Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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May 25, 1998
Last Updated :
April 11, 2009
Our Eternal High Priest, Abraham And Melchizedek, Meanings Of King Of Peace, King Of Salem, King Of Righteousness And Jerusalem, "Before Abraham Was, I Am", Levitical Priesthood, Annulment Of The Old Priesthood And The Mosaic Law, The Only Son Of God?, Christ Rules During The Millennium With A Rod Of Iron, Defining "The Only Begotten Son Of God", The Spirit Of Antichrist, False Prophets And Messiahs, Ultimate Evil And Delusion, Physical And Spiritual Birth, Coming Into The World
As I mentioned earlier, Paul was somewhat hesitant to share these deep truths with those to whom he ministered, because he knew that they were not capable of understanding them just yet. Following then is the full context of what he wrote:
"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 are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Hebrews 5:11-14, KJV
Paul then continues his discourse by stating that it is time to leave behind the well-established elements of the Faith, in order to explore the deeper truths of the Spirit, God permitting:
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit."
Hebrews 6:1-3, KJV
It is later in chapter seven that Paul reveals more to us concerning this mysterious priestly order referred to as Melchizedek, of which Jesus Christ is the High Priest. In fact, from the following verses, it seems rather clear that Paul is saying that Jesus is Melchizedek; and that He is the very one who appeared to Abraham thousands of years before, following the Patriarch's victory over the Babylonian kings when he freed his nephew Lot:
"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."
Hebrews 7:1-3, KJV
There are a number of interesting points I would like to emphasize regarding the previous verses. As Paul states above, the name "Melchizedek" means "King of Righteousness". It is derived from the Hebrew phrase "Malkiy-Tsedeq" which means "my king is Sedek". The Hebrew word for "king" is "melek". In the New Testament, in the Gospel of John, we are told that the name of the servant of the high priest, whose ear Peter cut off during Jesus' arrest, was called Malchus:
"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus."
John 18:10, KJV
This name is derived from the Greek word "malchos", which also means "king" or "kingdom". The challenge then is to discover how we derive the word "Righteousness" from the Hebrew word "Sedek". The answer is rather simple. During the reign of King David, there was a priest by the name of Zadok. This is the very same priest who anointed Solomon as the new king of Israel at Gihon just prior to the death of his father, King David:
"So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon."
1 Kings 1:38-39, KJV
You will notice the similarities between "Sedek" and "Zadok". The name "Zadok" is derived from the Hebrew "tsadowq" which means "righteous". Additionally, "tsadowq" is derived from another Hebrew word, "tsadaq", which means righteous, just, justice, or righteousness. Thus it is that Melchizedek, or "Malkiy-Tsedeq", means "my king is Sedek", "my king is righteous", or "King of Righteousness"; exactly as Paul has stated in his Epistle.
Regarding the fact that Paul also calls Melchizedek the "King of Salem" and the "King of Peace", there is also a very simple explanation. The Greek word "Salem" is derived from the Hebrew "shalem", or "shalam", which means "peace". However, there is more to this mystery that what at first is apparent. Salem is also believed my most Jewish commentators to be one of the ancient names of Jerusalem. The name "Jerusalem" is derived from the Hebrew "Yeruwshalaim", or "Yeruwshalayim", which means "teaching of peace"; the word "teaching" being derived from the Hebrew "yarah", or "yara". I personally believe that when Paul calls Jesus, (that is, Melchizedek), "King of Salem", he isn't referring to the Earthly Jerusalem in Israel whatsoever, but rather to the Heavenly City from which Melchizedek originated. After all, it is from there, from the Holy Mount Zion of God, the golden pyramid-shaped New Jerusalem, that we are told by the Prophet Micah, that the law, or the teaching, shall go forth in the last days:
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."
Micah 4:1-2, KJV
You will also find "the mountain of the house of the LORD" discussed in such series as "New Jerusalem: Heavenly City and Mountain of the Lord's House". The rest of the Apostle Paul's description of the High Priest Melchizedek makes it even more clear that he is telling us that Melchizedek is none other than Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God. Notice that Paul states "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God". If we turn to the Book of Genesis and read the actual story of Abraham's encounter with the mysterious Melchizedek, we discover some very interesting similarities between the actions of this ancient High Priest, and the events which occurred during the "Last Supper":
"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. And he gave him tithes of all."
Genesis 14:18-20, KJV
In order for you to clearly see these parallels, here then is the short account of the "Last Supper", taken from the Gospel of Luke:
"And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:14-20, KJV
Thus we see that just as Jesus had done with His Disciples, so likewise He had done with Abraham several thousands of years before. It is my belief that it is because of this event found in the Book of Genesis, that the Lord made the following mysterious comment to the unbelieving Jewish Elders:
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
John 8:56-58, KJV
In his old age, Abraham was indeed blessed to see Jesus Christ ruling as the eternal Melchizedek; the King of Salem, and the High Priest of God. Only four chapters later, in Genesis chapter eighteen, we again discover that the Lord appeared to Abraham with two of His Angels in the plain of Mamre, just prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. You will find this incident discussed in more detail in such series as "The Gay and Lesbian Agenda: To the Point!". But returning to Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul then goes on to explain the unique status of Melchizedek; for you see, He was a Hight Priest when as yet the Levitical priesthood had not even come into existence! That event wouldn't occur until three generations later when the twelve sons of Jacob would be born; which of course would include Levi, the Patriarchal Father of the Levitical priesthood:
"Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises . . . And as 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."
Hebrews 7:4-6, 9-10, KJV
It is following the previous explanation that the Apostle Paul finally reveals the gist of the matter; that of course being that the Levitical priesthood, and the keeping of the Mosaic Law, is by no means a sufficient cause for making us worthy of Eternal Salvation:
"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? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law."
Hebrews 7:11-12, KJV
Paul then provides us with an answer and a solution by saying that the Levitical priesthood and the Mosaic Law were simply foreshadows of better things to come; those things being a new High Priest with a New Covenant, which would disannul, or void, the former priesthood and the Old Law:
"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. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God."
Hebrews 7:15-19, KJV
Further on in this same chapter, Paul again emphasizes that our new High Priest, Jesus Christ, has introduced a better Testament, or Covenant; and an unchangeable, or immutable, Eternal Priesthood; and that by offering up Himself as the Ultimate and Final Sacrifice, He has voided the need for any further sacrifice for sin; for through belief in Him alone, we can now inherit Eternal Life:
"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."
Hebrews 7:22-27, KJV
To sum up the main points of his discourse concerning Melchizedek, the Eternal High Priest of God, Paul then offers the following comments:
"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; . . . But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
Hebrews 8:1, 6-13, KJV
Having revealed these wonderful truths to us, in the ninth chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews, Paul continues to reiterate the fact that the Mosaic Law and the old Levitical priesthood have been done away with, and replaced by the final Blood Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest of God, who is the Mediator of the New Testament, or agreement, between God and man:
"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth . . . Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hebrews 9:13-17, 25-28, KJV
Having now firmly established without a shadow of a doubt the Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, and the Priestly Office which He holds, we are now going to leave aside the issues of Melchizedek and the Sacrifice of Christ, and discuss another issue which is directly related to some of the Scriptures and topics I have already covered in this series.
While we have proven that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, we have not yet addressed the question of whether or not He the ONLY Son of God? There are some people, and not a few, who have interpreted some of the previous verses as meaning exactly that; that is, that Jesus Christ is the only Son that God has. As we will see shortly, this is most definitely not the case. In order to validate this claim, we are going to delve into yet another theme which has been widely misunderstood by many modern-day Christians. Let's begin by taking a look at some verses regarding the children of Abraham. In the Book of Genesis, we read the following:
"And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael."
Genesis 16:15, KJV
"And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac."
Genesis 21:1-3, KJV
In the previous verses we witness the birth of Abraham's two sons; his firstborn, Ishmael, by Hagar the Egyptian handmaid of his wife Sarah, and Isaac, the child of faith given to him by his wife Sarah in their old age. However, notice what the Apostle Paul tells us in his Epistle to the Hebrews:
"By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,"
Hebrews 11:17, KJV
If Genesis tells us plainly that Abraham had two sons, why does Paul refer to Isaac as Abraham's "only begotten son"? Is Paul contradicting the writings of the Old Testament? Definitely not! As you probably already aware, this term "only begotten" is also used to describe Jesus Christ in a well-known verse from the third chapter of the Gospel of John:
"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."
John 3:16, KJV
The above verse is actually a fulfillment of one of many prophecies uttered by King David in his Psalms regarding our Saviour, and His future reign on the Earth during the coming Millennium, when He will rule the rebellious world with a rod of iron subduing all nations for the glory and honour of His Father:
"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, 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."
Psalms 2:1-12, KJV
In the above Psalm, I believe that the word "LORD" is actually referring to God the Father who is speaking to His Son, Jesus Christ, who is referred to as "his anointed", "my Son", and "the Son". Notice also the phrase "this day have I begotten thee". As we have already seen, these are some of the very same phrases we find being used in the four Gospels to describe Jesus Christ. Thus in this prophetic Psalm, we witness the glorious reign of the Father and Son team during the Millennium. As I have mentioned in some of my Endtime articles, the Prophet Daniel also spoke of these coming events. In the second chapter of the book named after him, the Prophet interprets a wonderful night vision given to King Nebuchadnezzar, in which the Babylonian king sees a great image composed of different types of metal and clay. This towering statue is then struck in the feet by a rock which causes it to go crashing to the ground. In his interpretation of this particular part of the vision, the Prophet Daniel states the following:
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
Daniel 2:44, KJV
As we saw earlier, in the Gospel of Matthew, while speaking to the chief priests and the Pharisees, Jesus refers to this very same prophecy, in order to make a point with these self-righteous rulers of ancient Israel. You might also want to take note of the similarities in the verse references:
"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
Matthew 21:42-44, KJV
The spiritual unity between the Old and the New Testaments is truly amazing. Although written hundreds, and possibly thousands of years apart, they fit together like a hand in a glove. Similar to King David, Daniel and Jesus, the Apostle John likewise mentioned the Lord's coming rule of iron three times in the Book of Revelation:
"And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."
Revelation 2:27, KJV
"And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne."
Revelation 12:5, KJV
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Revelation 19:15, KJV
Returning to the phrases "Thou art my Son" and "only begotten", in Acts chapter thirteen, when the Apostle Paul preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he also made mention of the prophecies found in Psalm Two when he said:
"God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
Acts 13:33, KJV
This prophecy has much greater significance than most people realize. The fact that it is mentioned in the Psalms, in the Gospels, in the Book of Acts and in the Epistles, certainly attests to this fact. Exactly what is it that the writers were trying to tell us by using this phrase? Have we truly understood their message?
The key to understanding this wonderful mystery is found in the meaning of the phrase "only begotten". It is derived from the Greek word "monogenes", pronounced mon-og-en-ace', which means "single of its kind", or "only". With this understanding of the term, it is easy to see how Paul was not contradicting the Book of Genesis when he stated that Isaac was the only-begotten son of Abraham. It also helps us to understand how Jesus can still be "the only begotten Son of God" even if there are other sons of God. You see, Isaac truly was the only son begotten, or born to, Abraham by Sarah his wife, which makes him a single of a kind. It should also be noted that in Hebrews chapter eleven, Paul is discussing the heroes of faith; and Isaac definitely was the seed of faith to Abraham and Sarah, and not Ishmael. He was the only one born for that specific purpose. In like manner, Jesus Christ is also a single of a kind because He is the only Son of God who was begotten, that is, conceived in the womb of a woman, and then born through the natural process of childbirth; all by the direct Will of God. To further help you to understand the meaning of this word "begotten" as it is used in the Bible, consider the following example:
"And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?"
Numbers 11:11-12, KJV
In the previous verses, the Hebrew word for "conceive" is "harah". It means to become pregnant through the union of egg and sperm. On the other hand, the Hebrew word for "begotten" is "yalad" which refers to the actual act of bearing or bringing forth a child through delivery, or natural childbirth. Based upon these verses, we see that the fact that Jesus is referred to as "the only begotten Son of God", means in part that He is the ONLY Son of God who was ever born in human flesh through an Earthly mother. He was conceived in the flesh by a work of God's Spirit, and then brought forth, or begotten, through the process of human childbirth. This is precisely the main point of the opening verses of the Gospel of John. In the first fourteen verses of the first chapter, John describes for us Jesus Christ's pre-existence with His Father in the Spiritual Realm as the Creator of the Universe. He then explains to us how Jesus was willing to leave His Heavenly Abode in order to become the Light of the World. Exactly how did He do this? By taking upon Himself the form of lowly human flesh as the following verse demonstrates:
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
John 1:14, KJV
It is very significant that it isn't until this fourteenth verse that we find John referring to Jesus as "the only begotten of the Father". Why is this? I am convinced that it is because it isn't until this point in his narration that Jesus has taken on human flesh; in other words, He, the Eternal Son of God, has just been begotten, or born, through natural childbirth, exactly as previous Scriptural examples have shown us. To reiterate then, John is telling us that Jesus is the ONLY Son of God to have ever been born, or begotten, in the flesh. This point is so important to John, that of the six times the phrase "only begotten" is used in the New Testament, five of those times, it is written by John himself. In his fourth Epistle, John again uses the process of coming into the world through natural childbirth, together with this phrase, thus leaving no doubt in my mind, that this is what is to be understood, at least in part, by Jesus being referred to as the "only begotten Son of God":
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
1 John 4:9, KJV
Please go to part four for the continuation of this series.
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