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Month 2:15, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5941:45 AM
2Exodus 4/40, Omer Count - Shabbat #4, Late Chag haMatzah I
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 11 May 2017
Melchizedek
King of Salem

    Introduction

    Shabbat shalom mishpachah and grace, ahavah (love) and simcha (joy) be unto all the House of haShem!

    The Mysterious Priest-King

    One of the most mysterious - and therefore controversial - important kings in the Bible is undoubtedly Melchizedek whose name, most agree, means 'king of righteousness'. Even more important is the fact that he was simultaneously a king and a cohen or priest. He was a Priest-King and in that respect was both like King David and, most importantly of all, a type of the Priest-King, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) our Adon (Master).

    The Encounter With Abram

    We read of the encounter of Abram with this Melchizedek:

      "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen (priest) of El Elyon (God Most High), and he blessed Abram, saying,

        'Blessed be Abram by El Elyon (God Most High),
        Creator of heaven and earth.
        And blessed be El Elyon (God Most High),
        who delivered your enemies into your hand."

      Then Abram gave him a tenth (tithe) of everything"
      (Gen.14:18-20, NIV).

    Liberal Misconceptions

    There are all kinds of theories in theological circles as to Melchizedek's personal identity. Liberals, who deny the historicity and antiquity of Genesis, view his account in that book as little more than a midrash or allegory to explain Psalm 110, but there is no concensus even amongst these modernists concerning this elusive figure.

    The Great Messianic Prophecy of Psalm 110

    In the great oracle or prophecy of David concerning the Messianic King-Priest, interpreted thus both by Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ Himself) (Mt.22:43-45; Mk.12:36-37; Lk.20:42-44), the apostle Peter (Ac.2:34-36) and the author of Hebrews (Heb.1:13; 5:6-10; 7:11-28), we read:

      "Yahweh (the LORD or 'Greater Yahweh') says to my Adon (Lord, Master or 'Lesser Yahweh'):
      "Sit at my right hand
      until I make your enemies
      a footstool for your feet."

      "Yahweh will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
      you will rule in the midst of your enemies.
      Your troops will be willing
      on your day of battle.
      Arrayed in qadosh (holy, set-apart) majesty,
      from the womb of the dawn
      you will receive the dew of your youth.

      Yahweh has sworn
      and will not change his mind:
      'You are a cohen (priest) le-olam-va-ed (forever),
      in the order of Melchizedek"

      (Ps.110:1-4, NIV).

    The Great Priest-Kings of the Holy Order

    David likely composed this prophetic psalm for the coronation of his son and successor Solomon, who is a type of the Messiah, exceeding his ancestral 'father', David, in glory, whom he refers to as "my Master". Both David and his descendant, the Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus), as Priest-Kings, are of this hallowed and sacrosanct Melchizedek Order. This means that David, though reigning in the dispensation of the lower, preparatory Aaronic or Levitical Order, received a Priesthood greater than that of Aaron by virtue of his being an image of the coming Messianic King.

    Conservatives and Melchizedek

    Liberals, we we have seen, know nothing of Melchizedek, but even conservative Christian theologians are unsure what to do with this mysterious figure from the mists of antiquity even though they know he is very important. After all, an entire Priesthood is named after him, a Priesthood far greater than that of Aaron's.

    Melchizedek vs. Aaronic

    This is in itself curious. Mentioned in only three books of the Bible (Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews) and a mere ten times by name, at any rate, this contrasts with the Aaronic or Levticial Priesthood cited hundreds of times. Yet by comparison, the Aaronic is but a pale shadow before the glorious brightness of the Melchizedek. The former has long gone, fulfilled by Yah'shua (Jesus). Today we live in a Melchizedek Dispensation that is still being manifested.

    The Genesis 14 Incident

    In the very first reference, Genesis 14 describes an alliance of four eastern kings (all of whom have been confirmed historically outside the Bible [1]). These monarchs are recorded subjugating five cities of the Jordan valley and the subsequent liberation of the cities by Abram. Following Abram's victory, Melchizedek approaches the patriarch and pronounces a blessing upon him and upon El Elyon, as we have seen. He is of superior toqef (authority) to Abram because he was a type of the Messiah Himself, for whom Abram was waiting.

    Titles of the Great Prince of Old

    The bread and wine administered by Melchizedek to Abram, whilst on a simple lever referring to a simple fellowship meal, has long been understood by conservative theologians to represent much more, namely the body and blood of Messiah, for that is what the Melchizedek Priest dispenses symbolically as a sacrament. The Melchizedek Priest is a minister of the Besorah, the Gospel or Good News of the risen Messiah whose blood had paid the price for the sins of the world. This Prince from antiquity therefore bore two messianic titles of great importance:

    • 1. The King of Righteousness (Malchi-Zadok = Melchizedek); and
    • 2. The Prince of Peace (Shalom = King of Salem).

    Theories About the Identity of Melchizedek

    But was Melchizedek a flesh-and-blood person? Was he, as some conservative scholars claim, actually one-and-the-same as Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), perhaps even an earlier incarnation? People have drawn this conclusion because the Scriptures say that had neither father nor mother, nor apparently even beginning or end of his life.

    Melchizedek Lived in the Flesh

    There are two problems with this:

    • 1. Hebrew 5:5-7 speaks very plainly of "Melchizedek, who in the days of flesh" (Heb.5:7, KJV), clearly showing that the days of his flesh are in the past. In other words, his mortal life is over. This it is Melchizedek's Priesthood that is eternal, not his body;

    • 2. The expression, "had neither father nor mother" can also refer to an orphan, and is so used of Mordecai's cousin, Hadassah (Esther) (Est.2:7, NIV).

    A Non-Hereditary Priesthood

    Thus to be without father or mother does not mean never to have had parents. We are not dealing with an earlier incarnation of the Messiah, but with a man who had either been an orphan or bore a Priesthood that had no human genealogy, unlike that of the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood which was passed from father to son automatically.

    Misidentification

    Both Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5:6 tell us that Yah'shua (Jesus) is a Cohen (Priest) le-olam-va-ed (forever) "after the Order of Melchizedek". If they had been one and the same, the Scripture would simply have said, "You are Melchizedek", which it does not, any more than Yah'shua (Jesus) Or even John the Baptist, for that matter) was "Elijah", as some of His contemporaries supposed which He denied, even though the Mount of Transfiguration demonstrated that He possessed the toqef (authority) and anointing of the Spirit of Elijah (Mk.8:27-29).

    An Alternative Rendering

    To be fair to all sides in the discussion, the Hebrew expression 'al-divrâtî in Psalm 110:4 can either mean "a cohen (priest) according to (after) the order of Melchizedek" or "on account of Melchizedek" but this latter interpretation presupposes that Melchizedek was never a literal person.

    The Story of Eved-tov, Prince of Salem

    In any case a successor of the original Melchizedek, called Eved-tov, as Priest-King of Salem, writes a letter to the then Egyptian Pharaoh, Amenophis IV (discovered in 1887 at Tell el Amarna), reminding him of how he came to inherit this title:

      "Behold, neither my father nor my mother have exalted me (set me up as king) in this place..." [2].

    He says it again, in another letter, as if underlining the importance of how he acquired his priesthood and kingship:

      "Behold, this country of the city of Jerusalem , neither my father nor my mother has given to me; the arm of the Migthty King gave it to me, even to me" [3].

    A Non-Heriditary Office

    Thus the Melchizedek Priesthood was a non-hereditary office just as it is today in our own Holy Order, Chavurat Bekorot or Assembly of the Firstborn (Heb.12:23). This office was not passed down from father to son and thus had "no father and no mother".

    Problems With Hereditary Priesthood

    Highlighting the problem of hereditary priesthood, Bill Cooper writes:

      "This has a vital bearing on the purity and sanctity of the priesthood of Salem of which Melchizedek was a member. The priestly lines of both Aaron and Levi were hereditary, and the sometimes unfortunate effect of that was that often young men inherited the office who were entirely unsuited to it. The priest Eli and his sons. Hophni and Phineas, are a first-class example of what can happen under such automatic elevation to the priesthood (1 Samuel 2:12-17). Ananias and Caiaphas are other, later, examples" [4].

    Foreshadowing the Messiah

    There was something quite extraordinary about the man Melchizedek as his name, "King of Righteousness" suggests. Compare this with one of his successors, Eved-tov, who wrote those letters to the Egyptian Pharaoh, whose name means "Good Servant". Both these names foreshadow the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), as they were supposed to, because they were titles of the Presiding Patriarch of the then Holy Order. The King of All made Himself the Servant of All as every leader of the Holy Order must do. Thus:

      "...both the priesthood and kingship of Salem were a living and decidedly historical foreshadowing of Him Who was to come, the promised seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15)" [5].

    Yahweh as El Elyon

    The El Elyon (Most High God) whom Abram and Melchizedek worshipped was none other than Yahweh Himself, not, as some liberals falsely accuse, some pagan Canaanite deity. It is again wrongly assumed, that because Salem was in Canaan, that it was a pagan city. Abram would never have paid tithes to a pagan idolater! Melchizedek was the Cohen or Priest of the true El (God), El Elyon, the Most High God, Yahweh-Elohim (Gen.14:18).

    The Original Salem

    This place called "Salem" was located on the mountain that is today called Moriah and would one day be incorporated within the later city called Jerusalem or Yerushalayim. Why was it then called "Salem" and not by some name sounding more like the modern Yeru-shalayim? Because of the languages in that region.

    Uru-Salim and Har-el

    The pre-Davidic City of Jerusalem was known, even in Assyrian records, by the strange name, Uru-Salim - the City of Peace - or Urushalim. Again, even before the days of Abraham, this city - Uru-Salim - had within its walls a place of special sanctity, which would later be called Mount Moriah, where both Abraham was to almost offer up Isaac and where Yahweh would actually offer up His Son Yah'shua (Jesus), only then it was called Har-el, meaning, the Mount of El (God). In later times this was where the Temple of Solomon would be built too. And for then first half of the second millennium BC, this city was served by a long line of cohenim (priests) who simultaneously officiated as its king.

    Shem Was Melchizedek

    According to the revelation which we in the Chavurat Bekorot have received, Shem or Melchizedek was the first of this post-flood Priest-Kings, with Eved-tov being one of his successors, who testified that this office was bestowed by no man - neither father nor mother - but by the "Mighty King", El Elyon, Yahweh-Elohim, our Father in Heaven.

    Adoni-zedek, the Last of the Early Pre-Flood Priest-Kings

    How long did this priestly office last in Jerualem? Probably until the time of King Adoni-zedek, whose name means "Master of Righteousness", similar to 'Melchi-zedek' or 'King of Righteousness'. We read:

      "Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and were living near them. He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 'Come up and help me attack Gibeon,' he said, 'because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites'" (Josh.10:1-4, NIV).

    Apostacy

    By this time, the Melchizedek Order had apostacised. Clearly now Adoni-zedek is a heathen and fighting against Joshua, unlike the original Melchi-zedek who blessed Abram and served him bread and wine. Joshua paid no tithes to Adoni-zedek as Abram had to Melchi-zedek. Things had completely changed.

    Arrival of a New Priesthood

    We don't know, but it is possible thyat Adoni-zedek was Eved-tov's successor. Adoni-zedek was, in any case, slain at the Battle of Gibeon (Josh.10:15-26) and the line of Melchizedek Priest-Kings came to an end - for now A new Priesthood had arrived in the Promised Land with the Tabernacle, and there was to be no other King over Israel save Yahweh Himself. So we can estimate that the office held by Melchizedek back in the 19th century BC lasted around 500 years, from the very earliest days after the flood, to the days of the Conquest by Joshua.

    Shem and the Hebrews

    Shem, the son of Noah, who was the first Priest-King after Noah, was the forefather of the Hebrew people through Eber. He had a special status - a highly exalted status, which fits in well with him being the person of Melchizedek, as testified by Sirach:

      "Shem and Seth and Enosh were honoured, but above every other created living being was Adam" (Sirach 49:16, NRSV).

    Four Great Priest-Kings of Antiquity: Adam, Seth, Enosh and Shem

    Herein are therefore identified four of the most important leaders of the Holy Order before Messiah - Adam himself, his son Seth (who replaced the murdered Abel), Enosh (son of Seth and grandson of Adam) (Lk.3:38) and Shem. According to Genesis 5:9-11, at the age of 90, Enosh sired a son called Kenan and then lived an additional 815 years. This was before the Flood. We read:

      "Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of Yahweh" (Gen.4:26, NIV).

    The Ancient Order of Yahweh

    Ah, there is so much I could say about this Ancient Order of Yahweh - this Holy Order or Chavurat Bekorot - but there is not time today. There is much talk about the 'Melchizedek Order' these days by messianics and others but very little understanding of what it really is for it can only be comprehended and apprehended by revelation and communion with the Heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn.

    A Revelation of Seth and Abram

    There is more than what I have spoken about today which is why Yahweh has given this Melchizedek Order, called the Chavurat Bekorot, the 11 so far of the 12 Books of Abraham. These books quite clearly identify Melchizedek, King of Salem, as none other than Shem the Son of Noah. It tells us of Abram's exposure to it and how he became Abraham. For we read:

      "Now Shem was like unto his father Noah in the holiness of Yahweh and they were as one, even as all the fathers are one with the Elohim of Heaven. He was a King and High Priest in the House of Yahweh, and the King over the city of Salem according to the Priesthood. And because of his exceeding great righteousness, he was also known as the King of Righteousness, like unto his father Noah. And therefore was he called Melchizedek in the House of Yahweh, according to his spiritual stature. I remained subject unto him all my days in Salem. Never was he unjust unto me, but his mercy and loving kindness ever embraced me, and caused me to love him the more. And thus he taught me the mystery of the fathers, and their oneness; wherefore the love of one was as the love of all. Often Seth taught me alone but at other times I was taught with others of my age, that I might not boast of my special favours on account of my high and holy calling, but remember that I was created from the same dust as my fellows. Therefore I was taught somewhat concerning the grace of humility, which is the chief grace. And I could have had no better tutor than Shem" (3 Abraham 6:1-10).

    The Life of the Ancient Holy City

    This whole Messianic Evangelical work is founded upon this restoration of the Holy Order which is in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus). To conclude, then, one last extract so that you may know of my calling and the true calling of all those called to this work:

      "Now it is not expedient that I, Abraham, should write all that transpired in the City of Salem, for the days of man are short and it is not expedient that everything should be recorded. But I give unto those who shall read this record a few words concerning my family, and the great joy thereof, that those likewise called unto the Holy City might be similarly blessed. And I give these words unto the elect, for they who are of the world will not comprehend them, but reject them. I, Abraham, was highly blessed of Yahweh while I dwelt in the Holy City, for He gave unto me many souls into my watchcare, some who were of my flesh, and others who were not. Therefore was my family exceedingly happy, and all were wont to praise Elohim night and day. Now those who have not dwelt in the Holy City cannot ever understand or know the peace and spiritual prosperity thereof, for never was there jealosy, contention or any manner of strife that afflicteth the children of men. Neither can the world understand the purity of the Holy City, for the world is carnal, sensual and defiled, not comprehending the ways of holiness" (3 Abraham 7:1-7).

    Conclusion

    And so we end our short introduction to Melchizedek today. I hope this has blessed you and convery to you something of the core and heart which is this work, in Yah'shua's Name. Amen.

    Endnotes

    [1] See Bill Cooper, The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis - A Study in Three Parts (Creation Science Movement, UK: 2011), pp.86-99
    [2] Bill Cooper, ibid., fn.3, p.108
    [3] Bill Cooper, ibid., fn.4, p.108
    [4] Bill Cooper, ibid., p.102

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