A Bible Study and Contemporary Application of Genesis 11-19 by Anne Turner

KEY VERSE: Genesis 19:29 "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

Chapter Six Appendix: Melchizedek, Job?

Who was Melchizedek?

After Abram returned from defeating Chedolaomer, the five kings came out to meet him in the King’s Valley. Somehow, among them was Melchizedek, the king of Salem, meaning “king of peace.” (Heb 7:26) The Bible gives no explanation of why he was there which is a good example of why there is a need for Bible Study. We must meditate on God’s Word, and like miners, carefully search for the treasures it conceals. Only then will we glean how to relate its deep truths to our own lives and be guided to grow in faith and wisdom. Yet, not every mystery is made clear, even by meditation.

Who was Melchizedek? What type of Canaanite was he? Was his kingdom, Salem, a geographic vicinity or a symbolic one? Was he flesh and blood? The Bible does clearly state that he was a priest of God Most High.

Melchizedek represents the Priesthood of Jesus Christ in Scripture. He is alluded to in Psalm 100 by David as he prophesied of the Christ, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” The writer of Hebrews refers to that verse as an oath of God affirming that Jesus Christ is our eternal priest, but not a member of the order of the Levites. Rather, he is in Melchizedek’s order which is not based on ancestry and does not revolve around sacrificial offerings and cleansings. It is based on “the power of an indestructible life.” (Heb 7:16)

Anyone who has an indestructible life has entered God’s kingdom in the course of his life on earth. He has thus entered God’s royal priesthood. He is a “born again” believer, an inhabitant of God’s nation.

Melchizedek’s name means “king of righteousness,” and some Bible scholars believe he was the biblical Job who by way of intense tribulation came to truly know God. They infer this from evidences in Scripture that Job quite possibly was a contemporary of Abraham, and that he was indeed a man who could have been titled the “king of righteousness.” However, most scholars do not think that Melchizedek was Job.

The Biblical Job is introduced as a wealthy rancher and pious man who would carefully make atonement on behalf of his children even when he was not sure whether they needed it. Then as part of his tribulations, they were all killed. As the story unfolds, we see that he felt that his righteousness earned him his privileged lifestyle, including the gift of his children. But finally, he was brought into the higher understanding that God alone is to be honored and thanked for all of man’s blessings. He knew that by his intellect, but not in his heart.

Job wanted God to explain his actions in destroying nearly all his possessions and loved ones, but instead he was given a new way of seeing. He was shown that he had been presumptuous.

He repented that he had considered himself God’s equal, or actually, God’s master, able to control God’s hand of favor by his own works and goodness, and he acknowledged the greatness of God. Earning ones way to heaven has never been possible, not in Old or New Testament times.

After Job’s change of heart, God called on him to intercede for his friends, and after he interceded for them God restored his life.

Effective intercession has to do with a right understanding of who God is and a heart for worship, and heartfelt intercession for spiritually blind people meets with God’s highest approval.

If Job was not Melchizedek, he was nevertheless a kindred spirit for both men had come to know the living God along life's journey, and that he alone ought to be the object of man's praise, thanksgiving and worship.

The King of Salam Blessing Abraham
Woodcut illustration by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld were originally printed in Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden. Scanned by Publications for Latin America, WELS.
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Melchizedek blesses Abraham