MELCHIZEDEK: TYPE OR THEOPHANY?   

When one reads the Book of Hebrews one discovers the inspired author sets forth the superiority of Christ over all earthly beings, the angelic order, and the Levitical priestly order. The author sets forth, like a skilled debater, Christ’s supremacy over the prophets, angels, Moses, Joshua, the Aaronic priesthood, and the Levitical sacrificial system. It matters not who or what one is depending upon for salvation, Christ is inarguably superior.

The author goes to great lengths in Hebrews 7 to describe Jesus as a superior priest to the Aaronic priesthood, being after the order of Melchizedek. While the Old Testament only mentions this mysterious priest/king in Genesis 14 and Psalms 110, the author of Hebrews uses Melchizedek to develop an extensive argument for the supremacy and superiority of Christ’s Priesthood. Opening comments to Hebrews 7, the able expositor G. Campbell Morgan writes:

The writer turns to the subject of the superiority of Christ to the priesthood of Levi. That priesthood had failed to perfect anything. The right of the Priesthood of the Son was vested with His own Personality. He had an endless life, and this implies the absolute perfection of His nature, and, consequently, the continuity of His Person. The superiority of the Priesthood of the Son consists in that through Him a better hope was given to men through which they might draw nigh unto God, and so ultimately realize perfection.[1]

Without question the author of Hebrews sees Christ as the fulfillment of the types and shadows of the Old Testament, He being the reality of all the OT foreshadowed. In Hebrews 7 Christ is described as a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. In regard to Melchizedek, the commonly promoted view contends that Melchizedek was a type of Christ.  A.C. Kendrick, who ably advocated the view which identifies Melchizedek as a historical man who was a type of Christ, succinctly articulates the position held by many scholars.

On Melchizedek’ s origin and history, the vail was evidently not intended to be lifted. Raised up for a special purpose, his origin and end shrouded in intentional obscurity, he was brought into personal contact with the father of the Jewish race, that when a change should be necessary in the Jewish priestly order their own annals might foreshadow and justify the proceeding in the exhibition of one before whom Abraham himself, and in him his priestly descendants, had bowed in homage. So at least God has used Melchizedek, and so we may presume he intended to use him, and that to this use the Old Testament narrative was adjusted. Whatever the sacred historian may have known, or not known, regarding Melchizedek’ s ancestry and historical relations, the Spirit of God that presided over the narrative caused just so much to be recorded as answered the purpose of his introduction. He was to be used simply as a type. It mattered not so much what he was as what he appeared.[2]

While Kendrick supports the view held by a majority of expositors, other views have been advocated as to who this mysterious Melchizedek was/is. Two views which most scholars dismiss with varying degrees of comment is that Melchizedek was a Canaanite priest who worshiped a Canaanite god, and the other found in rabbinic literature identifying Melchizedek as Shem.[3] The other view receiving the most support, other than the one identifying Melchizedek as a historical man who was an actual type of Christ, is that Melchizedek was a Theophany/Christophany, an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ.[4] For those seeking a detailed explanation of Melchizedek being a type of Christ, there are a myriad of commentaries which can be consulted. The purpose here is to give an examination of why this writer contends Melchizedek’s appearance before Abraham was the pre-incarnate Christ.

Before proceeding, a review of Melchizedek in the Old Testament would prove beneficial. We find two brief encounters with the mysterious priest/king in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110.

Genesis 14

Genesis 14 begins with Lot, Abram’s nephew, and others being kidnapped by an alliance of four kings, which attacked a coalition of five kings from the area around Sodom and Gomorrah. When Abram learned what had happened, he forms his own army of 318 of his servants and pursues the “bad guys.” Upon defeating them in battle, Abram returns not only with those kidnapped, but he gathers the possessions that had been taken. The King of Sodom “went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter” (Gen. 14:17), and Abram returns both the captive people and the “goods” that had been taken. Before the king of Sodom can suggest that Abram take the goods for himself, “Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Gen. 14:18-20).

Like a falling star suddenly appearing in the darkness of the night, Melchizedek flashes across the pages of the Old Testament and disappears almost as quickly.  A priest of the Most High God, this priest-king approaches Abram on behalf of God, and not the other way around. This illustrates that God initiates the relationship with humanity and not man. Melchizedek brought bread and wine to refresh an exhausted Abram and then blessed him. After the blessing, Abram gave a tithe of all the “goods” which he had to Melchizedek.

Abram’s brief encounter with “the King of Salem” reveals several truths. Melchizedek is no Canaanite priest, John Davis points out that the titles “‘Most high God’ (’ēl ‘elyôn) emphasizes God’s strength and sovereignty, distinguishing Him from the gods of Canaan who were subject to the same weaknesses as their worshipers. [And] ‘possessor of heaven and earth’ is similar to titles used in Daniel 4.”[5]

In addition, Melchizedek blessing Abram and the patriarch giving to him a tithe, reveals Melchizedek is superior to Abram.  Allen Ross insightfully writes, “The words of this marvelous priest surely inspired the patriarch in his anticipation of the promises of God. Herein lies the strength for Abram’s discernment of the Sodomite’s offer: with a fresh reminder of the nature and promise of the Lord, the appeal from the pagan was shown to be nothing more than a confusing digression from the true faith.”[6] Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek affirmed his relationship with the Lord who had called him and assured him the Lord would provide for him in his walk of faith.

Psalm 110

            One doesn’t find the name Melchizedek again, until the pages of the Old Testament come to rest at Psalm 110. The New Testament affirms Davidic authorship of Psalm 110 (cf. Matt. 22:43-45; Mk. 12:36-37; Lk. 20:42-44; Acts 2:34). Being a Messianic Psalm, the coming Messiah was declared to be “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4). In Mark 12:35-37 Jesus applies Psalm 110 to Himself, in which the messianic king was a priestly figure after the order of Melchizedek.[7] Psalm 110:4 prophesizes that with Melchizedek there is found a new and better order than the Aaronic priesthood.  Joseph A. Fitzmyer writes, “In Heb 5 the author applies this verse of Ps 110 to Jesus, undoubtedly understanding it as messianic… Having first introduced Ps 2:7 to establish the risen Jesus as the possessor of regal inheritance, he adds Ps 110:4 to present the Kingly Son of God as one appointed also to an eternal priesthood.”[8]

In Hebrews 7 the author places an emphasis on Christ being our perfect High Priest. Christ is our perfect High Priest after the superior priesthood of Melchizedek (7:4-10). In contrasting the Levitical priesthood with the priesthood of Melchizedek, the writer of Hebrews “uses the incident of Melchizedek’s meeting with Abraham to show the priority of Melchizedek over the Levitical priests. The comparison is primary to the demonstration in 7:11-28 that the priest ‘like Melchizedek’ is superior to the Levitical priests.”[9]

The author of Hebrews selects specific characteristics of Melchizedek found in Abram’s encounter with him, in order to establish the superiority of his priesthood. The commentators who embrace that Melchizedek was an actual historical man and only a type of Christ, contend the author is in many instances arguing from silence; especially when he speaks of Melchizedek being “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3). Regardless of whether one sees Melchizedek as a type of Christ or a theophany, Melchizedek is clearly superior to Abraham as he gave a tithe to him and in so doing Abraham acknowledged his superiority. And in like matter, “the sons of Levi” being yet in Abraham’s loins (Heb. 7:5-6), as well, offered a tithe; therefore, giving clear indication the priesthood of Melchizedek was superior to the Levitical priesthood.  The inescapable conclusion regarding Melchizedek, is that the lesser (Abraham) is blessed by the superior (Melchizedek).

Taking all the Bible says about Melchizedek, was he merely a historical man who was used by the author of Hebrews as a type of Christ or was he much more, being a pre-incarnate appearing of the Son of God? This writer is convinced from the preponderance of the evidence that the latter is true. In the appearance of Melchizedek in the OT, it was as if the Father could not wait for the day of his Son’s entrance into the world, and in his appearance before Abram giving humanity a taste of the glories that will be manifested through the New Covenant priestly ministry of His Son.

Reasons Affirming Melchizedek was a Theophany/Christophany

There are many prayerfully and researched reasons why this writer holds to the position that Melchizedek was more than a historical person, but was a Theophany/Christophany. Eleven reasons are presented in consideration of this view.

First, Melchizedek was a king and a priest (Gen 14:18, Heb 7:1). No human in the Old Testament ever held both offices. No king could be a priest, no priest could be a king. Melchizedek held both offices. He was a priest of the Most High God (Gen 14:18, 22). The title “‘most high God” (’ēl ‘elyôn) emphasizes God’s distinction from the gods of the Canaanites, confirming that here the true God is the focus.[10] Abram would have never tithed or bowed to a priest/king who worshipped an inferior god. Only one Man, who was a priest and king, who was a priest of ’ēl ‘elyôn (the Most High God) can claim that identity…Jesus Christ. The New Bible Commentary reads, “Note that Scripture pictures him [Melchizedek] as one who is a king as well as a priest. The combination of these two offices was to be a distinguishing characteristic of the Messiah.”[11]

Second, Melchizedek’s name means King of righteousness. In the New Testament Christ is said to be our righteousness (I Cor 1:30; II Cor 5:21). Only a divine Being could appropriately bear this title. Scripture declares man’s righteousness is but filthy rages (Is. 64:6) and that none are righteous (Romans 3:10), this would include Melchizedek if he were only a man.  One declared  as the  King of Righteousness, in him must resided righteousness.  Again, that title and this quality is only able to be attached to Jesus Christ, who “in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Cor. 5:21). And righteousness must come before peace.

Third, Melchizedek’s was King of Salem which means King of Peace.  The name of Melchizedek’s city—Salem, meaning “peace,” a word also used in Psalm 76:2 referring to Jerusalem.  Christ, the Prince of Peace; He is our peace (Eph 2:14). Christ made peace with God for us (Rom. 5:11), which no mere man, but only a divine being, could achieve on behalf of humanity. Clement of Alexandria, who contended Melchizedek was by nature the Son of God, wrote of Christ, “What need is there to say that He is the only High Priest, who alone possesses the knowledge of the worship of God? He is Melchizedek, ‘King of peace,’ the most fit of all to head the race of men.”[12] The personal name (King of Righteousness) and the name of his city (King of Peace) are taken to correspond with the actual traits of his character, yet there is only One whose character traits possess both perfect righteousness and peace…Jesus Christ.

Fourth, Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine to serve Abram to refresh him. The symbolism is most apparent. The New Testament is crystal clear, bread and wine are symbolic of the Lord’s broken body and shed blood of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28). That Melchizedek shared with Abram bread and wine, reveals that Melchizedek, as a priest, offered to him that which had been crushed (wheat to make the bread) and that which the life juices had been squeezed out (grapes to make the wine). While the Old Covenant would prove to be inadequate, Melchizedek provided Abram with the elements, bread and wine, which symbolize the New Covenant. Though Abram was refreshed physically by that which had been “sacrificed,” the bread and the wine which Christ offers is not earthly bread and wine, but heavenly bread, heavenly wine – his own body and blood, which revives us spiritually. In referring to Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek, Jerome wrote that he “offered to Abraham bread and wine, and even then consecrated the mystery which Christians consecrate in the body and blood of the Savior.”[13] Such an act reveal a wisdom in Melchizedek that transcends the knowledge of a mere man.

Ambrose (ca. 340–397 AD) asserted that the elements of the Lord’s Supper, which Melchizedek gave and were received by Abram, and in light of that shared “meal” and the titles attributed to him, King of Righteousness and King of Peace, he poses pertinent questions.

Do you recognize Who that is?  Can a man be king of righteousness, when himself he can hardly be righteous?  Can he be king of peace, when he can hardly be peaceable?  He it is Who is without mother according to His Godhead, for He was begotten of God the Father, of one substance with the Father; without a father according to His incarnation, for He was born of a Virgin; having neither beginning nor end, for He is the beginning and end of all things, the first and the last.  The [elements of the Lord’s Supper], then, which you received is the gift not of man but of God, brought forth by Him Who blessed Abraham the father of faith, whose grace and deeds we admire.[14]

While the observance of the Lord’s Supper looks back in remembrance of Jesus’ death upon the cross, it would not be exegetically out of bounds to suggest the shared bread and wine between Abram and Melchizedek looked forward to (foreshadowing) the New Covenant, fulfilled in the manifestation of Jesus Christ.

Fifth, Melchizedek received tithes from Abraham (Gen 14:20; Heb 7:2a). Under Mosaic law, they were commanded to give God one tenth of their possessions. However, Melchizedek’s receiving the tithe was not based on the Law, as it had yet to be given. Larry Overstreet, states, “Melchizedek’s claim is based on his inherent character, so he is superior.”[15] Would Abraham have given a tenth to a mere man inferior to him? In giving him tithes he is affirming the greatness of his king-priest office. As well, the “sons of Levi” who were in the loins of Abram, also gave tithes to Melchizedek acknowledging his greatness and superiority. Melchizedek’s superiority transcended that of a mere man.

Sixth, Melchizedek was said to be “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of day nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3), and as one who has “the power of an indestructible life” (Heb. 7:16). Many interpreters advocate that this merely means there is no record of his parents, of his ancestry, of his birth, or of his death, given in the Old Testament; this is stated to set up a contrast to the Levitical system where the emphasis was on the priest’s pedigree.[16]

Interestingly, the significance of this kind of word usage is detailed by Jerome H. Neyrey.[17] His studies affirm that the word usage of “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of day nor end of life” (Heb. 7:3), that gods are described in the Hellenistic literature with the same kinds of descriptive words which are found in the book of Hebrews. Neyrey affirms that “evidence from ancient Greek sources” demonstrate that “it belongs to a true deity to be both ‘without father’ and ‘without mother.’”[18] Concerning Melchizedek, Neyrey contends that “he is presented in terms used to describe a deity.”[19] Neyrey’s study demonstrates that, “Unmistakably, the author of Hebrews intends his readers to understand the figure described in 7:3 as a true deity, completely in accord with the topoi which describe true gods as fully eternal, uncreated or ungenerated in the past, and imperishable in the future.”[20]

Seventh, Melchizedek was “made like unto the Son of God” (Heb 7:3). The phrase “made like the Son of God” (the REB has “bearing the likeness of the Son of God”) is further evidence as to Melchizedek’s identity. The Greek word translated “made like” is the verb ἀφομοιόω (aphomoioo – af-o-moy-ah-o) a perfect passive participle (“having been made like”). The word aphomoioo  in Hebrews 7:3 appears nowhere else in the NT.  The author used a unique word to make a specific point.  The word conveys the idea of one thing expressing itself in or as another. The word translated “made like” means “to produce a facsimile or copy, to express itself in it.”[21]  The word was used to speak of a painter giving expression on canvas an image before him. In the case of Hebrews 7:3, this would mean that Melchizedek was an expression of the Son of God. He was “like” the Son of God because He had not yet as the pre-incarnate Son manifested himself fully as the Son of God as found in the New Testament.  Overstreet correctly points out that “prior to His incarnation, the Son of God did appear to men in the Old Testament in human representations (Christophany, or Theophany), which were exact representations of Him.”[22]

In regard to the author of Hebrews penning Melchizedek being “made like” the Son of God, Henry Morris writes:

No mere earthly king was ever “made like unto the Son of God,” nor was there ever one who “abideth a priest continually.” It is difficult to see how these descriptions could be properly applied to anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to encourage Abraham in this unique pre-incarnate experience, assuming a human form “like unto” that which He would assume forever when He became the incarnate Son of God. For the first time He founded and implemented forever the priestly order of Melchizedek. The fact that he was “made like unto the Son of God” accords with one of Christ’s pre-incarnate appearances; at His human birth, he became the incarnate Son of God forever. Melchizedek was also said to be a man (Heb 7:4), but the same is true in the case of other theophanies, one of which was likewise manifested to Abram and Lot (Gen18:2, Gen18:22; Gen19:1-24).[23]

J.B. McCaul affirmingly concurs “…that Melchizedek was the second person in the Ever-Blessed Trinity, the Divine angel of the Lord, who continually appeared to the Fathers under the Old Testament dispensation.”[24]

Eighth, Melchizedek as a priest, the author of Hebrews says he “abides a priest continually” (Heb 5:9-11; 7:3). The text states that his “abiding” is continuous. The verb used here, “abides” (μένω meno), is in the present tense, active voice, meaning the continuation is ongoing. William Lane acknowledges that the verb “abides” (meno) “evokes the notion of eternity.”[25] The adjective “continually” is διηνεκής (diēnekēs) and is only used in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews, (here and 10:1, 12, 14), meaning perpetually, continually, forever. Larry Overstreet states that by using this term “the writer of Hebrews is stating categorically that Melchizedek is eternal in his being.”[26]

McCaul adds, “If Melchizedek ‘abideth a priest continually,’ how can it be believed of him that he was a mere mortal? . . . Melchizedek, as the Divine Logos, existed from eternity.’”[27] Melchizedek is said to be still living (Heb 7:8- present tense “keeps on living”). Jesus being outside the order of the Levitical priesthood, which was of the law, and of the order of Melchizedek, which abides continually, one must conclude either there are two eternal priests in the same order or just one eternal high priest who visited Abram and now sits at the right hand of the Father.   If this is correct, Melchizedek would have been more than an ordinary man or simply a type.

Ninth, while the Levitical priesthood ministered to only one nation, the Melchizedek priesthood ministers to all. The Levitical priesthood not only ministered to one nation, the Israelites, it was temporary. However, since the priesthood of Melchizedek is “continual” and superior to the Levitical priesthood, the priesthood of Melchizedek is not restricted to one nation, but has the availability, the accessibility and ability to minister to all. Only one Man is endowed with such traits as availability, the accessibility and ability… Jesus Christ.

Ten, Second Temple writings, which is the period extending from the construction of the temple at the end of the sixth century BC to its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD, speak of Melchizedek as a heavenly figure, even as deity. The first century Alexandrian Jewish Philosopher Philo, accepted the historical reality of Melchizedek and referred to him as the Logos.[28] For Philo, “The Logos is the mind of God in which the pattern of all the visible world is conceived. As such, the Logos has no visible or sensible antecedents.”[29] The term Logos was the term the Apostle John used in John 1:1-3 in describing Jesus, of whom it is clearly stated the Logos was God. And of the Logos, John 1:14 proclaims “the Word (logos) became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Among the writings from Qumran, is found among the Dead Sea Scrolls a fragment known as the 11Q Melchizedek, dated from the early first century A.D. While scholars cannot be definitive about the fragmented document, Fred Horton affirms that Melchizedek is “considered to be a superior being of some sort who will appear at the end of the days to bring atonement for the sons of light and who is the direct opponent of Belial.  [However] we do not have enough of the document left to satisfy our curiosity about how the Melchizedek of Gen. xiv and Ps. cx could become such a figure.”[30]  Joseph Fitzmyer asserts that, “[Melchizedek] is associated with the deliverance of divine judgment, with a day of atonement, with a year of jubilee, and with a role that exalts him high above the assembly of heavenly beings. Such associations make the comparison in Hebrews between Jesus the high priest and Melchizedek all the more intelligible.”[31]

Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, in his writings refers to Melchizedek as “the first priest of God.”[32] Unfortunately, he does not go into detail about what he meant by him being the first priest of God. However, from Genesis 14 one discovers Melchizedek is the first priest mentioned in Scripture, and with him comes the first use of this exalted name for the Lord.  Abram quickly identified El Elyon (the Most High God) as Yahweh (14: 22).

While early extra-biblical writings are not inspired, they do give insight into Jewish views on Melchizedek, which give evidence that he was viewed as more than a historical personage.

Eleven, if one translates Genesis 14:18 literally this is the way it would read: “And the king of righteousness, the king of peace, brought forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of  El-Elyon.” If one was reading the Old Testament and saw Genesis 14:18 translated that way, one would immediately come to the conclusion the text was referring to a Christophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.

Eleven reasons have been presented why this writer contends Melchizedek is more than a type of Christ, but is an appearance of the pre-incarnate Son of God. Jesus, the Son of God is our great High Priest who has passed through the heavens (Heb 4:14).  Both Melchizedek and Jesus uniquely held the offices of king and priest.  These facts are why many see Melchizedek as the truest type of Christ, while others have seen him and Christ as one in the same. It is clear to this writer that Melchizedek was a Theophany.

While there will always be a debate as to who this mysterious Melchizedek was/is, let us never lose sight of the fact we have a Great High Priest who made ONE sacrifice for our sins forever and, His work finished and complete, has passed into the heavens and He is now sat down at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 10:12). On this point the words of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, shine like a sparkling diamond. They read:

Consider how great Melchizedek was. There is something majestic about every movement of that dimly-revealed figure. His one and only appearance is thus fitly described in the Book of Genesis. We see but little of him, yet we see nothing little in him. He is here and gone, as far as the historic page is concerned, yet is he “a priest forever,” and “it is witnessed that he liveth.” This great man yet further blessed the blessed Abraham, and the father of the faithful was glad to receive benediction at his hands. No small man this: no priest of second rank; but one who overtops the sons of men by more than head and shoulders, and acts a superior’s part among the greatest of them.  So mysterious is Melchizedek that many deeply-taught expositors think that he was an appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are inclined to believe that he was not a king of some city in Canaan, as the most of us suppose, but that he was a manifestation of the Son of God, such as were the angels that appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre, and that divine being who appeared to Joshua by Jericho, and to the three holy ones in the furnace. Everything about him is on a scale majestic and sublime.[33]

A Final Word

 Yes, many biblical interpreters regard Melchizedek as a man, a type of Christ. And true, the debate as to his identity will continue. However, after years of study this writer has pitched his tent in the camp with those interpreters who support the view that Melchizedek was an appearance of the preincarnate Christ. The shroud of mystery which surrounds this enigmatic figure seems to disappear when such a position is taken. When the king-priest in Genesis 14 is seen as walking unto the New Testament pages being clothed with the same dual garments of priest and king, the problematic verses in the book of Hebrews in regard to Melchizedek burst forth with the light of understanding and advances with freshness the argument for the superiority of Christ over the Levitical priesthood. The one who shared bread and wine with Abram, is the same One the author of Hebrews declares sustains and upholds the universe by the power of His Word. (Heb. 1:2-3).  O, what a Savior!

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

 

ENDNOTES

[1]G. Campbell Morgan, God’s Last Word to Man: Studies in Hebrews, (Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1948), 80.

[2] A.C. Kendrick, Hebrews, (Philadelphia, Pa.: American Baptist Publication Society, 1889), 84.

[3] A. Cohen, The Soncino Chumash: The Five Books of Moses with Haphtaroth (London: The Soncino Press, 1983), 69.

[4] A theophany or Christophany refers to a visible manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament.

[5] John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1975), 181.

[6]  Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988), 300.

[7]  Alex T. M. Cheung, “The Priest as the Redeemed Man: A Biblical-Theological Study of the Priesthood,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 29 (September 1986), 271

[8] Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Semitic Background of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 225.

[9] William L. Lane, Hebrews 1-8, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 163.

[10] Davis, Paradise to Prison, 181.

[11] Donald Guthrie, ed., The New Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1970), 1203.

[12] Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, 2.5.

[13] Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, 26; Jerome (340-420).

[14] Ambrose, On the Mysteries (New York: Macmillan Co., 1919), 8.46.

[15] Larry Overstreet, The Superiority of Christ: The Identity of Melchizedek in Hebrews, JBTM Vol. 6 No. 1 (2018), 115.

[16] Homer A. Kent, Jr., The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974), 126.

[17] Jerome H. Neyrey, “’Without Beginning of Days or End of Life’ (Hebrews 7:3): Topos for a True Deity,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 53 (1991): 439-55.

[18] Ibid., 447.

[19] Ibid., 448.

[20] Ibid., 454.

[21] A.T. Robertson, “The Epistle to the Hebrews,” Word Pictures in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1931), 381

[22] Overstreet, The Superiority of Christ, 113.

[23] See notes on Gen 14:18, Heb 7:3, Henry Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible, (2012).

[24] J.B. McCaul, The Epistle to the Hebrews (London 1871), 75, 80.

[25] Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 167.

[26] Overstreet, The Superiority of Christ, 114.

[27] McCaul, Hebrews, 75.

[28] Philo, Allegorical Interpretation, III, § 80 and 82. The Loeb Classical Library, trans. F. H. Colson (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1956), 354.

[29] Fred L. Horton, Jr., The Melchizedek Tradition: A Critical Examination of the Sources to the

Fifth Century A.D. and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (London: Cambridge UP, 1976), 59-60.

[30]  Ibid., 73.

[31]  Fitzmyer, The Semitic Background, 252, 253.

[32] Flavius Josephus, The Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whiston (New York: Hurst & Co., n.d.).

[33] Quote from a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon, The Man Christ Jesus, April 15, 1885.

6 thoughts on “MELCHIZEDEK: TYPE OR THEOPHANY?   

  1. ‘The verb used here, “abides” (μένω meno), is in the active tense, active voice, meaning the continuation is ongoing.’ Should this be ‘present tense’?

    ‘Ambrose (ca. 340–397 AD) asserted that the elements of the Lord’s Supper, which Melchizedek gave and were received by Abram, and in light of that shared “meal” and the titles attributed to him, King of Righteousness and King of Peace, he poses pertinent questions.’ ‘the Lord’s Supper’ seems to be missing its predicate.

    Great article, thanks for all the insights, am very much inclined to agree with you.

  2. Great exposition! I totally agree with you that Melchizedek was a Christophany, and not just a type of Christ. There should be no debate on this subject again, the matter having been so expertly settled.
    God bless you and thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for these excellent insights. I had come to a personal conclusion the Melchizedek was a Christophany for 2-3 reasons that I could not reconcile by any other argument (one, Heb 7:3… states that Melchizedek is a priest that continues forever, AND of course, we know that Christ is our Great High Priest, who lives and acts in that role continuously. So, then why would there need to be two? And what is Melchizedek doing right now?). I just felt that the only way I could reconcile these was if Melchizedek and Christ were in fact One and the same. I undertook a search for what others might say about Melchizedek (mortal or divine, type or theophany, etc.); and was somewhat disappointed that my basic answers did not seem to be addressed by so many writer/commentators. That is, until I was fortunate enough to come across your work. Your research and arguments not only addressed my concerns, but also add much more I had not considered. I’m very thankful for you work and sharing. Blessings.

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