MELCHIZEKEK

Examine the passages that refer to Melchizedek and you will find that the only One it could be is Jesus Christ Himself in His preincarnate appearances:

[Gen 14:18-19]:

(v. 18) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,

19 and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.

[Ps 110:1-4]:

PS 110:2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.

PS 110:3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.

PS 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

[Heb 5:4-10]:

HEB 5:4 No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.

HEB 5:5 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. "

HEB 5:6 And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

HEB 5:7 During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Heb 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered

Heb 5:9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Heb 5:10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

[Heb 6:19-20]:

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

[Heb 7:1-3, 9-10]:

HEB 7:1 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,

HEB 7:2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."

HEB 7:3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

HEB 7:9 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,

HEB 7:10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

[Heb 7:11-17]:

HEB 7:11 "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come--one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

Heb 7:12 For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.

Heb 7:13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.

Heb 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

Heb 7:15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears,

Heb 7:16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

Heb 7:17 For it is declared: 'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.' "

FOLLOWING IS A POINT COUNTER POINT DISCUSSION ON WHETHER OR NOT MELCHIZEDEK IS A TYPE OF CHRIST OR CHRIST HIMSELF IN A PREINCARNATE APPEARANCE TO ABRAHAM

I was reading your article on Melchizedek and I disagreed with your conclusion that he was Jesus Christ preincarnate. If you would patiently permit me, I would like to explain.

According to what I have, this view was a minority one in the early Congregation, and most rejected it as unscriptural.

[This reasoning cannot be accepted as it is subjective and irrelevant. The gospel itself was often a minority view, even in the early Congregation. Reasoning must be based on a proper interpretation of Scripture. It has not been established that the preincarnate view was a minority one anyway. Taking what evidence we have of early church leaders via their writings some of whom were not even believers is not sufficient to establish a majority or minority view. In either case it is not the majority that establishes doctrine but the proper interpretation of the bible itself: the responsibility of each individual to determine himself]

Those who believed it were considered on the verge of being heretics (why I do not know

[I am often branded a heretic but without Scriptural basis]

Even those who held to this view admitted that it was not the orthodox view.

[Orthodox views are more often unscriptural than scriptural]

The early Congregation instead believed that Melchizedek was simply a type of Christ.

[Which does not affect the major doctrines of the faith. But what early Congregations belived may or not be correct. Scripture determines that. Besides that, no one really has a handle on what early congregations believed and did not believe due to lack of sufficient testimony as to such. So so far, if I were to take your reasoning, I would have to abandon the gospel because it was by some counts not the majority view of the early church]

But beyond this, I would like to post an article from another writer.

The serious Bible student will find that there are a

HIS IDENTITY REVEALED: REVEALED IN GENESIS 14

ctually four proposals to the identity of Melchizedek. The first proposal is that Melchizedek was a theophany of the preincarnate Christ. Carver writes: This is based on the belief that Hebrews 7:3 teaches that Melchizedek did not have human parents, that he came to earth without fleshly ancestors, that he possessed eternal life and a perpetual priesthood, and that he was literally formed like unto the Son of God." According to this proposal, it was actually the Son of God, the preincarnate Christ appearing as a man . . . . The city of Salem" over which Melchizedek ruled and in which he served as a perpetual priest, was actually a spiritual city. Abraham was visited by God in the person of the Son.

The second proposal identifies Melchizedek as a historical man who was an actual type of Christ. According to this proposal, Melchizedek was made similar to the son of God so that he can stand as a type of His perpetual priesthood.

The third proposal is that Melchizedek was a Canaanite priest who worshiped a Canaanite god. Carver observes: This is based on the belief that the ancient site of Jerusalem was occupied in Abrahams day by the Jebusites, a tribe of the Canaanites. Since Melchizedek came from Salem" or Jerusalem," he would be the ruling king and appointed priest over that tribe.

The fourth proposal identifies Melchizedek as Shem. This proposal gives identity to Melchizedek historically, and reveals the source of his priesthood and kingship. Shem would have outlived Abraham if the genealogical records of Genesis 11 are taken as an exhaustive record of the passage of time between the flood and the days of Abraham. If this proposal is true, the name Melchizedek would be a title rather than an actual name.

Of the two proposals mentioned, two are definitely impossible: the third and the fourth proposals. The third proposal identifying Melchizedek as a Canaanite priest is impossible because the Jebusites were idolators who worshiped Canaanite gods. Melchizedek could not have worshiped a heathen god because of the titles he used for the true God. Most High God separates the true God from the weak Canaanite gods. Possessor of heaven and earth is used by the prophet Daniel in the fourth chapter of his book.

In addition, archaeological records reveal that the Jebusites were preceded by that of a Shemite group of uncertain genealogy.

The fourth proposal identifying Melchizedek as Shem is impossible because Abrahams birth probably came about 1,200 years after the Flood. According to this, Shem would have been dead approximately 800 years before the birth of Abraham. Shem himself would have to have been resurrected in order to have been the Melchizedek of Genesis 14.

[None of the above reasoning is acceptable because it does not present the particular passages that are relevant and examine them in detail to see what they are saying. Conclusions drawn are unwarranted since they are not compared to the context and text of Scripture at all. They are in fact largely speculative and certainly not thorough. ]

Having observed the four proposals, it seems that there are only two possible answers concerning the identity of Melchizedek, which are: (1) He was a theophany of the preincarnate Christ,

or (2) He was a historical person who typified Christ. The true answer must be observed from the Scriptures.

It is very difficult to find any books or publications, current or past, that hold the view that Melchizedek was a Christophany of the preincarnate Christ. The author has also experienced this difficulty. However, the teaching can be traced by observing the few sources that are available.

William T. Bullock points out: Epiphanius says some (Haer. IXVII. 3 & IV.

5) in the church held the false view that Melchizedek was the Son of God.

Bullock further states that Ambrose was included among them.

[It is circular reasoning to conclude that either view is false in order to determine that either is false. You cannot conclude something is true in the process of investigating whether or not it is true.]

Dean Henry Alford writes concerning Jerome: Marcus Eremite (about 400), who wrote a treatise on Melchizedek, mentions heretics who believed him to be God the Word, before He took flesh, or was born of Mary.

However, it can be observed from other sources that Melchizedek was regarded by the early church to be a mere type of Christ and not a theophany. Alford states further that Ambrose, who apparently at first held the view that Melchizedek was a theophany, later Sexpressly states him to have been merely a holy man, a type of Christ. This last view was ever the prevalent one in the Church.

[Prevalence does not make doctrine - certainly not since the gospel has always been a minority in the church even today]

Further, F. W. Farrar writes: The notion that Melchizedek was . . . God the Word, previous to Incarnation, . . . Is on all sound hermeneutical principles, not only almost but quite childish.

[Sound hermeneutical principles actually support the preincarnate Christ as Melchisedek it will be shown. Not a good idea to call something you disagree with childish either]

. . . No Hebrew, reading these words, would have been led to these idle and fantastic conclusions about the super-human dignity of the Canaanite prince.

[Nothing in Scripture indicates that Melchizedek was a Canaanite prince. That's an eisegetical conclusion which is used to reach the conclusion that Melchizedek could not have been the preincarnate Christ]

Genesis 14 reveals several important facts concerning the identity of Melchizedek. First, although Abraham regarded Melchizedek as a person of great spiritual superiority, he did not in the context of Genesis 14 regard him as God manifested in the person of the Son.

[This cannot be concluded either way from an examination of Gen 14. Take another look. What is not stipulated there cannot be read into the passage. It does not address whether or not Abraham regarded Melchizedek as a person of great spiritual superiority nor as God manifested in the person of the Son. Therefore you cannot draw a conclusion about this either way. When the bible is silent about something one has to remain silent.

[Gen 14:17-20]:

(v. 17) '''Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley.

(v. 18) And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.

(v. 19) He blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High , Possessor of heaven and earth;

(v. 20) And blessed be God Most High , Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." He gave him a tenth of all.'''

Notice above what is not addressed: what Abraham thought of Melchizekek except for the actions which indicated Melchizedek was King of Salem who was a priest of God Most High. Scripture here does not indicate Who he is either except to say that he is king of Salem and priest of the most Holy God – it is silent on the matter. ]

This is very important for us to consider, since God the Son did appear and communicate with Abraham on several other occasions. Having become familiar with these appearances of God, it would seem that Abraham would have recognized Melchizedek as God the Son had he been so.

[The angel of the Lord speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and exercises the responsibilities of God (Gen. 16:7-12; 21: 17-18; 22:11-18; Ex. 3:2; Jud. 2:1-4; 5:23; 6:11-24; 13:3-22; II Sam. 24:16; Zech. 1:12; 3:1; 12:8).

Men and women to whom the Angel of the LORD appeared did not recognize the preincarnate Son of God as Angel of the LORD. More often than not the passage tells us that the appearance was the LORD with some passages indicating that the person being addressed by the LORD knew it was the LORD and some not. Some times the Angel of the LORD appeared as a convincing messenger of God with no particular stipulation in Scripture that the human being understood that the individual speaking to him/her was indeed the preincarnate Son of God of the LORD. Gen 16:13 is one place that Hagar acknowledges the Angel as the Angel of the LORD, Gen 17:1 God appears before Abraham in some fashion and announces Who He is. The Bible tells us Who He is, but this is not the same thing as saying that the man/women the Angel was speaking to understood that. In the absence of such explanation, one cannot assume anything on this matter. Where the bible is silent, one must be silent. A number of times God had His Word come in their consciousness to Abraham and others rather than through the Angel of the LORD in an appearance with voiced communication. Hence God works in a number of ways that are not all in a consistent and predictable pattern wherein we can make conclusions that God always works this way or that. And one circumstance in how God operates and one reaction when He does, does not dictate how every time such a similar occurrence must happen. Certainly we must not box God in to the way we think He should operate. The key is simply to take Scripture at what it says, drawing conclusions on the basis of the normative use of language, context and logic and nothing more – being silent on matters that the bible is silent on. Certainly the unique appearance of Melchizedek is different from the appearances and communications to Abraham and others of the Angel of the LORD or the LORD in sufficient aspects not to demand that Scripture establish some kind of rule by which the unique appearance of Melchizedek must be governed which context is different from all the others ]

Each time God the Son appears to Abraham, the Scriptures are very careful to declare the true identity of the appearance.

[There is not a hard and fast pattern by which we can override the context of a passage with some unwritten, non-established rule. Majority text hermeneutics is more often wrong than right – especially when it is coupled with arguments from silence and is imposed on a context that is not identical; as is the case here. ]

In Genesis 15:1-2 we read:

After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

The context reveals clearly that Abraham was addressing God Himself, Who appeared to Abraham in the vision.

[Note that this was a vision and Melchizedek was an actual appearance – a unique one at that, dissimilar from the Angel of the LORD and LORD appearances and visions and communications in that it was not a point of communicating something from God to an individual but a priestly ceremony and tithing. The many examples of the Angel of the LORD’s appearances, visions, communications were purposed as a direct communication with God. The unique appearance of Melchizedek featured Abraham’s voluntary offer of tithes to a king and priest of the spoils of war and a ceremony re: bread and wine which significance is not stipulated. Can we say absolutely that this vision is an applicable parallel to dictate the context of Genesis 14:18 – the latter which was not a vision but an actual appearance/existence by a combination of an majority rules all contexts coupled with argument of silence even when the contexts of the majorities don’t all match??? ]

Certainly, it makes one wonder why Melchizedek, if he were actually an appearance of God the Son, did not tell Abraham these words in Genesis 14 when he appeared to him. Is God absent-minded? Certainly not!

[Is Genesis 14:18 a complete account? Obviously not. It is very sketchy. It does not address this issue of Who Melchizedek was except that he was a king and a priest of the most High God. Can we say from an argument of silence here that Melchizedek is not the Son of God preincarnate on the basis of a vision in Gen 15:1-2 that indicates that the vision was from the LORD God???? Isn't that bad hermeneutics??? ]

Further, Genesis 18 records another visit by the Son of God to Abraham on the Plains of Mamre. Abraham recognized Him as God, calling Him my Lord, and not Melchizedek. If Melchizedek were actually a theophany, Abraham certainly would have recognized him as such.

[There is not a single passage in Scripture that supports this rule that all theophanies must be recognized by the one being appeared to! ]

Secondly, theophanies in human form were always temporary. Borland writes: Since theophanies in human form were always quite temporary and fleeting, it would be unusual for God to have visited Abram while posing as the king of a Canaanite city. Besides, in none of the identifiable Christophanies was the one who appeared connected in any permanent way with life on this earth. (Christ in the Old Testament, James A. Borland, Moody Press, 1978). Again, it is very important to note that Christ in the human-form theophanies never performed a religious or related ceremony

[The passages about Melchizedek do not address how long he was on the earth. Nor does the Bible restrict how theophanies must operate or their length of operation. Furthermore, there is no such hard and fast rule that says theophanies must only be temporary whatever that means: 1 day, 1 hour, 1 year, 20 years???? There is also nothing to say that Melchizedek was only there temporarily]

Borland writes again: . . . Melchizedek was titled priest of the most high God and brought bread and wine, the elements of a completed sacrifice, while he pronounced a blessing upon Abraham. These facts clearly reveal that the Melchizedek of Gene- sis 14 was not an actual appearance of Jesus Christ in human form.

[The bread and wine were not so stipulated as the elements of a completed sacrifice. The bible is silent on the significance of the bread and wine in this particular passage. On the other hand, had it been a symbol of our Lord’s sacrifice in His humanity, it would not have prevented Jesus Christ in His humanity from performing such sacrifice, would it? That is reading that into the text. No such conclusion can be made that because of Melchizedek’s bringing bread and wine that excludes him from being Jesus Christ in preincarnate human form performing the sacrifice at Calvary for the sins of the whole world. There is no such rule in Scripture]

HIS IDENTITY REVEALED: REVEALED IN HEBREWS 7

Since the New Testament supplements or completes the Old Testament, a great deal of light can be gleaned from Hebrews chapters six and seven. There are several important facts in Hebrews six and seven which prove that Melchizedek was not a preincarnate appearance of Christ in human form.

Preceding the short description of Melchizedek in Hebrews seven, there is a brief introduction to the mysterious person in the last four verses of chapter six, which read as follows:

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Carver writes about this verse: The statement says Jesus entered into the veil under the authority of His work of the cross, through this work having become forever a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. The statement is that our Lord Jesus became a High Priest forever after the order of Melchezedek through His sacrificial death on the cross. If He were the Melchizedek of history, then He would not have become a High Priest through the work of the cross. He would have already been a High Priest forever after His own order. In the endless ages of eternity past, Christ was already prophet, priest, and king. However, as far as the salvation of the believer is concerned, Christ became our great High Priest when He offered Himself upon the cross as our sacrifice for sin. In doing this, He was both priest and sacrifice. If Christ were the Melchizedek of Genesis 14, this principle would not be true.

[The preincarnate appearances and actions of the LORD before He added to Himself humanity do not conflict with His appearance on the earth when He added to Himself humanity. None of the passages that have Melchizedek in them address his work as priest would have something directly or symbolic to do with the sacrifice on the cross at Calvary although that may have been the case symbolically. But the bible is silent on this so we must be silent, drawing no definitive conclusions. Note that our LORD in His alleged appearance as Melchizedek was not yet in His humanity. The priestly rituals could also be symbolic of Calvary and not effect our Lord’s actual work on the cross! Our LORD’s alleged appearance as Melchizedek is not the same thing as His incarnate appearance as the One to go to the cross at Calvary in His humanity. ]

The second thing to notice is the word Sorder used several times in Hebrews 5-7 (5:6, 10; 7:11, 17, 21). The word translated order is taxis, meaning arrangement, office, rank, or group. The fact that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek clearly makes a distinction between the two. How could Christ be a priest after the order of Melchizedek if He were Melchizedek?

[Yes. The difference is between His preincarnate appearance as LORD and His appearances on the earth after He added to Himself humanity. ]

The third thing to notice is the word order of king and Priest in Hebrews 7:1. Melchizedek is King-Priest, whereas the chronological order for Christ is Priest-King. Christ has not been crowned king of any earthly domain as yet. This is to be a fulfilment of prophecy.

[I wouldn’t read too much into the order of these two words. Scripture is silent on the significance of the order in which these two words appear. One cannot take the king then priest order in Heb 7:1 as a chronological fulfillment of prophecy. For one refers allegedly to the preincarnate Christ and the other which is prophesized to Christ’s incarnation. Two different contexts. ]

Fourth, the words made like unto are very important for us to notice (7:3). Of course, these words mean similar to or a type of. Borland says that â¬Sit would be foolish to say Melchizedek was made like Christ, if indeed he were Christ.

[Why not? BTW, the word ‘foolish’ here is out of line. That’s a legitimate use of the Word. If Melchizedek is the pre incarnate Son of God on the earth certainly He is like the Son of God, because He is the Son of God. Notice it is declaring something about the priesthood: it consists of One who is like the Son of God. If He is the Son of God this would certainly be true and a legitimate way of expressing it! ]

Fifth, the argument that Melchizedek had no genealogy is denied in the context of Scripture. Verse six clearly declares that Melchizedek did have a genealogy when it speaks of he whose descent (genealogy).

[Let's take a look at the words]:

[Heb 7:1-3]:

(v. 1) 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, 2

(v. 2) and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."

(v. 3) Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.”

Verse 3 in the Greek stipulates that Melchizedek is “without father, without mother, without genealogy, neither beginning of days nor of end of life, like the Son of God remains a priest forever:

(Greek/English Interlinear (tr) NT) Hebrews 7:3 apatwr <540> {WITHOUT FATHER,} amhtwr <282> {WITHOUT MOTHER,} agenealoghtoV <35> {WITHOUT GENEALOGY;} mhte <3383> {NEITHER} archn <746> {BEGINNING} hmerwn <2250> {OF DAYS} mhte <3383> {NOR} zwhV <2222> {OF LIFE} teloV <5056> {END} ecwn <2192> (5723) {HAVING,} afwmoiwmenoV <871> (5772) de <1161> {BUT ASSIMILATED} tw <3588> {TO THE} uiw <5207> tou <3588> {SON} qeou <2316> {OF GOD,} menei <3306> (5719) {ABIDES} iereuV <2409> {A PRIEST} eiV <1519> to <3588> dihnekeV <1336> {IN PERPETUITY.}]

Furthermore, Christ does have a recorded genealogy and a human mother, which would disqualify Him from being the Melchizedek of Genesis 14.

[Not so. We are looking at Melchizedek as Christ’s preincarnate appearance in His eternal existence like the Son of God Who is eternal without beginning or end without genealogy vs the incarnate man like the Son of God who has a genealogy. So God the Son has no genealogy in His diety but in His humanity He does. ]

Melchizedek is said to be without father, without mother. Without genealogy simply means that Melchizedeks genealogy is not given.

[Melchizedek is said to be without father, without mother, without genealogy simply means He is without father, without mother, without genealogy. There is no way one could say this means his genealogy is not given which conveys the idea that he has a genealogy but it is not given here in the passage???? The verse says he is without genealogy. You cannot say then that he has one which then would say that he has a mother and a father. ]

Sixth, Melchizedek did have a father and a mother because verse four says that he was a man. Melchizedek was a temporal man.

[A preincarnate appearance as a man does not demand a father and a mother. It does not say he was a temporal man either. It says he is without beginning of days or end of life. That is hardly temporal.]

Seventh, Christ could not have been Melchizedek and still been better than Melchizedek (7:22). Certainly, Christ could not be better than Himself. Part of the argument of Hebrews would be destroyed if such were the case.

[Christ in His humanity completed His mission which Melchizedek – Christ in His preincarnate appearance symbolically represented. In this sense the former is greater than the latter just as the reality is greater than the symbol. ]

Eighth, verses 15-16 say that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. There is a one word in particular that we need to notice: the word similitude. This word declares that Christ is similar to or a type of Melchizedek. Christ is the another priest. . . after the power of an endless life. Such would not be the case if he were Melchizedek.

[Heb 7:15-17]:

(Heb 7:15) "And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears,

(Heb 7:16) one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life

(Heb 7:17) For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

Notice that Christ in His preincarnate appearance could certainly appear as Mechizedek Who is stipulated as without beginning or end like the Son of God – eternal and indestructible and then another priest of the order of Melchizedek: Christ in His Humanity appears “on the basis of the power of an indestructible life”, i.e., His resurrection Life in His Humanity.]

Thus, Melchizedek was not a Christophany. All the evidence points to the fact that he was a mere man who was a perfect type of the Lord Jesus Christ in His priesthood. Carver writes: We conclude that Melchizedek was not a theophany of the preincarnate Christ. He was not a supernatural being at all. He was a man; and because of the absence of any genealogical records concerning him, God has made him a marvelous type of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in his kingship and in his priesthood.

[Not so. It is indeed plausible that Melchizedek was the preincarnate Christ and is the resurrected Christ. One who is without beginning and without end, without genealogy, a priest and king of an order beyond the capacity of finite man, like the Son of God, priest forever = only God can be all those things: The Son of God preincarnate and the Son of God incarnate]