SANDRA JEFFERY answers ...

Melchizedek was the 1st priest mentioned in the Bible, and was Priest of the most High God and King of ancient Salem which means King of peace – later known as the nucleus of Jerusalem (Jerusalem means ‘peace’). Melchizedek name’s meaning is ‘King of Righteousness’ and he blessed Abraham in the Bible – Genesis 14:18. Melchizedek had no recorded predecessor or successor in his priesthood, and his nationality, genealogy and offspring are left undisclosed in Scripture. Hebrews 7: 3. He was a foreshadowing of Jesus, who has an unending priesthood, unlike the imperfect Levitical priesthood that died and needed successors. The resurrected, sinless Jesus Christ continues alive forever, having his priesthood without any successors, and is able to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is alive to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7: 11 – 25.

Jesus blessed his disciples as Melchizedek blessed Abraham, and after his resurrection, he has become High Priest and King of the New Jerusalem - heaven and earth as one in peace.

RABBI GUTMANN answers ...

Melchizedek occupies a very small space in the Torah and is a contemporary of Abraham. We meet him in Genesis 14, following the defeat of a coalition of 5 nations including Sodom and Gomorrah through which Lot, Abram's nephew, who lived in Sodom, is taken captive. On hearing this, Abram (as he was then called), takes 318 men and defeats the previously victorious coalition of 4 nations and recovers Lot, the possessions and people of Sodom. Suddenly a 10th King, Melchizedek, King of Salem. is mentioned, who is also described as priest of the Most High God. He "brought out" bread and wine to Abram, and blesses him. We are told that Abram gave him a tithe (tenth) of all he had. We find no further mention of Melchizedek nor of the Kingdom of Salem, in the Hebrew Scriptures, except in Psalm 110, ascribed to David, in which v4 reads, "You are a priest for ever, in the order of Melchizedek". However, in the Aramaic Targum of 1 Chronicles 1:24, Shem, son of Noah, is described as High Priest!

At least one Targum source, Codex Neofiti, uses "Shem" in the Genesis 14 passage. In Rabbinic early sources, "Rabbi Zechariah said in the name of Rabbi Ishmael: The Holy One, blessed be He, desired to derive the priesthood from Shem, as it is said: And he was priest to El Elyon." According to the chronology of Genesis 11:10ff Shem must have outlived Abraham by 35 years, and did not die until Jacob himself was 50! Jewish writer, Ephrem of Syria (306-373 AD), in his Commentary on Genesis identifies Melchizedek as Shem. However, the thrust of Jewish commentary on the passage is that the priesthood of God held by Noah then Shem was transferred to Abram at the time. The passage in Psalm 110:4 is seen as referring to Abraham by some Jewish commentators-Abraham being the "Adonai "of verse 1! However as followers of Yeshua HaMashiach we accept the New Testament commentary on Melchizedek (Hebrews 4:5-10, 6:20b-22) as Scripture. This stresses the fact that Melchizedek is introduced with no detail of his origins ("Without Mother or Father, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end life" - Heb 7:3). The "priesthood" of Melchizedek is superior to that of the Aaronic (ie Levitical) priesthood because Abraham received bread and wine and God's Blessing from Melchizedek and paid tithes to him (Hebrews 7:4-10). Some Christian expositors take Melchizedek to be a "Theophany" or manifestation of God prior to the incarnation of Yeshua. One Messianic well known preacher described this as a "Christophany," though I feel the use of a distinction between the 2 terms risks diminishing the co-equal Divinity of the Son to the Father I fear.

Furthermore I am not sure that Melchizedek can be understood as Yeshua Himself in a pre-incarnational form. Hebrews (quoting Psalm 110:4) describes Yeshua as a Priest "in the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 7:11, 17) and as "like Melchizedek" (ibid v15). Whether or not Melchizedek may be equated with the Angel of the Lord and/or as a Theophany at all, I will leave out at this point!

MOSHE COHEN answers ...

This word is the Greek/Anglo word taken from the Hebrew root, Melech (???) and Tsadiq (????). It means King of Righteousness, or King of the Just and Pious. Many believe that this man, also King of Salem (Peace) was a "Theophany", i.e. a physical appearance of G-d Himself, before the birth of Yeshua. This happens many times in the Tanakh, Moshe at the burning bush, Moshe on the mountain, Avraham and the L-rd, et al. Some believe then, this Man was a pre-incarnate visit by Yeshua to earth. We can also consider, as Yeshua is the Word of G-d, that when G-d speaks in a voice, it could well be Yeshua speaking. This would explain the mystery of some verses saying that no man can look upon G-d and live, when at other times we see people talking with G-d, Moshe face to face, the 70 elders eating a feast with G-d, Manoah, Ya'akov (Jacob), Yehoshua (Joshua), and other appearances of the "Angel of the L-rd", the "Lord of Hosts." Some disagree on this, and we should respect their opinions. To me, the one that makes most sense is that Avraham saw the Lord Yeshua, as he also saw Him when he was about sacrifice Yitzchak (Isaac), the Angel of the L-rd before Sodom, destruction, etc. As Avraham recognised who He was, he worshipped Him and gave Him a tenth of everything.

RABBI JOSEPH KRESEFSKY answers ...

Straight forward answer: According to the Hebrew text of Genesis 18 (B’reshit 18), Malki-Tzedek was the king of Shalem who brought bread and wine to the patriarch Avram (Avraham). He was Cohen of El 'Elyon [G_d Most High]. Avram gave him a tenth of the booty that he confiscated when he went out to save his cousin Lot from those nations who took him captive. His name means King of Righteousness. Many people assume that he was Y’shua but there is no proof of this – as a matter of fact, in the Brit Chadasha (New Testament), in the Book of Hebrews, it clearly states that Y’shua was compared with Malki-Tzedek – not that he was Malki-Tzedek. I would recommend reading Hebrews Chapters 5 thru 7 for further study on this.