Melchizedek and the Universality of the Gospel -- By: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 17:2 (Spring 2003)
Article: Melchizedek and the Universality of the Gospel
Author: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Melchizedek and the Universality of the Gospel

Catherine Clark Kroeger

Catherine Clark Kroeger is adjunct associate professor of classical and ministry studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and coauthor of No Place for Abuse: Biblical and Practical Resources for Addressing Domestic Violence, and she is coeditor of The IVP Women’s Commentary. She was CBE’s founding organizer and is president emerita.

The application of an allegory.

The father of our faith had just extricated his nephew from an aweful scrape. Flushed with victory, Abram was journeying homeward from a rescue operation. With his clever military strategy, he had rid his new homeland of fourteen years of domination by Chedorlaomer, the Edomite king. A failed rebellion led by the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah had brought swift retaliation from Chedorlaomer and a coalition of his allies. When the retaliatory strike included the capture of Lot, his uncle set out in hot pursuit.

Abram, with his own trained militia of 318 men and a few Amorite cohorts, had been more than a match for the marauding forces. The pursuit had taken him north of Damascus, where he had rescued not only his new neighbors but also their possessions. “He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people” (Gen. 14:16). At least Abram had proven his worth to the local citizens.

The new land to which God had called him was certainly not free from conflict. First there had been a dispute between his own herdsmen and those of Lot. That had been resolved by allowing his nephew his own choice of land on which to settle, and Lot had chosen the well watered plain by Sodom. It had afforded more desirable pasturage but was in harm’s way during the raid of Chedorlaomer. Lot and his family had been swept away by the superior forces and had been saved only by Abram’s rapid intervention.

On the homeward journey, the King of Sodom met him to offer congratulations and to petition for the safe return of his subjects. Close behind came the king of Salem, a priest by the name of Melchizedek, bringing bread and wine for both warriors and liberated captives. The name Salem meant “peace,” a welcome respite for the war-weary patriarch. He could do with a release from conflict. Melchizedek’s provision was not restricted to mere food rations, however. He brought with him other refreshment as well—a blessing and a reminder that the victory belonged to God.

Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. (Gen. 14:19-20)...

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