Friday, May 23, 2014

Who is Melchizedek?

In Hebrews 7:1-3 it says:

1 For this Melchizedek, 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 translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”  3 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. Hebrews 7:1-3

Let’s look at some of the characteristics of Melchizedek.

1. He was King of Salem. Salem means peace. He was the King of Peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6. It says:

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Is there a relationship between the King of Peace and the Prince of Peace?

2. He was a priest of the Most High God.

In Mark 5:7 Jesus cast out a demon:

And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” Mark 5:7

The Most High God is the God the Father. Melchizedek was a priest of God the Father.

3. Abraham was blessed by Him.

Paul point out in Hebrews 7:7 that the “the lesser is blessed by the better."

Melchizedek is greater than Abraham.

4. Abraham paid tithe to Him.

Paul explains in Hebrews 7:9,10 that because Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek, Abraham’s descendent Levi did as well. Paul says:

9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,  10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:9,10

His name means King of Righteousness.

Paul writes:

“There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10

But according to Psalm 116:5 God is righteous. The bible says:

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful. Psalm 116:5

5. According to Paul Melchizedek is the King of Righteousness.

6. He is without father or mother. He does not have a genealogy. He does not have beginning of days or end of life. Now some people say that Paul is simply pointing to the fact that there is no record of Melchizedek’s genealogy. But this does not agree with the point that Paul is making. In the next verse Paul says:

Now consider how great this man was, Hebrews 7:4

It is counterintuitive that Paul would be arguing for the greatness of Melchizedek and then mention that no one recorded his genealogy or knew who is parents or when he was born or died. There is another more biblical explanation for why Paul said that Melchizedek did not have a father or mother, genealogy or beginning or end of days. The explanation is found when we compare Hebrews 7:3 with Hebrews 7:8. Paul adds:

And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. Hebrews 7:8

Paul is contrasting the fact that the priests of the Levitical order die with the fact that Melchizedek still lives. The word “here” refers to the Levitical priesthood and the word “there” and “he” refers to Melchizedek. Putting this together with Hebrews 7:3 we can see that Paul mentions that Melchizedek is without a father or mother, without a genealogy and has no beginning or end of days because he is eternal and still lives. This is even further evidenced by the next point.

7. He is made like the Son of God in that He remains a priest continually. In other words Melchizedek is like Jesus because they are both priests continually.

In the Review and Herald Ellen White wrote:

It was Christ that spoke through Melchisedec, the priest of the most high God. Melchisedec was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. {RH February 18, 1890, par. 10}

Ellen White uses the exact phrase “the representative of the Father” 36 times. 35 times Ellen White uses this phrase for Jesus. She only uses it one other time to refer to Melchizedek. This strongly implies that Melchizedek is very similar to Christ. But as Ellen White and the bible make clear Melchizedek is not Christ. Who is He then? Here is another passage from Ellen White:

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 (Letter 190, 1905). {1BC 1092.8}

Let’s look at the three characteristics of Melchizedek in the passage from Ellen White.

1. Melchizedek represented the Lord Jesus Christ in Person. Jesus says of the Holy Spirit:

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13,14

2. Melchizedek revealed the truth of heaven. Again Jesus says:

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; John 16:13

3. Melchizedek perpetuated the law of God. Jesus says of the Holy Spirit:

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: John 16:7,8

The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Paul says about the law:

…for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

Melchizedek came to perpetuate the law of God and the Holy Spirit convicts of sin just as the law gives us knowledge of sin.

The role of Melchizedek and the Holy Spirit seem to be similar if not identical. Notice what Ellen White has to say about the role of the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.—The Desire of Ages, 669

Like the Holy Spirit Melchizedek also represented Christ. In addition Melchizedek is the representative of the Father: a role, according to Ellen White, that he shares only with Christ.

The Holy Spirit is also the representative of the Father. Jesus says:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

In conclusion Melchizedek is the King of Peace and the King of Righteousness. Melchizedek is the priest of the Most High God, which is the Father. Melchizedek is greater than Abraham because Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham paid tithes to him. Melchizedek is still alive and has always lived. Finally Melchizedek performed the same role as the Holy Spirit by representing the Father and Christ, revealing the truth of heaven and perpetuating the law of God.

There is no way to definitively identify Melchizedek but there is a lot of evidence both in the bible and the Spirit of Prophecy to connect Melchizedek with the role of the Holy Spirit.