The Biblical Significance of the Redemption of Melchizedek

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Rabbi Eric Tokajer

I know what I am writing today is controversial, and I want each reader to know that after you read this complete article, you still may not agree with me. But, I honestly hope that you will.  

The mysterious figure, Melchizedek (Malki-Tzedik in Hebrew), is mentioned in only three places in the entire Bible: in Genesis 14, in Psalms 110 and in Hebrews 7. In Judaism, Melchizedek is believed to be Shem, the son of Noah.

However, many believers in Yeshua (Jesus) believe that Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate appearance of Yeshua. 

I, however, do not believe that Melechizedek was Yeshua, rather I believe he was an actual human man who lived in the time of Abraham. There are many reasons I believe this way, however, in this article, I am going to provide only three of them. 

The first reason is that in the Bible in the places where G-D appears in human form before the birth of Yeshua, the text refers to His appearance as “a man.” For instance, the Bible says three men appeared to Abraham at Mamre. Two of those men are angels, but the one who Abraham speaks to is referred to as G-D. Another example is the “man” who wrestled with Jacob. A third example is the fourth “man” in the fire in the book of Daniel. However, in Genesis 14, this person is given the name Melechizedek. 

A second reason is that Yeshua, being G-D, is perfect, and if we read Genesis 14:18-20, we find the following:

“Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine—he was a priest of El Elyon. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be El Elyon, Who gave over your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

While these words spoken by Melchizedek sound wonderful, if you look closer, his blessings are out of order. Melchizedek blesses Abraham first, and then he blesses G-D. In Judaism, this reversal blessing priority is taught to be the end of Melchizedek’s role as a priest because he blessed the creation before he blessed the creator. 

Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but to those of us who are believers in Yeshua, this is huge and it is the reason we read about Melchizedek in Psalms and Hebrews. 

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You see, Yeshua’s purpose as Messiah was to bring redemption, not just to our souls, but to all of creation. Yeshua was the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) who redeemed fallen man, to bring restoration after the sin of Adam. Yeshua was a prophet like Moses who was unable to witness personally the completion of his prophecy and enter the Promised Land because of his sin. So, Yeshua came to redeem the prophetic (Acts 3:22). Yeshua was a king from the tribe of Judah, like David, who was unable to build the temple because of the blood on his hands. So, Yeshua came to redeem kingship and rebuild the temple. Finally, Yeshua was a high priest in the order of Melchizedek to redeem the priesthood (Heb. 7:26). 

It was to fulfill the prophetic need for a complete work of redemption that Yeshua was made high priest after the order of Melechizedek. Yeshua was both a king and a high priest, having redeemed both positions and roles. 

It is important to note that the name Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.” In Matthew 3, when we read about John immersing Yeshua, we read these words:

“Then Yeshua came from the Galilee to John, to be immersed by him in the Jordan. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be immersed by You, and You are coming to me?’ But Yeshua responded, ‘Let it happen now, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ So, John yielded to Him” (Matt. 3:13-15).

This is because, in order for Yeshua to become the High Priest, John had to relinquish the position. Notice that John wasn’t immersing Yeshua because Yeshua was joining his congregation. Nor was he immersing Yeshua as an outward sign of an inward act. No, John was immersing Yeshua to fulfill all righteousness, so Yeshua could fulfill all righteousness and become a high priest in the order of Malchizedek and, by doing so, redeem the Melchizedek priesthood. 

And as the high priest, Yeshua always blesses the Creator before blessing the creation, unlike Melchizedek. This truth about the redemption of Melchizedek is important because through Yeshua’s redemption of Adam, Melchizedek, Moses, David and so many others, we find assurance that no matter what we have done, Yeshua can redeem us also.

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Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context. Visit his website at rabbierict.com.

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