In God’s early strategy to develop a “holy people,” He told Moses: “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Seven hundred years later when those people rebelled, Isaiah still conveyed God’s dream when he wrote: “Ye shall be named Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God” (Isaiah 61:6). In that amazing chapter the prophet also looked forward to the time when the Messiah would come and restore everything using Jubilee language:
“The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
A God in waiting eventually sent the “Deliverer,” promising a full Jubilee restoration. Yet, at that first advent, He still longed for a loyal people who would become:
- A Kingdom of Priests
- Ministers of God
That important fulfillment must wait until later. Isaiah’s message contained a clue, however: at “the day of vengeance,” which forwarded a finale at the Second coming.
As time passed (from Isaiah’s day), God permitted His people to be subjugated and enslaved because of wickedness. Their mistaken Messianic hope assumed that He would be a conquering earthly king. They saw it only in a “worldly” context. God tried to elevate their perceptions when Jeremiah said: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (31:31). This was a new prophecy – a new type of relationship with heaven, which should be anticipated. But tradition, misinterpreting predictive messages, and false assumptions barred their spiritual understanding.
Under the system of the original covenant promises, God provided a “template” of types that did look forward to a new order in man’s redemptive recovery. Through symbols, worship liturgy and times of celebration within the Aaronic (Levitical) priesthood, Messianic prophecy was sacredly dramatized. However, that system would eventually have its end and, tragically, without their recognizing the Messiah (John 1:10)!
“The Jewish system was symbolical, and was to continue until the perfect Offering should take the place of the figurative. The Mediator, in his office and work, would greatly exceed in dignity and glory the earthly, typical priesthood.”
Christ brought to man a new spiritual system that recognized Him as the High Priest and His people as important spiritual priests unto God. Through Christ the Aaronic Priesthood was to “cease forever.” He would become a High Priest to the world and a king over a new kingdom of grace.
That orientation is foundational to this incredible Melchizedek study.
A New Order
“The Lord had made known to Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and the ancient worthies, especially Moses, that the ceremonial system of sacrifices and the priesthood, of themselves, were not sufficient to secure the salvation of one soul.” They had to see that they pointed to Christ!
At Christ’s first Advent, “God could do no more for man” through their animal sacrifices. The whole system “must be swept away.” Christ, man’s Creator, would become the sacrificial lamb, assuring the possibility of eternal life.
That would start a kingdom of grace:
- Because He became “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5 – NIV).
- Because, in a special way, all its citizens would be a new group of chosen people, called a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (I Peter 2:9).
John embellished that new citizen role:
- God “has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 1:6 – NIV).
- This elevated the saints’ role to become participants in God’s kingdom rule (as priests and even kings) (2:26; 3:21; 5:10; 20:4, 6)! 
These amazing promises are prophecies leading to when redeemed sinners will become part of God’s heavenly administration in a final “kingdom of glory.”
Faith in those promises brings us hope, just as God gave Abraham reason to look into the future. In faith he journeyed to an earthly Promised Land – but ever before him was an eternal Promised Land:
- “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…. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8, 10).
Melchizedek – a Priest–King (a Messianic kingdom symbol)
Some time passed after Abraham entered Canaan. He received word that four kings allied themselves and attacked the cities of the valley of Siddim through which the Jordan River flowed. This revolt was led by the Elamite king Chedorlaomer who had already financially subjugated those people, including Lot, for over a decade. Sodom and Gomorrah were plundered. His nephew and many inhabitants of that valley were taken captive (Genesis 14:1-8).
- In a remarkable divinely-led rescue mission (~1775–1764 B.C.), Abraham, with 318 of his “servants,” successfully retrieved Lot and returned the captives and “war” booty.
- The king of Sodom and the king of Salem (Melchizedek) met Abraham to congratulate and honor him.
Melchizedek also brought bread and wine for those troops. This man was identified not only as the king of Salem but as a “priest of the most high God” (Genesis 14:18).
- Speaking to Abraham, he said: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand” (Genesis 14:19-20a).
- The recorded story is very short. It does say that Abraham then “paid” a tithe (a tenth) of “all” to this king–priest Melchizedek.
In that tithe, Abraham, who was to become the Father of a great nation (Genesis 13:14-17), acted as a subordinate to Melchizedek, even to the future priesthood entrusted to his descendants through the sons of Levi.
The Identity of Melchizedek
Many ancient Aramaic translations of Genesis 14 identify Salem as Jerusalem and Melchizedek as Shem, son of Noah.
- This was understood by many church fathers, such as the Latin priest Jerome (342–420 A.D.), partially based on the computation of Shem’s longevity from Genesis 5 and 11.
Ephrem the Syrian (306–373 A.D.) noted in his Commentary on Genesis:
- Shem became king because of his greatness.
- He headed fourteen nations.
- In addition, he “was a priest.”
Melchizedek’s name in the Masoretic text (Hebrew) is made up of two words: melek (king) and sedeq (righteous), meaning “king of righteousness.”
- He was a type of a “God-King,” later typified in the book of Hebrews as the eternal High Priest Jesus Christ (detailed later).
- Jesus would also be known as the “Son of David” (Matthew 12:23, 15:22; Mark 12:35), yet David would call Him Lord. He was told regarding Christ: “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4).
Who was this man that Abraham met?
He was a type of Christ. In an ancient Midrash the Rabbis made these confirming observations regarding Melchizedek:
- He was Shem, the son of Noah (who died shortly before Abraham passed away).
- Salem was identified as the city that would later become Jerusalem.
Shem became an incredible link between the antediluvian world and Abraham’s time. This “king of righteousness,” God’s stunning representative, opened dramatic information:
- “Melchizedek” was a king and a priest.
- Seeing that he was Shem:
- He knew of his father’s communication with God.
- He would have known many patriarchs who communicated with Adam and Eve.
- He was a sacred link between the past and the future.
- He was a metaphor for a higher order than Abraham.
- He represents something of solemn importance, even for us today!
This king of righteousness was also a symbol for a king of a righteous people. That word for righteousness (sedeq) helps us to understand Daniel 8:14 and 9:24 when holiness will reign once again.
- When God’s people have victory over “transgression, sin and iniquity” (Daniel 9:24), then:
- Everlasting righteousness (sedeq) will come in (still in the future). “I bring near my righteousness: it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isaiah 46:13).
- But that is a divine dream still in waiting, although prophesied to occur!
This is incredible. We have been told when this occurs! Holiness will be vindicated (nisdaq – a Hebrew passive verb related to the noun sedeq) at or after 2300 Atonement years (Daniel 8:14). Shem, Melchizekek, becomes an anticipatory metaphor for future righteousness on or after that prophetic period!
In response to Abraham’s success, Melchizedek acknowledged that it came from “God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” – words reflecting the thinking of a priest.
A king–priest combination was forbidden in Israel. However, Melchizedek came before Israel was established. This reference builds on Melchizedek as a unique type of Christ. He was a sole symbol as a priest–king, just as Christ would be. That role could not be defined with a beginning or an ending. It was by “declaration.”
Christ’s Unique Insight
In His final visit to the Jerusalem temple, Christ turned to the Pharisees, referencing Psalm 110 by putting a question to them: “What think ye of Christ? whose son is He?" This question was designed to test their belief concerning the Messiah, – to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, “The Son of David.” This was the title which prophecy had given to the Messiah. When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, “Is not this the Son of David?” The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, and many others had cried to Him for help, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David.” Matthew 15:22. While riding into Jerusalem He had been hailed with the joyful shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matthew 21:9. And the little children in the temple had that day echoed the glad ascription. But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. They did not understand that the Son of David was also the Son of God.
“In reply to the statement that Christ was the Son of David, Jesus said, "How then doth David in Spirit [the Spirit of Inspiration from God] call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”
The Messianic priesthood was united to His kingship, just as it was symbolized with Melchizedek (Psalm 110). That Messiah was a Jewish hope. But they were unaware that He was the “son of David” and the “son of God” (Psalm 110:4).
Christ – a New and Wonderful Priest
A central theme in the book of Hebrews relates to the High Priest status of Christ. For Him to remove the sins of humanity, He had to be a divine-human priest. There, wonderful links to Him are referenced from Psalms:
- “The humanity of Jesus; cf. Ps. 8:5-7; Heb. 2, especially vv. 6-8;
- His faithfulness, cf. Ps. 95:7-11; Heb. 3:1-4:13, especially 3:7-11;
- Jesus as a merciful high priest, Ps. 110:4; Heb. 4:14 – 5:10, especially 5:6;
- How Jesus deals with sin, Ps. 40:6-8; Heb. 9:1-10, especially 10:5-7.”
- And, again: “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4).
The book of Hebrews is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is called a “High Priest” associated with Melchizedek. There, His priesthood is of a new “order of Melchizedek.”
- “Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ And he says in another place, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’” (Hebrews 5:5-6 – NIV).
- The designation as High Priest of the “order of Melchizedek” originated with God when He declared Him His “son.” 
Within that wonderful imagery came also the divine pronouncement that Jesus was also that Priest forever.” That became a new eternal priesthood order. Though declared in the Old Testament (Psalm 110:4) and prophesied in the Jubilee restored (Isaiah 6:1), its inauguration came after Christ’s resurrection.
- Melchizedek was a priest–king.
- Jesus became a priest–king (by God’s declaration) after that Melchizedekian order.
- Shocking as it may seem, we are called to be part of that order as God’s saints:
- “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” (Revelation 1:6; cf. Daniel 7:27).
- “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
- “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30).
This new order is so important that in Hebrews Paul chides the reader who doesn’t understand (paraphrased):
- You are dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11).
- If you continue in drinking milk, you are not skilled in understanding righteousness (5:13).
- You should be teachers by now (5:12).
- Those who can handle “strong meat” are those who are maturely using their minds, knowing truth from error (5:14).
Paul is urging God’s people, “Understand the issues about this Melchizedekian order well!” It really is the eternal order of the kingdom of glory (implied).
In ancient times God, at times, made oaths “against” divinity itself.
- “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself” (Hebrews 6:13) – the old covenant, that merged into the Aaronic priesthood, came through amazing deity oaths.
- “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:7).
- Stunningly, God declared under an oath that Christ was that eternal High Priest after the Melchizedekian order: “For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec…. (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)” (Hebrews 7:17, 21).
He is declaring/decreeing/confirming in this amazing gesture, the truth about this new order!
- The hope we have, as an anchor to the soul, is that Jesus is a High Priest within the veil (Hebrews 6:18-20).
- That is based on the new covenant law (Hebrews 7:11-28). Christ becomes our righteousness through the Spirit!
“For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (Hebrews 7:18-19).
How is this different from the past? The old order was through the tribe of Levi (which surrounded the tabernacle and was Aaronic). It relied on acts that were future metaphors of redemption. The new order is through the tribe of Judah, through whom Christ/Melchizedek came. There, the High Priest gives the kingdom subjects His righteousness. It will be an eternal kingdom of holiness!”
This is a better testament or covenant (Hebrews 7:22). How was the Mosaic system changed?
|Aaronic Priesthood||Melchisedec Priesthood|
|Theocracy – facilitated by priests
Mediated by man
Sacrifice – animals
Obedience through works
Righteousness through declaration
|Kingdom of priests – Christ, the High Priest
Mediated by Christ
Sacrifice – Christ
Obedience through Christ’s power
Righteousness in reality
- One – a theocracy – Levitical priesthood (one tribe)
- One – a priesthood kingdom – Melchizedekian order (12 tribes) – the 144,000 (Revelation 7:3-8).
- On or after the 2300 years, holiness would be vindicated (cf. Daniel 8:14, 9:24). That kingdom of glory would arrive!
- That occurs when sin is addressed by God’s people (Daniel 9:24).
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). That kingdom of grace will soon come. It will open the way for the kingdom of glory.
This opened the way to the wonders of a new promise, a new covenant.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10).
- From: To:
Laws practiced and learned Laws within us – grace
(ceremonies, appointments, sacrifices) (a life testifying of sacred citizenry)
As with Shem–Melchizedek, there is no line of priestly succession as had Aaron and the Tribe of Levi. Jesus was set apart from the theocratic statutes and laws of Israel as a direct appointee.
- The quotation of Psalm 110:4 in Hebrews 5:5-6 alludes to Paul’s Old Testament high priest Christology.
- Then, the declaration: “Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” makes Christ also a “direct appointee” (Hebrews 5:10; cf. 6:20).
Contextually, Christ assumed this priestly role after His ascension when He began His mediatorial atoning work (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; I John 2:1). His kingly role will come when He cries, “It is done”! (Revelation 16:17, 11:15).
Paul’s Summation of the Melchizedekian Order
In Hebrews 7:1-10 Paul summarizes the historical Genesis 14:17-20 account.
- An emphasis focuses on the tithe Abraham gave Melchizedek.
- That establishes the superiority of the Melchizedek appointment.
In 7:3 the phrase “without father or mother” simply means that there was no priestly line leading to that priesthood. “Without beginning or ending” reinforces that this order of priesthood is unique and appointed.
In Hebrews 7:11-19 Paul contrasts Christ’s priesthood with the Levitical order; the latter being unable to complete man’s restoration. Christ, our better hope, removes those barriers and allows coming into God’s presence. In Hebrew 7:20-28 the arguments from Psalm 110:4 are reviewed.
Melchizedekian Secrets from the Dead Sea Scrolls!
In Cave 11 of the Qumran community discoveries were fragments of a scroll called 11QMelchizedek. It is dated as likely early in the first Christian century. In that document Melchizedek is seen as an “angelic being” (symbolizing Christ). However, it was written in the first or second century before Christ.
- This angelic being initiates an eschatological Jubilee! A prophecy for our time!
- That releases people not from debts (as in Leviticus 25) but from sins by which they were held captive by Belial (Satan).
Milchizedek is called Yahweh when referencing Isaiah 61:2. He also carries out judgment on the wicked, which is normally reserved for God Himself. After A. S. van der Woude first published the translated text, many scholars even concluded that Melchizedek and Michael the “archangel” were the same being.
Though Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 are not mentioned, they draw on a fascinating Jubilee metaphor related to Leviticus 25. The Genesis 14 account also suggests an intriguing Jubilee association:
- Abram frees the captives who were enslaved.
- Property is returned.
Both signifying a Jubilee restoration theme.
Then king and priest Melchizedek is honored by receiving tithe – a reward. Christ will receive His reward – the saved at the end.
The Jubilee in 11QMelchizedek
Melchizedek is seen as saving his people at a “tenth” eschatological Jubilee. There, he returns to the people what is “theirs” and release them from the debt of all their sins. It is eschatological – end-time – Second Coming!
- In Daniel’s 490-year prophecy (9:24-27) there were exactly 70 Sabbatical years and 10 Jubilee periods/years.
- At the end of 490 years, on the last day of the final, seventh Sabbatical year, at the Day of Atonement, a 10th Jubilee was/is to begin.
Anciently, liberty was then proclaimed in the whole land. That would involve restoration of land ownership to the original family (25:13), stopping any economic injustice (25:14), and releasing any debts and servant/slaves (25:28).
- This is closely related to a redeemer who redeems his kinsman (Leviticus 25:25-55) and takes vengeance on the kinsman’s enemies (Numbers 35:16-34).
- That final Jubilee from Daniel 9 has not yet occurred. When it does, everlasting righteousness will come in. Its last three and a half years are in waiting!
Expositor White had insight into this when writing “then commenced the jubilee.”
In 11QMelchizedek, Melchizedek is given the role of liberator, “establishing righteousness and justice.”
- Anciently, any new king was qualified to enact a Jubilee-like event.
- e.g., David (II Samuel 8:15; Solomon: I Kings 10:9).
Many secular kings followed this plan. Notably, in the minds of the Qumran community, it would have especially been Cyrus, ending the Babylonian exile in 536 B.C. Fascinating – Cyrus was also a symbol of Christ (Isaiah 44:28, 45:1-2, 13)!
- Here, in this Qumran scroll, the anointed messenger proclaims liberty – deliverance.
- This affirms the Messianic focus of Daniel 9!
11QMelchizedek links a Sabbatical year to the Jubilee by quoting Leviticus 25:13 and Deuteronomy 15:2. Linking these with Isaiah 61:1, establishes an eschatological Jubilee that will complete that 490-year prophecy!
- The faithful are then released from captivity – forgiven
- From the burden of their iniquities – purification.
Both are an allusion of what begins on a final Day of Atonement.
This Dead Sea document combines:
- The Sabbatical year
- The Jubilee year
- The Day of Atonement
- Into an eschatological release from sin
This parallels the establishing of righteousness and justice, which are promised by Gabriel to God’s people in Daniel 9:24 – if they addressed transgression, iniquity, and sin.
- This Qumran document associates an eschatological “last-year of the Jubilees” (a “tenth”) with deliverance and final judgment.
- Daniel 9 and the 11Q documents have similar phrases.
This ancient scroll depicts the completion of the 490 years (seventy weeks of years) of Daniel 9:24:
- The tenth year of release proclaimed by the Lord, a year of good favor, alludes to Psalm 82:7.
- Time of “liberation” such as is in Isaiah 61:1.
- The year when atonement for iniquity is completed.
- Melchizedek (symbolic for Christ) is associated with this time.
- He enjoys a status above the angels.
- Then He exacts vengeance against Belial (Satan).
- The “tenth year” and the “last Jubilee” – “year of good favor,” “release,” and “liberation” are associated with salvation (cf. Isaiah 52:7). That text is explicitly identified with the eschatological Messiah and the 490 years.
In Jewish tradition, Michael is called a heavenly high priest, referenced in the Babylonian Talmud (Hagigah 126). This appears to be linked with Hebrews 7. The word “Melchizedek” in 11Q is referred to as Elohim, a divine being. Together, the heavenly high priest Michael and Melchizedek appear to be a picture of Jesus in His final redemptive role.
11Q elevates the Messiah at the “end of days” (cf. Isaiah 52:7), which we anticipate at the end of that final 3½ years!
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2021
EndTime Issues…, Number 249, May 6, 2021
Click here to go to PRI’s website: endtimeissues.com
 The Review and Herald, December 17, 1872.
 Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 389.2.
 Lift Him Up, p. 24.7.
 The Desire of Ages, p. 36.
 Osborne, Grant R.; Revelation (Baker Book House; Grand Rapids, MI), p. 65.
 Keil, C. F. and F. Delitzsch; Commentary on the Old Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473; 2006 – 2nd printing), vol. 1, p. 133.
 McNamara, Martin; Biblica, “Melchizedek: Gen 14,17-10 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature (Peeters Publishers, 2000), vol. 81, No. 1, pp. 1-31.
 Ibid., pp 14–15.
 http://pace.mcmaster.ca/York/york/showTest?book=1&chapter=10&textChunk=nieseSection&chunkld=179&text =anti&version=english&direction=&tab=&layout=split
 Sailhamer, John H., Genesis, from Gaebelein, Frank E. (gen. ed.); The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 49530; 1990), p. 123.
 The Desire of Ages, pp. 607-609 (paraphrased).
 The Desire of Ages, pp. 608-609.
 Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit., p. 697.
 Kistemaker, Simon J.; as quoted in The New International Greek Testament Commentary, The Epistle to the Hebrews, by Paul Ellingworth (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids, MI), p. 179.
 Allen, David; The New American Commentary – Hebrews (Hebrews 1:2) (B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN), p. 319.
 Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 235.
 Ellingworth, Paul; The New International Greek Testament Commentary (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids, MI), p. 283.
 Allen, op. cit., p. 319.
 Ibid., p. 331.
 Ibid., p. 418.
 Fitzmyer, Joseph A., S.J.; Journal of the Biblical Literature, “Further Light on Melchizedek from Qumran Cave 11,” vol. 86, No. 1; March 1967, p. 25.
 Cockerill, Gareth Lee; The Evangelical Quarterly, “Melchizedek or ‘King of Righteousness’,” EQ 634 (1991), pp. 3-5-312.
 Early Writings, pp. 35, 286.
 Cockerill, op. cit., p. 309.
 Fitzmyer, op. cit., pp. 30-31, 35, 136.
 Ibid., pp. 32, 37.