Brethren Archive

Melchisedek: A Type of Christ.

by B.W. Newton

Melchisedek was in himself nothing.  He was a mere man; but he was a typical man, appointed to foreshadow the eternal Son of God.  In Genesis, we, for the most part, find the parentage and descent of the personages spoken of carefully recorded.  But Melchisedek is an exception to this rule.  The book of Genesis makes no mention of his birth, or parentage, or descent.  He is, says the Apostle, "ungenealogised."  Without recorded parentage, with nothing recorded respecting those who had preceded or those who should succeed him; he appears suddenly like an unknown stranger on the scene.  It is this silence as to his parentage and descendants that constitutes him typically (not actually) an eternal person, "having neither beginning of days nor end of life," but made to resemble the Eternal Son of God, as abiding a Priest in perpetuity. Melchisedek, therefore, as a typically eternal Person, foreshadowed Him, who being a truly Eternal Person, brings the eternity and all the excellency of that which He personally is, into the offices which He assumes.  In human arrangements, high office gives dignity to the person, but in the case of Immanuel, it is the Person who brings potency and adds dignity to the office. Kingship, too, was associated with the priesthood of Melchisedek.  As a priest, he was typically one who knew God, having acquaintance with His mind, His purposes and His truth; as a king, he was one endowed with power to give effect to that which as a priest he knew.  It is meet that one who has all knowledge of God should be invested with all power to act and to rule for God, and such an one typically (but only typically) was Melchisedek.  He was king of righteousness and peace.  King of righteousness was not his title but his name.  Anti-typically, it directs to the Person of Him who having, by His service for us on earth, secured for us a standing in everlasting righteousness before God, still maintains and gives effect to the principles of God's holiness, taking care that none of those principles should be tarnished, and yet protecting us, and securing to us everlasting peace.  Accordingly, Melchisedek, the king of righteousness, ruled in and from Salem, the city of peace.  Thence, in the power of righteousness and of peace, as one typically eternal and typically divine, he came forth, the priest of the Most High God, to bless Abraham, saying, "Blessed be Abraham of the Most High God, possessor of Heaven and earth.''  And after having thus blessed Abraham, he ministered to him "bread," the symbol of that which giveth strength, and wine, the symbol of that which giveth joy, and Abraham on his part, recognized the giver of these blessings as typically divine, for he gave him tithes of all.
The meeting of Melchisedek with Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings, points typically onward to a bright and blessed moment in the hitherto dark history of the earth, when Israel, suddenly forgiven and suddenly made triumphant over their enemies, shall stand like Abraham in his day, heirs of the promises, and chosen of God, to serve and glorify Him in the earth.
But whilst the Melchisedek Priesthood of our Lord, throws its chief and brightest light upon the future, we must not forget the wondrous blessing of being placed under its ministration now.  We are pilgrims and strangers in the earth: weak and needy; surrounded by many enemies and by many dangers; needing, therefore, every moment, the constant ministration of grace; needing, that the abiding relation of the Lord should be that of one who ministereth to us from time to time bread and wine (that which strengtheneth and that which cheereth), and so, holding our souls in life.  And such is the relation in which God, through Christ, stands to all His believing people.
Every day He reneweth, in some degree or other, our spiritual strength; every day He ministereth something of comfort, or something that is for healthfulness to the new man.  Not more sure, His bestowal of the air that we breathe, or the light that we behold.  And when our natural health and strength shall fail, and when mere nature shall be sustained no longer, then it is that we shall chiefly prove the power of this Melchisedek ministration, and find in the new and to us, strange world of glory, that He is as able to minister a strength and a power of life suited to Heaven, as He is to minister that which is now needed in the circumstances of earth.  Then it is that we shall, with understanding hearts, say, "of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things." 
"Perilous Times" Nov. 1906



Add Comment: