The name Melchizedek is really a title which means “King of righteousness.”

melchizedek2In the series “12 reasons why Melchizedek was actually the pre-incarnate Word of God” the following article is reason # 1.

The name Melchizedek is really a title which means “King of righteousness.”

For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (Hebrews 7:1-2)

The Holy Spirit in Hebrews 7:2 tells us that Melchizedek is more than just a name given in Genesis 14:18 for now we are told that it’s also a title which means “King of Righteousness.” The word “Salem” (which is discussed in the next section) is also revealed to be a title as well. What an irony that Melchizedek would be identified by a pair of traits (righteousness and peace) which Scripture uses solely of God and His kingdom! For Who else except Christ the God-man could warrant such titles? After all, in Zechariah 9:9, Christ is described as a righteous king Who brings salvation. Jeremiah (23:5-6, 33:15-16) calls Him the King and Branch of righteousness who executes judgment and righteousness in the land. Hebrews 1:8 tells us that Christ is a king and that the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom thus calling for the conclusion that Christ is the King of righteousness. Psalms 85:10 uses the tandem traits of peace and righteousness when speaking of God, Isaiah 9:6 calls Christ the Prince of peace and Romans 14:17 tells us that Christ’s kingdom is one of righteousness and peace; this makes sense since it is Christ alone Who is eternally righteous and He alone dispenses His righteousness to all that are of His kingdom. Earthly kings could not be said to have a scepter of righteousness and a mere man could never be granted the title “king of righteousness,” for all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Yet, some commentaries seek to explain away the name Melchizedek as merely a name or a title used by Jebusite kings. For example:

According to Dr. Thomas Constable’s Bible Study Notes:

Adonizedek (lit. lord of righteousness) and Melchizedek (king of righteousness, Genesis 14:18) were titles of the Jebusite kings, as Pharaoh was a title of the Egyptian kings.[2]

Notwithstanding the sacrilegious and preposterous audacity that is needed in order to attribute the scepters of righteousness and peace to the likes of a Jebusite king, the bible mentions nothing about Melchizedek being a title for Jebusite kings. Therefore, it seems wiser to appeal to the biblical practice of God naming people using words that are instructive. This is a better explanation because it is based upon a pattern of behavior that is actually found in the bible. We see this for example, in Hosea 1:2-9 where God instructs the prophet Hosea to give his three children names that were descriptive of how God felt about Israel’s unfaithfulness towards Him. In this account, God gave Hosea’s second son the name Lo-ammi meaning “Not my people,” which signaled the coming exile of Israel to Assyria and eventually all over the world. In Matthew 1:21, God gives the name “Jesus” (or Joshua) to the Child of the virgin Mary Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost; this name in the Hebrew language is equivalent to Yeshua or Yehoshua and it means “God (YAHWEH) saves.” Two verses later God gives another name to the same Child; this time the word is Emmanuel which means, “God with us.” Other instructive names that were given by God include: Abraham (father of many nations), Sarah (princess of the multitude), Isaac (laughter), Israel (he who prevails with God), Peter (stone) and Boanerges (sons of thunder). So when God in Genesis 14:18 introduces us to the name Melchizedek and then later tells us the name’s meaning in Hebrews 7:3 we can have confidence in demanding that the bearer of such a title be found worthy of it in the same way that Hosea, after hearing what the name of his second son would be, was dreadfully confident that God had (temporarily) disowned the Israelites.

The fact that Christ is the only other King of righteousness in the Scriptures should suffice in convincing any bible reader that He was indeed Melchizedek. Yet, the idea that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Christ is usually ridiculed in most commentaries as an idea unworthy of consideration. However, in all examined cases, the reasons which are given for why this notion is so unsuitable are almost always examples of logical fallacies. For instance, B.H. Carrol states the following regarding Melchizedek being a theophany:

[Melchizedek] was not a pre-manifestation of the Son of God, but a type of the Son of God. God cannot be a type of himself. There is a likeness between shadow and substance, but not identity…He alone worshiped the true God and mediated between his subjects and God with priestly functions. These singularities in his remarkable history made him a type of the great messianic High Priest. In Joshua’s time we shall find an Adonizedek, king of Salem, who possesses none of the characteristics of Melchizedek. [3]

In the citation above, we expected Carrol’s evidence for what makes Melchizedek a type to precede any declaration of such a claim but this is not what we encounter in his commentary. Initially Carrol simply presumes that Melchizedek is a type without demonstrating why anyone should be obliged to accept this premise as a fact; then he proceeds to build his argument based upon this assumption. In logic, this type of argumentation is called Begging the question. It is a mistake to do so because the writer should not simply assume as true what he should instead be proving. E. W. Bullinger’s Figures of Speech used in the Bible defines a type as:

A figure or ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, called the “Antitype.”

So according to this definition, Carrol’s argument is that Melchizedek was a preceding example of Christ Who is the future high priest of the most high God.  Later on however Carrol attempts to substantiate his argument by declaring as unique the observation that Melchizedek alone worshiped the true God. However, we know that this is false since at least Abraham (Genesis 12:8) and Lot (Genesis 19:1) were also worshipers of the true God. Carrol’s second “singularity”—that Melchizedek mediated on behalf of earthly subjects in Salem—is also without merit since there is no verse which states Melchizedek either had earthly subjects or that he was mediating on behalf of them. If neither singularity is valid then Carrol’s conclusion which claims that Melchizedek was a type must be jettisoned as well. Furthermore, even if Melchizedek was a type why must this rule out that he was also divine? Why should the idea that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Word of God necessarily obviate him from also being a type of Christ? Carrol merely stating that such an arrangement is impossible is not the same as a rational demonstration of why God cannot be a type of Himself. If God can swear by Himself (Hebrews 6:13) then why can’t He be a type of himself? Carrol must overcome these issues if he wishes for his arguments to be taken seriously.

By the way, the argument that Melchizedek was a type is not uncommon. According to Dr. Henry Morris:

“the usual interpretation of [bible verses concerning Melchizedek] 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.”[4]

In summary, even if we stipulate that Melchizedek was indeed a type of Christ, this wouldn’t change the fact that in Hebrews 7:3 he is called the “king of righteousness” but since Christ is also described as the king of righteousness in Hebrews 1:8 then by the force of logic we would have to conclude that God is a type of Himself since there can only be one king of righteousness. So we see that whether or not a type is employed, there is great significance to the title that is Melchizedek. When the words of Scripture are allowed to convey their message without the interference of unnecessary conjecture, the message leads us to conclude that this King of righteousness was actually a pre-incarnate manifestation of the Divine.


1. See notes on Genesis 14:18, The DEFENDER’S Study Bible, Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D.
2. See notes on Joshua 10:1-5, The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes), Dr. Thomas L. Constable
3. See commentary on Genesis 14:1-24, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Dr. B.H. Carroll
4. See notes on Genesis 14:18, The DEFENDER’S Study Bible, Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

One thought on “The name Melchizedek is really a title which means “King of righteousness.”

  1. Dickens Cheung says:

    That’s right brother, Amen! Great article exposing the folly and madness of “godly, sophisticated, and educated” men who have the audacity to think that they are somehow smarter and wiser than The Holy Spirit! Allowing The Scriptures To Speak For Themselves will yield unimaginable amounts of treasure to the meek and hungry soul!

    “19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

    20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”

    (1 Corinthians 1:19-20)

    God Bless your ministry, and Maranatha!

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