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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Psalm 110: Melchizedek and the preexistence of Jesus

There is a great deal of speculation and denial concerning the preexistence of Jesus. Some, perhaps much or most of this, originates with what is touted as scholarly handling of the scriptures. The extension of this problem is that the some, or many, saints accept unquestionably as being true and accurate. The ancient and new sources which are cited and quoted are seemingly endless. Some are quick to ascribe a level of authority to those sources (such as Second Temple era) on par with the scriptures solely on the basis of their antiquity and their notable variation from scripture. In other words the fact that those sources are at variance with the scripture is sufficient to question the veracity of scripture rather than those ancient sources.  There is also the abundance of word and phrase dissections in the Hebrew and Greek languages. This is not to oppose or reject scholarly work. Rather, it is just that much of what often emerges is of little edification for the saints in Christ.

my Lord

There is an interesting insight concerning the preexistence of Jesus
which emerged shortly after his encounter with the Sadducees (Mark 12:13-37) who challenged him concerning the veracity of the resurrection. It occurred when Jesus posed the question concerning the scribes’ interpretation of Psalm 110. The focus of scholars had been the question which Jesus posed to his audience:

David himself calls him ‘Lord,” so in what sense is he his son?

Melchizedek

What scholars do not examine for comment is the latter part of that psalm, particularly verse 4.

The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.





Believers are first introduced to Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God and prince of peace after the defeat of various kings by Abraham.(Genesis 12) What immediately stands out about Melchizedek is that in a book of beginnings; the book of Genesis in which everyone, especially prominent characters, are presented along with their genealogy; the introduction of Melchizedek is a marked departure from that form. The author of Hebrews takes this up this peculiar departure from that form and states plainly that Melchizedek had no mother or father.

lord and Melchizedek

While some saints has mistaken taken that as a literal truth the author of Hebrews then notes that Melchizedek had no genealogy. What was the point which the author of Psalms 110 intended to make when he declared “my Lord” is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek?

If anyone is befuddled or confused about that so too were the Jews (as wells as some saints in Christ) about “the LORD” and “my Lord.”  And, if anyone one is befuddled and confused so as to reject Jesus as Lord, per the text, than a similar rejection of Jesus as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek follows.

There is a question for our examination. We can frame it in the same words of Jesus.

If the lord (Son of God, Hebrews 7:3) is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek who had no father or mother in what sense does he not have a father or mother for Jesus himself declared Mary was his mother and Joseph was regarded as his father?

conclusion

What is not true is that Melchizedek did not have a father and mother. What is true is that he did not have a genealogy which named his mother or father. What is true about Jesus is that while Mary was his mother her insemination and conception did not involve her husband. Hence, Jesus had no more an earthly father than an earthly mother. Mary was a vessel for the divine work of God, but she did not collaborate that divine insemination with her husband Joseph.

Thus, what appears to be true about Melchizedek not having a father or mother is in fact true about the Lord. The Son of God, despite appearances, had no father or mother. Hence, he existed prior to his appearance on Earth as the Son of God. It is this point about preexistence which Psalm 110 associated with the Lord and which the writer of Hebrews affirms.

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