Key Precept: The priestly dynasty of Melchizedek that ends with the last Adam started with the first.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins...So also Christ / The Anointed One 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.
As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec…Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 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. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and not…those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5)
The Melchizedek referenced in Genesis was alive in the same time frame as Nimrod, Abraham, and even long-lived Noah and his three sons.
“And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel / Nimrod king of Shinar…made war…Abram…smote them…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 blessed him, 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.” (Gen 14:18-20)
Now put this passage in the proper historical socio-politico-religious context we learned in the post on Nimrod.
“Anu [corresponds to YHVH] and Bel [Lord, corresponds to YHVH’s Son to whom was given dominion over the earth] called by name me, Hammurabi, [Ham – abi, Ham is my (fore)father), the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land…”
Now re-read the biblical statement, with appropriate emphasis.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Gen 14:18)
Not Nimrod – Hammurabi – Amraphael, but Melchizedek “was the priest of the most high God.” Nimrod is the fake, the Anti- Christ. Melchizedek is the real Anointed One. At the time that Nimrod was building Babylon as the religious and political capitol of the world and corralling as many of the nations fleeing to the four corners of the habitable world as he could in a desperate bid to realize his dream of being King of the World, Melchizedek was holding the fort in Jerusalem.
Who, exactly, is he?Melchizedek (transliterated from the Hebrew letters) or Melchisedec (from the Greek) is considered one of the most mysterious characters in the Bible. Reliable Christian study sources profess to be unable to determine who he is. Some mainstream Christian teachers propose that Melchizedek was not a normal human but a theo-phany or Christo-phany / phan-tom / spirit appearance of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament prior to his birth. The perplexity centers on the author’s statement that Melchisedec has no parents or offspring, but is eternal.
“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..” (Heb 7:1-3)
Since most people are mentioned without naming their parents or progeny, the fact that Melchizedek’s genealogy isn’t given in Genesis is not proof that he has none. On the other hand, since Jesus Christ’s parentage is most certainly and essentially established as the son of Mary and of God, and he most certainly and essentially had an end of life, he can’t be the individual who encountered Abraham. The author of Hebrews, like a host of other authors, must be using allegory, allusion, analogy, aphorism (as I am using alliteration) as literary devices to expand our understanding, If this is true, then:
- he is interpreting the story of a human Melchizedek meeting Abram to reveal a spiritual meaning beyond the prosaic news report of an event,
- he is comparing the character of Melchizedek to another person and as an abstract concept in addition to the concrete reality of this individual.
- he is translating material facts into spiritual truths.
Analogies often use “like” and “as” to establish the similarity between the known and the introduced, but not always, especially if there is an abstract as well as concrete meaning in the analogy. For example, the phrase “father of the nation” would more accurately be phrased “like the father of the nation” in a concrete sense, since the political father of a new state, such as Ata-turk, / Father Turk is not the literal parent of all the citizens. This is an allegorical concept drawn from the real “families of the sons of Noah…in their nations” recorded in Genesis 10:32, as well as the abstract father in the sense previously explored as the absolute authority, which itself initially drew its meaning from literal long-lived fathers of nations. But we understand what is meant.
Likewise, drawing attention to the lack of reported genealogy can be understood to be allegorical even without inserting “As if he was” in front of “without father…” This perspective is clinched by the explicit use of allegorical terminology that the Melchizedek who met Abraham is like the Son of God who had no genealogy. Again, this can’t be Jesus Christ who is not like, but is most certainly, the Son of God.
There is only one man who had no human parents, nor beginning of days nor end of life, and no descendants – in that state of perfection. The spiritual “…Adam, which was the son of God.” (Lu 3:38), before he was corrupted and started the degenerative process of death / time. This is the person to whom Abraham’s Melchizedek is being likened.
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” (Isaiah 28:9-11)
(As a side note, I can’t help but believe that “he” points directly to Paul, who, like Moses, was not an accomplished public speaker, and who communicated in the universal Greek language instead of national Hebrew.) “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom…” (I Cor 2:3-4)
Paul has previously used our knowledge of Adam as a foundation on which to develop spiritual truths about Jesus.
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (I Cor 15:45)
The writer of Hebrews is using the same teaching method when he draws an analogy between Adam and Melchizedek. He drawing our attention to the function of the Son of God, the entire purpose of which was to represent God and have dominion over the earth.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:26-28)
And that’s exactly what Melchizedek’s titles announce.
- Priest – vicar or representative, likeness – of the Most High God,
- King of Righteousness, explicitly, Melchi – Zadok, where we have before proven right-ness, doing things right not wrong, is necessary in order to be in control of anything from driving a car to managing turbulent subordinents,
- King of Salem / Peace, where peace is the cessation of enmity between previously hostile parties.
In an earlier post we examined how the Serpent’s attempt to destroy Adam failed when God responded with redemption and resurrection, and his attempt to dethrone Adam failed when God countered with reconciliation. God’s word / oath would not be broken. Adam remained the individual who represents God on earth, i.e. the Melchizedek. With this in mind, the following passage takes on a richer meaning.
“The LORD / YHVH said unto my Lord / Adoni [think Adam],
- Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
- rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent,
- Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek / King of Righteousness.” (Psa 110:1-4)
How do we reconcile Adam’s death with the oath that he would be a royal priest for ever? As with any king, it would be through his dynasty. This continuity is expressed in the proclamation “The king is dead. Long live the king!” Adam survives in his seed, his genes.
In an earlier post we saw how Satan got right to work reproducing himself through his seed in first a clone then a human hybrid to rule on earth. God, on the other hand, took his time. He didn’t reproduce his hybrid God-man until 4,000 years after he said he would. No wonder “there shall come in the last days scoffers…saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” (II Pet 3:3-4)
Meanwhile, amazingly, God appointed a mortal human being with a sin nature, no less, to oppose the evil hyper dimensional immortal Man of Sin. That’s how powerful humans are when anointed and controlled by the Holy Spirit. We are not passive recipients of grace to forgive sin. We are active players in God’s kingdom, given grace to defeat sin not only in our life but, through priestly intercession, in the lives of others.
The Melchizedek who met with Abram is not an anomaly. God has always had a human royal high priest stand-in for him on earth. He was simply God’s current Anointed One, AKA priest-king Son of God, at that time in history, in a line of descent, AKA order, from the first human commissioned to have dominion over creation.
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:” (Hebrews 7:23)
It is impossible to put all the cause and effect actions of various characters into a story and stay in chronological order of all the actors. That’s why authors use the literary devices of flash-backs, flash-forwards, and multiple viewpoints. When we treat Genesis 1-14 as one complete story that sometimes has to backtrack in time as the narrative shifts between main characters, we realize that Melchizedek doesn’t just mysteriously appear and disappear into the story. This character is woven throughout the story. When we assemble all the key actors on the world’s stage on the occasion of Melchizedek’s appearance, we won’t have a problem recognizing the person who carries the title and responsibilities of the Melchizedek in this act of the play.
And if you still don’t recognize him, check the written cast of characters. Genesis 5 gives the equivalent of the Sumerian King’s List which starts “When kingship descended from heaven.” That much we can all agree on. In the manner of king’s lists across times and cultures, Genesis 5 records the preflood lineage of Melchizedekian Priest-Kings anointed to protect God’s people.
“And all the days that King Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. And his heir apparent Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat his heir apparent King Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years…(and so on). (Gen 5:5-8)
“Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David…Noe, which was the son of Lamech, Which was the son of Mathusala…Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Lu 3:36-38)
While reading the following analysis of the significance of a son for the ancient Hebrews, consider that this derives from God’s own experience with his first son Adam.
Among the Jews to possess a child of one’s own was always considered to be the greatest blessing that God could bestow, and to be without children was regarded as the greatest curse. We see this reflected at Gen 15.2-5 (Yahwist source) in Abraham’s concern to have a son to be his heir. In later Judaism, as noted by A. M. Friedenberg, ‘the Rabbis regarded the childless man as dead’…
The husband who had no son dreaded the extinction of his house. Thus when Reuben says to his father, Jacob, ‘Slay my two sons if I do not bring him [i.e., Benjamin] back to you’ (Gen 42.37), he is placing at his father’s disposal the extension of himself and his house through time, something greater than even his own life.
Seen in this light, the biblical king list takes on a much greater significance. God’s son Melchizedek continues through anointed / designated / messianic heirs who represent God and rule creation as God ordained. This is the “order” of Melchizedek, where “A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder’s religious practice.”
Since the long lifespans of these individuals overlapped, not every appointed heir may have actually inherited the kingship. Details of some of the men who did assume responsibilities when the current king either died or became too old and infirm are given in the apocryphal book of Jasher.
“And Cainan [Adam’s great-grandson] grew up and he was forty years old, and he became wise and had knowledge and skill in all wisdom, and he reigned over all the sons of men, and he led the sons of men to wisdom and knowledge; for Cainan was a very wise man and had understanding in all wisdom, and with his wisdom he ruled over spirits and demons; And Cainan knew by his wisdom that God would destroy the sons of men for having sinned upon earth, and that the Lord would in the latter days bring upon them the waters of the flood. And in those days Cainan wrote upon tablets of stone, what was to take place in time to come, and he put them in his treasures. And Cainan reigned over the whole earth, and he turned some of the sons of men to the service of God.” (Jasher 2:11-14)
“And Enoch [Cainan’s great-grandson] lived sixty-five years and he begat Methuselah; and Enoch walked with God after having begot Methuselah, and he served the Lord, and despised the evil ways of men. And the soul of Enoch was wrapped up in the instruction of the Lord, in knowledge and in understanding; and he wisely retired from the sons of men, and secreted himself from them for many days. And it was at the expiration of many years, whilst he was serving the Lord, and praying before him in his house, that an angel of the Lord called to him from Heaven, and he said, Here am I. And he said, Rise, go forth from thy house and from the place where thou dost hide thyself, and appear to the sons of men, in order that thou mayest teach them the way in which they should go and the work which they must accomplish to enter in the ways of God. And Enoch rose up according to the word of the Lord, and went forth from his house, from his place and from the chamber in which he was concealed; and he went to the sons of men and taught them the ways of the Lord, and at that time assembled the sons of men and acquainted them with the instruction of the Lord…And all the kings of the sons of men, both first and last, together with their princes and judges, came to Enoch when they heard of his wisdom, and they bowed down to him, and they also required of Enoch to reign over them, to which he consented. And they assembled in all, one hundred and thirty kings and princes, and they made Enoch king over them and they were all under his power and command. And Enoch taught them wisdom, knowledge, and the ways of the Lord; and he made peace amongst them, and peace was throughout the earth during the life of Enoch. And Enoch reigned over the sons of men two hundred and forty-three years, and he did justice and righteousness with all his people, and he led them in the ways of the Lord...And it was in the fifty-sixth year of the life of Lamech when Adam died; [every generation was present and accounted for except Noah] nine hundred and thirty years old was he at his death, and his two sons, with Enoch and Methuselah his son, buried him with great pomp, as at the burial of kings, in the cave which God had told him. And in that place all the sons of men made a great mourning and weeping on account of Adam; it has therefore become a custom among the sons of men to this day. And Adam died because he ate of the tree of knowledge; he and his children after him, as the Lord God had spoken. And it was in the year of Adam’s death which was the two hundred and forty-third year of the reign of Enoch, in that time Enoch resolved to separate himself from the sons of men and to secret himself as at first in order to serve the Lord. And Enoch did so, but did not entirely secret himself from them…and the day on which he went and appeared to his subjects he taught them the ways of the Lord, and all they asked him about the Lord he told them…until all the kings, princes and sons of men sought for him, and desired again to see the face of Enoch, and to hear his word; but they could not, as all the sons of men were greatly afraid of Enoch, and they feared to approach him on account of the Godlike awe that was seated upon his countenance; therefore no man could look at him, fearing he might be punished and die…And the day came when Enoch went forth and they all assembled and came to him, and Enoch spoke to them the words of the Lord and he taught them wisdom and knowledge, and they bowed down before him and they said, May the king live! May the king live! (Jasher 3:1-22)
“And all the days that Enoch lived upon earth, were three hundred and sixty-five years. And when Enoch had ascended into heaven, all the kings of the earth rose and took Methuselah his son and anointed him, and they caused him to reign over them in the place of his father. And Methuselah acted uprightly in the sight of God, as his father Enoch had taught him, and he likewise during the whole of his life taught the sons of men wisdom, knowledge and the fear of God, and he did not turn from the good way either to the right or to the left. But in the latter days of Methuselah, the sons of men turned from the Lord, they corrupted the earth, they robbed and plundered each other, and they rebelled against God and they transgressed, and they corrupted their ways, and would not hearken to the voice of Methuselah, but rebelled against him.” (Jasher 4:1-4)
The Sumerian King List has interesting similarities to the Genesis 5 King List, but also significant differences. The most apparent is the lengths of time of each reign in the Sumerian list. However, this does not mean the Sumerian list is a complete myth. Someone more knowledgeable than me has analyzed the two numerical lists and concluded that it is possible to make the two lists match. Think of it like equivalents between the metric and the American measuring systems. In this case it is the difference between measuring in units of 60 like minutes in a hour and circles, and measuring in units of 10 like our currency.
When the kingdom durations of the antediluvian section are expressed in an early sexagesimal numerical system, all durations except two are expressed as multiples of 602. A simple tally of the ciphers used yields six 10×602 signs, six 602 signs and six 60 signs.
The lives of the biblical patriarchs, however, have a precision of one year. If Adam and Noah are not included (as in the King List), and the lives of the patriarchs are similarly rounded to two digits, the sum of the lives has six 103 signs, six 102 signs and six 10 signs. In addition, if the number representing the sum of the ages was wrongly assumed as having been written in the sexagesimal system, the two totals become numerically equivalent.
It is suggested that the Sumerian scribe that composed the original antediluvian list had available a document (possibly a clay tablet) containing numerical information on the ages of eight of the patriarchs similar to that of the Genesis record and that he mistakenly interpreted it as being written in the sexagesimal system.
That the two documents are numerically related is strong evidence for the historicity of the book of Genesis. The fact that the Sumerian account shows up as a numerically rounded, incomplete version of the Genesis description, lacking the latter’s moral and spiritual depth, is a strong argument for the accuracy, superiority, and primacy of the biblical record. In addition, the parallels between the Sumerian and biblical antediluvian data open up the possibility of establishing chronological correlations between the rest of the Kings List and the book of Genesis.
I wouldn’t try to understand exactly what is being explained, simply take away the information that the Sumerian King List does have historical value for understanding the pre-flood political system. And it is a detailed description of what the Bible summarizes – perpetual warfare between power hungry rivals to the Kingdom of God.
In the passage copied below the line numberings for referencing by researchers, like biblical chapter and verse numbers, were eliminated to make the flow of the narrative easier to follow.
The following is the translation by Jacobsen 4 of his critical edition of the Sumerian text of the antediluvian section of the King List together with a few selected lines of the postdiluvian section for comparison (see the [online] text following for explanation of the italics, bold and underlining):
When the kingship was lowered from heaven
the kingship was in Eridu(g).
(In) Eridu(g) A-lulim(ak) / Cain (became) king
and reigned 28,800 years;
Alalgar / Enoch reigned 36,000 years.
reigned its 64,800 years.
I drop (the topic) Eridu(g);
its kingship to Bad-tibira(k)
(In) Bad-tibira(k) En-men-lu-Anna(k)
reigned 43,200 years;
reigned 28,800 years;
divine Dumu-zi(d), a shepherd, reigned 36,000 years.
reigned its 108,000 years.
I drop (the topic) Bad-tibira(k);
its kingship to Larak was carried.
(In) Larak En-sipa(d)-zi(d)-Anna(k)
reigned its 28,800 years.
reigned its 28,800 years.
I drop (the topic) Larak;
its kingship to Sippar was carried.
(In) Sippar En-men-dur-Anna(k)
became king and reigned 21,000 years.
reigned its 21,000 years.
I drop (the topic) Sippar;
its kingship to Shuruppak was carried.
(In) Shuruppak Ubar-Tutu(k)
became king and reigned 18,600 years.
reigned its 18,600 years.
5 cities were they;
reigned their 241,200 years.
The Flood swept thereover.
After the Flood had swept thereover,
when the kingship was lowered from heaven
the kingship was in Kish.
[end of the antediluvian section]
In Kish Ga … ur(?) [from a biblical world view this would likely be Noah, the most authoritative and trusted leader in this scary new world guiding the growing population, while Shem likely re-established YHVH’s eternally assigned worship center and gateway to heaven at Jerusalem.
45 and reigned 1,200 years;
Aka, [missing lines possibly first mention of post-flood organized warfare correlating with Sargon / Arphaxad]
reigned 625 years.
Kish was smitten with weapons; [
its kingship to E-Anna(k)
In E-Anna(k) / Uruk
Mes-kiag- gasher / [Gilgamesh / Nimrod]
son of Utu, became high priest
and king and reigned 324 years.
I drop the topic Sumerian King List.
Note that the Sumerian rival to the biblical version reports that “After the Flood had swept thereover, when the kingship was lowered from heaven”. There is no question that the Sumerians acknowledged that the true power of a king came from heaven, both before and after the Flood. The only question then, is “Who, in which one of the heavens, is empowering which early ruler?”
The one name we should all be able to recognize is “son of Utu”. From the previous post on the Seed of the Serpent we recognize this to be Marduk, the Sumerian Antichrist, the rival to YHVH’s anointed Christ.
Just as with the Christ and Antichrist (read the Seed of the Serpent for more detail on this), the actions of the individual gives us the way to recognize the role of the individual who is the Melchizedek in any generation of the order.
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God.” (Hebrews 5:1)
Both Adam and Enoch (stated twice in his case for emphasis) “walked with God“. This is key to recognizing scripturally legitimate annointed ministers of God.
“Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…There is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all…for the work of the ministry…Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” (Ephesians 4)
Moreover, the passage describing Melchizedek Shem’s exercise of his office towards Abraham applies to every individual in that office. This is the certain way to recognize God’s vicar on earth.
“this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God…blessed him…Now consider how great this man was…blessed him [the great man Abraham ] that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better…” (Hebrews 7:1-7,23)
The authority to grant this blessing and the power to realize it derives from Creator God’s original blessing to humans.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:27-28)
Crossing through the flood to guarantee continuity in the knowledge of the true God, surely we can recognize that Noah is the priest of the Most High God, the king of Righteousness, the Melchizedek.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah [just listed in the previous section of the document]: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and NOAH WALKED WITH GOD.” (Genesis 6:5-9)
And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” (Gen 8:20)
Then, Noah was disgraced by his son Ham, and could no longer serve in the exalted role of High Priest. and passed the scepter to Shem.
An interesting confirmation of the biblical account is provided in Mesoamerican mythology where it appears that Noah may indeed have spent his post-flood remaining years of life traveling the world preaching the way of salvation, before being supplanted, as in Mesopotamia, by Antichrist.
The legends of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent chief god of all the Mesoamerican cultures, goes back to about 1200 B.C. with the first and foundational Olmec civilization. Accounts preserved by successor Mesoamerican cultures tell of a great hero, Ce Acatl Topiltzín Quetzalcoatl who taught people to be good. He confronted priests of a capital city in an attempt to stop human sacrifice. One day Quetzalcoatl unknowingly drank an intoxicating beverage and committed incest with his sister. Ashamed, Quetzalcoatl surrendered his priestly position and left Mesoamerica.
“And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren without [bragged about it].
The Bible uses the phrase “nakedness of” as a euphamism for incestuous sexual activity, In Ham’s case it may have been virtual sex / pornography, watching his father engaging in sex with his mother or it might have been, like Reuben, directly engaging in sex with his father’s wife while Noah was indisposed and unable to prevent it. To whatever degree, this insult is particularly abhorrent to God.
“And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father ; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” (Gen 9:20-27)
Shem lived for 100 years before, and 500 years after, the flood, providing eye-witness accounts of God’s judgment on the gods’ corruption of humanity to every generation through to Abram. Shem is so evidently the individual functioning as the Melchizedek at the time of history when Abram visited him that his personal name didn’t need to be written into the biblical record.
The ancient Targumim (Aramaic interpretive translations) identify Melchizedek as Shem – son of Noah. Shem was one of the links in the chain who transmitted the G‑dly traditions that originated with Adam. These traditions were carefully handed down from generation to generation, and Shem—who headed an academy—was a key conductor of these teachings.
“Abram…went to Noah and his son Shem, and he remained with them to learn the instruction of the Lord and his ways, and no man knew where Abram was, and Abram served Noah and Shem his son for a long time. And Abram was in Noah’s house thirty-nine years, and Abram knew the Lord from three years old, and he went / walked in the ways of the Lord until the day of his death, as Noah and his son Shem had taught him.” (Jasher 9:5-6)
“Adoni-zedek [clearly referencing the same individual as Melchi-zedek, where Adoni / my Lord is an acceptable alternate title to] king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people, with bread and wine, and they remained together in the valley of Melech [King]. And Adonizedek blessed Abram, and Abram gave him a tenth from all that he had brought from the spoil of his enemies, for Adonizedek was a priest before God.” (Jasher 16:11-12)
Shem can also be recognized as Melchizedek by his priestly designation as “the father of all the children of Eber / Hebrews. Since the same verse continues to state “even to him (Shem) were children born,” clearly “father” in this context references not the generative but the religious function.
As the head of the one righteous nation formed at the splitting of united humanity into many nations at the Tower of Babel, Eber’s resume certainly fits the bill as Shem’s heir. As one of the ancient fathers born before the countdown in lifespans, (H)Eber was still alive into Jacob / Israel’s lifetime. He could have provided leadership to Isaac and Jacob prior to Abraham’s assumption of the role. It is interesting to speculate, however, that perhaps Eber is not further mentioned in Abraham’s territory because he, like Paul, was ministering to scattered believers / Hebrews all around the world. More on this in the post For God So Loved The World.
The flags indicating Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were in the order of the religious fathers who showed the way to God is that they are recorded to have walked in the way of God. The original “Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.”
“God, before whom…Abraham and Isaac did walk” (Genesis 48:14-15)
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect…Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for
- a [religious] father of many nations have I made thee.
- And I will make thee exceeding fruitful / productive / successful
- and I will make nations of thee, and kings / fathers of nations shall come out of thee.
- And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee…”(Gen 17:1-18)
I put to you that the everlasting covenant made with Abraham is the Melchizedekian priesthood, inherited through one single line of anointing as the Messiah / Christ from Adam to Abraham and his designated heirs culminating in Jesus Christ. This covenant is expressly defined as renewing a human king’s righteous dominion over the whole world.
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh [i.e. human, not God our heavenly father], hath found?…what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness...that he might be the father / leader, guide, teacher, priest of all them that believe...that righteousness might be imputed unto them also…who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham…
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was...through the righteousness of faith…of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.“ (Ro 4:1-18)
Possession of the promises only occurred as Abraham and his heirs acted in faith on God’s promise to supernaturally empower them to partner with God to fulfill his purpose to be his earthly representatives. Let’s look at the documented examples.
Abraham was called out of Mesopotamia to take possession of the land of Canaan only after he publicly acted on his faith in Yahweh’s promise to restore life by remaining faithful unto death.
…Abram was clothed with the spirit of God. And he called out and said, Woe unto my father and this wicked generation, whose hearts are all inclined to vanity, who serve these idols of wood and stone which can neither eat, smell, hear nor speak, who have mouths without speech, eyes without sight, ears without hearing, hands without feeling, and legs which cannot move; like them are those that made them and that trust in them.
And when Abram saw all these things his anger was kindled against his father, and he hastened and took a hatchet in his hand, and came unto the chamber of the gods, and he broke all his father’s gods…
Make no mistake, whenever a true believer stands up for the true God there will be a fight. Basically, people take it as a real put-down to their ego when they are told they need a higher power – and authority.
And Terah entered the room and found all the idols fallen down and broken…And when Terah saw this his anger was greatly kindled, and he hastened and…found Abram his son still sitting in the house; and he said to him, What is this work thou hast done to my gods?…And Terah, seeing all that Abram had done, hastened…to the king and he came before Nimrod and…And he said…thus has he done to my gods and thus has he spoken; and now therefore, my lord and king, send for him that he may come before thee, and judge him according to the law, that we may be delivered from his evil...
And the king said to Abram, What is this that thou hast done to thy father and to his gods?…And Abram answered the king, saying…0 foolish, simple, and ignorant king, woe unto thee forever. I thought thou wouldst teach thy servants the upright way, but thou hast not done this, but hast filled the whole earth with thy sins and the sins of thy people who have followed thy ways. Dost thou not know, or hast thou not heard, that this evil which thou doest, our ancestors sinned therein in days of old, and the eternal God brought the waters of the flood upon them and destroyed them all, and also destroyed the whole earth on their account? And wilt thou and thy people rise up now and do like unto this work, in order to bring down the anger of the Lord God of the universe, and to bring evil upon thee and the whole earth? Now therefore put away this evil deed which thou doest, and serve the God of the universe, as thy soul is in his hands, and then it will be well with thee…
And the king said to the princes and sages…decide what judgment is due to this man who reviled the king; who spake and did all the things that you heard. And they all answered the king saying… having despised our gods, he must therefore be burned to death, for this is the law in this matter…and the king ordered them to take Abram from prison and bring him out to be burned.
Isaac was Abraham’s designated Melchizedekian heir, although at this time in history the role was essentially that of a vagabond king waiting to reclaim his throne from the rebels. The unfortunately description of this condition is “Pretender.”
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” (Genesis 17:19)
Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, who became instead the father of the Arabs and Islam. We can deduce from what we have learned about an heir, the “the only begotten son”, that this is because Isaac, not Ishmael, reflected both Abraham’s and Yahweh’s Savior’s character of obedience unto death.
“Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called…And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” (Genesis (Genesis 21:8-13; 22:6-10)
Jacob was chosen over Esau because he valued the inheritance so much he risked his life to get it.
“And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore
- God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
- Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee:
- be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee:
- cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee. (Gen 27:26-29)
We also don’t always recognize that Jacob was functioning as a Melchizedek, but it is because he was the greater world-wide priest-king, the Melchizedek, that Jacob was in a position to bless the Egyptian-only Pharaoh.
”And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (Heb 7:7)
“And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh.” (Gen 47:7)
But by now we should recognize the current Melchizedek of the whole earth when we see him in action. Joseph directly succeeds Jacob.
“God…hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8)
“And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth…And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” (Genesis 41:55-57)
Genesis wraps up the Melchizedekian lineage with Joseph’s death and the next book in the series opens with Moses. Could it be that the Melchizedek is the main human character in Exodus as he was in Genesis, so obviously as to not need identifying as such?
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10)
When we check out Moses’ activities to determine this, we find that Moses was absolutely God’s representative, not only to the nation of Israel, but to the nations of the world covered by Egypt’s empire.
”I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God…And the LORD said,
- I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt…
- I am come down to deliver them…Come now therefore, and
- I will send THEE unto Pharaoh,
- that THOU mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt…
- THOU shalt be to him instead of God. (Exodus 3:5-10, 4:16)
Moses was the priest-king in Jeshurun, i.e. in the era of the Upright Ones of the eternal God,
“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together…There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.“ (Deuteronomy 33:4-5, 26-27)
“…get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which MOSES…gave you on the other side Jordan. But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:4-6)
What is commonly overlooked in the establishment of the Mosaic law is that, at the very beginning of the process (Exodus 19), before the Levitical priesthood was established (Exodus 28), there were already priests ministering to the people. They were Melchizedekian priests / fathers / elders / heads over each tribe. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and Job for that matter, another Hebrew, not an Israelite – they performed the sacrifices for their people, at the very least – as they mediated between God and the people along with Moses.
“And God said moreover unto Moses…Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt…And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.” (Exodus 3:15-18)
However, these Melchizedekian priest-leaders turned in their resignations when God became too real for them.
“And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled…And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down,
- charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish.
- And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.” (Exodus 19:16-22)
“And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire)…even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said…this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? [Unbelief!] Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us [refusing responsibility]…
and the LORD said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee, they have well said all that they have spoken. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always…Go say to them, Get you into your tents again. But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 5:23-31)
So their responsibilities were given to another brotherhood / nation – the Levites, after they proved their qualifications by joining forces, identifying with, “knowing” Moses.
The Levites were ordained to be a new order of priests to the entire nation of the children of Israel. This did not, however, do away with the priestly order of Mechizedek.
As the father / teacher of the Levitical priesthood, Moses was in a higher priesthood. There is only one other. The Melchizedekian.
“And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah…for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.” (Deuteronomy 33:8-10)
“…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 [their brethren, also] come out of the loins of Abraham:
But he [Melchisedec] whose descent is not counted from them [the Levites] received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better…I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him...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 for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 7:4-17)
“Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying…as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest…thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:1-9)
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:9)
An interesting anomaly to point out here is that Jacob appointed Judah as his Melchizedekian priest-king successor – not Joseph.
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people [resurrection] be.” (Genesis 49:8-10)
So how did Joseph, Moses and Joshua inherited Jacob’s Melchizedekian position?
Remember, this is an appointed / anointed position. It’s not a freebie that comes automatically with birth rank. There are many examples of inheritance being taken away from one who is unworthy and given to another. The tribe of Judah, for example, temporarily lost its qualification to rule for ten generations because Judah had bastard, i.e. incestuous, heirs by his daughter-in-law.
“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” (Deuteronom 23:2)
It was during the time when Judah and his heirs were sidelined that Joseph then Moses, then Joshua, and seven other generations of men were ordained to be the Melchizedek to the world in their day. We’re going to skip over them for the purpose of learning the maximum possible from the best examples, and focus next on the most famous Old Covenant example of Melchizedek.
King David is the first generation from Judah who qualified for the post.
“Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel FOR EVER: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel:” (I CHronicles 28:2-4)
King David is the specific Melchizedek in the only other Old Testament mention of this role, a psalm written by and about himself as well as his predecessors and successors up to the penultimate heir to the post, Jesus Christ.
“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The LORD at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.” (Psalm 110)
Note particular that King David’s description of Melchizedek, supported by his way of life, is that the King of Righteousness is no wuss. He brings peace for sure, like the white-hatted heroes of the American Wild West, one way or another – surrender, or die. David’s proclamation of “Death to the enemies of God’s people!” is consistent with the first documented mention of Melchizedek honoring Abram for the “slaughter of the kings”.
David’s succession to Adam’s priest-kingship is apparent if we take David’s lineage given in I Chronicles 1-2 as just as important in establishing his right to the Melchizedekian throne as Jesus’ lineage is in Luke 3. This inheritance can be recognized in David’s own theocratic career (I Chronicles 11-23), during which he extended dominion and worship of the true God beyond the borders of Israel. (Is there a difference between dominion and worship? That’s a rhetorical question.)
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep,
- that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel:
- AND I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men [empire builders] that are in the earth.
- ALSO I will ordain A PLACE for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning, And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel.
- MOREOVER I will SUBDUE [put them under your rule] all thine enemies.
Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.” (I Chro 17:7-14)
Further proof of David’s Melchizekian role is found in other psalms. These are not just prophesying of Jesus Christ’s future perfected relationship with YHWH but also testifying of David’s personal relationship with YHWH. Take Psalm 2 for instance. There is nothing there that can’t be attributed to David’s personal experiences. Surely that is how the audience of his day understood them.
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son [of God, the ruler], lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psa 2)
Kissing the Son is a common expression of publicly acknowledging a ruler’s authority.
“And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him…Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.“ (I Ki 19:13-18)
“Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?” (I Sam 10:1)
But David wasn’t a priest! You protest. Not in the Levitical system, true. That’s the point. But he certainly represented God to his people, as did all the kings in that era.
In the preceding posts we saw that the pagan gods adopted their human rulers as their sons as well as appointed them their representative priest-kings. When Ahaz rejected the God of Israel he became both the son and the priest of the pagan god.
“Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me…
And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus…
and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon. And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar. “ (II Ki 16:1-16)
What we may have missed in the history lessons is that even Christian kings claimed to be priests. The divine right of kings existed under the Medieval popes but became even more firmly entrenched after the Reformation with the king’s full assumption of spiritual power as head of the state church.
In England it is not without significance that the sacerdotal vestments, generally discarded by the clergy – dalmatia, alb and stole – continued to be among the insignia of the sovereign.” King James of KJV fame based his arguments for his right to absolute power in part on the biblical record that kings are “God’s lieutenants upon earth”, although he stretched the point when he claimed that “Kings are justly called Gods, for that they exercise a manner or resemblance of divine power upon earth.
King David’s position in the higher level Melchizedekian order is evident in the record that he, like Moses, exercised authority over the Aaronic priesthood and was the anointed ruler over not just Israel, but the whole earth.
“And David…prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent [functioning exactly like Moses]…And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, And said unto them…sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order…And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen...So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of [as the representative of] the LORD. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel…Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren…[speaking first to God’s chosen nation Israel] O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones…Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations…Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance. When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it [obviously referring to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons] And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, Saying, Touch not mine anointed [obviously Abraham, Isaac, Jacob...] and do my prophets no harm…Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations…[speaking in his role as Melchizedek to the rest of the nations of the whole earth] Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.“ (I Chron 15-16)
The same statements that apply to the son of David as prophesy for the future originally applied to David himself. “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father…I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” is referring to David – as a successor to Adam, the original son of God, YHWH’s representative to whom dominion over the whole earth was granted. Note that David, the youngest born in his earthly family, and only a son-in-law to King Saul, was “made” the firstborn, i.e. the heir. We understand this with Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Reuben and Judah.
The following excerpt from James M. Gibbs, Ph.D.’s doctoral dissertation on the meaning of “son of God” when applied to a Jewish king is very enlightening.
…the concept of sonship in Hebrew family life, which underlies all OT and Jewish thought on the subject, is that a son is one designated or acknowledged as such by a father…the father-son relationship is not primarily physical but rather an interpersonal one created by a sovereign act of the father. The son is to be obedient to, submissive to and dependent upon his father. The perfect son then is the incarnation and extension of his father’s will and character, and he points to his father, not to himself. If he is the Son of God in the unique sense that the NT claims for Jesus, then he will incarnate the demands of God’s righteousness, and he will present the demand for discipleship, the demand for obedience, obedience however not to the Son as such but to God the Father, that is, to the Father’s will as made manifest by the Son. Thus the concept of Son of God on OT-Jewish lines is basically moral, interpersonal and theocentric.
When the king is spoken of as Yahweh’s son (as in Ps 2.7, a favourite text with NT writers), it is in terms of adoption by God for obedient service rather than in terms of divinization…it has its own distinctive emphasis on the obedient subordination of the king as son...we never find in Israel any expression of a ‘metaphysical’ conception of the king’s divinity and his relation to Yahweh. It is clear that the king is regarded as Yahweh’s son by adoption, When, in Ps. 2.7, Yahweh says to the king on the day of his anointing and installation, ‘You are My son; I have begotten you today’, He is using the ordinary formula of adoption, indicating that the sonship rests on Yahweh’s adoption of the king…. Yahweh has ‘called’ and ‘chosen’ the king, made him His son, anointed and endowed him with His spirit…The king performs the will of Yahweh, and through him Yahweh’s blessing to land and people is transmitted; he represents Yahweh before the people...This is consistent with the notion of ‘son’ as basically designating a role or function rather than being an ascription of honor…But gradually the main emphasis came to be placed upon him as the representative of Israel before God, as a representative man from the chosen people. In this he was seen as the chief priest of the people...”
Zerubbabel / Zorobabel is a well-documented example of the Son of God functioning as the proper, righteous, priest-king, i.e. Melchizedek, when he re-established YHWH’s worship at Jerusalem.
“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah…This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” (Zech 1:1, 4:6-9)
“Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.” (Ezr 3:2)
Don’t miss the context of Zerubbabel’s reported activities. He is engaged in a battle against God’s enemies.
“Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building.” (Ezra 4:1-4)
And the worst enemies are the ones who are supposed to have your back, but instead shoot you in it.
“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.” (Ezra 9:1-2)
Perhaps one of the reasons that even sincere Bible believers in both the 1st and 21st centuries have such a hard time grappling with the idea of the Melchizedek is that we all got side-tracked thinking the Levitical priesthood was the only biblical priesthood. And so that is addressed in Hebrews. There are two orders.
- The Levitical priesthood is tasked with serving the nation of Israel.
- The Melchizedekian priesthood, which preceded and supersedes the nation of Israel, serves the whole world.
This is essential theology, which is why it is just hammered in Hebrews. (That’s a pun since “Hammer” is one of the interpretation of “Maccabee”, the nickname given to one of many military leaders from the tribe of Levi notorious for standing up for righteousness, with Moses, who established the Levitical priesthood, being the most famous.)
The reason the King List in Luke goes all the way back in time to Adam, and not just to David, is to prove that Jesus of Nazareth inherited not only
- the right to rule over Israel from David,
- but also the authority to rule over God’s Kingdom of Heaven and Earth / Creation as Melchizedek from Adam.
“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, Which was the son of Matthat…which was the son of Juda, Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Lu 3:23-38)
Jesus’ priestly role is also apparent in this passage if you treat Luke 3-4 as having one unified theme.
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Lu 4:14-21)
And Jesus’ rule over the whole earth is also clearly presented.
“…and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat 4:13-17)
We recognize the royal lineage from Judah, we just don’t always appreciate the clear statement that Jesus also inherited the right to be the lawgiver, like Moses, i.e. High Priest, along with his kingship, and that’s why the corrupt religious rulers of his day were getting the shivers at the idea of acknowledging him as the Melchizedek.
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Messiah / Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst [dared] any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” (Matt 22:41-46)
What we post-New Testament readers get from this is that Jesus is alluding to his divine paternity. While that is true, there is also another meaning in this passage that would have come to the minds of the 1st century Jews anticipating Messiah’s arrival. The issue that Jesus presented to the Pharisees is that their expected Christ – the Messiah, the Promised One, the Seed of the Woman / Son of God going back in time to Adam – is not just the heir to King David’s throne over Israel, but the last of a series of Lords including and preceding and succeeding David who were granted dominion over all creation, signified by sitting, i.e. co-reigning with LORD/YHWH as Messiahs / Christs / Anointed Ones.
“According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses, who commanded a new law], and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:16-19)
With this background information, we can pick up on the unspoken exchanges between Jesus and the Pharisees, and the vociferous exchanges between Pilate and the Jews / rulers. Accepting Jesus as the King of the Jews would require not just overthrowing Herod in Judea, but Caesar in Rome, on whom the current rulers, AKA Jews, depended for political, social and economic power.
And don’t overlook the rest of the passage from which Jesus is quoting. The obsessively literate Pharisees wouldn’t have. There’s that sticky bit about “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” As we shall see, that would require a revolution against not just the current political, but also the religious, regime. This is why they dared not engage with Jesus any longer.
Continuing in Dr. Gibb’s account of history:
Once more the emphasis shifted when the king as priest was challenged by the growing claims of the professional clergy, so that the king’s major functions became limited to those of ruler, judge, and lawgiver under Yahweh. As a result of what Aage Bentzen calls ‘a sort of “secularisation” of kingship in later pre-exilic periods’, not only did the priests deny certain cultic rights to the king, but, according to Bentzen, even the function of lawgiving became less intimately associated with the Davidic kingship; the priests (that is, the Levites in the Deuteronomic sense) increasingly rivalled the king in this association. Thus we can see that, at the least, the rich meaning of the idea of the king as the son of God tended to fade in practice as time passed, no matter what dating may be agreed upon for the various passages which refer to his sonship, and that the priests in many respects picked up the pieces.”
By Jesus’ day both the Aaronic lineage of priests and the Davidic royal dynasty had been supplanted by first the Hasmoneans then the Herodians. Throw in the Roman overlords, and the Messianic Savior Melchisedec had to win a world war to regain his kingdom.
The Hasmonean dynasty [established by a priest, the brother of Judah the Maccabee / Hammer who led the victorious revolt against foreign rule] …was a ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea. From 110 BCE, with the Seleucid Empire disintegrating, the dynasty became fully independent, expanded into the neighbouring regions of Samaria, Galilee, Iturea, Perea, and Idumea, and took the title “basileus” [Greek for “king” or “emperor]. Some modern scholars refer to this period as an independent kingdom of Israel.
The dynasty had survived for 103 years before yielding to the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE. The installation of Herod the Great (an Idumean) as king in 37 BCE made Judea a Roman client state and marked the end of the Hasmonean dynasty. Even then, Herod the Great tried to bolster the legitimacy of his reign by marrying a Hasmonean princess, Mariamne, and planning to drown the last male Hasmonean heir at his Jericho palace. In 6 CE, Rome joined Judea proper, Samaria and Idumea (biblical Edom) into the Roman province of Iudaea. In 44 CE, Rome installed the rule of a Roman procurator side by side with the rule of the Herodian kings (specifically Agrippa I 41–44 and Agrippa II 50–100).”
“Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (Joh 11:45-48)
It is extremely important that we sidebar here to impress the point that John always uses “Jews” to refer to the lawmakers / rulers, contrasting with “the people” as those who are ruled, see John 7. This class distinction, so well understood in the Roman terms patrician and pleb. was fundamental to all ancient through medieval societies. The rise of democracy in relatively recent times was supposed to eliminate a powerful oppressive class but its continued existence can be recognized in the enduring favored status and prerogatives afforded to European royalty, the foundational class struggle of Communism, and favored status and of wealthy elite everywhere. If we bear in mind that “the Jews” who clamored for Jesus’ death were a small fraction of the entire nation we can avoid making the mistake of calling the entire nation, who became known as Jews, “Christ killers.”
Given the history we just reviewed, the problem the chief priests faced was very real. If there was social unrest, the Romans would indeed swoop in and, as they had done previously with the Hasmoneans, replace their ineffective quislings with more effective governors. In fact, this is exactly what they did shortly after this. But the Jewish rulers were between a Rock and a hard place because they would also lose their power if they allied with Jesus, because they would have to hand it over to him. Don’t miss the fact that the high priest, usurper though he was, knew the scriptures well enough to know that “the Christ / Messiah / Anointed One” is AKA “the Son of YHVH God,” i.e. King.
“And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.” (Matthew 26:63-65)
Nowhere in scripture is there a law that says an individual can’t claim to be the Son of God. How else would the seed of David, legitimate heir to the Jewish throne, define himself? Like Herod’s law to slaughter the infant boys, this was a new law passed by the current lawmakers on the spot to safeguard their illicit power.
“Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe…
- When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
- Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
- The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
- When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid [because pagans know what that means – this is a superhuman spirit-powered individual.] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” (John 19:5-11)
The viciousness of the Jewish rulers’ power struggle with Jesus betrays their deep terror that he could win it, as he had already won the hearts and minds of the people. Their desperation is recognized by both the ethnic king Herod and the foreign overlord Pilate, who began to feel a mix of emotions toward the man who is causing such a stir. They express awareness that he is being treated unjustly, and they have had so many power struggles of their own with the Jewish rulers that it is only reasonable that they consider making him their new regional religious / political ally. However, Jesus wasn’t playing that game, so Rome’s men then maintained, and even strengthened, their uneasy alliance with the existing local religious figures.
“And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.” (Lu 23:8-15)
“And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar…We have no king but Caesar.“ (Joh 19:12-15)
The Jewish rulers were very serious when they publicly proclaimed their subjugation to Caesar. Given their recent bitter loss of autonomous power to Caesar and his minion Herod, this underscores just how utterly opposed they were to Jesus becoming their king, and diagnoses how truly anti- Messiah / Christ they were.
On the other hand, the Pharisees, who we often think of as Jesus’ opponents, were in fact the fundamentalist Bible-believers of the day. Many searched the scriptures in search of the truth of Jesus’ claims that he was the fulfillment of prophecy. The writer of Hebrews, undoubtedly a Pharisee given his knowledge of the law, figured out what Jesus was claiming.
Hebrews is a legal defense of Jesus’s claim to be, not just the king of Israel, but the Melchi-zedek, righteous human ruler of all creation. Visualize a lawyer delivering his opening argument in a courtroom filled with biased opponents and oppressed people yearning to breathe free.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things…For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son…unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows…But to which of the angels [i.e. ancient gods like Enki or Zeus] said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Heb 1:1-13)
One of the most significant issues Jesus and his followers were dealing with is that the praiseworthy revolt by devout Levitical priests against the false king Antiochus Epiphenes turned into a coup d’etat against the true king Melchizedek. This is the historical context that the writer obviously has in mind in the following passage.
- “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Messiah / 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. [Don’t miss that! The Son of God as the likeness of God, is God’s representative AKA the high priest.] As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb 5:1-6)
- “Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb 5:10)
- “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even YHWH’s Savior / Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb 6:10)
- “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Heb 7:11)
- “For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb 7:17)
- “(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 Melchizedek:)” (Heb 7:21)
- “For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.“ (Heb 7:28)
“The oath” is the evidence that the lawyer pulls out with a flourish as the ultimate proof of the validity of Jesus’ claim. This only has legal proof in this court case because the documents in which it is found had already been accepted into evidence as being the Word of God, inspired scripture, TRUTH. Where is this oath? In a Psalm of David, for one.
“For the LORD is our defense, and the Holy One of Israel is our king. Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.
But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn [heir], higher than the kings of the earth [i.e. ruler over the whole earth]. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.
His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah / Think about that / So there!” (Psa 89:18-37)
The evidence is piling up that the order of Melchizedek is a lineage of ruling “sons of God”, but the phrase “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” certainly seems to be a prophecy that can apply only to Jesus Christ under the New Covenant / Testament.
”No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.“ (Joh 1:18)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Joh 3:16)
However, not just the Old Testament, but also the New Testament treats the term “begotten Son”, exactly as explained above by Dr. Gibbs, as an honor bestowed by the father, not an entitlement deriving from physical procreation. In current legalese, no person can force God to pay child support by a paternity lawsuit.
“And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 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, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb 5:4-6)
Notice also how the New Testament defines Isaac as Abraham’s “only begotten son”, despite the fact that Abraham physically fathered Ishmael as well. The passage explains why – because Isaac was “called”, or proclaimed, or legally pronounced, written in the will AKA covenant, The Legitimate Heir who accurately reflects the Father and does the Father’s will.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:” (Heb 11:17-18)
“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived…(Gen 16:3-4) And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife…I will…give thee a son ALSO of her…And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live [after me as my heir] before thee!
- And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
- And as for Ishmael, I have heard [endorsed, agreed to] thee: Behold,
- I have blessed him,
- and will make him fruitful [in his endeavors, successful]
- and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget,
- and I will make him a great nation [dynasty, lineage, forever living on in his seed].
- BUT my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” (Gen 17:15-21)
I propose that we are so focused on the fact that Jesus is the mono-genes, the uniquely begotten Son of God that we are overlooking that, as the example of Abraham proves, there can in fact be other, just genos, begotten offspring. Jesus’ unique status as the Seed of the Woman fathered by God is well documented in Old Testament prophecies and New Testament records. We do not discredit this truth when we acknowledge that there are also other begotten sons of God.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” (I Pet 1:3-4)
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (I Joh 5:18-19)
We understand that believers in Jesus are begotten sons of God by the New Covenant. The Bible documents that there were also sons of God under the Old Covenant.
I propose that if we don’t understand this, we won’t be fully functional, because these foundational Old Covenant sons of God define the role that we New and Improved Version Covenant are expected to fill.
For example, God’s promise to be a father to David’s son is the guarantee of the joining of identities for the purpose of legitimacy and empowerment, just like a marriage sacrament in which two become one. God had done the same with David, and his predecessors. The big deal in the commitment God made with David is not that he would be his father – that is standard practice for theocratic kings – but that David’s house(hold) / dynasty would endure forever. Those who filter this Old Testament statement through a New Testament lens of the finished work of Christ often interpret “forever” as avoiding hell and living in heaven after we die, with most of Christians going about life on earth as if nothing extraordinary happened when we accepted Jesus as our savior.
But the original Old Testament audience only had their culture and preceding scripture on which to base their understanding, passages like “the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent.” And so did the New Testament writer of Hebrews, who traces Jesus’ royal lineage further back beyond David, to Judah, to prove that we believers in Jesus are empowered by the priest-king Melchizedek of the whole world as we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12)
The reason it is so important to discover just exactly what the writer of Hebrews was drawing our attention to when he goes on and on about Jesus Christ being the High Priest in the order of Melchisedec is because Christians / Anointed-ones are called to function under him as priests in that order.
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens…Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” (Heb 8:1, 10:19-24)
“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)
If we understand what it means to be priests and kings in the order of Melchizedek we will understand that it is our responsibility to take dominion over the territory granted to us by God. We have to win it back from Satan, who currently has control over much of the earth and its population. He is in fact:
- king of the kings of the world who submit to him – “And the devil, taking him [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me [by his subjects; and to whomsoever I will I give it [he is a liar, does not give in return what he promised in a contract].” (Lu 4:5-6)
- “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the m]ind…” (Eph 2:2-3)
- ” the god of this world [who] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Cor 4:4)
Like Hitler, Satan is catapulted to the highest position of government, by humans who, lured by his lies promising power and wealth put themselves under his authority.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Ro 6:15)
“…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (Jam 1:14-15)
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation [lifestyle] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath…” (Eph 2:2-3)
These passages are all examples of spiritual law – unalterable consequences – just like the laws of physics. Even God works within these laws. As described in earlier posts, Yahweh’s Appointed Savior, the man Christ Jesus, reversed the human action that transferred dominion to Satan, thereby transferring dominion back to himself as a human, and to all humans who identify with him. Adam disobeyed God and submitted to Satan. Christ Jesus obeyed God and refused to submit to Satan. It’s really that simple.
And this is how we mere humans get out from under Satan’s tyranny, experienced in human bondage and misery in drug addiction, emotional disorders, broken families, financial ruin and political chaos. We obey God’s Word. Don’t over-spiritualize the following passage or limit its application to the future. It applies to us, now.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God [that’s exactly what we do when we make ourselves the authority of our life choices]: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and…humbled himself, and became obedient…Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him…That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth…” (Phil 2:6-11)
When Yahweh’s Anointed Savior came to earth, he had two separate missions – physical restoration of the kingdom of heaven [and earth] and spiritual restoration of the kingdom of God.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat 4:17)
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mar 1:14-15)
The kingdom of heaven exists in physical qualities, but the spiritual kingdom of God is within a person in spiritual qualities of righteousness and eternal life.
“…behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Lu 17:21)
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Ro 14:17)
The real estate of heaven and earth is not the most valuable part of dominion. The humans who populate the kingdom are. Humans can escape from the kingdom of darkness and find refuge and new life in the kingdom of God.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col 1:12-14)
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (Joh 3:5-7)
We are born into, AKA able to survive within and interact with the resources of, the spiritual environment, AKA kingdom of God, when we put our faith in Yahweh’s Consecrated Savior’s atoning death and resurrection, because this results in a spiritual merging of identities called baptism.
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Ro 6:3-13)
Granting citizenship in the kingdom to immigrants who flock to the promise of a better life is not the same thing as restoring dominion / rule. Humans must prove themselves worthy to reign with Christ. That’s not all believers. Only those who follow their king into battle qualify to inherit a government post within God’s kingdom.
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest…Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. [Indicates closest, i.e. most trusted advisors.] But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” (Mar 10:35-40)
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:16-21)
“If we suffer [prove our loyalty and commitment like every fairy tale prince and princess], we shall also reign with him:” (II Tim 2:12)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev 20:4)
Dominion is won by those who are willing to fight – and suffer – for it. Doesn’t every epic story consist of heroic deeds during which the fighter lays his/her life on the line? God doesn’t treat us as passive, entitled, spoiled children. He allows us to develop, through experience, into great heroes of faith whose names are memorialized forever.
“Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh…and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel. And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief. And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they called it the city of David...These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel…
- Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. And after him was
- Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties. He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the Lord saved them by a great deliverance. Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Bethlehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the Lord. And said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest. And
- Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three. Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three.
- Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among the three mighties. Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard. Also the valiant men of the armies were,
- Asahel the brother of Joab,
- Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
- Shammoth the Harorite,
- Helez the Pelonite,
- Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
- Abiezer the Antothite,
- Sibbecai the Hushathite,
- Ilai the Ahohite,
- Maharai the Netophathite,
- Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,
- Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, that pertained to the children of Benjamin,
- Benaiah the Pirathonite,
- Hurai of the brooks of Gaash,
- Abiel the Arbathite,
- Azmaveth the Baharumite,
- Eliahba the Shaalbonite,
- The sons of Hashem the Gizonite,
- Jonathan the son of Shage the Hararite,
- Ahiam the son of Sacar the Hararite,
- Eliphal the son of Ur,
- Hepher the Mecherathite,
- Ahijah the Pelonite,
- Hezro the Carmelite,
- Naarai the son of Ezbai,
- Joel the brother of Nathan,
- Mibhar the son of Haggeri,
- Zelek the Ammonite,
- Naharai the Berothite, the armourbearer of Joab the son of Zeruiah,
- Ira the Ithrite,
- Gareb the Ithrite,
- Uriah the Hittite,
- Zabad the son of Ahlai,
- Adina the son of Shiza the Reubenite, a captain of the Reubenites, and thirty with him,
- Hanan the son of Maachah, and
- Joshaphat the Mithnite,
- Uzzia the Ashterathite,
- Shama and
- Jehiel the sons of Hothan the Aroerite,
- Jediael the son of Shimri, and
- Joha his brother, the Tizite,
- Eliel the Mahavite, and
- Jeribai, and
- Joshaviah, the sons of Elnaam, and
- Ithmah the Moabite,
- Eliel, and
- Obed, and
- Jasiel the Mesobaite.” (I Chron 11:11-47)
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb 12:1-8)
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (I Tim 6:12)
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (II Cor 11:23-27)
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Tim 4:6-8)
Honestly, most of us are civilians who think we are safe if we stay out of any conflict, but that’s just wishful thinking. Twice as many civilians as military personnel were killed in World War II. Civilians are defenseless. Combatants are supplied with weapons and other resources and are surrounded by other soldiers who have their backs. Think about it before becoming a draft dodger in spiritual warfare.
In the next post we’ll review the life of one of the greatest warriors against the powers of darkness.
Not who you are thinking.