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Written by W.M. Mitchell   

The Gospel Messenger—November 1894 


 For this Melchisedec of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter el the kings, and blessed him.—Heb vii. 1.

In compliance with the request of Bro. J. M. Darden, of Texas, we offer a few remarks very briefly on the above text and its connection. We do so, however, with some degree of reluctance, knowing that some of our beloved brethren, for whose ability and spiritual discernment we have a high regard, differ with us very much in their understanding and application of this subject. We have, therefore, no desire to write upon any subject unless we could edify, comfort or instruct Christians in the truth of the gospel. If the inspired apostle had many things to say about Melchisedec, and because of the dullness of his hearers he found it hard to utter what he did have, no marvel if we should consider it almost an insurmountable obstacle in our way to speak on the subject at all.

he First notice of Melchisedec in the scriptures is given in Genesis xiv. 18, long before the nation of Israel or Levitical priesthood had been manifested in the world. All that is said of him there is, that he was a priest of the Most High God and also king of Salem; that he blessed Abraham, and supplied him when he was weary in battle with bread and wine, and that Abraham paid tithes to him. The use made of this by the apostle is to show that instead of the priesthood of Christ being a continuance of the Levitical priesthood after the order of Aaron, it is “like unto,” and “after the order of Melchisedec.” The apostle does not attempt to argue that Melchisedec is Christ himself, the Son of God, as some of our esteemed brethren do, but that Christ is a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec in distinction from the order of Aaron. If our brethren will carefully notice the whole connection of this subject in Hebrews, it will be seen that when the holy apostle speaks of Melchisedec as being “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life,” that he is contrasting the nature and order of Melchisedec’s priesthood with the Levitical priesthood.

We have not the shadow of a doubt upon our mind, but what Melchisedec, as a man, was born into the world like other people, having a natural father and mother, and a certain day and year when he was born and when he died. But in his official capacity, combining within himself both the office of priest and king, he had no father nor mother in the sense that the Levitical priest had, whose father before him must be a priest and his mother a priestess, because the office was entailed and hereditary in that particular tribe. In this particular it came by descent from father to son, and as the beginning of their priestly days when they could legally officiate was when they were thirty years old, and the end of their official life at fifty. So, in contrast with all this, Christ was made a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec, who had none to precede him nor any to come after him in the offices of king and priest, nor were there any specified age when Melchisedec should be officially invested with his official position, nor any particular age when his official duties should stop; so in all these particulars his priesthood differed from that of Levi. But Christ is a priest after the order of Melchisedec. He combines in himself both king and priest. Of him it is written, “He shall be a priest upon his throne.”— Zech. vi. 13. In his official work he is before all things, and by him all things consist, and he is the head of the body the church.--M

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