On September 12, 2020, the first-ever English language debate between a message pastor (Jesse Smith of Akron, OH) and an ex-message Christian (Rod Bergen from the Off The Shelf podcast) took place. The discussion was moderated by Jay Cox and Tim Kraus.
Melchizedek (mel-kizʹuh-dek; Heb., ‘king of righteousness’), the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of God Most High who blesses Abraham as the latter returns from battle (Gen. 14:17-20). In Ps. 110:4, the incident is recalled, as God addresses the Hebrew king as ‘priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’
In later literature, Melchizedek is regarded as an ideal priest-king and, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as a heavenly judge.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, Melchizedek is a supernatural figure whose miraculous origin and indestructible life foreshadow the eternity of the Son of God (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20-7:22).
|GENESIS 14||18: And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God.
19: And he blessed him, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21: And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22: And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23: That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
|GENESIS 18||1: And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2: And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw [them], he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3: And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
4: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
5: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
9: And they said unto him, Where [is] Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
10: And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard [it] in the tent door, which [was] behind him.
11: Now Abraham and Sarah [were] old [and] well stricken in age; [and] it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
12: Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
13: And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
14: Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
15: Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
22: And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
23: And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
32: And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for ten's sake.
33: And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
|GENESIS 22||15: And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16: And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son]:
|GENESIS 32||24: And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
25: And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
26: And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27: And he said unto him, What [is] thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28: And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29: And Jacob asked [him], and said, Tell [me], I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore [is] it [that] thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30: And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
|Exodus 33||22: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
|Psalms 110||4: The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.|
|Daniel 3||23: And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24: Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
25: He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
26: Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, [and] spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come [hither]. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
27: And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
28: [Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
|Matthew 17||1: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
|Matthew 26||26: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29: But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
|John 1||1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
48: Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
|John 4||7: There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
16: Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17: The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
18: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
25: The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26: Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am [he].
|John 8||58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.|
|John 10||37: If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38: But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father [is] in me, and I in him.
|II Corinthians 5||1: For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.|
|I Timothy 6||15: Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
16: Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom [be] honour and power everlasting. Amen.
|I Timothy 3||16: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.|
|Hebrews 2||16: For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham.|
|Hebrews 5||6: As he saith also in another [place], Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7: Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8: Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10: Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
11: Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12: For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13: For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14: But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
|Hebrews 6||1: Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
14: Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15: And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16: For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation [is] to them an end of all strife.
17: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath:
18: That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19: Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20: Whither the forerunner is for us entered, [even] Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
|Hebrews 7||1: For this Melchisedec, 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 by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
|Hebrews 7 Continued||4: Now consider how great this man [was], unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
5: And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
6: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
7: And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
8: And here men that die receive tithes; but there he [receiveth them], of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
9: And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10: For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
11: If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
|Hebrews 7 Continued||15: And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16: Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17: For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
18: For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19: For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20: And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
21: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22: By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
23: And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24: But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
26: For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
27: Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
28: For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
|Hebrews 13||8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.|
|Revelation 19||16: And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.|
- Paul J. Achtemeier, Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 625.