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Who Was Melchizedek?

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by Tom Clark

[HASHTAG]#Melchizedek[/HASHTAG] is an intriguing figure who is mentioned in Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews. We need to examine all of these to really understand who He was.

Many people have asked about the identity of Melchizedek, the figure who appears at the end of Genesis 14. After Abram did battle to rescue his nephew Lot, we find in Genesis 14:18 that Melchizedek came out to meet him. Melchizedek is described as the king of Salem and priest of God Most High. It is to this individual that Abram gave a tithe (10 percent; see our article “Tithing: What Is It?”) from the spoils of war.

“The order of Melchizedek”

Melchizedek is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4 but is not discussed in any detail until we come to the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 5:6 and 10 Jesus Christ is said to be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” This is significant for us to understand because it shows the connection between Christ and Melchizedek.

When we come to chapter 7 of Hebrews, we learn more about the identity of Melchizedek. We are told in verse 2 that the name means “king of righteousness” and the association with Salem means he was also the “king of peace.” These are terms that in their truest sense are very difficult to apply to a human being. Romans 3:10 tells us that no human being is righteous, while verse 23 affirms that all have sinned. Considering that, it seems unlikely God would call a human being the “king of righteousness.”

The same thing is true of the title “king of peace.” The prophet Isaiah identifies the Messiah as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and in Romans 3:17 we are told men do not know the way to peace. While some people may be described as peaceful or even peace-loving, no human being has the means or knows the way to bring peace to the world. That is the job of One who is the Prince of Peace—a ruler with the wisdom and power to establish and maintain peace on earth.

“Without father, without mother”

The final piece of the puzzle we need to examine is found in Hebrews 7:3. Here we are told plainly that this Melchizedek was “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.” This is not the description of a human being. Every human being has a mother and a father. And there was a time before we existed and there will be a time after we cease to live.

Melchizedek is not described like that, but rather is described in terms that speak of an eternal existence. According to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, there are only two Beings who qualify as being eternal: God the Father and the One who became Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14).

Most scholars will agree that Melchizedek prefigured Jesus Christ, but some will not want to conclude that Melchizedek was actually the preincarnate Jesus Christ—the being who was later Christ. They point to the phrase “made like the Son of God” and say that being like Him is not the same thing as being Him. Other translations say “resembling” or “bearing the likeness of” the Son of God. This again shows the close association Melchizedek had with the Christ.

But the wording of Hebrews is also technically accurate. If we conclude that Melchizedek was indeed the One who was later to come to earth as the physical Jesus Christ, then we understand that in Abram’s day He was like the Son of God because He had not yet become the Son of God. The author of Hebrews wrote with the understanding of time and history, knowing that the One who appeared as Melchizedek to Abram had not yet appeared as the Messiah but would do so some 2,000 years later.

The author’s point concerned the past, present and future: “This Melchizedek remains [present tense] a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:1-3). This Melchizedek still is, and will always be, our High Priest. Therefore, we conclude, based on Scripture, that Melchizedek was none other than the preincarnate Jesus Christ. Similar language is used to describe Christ in Revelation 1:11-13; 14:14.
 
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[COLOR=#0000ff]Hebrews 7:15-17 (KJV)
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.

[COLOR=#000000]My question is that "another" priest arose, after the order of the man Melchisedec, so how could Jesus be one and the same?
I would submit Jesus was "after" the first order, system, of priesthood which was typified by the man, that king of ancient Jerusalem.
Jesus then bypassed the fleshly order by which men that died inherited the priesthood of commandment, which didn't yet exist in the
days of Melchisedec and Abraham. [/COLOR][/COLOR]
 
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The man Melchizedek was obviously incarnate, only his genealogy wasn't recorded. He was a king among other kings, on the winning side of the w3ar Abraham fought and won.

Jesus, of course, always was and is Son of God, the only begotten of God, Son before being begotten, but it's a stretch to say he appeared as a human before being born of the virgin Mary. But Jesus is not recorded as having taken up his role as High Priest until after dying to the Law. When he did, he took up that same order of priesthood Melchizedek ministered by, the eternal order, which always was and is and shall be forever. Had Melchzedek been an eternal man on earth, he would still be king of Jerusalem today, well known world-wide as absolute ruler, unable to die. But all men are appointed once to die, including that king, also a man. It simply isn't known when he was born, to whom, or when. Regardless of his flesh status, he was a priest of an eternal order of priesthood. We have one man that is already eternal Priest, who is not recorded as sharing that post with any other man.

By order of priesthood, Aaron was the first priest of commandment, who passed on his office to Eleazar, who passed it on to Phinehas, who passed it on......
The order was passed on, among men who died, none able to keep it forever.
That order (of Commandment) itself continued until its fall about 70AD.
There are only two priests listed who ministered by the eternal order, Jesus being the second ("there ariseth another priest").

That is on the similitude of Jesus being the "last Adam". [COLOR=#0000ff]1 Corinthians 15:45-47 (KJV)
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.[/COLOR]

Adam was Adam, Jesus was Jesus, not being Adam, but the man Adam prefigured Jesus.
 
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@Dovegiven ,

Not that it's worth getting flustered over or anything, but I'm curious what you think about the following?

Daniel 3
23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 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.​

Do you think that this was the Son of God that was in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

Blessings,

Travis
 
Active Member
[COLOR=#0000ff][COLOR=#000000]Nice topic![/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#0000ff][COLOR=#000000]Read on down a little for more detail about what the king saw.[/COLOR][/COLOR]
[COLOR=#0000ff]
Daniel 3:28 (KJV)
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. [/COLOR]

What the king saw was a being "like" deity, that being an angel sent by God. I doubt even Daniel could have comprehended the angel being Jesus. How could anyone know?

Moses got to see the backside of God on the mount, but not his face. He and the 70 elders saw his feet on the 'sapphire sea', had lunch with him before Moses was called up. From that event we know the bodily features of God are the pattern of the making of man.

Neither Jesus nor one apostle claimed that was Jesus, nor is it on record as the fourth man in the fire being Jesus. If it was him, surely that would have made "front page" in scriptures. It is sufficient for me that Jesus was made incarnate by Mary only by God his Father.

Why desire that Jesus was physically among men before he was born a man? [COLOR=#0000ff]John 1:18 (KJV) 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=#0000ff][COLOR=#000000]Men did see Jesus, we know. He was more than himself, so when men saw him they saw the Father who dwelt in him as well as did the Spirit. [COLOR=#0000ff][COLOR=#000000]That incarnate Jesus is all mankind needs[/COLOR]. Colossians 2:6-10 (KJV)
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
 
5 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.

[COLOR=#000000]My question is that "another" priest arose, after the order of the man Melchisedec, so how could Jesus be one and the same?
I would submit Jesus was "after" the first order, system, of priesthood which was typified by the man, that king of ancient Jerusalem.
Jesus then bypassed the fleshly order by which men that died inherited the priesthood of commandment, which didn't yet exist in the
days of Melchisedec and Abraham.[/COLOR]
This is a good point. However, it is hard to imagine another individual fitting the same bill, so to speak. I am aware that Jesus has many ways of being presented in the Bible and many facets. Interestingly, in Mark 16:12, we read, "After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country." While this may not answer the above question exactly, it does show that the same Jesus has the ability to be in more than one form, and these forms are associated with the word "another". Also, we should consider that Michael the archangel who personally took on Satan (the Dragon) and beat him (by the blood of the lamb) is called Daniel's prince in the Bible and has a name which means "who is like God". I think this is likely a picture of Christ as well, just as Melchisedec is, and the same language of being a prince and being like God is used. Further, 'archangel' means 'chief messenger' which is what Jesus could easily be said to be.
 
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.

[COLOR=#000000]My question is that "another" priest arose, after the order of the man Melchisedec, so how could Jesus be one and the same?
I would submit Jesus was "after" the first order, system, of priesthood which was typified by the man, that king of ancient Jerusalem.
Jesus then bypassed the fleshly order by which men that died inherited the priesthood of commandment, which didn't yet exist in the
days of Melchisedec and Abraham.[/COLOR]
After reading more of Hebrews 7, I see that the intent of the verse you mention about 'another priest' is simply to contrast Melchisedec with Aaron, the high priest who was a shadow picture of Jesus under the law. The word 'another' is used to say that Melchisedec is different from Aaron, not that Melchisedek is different from Jesus. We see this clearly in Heb 7:11: "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?"
 
Active Member
This is a good point. However, it is hard to imagine another individual fitting the same bill, so to speak. I am aware that Jesus has many ways of being presented in the Bible and many facets. Interestingly, in Mark 16:12, we read, "After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country." While this may not answer the above question exactly, it does show that the same Jesus has the ability to be in more than one form, and these forms are associated with the word "another". Also, we should consider that Michael the archangel who personally took on Satan (the Dragon) and beat him (by the blood of the lamb) is called Daniel's prince in the Bible and has a name which means "who is like God". I think this is likely a picture of Christ as well, just as Melchisedec is, and the same language of being a prince and being like God is used. Further, 'archangel' means 'chief messenger' which is what Jesus could easily be said to be.
I only find one biblical 'shape change' with Jesus, and that is from mortal man to that of glorified body. The idea of a being changing shapes, appearing in forms as to cause confusion, is more attributable to Satan, who can appear as an angel of light, being a fallen angel, with angelic powers. Jesus is not at all associated in scriptures as having to do with deceptions. When Jesus arose, he was not recognized by the attending disciples except Mary Magdalene, whose testimony of seeing Jesus post resurrection was dismissed. The angel sitting the empty tomb told the women attending there that Jesus was arisen and on his way to Galilee, accounting for the two disciples on the Emmaus road encountering him on his way there, but not recognizing his post resurrection body appearance. When Jesus appeared to the eleven, they too had a problem recognizing him. It took Thomas' unbelief requiring a sign to break through. Once they realized it was Jesus, there was no record of not accepting that form of Jesus as valid. Apostle John in the revelation of Christ (Revelation) supplies the vision of Jesus' new appearance, a good explanation for why the disciples had such a problem recognizing Jesus. The apostles disbelieved all the previous reports of the women's sightings of Jesus until Jesus came into that room of the 11, even though Peter had checked it out personally, merely "wondering".

I think that should remove Jesus from taking on a deceptive/mysterious form after Satan's tendency, supposedly appearing to Abraham as a man called Melchizedek. In Daniel's furnace the fourth man is affirmed by Nebuchadnezzar as an angel sent by God, so that record dismisses Jesus as party to some per-incarnate appearance.

That leaves me thinking the issue here is there are simply two priesthoods, one eternal, never ending, and a second being of carnal man, Aaron, who inherited authority due to the reluctance of Moses to simply obey God. That spawned the mortal Aaronic priesthood which rested upon flesh inheritance, which ended in extreme corruption, priests assigned by Rome, ended in 70AD with Rome's destruction of the temple. The everlasting priesthood continued on, though in obscurity due to the "temporary" dominance of the priesthood of the law commandment which was abolished in Christ.

The only connection between the two priesthoods is that the eternal order pre-existed the priesthood of commandment, waited for Jesus to take hold of the eternal (non-flesh) High Priest position, and the priests of Levi tithed in advance to Christ the eternal High Priest through Abraham, tithing to the order of priesthood of which Jesus came to. So the temporal mortal priesthood tithed back to that eternal order, of which was Melchizedek and Jesus, and today the Church's tithes are received by Jesus into that same eternal priesthood. All that old testament tithing in between was for maintenance of the mortal ministers of the Law. Today Jesus applies the same principle of tithes to support his disciples who minister grace of God.

In summary there are only two recorded priests of the eternal order, first Melchizedek, who was before the law of commandment, then later Jesus, but only when released from the Law through death to it.
The fact of the experience of the disciples witnessing the extreme defacement of Jesus on the cross should be accepted as good reason not to comprehend whatever Jesus' post resurrection appearance should be, especially if his only faults were the marks of crucifixion that Thomas recognized.
 
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