The Melchizedek Mystery
Melchizedek, both king of Salem, and priest of God Most High. In history there are few figures as obscure as Melchizedek, yet induce such mystery and controversy. The aura surrounding Melchizedek has caught many in its web causing the question, “Who is this man?” Unfortunately, there are no pat answers for this impenetrable question though sought after by the most intelligent of minds. With this research I found, the more interesting Melchizedek became, the more elusive the answers. Melchizedek is mentioned only eleven times in Scripture, eight times in the New Testament and three times in the Old Testament. He is referred to in only three books, Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews.
 Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was the priest of God (El Elyon) Most High.
Genesis 14: 17-24
The brief interlude of Melchizedek starts at the end of a successful rescue mission the patriarch of the Israelite nation, Abraham undertakes. In Genesis 14:1 the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela find themselves at war with the king of Elam, Cherdorlaomer. For twelve years, they pay tribute to this Persian king but in the thirteenth year, they rebelled. Cherdorlaomer gathered three allied kings and made war on the defiant kings. The event is set in the Valley of Siddim (meaning salt) located on the southern tip of the Dead Sea. The valley of Siddim was riddled with tar pits which became the hazard that defeated the Plains armies. Cherdorlaomer walked off victorious, with all the goods, the food supply and the people, including Lot and his family, a nephew of Abraham.
Consequently Abraham took 318 of his trained men, and rescued Lot, soundly defeating Cherdorlaomer. On his return Abraham is met by Melchizedek in the valley of Shaveh, the ancient name being “king's valley”, or Kidron, on the north side of Jerusalem. It is here Melchizedek blesses Abraham who in turn pays tithe to the Priest-King.
 Genesis 14:1-16
מלכּי־צדק, malki^ytsedeq, - “melchi” means my king; “zedek” means righteousness. Together you have: “king of righteousness.” King of Salem means “peace” therefore he was also king of peace. Who is Melchizedek? Three Thoughts…
l. Abd-Khiba of Urusalim
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 7, talks about Melchizedek giving additional information but also presenting some difficulties. This mystery king is said to be, 1) “without father, without mother, without genealogy”; (2) described as “having neither beginning of days nor end of life”; and “abideth a priest continually.” Where did the author get the material for this description of Melchizedek?
The answer may rest in some ancient letters that were discovered in the Tell el-Amarna Letters, circa 1450 BC. Uncovered were are at least six letters from a king And-Khiba of Urusalim to Amenophis IV, king of Egypt. Urusalim is thought to be an ancient name for Jerusalem which makes this the earliest mention of city.
Abd-Khiba writes, “Neither my father nor my mother set me in this place: the mighty arm of the king established me in my father's house.” It becomes clear that tradition identifies Melchizedek with And-Khiba as one and the same. The idea that he was “without father, without mother, without genealogy” can be explained only if the words of And-Khiba can be truly attributed to Melchizedek. And-Khiba acknowledged he did not come to the throne because of a claim through descent; he owed it to an appointment by Amenophis IV.
Psalm 110:4 speaks of the LORD as being “a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,” and this seems to involve the perpetuity of Melchizedek also as priest. Melchizedek, thought of as “having neither beginning of days” to be equal to “without father, without mother, without genealogy.” Also not having “end of life” being equal to “abideth a priest continually.” Hence, he is “made like unto the son of God,” having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
Having no actual proof that Melchizedek is Abd-Khiba; the question may not be answered as above, but it does give room for contemplation if not interesting speculation.
 Tell el-Amarna Letters, Letter 102 in Berlin collection, ll. 9-13; also number 103, ll. 25-28; number 104, ll. 13-15; International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia
ll. An Old Tradition
There is also a tradition among many of the Jews that Melchizedek was Shem, the son of Noah. It is held by many that Shem may have survived until the days of Abraham. It is abundantly clear that Melchizedek was not of the order of the High Priest Aaron as he was a priest who preceded the entire Levi line. Many are adamant the mystery of Melchizedek is solved within the genealogies of Genesis 11:10-26. Taking this information and breaking it down, the following is seen; Shem is 102 yrs old, after the birth of his first son, two years after the flood. Shem dies 500 yrs later making him 602 yrs old, leaving him 35 yrs yet to live after Abraham dies! According to this chart:
Shem lives 210 more years after Abram is born. Abraham dies 467 years after the flood. The belief is Shem lived through the nine generations which followed him, outliving all of his own sons including Abraham. Thus the strong assumption that Shem is indeed Melchizedek. In Shem, Noah’s first born son, the priestly line continues after the flood and he is given the name, Melchizedek.
Caution must be exercised when doing this kind of mathematical reasoning to find answers. Genealogies in the Word do not necessarily list all the names of any given line. Genealogies are not there for historical accuracy but to show the work of God moving ahead throughout the generations. This may be interesting but it is not reliable.
 BIBLETRUTHONLINE.COM, Who is Melchizedek?
Name of Son
Yr after Flood when son is born
Age of Shem
Total Years lived by Son
lll. Is this the Christ?
The last thought has been taken from Hebrews, comparing this statement, “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually,” with a passage in John, “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Eddie Snipes, from the Exchanged Life Outreach concludes that:
“only Christ could fulfill this description. Only He could openly claimed to have been present before Abraham. Only He can be the one without beginning of days or end of life. Only He has the power to have an endless life. Who in biblical history was greater than Abraham other than Jesus Christ?”
Therefore the assumption has formed that Melchizedek is Jesus.
 Comparison of Hebrews 7:3 with John 8:56-58.
 Snipes, Eddie, Exchanged Life Outreach, http://www.exchangedlife.com
What is sure about Melchizedek is he was the king of Salem, the ancient city of Jerusalem which later became the city of God; he was a priest of the most high God; he was greater than Abraham so in a position to bless the patriarch and receive tithes. In his peculiar history Melchizedek becomes a character of an instructive type of our LORD, the great High Priest. There are and have been endless conjectures as to the identity of Melchizedek. Questions raised as to what order he belonged to, whether he was divine, angelic, or Christ Himself. Speculations as to his nationality, family connections and so on. Theologian, Arthur W. Pink, warns:
“…as the Holy Spirit has not seen fit to give us any information on these points, we deem it irreverence to indulge in any surmises thereon.”
I agree and conclude with Deuteronomy 29:29, a helpful, practical guide when any Biblical investigation is undertaken; Moses instructs, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of the Law.”
 Pink, Arthur W., An Exposition of Hebrews, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, (2003) pg 360
More by this Author
Born- ? / 295 AD Died - May 2nd / 336 AD at 78 years old St. Athanasius, as well known as he is today in Christian circles, especially that of theologians, came from rather obscure origins. Born in a small town or...
The Holy Day of Atonement “This shall be a permanent statue for you: in the seventh month on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and do not do any work…for it is on this day...
This particular edition of the story reprinted from a first edition text published in 1876 by the American Publishing Company. All spellings and punctuation were preserved as they appeared in the original editions. This...