In our study of Hebrews chapter seven, we look at the order of Melchizedek and the perfect lasting priesthood of Jesus Christ.
"This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace"." NIV translation
At the end of chapter 6, we were introduced to the order of Melchizedek and Paul continues by reminding the people of Abraham's meeting with him as recorded in Genesis 14. He is introduced as the "king of Salem" and many have said that this is short for Jerusalem but it is not. We see, here, that salem means peace and his name actually means "king of righteousness".
"Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!" NIV translation
We are not given any more details about Melchizedek which is very different from the rest of the Book of Genesis. We see that he is simply an eternal priest of God. We see that the father of our faith recognized this mysterious priest as being greater than himself and so presented him with ten percent of what he received from the battle. This is significant in the fact that this was before any of the law had been given.
"Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people - that is, their brothers - even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises." NIV translation
Now, Paul contrasts the Aaronic priesthood to the order of Melchizedek. We see that the Levites were mere men and Abraham recognized Melchizedek as higher than men.