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Author Topic:   Are there two Christs in the Bible?
carbonstar
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Message 1 of 109 (339807)
08-13-2006 2:10 PM


Reading the Bible can be very unclear and confusing. Who was Melchizedek and what made him so special that Christ had to be compared to him? Jesus is described as comming in the "order of Melchizedek" and he is described as having no decendants.
I see this as an indication that Melchizedek could have been another Christ.


- "Only two things in life are infinate, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 109 (339818)
08-13-2006 2:34 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 4338 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


(1)
Message 3 of 109 (339979)
08-14-2006 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by carbonstar
08-13-2006 2:10 PM


Melchizedek as type of Christ
It's true that specific details of Melchizedek's life are scarce; The only details we are given of him are found in three verses in Genesis. Melchizedek - his name means "king of righteousness" - was king of Salem (that is "king of peace"). He was high priest of God; Thus he was King and Priest - an important note. He was worthy enough to be tithed to by Abraham (Abram at the time) who gave him a tenth of everything he owned.

That's about all we know from genesis. David affirms the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek in the messianic psalm 110 - The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind - "you are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek". In so doing, David is affirming the eternal priesthood of the Messiah.

After Christ came, was crucified, and was resurrected, the author of Hebrews is able to identify many more correllations between Christ and Melchizedek in confirming the validity of the Messiah-ship of Christ:

Melchizedek means "King of Righteousness"; He was King of Salem - that is "peace";
The messiah is identified in Isaiah 9 as Prince of Peace and as establishing his kingdom with righteousness and justice.

Like Melchizedek, Jesus united the offices of kind and priest. Previously this was not supposed to happen as God had distinctly established the two offices as being separate - the kingly line coming from Judah and the Priestly line coming from Levi.

This is important because one seeming mark against Jesus Priesthood is that he didn't come from the line of Levi; However, the author of Hebrews points out that Jesus comes from another priestly line - a better one - the order of Melchizedek. He is of the order of Melchizedek, not by lineage, but by "order" - that is, like Melchizedek, Jesus is an eternal priest, without end. Why is the priesthood of the order of Melchizedek a better one than that of Levi? First, because the priesthood of Melchizedek preceded that of Levi. Second, because even Abram recognized the value of Melchizedek's priesthood.

Hebrews 7:4 - "just think how great he was (in reference to Melchizedek). Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people - that is, their brothers - even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt, the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case by him, who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his anscestor.

And so the superiority of Melchizedek's priesthood is established in order to validate the priesthood of Christ..

So to answer your question, could Melchizedek have been another Christ? He was indeed, in a sense. He is a type of Christ - that is an image of what would come. I think we need to recognize, though, that the presentation of Melchizedek in Genesis is meant to validate, in advance, the validity of the Messiah as priest and king - not the other way around; There aren't enough details, nor does the point of the story seem to be to validate Melchizedek's purpose - other than to foreshadow Christ; Some Christians consider Melchizedek to be a Christophony (a pre-incarnation appearance of Christ in the OT). It may well be true, it may not..Is it important? It seems that we are told what we are supposed to know about Melchizedek in order to establish an "order" that precedes and surpasses the one that follows with Levi...

Was Melchizedek another Christ? He may have been Christ, I don't know. I do know that Christ is another Melchizedek...High Priest forever...


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Faith
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Message 4 of 109 (340030)
08-14-2006 3:54 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by mjfloresta
08-14-2006 11:32 AM


Re: Melchizedek as type of Christ
Good post. I started to write something similar yesterday but realized I didn't have it all clear in my mind. You did a nice job of getting it laid out clearly.

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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 4338 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 5 of 109 (340051)
08-14-2006 5:53 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Faith
08-14-2006 3:54 PM


Re: Melchizedek as type of Christ
Thanks!

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truthlover
Member (Idle past 2404 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 6 of 109 (340106)
08-14-2006 10:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by carbonstar
08-13-2006 2:10 PM


Personally, I don't think the writer of Hebrews was suggesting that Melchizedek really didn't have parents and really didn't have a beginning or end.

Early Christians regularly interpreted the Scriptures figuratively. Take, for example, Paul's use of "don't muzzle the ox" to mean "support Christian teachers" (1 Cor 9:8-10), or his statement that Hagar and Sarah are really two testaments (Gal 4:24).

Thus, the writer of Hebrews was pointing out interesting points in the story. Abraham tithed to Melchizedek. Melchizedek means king of righteousness. He is king of Salem, which means peace. He is not introduce when he appears, and he is not given an exit when his encounter with Abraham is over. Thus he has no beginning or end in this story.

The author of Hebrews is pulling all the figurative things he can from the story of Melchizedek. This is a very typical early Christian approach to Scripture, and there is no book of the New Testament that sounds more like the "apostolic fathers" and "apologists" who wrote shortly after New Testament times than Hebrews. A reading of Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew will show you a very similar approach to Scripture that covers huge portions of the Old Testament.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that I don't think the writer of Hebrews was really suggesting that Melchizedek didn't have parents and never died. He was simply pulling an illustration from a story--an inspired story--to argue that Jesus was the Christ and that the Christ would be a divine being such as he is describing in his letter.


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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 7 of 109 (340120)
08-14-2006 11:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by carbonstar
08-13-2006 2:10 PM


figurative interpretations
I think truthlover is probably right about the way the writer is using the story of Melchizedek. The early Christians (and many later ones as well) see the past as a type or shadow of the kingdom of God at times, and so the real person of Melchizedek speaks to a much greater truth, and in that sense he could be a human being, some suggest Shem, that ruled Jerusalem and was the priest there.

But there are other interpretations, even some that he was Christ Himself somehow, but I think that's probably wrong.

It is though very curious to refer to the order of priesthood of Melchezedek, and in one sense it is a bit of a slap in the face of the Levitical priesthood, stating that God has a higher order of priests he chooses sovreignly without the ordination of men, and I think that's a cool thing as it suggests that each individual Christian is uniquely and individually called of God.


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mjfloresta
Member (Idle past 4338 days)
Posts: 277
From: N.Y.
Joined: 06-08-2006


Message 8 of 109 (340143)
08-15-2006 1:13 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by randman
08-14-2006 11:25 PM


Re: figurative interpretations
I tend to agree that Melchizedek probably was human and not a Christophony, but who knows...It's true that Genesis does not mention him specifically as being without end or beginning - Hebrews attributes that to him due to the omission of his lineage in Genesis...

You're certainly right though, that Melchizedek spoke to a greater truth of confirming Christ in his priestly and kingly ministry...

As to the Levitical priesthood - keep in mind that God ordained that order as well - and it served its purpose as a type of the ministry that Christ himself would fulfill perfectly, once and forever...I can imagine that the priests must have been honored to serve God in such a way although they were probably unaware that they were foreshadows of the messiah...


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 9 of 109 (340348)
08-15-2006 5:13 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by mjfloresta
08-15-2006 1:13 AM


Re: figurative interpretations
Two Christ's in the Bible is kind of self contradictory. The Anointed One is the Anointed One. The saviors, priests, kings, and other figures in the Old Testament must have been runners up, foreshdows, and types of the Anointed.

I don't think Melchisedec was Christ. But he certainly was a foreshadow of Christ. Hebrews chapter seven signals a shift in the book of Hebrews. Perviously Christ is compared to Aaron. Starting in chapter seven Christ is compared to Melchisedec. I believe that Aaron was used to symbolize Christ's priestly ministry mostly from the earth. Melchisedec was used to signify Christ's priestly ministry from heaven after His ascension. But some exceptions to this as far as Aaron is concerned might be pointed out by the close examiner.

It is interesting that Melchisedek is mentioned as meeting Abraham on his return after the slaughter of the kings. I use to think that this was somewhat presumptious and anti-climatic for Melchisedek to appear with bread and wine after Abraham has had such a fierce military campaign. Then it was pointed out to me that most likely Abraham had been energized to victory via the intercession of Melchisedek to God. Abraham's victory was probably not without Melchisedek's priestly prayers to the Most High God the Possessor of heaven and earth.

The typology suggests that after His ascension Christ as the kingly High Priest is interceeding for God's people on the earth for their spiritual warfare. God is interested in recovering the earth from the forces of His enemies. After their spiritual battle and slaughter of the enemy Christ comes to minister the eternal divine life into His people signified in the bread and wine.

God's people battle God's enemies by means of being empowered by the real High Priest of Salem Jesus Christ, the real Melchisedek. In our God's people's victory and slaughter over the opposers of God Melchisedek comes to enjoyably impart Himself as the bread and wine to feed and refresh His victorious fighters.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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ringo
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Message 10 of 109 (340366)
08-15-2006 6:08 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jaywill
08-15-2006 5:13 PM


Re: figurative interpretations
jaywill writes:

I don't think Melchisedec was Christ. But he certainly was a foreshadow of Christ.

One could also say that Renfield was a foreshadow of Gollum, but that doesn't necessarily establish a connection between the two. The second writer might just have patterned his description after the earlier description.


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Nighttrain
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Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 11 of 109 (340413)
08-15-2006 10:55 PM


No priest for ever
Salibi does a fair job of explaining the mistranslation of Gen 14 and Psalm 110:4 (Bible came from Arabia-p143). IOW, there was no such puppy as Melchizedek. Which raises the interesting question of where the writer of Hebrews drew his information. Was the mistranslation from Sopherim or Ezra times? From the foundation of the LXX? Surely, Hebrew speakers would have known the correct translation?

On the Two Christs question, the Qumran Scrolls (notably 4Q285,4Q161 and the Damascus Document vs 4Q266 talk of two Messiahs, a kingly Davidic and an Aaronic priestly, with a hint of a third Prophetic Messiah (The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English--Geza Vermes p86). Was this concept just a sectarian one (if the Scrolls are really a sectarian library), or less than mainstream?


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 286 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 12 of 109 (340453)
08-16-2006 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by ringo
08-15-2006 6:08 PM


Re: figurative interpretations

One could also say that Renfield was a foreshadow of Gollum, but that doesn't necessarily establish a connection between the two. The second writer might just have patterned his description after the earlier description.

Yea, yea, Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Movies ...


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ringo
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Posts: 17688
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
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Message 13 of 109 (340509)
08-16-2006 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jaywill
08-16-2006 8:49 AM


Re: figurative interpretations
jaywill writes:

Lord of the Rings and Cowboy Movies ...

Don't know what you mean by "Cowboy Movies". Try your Google again. :)


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truthlover
Member (Idle past 2404 days)
Posts: 1548
From: Selmer, TN
Joined: 02-12-2003


Message 14 of 109 (345671)
09-01-2006 8:47 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Nighttrain
08-15-2006 10:55 PM


Re: No priest for ever
Which raises the interesting question of where the writer of Hebrews drew his information.

I think it's obvious he was using the LXX.

Surely, Hebrew speakers would have known the correct translation?

I don't think this is so sure. The writer of Hebrews was addressing Hebrews, but he doesn't seem all that Hebrew himself necessarily. Greek speaking Christians would have had to use the LXX, and they wouldn't have any pressing reason to know the translation of any Hebrew text.

As for Gen 14 or Ps 110:4 being a mistranslation or unrelated, maybe you can present Salibi's argument in brief. I don't see why there's any problem that needs solving there by proposing a mistranslation.


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ramoss
Member
Posts: 3123
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 15 of 109 (345759)
09-01-2006 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jaywill
08-15-2006 5:13 PM


Re: figurative interpretations
You are assuming that in the Jewish faith, there is only one annointed one. This is not true. THere are many annointed ones, including some that aren't even Jewish (such as Cyrus)

In general, an annointed one was either the King, or the High Priest of the Temple.

The hope for the Messiah by the Jews that was prevalent from the 2nd century bce to the 2nd century ce was the hope of the return of a human king from the house of David that would kick the forgeiners out, and be 'home rule' so to speak.


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