1) A friend asked: “Melchizedek (Prince of Peace) was that Lord Jesus?”
We believe, according to the Scriptures, that Melchizedek was a man, not the Lord Jesus Christ or the Angel of the Lord. Introducing Melchizedek, the Scriptures say: “And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought forth bread and wine. And he was the priest of the most high God” (Genesis 14:18 MKJV).
There’s no indication given that allows us to jump to the conclusion that Melchizedek was the LORD or His Angel. Nothing is said that indicates anything other than Melchizedek being a man, serving as the priest of God. Isn’t that what is written in the epistle to the Hebrews?
“Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils” (Hebrews 7:4 MKJV).
When the LORD appeared to Abraham in the form of a man, the Scriptures very plainly say so:
“And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre…” (Genesis 18:1 KJV).
The Scriptures don’t say it was Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, because Melchizedek was a man who lived on the earth, and wasn’t God Himself or His Angel.
At the time of Abraham’s trial, when he was offering up Isaac, the Angel of the Lord spoke to him from the Heavens:
“And the Angel of the LORD called to him from the Heavens and said, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here am I’” (Genesis 22:11 MKJV).
The Angel of the LORD doesn’t live on earth as a man, as Melchizedek did.
The confusion about Melchizedek comes from a passage in Hebrews that describes him as follows: “…without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3 MKJV).
Note that Melchizedek was made LIKE the Son of God, which means he wasn’t THE Son of God. And the fact that he was made means he wasn’t God, because God the Creator has always been. How do we explain the words, then, that Melchizedek had no father or mother or genealogy (descent)? Those words refer to his priesthood – “he remains a priest continually” – not to having an eternal existence on earth.
The context of the letter of Hebrews is comparing the Melchizedek priesthood to the Levitical, the latter being based on genealogy. All of the Levitical high priests came from the lineage of Aaron. Individually, they had a beginning and end, as did their collective priesthood, which ended with the death and resurrection of Christ and razing of the Temple.
Melchizedek’s priesthood was not transferable by physical life, but by the life of the Son of God. The children of faith have always lived by Him. Speaking of Israel in the wilderness: “…and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV).
David’s kingship is a similar example. God promised David to always have a man on the throne of Israel, and for a time, the kingdom was passed down by physical lineage. But that kingdom ended, and even today, with Israel raised from the dead, there is no throne of David. That’s because the fulfillment of God’s promise doesn’t come by physical inheritance, but by the spiritual inheritance of the sons of God through Jesus Christ, the “Son of David.”
2) Another friend asked:
“At the last meeting, you were talking about Melchizedek, whether he’s Christ or not, in the Book of Hebrews. I thought the Scripture was about Christ since I had read it in your reply to Rory, a JW (How Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Wrong). Actually, I also used it when trying to refute the notion that Christ was a mere man when I wrote to a JW friend. She replied that it was about Melchizedek, not Jesus. But I still thought that the Scripture talked about Jesus, only comparing Him to Melchizedek, until I read the last Sabbath meeting transcript. Now I’m a little confused. If the Scripture is not about Jesus, but about any son of God or only Melchizedek, why did Paul use it as a proof that Christ wasn’t created?”
The Hebrews writer described Jesus as a priest after the likeness of Melchizedek’s priesthood. I don’t see us saying Melchizedek was Christ or vice versa, although more could be said to avoid that appearance. What Paul Cohen had written was only focusing on what the Scripture said about Christ:
“But the Scriptures say that the Son of God has no beginning of days:
‘…without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, He remains a priest continually’ (Hebrews 7:3 MKJV).”
The Scripture is about both Melchizedek and Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The point Paul was making to Rory was how the Scripture clearly declares, contrary to JW doctrine, that the Son of God (to Whom Melchizedek in his priestly position is compared) has no beginning.
Your JW contact was right; the passage is not about Christ, only of someone to whom Christ was compared. Christ is compared to many things, whether by Himself or by others. He is known as the Rock, the Water and Bread of Life, Shiloh, the Light of the World, the Son of David, the Lamb, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and so forth.
We believe the Lord gave a certain man revelation about Melchizedek, that he was Shem, or that Shem was Melchizedek. Shem was an ancestor of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He came with his father, Noah, from the other world, the world before the Flood.
Shem outlived 10 generations after him, right down to Jacob’s time. (Shem was 11th from Adam, while Jacob was 22nd.) People referred to him as “the mourning one,” seeing he was witness to the death of so many of his offspring. Shem seemed as a man who lived forever and whose beginning was not in the post-Flood world (hence, no beginning).
History tells us he was the one who withstood Nimrod and finally destroyed him by the Word of God or prophecy he spoke (Read The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop). Truly, Shem was a priest of God and an extraordinarily aged man among future generations, highly respected.
“The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at Your right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill them with dead bodies; He shall shatter heads over much of the earth” (Psalms 110:4-6 MKJV).
Shem struck through kings by the power of God. Nimrod was the greatest of them, eventually becoming the anti-Christ, the one stealing Christ’s identity, later known by many names in many cultures, like Baal, for example. Shem judged among the nations in his day and there was great warfare between those Shem led against Nimrod’s peoples and armies. There were many dead bodies. Nimrod’s body was dismembered in the end, pieces of it sent far and wide throughout the then-known earth.
It is no different from the Lord. Many are falling because of the Word of God spoken in this, His Coming, His Day of Wrath. The nations are filled with dead bodies, with “heads shattered over much of the earth.”
– July 15, 2014
There is no truth more greatly opposed by mankind, which can justifiably lead us to suspect, or truly believe, that it is the greatest truth of all. This I believe: Anyone who knows this truth in the heart of hearts, and not just in the head, stands in the perfect will and ordained rest of God.
The Right Way vs. Any Way
Yes, it is "Who" is the Christ, and the answer is, of course, “the Lord Jesus.” However, we can also ask "What" is the Christ? The answer is exciting.