Are there Melchizedek[s] today?
This priest is portrayed as a type of the king/priest that will rule from the future city of Jerusalem. Melchizedek consists of two words. Melek –King; Zedek (from zadok, tsaddik- righteous) it means King of Righteousness. He stands out as one who knew the true God living in the occupied territory among the Canaanites, the people God would drive out.
General revelation: “Since Melchizedek was the main representative of that kind of revelation in Abraham's day, I have identified that kind of revelation as "The Melchizedek Factor" in history.” (p.156 Eternity in their Hearts)
Richardson describes the Melchizedek priesthood in his book “Heaven Wins” as, “The following Scriptures imply that the priestly blessings God had been dispensing to mankind via Job-like notables was henceforth to be associated with a priesthood named after Melchizedek. This priesthood would continue to be what it had been from the time of Adam and Enoch: a loose, scattered, ongoing “undercover priesthood” with no central hub of authority and no need to be limited to a single tribe or to a set regimen as was the Levitical priesthood. Both the Old and the New Testament acknowledge that longer-standing priesthood as follows:
Psalm 110:4—The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7:17—For it is declared, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” This purposely diffuse, Melchizedekian priesthood is still active amid cultures worldwide, preparing the way for the gospel of special revelation. And none other than Jesus is ever working through it to prepare his Job-ian “other sheep” for their eventual happy merging with the much larger Abraham flock. (P.70)
Melchizedek is not a persons name but a priestly order, it is a Melchizedek priesthood (of both king and priest) and the significance is that it is found in Jerusalem.
Richardson does not acknowledge that these particular Scriptures cited are specifically applied to Jesus only, instead he claims there are Melchizedek priests all over the world, (scattered) just as there are Jobs; both are of general revelation. Ignoring this priesthood was located in Jerusalem for a reason. Ignoring he brought bread and wine out to Abram as a type of whose future children will inhabit Jerusalem. That the greater blessed the lesser, Melchizedek had an exalted position as the priest of God Most High, he blessed the Abram, and a type of who was to come. All this from general revelation?
There is absolutely no teaching from the Bible that connects Melchizedek to Adam or Enoch or anyone pre flood (neither were a king and a priest). This is the first mention of a priest in Scripture, and there is no name attached to this priesthood in the Old Testament, only in the New Testament.
Richardson affirms this priestly order as general revelation using those whom God spoke to directly to; that is what is called confusion. Who is he using? Adam and Enoch; those who had direct revelation (special), from God. So he contradicts his own position of general revelation by these examples.
He later writes: “May bearers of the blazing torch keep pressing on to discover still more Jobs and Melchizedeks waiting with open arms to welcome what is nothing other than the gospel of Jesus Christ!” (p.76)
Melchizedek is a title of a priesthood which Jesus was appointed to. To say there are other Melchizedeks today shows that he does not understand the priestly office Jesus now holds FOREVER. Jesus has a permanent position as the only one.
We have only ONE example of the Melchizedek priesthood before Jesus fulfilled the office of this priesthood permanently (unlike the Levitical priesthood). The Son is called by God the high priest of the order of Melchizedek - which never ends (Heb.5:6; 6:20), He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood (7:24) because he has the power of an endless life. (7:16).
Melchizedek is typology of Jesus, just as Adam is used as a type for Jesus (1 Cor.15:45).
Heb. 7:15 “And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest”
This is not a continual office as the Levitical order. Jesus being called takes place nearly 2,000 years later than the Melchizedek of Abraham’s time.
Melchizedek was not a priest from general revelation and there are only two Melchizedek priests, one we have no name, the other is the savior. Here is the comparison of the last priest to the first. He is another who is like the first, in office, a permanent replacement, functioning forever in this priesthood. Jesus is OUR Priest and king and is OUR one mediator, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Job had said (9:33) “Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both.” He knew of no priestly mediator like Melchizedek.
Heb 8:6 “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Heb 10:12 “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”
Jesus has been the only priest of this order for nearly 2,000 years, to all the successive generations of believers among mankind. Hebrews 5:6 “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek "quoting Psalm 110:4. It is permanent position that no other can fill. V:8-11 “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek ," of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.”
Lets not be dull in hearing. These Scriptures used (Ps.110; Heb.7) are applied to Jesus ONLY. Why? Because he is appointed a priest forever; as the God-man. The Melchizedek priest in Genesis was a type of him that would fulfill the office and rule in the future from Jerusalem as both king and priest.
If one is an appointed priest it is not from general revelation. The mere fact that Jesus is the next Melchizedek priest, appointed by the Father is enough to see the flaw of this argument. How can there be any others in the world when the whole point was that he was appointed in Salem (Jerusalem) and came out to minister to the first Jew who would bless the nations by his offspring; who just happens to be the next Melchizedek.
Jesus is called the high priest for all believers (Heb.2:17;3:1;4:14-15; 5:1;7:26). The Scripture says the Melchizedek priesthood of Jesus functions from heaven, not earth. Hebrews 8:3-4 “For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law.” So how can there be other Melchizedek’s?
“…the dimmer light source symbolized Melchizedek’s benign but much less informative priestly witness for God as El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth. Let’s name that dimmer illumination “The Melchizedek Factor.”… “Nevertheless, those who do experience regeneration via general revelation, besides adding to heavens population, serve remarkably as Melchizedek – like first responders to special revelation virtually as soon as it appears on the scene (p.69)
Was Melchizedek some person who at the time had less revelation than Abraham? Hebrews 5:1-2 ‘For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” You do not get appointed by general revelation (Heb.5:5,10, called to this priesthood Hebrews 6:20)
Here Richardson clearly claims one can have regeneration by general revelation (which only happens by being born again)
The Melchizedek priesthood is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament; once before the Levitical priesthood was established and once after (Gen.14:18; Ps.110:4). Melchizedek stands alone in the Genesis record. During the book of Acts there was still a high priest (of the Levitical order of Moses) until 70 AD when the Temple was gone (Hebrews 9:8). The only other time we read of a high priest in the New Testament is in the book of Hebrews where it is thoroughly explained how Christ is the only high priest for believers.
“Ever so cogently, the dimmer light source symbolized Melchizedek’s benign but much less informative priestly witness for God as El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth. Let’s name that dimmer illumination “The Melchizedek Factor.” (p.69) Because of a short account of the priuest of Melchizedek with Abram, it mentions El Elyon instead of God’s name YHWH. It conveys that he recognized Abram to be a believer; of the same God, the possessor of the heavens and the earth.
We know Melchizedek agreed with Abram when he said to the king of Sodom in his presence, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth”(Gen 14:22). Abram spoke the name YHWH (LORD), whom he identified as El Elyon. Clearly the priest of the order of Melchizedek who was in his presence knew this to be his God also.
Many Jewish scholars (and Rabbis) believe Melchizedek is Shem. Previous to Moses time period, the sacrifices were offered by the head of the family. The officiator of these sacrifices was the Father, or grandfather being the oldest in the family line. Shem, Noah’s Son was still alive at the time of Abraham. This would certainly make him the oldest man alive qualifying him as a candidate for the order of Melchizedek.
Noah predicted that Canaan would serve under Shem. Gen. 9:25-27 Then he said: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren." And he said: "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.”
Melchizedek was the king / priest of Salem in Abram’s day, in the land of Canaan. Shem is also attributed to be the father of the children of Eber which is where we get the word “Hebrew,” which means crossed over the river or one who came from the other side (such as from paganism to true worship, (Gen.10:21, 11:10-27). Also, we cannot overlook that the Messiah comes from the line of Shem. So the true knowledge of God could certainly have been kept from family to family.
Abram was one of "the children of Heber," of whom Shem was the father after the flood. The Melchizedek priesthood order is either Shem who was living at the time or someone taught by Shem or Noah, or someone who passed on the true knowledge of God, (the true knowledge and worship of God) kept through the families. This could never be known by general revelation. In the same way it was passed on to Job it was passed to Melchizedek.
Jesus is from the tribe of Judah (not Levi) He is appointed an eternal priest of this order and to be king. It makes Biblical sense Melchizedek was in the line of Shem; as Abraham’s father (Terah) was of this line. It would also make sense that Abraham may have known of Shem, that he was the priest /king over his tribe in this area. Whoever this man was before him that ruled over the future city of the king, was as special as Job being blameless.
The Levitical priesthood is connected to the Law of Moses which was temporary (Heb. 8:6, 13) but Christ is a priest forever in this priestly order. While the Levitical priesthood ministered to only one nation, the Melchizedek priesthood ministers to all people, both Jews and Gentiles. Christ became this high priest (Heb.6:20); He died and resurrected, ascended to heaven and now mediates for the Church at the Father’s side, functioning in the true tabernacle.
Melchizedek is not appointed by general revelation for He is a priest and king, of which Christ maintains the order. None of the Jewish kings were priests, only in Melchizedek these offices were united, making him the type of the future Melchizedek - Jesus. The only other who filled this priesthood is Jesus.
Hebrews 8:1 As this high priest he is better in every way
(1) the better covenant, Hebrews 8:7-13.
(2) The better sanctuary, Hebrews 9:1-12.
(3) The better sacrifice, Hebrews 9:13-10:18,
(4) The better promises, Hebrews 10:19-1
(from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Richardson’s agenda is made plain as any scripture possible can be bent toward his view point of making general revelation as salvific.
(Acts 14:16).Psalm 19:1-4 and maybe Psalm 97:6 Romans 1:20, (Romans 2:14-15).Leviticus 16:6-10,20-22). (Philippians 4:8). (John 1:9).
He states “Granted, the above seven texts do not specify general revelation as salvific, but neither do they affirm it as non-salvific. They simply affirm that general revelation exists to God’s glory and for mankind’s insight. It is precisely at this point that Exclusivists illogically assume that because the above seven texts do not specify general revelation as salvific, that alone is sufficient proof—arguing from silence—that it is not salvific. Case closed. Further examination of the Bible on the subject is pointless” (p.53 Heaven Wins)
Actually it is Richardson who is making an argument from silence, admitting these texts do not specify general revelation as salvific, does not make them automatically salvific. If General revelation is salvific as he claims then why are we commanded to give the gospel? Case opened. Further examination of the Bible is always fruitful, necessary and a command to search out a matter thoroughly and rightly divide the word of truth.
The whole of scripture is consistent with Jesus’ command to bring to the world THE GOSPEL, which is special revelation. He does not in any way tell us to rely on general revelation. As God communicated the truth to us, we communicate the truth to others.
The Lord does not have us depend on general revelation to bring salvation, here are more than 7 texts to also consider:
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Luke 24:47-48 " that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." And you are witnesses of these things.”
The faith that saves does not carry the meaning "whatever you know of God." John speaks continually to believe in the name of the Son, this is not some vague belief in a god arrived by general revelation.
All through the book of Acts we see the apostles preach the gospel, they did not rely on general revelation to be sufficient for anyone (certainly not Acts 14:16, just read prior, v.7 “And they were preaching the gospel there)
Acts 10:42-43 "And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
Acts 16:10 “Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
This is how Cornelius who was being led by the Lord was saved (along with the other first gentiles)
He was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). Had a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, (Acts 10:22). Even this knowledge and practice was not enough, he needed to hear the gospel (Acts 10:36-41). Even the Jews, they too had to hear the gospel (Rom.1:16). Acts 17:2-3 “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ."
Galat. 1:15-16 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles.”
This is why Paul said to the Corinthian (Gentiles) 1 Cor. 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”, “woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Cor. 9:16)
Rom. 10:15-17 “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
This is why it is called the word of faith, because of what it brings when it is heard. Faith comes through the message of the Gospel to have peace with God, not by general revelation.
1 Cor. 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain.”
I see no command to preach general revelation … there is absolutely no way to have what is required to be saved by general revelation, otherwise what would be the need of the gospel? One is seen by all the other needs a messenger. This is not seeing a glass half empty or half full. general revelation MUST be followed with the message or it is empty.
Richardson may say “Inclusivists thus welcome the gospel as surpassingly amplified, hence immensely more fruitful, messaging.”
Then why write to convince people of how powerful general revelation is – that it can save.
“As I have shown already, a significant array of texts affirm general revelation as “salvific,” albeit likely only for a small percentage of mankind. Via this array of biblical evidence, may Inclusivism at last debut as a “sleeper” doctrine, a long-overlooked, underesteemed “Cinderella” perspective, which I hope Evangelicals will at last embrace with confidence and “welcome to the ball,” now that its biblical “shoes” are fitted. (p.90)
Sorry, these shoes do not fit “The beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15)
To claim general revelation can save always depends on misinterpreted bible verses and it can stifle the missionary efforts of the church. The idea that anyone be saved by general revelation promotes religious pluralism, of which is more often found with liberal, humanistic teachers, found in liberal churches and universities. We must guard ourselves from allowing general revelation to be as important as delivering the gospel, it testifies to the non believer that God exists. It does not instruct one how to be right with God, we have been given that privilege.
p.3 Are we born with a non active (dormant) sin nature? How his Inclusivism reinterprets the Scripture.