14:18 Melchizedek. The identity of Melchizedek is controversial, especially in view of the statements made concerning him in Psalm 110:4, and in Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1-21). “The Lord” is called by David “a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” The writer of Hebrews said Melchizedek was “without father, without mother, without descent (i.e., ‘genealogy’), having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3). The usual interpretation of these words is that he was made into a type of Christ since, as a “King of Righteousness” (meaning of Melchizedek) and “King of Peace” (meaning of Salem), he appears and leaves the record, suddenly, with no mention of either ancestry or death. This, however, is obviously a strained and naturalistic exegesis of exalted and supernaturalistic language. It seems better to take the words literally, in which case they could only be applicable to Christ Himself, appearing here to Abram in a theophany. This would also solve the problem of how such a godly king and priest as Melchizedek could be ruling a city in such an ungodly land as Canaan and, why, if he did, Abram would have had no other contact with him. The fact that he was “made like unto the Son of God” accords with one of Christ’s pre-incarnate appearances; at His human birth, he became the incarnate Son of God forever. Melchizedek was also said to be a man (Hebrews 7:4), but the same is true in the case of other theophanies, one of which was likewise manifested to Abram and Lot (Genesis 18:2,22; 19:1-24). That Melchizedek’s Salem could never have been Jerusalem is evident especially from Ezekiel 16:2–4 (see note on Ezekiel 16:4).
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