Why is there so much confusion as to the identity of Melchizedek?
By Present Truth NZ
Why is there so much confusion as to the identity of Melchizedek? The Scriptures are very clear on this matter of identifying just who Melchizedek is. If we took the Bible just as it reads, and particularly the very distinct identifying characteristics of Melchizedek given in the book of Hebrews, instead of placing human conjectures upon God’s Word, we would all know very definitely who Melchizedek is.
WHO, THEN, IS MELCHIZEDEK?
Melchizedek is first mentioned in the Bible on the occasion when Abraham was returning from rescuing his nephew Lot, who had been captured during what is called, in the Bible, the battle of the kings. Melchizedek, king of Salem, went out to meet Abraham and his army, and Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine to feed them all. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.
“And when Abram heard that his brother [brother in the faith – really Lot was Abraham’s nephew] was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people…And MELCHIZEDEK – king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abraham], and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abraham] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.” Genesis 14:14-20
This is the first mention in the Bible of the word “Priest”. It is long before the birth of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. It is long before the establishment of the Levitical priesthood. It is long before Aaron was made the first high priest of Israel, and the Aaronic line of high priests. Jesus was not made a High Priest after the earthly Aaronic line of high priests, but He was made a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
MELCHIZEDEK WAS KING OF SALEM.
“In Salem also is His Tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion.” Psalm 76:2
“As soon as David was established on the throne of Israel he began to seek a more appropriate location for the capital of his realm. Twenty miles from Hebron, a place was selected as the future metropolis of the kingdom. Before Joshua had led the armies of Israel over Jordan it had been called Salem. Near this place Abraham had proved his loyalty to God. Eight hundred years before the coronation of David it had been the home of Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God. It held a central and elevated position in the country and was protected by an environment of hills. Being on the border between Benjamin and Judah, it was in close proximity to Ephraim and was easy of access to the other tribes.” Patriarchs and Prophets 703
MELCHIZEDEK was priest of the Most High God. The Most High God is God the Father, so Melchizedek is a priest of God the Father. Melchizedek’s priesthood is a heavenly priesthood, under God the Father, not an earthly priesthood after Aaron. Jesus was not made a High Priest after the earthly order of Aaron, but Jesus was made a High Priest after the heavenly order of Melchizedek.
The next Old Testament reference to Melchizedek is found in the book of Psalms.
“The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent [change His mind], Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4
This verse in the Psalms applies to Jesus, and is quoted in the book of Hebrews, as pointing forward to Jesus being our heavenly High Priest.
“So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee. As He saith also in another place [in the Psalms], Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec….And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Hebrews 5:5-20
“To lay hold upon the hope set before us. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, 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 Melchisedec.” Hebrews 6:18-20
The next reference to Melchizedek is in Hebrews chapter 7, where a full list of all the characteristics of Melchizedek is given. There is only one Person in all the Universe to whom all these characteristics can apply. Those who believe the Bible as the Inspired Word of God will have no difficulty in establishing exactly who Melchizedek is.
“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; 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; 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. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 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: But he [Melchizedek] whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction THE LESS [ABRAHAM] IS BLESSED OF THE BETTER [MELCHIZEDEK]. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them [Melchizedek], of whom it is witnessed THAT HE LIVETH. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, PAID TITHES IN ABRAHAM. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, for under it the people received the law, what further need was there that another priest [Jesus] should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and NOT be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken [Jesus] pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For He testifieth, Thou art a priest FOREVER after the order of Melchisedec…And inasmuch as not without an oath – [that is, with an oath – the oath of God the Father] He [Jesus] was made Priest: For those priests [in Old Testament times] were made without an oath [they became priests by hereditary right, not by being sworn by oath into the priesthood]; but [this One – Jesus] with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware [swearing into office by oath] and will not repent [will not change His mind], Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec: By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better Testament.” Hebrews 7:1-22
THE SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES OF MELCHIZEDEK
1. King of Salem
2. Priest of the Most High God
3. King of Righteousness
4. King of Peace
5. Without father, without mother
6. Without descent
7. Without beginning of days
8. Without end of life
9. Made like unto the Son of man
10. Abideth a Priest continually
11. Greater than Abraham
12. HE LIVETH [continual present tense]
13. The Levitical priesthood paid tithes to, in the loins of Abraham
14. After the power of an endless life
15. Abideth a Priest FOREVER
There is only one Person in all the Universe of God who can fit into all these Biblical characteristics of Melchizedek, without wresting the Scriptures.
Melchizedek was not any normal human being upon this earth, because He was without father, without mother, without descent, without beginning of days, and without end of life.
Melchizedek was not an angel from heaven appearing in human form to Abraham, either, because angels too are created beings. No angel has ever been given the titles of King of Salem, King of Righteousness, King of Peace. Although angels are “without father, without mother” – and “without descent or genealogy” – yet they cannot be said to be “without beginning of days”.
Melchizedek was not a visitant to this world from any of the other unfallen worlds in God’s Universe, for all the above reasons as well.
Melchizedek was not God the Father appearing in human form to Abraham, because no man hath ever seen God the Father at any time, nor seen His shape.
“No man hath seen God [the Father] at any time.” John 1:18
“And the Father Himself, which hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.” John 5:37
“God only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN, NOR CAN SEE.” 1 Timothy 6:16
Melchizedek was Priest of the Most High God [God the Father], therefore Melchizedek was not God the Father.
Melchizedek had many attributes which apply to Jesus, including King of Righteousness and King of Peace. Yet Melchizedek was not Christ, because Christ was made an High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and Melchizedek was made like unto the Son of man.
The only Person, other than God the Father, and Jesus the Son of God, who fits into all the attributes and characteristics of Melchizedek that are given in the Bible IS THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Melchizedek was the Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, appearing in human form to Abraham in that dispensation, just as Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, also appeared in human form, or in the form of an Angel, to Abraham and to the people of the Old Testament dispensation as well.
“It was Christ that spoke through Melchizedek, the priest of the Most High God. MELCHIZEDEK WAS NOT CHRIST, but He [Melchizedek] was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father.” Selected Messages Book 1 409,410
The voice of God in the world, and the representative of the Father is the Holy Spirit.
“God has never left Himself without witness on the earth. At one time Melchisedek represented the Lord Jesus Christ IN PERSON, to reveal the truth of heaven, and perpetuate the Law of God.” Bible Commentary Vol 1 1092,1093
Jesus is not Melchizedek, but through the Holy Spirit Jesus can also bear the name of Melchizedek, just as Jesus bears the name Jehovah – the special name of God the Father.
“Jesus is approaching the city with a great concourse of people….The rulers..enquire the cause of the tumultuous rejoicing. As they question, ‘Who is this?’ the disciples, filled with the spirit of inspiration, answer this question. In eloquent strains they repeat the prophecies concerning Christ: ‘Adam will tell you [who this is] – It is the seed of the woman that shall bruise the serpent’s head. Ask Abraham, he will tell you, It is Melchizedek King of Salem, King of Peace. Jacob will tell you, He is Shiloh of the tribe of Judah. Isaiah will tell you, Immanuel, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Jeremiah will tell you, The Branch of David, the Lord our Righteousness. Daniel will tell you, He is the Messiah.’” Desire of Ages 578
Jesus was made an High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Heaven is Jesus’ home. Heaven is the home of Melchizedek, the Holy Spirit.
“Christ Himself was a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Heaven was His home. He came to this world to reveal the Father.” Signs of the Times August 16 1899
THE TESTIMONY OF ELLEN G. WHITE
When Mrs White was in Australia, there was a meeting held at the Avondale College – on the subject of Melchizedek. At the Council, the Editor of the Australian Signs of the Times had requested the privilege of presenting his views as to whom he supposed Melchizedek was. He read from a series of articles he had prepared for publishing in the Signs. Present at the meeting were Elder S. N. Haskell, Elder W. L. Baker, Professor Hughs, Mrs. White, and Elder G. B. Starr.
As the Editor of the Signs read through his articles, Mrs. White interrupted him, saying, “Brother, I would not publish those articles if I were you.” He enquired, “Why not?” She replied, “Because they are not correct.” The question was then asked, “Who was Melchizedek then?” Mrs. White answered:- “I will tell you who Melchizedek was. He was the Holy Spirit of God assuming human form. He represented Christ to the people of that generation.” That brought the meeting to a close.
A written report was made of the meeting, and was signed and authenticated by Elder G. B. Starr, one of the persons attending the meeting.
MELCHIZEDEK BROUGHT FORTH BREAD AND WINE
“And Melchizedek, king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and He was the priest of the Most High God.” Genesis 14:18
The original Hebrew word that has here been translated as “brought forth” in our Bibles is YATSA
The literal meaning of this Hebrew word is “to be caused to come forth.”
The same Hebrew word YATSA is used in Genesis 1:12 – “And the earth brought forth [YATSA] grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” – God brought forth grass and herbs and trees, where they were not there before.
The same Hebrew word – YATSA – is used in Genesis 1:24 – “And God said, Let the earth bring forth [YATSA] the living creature after his kind…and it was so.” The animals were brought forth by the power of God’s Word, where there were no animals before.
Notice also where the same Hebrew word is used relating to Aaron’s rod that budded, and to waters coming forth from the rock:-
“And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth [YATSA] buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.” Numbers 17:8
“He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.” Psalm 78:16
Aaron’s rod brought forth buds, blossoms, and fruit, where there had been no buds, blossoms, or fruit the previous day.
The rock brought forth water, where there had been no water there before.
Why does the Bible record the fact that Melchizedek “brought forth” [YATSA] bread and wine for Abraham and his victorious army? It is because Melchizedek – the Holy Spirit – the Third Person of the Godhead – performed a divine miracle at the time of meeting Abraham with his army, similar to the miracles that Jesus – the Second Person of the Godhead – performed in turning the water into wine, and in feeding the 5,000.
LEARNING THE TRUTH BY COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE
“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13 “Jesus meant just what He said when He directed His disciples to ‘Search the Scriptures.’ Searching means to compare Scripture with Scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual. We should not be satisfied with a superficial knowledge. We should search for the hidden treasure concealed beneath the surface, as the merchantman seeks for goodly pearls. Light, great light, will reward the diligent searcher for truth.” Review and Herald June 4 1889
John 14:17,26 and 16:13-15, tell us who represents the Father in the earth. At the baptism of Christ the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove; on the day of Pentecost, as Cloven tongues of fire. It is not unreasonable (therefore) to conclude that the SAME SPIRIT could appear to Abraham in the person of the King of Salem. (“Priest of the most High God.”)