What Is the Importance of Melchizedek in the Bible?

Melchizedek is a figure of mystery in the Bible, but he foreshadows and parallels Jesus in a few aspects, including presiding over a meal of bread and wine. Melchizedek was a king and high priest of Salem whose name means "king of righteousness." "Salem" means "peace," so he was also king of peace. Isaiah calls the Messiah the Prince of Peace. The New Testament says Jesus is an immortal priest in the order of Melchizedek.

In Genesis Chapter 14, the first mention of Melchizedek, he presents bread and wine to Abram and his troops after their battle with Kedorlaomer and his allies. Melchizedek, the high priest, then blesses Abram, who became the father of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, the person blessing is greater than the person receiving the blessing, so Melchizedek was higher than Abraham. Jesus' consecration of the bread and wine at the Last Supper echoes this passage in Genesis.

Chapter 5, verse 20 of the New Testament book of Hebrews says, "He [Jesus] has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." Paul, the author of the book of Hebrews, wrote that Melchizedek was "without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God." Levitical priests are said to be mortal, but Jesus and Melchizedek are immortal. Scriptures set apart Jesus and Melchizedek as higher than the order of Levitical priests descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses.

Hebrews describes Melchizedek as without mother, father, a birth or death. Jesus was born, had parents and died in the New Testament accounts. The website Grace Communion International says scriptures do not state Melchizedek is the Messiah; just that he is like the Son of God.