KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE MELCHIZEDEK CONNECTION
One of the most intriguing descriptions of the unique character of the High Priesthood of Jesus is found in Heb. 7:17 wherein it is stated, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." This one grand statement shows that Jesus is not like any of the other priests who the people of Israel knew so much about. The entire seventh chapter of Hebrews is about THE MELCHIZEDEK CONNECTION, that is, it is about the way Jesus Christ, and thus, His body, the Royal Priesthood, is related to a strange man named Melchizedek. And the connection between Jesus Christ and Melchizedek is worth exploring.
In the book of Genesis all we know of him is told in three short, very simple verses, wherein is related the story of Abrams encounter with Melchizedek, king of Salem, and "the priest of the Most High God." In the Genesis story Melchizedek is a strange and mysterious figure. He flashes across the scene like a meteor. There is no heralding his appearance, nor any mention of its results. He arrives out of the blue; there is no account of his family; there is nothing about his birth, his descent, his life, his work, or his death. He simply arrives. We learn only that he was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God. The priest blessed the patriarch Abram, and blessed the Most High God, and received from Abram a tithe of all the spoils of battle. Then he vanished from the stage of history with the same unexplained suddenness as he arrived upon it. He was not forgotten, however, for this fascinating individual is referred to nearly a thousand years later by King David (Ps. 110:4) and one thousand years later than that by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where he is mentioned by name no less than nine times!
That mysterious historic figure Melchizedek - who was he? The biblical account of Melchizedek appears to leave him as a very mystical person, yet there are keys in the Scriptures that shed precious light upon him. Many of these keys are contained within a few short verses in Hebrews, chapter eight. "For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God...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...and here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth" (Heb. 7:1-3,8).
The usual interpretation the carnal-minded preachers put upon these amazing statements about Melchizedek is that they cannot possibly be literally true. There are eight distinct features about Melchizedek recorded here. (1) King of righteousness (2) king of peace (3) without father or mother (4) without descent (5) having neither beginning of days nor end of life (6) made like unto the Son of God (7) abideth a priest continually (8) he liveth. I was astounded when I read the various Commentaries I have in my library to discover that with one voice they categorically denied the truth of practically all the above statements. They said that Melchizedek DID have a father and mother, but that they were merely left unrecorded. They stated that Melchizedek DID have a descent, but it was simply omitted from the Scriptures. They argued that he DID have a beginning of days and an end of life, but God hid it from us. They were quite sure that Melchizedek was not really made like unto the Son of God, but that he was actually a very natural man who, because he appeared suddenly on the scene and then disappeared again as suddenly, serves as a "type" of the Lord Jesus Christ. And they were absolutely positive that he does NOT abide a priest continually, nor does he now live. This is without doubt the naturalistic interpretation. I hope that none of you who call yourselves sons of God are guilty of adopting that interpretations And if you are, that you will repent of it at once!
The amazing fact is that not one of these characteristics can be attributed to any mortal son of Adam. Meditate deeply upon these and you will see! Ah, my brother, my sister, consider how great this man Melchizedek was! He came from a different realm than the one Abraham was acquainted with. Abraham lived in a natural realm, and through faith he experienced divine intervention into 0a natural realm on several occasions, the most notable example of this being the quickening of his body and the barrenness of Sarahs womb to conceive and bring forth that child of promise, Isaac. Abraham immediately recognized Melchizedek when returning from his great victory. Abraham was certainly thanking and praising the Lord and he was in enough spiritual frame of mind to recognize certain divine attributes and qualities about Melchizedek which he knew from previous experiences with God. That is why Abraham received Melchizedeks blessing, and why he in turn gave a tenth of all the spoils to him.
In this study we shall examine the Melchizedek Connection in detail. At times it may appear that we have gone far afield from our subject, but if my reader will follow through to the conclusion I believe he will see the wonderful harmony between all the parts.
The Gospel of John opens with the statement, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn. 1:1). The imagery is foreign to us. We hardly know what to make of it. But the Greek word LOGOS, or WORD in English, was common in New Testament days. John introduces the word with these three tremendous statements: (1) In the beginning was the Word (2) and the Word was with God (3) and the Word was God. This Word is presented as One "in the beginning." Note the contrast between "IN the beginning" and the expression "FROM the beginning," which is common in Johns writings. Satan was a murderer "FROM the beginning," but the Logos was "IN the beginning." This beginning antedates the very first words in the Bible, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," for of this One it is stated, "The same was (already) in the beginning with God" (Jn. 1:2).
That beginning - when God created the heavens and the earth - can be dated, although I do not believe that anyone can date it accurately - it is nonsense to say that it is 4004 B.C., as Usshers dating has it. It probably goes back billions and billions of years. You see, you and I are dealing with the God of eternity who framed the ages of time. When you go back to creation He is already there, and that is exactly the way this is used - "in the beginning WAS the Word." Notice it is not IS the Word; it was not in the beginning that the Word started out or was begotten. WAS is known as a curative imperfect, meaning continued action. It means that the Word was in the beginning. What beginning? Just as far back as you want to go. The Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Does that begin God? No, just keep on going back billions and trillions and "squillions" of years as man reckons time. I can think back to billions of years back of creation, maybe you can go back beyond that, but lets put down a point there, billions of years back of creation. The LOGOS already was; He comes out of eternity to meet us. He did not begin. "In the beginning was the Word" - He was already there when the beginning was. "Well," somebody says, "there has to be a beginning somewhere." All right, wherever you begin, He is there to meet you, He is already past tense. "In the beginning was the Word" - five words in the original language, and there is not a man on topside of this earth who can put a date on it or understand it or fathom it. This first tremendous abatement starts us off in apace, you seal
Like all other names, THE LOGOS has its own meaning - a meaning which doe a not appear in the English translation, "the Word". LOGOS carries with it the idea of a WORD SPOKEN, speech, eloquence, reason, thought and concept. It refers not only to the Word that is spoken, manifested, but also to the purpose, thought, intent and will of God behind that which is expressed. "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful" (Heb. 4:12). The Word of God is quick. That doesnt mean fast; rather the Word is LIVING! You see, a Word is the expression of a thought, a purpose, an intent, a will. In order to have a thought, you need a Thinker. The Father is a great Thinker. The Father thought, and then the Father spoke. And from the bosom of the Father, the Word came forth and that Word wee LIVING and POWERFUL. That Word wee, in fact, the LIVING CREATIVE ENERGY OF GOD. It wee by Gods Word that all things were done, for THE WORD flowed forth from the eternal wisdom by which God declared the purposes of His infinite mind. The Word flowed forth from divine omnipotence by which He brought all the starry heavens into existence. Consider the divisions of matter: energy, motion, phenomena. ENERGY: "In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD was God" - thats energy! How did this universe come into existence? God SPOKE! "And God SAID (the WORD), Let there be...and there was..."
Every rational person has to confront this problem of how this universe began. That is the reason evolution has been popular - it offers to the natural man an explanation for the origin of the universe. You must have an explanation for it, if you do any thinking at all. Where did it come from? Well, here is the answer, "In the beginning was the Word." God spoke. That is the first thing that happened. When God speaks, when the Word speaks, energy is translated into matter. What is atomic fission? It is matter translated back into energy - poof! it disappears. Creation began with energy. In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, the Word wee God. The plane and purposes of God for the ages of the ages were conceived and spoken forth in an omnipotent decree by THE WORD, the LIVING, POWERFUL, SPEAKING, CREATIVE WORD that was with God in the beginning.
Creation having been brought forth, the Word then stood in unique relationship between God and His creation. LOGOS means not only the inward thought and purpose of God, but the utterance, expression or manifestation of that thought. The eminent Greek scholar, Dr. M. R. Vincent, comments on this word, "Logos therefore signifies both the OUTWARD FORM by which the inward thought is expressed, and the INWARD THOUGHT itself. The idea is of God, who is in His own nature hidden, revealing Himself in creation." Another Greek scholar, Kenneth Wuest, says, "Greek philosophers, in attempting to understand the relationship between God and the universe, spoke of an unknown mediator between God and the universe, naming this mediator, Logos. John tells them that this mediator unknown to them is now our Lord, and he uses the same name Logos. Our Lord is the Logos of God in the sense that He is the total concept of God, Deity speaking through the Son of God, not in parts of speech as in a sentence composed of words, but in the human life of a divine Person. The definite article appears before Word. He is not merely a concept of God among many others, for the heathen have many concepts of God. He is THE concept of God, the only true one, the unique one. He was in existence when things started to come into being through the creative act of God. He existed before all created things. Therefore, He is uncreated, and therefore eternal in His being, and therefore God" - end quote.
So we conclude that the "Word" was the visible expression of the invisible God - in other words, the invisible God embodied in visible form that could be seen, touched, handled, understood and comprehended on the earth plane. The Bible declares that "God is a Spirit" (Jn. 4:24) and since God is a Spirit, He is invisible and unknowable unless He chooses to manifest Himself in same form visible to man. God told Moses, "Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live" (Ex. 33:20). "No man bath seen God at any time" (Jn. 1:18; I Jn. 4:12). Not only has no man ever seen God, but no man can see God (I Tim. 6:16). Several times the Bible describes God as invisible (Col. 1:15; I Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27). Although man can see God when He appears in various forms, no man can see directly the invisible Spirit of God. The physical eyes of man have never beheld a spirit; all he sees is the form that spirit manifests itself in. Since God is an invisible Spirit and is omnipresent, He does not have a body as we know it. Every time God wanted to talk personally to someone or manifest Himself, He had to borrow, as it were, a body to manifest Himself in. All through the Old Testament God revealed Himself and dealt with man on mans level through the use of what theology calls THEOPHANIES. A THEOPHANY is a visible manifestation of God, and we usually think of it as temporary in nature. As we have seen, God is invisible to man. To make Himself visible, to communicate Himself of the material plane, He manifested Himself in a physical form. Even though no one can see the Spirit of God, he can see a representation of God. The LOGOS, or the Christ, is God revealed. It is God in His Self-revealings. The Logos is God expressed, God uttering Himself, Gods means of Self-disclosure.
God often appeared to men through the manifestation of "the angel (messenger; word) of the Lord" (Jud. 6:2O; II Sam. 24:16; I Kings 19:5-7). The angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar, spoke as though he were God, and was called God by her (Gen. 16:7-13). The Bible says that the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush, but then says God Himself talked to Moses out of the bush (Ex. 3; Acts 7:30-38). The angel of the Lord appeared to Israel in Jud. 2:1-5 and spoke as God. Judges 6:11-24 describes the appearance of the angel of the Lord to Gideon and then says the Lord looked on Gideon. Again, the angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah and his wife, and they believed they had seen God (dud. 13:2-23). The Deity of this unique "angel" is proved by the fact that He is (l)identified as God (Gen. 16:7-13; 18:2-13; 22:1-18; Ex. 3:2-18; Jud. 2:1-5; 6:11-16). (2) is recognized as God (Gen. 16:9-13; Jud. 6:22-24; 13:21-23; Gen. 32:24-30; Hos. 12:4). (3) is also described in terms befitting the Deity alone (Ex. 3:5-14; Josh. 5:15). (4) calls Himself God (Gen. 31:11-13; Ex. 3:2-14). (5) receives worship (Josh. 5:14; Jud. 2:4) and finally speaks with Divine authority (Jud. 2:1-5).
God appeared to Abraham as a smoking furnace and burning lamp, and as a man (Gen. 15:1,17; 18:1-33). In this last instance, God and two angels appeared in the form of three men (Gen. 18:2) and ate food provided by Abraham. The two angels left to go to Sodom while God remained to talk to Abraham (Gen. 18:22; 19:1). God appeared to Jacob in a dream and as a man (Gen. 28:12-16; 32:24-32). On the latter occasion Jacob wrestled with the man and proclaimed, "I have seen God face to face." The Bible also describes this appearance as "the angel" (Host 12:4). God appeared to Moses and to all Israel as a cloud of glory and a pillar ot fire and spoke to Moses "face to face" in the Tabernacle out of the cloud. "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night...and it came to pass, as Moses entered into the Tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the Tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the Tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door" (Ex. 13:21; 33:9-1O).
When God brought Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, they had one very distinctive sign. They had the cloudy pillar by day and the pillar of fire by night over the encampment. These told all of the surrounding nations that Israel belonged to Jehovah, that their God was in their midst in power and glory, and they were under Gods protection day and night. The cloud and the fire were visible both day and night and no enemy could come into the camp even by night, for the fire made it as light as day. I do not believe that Christians today have any real conception of the marvelous and great work which God did in delivering the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. We have seen pictures painted by some of the great artists supposedly to illustrate this, and we have seen Moses striking the rock with some half-dozen people around him drinking from a stream little larger than a finger, with a cow or two and a few sheep standing near. What a crude conception of the majesty and glory by which the mighty Jehovah delivered His people!
History tells us that at the time of the exodus from Egypt, the Egyptians numbered about six million people. Then in Ex. 1:9 we read that the Pharaoh told his people that the children of Israel WERE MORE AND MIGHTIER THAN THE EGYPTIANS. That being true, there must have been at least six or seven million Israelites when they left Egypt. God did a wonderful and mighty work in that exodus! It was not a little handful of people that left Egypt, but it was millions that God brought out. Little wonder that some of the people asked if God could set a table in the wilderness! For this was a great multitude and God was taking them into a desert where there was no food for man or beast. There was no water, and God had the Israelites take no supplies or provisions with them. GOD WAS THEIR SUPPLY, and OUT OF HIMSELF He would feed them.
Here we enter into the realm of the supernatural. Jehovah Himself appears now as a visible pillar of cloud, a conspicuous object that could be seen not only by the marshaled host but by strong nations afar off. THE LORD HIMSELF did for the Israelites by supernatural means that which armies were obliged to do for themselves by natural agents. The ancient Persians and Greeks carried a sacred fire in silver altars before their armies as signals in their marches. By this sign then of the pillar of cloud and fire, the Lord showed HIMSELF as their leader and general (Ex. 15:3,6). As the Lord now undertakes the miraculous guidance of the chosen nation, He manifests His presence by a majestic pillar of cloud, reaching from earth to sky. By night He appears as a bright fire, setting the whole heavens ablaze. He shielded the people from the heat of the sun by day, and became their light by night. In it the Lord Himself was present as the leader and protector of His people; and from it He spoke to Moses, and on one grand occasion to the assembled people themselves. He who thus manifests His presence to His people is also called "the angel of God" (Ex. 14:19). And God gave them this occular demonstration of His presence and power and this manifestation was THE WORD - God speaking, God revealed, God in manifestation!
God further manifested Himself in the sight of all Israel through thunder, lightnings, a voice of a trumpet, smoke, fire, and earthquakes (Ex. 19:11-19; Deut. 5:4-5,22-27). He also showed His glory and sent fire from His presence in the sight of all Israel (Lev. 9: 23-24; lO:1-2). Job saw God in a whirlwind (Job 38:1; 42:5). Various prophets saw visions of God. To Ezekiel He appeared in the form of a man, enveloped in fire. To Daniel He appeared as the Ancient of Days. Many other verses of Scripture tell us that God appeared to someone but do not describe in what manner He did so. For example, God APPEARED to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Samuel (Gen. 12:7; 17:1; 26:2,24; 35:9-15; I Sam. 3:21). Similarly, God descended on Mount Sinai and stood with Moses, revealed Himself to seventy-four elders of Israel, and came at night to Balaam, and met Balaam on two other occasions.
The Logos, or Word, was not a separate person or a separate god any more than a mans word is a separate person from him. Thus the Logos, the expression, manifestation and revelation of God appeared in many forms. The burning lamp, the burning bush, the earthquake, the fire, the tempest, the angel, the cloud, the pillar of fire, the form of a man - each had its ministry, all in turn served the one grand purpose; like the ray which is broken into many prismatic hues, each revealed something of the nature, power, wisdom, purpose, will and glory of God. We find that in the phrase "and the Word was with God..." that this word "with" the Greek PROS meaning TOWARD. All that the manifestation of the Word of God was, all that He said, all that He showed, all that He did, was pointing TOWARD THE FATHER. Hence He is rightly called THE WORD OF GOD. So the WORD revealed God, led Him forth into view and caused men to turn toward Him, to understand Him, to know Him.
THE WORD MADE FLESH
The apostle Paul frequently spoke of the vast mysteries of God and, in speaking of them, he left no shadow of doubt that naught but the revelation of the Lord could unfold those eternal mysteries. One of the grandest of those mysteries is set forth by the apostle John in these wonderful words: "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" (Jn. 1:14). Concerning Jesus Christ, whom the Scripture discloses as "the Word MADE FLESH," it is written, "Who is the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15; II Cor. 4:4); "the EXPRESS image of His person" - R.V., "the VERY image of His substance" (Heb. 1:3). And we note that this word "person" is actually the Greek word HUPOSTASIS meaning THE SUBSTANCE, or the substratum, what lies under. All the character and inner nature of the Divine was expressed through our Lord Jesus Christ. All the motive, the purpose, the intent of God towards His creation was revealed to us through Jesus Christ, "to wit, that GOD was IN Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (II Cor. 5:19). The SEED of our new creation life is this same LOGOS, and thus through our union with Christ we are to be "as He is."
God no longer needs to "borrow" or produce a "body" in which to express and reveal Himself, no more does He send the burning bush, or the fire, or the cloud, or the angel or the form of a man. For the first time Jehovah has a permanent, eternal body in which to walk and talk with mankind - THE CHRIST, Head and body, the house of sons. In the Old Testament manifestations the revelation of Himself was in fragments. No one manifestation could speak all truth, each was but one or two syllables in the mighty sentences of Gods speech. At the best the view caught of God was partial and limited. But in Jesus there is nothing of this piece-meal revelation. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He has revealed the Father. Whosoever hath seen Him hath seen God; and to hear His words and behold His glory is to get the full-orbed revelation of the infinite.
THE "WORD" WAS M-A-D-E F-L-E-S-H! The language of God is His Word. God and His Word are inseparable. The same eternal Word that spoke the worlds into existence became flesh and dwelt among us. The Father spoke and from the bosom of the Father the Word came forth and was made flesh and tabernacled among men. GOD was manifest in the FLESH (I Tim 3:16). .The Speech of God became the Son of God in human form. Here comes God out of eternity, He comes to Bethlehem, a little baby that made a woman cry. And notice now, "And we beheld His glory, the glory as of THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, full of grace and truth." Now He is saying something else. This Word made flesh IS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER - the Son of God - full of grace and truth. The word "full" means that you just could not have any more. He brought all the Deity with Him, and He was full of grace and full of truth when He came down here as THE SON OF GOD.
Man in his present state of carnality is completely incapable of understanding the things of God. In his rebellious pride he vainly imagines that his puny mind can comprehend the most spiritual things. Because of mans inability to comprehend even the simplest things of God, the Lord has confined Himself to merely stating facts. Seldom, if ever, does He offer an explanation. If we believe those facts, building on their foundation, we will come to the truth in the end, but if we ignore them, creating a foundation of our own, we will end in a quagmire of confusion as the present world and the professing church has undoubtedly done. The Word of God abounds with basic facts that need no explanation. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. 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" (Jn. I:1-4,14). No explanation is made. Each statement is a fact and is the truth. They are to be believed and not pried into, for God, who cannot lie, has said they are so.
Surely these are simple truths that even a child can understand. The Word was made flesh. The Word made flesh was the only begotten of the Father. The Word made flesh was the Son of God. But note well - the eternal Word was not the Son - the Word MADE FLESH was the Son! The Word has now become the Son and the Son is now the Word. There is no truth in all the Scriptures more clearly set forth, and greater emphasized, than that Jesus was the SON of God. God Himself dispatched the mighty Archangel from heaven to first declare it. As the hour approached for Jesus to be conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, Gabriel announced to the astonished Galilean maiden, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Lk. 1:35). When Jesus had been baptized by John in the river Jordan, God spoke from heaven and said, "This is My beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased" (Lk. 3:22). Again, when Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up into the mount, and was transfigured before them, a voice came from heaven and said the same thing, "This is My beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him" (Mat. 17:5). There is neither time nor space to even begin to quote the vast multitude of Scriptures that declare Jesus to be the Son of God. Even the devils that possessed some people, recognized Him as Gods Son. "And devils also came out of many, crying out and saying, Thou art the Christ, the Son of God" (Lk. 4:41). The Roman centurian, when he had witnessed the things that happened when Jesus was crucified, said, "Truly this was the Son of God."
It seems, from the writings of the apostles, that it is very important that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Not that He was GOD THE SON, but that He was GODS SON. After Jesus had opened the eyes of the man who was born blind, and the Jews and the Pharisees had cast Him out of the synagogue, Jesus found him on the street and said to him, "Doss thou believe on the Son of God?" And he answered and said, "Who is He Lord, that I might believe on Him?" And Jesus said to him, "Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee." And he said, "Lord, I believe," and worshipped Him (Jn. 9:3539). After John had faithfully recorded many things about Jesus in his Gospel, toward the end he penned these challenging words, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, THE SON OF GOD, and that believing ye might have life through His name" (Jn. 20:31).
Many who read these lines will say, "I have always believed that Jesus is the Son of God!" But how can we believe that He is Gods Son, and at the same time believe the many man-made doctrines and babylonish traditions we have been taught about Him? For instance, if you are one of those who refers to Jesus as "the Second Person of the Godhead - GOD THE SON," how can you then believe that He is Gods Son? You cant believe that He is GOD THE SON and at the same time believe that He is GODS SON. The one belies the other. Every good Trinitarian believes that GOD THE SON was eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and immutable. In laymans language this means that the "Second Person of the Godhead" was almighty, all-knowing, everywhere present at the same time, without beginning, uncreated, co-eternal and equal in every way with the Father.
Now there is no doubt in my mind that the Bible teaches, and very clearly, that Jesus is Gods Son. But search how you may, you will never anywhere, in all the pages of Gods blessed Book, find the expression GOD THE SON. John 3:16 and numerous other passages call Jesus the "only begotten Son of God." John, when introducing Jesus to us as the Logos made flesh, said this, "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" (Jn. 1:14). And again, "No man hath seen God at any time; the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (vs. 18). This should be sufficient to establish the great truth that Jesus is a BEGOTTEN Son of God. He was, at one time, the ONLY begotten Son. He is no longer Gods ONLY begotten Son, for God has had many sons of different orders, and now has also many "begotten" sons of whom Jesus is the "FIRSTBORN among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born (begotten) of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also who is begotten of Him" (I Jn. 5:1).
Many saints, however, use the unScriptural phrase "eternal Son" in speaking of Jesus. They say that the "eternal Son of God" came down to earth. This raises a most important question - Did Jesus, as part of the Godhead, exist from eternity as Gods only begotten Son? Do the Scriptures teach this? Or is it just another time-honored tradition that we have always ASSUMED must be taught or supported somewhere in the Bible? What does "begotten" mean? The word "begotten" is a form of the verb "beget", which means "to procreate, to father, to sire." We find this word many times in the Bible, especially in the genealogies, as in Genesis, chapter five. "And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image, and called his name Seth. And the days of Adam after he had BEGOTTEN Seth were eight hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters." Adam, the earthly father of the human race, had a begotten son born in his image I and likeness. Seth was exactly like his father Adam. Our heavenly Father, the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9), also had a begotten Son in His image and after His likeness, the One who is the express image of His Person.
If Jesus was first of all Gods ONLY BEGOTTEN Son, then when was He born the Son of God? BEGOTTEN indicates a definite point in time - the point at which conception takes place. By definition, the begetter (father) always must come before the begotten (offspring). There must be a time when the begetter exists and the begotten is not yet in existence, and there must be a point in time when the act of begetting occurs. Otherwise the word "begotten" has no meaning. So, the very words "begotten" and "Son" each contradict the word "eternal" as applied to the Son of God. ETERNAL sonship is alien to all the holy Scriptures. To be His begotten Son there had to be a time when He was born of God. The Son of God had to have a beginning, else He could not BE the SON - the offspring of God. God fathered...begat...yea, sired Jesus Christ!
The Sonship - or the role of the Son - began with the child conceived in the womb of Mary. The Scriptures make this perfectly clear. Gal. 4:4 says, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law." The Son came forth in the fullness of time - not in eternity past. The Son was made of a woman not begotten eternally. The Son was made under the law - not before the law. The term "begotten" refers to the conception of Jesus described in Mat. 1:18-20 and Lk. 1:35. The Son of God was begotten when the Spirit of God miraculously caused conception to take place in the womb of Mary. This is evident from the very meaning of the word "begotten" and also from Lk. 1:35, which explains, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you; for that reason the holy thing which is BEGOTTEN shall be called the Son of God." The message is clear - the Holy Ghost would overshadow Mary and she would conceive - therefore her child would be the Son of God. We should notice the future tense in this verse: the child to be born SHALL BE CALLED the Son of God.
Hebrews 1:5-6 also reveals that the begetting of the Son occurred at a specific point in time and that the Son had a beginning in time: "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? And again, WHEN HE BRINGETH IN THE FIRST BEGOTTEN INTO THE WORLD, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him." The following points can be deducted from these verses: the Son was begotten on a specific day in time; there was a time when the Son did not exist; God prophesied about the Sons future existence ("will be"); and God brought the Son into the world sometime after the creation of the angels (messengers) for they were commanded to worship Him on the day when He was brought forth.
Other verses of Scripture emphasize that the Son was begotten on a certain day in time - "this day" (Ps. 2:7; Acts 13:333. All the Old Testament verses that mention the Son were clearly prophetic, looking forward to the day when the Son of God would be begotten (Ps. 2:7,12; Isa. 7:14; 9:6 etc.). From all of these verses, it is easy to see that the Son of God is not eternal, but was begotten by God almost 2OOO years ago. Now, as I stated earlier, God has had many sons of various orders, but I am speaking here of a unique and transcendent sonship - BEGOTTEN SONS. Jesus Christ was God and He was the Son of God. But He was NOT "God the Son" or an "eternal Son." The Son of God was begotten on the day when the Father gave Him conception in the womb of a virgin and brought Him into the world!
BACK TO THE WORD
This brings us back to the Logos, the Word. The clear and unmistakable testimony of Scripture is that "In the beginning was the Word." In the beginning the Word already was. He comes out of eternity to meet us. He was already there when the beginning was. But nowhere do we find the Scripture that says, "In the beginning was the SON, and the SON was with God..." You see, precious friend of mine, the eternal WORD was MADE FLESH and BECAME THE SON, the Son of God full of grace and truth, in whom now dwells all the fullness of the Godhead BODILY. Jesus was the Word, and the Word existed as long as God existed, but the Son was that eternal Word made flesh, made a man, yea, a God-man, dwelling among us, resurrected, ascended, coming again in His many-membered body, Emmanuel, God with us forevermore! The Christ is the Word of God and the words that He speaks are Spirit and they are Life. As the WORD Jesus could say, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (Jn. 8:58). But as the SON He receives the witness of the Father, "Thou art My Son, THIS DAY have I begotten Thee." The Word became the Son and the Son IS the Word. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him...and His name is called THE WORD OF GOD" (Rev. 19:11-13).
MELCHIZEDEK - THE WORD!
The Word, prior to His manifestation as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was unbegotten, and therefore changed His form from time to time, from the burning lamp to the burning bush, to the pillar of fire, to the pillar of cloud, to the angel of Jehovah, to the form of a man, etc. Some time ago while reading an article by a sister in Christ I was struck with this thought which I could not escape. Of Melchizedek it is written that he was "without father." The thought was this: "No heavenly Father, either!" As the writer pointed out, this seemed like sacrilege and heresy at the time, but as I have pondered this statement it has become crystal clear to me that the WORD (Logos) of God was truly UNBEGOTTEN - it was the SON who was begotten!
The only being who appears through the pages of the Old Testament that perfectly meets the distinct features of the man Melchizedek is this One called THE WORD. Truly, He was without father or mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, being made "like" unto the Son of God by virtue of the fact that He was the visible embodiment and manifestation of the invisible God, demonstrating how the SONS of God would serve Him in this High Priestly Order; and in that connecting "go-between" role He qualified as the true heavenly priest, touching God from one realm and man from the other; and of what other One can it be testified that "he liveth"? Of Melchizedek it is witnessed that HE LIVETH! And of the Word of God we are told, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD OF GOD, which LIVETH and ABIDETH FOREVER" (I Pet. 1:23). Again, "For the WORD of God IS ALIVE and full of power..." (Heb. 4:12, KJV & Amplified).
Who was Melchizedek? Im sure you know by now that it is my conviction that he was a THEOPHANY, that He was THE LOGOS, THE WORD - an Old Testament manifestation of God on the plane of the material world. He was God come forth on the human level to communicate to man, a visible One connecting the invisible world to the visible world, and the visible to the invisible, God touching man and man touching God, the realm of the eternal heavenly and celestial Priesthood - THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK! He is both God and man, King and Priest. Abraham did not have the priesthood of Levi, but he had a higher, great. en He had the audible voice of God, the visible representation of His Person. That was Melchizedek, which was in the beginning, an eternal priesthood, with no beginning and no ending. Melchizedek has always been. He is the WORD OF GOD - eternal, divine! This is our message.
A further proof of this great truth can be found in the very meaning of the word "order". "Thou art a priest for ever after the ORDER of Melchizedek" (Ps. llO:4). This word "order" is of utmost importance regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is DIBRA in Hebrew which is the feminine form of DABAR which means: arrangement; to arrange words in order; a word; to speak; commune; declare; pronounce; be spokesman; decree; an oracle. The whole thought that underlies the various meanings of this word is ORDERLY ARRANGEMENT - nothing haphazard, nothing by chance, nothing hit or miss, everything in proper place. Yet with it all there is that predominate thought of WORDS, DECREES, SPOKESMAN and ORACLE. This Melchizedek Order is not by chance, not by mans development but rather the expression of the LIVING WORD, the revelation of the Most High by the Spirit and according to His perfect timing. The ORDER of Melchizedek is THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE W-O-R-D!
All of the elect sons of God who are called to the Melchizedekian Priesthood are the extension and projection of THE WORD. The word LOGOS is used in connection with our birth as sons in I Pet. 1:23, "Being born again by the WORD of God." To be born of the Word means that we are children of the Word, we shall speak and emanate and personify the nature, power, wisdom, truth and glory of God unto creation. This is the name of the Christ because it is WHAT HE IS, and as He is, so are we in this world. Ah, beloved, GOD IS PRODUCING A W-O-R-D C-O-M-P-A-N-Y and He will set them in order as the full and complete revelation of Himself - the Melchizedekian Priesthood. It is not just a word that this company speaks - it is WHAT HE IS. And when we BECOME the manifestation of the Most High in the earth we BECOME the Logos, because it is from this Word that we are born. Those of this Order shall indeed be recognized by the pure Word that flows from them, the reality of speaking as the Oracle of God, but beyond that, they shall BE that Word, they shall BE that Oracle, they shall BE the decree of the Almighty. It is not enough to speak for the living reality of what is spoken must emanate from the STATE OF BEING, so that the individual IS that thing whether that individual utters a word or not.
LIKE THE SON - AFTER THE ORDER
There is a beautiful truth that lies buried just beneath the surface in the contrast between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ. It is said of Melchizedek that he was MADE "LIKE UNTO the Son of God," whereas it is stated of Jesus Christ that He was MADE "a priest for ever AFTER THE ORDER of Melchizedek" (Heb. 7:3,17). I would draw your attention to the fact that both men were "MADE" - Melchizedek being MADE "like unto" the Son and the Son being MADE "after the Order" of Melchizedek. On the one hand, Melchizedek was made like unto the Son while, on the other hand, the Son was made after the order of Melchizedek. Oh, the mystery of it! An objection has been put forth that it would be redundant to say that Melchizedek was made LIKE UNTO the Son of God, if actually He WAS the Son of God. But it answers the question when we see that Melchizedek was NOT the Son - He was THE WORD - the Word which long centuries afterward was begotten of the Father, made flesh, and came into the world as THE SON OF GOD.
There is something very interesting in the book of Daniel about this. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the burning fiery furnace, because of the kings anger, as the king stood in front of the furnace and looked into the open door, suddenly he started with disbelief; he was filled with wonder at what he saw, and he said to the nobles around him, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" And they answered the king, "True, O king." He answered and said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is LIKE the SON OF GOD." Ah - King Nebuchadnezzar did not say that the form of the fourth was like God, or that the form of the fourth was the Son of God. He used exactly the same term that the writer of Hebrews used to explain that Melchizedek was made "like unto" the Son of God. The word "like" is from the Hebrew word DEMAH meaning "to resemble by comparison."
I do not doubt for one moment that the great king Nebuchadnezzar was moved upon by the Spirit of God and that, unbeknown to himself, he spoke by the Spirit of prophecy, and that the fourth man walking in the fiery furnace was none other than the Logos, the Word - Melchizedek, if you please - that One made "LIKE UNTO the Son of God"! This great One prefigured and pointed to the ABIDING SON who was to come as Head and High Priest of an everlasting Priesthood, from the incorruptible celestial realm, after the Order of Melchizedek. All this, and secrets of grace, even more profound, are revealed yet hidden in what is recorded of Melchizedek.
After the ORDER of Melchizedek! At a later date I hope to write in greater depth concerning this wonderful ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. But in bringing this article to a close I wish to share the following description of the ministry of King Jesus and His many brethren "after the Order of Melchizedek."
OLD TESTAMENT MANIFESTATIONS OF THE WORD
1. He appeared as King of Peace to - Abraham
2. He appeared as Friend of Mankind to - Abraham
3. He appeared as Power with God and Man to - Jacob
4. He appeared as Deliverer and Covenant Maker to - Moses
5. He appeared as Captain of the Lords Host to - Joshua
6. He appeared as Liberator to - Gideon
7. He appeared as Gods Strength in Man to - Manoah
8. He appeared as Controller of World Events to - Ezekiel
9. He appeared as Deliverer from Death to - Nebuchadnezzar
1O. He appeared as Revealer of Future Events to - Daniel
THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK
(Heb. 7:1-28)1. This ministry is that of a KING-PRIEST
2. This ministry is UNLIMITED
3. This ministry has the SOURCE of an ENDLESS LIFE
4. This ministry is EVERLASTING - THROUGH ALL AGES
5. This ministry is UNCHANGEABLE
6. This ministry is UNIVERSAL - to ALL MEN
7. This ministry springs from JUDAH (praise)
8. This ministry BRINGS PERFECTION
9. This ministry WILL NOT FAIL - IT IS BY AN OATH
1O. This ministry PUTS AWAY THE CURSE OF THE LAW (sin, sickness, poverty and death)
To be continued .
J. Preston Eby
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
If you would like any of these messages or would like to be on J Preston Eby's mail list you may write him at the above address or e-mail me at Gary@Sigler.org and I will forward your request to Preston. He has nothing to sell, all his writings are free to all. You may contribute to his ministry to help spread this message to the world, but gifts are not tax deductible.