So the last three weeks, in preparation for Christmas, I've been looking at the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and seeing what they say to us. In Gen. 3:15, we got the concept of the big picture, the battle between Christ and Satan. In Deut. 18, we saw that, like Moses he had two ministries- leading the people and setting them free. In Ps. 2, we explored His nature- how it was that He is both human and Divine. This week's passage sheds light on what that really means.
Psalm 110 addresses what I will call the Thomas Jefferson problem- believing that Jesus was a historical figure, yet not Divine. There are two key verses here. V1 says:
"The LORD said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Jesus specifically questioned the pharisees about this very verse in Matt. 22:41-6. His point being that the Messiah could be no mere descendant of David alone. 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. His point being, David would not call a descendant "Lord". This puts Messiah beyond being a flesh-and-blood descendant, which is what the Jewish priestly elite were looking for.
The Psalm goes on to expand upon that separation in v4:
4 The LORD has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Now who, you might ask, is Melchizedek? There are only two places to learn about him. The first is Gen. 14. Those of you that have read the Prayer of Jabez know the power of one expanded verse in the midst of a string of dry reading that illuminates the whole chapter, and we have a similar here. Five named kings of five named cities went to war in Abram's neighborhood with 4 other kings of 4 named cities, and he got involved because the one bunch kidnapped his nephew Lot and his people. So Abram gathered his people, chased down the scoundrels (a king in those days probably wasn't in charge over much more than the mayor of Woodburn), and saved the day. And as he returned with the spoils of victory, Melchizedek appears.
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:
“ Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And he gave him a tithe of all.
And that's it. But there's a lot here. Melchizedek translates to "king of right (or righteousness). And Salem, from the same root of Shalom, means "peace". Both of these are used in the prophets to describe Messiah. Note next that he brought bread and wine, the very elements of the Lord's Supper. Note third that he blessed Abram; and fourth that here the tithe is established. I am not the first writer to note that this would seem to indicate that Melchizedek was a manifestation of Christ- nor would it be the last time Abram/Abraham would encounter Him. But if you're not convinced, see what the writer of Hebrews says about Him.
1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. (Heb 7: 1-3)
Remember the point being the difference between the Messiah and a mere flesh and blood descendant? without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. Inserted independently into the world, Superior to any human priesthood. The "order of Melchizedek" is no flesh and blood priesthood, and it's high priest no flesh and blood priest. THE MESSIAH WAS NEVER TO BE A MAN OF ONLY FLESH. But the Jews of Jesus' day, the intellectuals of Jefferson's type, and the atheists of today cannot cope with the uniting of Flesh and God in one being. They claim to be all about discovering the undiscovered, examining the unknown, but look at this most primal of mysteries- the "mystery of Godliness" of I Tim.3:16- and throw up their hands, saying, "We cannot prove it, ergo it does not exist." All the while conveniently forgetting they have just as much direct proof of the Big Bang, which still doesn't make sense unless SOMETHING brought it into existence.
We cannot know the beginning of God. Any lead scientists trace down has to lead to another beginning. Every philosophical debate has to come to a point where something is eternal. Every religious conversation has to come to a point of believing in something beyond understanding. And the division of mankind we discussed in our first message comes down to those who say, "But the answer CANNOT be God," and those who have said at some point, "Why can't it be God?"