The writer of Hebrews appears to be taking real liberty in his application of the description of Melchizedek and how it relates to the Messiah, Jesus. But our writer does not force the text to say something that it doesn’t. Instead,  he reads the text as it was intended by the divine author and it’s all Christ centered. Brown explains this well. He writes, “Old Testament Scripture is essentially Christ-centered. As we have seen earlier, it eagerly anticipates his coming; it describes his earthly ministry, vividly relates the precise circumstances and eternal benefits of his death for mankind, and looks beyond itself to the eventual fulfillment of its finest hopes. Its historical development, spiritual value, and moral lessons are all fully appreciated by our author, but he comes to its arresting narratives as a man equipped by the Spirit of God to discern a further message. It is a book about Christ. The Son of God dominates the word of God in both Testaments. The marks of Christ are clearly impressed on all its pages for those who have the eyes to see them.”[1]

Hebrews 7:3 says, “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.” Being without father and mother and genealogy seems to be contradictory because of the great lengths the gospels of Matthew and Luke go to ensure we see that Jesus is the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, and the seed of David, making Him the predicted Messiah. But the reason for seeing Jesus in Melchizedek did not concern itself with the lineage. In the Aaronic priesthood, the defining characteristic was the lineage from Aaron. Jesus’ priesthood, His role in making atonement for our sins, is not something that starts from being born into the line of Aaron and ending at age 50 according Numbers 8:24-26. But like Melchizedek, there are no temporal boundaries to Jesus’ ministry on our behalf. Again we see that the subject of the Bible, including the Old Testament, is the full sufficiency of Christ. He has satisfied the law on our behalf. Through faith in Him we find true rest.

Jesus is the eternal King of Peace as Melchizedek was King of Salem. Jesus is the eternal Priest as Melchizedek was King of Righteousness, atoning for our sins and depositing His own perfect righteousness into our accounts. The whole Bible is about this eternal king and priest just as the Old Testament said. In Zechariah 6:13, we read what the Messiah would be when He comes. Whereas, it was forbidden by law for a Levitical Priest to be king, it is not the case with the Messiah. This makes Melchizedek a forerunner of Jesus because he was both.  The verse says, “It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” When you read the Bible always look for Jesus.

[1] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: Christ above All, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 127.