Of all the unusual individuals that show up in Scripture, Melchizedek, the King of Salem, is one of the most fascinating. Throughout the Old and New Testament, Melchizedek is only mentioned in three books: Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews, with Genesis being the only book where he appears in person.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. — Ge 14:18-20
The spiritual authority of Melchizedek and the way in which the author of Genesis brings the readers attention to the absence of any genealogy relating to Melchizedek, indicates the uniqueness of Melchizedek as a figure of Scripture. Melchizedek has no genealogy, he is a priest of God during a time when there were very few godly men, and the author of Hebrews draws comparisons between Melchizedek and Jesus, saying that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham (Hebrews 7:7). Similarly, in John 8 the Jews ask Jesus if he is greater than Abraham.
Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” — Jn 8:54-57
The parallels between Jesus and Melchizedek are so striking, that some Biblical scholars have wondered if Melchizedek could have been a manifestation of Jesus before the Nativity. However, the references made in Hebrews, stating that Jesus “is a priest after the order of Melchizedek”, would be redundant if Melchizedek had himself been a manifestation of Christ. What is certain is that Melchizedek was a great priest of God and that he was recognized as such by Abraham, King David, and the author of the Book of Hebrews.
For this Melchizedek, 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 translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. — Heb 7:1-10
Very little information is given in Scripture about Melchizedek, however, among the discoveries made at the Qumran caves, was a scroll dating back to the 1st Century BC that gives more information about the importance of Melchizedek the priest.