Melchizedek with a tithe (a tenth) of  all the items he had gathered. By this act Abraham indicated that he recognized  Melchizedek as a fellow-worshiper of the one true God as well as a priest who  ranked higher spiritually than himself. Melchizedek’s existence shows that there  were people other than Abraham and his family who served the one true  God.

In Psalm 110, a messianic psalm written by David (Matthew 22:43),  Melchizedek is seen as a type of Christ. This theme is repeated in the book of  Hebrews, where both Melchizedek and Christ are considered kings of righteousness  and peace. By citing Melchizedek and his unique priesthood as a type, the writer  shows that Christ’s new priesthood is superior to the old levitical order and  the priesthood of Aaron (Hebrews  7:1-10).

Some propose that Melchizedek was actually a pre-incarnate  appearance of Jesus Christ. While possible, this view is unlikely. Melchizedek  was the king of Salem. Would Jesus Christ have come to earth and ruled as an  earthly king over a city? Melchizedek is similar to Christ in that they are both  priests and kings; therefore, Melchizedek could be called a “type” of Christ,  but they are not the same person.