Bible passage: Genesis 14:18-20
Written: As early as 1400 BC
Melchizedek is a mysterious figure in the Old Testament. We know nothing of where he came from, or even why he was in Hebron to greet Abraham. His name appears only twice in the Old Testament.
The first mention of him is in Genesis 14, where he greets Abraham, gives him bread and wine, and a blessing from God. There, Melchizedek is said to be king of Salem and priest of God:
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying "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." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Gen. 14:18-20, NIV)
The second Old Testament mention of Melchizedek's name is in Psalm 110, where his name is invoked as part of a prophecy about a Messiah:
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4, NIV)
Melchizedek's name is actually mentioned more times in the New Testament than in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, his name is mentioned nine times in the book of Hebrews, where the author of Hebrews is comparing Melchizedek and Jesus.
In the same book, the author posits Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy involving Melchizedek:
In the same way, 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)