header image
Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Melchisedec
Melchisedec PDF Print E-mail
Written by R.Anna Phillips   

 

Zion’s Landmark, July 1898

By the repeated request of sister Maxie Dukes, of Barwick, Ga., and other brethren at different times, I give my views on Heb. 7:1,3, and as especially requested, as to who or what Melchisedec represents.

You will notice that Melchisedec is presented to us as “King of Salem and priest of the most high God” only. Then in description it reads “First being by interpretation King of righteousness; and after that King of Salem,” &c. This shows that he was king of righteousness before he was king of Salem, and with the inference that the first necessarily preceded the last. In harmony with this idea we are told to “consider how great this man was,” (7: 4). This shows he was a mortal man before he was made king and priest. Also it reads of Melchisedec, he “was made like unto the Son of God,” (3: 4), which proves, not only that he was not the Son of God--as some affirm--as that a shadow or likeness cannot be the substance, but also that “this man,” as such, was as the result of certain preceding causes--made a king and priest. Then, evidently, not as the man, but as the already-made king and priest, he is here Presented. And as thus limited in presentation, so also he is limited in representation to Jesus Christ, the risen and anointed King and Priest at God’s right hand in heaven.

How well this accords with the history of Jesus Christ, first manifested in the flesh as born of a woman-as made man with human body, soul and life, subject to mortal passions and death: else he could not have died; nor could he have saved a human creature, save as made such.

After death he was raised up by, and to, immortal, eternal life as the Son of God, and made a Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Tiffs shows the fact, and the necessity of a change or transformation, as from a natural body to a spiritual, from mortality to immortality; from the flesh to the spirit; that none but God could accomplish. This shows not only a making, so to speak, but one of a nature above man. Melchisedec did not make himself a Priest, but “was made like unto the Son of God.” So also Christ glorified not himself to be a priest, but he that said unto him “thou art my Son,” &c., made him a Priest. And Paul says “where ariseth another priest who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Also “the; law made men priests who have infirmities;” but “God’s oath, since the law maketh the Son.” Then evidently this making must result from works embodied in this righteousness to be fulfilled by Jesus before be can be “King of righteousness,” and after which King of Salem. This making proves the man first, and thus it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a faithful and merciful High Priest. And by this oneness with their flesh and blood--a figure giving the relationship of husband--all their legal crimes and responsibilities became his in common; making deliverance in common.

Thus, though without personal sin, he “was made to be sin.” But by the sacrifice of himself, entailed by this relationship, he came to save them. The greatness of this work is equaled only by its glory. The object of it, or of eternal salvation when accomplished, is to present his people to his Father just as he himself--the first fruits--was presented as raised from the dead in body and soul, and as made perfect in spiritual order. In order to which he, like Abraham, must first be counted righteous; and then finally meet after slaughter the four confederated kings--Sin, Death, Hell and the Grave. This righteousness, or life-time obedience to every law of God, and counted a part of himself, will be as the “trained servants” of Abraham, “brought up in his own house,” (Gen. 14: 14), and through whom he was enabled to “divide himself” against these combined kings, and win the battle. Thus divided or personally separate from his people by righteousness, or as without personal sin, he escapes the personal wages of sin, and may give his life for the redemption of his people. While as in union with them he is counted spotted and imperfect, which as from the one body must be put away before he can become the author of eternal salvation, or present himself without spot in the most Holy Place. So we see these preceding works as stepping stones from glory to glory, till, more than conqueror, he fills the double throne of the royal priesthood.

But since only “in the body of his flesh through death” can he attain to this, we see what a necessary factor death is. For he must die to redeem; he must die to become the mediator of the New Testament that his people may receive the promise of eternal inheritance, (9:4); he must die to be a priest after the order of Melchisedec; for “if, he were on earth[in the flesh] he should not be a priest, seeing there are those who offer according to law” (8;4). Therefore from the grave of human flesh and life must spring the new order of king and priest after the power of an endless life. Thus death unmakes for the resurrection to remake. And what a vast, distinct and mysterious change and transformation is wrought by their hands as God’s means? And which makes a man--determined by the spirit of life in him--as distinctly and essentially different as humanity is from divinity as mortality from immortality; or as existed between Abraham--watching, warring, fearing in the body of this death--and Melchisedec, exalted and secure in the eternal life and throne of God. And just this difference existed between Jesus’ Christ in the flesh and Jesus Christ on the throne of his royal priesthood.

Therefore, as in the flesh, we may trace his descent--the beginning of his days at Bethlehem, and the end of his life at Jerusalem on the cross. While as having poured out this human life on the cross, and raised from the dead by the power and possession of eternal life the “first fruits from the dead”--”the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 1), after this new order of bodily resurrection to eternal life, and therefore, “whose descent is not counted from his brethren” in the flesh, we may truthfully say he fills the representation of Melchisedec as “without descent, without father, without mother; having neither beginning of days or end of life;” yet the eternal Son of God begotten this day from the dead, and now returned “King of Salem, priest of the most high God.” And his life being unchangeable,-- his priesthood is so.

But now as to the paying of tithes--about which I have been especially asked to give views. Abraham is a figure of Jesus in the flesh. As here presented he had--to be brief--left his father’s house and native country, and was living in a land the Lord had promised. So Jesus had left his Father’s house and living in a land (body) the Lord had promised him and his seed as a possession and habitation forever. Abraham was found faithful, righteous, the friend of God: and he was the head of his tribe; and in whom all nations were to be blessed. So was Jesus.

And now his brethren were captives in the hands of a powerful and formidable enemy; and he loved his kindred too well to let them so remain; so betook his “trained servants”--trained up in his own house –“divided himself” and met and slaughtered these kings confederated against them, and heretofore conquerors; and redeeming and bringing back his brethren. he met Melchisedec, “priest of the most high God,” who refreshed and strengthened him with bread and wine; and who blessed him; and to whom he paid tithes. So Jesus having fulfilled every law looking to the putting away of the old, and the establishment of the new Covenant, whether demanded of him personally or in behalf of his people - and all looking to the redemption and salvation of his people through death to those four powerful kings led by Chedorlaomer, king of terrors or death, that held the power of death over them--on that last night of his life in the flesh, when the hour and “power of darkness was come.” And he must needs meet the enemy--must needs enter the valley of mental decision amid the slime-pits of humanity--doubts, fears, and such terrible apprehensions and misgivings and waverings as brought strong crying and tears.

Who knows the terrible fierceness of that moral combat with these mighty kings, wherein his soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and his agony of heart and spirit so great as to relax his human system as that his sweat and blood mingled and fell to the ground as great drops of blood? That finally remembering that for this hour, in accordance to his Father’s Will, he came into the world, his resolution and determination strengthened, and with that one mighty battle-stroke--with that decisive all-conquering, “NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE,” he came off victor—virtually slaughtered these kings, brought back his brethren and won a double royal crown.

And returning, as it were, he met a messenger: an angel of God answering to Melchisedec--who strengthened and blessed him. And thus blessed be the Holy Spirit, he saw, knew and acknowledged that of all his mighty works done in the flesh, not on could be made efficient as reaching the end designed save by the strengthening; forwarding, confirming hand of the risen Christ, so to speak, risen as a pries after the order of Melchisedec and power of an end less life; even the great work of redemption completed on the cross would remain ended in death; nor it, subjects attain to justification to eternal life but for his resurrection to the royal priesthood. And thus ascribing this virtue and merit of all his works don in the flesh to the upholding, helping eternal spirit of the risen Christ as priest, he in so much paid tithes “gave a tenth part of all:” as thus also “dividing the spoil with the strong.” Is. 53:12.

Then—to follow the figure a little further—the Lord, in answer to his prayer, told Abraham that not this Eleazer, but a son born in his own house, of his own flesh and blood, should be his son and heir. And he made a covenant with him in which he promised that all nations should be blessed in him: and he told him concerning an offering he required. And Abraham prepared and placed on the altar the offerings required: and he watched them all night to drive away the birds of prey that hovered around to displace and destroy. And in that night, all alone, he saw and realized most terrible things. And last of all a deep sleep fell on him; and lo, also, a horror of great darkness fell on him.

So Jesus, in answer to prayer, received the promise that all nations--Gentiles as well as Jews-should be blessed in him, and that not these legalists--not these Jews by nature, but sons born in his own gospel house, and of his own flesh and blood, should be his heirs. And for the glory set before seen in this household, he denied himself, and brought the body, enclosing and including the soul--that God had prepared for him-and placed it upon the altar, in that he met his betrayers, and without resistance, gave up his person to the officers, apparently, as doing a willing service; and there watched all night long, as it were, driving away the birds of prey--driving away every mental suggestion that would displace them--every temptation to withdraw from the smoking furnace--to resist the horror of darkness and shameful death, till that horror of darkness and death fell on him. Oh See him!--hear him in that hour of full personal realization of this horror and temptation saying to his beloved disciples amid the strong, praying and tears, “watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”
  
When Melchisedec blessed Abraham it was said the “less was blessed of the better:” and much as to say that Jesus Christ as this royal priest was better or come to a spiritual position and condition better, more perfect, than that of Redeemer. And the blessing, as intimated, is in that while redemption necessarily precedes, it cannot be made efficient unto justification to eternal life without this risen Christ as this priest. For remember how redemption left Jesus with his betrothed hidden in him--hanging dead on the cross. Jesus had laid down his divine life in order to die; and had given his human life in hi blood as the price of redemption; therefore, was left hanging dead on the cross in the end.

But he had power to take up this life he had laid aside. Rather, Jesus having fulfilled all righteousness, this last work crowning him “King of righteousness,” God raised him from the dead, arid mat him this glorious Priest after the order of Melchisedec.

So far we have seen Jesus, as it were, complete in the preparations necessary to be made this Priest, for “first being by interpretation King of righteousness and after that also King of Salem which is King of peace.” Heb. 7: 2; or Priest making peace--atonement. And God said of him “thy sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy throne; therefore Go even thy God [indicating Jesus as the Son of man not of God] hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Heb. 1:8, 9, and thy throne is forever.” By this we see him established King and Priest. Even as in his New Testament history we have seen him fulfilling all righteousness: we have seen him “dividing himself,” as it were, and personally, or as separate from his people, fulfilling all righteousness in his own personal behalf: and then by relationship of betrothal, or as one flesh with her, fulfilling all righteousness as such, or in her behalf;--working here as “the Lord from heaven;” and suffering there as “the son of man” till she as dead to first state and generation to law, to the world and sin is “free indeed” as he that is dead to anything is free from it. And not only so, but translated into a new kingdom as born again to a new life and allegiance. Yet, all that Jesus did in the flesh was as unto law, even redemption, his last crowning work, was a law-measure making free or redeeming from its curse. The law is “a ministration of death,” and hence, as shown, ended in death, no eternal life this side of the grave. Therefore, while he died for her sins, he must rise again for her justification, and the gift of eternal life.

But “by means of his death” directly redeeming his people, he, as Testator, made his will--of force. And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament-or gospel covenant that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament--or legal covenant--they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. “For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator.” Heb. 9: 15, 16. Also, “if he were on earth he should not be a Priest seeing there are Priests that offer gifts according to the law.” Heb. 8: 4; that is, if in the flesh. Then, indeed, what a potent factor is death in thus making this transfer and transformation? or rather the resurrection springing from it that thus manifests the transforming hand of God? And “by so much is he [Jesus] made surety of a better testament and is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him” that is, of his redeemed people who would come unto God for remission of sins by way of this great Priest who is able to save body, soul, and spirit as putting away their most excessive sins, even if “yet so as by fire;” for thus exalted he gives repentance to Israel, and not one shall be lost.

But now to know him in the power of his resurrection--to view him established in his royal office, and I know wherein and to what is “exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe” Eph. 1:19, is something to which we would gladly attain. If we should measure the glory and benefit of this priesthood by the deep unparalleled shame and suffering--the shame and pain of the legal lash upon the tender flesh, his ignominious crucifixion, &c., we know this glory so far exceeds as to cause him to “despise the shame and endure the cross” for it glory and benefit set before him! Alas! we have but a bare glimpse of Melchisedec! like a bright meteor gleaming the sky, he is gone. The glimpse is so sudden and the view so exalted and sublime as to startle, astonish, and ‘leave one dazed, so to speak. And yet I think it signifies that but a glimpse--a like glimpse--is all to which we will attain while in the flesh; Perhaps many will never have this; and many will see it as through a glass darkly: and perhaps those who see it clearer will have come up, battle-stained and weary, yet victor, over the same enemy in the same slime pits; and when most needing, and best appreciating; the view, the strengthening with bread and wine, and the blessing; and as best prepared to gladly pay “a tenth part of all” as tithes.

Well, though unable to see the surpassing grandeur and glory of this priesthood in this life, may we not gather all the testimony and see it partly, even though as through a glass darkly? We already know that the gospel is how that Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day. Here there are three departments. The last, or the resurrection; which if not synonymous with, this priesthood in a gospel sense, included in it, is the crowning department and alone making the other efficient or of avail: and is, hence, the perfection of the whole gospel. And if an apostle rebuked brethren for not pressing on to it, may not we be remiss in not trying to understand it? I certainly think so. Paul wrote to brethren of spiritual age; so the more aged are less excusable. He said for when they ought to be teachers, they had need that one teach them even which be the first principles of the gospel, or that Jesus died and buried as answering to that first state of repentance--condemnation, eternal judgments, baptisms as of death to the law, redemption, and baptism into the church. And wherein sinning and distressed and terribly beset with doubts and fears, they instead of coming directly to their “merciful High Priest--their “Advocate with the Father,” are trying to work out their way--trying to get back into Egypt again to lay a new foundation for repentance--to take a new start to Canaan, &c. After telling them of the responsibility, he tells them to leave these first principles--these first departments of the gospel and go on to perfection--to the last department that of the gospel, so to speak, that crowning department that makes perfect the whole--that makes efficient the whole--that only can bring them to the accomplishment designed--that still blesses the less,--strengthens the weak--helps their infirmities--renews the holy spirit--revives the dead, in short, that saves them from their sins, and saves them to the uttermost, that thus come unto God by this merciful High Priest who brings them to peace--at-one-ment with the Father.

But how shall we come? Show us the way: show us the official department of the Great High Priest, Alas! I have shown you that we catch but a glimpse of the glorious grandeur, beauty and benefit of this sublime and most Holy Place. As we saw Melchisedec, so we see Jesus, as it were, by a glimpse who “having obtained eternal redemption” for us on the cross, “by his own blood enter once into the Holy Place.” Heb. 9: 12--an High Priest “who set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens”--a minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man” that is spiritual. “For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices wherefore of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” Heb. 8: 2, 3. “Therefore, by his own blood he entered in.” And if the blood of beasts—under the old tabernacle, or Levitical Priesthood, purified the flesh, in a sense; “how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”

But you thought all his blood went to redemption? No, indeed; his human life and the blood thereof was the price which was amply paid. Have you noticed how careful Pilate was to be assured that Jesus was dead before he gave his body to Joseph? Mark 15:45. Of all the “powers that be” clamoring for Jesus’ death, with Pilate rested the official authority to pass the sentence of death, and to have it executed. Pilate represented the moral law that “found no fault in the man;” and not till Herod had condemned him and his soldier had put the old scarlet robe on him, which signified the imputed sins of his people, before Pilate passed the sentence of death on him. And now must law and justice be satisfied by taking his life. So that he made sure of his death before he gave away his body. And after it had passed to Joseph free from law--free from the old covenant, the soldiers pierced his side and water and blood came out. And therefore all the merit and virtue in these went to the gospel--the new covenant. And herein is fulfilled the prophesy--”his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west and there shall be a great valley, and half of the mountains shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south, and ye shall flee to the valley;” that is, redemption shall flow back to the o]d, and forward to the new covenant people of God. “And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea.” Is. 14: 4, 8; that is, that rendered to Pilate shall go the law unto redemption; and that rendered to Joseph to the gospel unto atonement. That body belonged to Pilate by legal right and claim, and redemption was by price. It belonged to Joseph by gracious gift; and the gift of God is eternal life. Jesus was first made under the law (Gal. 4: 4) to fulfill all legal righteousness. he must first be “King of righteousness and after that, be King of peace.’, “He taketh away the first that he may establish the second”’ or new covenant.
So while this water and blood that as a substance answered to the human body and soul of Jesus as it hung dead under the curse of God’s holy law, and represented the material—like material under like condemnation—of which God would make the visible Gospel church; they as properties of cleansing, and conciliatory, and propitiatory, represent the gifts and offerings of christ as High Priest.

Therefore, as having satisfied the law, and as “having obtained eternal redemption, he through the eternal spirit entered into the most Holy Place” now to appear in the presence of God for his people, as their merciful High Priest called after the order of Melchisedec. “And as every High Priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.” Heb 8:3, so “not without blood,” but “by his own blood he entered into the Holy Place.” And this is, “he that came from Edom [flesh] with died garments:--that came from the battle with these four kings in the slime pits “with garments rolled in blood.” The blood shed there is brought here. This is he who said “Lo I come to do thy will O Lord” thorough which will we are sanctified. He was cut off from among the living: for the transgressions of my people was he stricken—he made his grave with the wicked” this shows he was already dead and had attained redemption, “when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin: he shall see his seed—prolong his days [as risen to eternal life] and the pleasure [same will] of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.” And “because he has poured out his soul unto death, he shall see the travail [after fruits] of his soul and be satisfied.” Is. 53:5,10.

“But I thought the atonement with redemption was completed on the cross—that both were finished there,” says one. The Lord says “see thou make all things after the pattern shown” and that the legal service “were figures of the true” or gospel. We see the tabernacle set up and the common priests together with Aaron the High Priests (figure of Christ as Priest, ordained and service of atonement begun, long after Israel was delivered from bondage to Pharaoh. The passage of the Red Sea answers to redemption and the new birth. Then when the High Priest went in to the Holiest, it was altogether in behalf of those redeemed—already redeemed. For their name and theirs only were on his breastplate and for those only—those redeemed—was the service at all.  So Jesus as High Priest bears only the names of those he redeemed on his breast. Remember how it reads “by his own blood he entered in once into the Holy Place having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Heb. 9:12. He died to redeem; and “if he were on earth [or in the flesh] he should not be a priest.” So he must die, and be resurrected to be a priest. He must die. But let that soul sin, and together with the kindred spirit, how they will grieve within us! What groanings in spirit! What anguish of soul! But our High Priest has the same spirit; he is exalted a Prince to give repentance to Israel; his redeemed he stands Surety for as Priest. That soul in spiritual desire looks to Jesus, joins with him in intercessions and he purges away the sin. Foe this Holiest where our merciful High Priest officiates, so to speak, is not so far away as we might think—just the veil of the flesh between, and there is the “throne of grace:” an our High Priest can be touched with a feeling of all our infirmities, as having been in all points as we are. What strong consolation to those who have fled for refuge there where our hope as an anchor is entered! Then seeing we have such an High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold just one profession, and fear not to come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 2006 )
< Previous   Next >

Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.