MELCHIZEDEK

Heavenly or Earthly

by Wendell Tenison

Introduction:

In the days of King Melchizedek, small territorial kings ruled the land. These kings were much like the warlords of China before Communism strangled their nation.

Abraham's travels stretched to about 1050 statute miles, from Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia, to in and around Jerusalem where he met King Melchizedek.

This is the first record of any priest of God and only two other priests are recorded in the patriarchal dispensation of time. The first of the other two is Jethro, father-in-law of Moses, priest of Midian, Exodus 18:1. The other is Potipherah, the father-in-law of Joseph, priest of On in Egypt, Genesis 41:45. Jethro offered sacrifices to God for Moses sake, but in regards to his knowlege of other god's, there is no evidence that he worshipped the God of Abraham. Potipherah on the other hand was a priest in Egypt where the Jews learned all of their idol worship. It goes without saying, he worshipped idols. It should be noted that Christ is a high priest where Melchizedek was not. The reason being, where a high priest is there must of necessity be other priests of lesser status. Concerning Christ as our high priest, all Christians are lesser priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God.

Nothing in God's scheme of creation and redemption has ever happened by accident. Even before the formation of the heavens and the earth, God's plan of redemption for man was designed. So what part in God's scheme did Melchizedek have to play? His appearance was brief, and except for the new testament account, we would be in the dark. The writer of the book of Hebrews relates just how great this man was. With rock solid convincing facts, he points out how Aaron, the first high priest under the law of Moses, paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham. This means the Levitical priesthood under the law of Moses was inferior and temporary. This is evidenced when God destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70 along with all the records of linage, leaving none to serve as high priest. Therefore, the priesthood of Christ was made after the order of Melchizedek and not after the order of Aaron. To put it in a nutshell; Christ is king, high priest, and as was Melchizedek, made after the power of an endless [indissoluble - Greek] life.

When was Christ made high priest? Here on earth or after he sat down by at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens?

Heb 8:4 "For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:"

There is no mistake about it that he was ordained high priest by God when he sat down on the throne of David in Mount Zion in heaven.

These three main points of Melchizedek are stressed throughout the record and no doubt he was the Christ who was to come centuries later. It seems the controversy as to the status of this king will linger on and on. Was he sent from heaven, or was he born and taken back to the earth as all other men? Therefore, it is incumbent that we should dig deeper into the scriptures and exhaust every effort to provide the answer to this unsettled question.

The Search Begins:

(Genesis 14:18-20) "And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. {19} And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: {20} And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

(Psalms 110:4) "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

This is the time and place where Abraham met Melchizedek on his return from the slaughter of the kings. The things we learn from these verses are:

The phrase, "most high God," is given three times in the reading, making God center focus. From there we already see the order of Melchizedek beginning to unfold. As he was king and priest, he also was a servant to mankind. Christ the anointed one of God is also king, high priest, and servant to his fellow man. This quality of being humble in spirit to serve is ordinarily absent among kings. This is the first time we learn Christ was made a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Much can be learned just by looking at the name of this unique individual. From Strong's Concordance, we find:

From Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon, page 575, we read:

From these definitions of Melchizedek, we find his name consists of two parts. The first connotes king, or royal, and the second indicates right, righteousness, equity, and justice. Here again, Christ is made after the order of royalty and righteousness.

(Psalms 76:1-2) "To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song of Asaph. In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel. {2} In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion."

Among other names including Salem, Jebus, Jebus-Salem, the city was later called Jerusalem. King David captured Mt. Zion, located within the city of Jerusalem, from the Jebusites. Here he built his fort and castle. As David sat on his throne in Mt. Zion, Christ is now sitting on the throne of David in Mt. Zion, but heavenly Mt. Zion.

Now To The Book Of Hebrews:

Beginning in chronological order;

(Hebrews 5:6) "As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

(Hebrews 5:10) "Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec."

(Hebrews 6:20) "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

(Hebrews 7:1-8) "For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; {2} To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; {3} Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. {4} Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. {5} And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: {6} But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. {7} And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. {8} And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth."

A Closer Look At The Verses:

Heb. 5: 6: Now we learn for the second time that Christ is made a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. This is the second time the record shows by implication the priesthood of Melchizedek is for ever.

Heb. 5:10: Still another emphasis placed on the order of Melchizedek.

Heb. 6:20: This is the third time the words for ever are used to describe the length of the priesthood of Christ.

Heb. 7:1: We have already learned Melchizedek was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.

Heb. 7:2: Abraham paid tithes to the tenth part. Again, Melchizedek was King of righteousness, King of Salem, which is, King of Peace. Now we see yet another attribute of Melchizedek, which also belongs to Christ. Both are Kings of Peace.

Heb. 7:3: Quoting from the Greek Text: "without father, without mother, without genealogy; neither beginning of days nor end of life having, but assimilated to the Son of God, abides a priest in perpetuity."

Melchizedek had no pedigree, meaning he had no father or mother. Neither were there beginning of days nor end of life. In perpetuity means eternal or "for ever" as we have already noticed. The most popular explanations of these phrases are that, "Nobody knows who his father and mother were," and "The date of his death is unknown." This rings a familiar bell, where the angel of the Lord told Abraham, "Is anything to hard for the Lord?" (Gen. 18:14). Indeed, the mighty hand of God did bring this one to the earth.

Note the KJV says Melchizedek was, "made like unto the Son of God." There is only one other man, as he is called a man in the record, (but we shall see), of whom it is said, "and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Dan. 3:25).

Reading from the KJV:

(Daniel 3:25) "He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

Reading from the Septuagint:

(Daniel 3:25) "And the king said, But I see four men loose, and walking in the midst of the fire, and there has no harm happened to them; and the appearance of the fourth is like the Son of God."

We all know this was the account of the three Hebrew children thrown into the fiery furnace and four were seen walking around. What about his father, mother, beginning of days and end of life? He wasn't thrown in with the three, nor did he come out with them. Where did he come from and where did he go? The answer is obvious; he was sent from heaven as one who looked like a man, but had the form of the Son of God. It is not clear as to the true status of Melchizedek and the fourth one in the fiery furnace. Both were quite special, seeing the fourth one had the appearance and form of the Son of God, and Melchizedek was made like the Son of God.

But that's not all:

Daniel 7:13-14 "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him......And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

Who was this mysterious one who came in the clouds and was brought before the Ancient of days? Dumb question. If we cannot understand that this one was our Lord Jesus the Christ, then we need only the sincere milk of the word for we are yet but babes.

Unlike the other two, notice that this one was like the Son of man. What is the difference? The others were made or had the form of the Son of God, but this one like the Son of man. Why? Because the other two did not die, but this one did. Not only did he die, but there is a record of his father, mother, birthplace and time and place of his death.

Heb. 7:4: We have already discussed.

Heb. 7:5-7: Abraham was the father of Levi, the priestly tribe who collected tithes from the people. Yet Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. Therefore, the less was blessed of the better. Here again, the priesthood of Melchizedek was far superior to the priesthood of the Levites.

Heb. 7:8: The writer is saying those priests of Levi who collected tithes died. But here with Melchizedek, it says that he lives, or meaning, he did not die.

(Hebrews 7:9-17) "And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. {10} For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. {11} If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? {12} For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. {13} For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. {14} For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. {15} And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, {16} Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. {17} For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

Heb. 7:9-15: The gist of these verses is that the law of Moses and the priests of Levi were temporary and the lineage of Christ was traced back to the tribe of Juda. Since there were no priests from the tribe of Juda, the priesthood of Christ could not be after the similitude of Aaron, but Melchizedek.

Heb. 7:16: Christ was made after the power of an endless life. The Greek text renders,"indissoluble life." This simple man Melchizedek's life was not dissolved.

Heb. 7:17: Now we see for the fourth time, the priesthood of Christ is "for ever."

(Hebrews 7:21-25) "(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) {22} By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. {23} And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: {24} But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. {25} Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Heb. 7:21: Now for the fifth time, Christ is a priest "for ever."

Heb. 7:22-23: The priests under the law of Moses could not continue because they all died.

Heb. 7:24-25: Because of the never ending priesthood of Christ, he continues "ever." Therefore, he lives "for ever" and can save those who come to God.

Angels Who Came In The Form Of Men:

(Hebrews 13:2) "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

Generally, most believe Abraham is the one to whom this reference is made. But, the word "some" indicates a plurality, even more than two. We know Lot, the nephew of Abraham, also entertained angels. However, during the tenure of the law of Moses we find another angel appearing in the form of man, Judges 13:1-21. Here Monoah and his wife was approached by an angel in the form of a man who told them they would have a son and his name was Samson.

The following quotations are self-explanatory:

(Genesis 18:1-3) "And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; {2} And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, {3} And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:"

(Genesis 18:9-15) "And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. {10} And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. {11} Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. {12} Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? {13} And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? {14} Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. {15} Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh."

(Genesis 19:1-3) "And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; {2} And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. {3} And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat."

If there was ever any doubt that angels came in the form of men, the account of the birth of Samson settles it.

Judg 13:6,16,20 "Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:.....And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD......For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground."

(Acts 1:9-11) "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. {10} And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; {11} Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

Conclusion:

The three main points of the order of Melchizedek are these:

Among the many verses cited in this discussion, the inspiration of God (without any controversy) magnificently declares how the office of a priest under the law of Moses was terminated by reason of the death of the priest.Theoretically speaking, had the Levite wives ceased to bear any male children, the Levitical priesthood would have become extinct, seeing there would have been none to carry it on. There were no priests before Melchizedek and only two after him under the law to the fathers. It goes without saying, if he died, his priesthood was terminated. The point being made is this, Melchizedek still lives because his priesthood is for ever.

Let us assume Melchizedek did in fact die (which he did not). Then, his priesthood would have terminated by reason of his death. Based upon the reason of the scripture, it would have been impossible for Christ to have been made an high priest after the order of Melchizedek, seeing he was no longer a priest. A denial of the continual priesthood of Melchizedek in perpetuity is an admission that the priesthood of Christ does not exist. It seems that most people who hold an opinion on this subject believe that Melchizedek was a man who like everyone else did not escape death, yet they maintain that Christ was made after the similitude of him. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. If Melchizedek died, Christ is not priest; if Melchizedek lives, Christ is a priest forever.

A Final Question For Our Readers:

Did the Most High God, by the immutability of his counsel, sware by an oath and would not repent, to make his only begotten anointed Son, Jesus the Christ, after the order of a sinful man, who was in need of salvation, died and was buried? God Forbid!

(Hebrews 10:4-11) "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. {5} Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: {6} In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. {7} Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. {8} Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; {9} Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. {10} By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. {11} And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:"

By the same token, God made his Son King and High Priest after the order of heavenly things. The exact same thing is true concerning the blood sacrifice of his Son, the Savior. The above reading confirms the heavenly nature of the offering of the body of Jesus. Man cannot be saved by something less than himself, that is, the blood of animals. Neither can he be saved by something equal to himself, such as the blood of another sinful man. Therefore, his only hope is to be saved by something far greater than himself. That is, by the offering of the body of the sinless Jesus.

The apostle Paul points out in Romans 3:23:

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

This being the case, those who believe Melchizedek was just a mere man as you and I, cannot deny he was a weak and sinful man in the flesh. Under no circumstance was Christ made an high priest after the order of something he created who was less than himself, Jn. 1:3.

Melchizedek had to come to this earth in his capacity as a priest to be the role model, since the reconciliation of man to God has always hinged on the sacrificial system God ordained in the beginning.

There is no doubt that Melchizedek was the Son of God and by blessing Abraham he blessed himself in that Christ came through the seed of Abraham. That was the first time the Son of God blessed himself. The second was when he blessed the bread saying, this is my body while instituting his own passover, Matthew 26:26.

Mat 26:26 "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body."

Where is the proof? Jesus himself reveals the secret.

John 8:39-40 "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham......But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."

John 8:56-58 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad......Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?.....Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

When did Abraham have an opportunity to kill Jesus? Of course, he had no desire to harm Jesus. When he saw Jesus in the form of Melchizedek. Jesus plainly said, Abraham saw my day. The Jews perfectly understood Jesus to say that Abraham saw him.

May the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, give us wisdom and understanding to truthfully impart his Holy Word.

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© 1999 by Wendell Tenison