The Order of Melchisedec – Stephen Haskell, South Lancaster Papers
By Stephen Haskell
“Who is Melchisedec? He is the one that fills all the specifications the Bible gives of Melchisedec.
- He was a man. “Consider how great the man was.” Hebrews 7:4.
- He was a king. “King of righteousness.” “King of Salem, which is King of Peace.” Verse 2.
- He “was priest of the most high God.” Verse 1.
- He “abideth a priest continually.” Verse 3.
- He was greater than Abraham, for Abraham paid tithes to him, “and without contradiction the less is blessed of the greater.” Verses 4-7.
- Abraham received the promises, therefore Melchisedec was greater than the one who received the promises of God.
- He is the one “of whom it is witnessed that He liveth.” Verse 8.
- He was made “like unto the Son of God,” and therefore was not the Son of God. Verse 3.
- He was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” Verse 3.
In the Review and Herald of February 18, 1890, page 97, last paragraph, we read from Mrs E. G. White: “It was Christ that spake through Melchisedec, the priest of the most high God. Melchisedec was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in this world, the representative of the Father.”
There is but one being in the universe that fills all these specifications. That is the Spirit of God. He ever lives to intercede. He has no beginning of days or end of life. He represents the Father and the Son. He speaks peace to the troubled soul. He is not an angel of any kind, for angels are amenable to law, and were created. This being is equal to the Father and the Son. It is the voice of God in the world. A careful study of the above and belief of the same will forever settle the question as to who Melchisedec is.
Many speculations have been circulated in answer to this question; but the only sure way to arrive at right conclusions is to carefully study what the Lord has written of Him.
Melchisedec occurs eleven times in the Bible: eight of the instances refer to the priesthood of Christ, as follows;-
Psa. 110:4 Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec
Heb. 5:5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
Heb. 7:17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Heb. 7:21 (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:)
Heb. 5:10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
Heb. 7:11 Priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec
Heb. 7:15 After the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest.
The three remaining passages that speak of Melchisedec are descriptive of His character and work. In Genesis 14:18-20 we have the first mention of Melchisedec and in Hebrews 7:1-10, we have a further description of Him, the name Melchisedec occurring in the first and tenth verses. A careful reading of these last texts in will give us the following facts in regard to the work and character of Melchisedec.
- King of Salem
- King of righteousness
- King of peace
- Priest of the most high God
- Blessed Abraham
- Received tithes from Abraham
- Without father
- Without mother
- Without descent (margin, without pedigree).
- Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.
- Made like unto the Son of God
- Abideth a priest continually
- Descent is not counted from them (Abraham or Levi)
- Greater than Abraham
Who is Melchisedec?
The one who fulfils all these characteristics given by inspiration.
Is it Christ? No, for Christ has a Father and also a mother, and His genealogy is traced in the Bible. He has a descent. Melchisedec is “made like unto the Son of God,” and therefore could not be the Son of God.
Is it the Angel Gabriel? No, for the angels are created beings and therefore had beginning of days. The whole of the first chapter of Hebrews is given to show that Christ is far above the angels and that they in no way compare with Him, therefore Melchisedec, who is “made like unto the Son of Man”, could not be any one of the angels. Gabriel is not a king. Angels are messengers sent to minister.
The Holy Spirit, “the third person of the Godhead”, the soul of Christ’s life, and the light and life of the world, is the only one to whom all of the above specifications will apply. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, and therefore is “King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace.”
The “Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered, and He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the satins according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26, 27.
Therefore the Spirit “abideth a priest continually,” and is a “priest of the most high God.”
The Spirit is the “third person of the Godhead,” and therefore has no more “beginning of days nor end of life” than God Himself. There is no record of father, mother, or pedigree given of the Holy Spirit. As the third person of the Godhead, It is greater than Abraham and could bless him. The Spirit comes to the world as representative of Christ and thus is made like unto Christ.
The Holy Spirit has visibly appeared to man under different forms. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Christ. Luke 3:22. It came as cloven tongues of fire upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. To Abraham it appeared as a King, Priest. Today it comes as a blessed Comforter to everyone who will open his heart to receive it.
Was Melchisedec a real person, or simply a representative of a certain priesthood? The Scriptures plainly say He was both. He was the king of Salem, and he was a priest of the most High God. He was a king priest. He represented a king priesthood. This was fulfilled in Christ. Zech 6:12, 13. “Melchisedec king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of the Most High God.” Gen 14:18; Heb 7:1. He blessed Abraham and said, “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth,” “and he, (Abram) gave him tithes of all.“ Gen 14:19, 20; Heb 7:2, 4, 6, 7. Here are several terms used, all are literal. “Abram,” “Salem,” “tithes,” “bread and wine,” and “priest of the most High God.” These were as real as the battles fought by Abram and the spoils taken. The victorious triumph of the gospel is also indicated.
Melchisedec was of a priesthood that existed before the giving of the law. He was representing this priesthood. Christ was a priest after this order. “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.” Psa 110:4; Heb 5:6, 9, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 17, 21. It will be noticed that Christ is priest “forever” after this order. It is an order that always has and always will exist. The particular work of the priest may change, but the order exists. It was this priesthood that was represented by Melchisedec. A priest that offers and intercedes for others. Who is it that ever has and ever does this? Rom 8:26, 27.
The Holy Spirit
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Salem was the home of Melchisedec. It was the ancient site of Jerusalem, the same as Mount Zion. “In Salem also is His tabernacles, and His dwell place in Zion.” Psa 76:2. The place, the priest, the order of priesthood, his being also a king, and his bringing forth “bread and wine,“ represented something. He was “king of Salem, priest of the Most High God,” “being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also, king of Salem, which is king of peace.” Heb 7:2. But why does the Lord say, “without father, without mother, having neither beginning of days nor end of life?” The next clause explains it, “made like unto the Son of God abideth a priest continually.” The order abideth continually. Heb 7:3. If I understand it correctly, it is simply this: God takes a king priest, to represent an order of a priesthood, that has no beginning or ending, and therefore does not reckon his pedigree, or in the words of the margin, His is “without pedigree”.
The priesthood of Aaron was known by his pedigree. Ex 6:16-27. The reason that tribe was chosen for the priesthood, is given in Deut 33:8-29; Ex 32:25-29. This explains why Moses’ prophecy concerning Levi is so different from the one given by Jacob. Gen 49:4-7.
Elijah the Tishbite, represented the work of John the Baptist and the work of the third angel’s message, and he is only mentioned as a Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead. With this simple introduction, without any pedigree given, he is represented as locking heaven and going to the wilderness with the key. 1 Kings 17:1-6. When individuals are mentioned in the Bible representing an office or work, little is said about their pedigree. This must be apparent to every Bible student; so when an order of priesthood is represented that has no beginning or ending, an individual is selected to represent it, without giving their pedigree, or any particulars concerning him except that which pertains to the work represented.”
Stephen Haskell, South Lancaster Papers