Some today believe Melchizedek was a preincarnate appearance of Christ. They believe Hebrews 7:3 supports this view: “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” These interpreters say that this verse seems to describe an eternal person, so Melchizedek must be the preincarnate Christ.

Many scholars rebut this view, however, suggesting that this verse simply means that the Old Testament Scriptures have no record or account of Melchizedek’s parents or birth. In this light, the silence of Scripture on these matters is divinely intended in order to render Melchizedek as an ideal type of Christ’s eternality. (A type is a representation of something yet to come.) These scholars also note that Melchizedek is like the Son of God. Hebrews does not say he is the Son of God Himself (Hebrews 7:3).

Melchizedek was probably an actual historical person who served as a type of Christ, foreshadowing certain things about Christ, including His eternality. Melchizedek’s name is made up of two words meaning “king” and “righteous.” Melchizedek was also a priest. Thus, Melchizedek foreshadows Christ as a righteous king-priest. Melchizedek was also king of Salem, and Salem means “peace.”

Rhodes, Ron. 2010. 5-Minute Apologetics for Today: 365 Quick Answers to Key Questions. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.