The Weekend Word

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17 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Gen. 14:1   In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.

    Gen. 14:8   Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. 11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.

    Gen. 14:13   Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

    Gen. 14:17   After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,
    “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor of heaven and earth;
    20 and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

    And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”

  2. Michael says:

    Psa. 110:0    A PSALM OF DAVID.

    Psa. 110:1    The LORD says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
    until I make your enemies your footstool.”

    Psa. 110:2    The LORD sends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your enemies!
    3 Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of your power,
    in holy garments;
    from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of your youth will be yours.
    4 The LORD has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
    “You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.”

    Psa. 110:5    The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
    6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
    he will shatter chiefs
    over the wide earth.
    7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.

  3. Michael – can you remove my post above – it was meant for Open Blogging.

  4. Steve Wright says:

    Very good, MLD. This is a huge part of the book.

    As a total aside, anyone with any sort of Mormon background who leaves that world usually wants (and frankly does need) to discuss what the Bible truth really is on the Melchizedek priesthood.

    Thumbs up from the peanut gallery here! 🙂

  5. Michael says:

    This passage takes us into what seems at first sight a technical, almost bizarre discussion of the short reference to Melchizedek in the book of Genesis. It does so because, according to Psalm 110:4, the Messiah, the one to whom all things are put into subjection, is appointed by God as ‘a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek’. The writer has quoted that passage, tantalizingly, three times already (5:6, 10; 6:20). Now at last Hebrews is doing for us what I do when, puzzled by something in a text, I reach for the relevant reference book and start to delve into a new area.
    He, like many early Christians, has realized that Jesus has been appointed by God to a position at his right hand, waiting for his kingdom to be complete (Psalm 110:1). But he has asked himself the question which nobody else so far as we know had asked: what exactly did the same Psalm mean when it spoke of Jesus’ priesthood ‘according to the order of Melchizedek’? So, as I reach for my dictionaries and encyclopedias, the writer reaches for the only other passage in the whole Bible where Melchizedek is mentioned, namely the fourteenth chapter of Genesis. What sort of priesthood did he have there? How did it relate to what God was promising to Abraham? What clues might there be to help us understand more about Jesus himself?
    After quoting the key passage from Genesis 14:17–20, the writer goes on, almost musingly, to think for a start about what Melchizedek’s name means. Melech in Hebrew means ‘king’; zedek in Hebrew means ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’. Well then, he is ‘king of righteousness’; and since he’s ‘king of Salem’ (that is, Jerusalem), and since shalom means ‘peace’, he is also ‘king of peace’. But this is really just toying with possibilities. The real point is yet to come.
    Verse 3, which is often misunderstood, is the heart of it, and to get the point we need to understand what was so striking, to any Jew, about the claim that the king spoken of in Psalm 110 would be, in any sense, a priest. Granted, Solomon had offered sacrifices in the Temple; but thereafter the kings, who were descended from the tribe of Judah, had not done so. There was a clear division: priests were from the tribe of Levi (and within that, more specifically, from the family of Aaron); kings were from the tribe of Judah. How then could a king be a priest as well? And, even if he was, what sort of relationship might there be between the two types of priesthood that would thus exist alongside one another?
    Verse 3, translated literally, begins: ‘Fatherless, motherless, genealogy-less, having neither beginning of days nor end of life’. Some people have thought that the writer, finding in the text no mention of Melchizedek’s parents or his more distant ancestors, or his birth or death, is ‘deducing’ that he didn’t have any of the above. This is unnecessary and unlikely. The point is much more obvious: Melchizedek is introduced into the story of Abraham, as a ‘priest of God most high’, but without any mention being made of where he got his priesthood from, more particularly of whether he obtained it by inheritance from his family. Nor is there any mention of his priesthood starting or finishing with birth or death. It is as though, in the story, he is just there, as something of a permanent fixture. This prepares us for the point which is rammed home in the next passage, about the fact that Jesus’ high priesthood does not depend on being born into a priestly family, and that his priesthood, unlike that of the Levitical priests, continues uninterrupted to the present time.
    Verses 4–10 then set out the contrast between the Levitical priesthood (which in the writer’s day was still at work in the Temple in Jerusalem) and the priesthood which Psalm 110, explained in the light of Genesis 14, ascribes to Jesus. The priesthood ‘after the order of Melchizedek’, he says, is obviously superior, because even Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and Melchizedek blessed him. He is thus superior not only to Abraham, but also to Levi, one of Abraham’s great-grandchildren; Levi was in a manner of speaking already present, in the sense of being contained in his ancestor’s body, when Melchizedek and Abraham met. We are thus prepared for the conclusion: Jesus himself, the Melchizedek-type high priest, is far superior to the present Levitical priesthood. This has a double result. On the one hand, Jesus has made the present Temple and all that goes with it redundant. On the other hand, we can put complete confidence and trust in him, as the true and lasting high priest. Discovering more about Melchizedek, and so discovering what the Psalm meant when talking of the Messiah as a priest as well as a king, is a way to increase and deepen our sense of trust and assurance as we lean the full weight of our future hope on Jesus and on him alone.

    Wright, T. (2004). Hebrews for Everyone (pp. 70–73). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

  6. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thoughts on the idea of Melchizedek as Shem?

  7. Baba,
    I don’t know about the identity of this guy and I think it is probably left clouded for a reason.

    Here is the question I have for the group. If he was such a special priest that his office is the model for that of our Lord – who were the people he was the priest for … and does this lead to the thought that God’s people have always been the whole world — as even to this day?

  8. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD

    Yes I will be your father… 😉

  9. Surfer51 says:

    The Worldwide Church Of God has an interesting take on Mel

    http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/HWA/k/745/Mystery-Melchizedek-Solved.htm

  10. Em says:

    Genesis 8:15-22 … i guess i’ve been tracking similar to Babylon’s Dread… i’ve been wondering if waaay back before Abraham’s time, back when Noah’s family came off the ark, re-established the human race on the earth and immediately set up an altar offering sacrifices (as directed by God, i presume), if that obedience of worship had continued on thru the generations – at least in this one pocket where Melchizedek functioned…

    it does tell me that, while the people of Abraham had a very special place in history… they weren’t the be all and end all of God’s interaction with the race of man – and Christ came to the Jew first, but to the rest of us humans – God so loved the world, not just the Jew

  11. Jean says:

    Following.

  12. Jean says:

    If MLD will permit me some leeway, I would like to examine Melchizedek more closely, particularly from the perspective of Abram. It’s taken some days to try and rap my arms around what is going on here. Here are my current thoughts:

    When Abram returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him and rescuing Lot, Abram was met by two kings:

    (1) Melchizedek came offering bread, wine and a priestly blessing from God Most High; and
    (2) The King of Sodom came offering spoils of war, the possessions of Sodom.

    Abram valued the unseen promise of his God (descendants as numerous as the stars) over the visible spoils of war. Abram kept faith with his God, rather than becoming beholden to the King of Sodom (there are always strings). One cannot serve two masters. I’m reminded of that beautiful Ps: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

    The narrative does not indicate that Abram was tempted, but one can imagine as a human being that there probably was temptation. Abram’s Israelite descendants certainly failed the test of refraining from taking the spoils of war later upon entering the land. One such incident cost Saul is crown.

    Which brings us to the bread and wine. Nothing outwardly fancy. Probably not as tasty as the herds and flocks recovered by Abram. But, when they come from the priest of God Most High, is something greater at work? Did these elements refresh and strengthen Abram, body and spirit, at just the right time in order to reject the King of Sodom? I believe that may have been their purpose.

    Do the bread and wine of the Eucharist refresh and strengthen Christians today who face the temptations of the evils of our world? Jesus said he is the bread of life. To those who want his life, “take, eat”.

  13. Not addressed to Jean’s point, but just all that goes on in trying to figure out who this guy is. I said earlier that I think it was with intent to leave him as an anonymous figure – because the man Melchizedek is not important at all … but his office is. This is what Jesus was to be like – to hold the office in the order of Melchizedek.

    This is the importance of understanding the office of the ministry – it is not about your pastor, the pastor or any pastor – but about his office. My pastor could up and leave us tomorrow and all we should care about is that a pastor comes to serve us – to serve us the word and the sacraments, and it doesn’t matter who he is.

    This is why my pastor can stand among us and pronounce God’s forgiveness with the words “As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore forgive you all of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

  14. Melchizedek, and I think it can be seen in Jean’s post but in a subtle fashion, comes with all power and authority of God but does so as a servant preacher – ministering to the people through the bread and wine and then fades into the background of life until the next time.

    Too many pastors must stay in the limelight for fear of being forgotten or thought of as irrelevant.

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