SHOULD THE CHURCH TEACH TITHING?
CONNER, KEVIN J; MELCHIZEDEK
Should the Church Teach Tithing?
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2. Genesis 14:20 Abraham, Melchizedek, Arab Custom and Tithing
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CONNER, KEVIN J; MELCHIZEDEK
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MELCHIZEDEK: WAS HE A PAGAN GENTILE?
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SIX MOST QUOTED LIES ABOUT TITHING
SOUTHERN BAPTIST ENCYCLOPEDIA: TITHING
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ST PETERSBURG TIMES
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SUBMISSION THEOLOGY
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Where in the Bible Were Tithes Abolished?
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WOODWARD, GEOFF: TITHING
WYCLIFFE DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY; F F BRUCE
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Should the Church Teach Tithing?
A Theologian's Conclusions about a Taboo Doctrine
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

Video Tithing Essay on You Tube

Forty Proofs Why Melchizedek is Jesus Christ

from The Book of Hebrews

Kevin J. Conner

August 1948, pages 186-240

 

Comments and Counterpoints by Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.

            www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com

russkellyphd@earthlink.net

October 6, 2007

 

As of 2007 the Bethel Temple Churches and Bethel Bible College in Australia usually follow Conner’s teachings.

 

(P186.8) “Paul now proceeds to prove the identity of Melchizedek by a number of remarkable statements; taking practically every word of the Old Testament references to this person and drawing out the truth and the interpretation that are hidden in these words. He does this by implication and by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The truth is hidden in the few words by way of implication! And it will be seen that Paul proves that Melchizedek is none other than the eternal Son of God Himself.”

 

Comment: Kevin J. Conner is a very intelligent man. Most of what he says in this book is good theology and I commend him for it. However when it comes to Melchizedek he seems to be obsessed. He uses Melchizedek to influence many of the major doctrines of the Christian church. Yet his opening statement about Hebrews, chapter 7, admits that the entire discussion is the result of “implication” and revelation.

 

(187.4) If Melchizedek was a Hebrew, a Gentile king, an angelic being, a created being, or a mystery unknowable, then it means that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who Himself is Deity, was made after the order of a Hebrew, a Gentile king, an angelic or created being. In other words, Jesus was made after an order which is lesser than Himself, yet supposedly to be greater by the very fact that He was made AFTER that order!

 

(220) The word "order" simply means "the rank or arrangement" - Young's concordance.

 

Comment: In later pages Conner will go into great detail pointing out that Adam was logically a priest-king to whom God gave dominion over the whole earth. He will also (questionably) say that all patriarchs from Adam to Abraham were priest-kings. And Abraham was indeed great enough to command an army to defeat four pagan (priest) kings.

 

But Conner says that it is wrong to say that Melchizedek’s “order” or “arrangement” as a priest-king could be similar to that of mankind (Adam), Hebrews (Abraham) or even (God forbid) Gentiles. To Conner, following their “arrangement” as priest-kings would somehow degrade Melchizedek’s calling and make him less than divine. This is extremely important to Conner.

 

When he finally discusses the word “order” in 7:11 Conner admits that it merely means “arrangement” which is equivalent to “pattern.” One would think that “arrangements” are neutral, that they are not necessarily divine or human, Hebrew or Gentile, good or bad. The fact that somebody else had a superior political-religious “arrangement” (that of priest-king) should not require that such “arrangement” be holy because it came directly from God! Yet Conner uses this questionable argument as one of his strongest proofs that the historical Melchizedek could not have been a created being whether angel or man.

 

(187.5) He could not be made after the order of a Gentile king because there was no covenant or promise for the Gentile apart from the Seed of Abraham, and Jesus Christ was not a Gentile, but born of the Hebrew race to bring Gentiles into blessing.

 

Comment: The argument is nonsense. Jesus was not copying a “covenant” or a “promise.” He was merely copying a political-religious “arrangement” --that of king-priest. And, since Melchizedek of Genesis 14 is the first person “named” in the Bible with such an “arrangement,” it would be natural to refer to his order and not his person or theology.

 

It is not required that a covenant or promise exist to copy a mere human “arrangement” of priest-king rather than separate priests and kings. For example, a pagan from Tyre (Hiram) built Solomon’s Temple using a pattern found in pagan temples in the area! (And God approved that!) And since (as Conner claims) priest-kings existed since Adam and were common within the promised seed, then copying a king-priest order from a Gentile should not make such an arrangement impossible.

 

(188.2) Thus all first six interpretations are excluded. There are no other possible suggestions or interpretations outside of these. Therefore there is only one possible, logical and Scriptural answer to this question, and that is that Jesus Christ Himself, the eternal Son of God, is none other than Melchizedek!

 

Comment: Conner has made up his mind before the evidence is even presented. His hermeneutic has already eliminated all possible interpretations but his own. For Conner, in order to be pre-incarnate Jesus, the historical Melchizedek cannot be human.

 

(188.5) Again, Melchisedec cannot be just a man, as Enoch or Shem or Job or any of the other patriarchs were, because Hebrews 7:3 could not apply to any man of earth nor any priest of Aaron's order.

 

Comment: This dogmatic conclusion can only be true of Hebrews 7:3 if it is interpreted literally instead of typically as most scholars do.

 

(188.7) Melchizedek was a Christophany - Jesus Christ Himself in a temporary manifestation and appearance before His incarnation in the virgin's womb, before His being born as "the Man" to be our mediator.

 

Comment: Conner teaches that the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14 was not a real man, but was only a “temporary manifestation” who was only a man in “appearance.”

 

(188.9) Abraham, David and Paul all see the same Person and together, the revelation is completed.

 

Comment: The vast overwhelming majority of Bible scholars disagree. They teach that Melchizedek of Genesis 14:18-20 was a literal man and a type of Christ and that Melchizedek of Psalm 110:4 is a Messianic and prophetic type of Christ. The writer of Hebrews used both of these as types of Jesus Christ in Hebrews 5, 6 and 7.

 

(189.2) These are the things he found hard to say, things that were hard to be uttered, and hard of interpretation, because of the spiritual condition of the hearers (Heb 5:11).

 

Comment: To Conner the “things hard to say” is that the historical Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate theophany of Jesus Christ. However such a “revelation” would not have contributed to solving the problem addressed by the Epistle to the Hebrews.

 

Most Bible scholars conclude that the “things hard to say” is that David, in Psalm 110:4, prophesied that a new order of priesthood was destined to replace the Aaronic priesthood. Such revelation gave Hebrew Christian believers ground to forsake the Aaronic priesthood and Temple system and enter into the theology of the remainder of Christendom. It was not necessary to prove that the historical Melchizedek was actually Jesus in order to accomplish that goal.

 

(189.4) (Genesis 14:1-17) [4 kings against 5] Earth, symbolized by the number four, as over against grace, symbolized by the number five!

 

Comment: Conner uses mystical numbers wherever possible. However this comment makes no sense whatsoever. The “four kings” are pagan Gentile Babylonians and the “five” “grace” kings are also pagan Gentiles from Sodom, Gomorrah and its regions! It is absurd to imply (for no apparent reason) that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah represented GRACE!

 

(189.5) There were in all nine Kings! Melchizedek himself is the tenth king.

 

Comment: For Conner the number “ten” signifies something marked out as holy to the LORD. Therefore Melchizedek, the “tenth king” mentioned in Genesis 14, is a holy person. Conner believes God put hidden codes into the Bible so that only those who dig for the gold will find them.

 

It is noteworthy that the other nine were pagan and the pattern would suggest that Melchizedek was also pagan. And even worse for Conner, from his own argument that the patriarchs from Adam to Abraham were also priest-kings, then that would actually make Abraham the tenth king named in Genesis 14 and not Melchizedek!  Again, Abraham was certainly kingly and powerful enough to defeat four kings with his army.

How important are numbers in the Bible?  Conner places a lot of emphasis on the number 10. Abraham was the tenth from Noah; Melchizedek was the tenth king mentioned in Genesis 14; the tenth of the tithe is holy. Therefore Conner uses the number ten (10) to validate both the importance of Melchizedek and the tithe.

 

However unless God’s Word explicitly uses a number to designate something it is unwise to try to find hidden messages behind numbers. Why? Use of numbers is highly inconsistent and turns God’s Word into a mystery mind game.

 

Strong’s Concordance:

One: 1896 times; first: 430 times (2326)

Two: 821; second: 169 (t990)

Three: 477; third: 182 (t659)

Seven: 448; seventh: 120 (t568)

Five: 342; fifth: 61 (t403)

Four: 326; fourth: 84 (t410)

Ten: 246; tenth: 81 (t327)

Twenty: 291; twentieth: 36 (t327)

 

The number ten (10) is no more significant than many other numbers which are used more times. There is no reason to conclude that “ten” must designate something to be “holy.” “Ten” and “tenth” occur 327 times in the Bible.

 

Genesis contains the words twenty (20) times. For examples: (1) The flood waters receded on the tenth month. (2) Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils of war. (3) Laban changed Jacob’s wages 10 times. (4) Jacob promised God a tenth if he returned safely. (5) Jacob’s tenth son was Zebulon. (6) Joseph had ten brothers who betrayed him. (7) 14 other un-noteworthy occurrences of the words.  Therefore there are only two of twenty texts which might mean “holy.” This is hardly a case for the importance of the number ten in Genesis.

 

Exodus contains the words “ten” and “tenth” twelve (12) times. For examples: The Passover was on the tenth day of the third month. (2) The tabernacle had ten pillars and ten curtains. (3) The Ten Commandments are called the “ten words of the covenant.” Thus only three of the twelve occurrences might mean “holy.”

 

Deuteronomy contains the words eight times – twice referring to the “holy” Ten Commandments and twice referring to “un-holy” bastards, Ammonites and Moabites who cannot worship with Israel for ten generations. Again, this is hardly proof that every tenth was holy. In fact since all ten of the commandments are holy there is more emphasis there on “ten” rather than “tenth.”

 

The remainder of the Old Testament is just as un-remarkable concerning the number “ten” designating something “holy.” For example: (1) Solomon’s temple had ten lavers. (2) Ten tribes were ripped away from Solomon’s kingdom. (3) Ten sons of Haman were hanged. (4) Job’s friends reproached him ten times. And (5) one beast in Daniel’s vision had ten horns. There are far more “un-holy” connotations of “ten” than “holy” ones!

 

The New Testament contains the words thirty eight (38) times with thirteen (13) of those in Revelation. For examples: (1) Jesus told parables about the ten virgins, ten talents and ten coins. (2) Jesus healed ten lepers. (3) Hebrews 7 mentions Abraham’s tithe. (4) Revelation speaks of ten days of tribulation and the tenth part of a city falling. (5) The great beast has ten crowns on ten horns which are ten kings. Again there are far more “bad” than “holy” connotations of “ten.”

 

The point of this discussion is threefold:

(1) The great majority of the time the number “ten” occurs in God’s Word it means nothing that is remarkable. (2) There is an extremely small handful of texts in which “ten” is significant for Israel, such as the Ten Commandments and the tithing texts. (3) For every text which might have a hidden spiritual meaning of “holy” there are three or four times as many texts in which “ten” has a “bad” connotation such as the years of tribulation and the horns, crowns, heads and kings of the great false beast. And there are many more which have no connotation at all.

 

Therefore if Conner assumes that the “tenth” of anything is “holy” he cannot prove such from God’s Word.

 

 

(189.7) It is interesting to note the use of the word "EL" here; Melchizedek is Priest of the Most High GOD (EL), and "EL" is the singular of EL-ohim, whereas EL-ohim is the plural Hebrew word for the Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as revealed in the Old Testament.

 

Comment: It is only half true that EL refers to the Hebrew God. The other half which is equally true is that EL also refers to the head of the Canaanite pantheon of gods and that it is very possible that Melchizedek in Genesis 14 was really only a common Gentile king-priest like many others of 2000 BC. This may shock many conservative Christians. Do your own research at your public library on this.  While is it true that what the Bible teaches is truth,” it is not true that “all truth is found in the Bible.”

 

(189.8) The Most High EL speaks of the Father God while the King-Priest speaks of the Son of God - two Divine Persons. Thus Melchizedek is King-Priest in the one Person.

 

Comment: Again this is only one of two possible interpretations of the identity of El Elyon, God (god?) Most High. See discussion on Hebrews 7:1 following.

 

(189.8) No other person ever touched this in the Old Testament, save Moses in measure, who was prophet-priest-king, and David in measure, who was king and yet touched a measure of priestly ministry.

 

(189.9) These offices were never united in the Old Testament.

 

Comment: This is odd unless Conner means “Old Testament after Jacob.” On the next page he presents his theory that all Patriarchs were also king-priests.

 

(190.2) Patriarchal or Family Priesthood:

In patriarchal history and early world history, all nations had their patriarchs of fathers to have both these offices or functions of king-priest united in the one person. Each father or head of the household was king (ruling), and priest (mediating) in his house. This was the dispensation of the Father. Beginning with Adam and closing with Abraham, who was the Father of the human race to the Father of the chosen race, and also the father of all who believe.

 

(190.11) Abraham always had the tent and the altar, as pilgrim-king-priest (Gen. 11; 12:7-8). Though the word "king-priest" is not specifically mentioned of these Patriarchs, yet these functions reveal that they acted in the capacity of king-priest.

 

(191.1) Adam, Seth, Job, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - heads of their households - took the order of worship in their homes, under God (Genesis 26:25; 31:54). Otherwise they could not claim the right to sacrifice to God without it.

 

(191.2) This Dispensation of the Father or Patriarchs closed with Abraham, and the fact of Melchizedek meeting him at this time had its significance; for the central Dispensation of the Son was about to begin.

 

Comment: Conner teaches that Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek “had its significance” because it closed the period of patriarch/pilgrim-priest kings. This is fanciful conjecture!

 

Thus Isaac and Jacob did not function as king-priests. In reality they probably did because Conner is inventing theology. Both Isaac and Jacob (and Esau) were extremely wealthy and powerful persons.

 

(191.3) Melchizedek Priesthood: The next priesthood that is revealed, and this specifically, is that of Melchizedek. He appears at the close of the first 2000 years of time, which was the Dispensation of the Father, and the beginning of the second central 2000 years of time, which was the Dispensation of the Son. As noted, the beginning was with Isaac the only begotten son of Abraham, and closing with Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

 

Comment: This is conjecture and invented theology. Conner extends his king-priest idea throughout the period of the Mosaic Law and ends it with Jesus. Here he is confused about this own theology. Jesus did not END the divine king-priest concept.

 

(191.7) God's purpose was for the whole nation to be of the order of Melchizedek, the only priesthood that their father Abraham had relation to.

 

Comment: This makes no sense in light of the fact that Abraham was also a priest who built his own altars and offered his own sacrifices everywhere he traveled. Abraham also spent many years living among the pagan Philistines whose kings were also priests.

 

(191.9) Who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings - Gen. 14:1-24. Abraham returning in victory, with his 318 trained servants, having rescued Lot, is about to be met by the King of Sodom. But Melchizedek appears to him just before this. What will Abraham have to do with the King of Sodom when he can have much to do with Melchizedek, the King of Salem?

 

Comment: This is wrong! Conner is merely trying to deny the fact that the king of Sodom, as Melchizedek’s friend, met Abraham first and escorted him towards the city. Conner wants to obscure the strong possibility that the historical Melchizedek was nothing more than a pagan Canaanite king himself. Conner ignores the chronology of the narrative in Genesis 14 and will not consider that the king of Sodom was involved.

 

Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

 

(192.1) Paul does not mention anything of the Bread and Wine here to the Hebrew believers, but he does mention the tithes! This expositor believes the reason is evident, for, if Paul did write this Epistle, it is in the Epistle to the Corinthians where Paul deals fully with the matter of the Communion, of the Lord's Table, and of the bread and the cup (1 Cor.5; 11:23-34).

 

Comment: Why would the writer of Hebrews assume that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem had already read Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians and therefore skip over such a “most significant” point? The other possibility is that feeding victorious soldiers the most common food and drink available was not significant in 2000 BC. It only became a symbol 2000 years later.

 

(192.3) This giving of the Bread and the Wine to Abraham by Melchizedek is most significant.

Because the table was associated with the priesthood. Only the priests could partake of it.

 

Comment: Actually it was so in-significant that it was not even mentioned! Conner assumes that Melchizedek did not feed Abraham’s 318 pagan Amorite soldiers at all. Did the tithes belong only to Abraham or to all of the 318? Was not Melchizedek actually accepting tithes from 318 pagans also? Abraham only let them keep what they had eaten. According to Conner Melchizedek accepted the tithes they procured at the risk of their lives but he did not feed them! Is that how godly people are supposed to act? --much less the pre-incarnate Christ! Such would ruin Conner’s forced reading-backwards connection with communion.

 

Gen 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

Gen 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

……….

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.

 

1. (Heb 7:1) King.

 

Comment: The fact that Melchizedek is called a “king” in Genesis 14:18 does not constitute a proof that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus Christ. This comparison could be made to every king who ever claimed the title of “king.”

……………………………………………..

7:2 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.

 

(194.2) (7:2) First being by interpretation - Here we have the Scriptural law of the interpretation of names. "The Name" in Scripture always spoke of the nature of the person involved; it spoke of his character and was also prophetic in essence. Names interpreted in Scripture provide a very fruitful field of truth for the student.

 

Comment: There is no such thing as a “Scriptural law of the interpretation of names.”

 

“Always” is not true. Common sense teaches that Hebrew mothers named their children according to the aspirations they had for their children and to seek God’s favor towards them.

 

(194.3) Interpret the name and we interpret the person behind the name!

 

Comment: Not necessarily true unless God gave the name.

 

(194.4) Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, and the other eleven sons of Jacob, Moses, the Judges, Kings, and Prophets all had involved in their Names some part of the Name of God, either by revelation or participation, and the Name interpreted always had some prophetic or spiritual and symbolic significance.

 

Comment: That is a far from saying that the name equaled who the person was. Again, “always” is not true. Conner’s logic is only true where God had changed the name as “Abram” to “Abraham,” “Sarai” to “Sarah” and “Jacob” to “Israel.” Isaac was named to remind him of his mother’s laughter --not because of his own laughter. Jacob was named “after” he supplanted his brother at birth. The 12 sons of Jacob were named by their mothers to mock the other wives. This is detailed in Scripture. See Gen 29:32 5o to 30:24. Only some of the names had prophetic meaning during Jacob’s blessings.

 

(194.6) Melchi - interpreted means KING. (Lk 3:24,28; 1 Sam.31:2. Several persons were named Melchi).

 

Comment: Conner’s own examples of “Melchi” prove him wrong because none of the three persons named “Melchi” were kings! Interpreting the name does NOT necessarily interpret the person!

 

(194.6) Zedek – interpreted means RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Heb.7:l-2. Zedek-iah means "The Lord is my righteousness" - 2 Kgs.24:17).

 

Counterpoint: The KJV of Hebrews 7:2 reads “being by interpretation King of righteousness.” The NAS reads “by translation of his name” and the NIV reads “his name means.” The text does not say that the historical Melchizedek “was” the “king of righteousness”! He was only such “by interpreting” his name. That is plain language and not implied!

 

The fact that one’s name means something very holy does not confer such character on the person named. For example in Hebrew my own name “Russell [Rosh-el]” might mean “leader with God” but that does not make it so. The Bible is full of people with holy names. Ab-salom was not the “father of peace” in reality and “Jo-el” was not Jehovah-God.

 

It is also likely that Canaanite priest-kings named themselves. For example we do not literally say that the Canaanite Adoni-zedek or the Philistine Abi-melek were titles of the Hebrew God.

 

And it is also true that Zadek only means “righteousness” when interpreted into Hebrew. In the prevailing culture of 2000 BC a Canaanite would have understood it to mean the Canaanite god Jupiter who was the righteous judge. This can be verified by researching ancient religions in any large public library. Some conservative Bible commentaries also point this out as do most liberal Bible commentaries and Internet search engines.

 

(194.8) This name [Melchizedek] in the truest sense could not apply to a Gentile king.

 

Comment: Although it may not really “apply to a Gentile king”, anybody who researches the matter will quickly realize that pagans and Hebrews routinely assigned holy names to their children. Consider the pagan names given to Daniel and his companions in Daniel 1:7. Daniel was renamed after Baal, or Bel, as Bel-teshazzar.

 

3. (Heb 7:2) King of Peace.

 

(194.6) Salem interpreted means Jeru-Salem, which means the city of peace. "Jebus" was the old Canaanite name of the city. “Salem” means “peace (Gen 33:18), possibly the same city, translated as Shalem, Salim.

 

Comment: I do not know why Conner even discusses this because he teaches that Melchizedek did not have a real city or a real temple on earth. The theophany only appeared briefly and quickly vanished.

 

Counterpoint: Again the historical Melchizedek was only the king of peace “by interpreting his name.”

 

And, again, a typical Canaanite of 2000 BC would identify Salem as a female consort of ZDK (Jupiter) and a goddess of the morning. Conner’s reference to “Shalem” and “Salim” indicates that he knows this information. See the Encyclopedia Americana and Encyclopedia Britannica. The conservative Wycliffe Bible Commentary also points this out as do other major reference books.

 

The vowels of the Hebrew alphabet were not added until seven centuries after Christ by the Masoretes. The consonants MLK (king), ZDK (righteousness) and SLM (peace) meant something entirely different to many Canaanites who referred to their god-king as MoLoK (Amos 4:5).

 

4. (Heb 7:1-2) As king he must have a kingdom.

 

Comment: This is not a proof at all. It merely states what is true of all kings.

 

5. (Heb 7:1-2) King of Jerusalem.

 

(197.3) Where did Abraham, after leaving Babel, receive the promise of the city? Could it not be rightly assumed that it was given to him by Melchizedek who came from the CITY of PEACE, heavenly Jerusalem?

 

Comment: Conner will not accept that Melchizedek actually lived in a literal city with a literal temple on earth. Scripture does not teach that heaven had a city named Jerusalem from eternity past! What probably happened was that either Melchizedek or David or both took one of the city’s “pagan” names as “temple of Salim” dedicated to Jupiter’s consort goddess and CHANGED the meaning of it to refer to the Hebrew word for “peace.” One simply cannot deny that the Jebusites occupied the area now known as Jerusalem for about 1000 years until David. Do a word study. The Hebrew word for “peace”, Shalem, has a “derived” definition!

 

The texts from Genesis and Hebrews both say Salem, not Jerusalem! The historical Melchizedek, like city-states all over the world of his time, was a priest-king of an area around a city named Salem. Experts are not even sure that this refers to the present city of Jerusalem. The historical Melchizedek’s kingdom was a city-state.

 

The name “Jerusalem” was very ancient and comes from two words meaning “temple of Salim.” The historical Melchizedek probably named his city after the concubine-goddess of Jupiter.

 

Jesus was not called the “King of Jerusalem.” He was the king of Israel, the king of the Jews and the King of Kings.

 

6. (Gen 14:18) Priest of the Most High God.

 

(193) The Most High God - Melchizedek was Priest of the Most High God, the Most High El.

This Title of God pertains to the whole earth and to the whole heaven. The Most High God is El Elyon - Possessor of heaven and earth. This title of God brings out the truth of God's possession of heaven and earth. It reaches everything and everywhere. The only true God is seen in contrast to the false gods of Abraham's day.

 

Counterpoint: Conner is correct except for the last sentence. This title would sound much less Christian if it were left un-translated as “priest of El Elyon.” El Elyon was the common title of many pagan high gods from Babylon to Persia to Egypt. He was often Baal, a god of the highest mountains where apostate Israel later worshipped. He was even equated with El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon. See James Orr, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ‘God, names of,’ and ‘Melchizedek.’

 

The text does not say that Melchizedek was the “only” priest of El Elyon and Canaanite theology indicates otherwise. If Melchizedek were indeed a true priest of Yahweh, then it is very odd that he did not identify himself as priest of Yahweh El Elyon in Genesis 14:19.

 

Abraham called his God Yahweh El Elyon only once three verses later in Genesis 14:22. And David only began to do so 1000 years later in 2nd Samuel 22:14 after he had captured Jebusite Jerusalem.

 

Why did not Melchizedek call God Yahweh? In Genesis 4:26 we are told that in the days of Seth and Enos people began calling God by the name of Yahweh. Part of worship has always included using the name of one’s God (Ex 9:16). Again, if Melchizedek were a true follower of the true El Elyon, then why did he not take the title of priest-king to Yahweh El Elyon?

 

Perhaps the most important revelation of Genesis 14 is indeed Abraham’s statement that the Canaanite concept of the “Most High God” was, in reality, the “LORD (Yahweh) the Most High God” from 14:22. And perhaps the writer of Hebrews was inspired to use the Gentile version of the title (rather than Abraham’s) in order to promote the argument that God, and Christ’s royal high priesthood, are no longer exclusively Hebrew concepts, which require Yahweh as a qualifier.

 

(193.5) These sample references speak of the Most High God (Dan.3:26; 4:17,34-35; 5:18-21;7:18-27; Gen.14:18,22; Num.24:16; Deut.32:8; Psa.78:17,56; Acts 7:48; Psa.57:2). The Most High God is spoken of much in Scripture. Melchizedek is Priest of the Most High God.

 

Comment: Why does Conner list the Daniel texts first? They prove that the pagans called God by that name which is my point! Significantly the title only occurs once in Genesis and only three times in the Pentateuch. Numbers 24:16 is the pagan prophet Balaam and Deut 32:8-9 is Moses pointing out that Most High was for all nations while Yahweh was for Israel. The texts in Psalms prove that David did not use the title for Yahweh until after he had conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites 1000 years after Abraham.

 

7. (Gen 14:19) Possessor of heaven and earth.

 

Counterpoint: Since this was also a common domain of the Canaanite god, El Elyon, it cannot be used as a proof that the “historical” Melchizedek was Jesus Christ. Although the pagans did not realize it, the “true” Most High God was indeed Yahweh. Study the following two verses very carefully. Excluding Balaam’s remark, they are the NEXT time that El Elyon appears in Scripture since Genesis 14.

 

Deut 32:8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

 

Most pagan nations at the time of Abraham recognized that the domain of El Elyon was “heaven and earth.” See the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ‘God, names of'. In Deuteronomy 32:8-9 Moses was not implying that there was more than one God, but he was pointing out that the name Yahweh was exclusive for the Hebrews while the name El Elyon generally referred to the Gentiles.

 

Deut 32:9 For the LORD's [YAHWEH’s] portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

 

Under Moses the name, Yahweh, was a very limited name which was then confined to use by the Hebrews as their own covenant God. However, the New Testament uses the much wider name, Most High God, to indicate that the true God is really the God of everybody and not just the Hebrews. It is re-applied in the New Testament (Lk 8:28; Acts 7:48; 16:17; Heb 7:1). This is very significant.

 

8. (Gen 14:18) Minister of the bread and wine.

 

Comment: The fact that the historical Melchizedek fed with bread and wine does not make him Jesus. Even if it was communion (and I seriously doubt it) every Protestant pastor and Catholic priest does the same every time communion is given and it does not make them into Jesus.

 

If this is such a strong proof that Melchizedek is Christ, then why does not the writer of Hebrews use it? Why does not Jesus or Paul make a reference to Melchizedek when explaining the meaning of communion? Could it be that bread and wine were a centuries’ old tradition which even pagans observed simply because these were the most common elements of solid food and drink? Any king would have welcomed his returning army with the same thing because it was the common food.

 

Too much deep spiritual mystery has been circulated around the meaning of the bread and wine. Such encourages a mystical interpretation of the Bible only by those leaders who have been “anointed” while the average “un-initiated” church member is left only to observe.

 

While Jesus said that he had pre-existed in 8:56-58), he never implied that he had pre-existed as Melchizedek. The “new thing” is that Jesus changed the most common food items into a memorial of his death and second coming. The historical Melchizedek did not.

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12. Was before Abraham. (Jn 8:56)

 

Comment: This is really a strange “proof’” when applied to Genesis 14. Is assumes Conner’s presupposition is correct in order to prove that his presupposition is correct. That is circular reasoning.

 

The Bible gives absolutely no indication of how old the historical Melchizedek was when Abraham met him in Genesis 14. Abraham might have been older than him!

 

For most, Jesus’ statement in John 8:56-58, “Before Abraham was, I am” proves that Jesus existed BEFORE the historical Melchizedek and cannot be equated with the historical Melchizedek!

 

Conner’s argument is self-destructive. It would have helped if Jesus had said “Before Abraham was born I was Melchizedek.” This “proof” no more proves that Melchizedek was Jesus than it proves that Adam or anybody else before Melchizedek was Christ.

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Heb 7:3a Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life...

 

13. (Heb 7:3) Without father and mother. Pre-existence.

14. (Heb 7:3) Without descent or pedigree. Eternity of being.

15. (Heb 7:3) No beginning of days. No birth. No human origin.

16. (Heb 7:3) No end of life. The source of life.

 

(197.8) But this Melchizedek has absolutely none of these! It is not just a mere type. Paul does not state it to be a type, or that there is just merely no record of these important things, but that Melchizedek was without these things! This is the "meat" of the Melchizedek priesthood upon which to chew!

 

Comment: Points #13 through #16 are actually one argument instead of four. If understood literally these are probably the strongest arguments that the historical Melchizedek was eternal pre-existing and non-dying God. However the vast overwhelming majority of commentaries and Bible scholars teach otherwise. A few modern mystical charismatics seem to be the major proponents of this teaching today.

 

Why did the writer of Hebrews use this argument? He was certainly not teaching that the historical Melchizedek was actually “greater than” Jesus!

 

Conner emphasizes that the text claims that Melchizedek did not have any of those traits and that Paul did not explicitly say they were merely “types.” Is this credible logic? Remember that Conner began this chapter by using the word “implication” twice and now he denies “implication”! However most Bible scholars agree that these texts teach by “implication,” by “interpretation” by “likeness” and by “order.”

 

(198) Because of no birth and no death in His pre-incarnate days as to His Deity! Melchizedek was a temporary, pre-cross manifestation and revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ before His incarnation. This is why it is said He was "without..." any of these things. The language of this verse excludes all others.

 

Comment: Many persons can be found in the pages of the Bible who appear and disappear from its pages without giving the same kind of details about their lives. This list would be very long indeed. We have all met people the same way. We see them only once. We know nothing about them. Often we do not even know their names. We do not know where they came from or when they were born or died –or even if they died. They qualify too!

 

On Jesus’ human side he had a highly documented “beginning of days” and an even more documented “end of life.” Jesus had a recorded father, Joseph (whose genealogy is found in Matthew), and a mother, Mary (whose genealogy is found in Luke). Therefore this line of argument might even make the historical Melchizedek more God than Jesus!

 

Counterpoint: If literally true, the description of the historical Melchizedek being “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life” actually “detracts” from the qualifications for a priest which Christ met earlier in Hebrews, chapter five.

 

An Aaronic priest:

5:1 must be taken from men – be a man

5:2 as a man he can understand and have compassion

5:7 as a man he offered prayers in the days of his flesh

5:8 as a Son he learned obedience

 

A pre-incarnate Jesus-Melchizedek would meet NONE of these qualifications and, therefore, could not function as a pre-incarnate priest!

 

While skipping the fact that Jesus was from Judah the point of chapter 5:1-10 is that Jesus was a real man and was called by God to be a man-priest after the order of Melchizedek.

 

In fact the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14 would have also been rejected because he does not meet the qualifications of being a documented Hebrew man from Hebrews 5. And there is no doubt concerning the descent, or genealogy, of Jesus Christ. Therefore, legally (through the law), Jesus Christ would never have been accepted as high priest without Aaronic credentials.

 

(197.6) Some of the priests could not be found in the register and genealogy, and they were put out from the priesthood as being polluted (Ezra 2:61-63). Genealogy was important in Israel for the tribes (1 Chron.7:5-9,40; 2 Chron.31:16-19; Ezra 8:1; Neh.7:64; 7:5; 1 Chron.5:l,7; 9:22; Ezra 8:3).

 

Comment: I do not understand why Conner wrote the previous paragraph. It goes counter to his own argument. Genealogy was extremely important both in Jesus’ human and divine attributes. He was both the Son of man and the divine Son of David/Son of God and the prophetic record proves it for both. The historical Melchizedek has no genealogy for either except from an argument of implication and silence.

 

Research 7:3 for yourself in many commentaries! In the ancient world, the description from Hebrews 7:3 merely meant that the parents were “obscure,” “of no importance,” or even “slaves.” To an Israelite, one who applied to serve as a priest and had Gentile parents or wife was considered to be “without father, and without mother.” As Conner himself pointed out, both Ezra 2:61-62 and Nehemiah 7:63-64 record that some claiming to be priests were not “reckoned by genealogy” because they had become “polluted” and were “put from the priesthood.”

 

Our modern memorials to “unknown soldiers” reflect that we do not know who their parents were or when they were born. Likewise no records identify Melchizedek’s father, his mother, or any ancestors. Because of this lack of genealogy, the Israelites would never have accepted the historical Melchizedek as either king or priest.

 

However, these “non-credentials” of Melchizedek actually make him a perfect “type” of Christ as eternal and not limited to death as was Aaron’s priesthood. Only the “type” (not the person) is spiritually superior to the law and its qualifications.

 

The New Covenant is an entirely “new” covenant “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers…” Heb 8:9. Using the Most High concept of God the new covenant incorporates, or includes, those whom Yahweh excluded – ALL other nations (compare Deut 32:8-9).

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Heb 7:3b …. but made like unto the Son of God …

 

18. (7:3) Like the son of God.

29. Priest who is the eternal Son of God. Heb 5:5-6.

 

(200) He was seen 'going forth' as the Jehovah Angel, or the Angel of the Lord many times (Ex.4; Jud.6; Gen.32; 18-19; Jud.13). He was seen 'going forth' as One like unto the Son of God, the fourth Man in the fire (Dan.3). He was seen 'going forth' as the appearance of a Man in Ezekiel's visions (Ezek. 1 and Ezek.10).

And He was seen in this 'going forth' to Abraham as Melchizedek, the King-Priest (Gen. 14). .. only of Deity can this language be used.

 

Comment: Read all of the “Angel of the Lord” texts: Gen 16, 22; Ex 3; Num 22; Judges 2, 5, 6, 13; 2 Sam 24; 1 Kg 19; 2 Kg 1, 19; 1 Chron 21; Ps 34, 35; Zech 1, 3, 12. And look at the theophany texts of the Son of God or the Son of man in the Old Testament: Daniel 3:25 (“a son of the gods” (NAS, NIV) uttered by a Babylonian.

 

None of them, repeat, none of them describe a person “by name.” The Genesis 14 narrative of the historical Melchizedek with his own city and his own temple does NOT match the description of an epiphany or theophany in context!

 

(202) He assumed a temporarily-made likeness of Himself. That is to say, the eternal Son of God assumed a temporary-made likeness of Himself and appeared to Abraham as Melchizedek. "Made like the Son of God" would be when the time came for His incarnation and assuming eternally human form as A Man!

 

(203) … temporary manifestation of Himself, of what He would eventually become by the incarnation, that is, A Man, the God-Man!

 

(203) And again, who can doubt Revelation 1:13, "One like unto the Son of Man" standing in the midst of the candlesticks is Jesus Christ Himself?

 

(203) And in Ezekiel 1:5-28, there was the "likeness of A Man" who was the eternal Son of God in manifestation of a temporary nature. Most expositors see these "like" the Son as being the Son of God Himself in a Christophany.

 

Comment: Recognize this for what it is –Conner’s personal opinion. From the descriptions in Ezekiel and Revelation it would be hard to actually recognize Jesus as a man.

 

(203) Note the words "made" and "likeness" in these verses concerning the eternal Son (Gal 4:1-4; Rom 1:3; 8:3; Phil.2:1-10). “He being in the form of God and took upon Himself the form of a man and was made in the likeness of a man.”

 

Comment: These texts do not prove Conner’s point. Galatians 4:4 (made of a woman) and Romans 1:3 (made of the seed of David) are not theophanies. Romans 8:3 (made in the likeness of sinful flesh) is pointing out that Christ was not “sinful” even though he was human. And like Romans 8:3, in Philippians 2:6-7 Paul was also making the point that Jesus, who was equal to God, voluntarily lowered himself to appear to be less than God and “only a man” when he was, in fact, both God and man.

 

(203) It was not, as yet, the human nature which He took by incarnation, and in which He was born and died, but the Divine nature - The SON OF GOD - eternal Sonship!

 

Comment: In other words Melchizedek of Genesis 14 only appeared to be a man. He was really Divine Spirit without an earthly city, without an earthly temple and he did not even appear to the king of Sodom.

(203-204) If Jesus Christ the eternal Son is not Melchizedek, then it means that there are TWO King-Priests of the Most High God, Melchizedek and Jesus made after this order! And it means that Melchizedek is greater than Jesus Christ in King-Priest and that Jesus Christ is less than Melchizedek being made after another order of priesthood.

 

Comment: Conner’s conclusion is based on his own faulty logic. He repeats this or a similar statement many times for emphasis. He cannot even consider the strong possibility that the writer is speaking in comparative typology.

 

(204) Therefore the language of verse 3 is actually true of some person who actually existed, or else only symbolic.

 

Comment: Only symbolic. Yes. He got it right only for this one sentence.

 

(204) If he [the historic Melchizedek] actually did have father, mother, descent, and birth and death, then he must be a mere man, a typical man, and Jesus Christ could not be made after the order of a mere man who experienced these things, but are just not recorded to make him a type of Christ's Priesthood; Such reasoning is illogical.

 

Comment: The “mere man” was the first “king-priest” named in the Bible. What is so terribly wrong with God saying that the Messiah, in Psalm 110:4, would also be a “king-priest” after the “order” of “arrangement” of Melchizedek? God does not say that the Messiah IS Melchizedek. He merely says that his is a king-priest just like Melchizedek was king-priest. If somebody said they wanted to be an “emperor” following the same “order” of “arrangement” as Charlemagne or Napoleon, that does not mean that they want to BE Charlemagne or Napoleon.

 

Conner is really tied up by this faulty logic.

(1) Conner has already stated that the word “order” means “arrangement.” (2) He has claimed that (in his opinion) the patriarchs from Adam to Abraham (or Jacob) were essentially priest-kings. (3) Therefore since God Himself designated Adam a priest-king (he was given dominion over the entire earth) then copying the “order” or “arrangement” should not offend Conner as it apparently does very much. At least for Adam it was a God-ordained and God-given “order” that he would be ruler of the earth and also a priest! (4) Therefore Conner’s argument has been defeated by his own logic!

 

Counterpoint: This [“made like”] is really an argument against the claim that the historical Melchizedek was the son of God. Jesus “is” the Son of God; He is not “like the son.”

 

In Hebrews 5:5, before Psalm 110:4 is quoted, Psalm 2:7 is quoted “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” The only logical way to reconcile Psalm 2:7; 110:4 and Hebrews 7:3 is to conclude that the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14 was not Jesus and that the prophetic Melchizedek of Psalm 110:4 was the typical Jesus.

 

Again the word is “like” instead of “being the son of God.” The NAS says “made like” and the Greek reads “having been made” by combining two participles. Strong’s Concordance says the word means to “assimilate closely” or “make like.” It is only a copy and not the same thing. In Genesis 1:26 God made man in his “likeness” and in his “image” and that does not make man the same as God.

 

While it is acceptable to say of the “historical” Melchizedek that he was “like” the son of God this it totally unacceptable as a description of Jesus Christ. He “is” the Son of God! In Hebrews 1 God spoke “by his son” (1:2) who “is the brightness of his glory,” (1:3) the “express image of his person” (1:3); “my son” (1:4) and “God” (1:8). Yet there is no such unequivocal statement about the “historical” Melchizedek of Genesis 14!

 

Therefore the historical Melchizedek was not “the” Son of God, but was “made LIKE the Son of God.” His name, title, and lack of genealogy only make him into a type of Christ—not his person! Christ is “after the order of,” “like” (v. 3), or “after the similitude” of Melchizedek (v. 15).

 

(204) He gave Melchizedek the topmost, or the pick of the heap (Amp. NT).

 

Conner never discusses “Why” pre-incarnate Christ would come as Melchizedek. What was his mission? All of the “angel of the Lord” texts depict temporary episodes where the un-named angels came, performed a specific mission, and disappeared. Other than receiving tithes of pagan spoils of war (which would not be brought back to heaven) and feeding a normal meal to only Abraham (Conner claims later), the historical Melchizedek did not fit a theophany and does not deliver the usual warning as did the angel of the Lord. And after all of the wonderful blessings from Yahweh in chapters 12-13 and 15-17 it can hardly be said that Abraham required another one from Melchizedek!

 

There is a great difference between the “historical” Melchizedek of Genesis 14, and the “typical” “prophetic” Melchizedek of Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7. “Out of Egypt I have called my Son” “historically” means “national Israel,” but “typically” and “prophetically” it means Jesus Christ (Hos. 11:1 cf. Matt. 2:15). “A virgin shall be with child” “historically” referred to Isaiah’s wife and child, but “typically” and “prophetically” it refers to Mary and Christ (compare Isaiah 7:14-16 and Matt. 1:23). “Weeping in Ramah” “historically” referred to the people being carried away into slavery but “typically” and “prophetically” is applied to the children being killed from Bethlehem (compare Jer 31:15 and Matt 2:17-19).

 

First, the “historical” Melchizedek appeared in Genesis 14. Second, Melchizedek appeared “prophetically” when David mentioned him in Psalm 110 almost a thousand years later. And, third, Hebrews 7 uses him both “prophetically” and “typically.”

 

Objection: How can Melchizedek be a type of Christ if he was not a relative of Shem or Abraham and was a Canaanite?

 

Answer: Again, only his political-religious office, “order” or “arrangement” was a type of Christ because he was the first king-priest named in the Bible. The Bible takes many terms and names which have negative meanings and turns them into very positive spiritual meanings. (1) Jerusalem had its Semitic Canaanite name as the “temple of the (goddess) Salim” long before the Israelites captured it. “Jerusalem” did not originally refer to David’s city of peace. (2) The Semitic Canaanite Jebusites who ruled in Jerusalem for 1000 years after Abraham called their pagan fort, Mount Zion (2 Sam. 5:7). Only later did “Mount Zion” become a very holy term for both Israelites and Christians. (3) The brass serpent which Moses made in Numbers 21:8-9 to remind Israel of its sin and rebellion became a symbol of God’s healing and was later even mistakenly worshipped (2 Kg 18:4). (4) In Habakkuk the Babylonian army is depicted as God’s army which will punish Israel. (5) The pagan King Cyrus of Persia is called “my shepherd” in Isaiah 44:28 because God used him to deliver Israel. (6) The cross of Jesus was changed from a symbol of shame and sin into a symbol of victory and life in Hebrews 12:2. (7) Since the vowel markings were not added to the Hebrew language until many centuries after Christ, the triad of MLK in the Canaanite language most often referred o MoLoK (see Amos 5:26 in Hebrew). The title, Abi-melech, the Philistine king of Gerar whom Abraham served in Genesis 20:2 probably means “my father is Molok.”

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Heb 7:3c … abides a priest continually.

Heb 7:8 … of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

 

21. (Heb 7:3) Abides (and remains) a priest continually.

17. (Heb 7:8, 16, 25) Ever lives in power of an endless life.

 

Comment: The phrase from 7:3 is not found in Genesis 14:18-20 and comes from Psalm 110 which is not re-introduced until 7:11. And, since it is out of order, it constitutes a reasonable proof for Conner’s view.

 

But Melchizedek did not remain a priest forever on earth (and Conner does not claim that he did).

 

History and archaeology reveal that Melchizedek’s temple was vacated very soon after the events of Genesis 14 when the Jebusites used the hill due east of it for their capital city for over 1000 years. Therefore whoever Melchizedek was in Genesis 14, he did not remain a priest there.

 

Conner claims that he had no physical city or temple and quickly vanished with the spoil-tithes vanishing with him. Conner does not discuss whether or not this includes people.

 

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Gen 14:19 And he [Melchizedek] blessed him [Abram], and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

..

Heb 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

 

9. (Heb 7:6) Melchizedek was the blesser of Abraham who believed. [He was the one who blessed Abraham.]

 

(205) When Abraham paid tithes, it prophesied that tithes actually belonged to the priesthood, and are associated with it. Melchizedek, as Mediating High Priest, receives the tenth of all that belongs to God, even as all that is in heaven and earth belongs to God.

 

Comment: Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek was not a “prophecy” that “tithes belong to the priesthood.” Instead it was the normal expected routine among pagans in Abraham’s time and actually preceded Abraham’s tithe.

 

(1) Actually true biblical tithes belonged to the Levites and only a tenth of the tithe belonged to the priests under the Law (Numb 18:21-28). Under the Law the High Priest never received the whole tithe. (2) Since Abraham was also a priest and built his own altars for sacrifice, the nature of the tithe in Genesis 14 was probably a required pagan spoils of war tax or possibly even a passage tax through Melchizedek’s domain. (3) In the New Covenant all believers are priests. NT elders and pastors are a new order not seen in the OT order of Levites and priests. Therefore the tithe no longer applies. (4) Even though it is true that all belongs to God, in the OT God only required tithes from inside the holy land of his holy nation of Israel. (5) For comments which come later, notice that Conner says that Melchizedek received tithes as the “mediating” High Priest. That creates un-resolvable problems.

 

(205) The tenth or tithes, the firstfruits of the spoils, the best, is always given to God.

 

(206) But God teaches us to give by taking the tenth, which is the firstfruits of all that we have.

 

Comment: This is a common error made by tithe-teachers. “Tenths” are “tenths” and “firstfruits” are “firsts” –they are not the same in God’s Word!

 

(1) It is interesting that Conner has part of this correct. Only the “tenth of the tithe” which went to the priests was to be from the “best” (Numb 18:25-28; Neh 10:38). (2) However, he is still wrong in calling the tenth of the tithe the “firstfruits.” According to Deuteronomy 26:1-10 the “first-fruit” was a very small token offering which could be carried in a hand-held basket. It was carried to the Temple per Nehemiah 10:35-37a whereas the whole tithe was first carried to the Levitical cities per Nehemiah 10:37b. The Levites and priests then were responsible for bringing portions of the tithe to the Temple as required to feed the course (1 of 24) ministering (Neh 10:38-39; Mal 3:10).

 

(206) If we believe that the bread and the wine (the Communion) are for today, and that we are the Church, the Body of Christ, and under the Melchizedek Priesthood, then it immediately involves tithe-paying also. One cannot have Communion without the association of tithes. Abraham the father is the beginning, the foundation, of all who believe.

 

Comment: Since Conner interprets the bread and wine of Genesis 14 as a pre-cursor of communion, his logic makes sense to him. As mentioned already, though, the tithing connection is wrong unless the Church is only required to pay tithes from pagan spoils of war, not from their own possessions and give the 90% to a modern equivalent of the king of Sodom.

 

(193) To whom also Abraham gave a Tenth part of all - Refer to notes on Hebrews 7:4. Where did Abraham receive the understanding about tithes? And this, many years before the Law? Also, it confirms that Abraham had some understanding of who this mysterious Melchizedek was, as he would not give tithes to the King of Sodom or any other person.

 

Comment: It is odd to state that Abraham would not have given tithes to anybody but Melchizedek. Such is a concession that Abraham never tithed either before or after his encounter with Melchizedek. That is not a very good example of tithing for the church.

 

(206) Did Abraham see Christ's day when he received the bread and the wine, gave tithes and was blessed of Melchizedek? This surely must have been so!

 

28. Abraham rejoiced to see “my day.” Jn 8:53-56.

 

Counterpoint: Scripture does not say that Abraham rejoiced when or because he realized that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus in Genesis 14. God’s Word does not say God revealed such to him.

 

Actually this is a strong argument AGAINST the historical Melchizedek being Christ simply because nothing is said or even implied in Genesis 14 to infuse the pattern for a future Messiah. Some believe that the insight into Jesus’ “day” came with the blessing of Genesis 12:3; others think it refers to Genesis 22:8-13. I know of no commentary which connects this statement to Genesis 14.

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Gen 14:20a And blessed be the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand….

 

10. (Gen 14:20) Blesser of the Most High God.

 

Comment: The fact that Melchizedek “blessed” [raterthanked”] El Elyon does not make him Jesus. All believers thank God for blessings.

 

And the fact that Melchizedek blessed Abraham as he traveled through his domain does not constitute proof that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus Christ. Ordinary Christians also declare blessings on others in the name of God. A blessing such as Melchizedek’s would naturally occur over the entire world whenever victorious soldiers returned home. The local pagan priest-king of Abraham’s time would certainly bless them.

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Gen 14:20b …and he [Abraham] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.

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Heb 7:5 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:

 

11a. (Gen 14:20) Receiver of tithes.

 

Comment: The fact that Abraham paid tithes of spoils of war when he entered Melchizedek’s domain does not constitute proof that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus Christ. It is fact that tithing did not originate with Abraham in Genesis. Tithing was a common practice over most of the pagan world. And it is highly likely that Abraham was required to PAY spoils of war tithes in accordance with well known Canaanite custom. Research many commentaries on Genesis 14, verse 21 (not verse 20) and you will discover that pagan Arab tradition controlled the 90% and, therefore, probably also controlled the 10%.

 

If the fact that Melchizedek received tithes from Abraham makes him Jesus, then that same logic should also apply to everybody else in God’s Word and even today who receive tithes. Conner’s proof is bogus.

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Heb 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them [Abraham and Levi] received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

 

Comment: While the Bible does not tell us from whose lineage the historical Melchizedek came, it does tell us that he did NOT come from the holy line! That is very interesting. Perhaps it is a clue why Melchizedek did not know the covenant God’s name of Yahweh!

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Heb 7:7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

 

23. (Heb 7:6) Greater than Abraham as the better than the less.

 

Gen 12:16-17 “And he [Pharaoh] entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.”

 

Gen 20:14-15 “And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and women servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.”

 

Comment: The purpose of Hebrews is to demonstrate that Melchizedek was “greater” (as was Pharaoh and Abimelech). The purpose is not to prove that he was “spiritually” greater (because he was the pre-incarnate Christ). We would not dare claim that Pharaoh and Abimelech were “spiritually” greater merely because they were “financially” greater and able to bless Abraham with much wealth.

 

Nobody denies that the historical Melchizedek was a great man. Was he greater “in rank and political status” than Abraham in Genesis 14? Yes. Was he greater in the overall scheme of God’s covenants with Israel in the Pentateuch? Of course not! Except for the epistle of Hebrews, was he greater in the New Covenant’s presentation of the gospel? No.

 

The point is that being a great man does not constitute “proof” that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus Christ as claimed by Conner. Ordinary Christians bless people every day. We even dare bless people in God’s name. But that does not make us equal to Melchizedek or even greater than Abraham spiritually! The author of Hebrews is merely building on a set of types in order to introduce the typical and prophetic Messianic Melchizedek from Psalm 110:4 which he briefly touched upon in Hebrews 5:6 and 10.

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Heb 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he received them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives.

Heb 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.

Heb 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

 

11b. Abraham paid tithes. Levi gave tithes.

 

Comment: The play on words that one “paid” tithes while another “gave” tithes proves nothing about the historical Melchizedek being Jesus. In Numbers 18:21, 24 God “gives” tithes to the Levites. In 18:25 the Levites “take” tithes from the Israelites which God has “given” them and they “offer, present” a tenth of their tithe to the priests. In Nehemiah 10:37 the people “bring” tithes and the Levites “take” them from the people in 10:38 and “bring” them to the temple. In Malachi 3:10 tithes are “brought.” In Matthew 23:23 the Pharisees “pay” tithes while in Hebrews 7:5 the priests “take” tithes from the people. The verbs depend on the perspective of the nouns and it is nonsense to play word games as many do.

 

Conner does not suggest that the Levites and priests who received authentic holy tithes paid to them by all Israel made them little Christs. The historical fact merely proves that Melchizedek was a greater authority figure in his Salem at that particular time of history.

 

There was nothing “holy” about Abraham’s tithes to Melchizedek and it was not used to teach tithing to the church. (1) Abraham’s tithes were from pagan spoils of war from Sodom and its eastern neighbors. (2) Abraham kept none of them. (3) He gave nothing from his personal property and (4) scripture does not say that he repeated the offering. For a discussion which focuses on the tithing aspect of Hebrews 7 and Genesis, see my book, Should the Church Teach Tithing?

 

Pharaoh collected a double tithe from his people but that does not make the recipient of tithes “spiritually” greater. It makes them positionally greater because of their rank in society.

 

(209) Ex 19:5-6 Literally, God wanted Israel to be a "Kingdom of, priests", or "kings and priests" unto God. The only priesthood they knew anything about up to this time was the priesthood of Melchizedek, who was a King and Priest. God was in reality offering them the Melchizedek priesthood and this to the whole nation.

 

Comment: Conner is now inventing OT history. He wants the reader to think that, since Abraham’s meeting with Melchizedek in Genesis 14, every descendant of Abraham after that time used Melchizedek as the model of God’s perfect government. This is pure fantasy!

 

After Abraham met Melchizedek in Genesis 14 he continued to be his own head-of-household family patriarchal priest. This was also true of Isaac and Jacob and all of their descendants UNTIL Moses removed the priesthood from the firstborn and from the head of household. This is why Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn) was particularly upset with Moses in Numbers 16. And Melchizedek is nowhere mentioned. Conner has invented biblical history to fit his own theory.

 

(209) There were no Laws or Ten Commandments. There was only one condition, and that was obedience.

 

(209) This was all Adam had to do, to obey God's voice. This was all that God blessed Abraham for, and that was because "he obeyed My voice" (Gen.22:15-18; 26:5). Obedience is all God requires of us.

 

Comment: Whatever Conner is trying to say is confusing. Although I agree that there was no formal law until Moses, God had evidently given certain laws to Adam and the text he refers to from Abraham mentions laws. Genesis 26:5, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

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7:11 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?

 

(220) The word "order" simply means "the rank or arrangement" - Young's concordance.

 

(221) But once God has forsaken an order He will not return back to it. He will never forsake the order of Melchizedek for the order of Aaron nor anything involved or pertaining to this order. It is for this reason there can be no literal Temple or literal animal sacrifices or literal priesthood in the Kingdom Age, for it is a spiritual Temple, a spiritual house, and spiritual sacrifices alone now that God accepts, for this is after the order of Melchizedek (1 Pet.2:l-10).

 

Comment: This is getting confusing. Conner is now strongly asserting that Jesus-Melchizedek of Genesis did not function as a priest at all. Not only did the historical Melchizedek never have a literal temple or literal priesthood (then how was he a priest?) but neither will the Messiah-Melchizedek have a literal temple or literal priesthood during the Kingdom Age (which is highly speculative).

 

Conner teaches that the tithe and the communion were both literal but everything else Melchizedek did was spiritual. That does not make sense.

 

Conner teaches that the order of Melchizedek reaches from Genesis 14 to Jesus. Yet God’s Word says that the Aaronic priesthood was established AFTER Genesis 14 which means that the original Melchizedek priesthood had indeed been “forsaken.” In reality, although Jesus was a priest from eternity, his Messianic Melchizedek priesthood from Psalm 110:4 did not begin until his ascension.

 

(222) And yet a further witness; if the Old Covenant sacrifices had been sufficient in themselves to cleanse away sins, then God would not have spoken again in the Psalms of another sacrifice for sins, even Jesus Christ (Psa.40, Heb.10).

 

Comment: True. However it is also true that, if the Melchizedek priesthood were so ingrained in the Hebrew people as Conner insists, we would expect Moses to use it as a goal to be reached by every Hebrew, yet it is never mentioned by Moses or Jesus.

 

(224)The Head of this order manifested this ministry. He healed the sick, forgave sins, raised the dead, saved others.

 

Comment: If Jesus were Melchizedek, then why did he not mention it? Why is the name of Melchizedek silent in every New Testament gospel and epistle but one if it is such an important doctrine? The fact that Jesus is a king and a priest can be validated without using the Epistle to the Hebrews. Perhaps the Qumran’s use of a Messianic Melchizedek influenced the writer of Hebrews to use the connection to his “order” and not to his person.

 

(224) But again, Jesus Christ was the seed of Abraham, yet Jesus is Melchizedek.

 

(224) ….there arises a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek from Abraham's loins.

 

(224) As Ishmael preceded Isaac, so the Aaronic priesthood preceded the Melchizedek priesthood.

 

Comment: These statements are a complete change of pace for Conner because now (admit it or not) he is discussing the Messianic type from Psalm 110:4. Until now he had to deny that Melchizedek was even a man, a son of Adam. Now he can agree that the fulfilled Melchizedek was a man from Abraham’s loins without any hesitation.

 

(225) God blessed the Aaronic priesthood (as Ishmael), yet when the Melchizedek priesthood (as Isaac, or Jesus) came, the Aaronic mocked it, and was eventually cast out! Even as Ishmael was, so was Jewry cast out.

 

Comment: Conner continues his fanciful theory that Abraham was the last of the patriarch-king-priests and Isaac was a king-priest after the order of Melchizedek (the second after Melchizedek). Which order did Abraham finish his life under? This is a rather odd stumbling by Conner who is trying to make a false theory fit.

 

The Bible does not say that Jesus “IS” the priest Melchizedek. But is does say that Jesus is a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” In fact it says this in Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 17 and 21 --–7 times (the mystical number). And Conner likes mystical numbers too! How could he possibly miss this one?

 

Much of Hebrews 5:1-10 is a discussion of how Jesus “must” be a man in order to fulfill some of the qualifications of earthly priests after the “order of Aaron”. Yet if the text had said that Jesus is a priest forever after the order of “Aaron” nobody would dare conclude that Jesus “was” Aaron! Therefore there is no ground for saying that Jesus was Melchizedek using the same logic.

 

Also, if the historical Melchizedek were already in place and already offering perfect sacrifices and giving “once for all time” atonement, then God would have not have needed to institute the Aaronic priesthood. Since Conner denies the former, then he also denies that Melchizedek ever functioned as a priest in Genesis 14.

 

Yet 7:11 says that there was “further need of another priest” because the historical Melchizedek was only typical. This proves that Conner’s portrayal of Melchizedek did not function as a priest. Therefore, if his argument is correct (that Melchizedek did not function as a priest) then his argument is wrong (he cannot say he was a priest).

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Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

 

(225) Also the Law of tithing to the Aaronic priesthood is changed over to tithing to the Melchizedek priesthood.

 

(REPEAT) (221) But once God has forsaken an order He will not return back to it. He will never forsake the order of Melchizedek for the order of Aaron nor anything involved or pertaining to this order. It is for this reason there can be no literal Temple or literal animal sacrifices or literal priesthood in the Kingdom Age, for it is a spiritual Temple, a spiritual house, and spiritual sacrifices alone now that God accepts, for this is after the order of Melchizedek (1 Pet.2:l-10).

 

Comment: Read Conner’s statements on pages 221 and 225 again. Tithing must included in the phrase “nor anything involved or pertaining to this order [of Aaron].” (1) This means, according to Conner’s own argument, that NOTHING concerning tithing from Aaron’s order can be brought over to the order of Melchizedek! (2) It would also impose no “literal” tithing during the kingdom age because there is no “literal” temple or “literal” sacrifices and or “literal” priesthood. Tithes were just as important (if not more so) to the Aaronic priesthood as were its temple, sacrifices and priests. In other words, his statement on page 221 contradicts his later statement about tithing on page 225.

 

If Conner’s statement were true, then it would really be a giant step backwards and downwards. It would of necessity discard every single tithing principle found in the Mosaic Law and replace them with the totally inadequate tithing principles found only in Genesis 14 where  (1) tithes were limited to pagan spoils of war and (2) tithes were not from personal property. (3) Following Abraham’s example believers cannot keep anything at all. And (4) believers must give the 90% to the equivalent of the king of Sodom. It is not logical to discard the Mosaic Law’s statute of tithing and keep it at the same time. There is no legitimate hermeneutic which permits this kind of exchange.

 

Conner has argued from the beginning that, in order for Melchizedek to be Jesus, he cannot follow the “order” of a human being. Yet the Bible much more often compares Jesus’ priesthood to that of Aaron’s precisely because Aaron was indeed a man.

 

The writer of Hebrews has now reached his point of shock! From this point forward he is picking up his main argument from 5:6-10 (which he promised to do in 6:20). He has just quoted David in Psalm 110:4 again to prove that the Aaronic priesthood of the Mosaic Law (shock) must be changed because it had failed! This is the focus to which the entire epistle has been leading! The Mosaic Law itself must be changed! The priesthood itself must be changed! Imagine the great shock from the readers --those in Acts 21:20, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law.”

 

Changed to what? Completely abolished as the Aaronic priesthood and changed to a priesthood built on principles outside of Yahweh’s Mosaic Law! Changed to a priesthood based on the knowledge of God as Most High God [El Elyon] to all peoples and nations. And, it is exactly at this point where the writer stops using the weaker comparison to the historical Melchizedek and begins using the much stronger comparison to the prophetic Messianic Melchizedek of Psalm 110. His final arguments switch from implications from Genesis 14 to types from Psalm 110.

 

How was the priesthood “changed”? It was changed from the priest order of Aaron which was supported by tithes and offerings prescribed by the Mosaic Law. And it was changed to the king-priest  order of the Melchizedek priesthood based on eternal principles which pre-date creation itself. It was not changed from the literal Aaron to the literal Melchizedek. It was changed from what Aaron’s “order” of priesthood represented to that which Melchizedek’s “order” as a king-priest represented.

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7:13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertains to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

 

(225) He of whom these things are spoken, the things spoken of in verses 1-12, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself

 

Comment: “These things” most likely refer to everything which has preceded this statement about Melchizedek from 7:1 to 7:10.

 

Having re-introduced Psalm 110:4 the author has reached the point where he wanted to be using both the historical and prophetic Melchizedek typology. The author of Hebrews finally comes out and clearly states that he has not been discussing the “historical” Melchizedek at all, but he has thus far been discussing the “typical” Melchizedek who is Jesus Christ. The “one” of whom “these things are spoken of” is neither the historical Melchizedek, nor Aaron. He is a member of the tribe of Judah (shock). Were the Jewish-Christians prepared to accept Christ as a king-priest from Judah?

 

The historical Melchizedek from Genesis 14 was not from Judah but he was a “type” of someone from Judah. And the messianic Melchizedek from Psalm 110 was not from Judah but he was also a “type” of someone from Judah. This should be enough proof that the historical Melchizedek was not Jesus! And this is the position which most scholars have taken from most denominations in most commentaries.

 

From this point forward the writer goes back, picks up the key points from verses 1-10 and makes “positive” applications from what were essentially “negative disqualifications” for the Aaronic priesthood.

 

The play on types is most evident here. The historical Melchizedek was only a type of Jesus Christ. That is why he was only the king of righteousness and peace “by interpretation” and not in reality. And that is why he was only “like” the son of God.

 

A. Yahweh, the exclusive covenant God of only national Israel, now reveals himself as El Elyon, the Most High God of all the nations.

B. Yahweh, as owner and blesser of people and food from national Israel is now known as Most High God, possessor of all heaven and earth.

C. The historical Melchizedek was disqualified to be a priest in Israel because he had no genealogy. Jesus was also disqualified to be a priest because he was not from the tribe of Levi. Now both are excellent types of a king-priest of all peoples and nations.

D. The historical Melchizedek was also disqualified to be a priest in Israel because there is no record of his birth of death. Now these facts make him an excellent type of the eternal deity of Jesus Christ (not his humanity though).

E. The historical Melchizedek was a typical Canaanite priest-king which was not legal in Hebrew culture except for his king-priest title for the coming Messiah. Again, Jesus as Messiah is priest-king.

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7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah—of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

 

27. (Heb 7:14) Priest who is Lord and Christ.

 

(227) Moses never spoke anything concerning the priestly tribe giving way to the kingly tribe, but Jesus Christ is born of the kingly tribe, but not of the priestly tribe, yet He is both King and Priest.

 

Comment: If Moses knew (as Conner teaches) that the Messiah would come as a king-priest because of Melchizedek and replace the Aaronic priest, then he never once mentioned it either. “Moses spoke nothing” about the priestly tribe giving way to a man who was not even an Israelite!

 

Why did the Holy Spirit through David choose Melchizedek? Precisely because there was no precedent from Israel of a king-priest to pattern the Messiah after! Again, there is nothing “holy” or “sinful” about borrowing an “order” or “arrangement” from another race of people.

 

Conner’s proof centers on the word, “Lord,” in 7:14 and includes the Messianic idea from Psalm 2:1. There is no reference to Melchizedek in Psalm 2.

 

Counterpoint: If this quote, “Moses spoke nothing,” includes the Genesis record, then it says that Moses never used the historical Melchizedek as a type of God’s priesthood. And if it does not include Genesis then it says that Moses never used Melchizedek at all –not even to teach tithing during the Law period. The only way to allow Jesus to be a priest is to abolish everything in the Mosaic Law which concerned priesthood from Levi, including tithing. That is the linkage between Hebrews 7:5, 12 and 18.

 

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Heb 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there arises another priest.

 

19. (Heb 7:15) A similitude.

20. (Heb 7:14, 24). Appeared as a man.

 

(228) Note the word "similitude." Similitude means "likeness", or form. Note this word with verse 3: "Made like" the Son of God. (Refer to the same word in the following Scriptures: Num. 12:8; Deut.4:12-16; Rom.5:14; Jas.3:9; Dan l0:16; Hosea 12:10).

 

(228) This is to say, that Melchizedek was a "similitude", a "likeness or form" of what Jesus Christ Himself would be when He became incarnate. He manifested Himself to Abraham in this similitude of what He would one day be.

 

(204) Abraham recognized this greatness. That Melchizedek was greater than he was (vs. 7).

 

Comment: Conner makes two “proofs” out of one word. However these points defeat Conner’s proof instead of proving it! “Similitude” is the same as “similar.” The Greek word homoiatata means “to be similar,” not exactly the same!

 

Conner’s argument is poor because the Bible dos not say that Jesus “appeared” to be a man. Is does say that he “appeared” to be “sinful” man in sinful flesh. It says that he “was” a man –the God-man, the son of David (Mt 1:1), born of a woman (Mt 1:25) and the “Word was made flesh” (Jn 1:14).

 

Thus far in Hebrews 7 we have seen four words which should make it clear to the average reader that the author is discussing types and not realities: (1) “interpretation” in verse 2, (2) “like” in verse 3, (3) “order” in verse 11 and (4) “similar” in verse 15.

 

The way I understand Conner, he says that pre-incarnate Jesus appeared in the “similitude” and “likeness” of how he would really look when he was incarnated.

 

When Yahweh appeared to Abraham to tell him about Lot and Sodom, the Bible says “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” (Gen 18:1).

 

Did Abraham recognize him as Melchizedek from Genesis 14? Why doesn’t the Bible say “And the LORD appeared to Abraham again in the similitude of Melehizedek!” Conner said on page 204 that “Abraham recognized … that Melchizedek was greater than he was.” Why did he not “recognize” him as Melchizedek in Genesis 18:1? If it were the same theophany then Abraham should have recognized him when he appeared to him the second time.

 

If the historical Melchizedek actually “was” Jesus this quote should have been in 7:1-10 and not in the section referring to Psalm 110.

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Heb 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Heb 7:17 For he testifies, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

 

22. Everlasting priesthood. Heb 10:14. None succeeds him. None preceded him

24. Priest forever. Eternal priesthood. Heb 7:17.

29. Priest who is the eternal Son of God (Heb 5:6, 10; Ps 2:1)

30. Priest who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 10:10; 1:3)

31. King-priest: combining in himself both offices. Zech 6:9-13 Ampl.

 

Comment: Conner is now using many texts which do not discuss Melchizedek. If anything 7:16-17 suggests that the Messiah will follow the Canaanite pattern of priest-king rather than the Hebrew pattern of separating the two offices. There is no evil in that.

 

When Psalm 110:4 says “Thou art a priest forever” the point is made from the Messianic type that Jesus will remain a priest forever. This is not dependent on the fact that the historical Melchizedek had no recorded genealogy. This conclusion is far too important to base on an argument from implication or silence. David is to be heard loud and clear.

 

Heb 10:14 “For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

 

Why does Conner even bother quoting Hebrews 10:14? He has previously declared that the historical Melchizedek could not have been a literal priest offering literal sacrifices if he were really pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

 

Conner’s arguments only have plausibility (1) if you agree with him that Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 are speaking literally about the same person and (2) if you ignore (as he does) the plain meaning of the words “by interpretation” from 7:1, “like” from 7:2, “order” from verse 11 and “similar” from 7:15.

 

It is a biblical fact that the Aaronic priesthood “followed” the historical Melchizedek’s priesthood of Genesis 14 and Jesus’ typical Melchizedek priesthood “replaced” the Aaronic priesthood. Therefore Conner’s points #22 and #24 cannot refer to the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14. Indeed, Hebrews 10:14, like all of Hebrews’ chapters 8-10, uses the Aaronic priesthood as its type and anti-type and not the Melchizedek priesthood at all!

 

If the text (Heb 7:17; Ps 110:4) is allowed to say exactly what it says without trying to work some mystery into it, then it merely says that Jesus’ typical Melchizedek priesthood has replaced the Aaronic priesthood and there is no need for any future priesthood. Nothing is said or even implied about events prior to the Aaronic priesthood such as Melchizedek.

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7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 

 

(230) The Law and Commandments, and laws relative to priesthood of Aaron and Levi were only given to the nation of Israel. Nothing was given to the Gentiles. They set up their own priests and religion, but were never ordained of God. (Lk l0:26; Deut.4-5; Lev.18-19; Ps l47:19-20).

 

Comment: Again Conner does not realize that his is destroying his own argument that the law of tithing was changed from Aaron to Melchizedek. He is correct when he says that laws relative to the priesthood were only given to the nation of Israel. Such fits tithing precisely.

Counterpoint: The only way to allow for Jesus to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek is to set aside the entire Mosaic Law which differentiated between Hebrews and Gentiles (7:18). The facts do not even permit consideration that the historical Melchizedek might have been a descendant of Shem.

 

In context “the commandment going before” which was “set aside” and “annulled” refers back to 7:5. It is the commandment for the Levites and priests to “take tithes” to support their ministry of the Mosaic Law.

 

Since the Melchizedek concept of tithing as seen in Genesis 14 is far inferior to that of the Aaronic priesthood, it is very difficult to understand how Conner can justify keeping and transferring tithing from the Aaronic order to that of the historical Melchizedek. Actually both have passed because of the priesthood of every believer.

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7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw near to God.

 

32. Priesthood that brings perfection.

 

Counterpoint: If the historical Melchizedek were Jesus then his priesthood while on earth would have brought perfection.

Conner rejects the idea that the historical Melchizedek was a man. To him Melchizedek’s Jerusalem was only the one in heaven and his Temple was also only the one in heaven. To Conner Jesus as Melchizedek suddenly “appeared” in the “likeness” or “similitude” of an earthly man, met Abraham, gave Abraham communion, received Abraham’s literal tithes of pagan spoils of war, blessed Abraham, and then just as quickly “disappeared” again into thin air.

If Conner’s scenario were correct then it is totally irrelevant whether or not the incident described in the historical narrative of Genesis 14 took place near earthly Jerusalem. The notion of an earthly temple where Melchizedek functioned as a priest-king is unnecessary. And the suggested friendship between Melchizedek and the king of Sodom never happened at all. One would expect Abraham, his 318 men and the king of Sodom to be amazed that Melchizedek appeared out of nowhere and then disappeared again. Yet there is no mention of his appearance-disappearance even implied as is common with the Angel of the LORD manifestations.

In an email dated, February 3, 2007 to David S. in Australia, Conner wrote. “Because I believe Melchizedek is a Christophany he would not need to take tithe-spoils to heavenly Jerusalem no more than when later on in Judges sacrifices were offered or when Angel of the Lord ate with Israelites. Such was a temporary manifestation and a temporary assuming of humanity (as angels seemed to do in OT times) and then these things just dematerialized.” As David pointed out, the “spoils” included people. Did they also simply “dematerialize”?

 

If you answer that Melchizedek ministered to Canaanites around Salem and that his ministry did not “perfect” them forever, then you are admitting that the historical Melchizedek was not Christ!

 

The “better hope” came by Jesus Christ.

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Heb 7:20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he [Jesus] was made priest:

Heb 7:21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord [LORD] swore and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec).

Heb 7:28 For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

 

25. Priest with an oath; the word of an oath.

 

(233) In the Covenant of eternity - the Everlasting Covenant of Hebrews 13:20 - God gave this oath to His own Son in the counsels of the Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the plan of redemption.

 

Comment: Read this carefully because the following two statements by Conner on the pages 233 and 239 confuse the matter. Conner clearly says here “God gave this oath to his son” –WHEN?—“in the counsels of the Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption.” Conner declares that the oath was given BEFORE CREATION.

 

(233) Note also Hebrews 7:28. Here it is called The Word of the Oath. This word is Psalm 110:4 with Psalm 138:2. God can never ever alter that Word of the oath of eternal priesthood to His only begotten and eternal Son. This Word of the oath was since the Law; that is, after the setting up of the Aaronic priesthood, hence it must be fulfilled!

 

(239) The Melchizedek Priesthood is revealed before the Law, and confirmed with the oath since the Law.

 

Comment: First, on page 233 Conner changes the sequence of events and says that “God gave this oath to his own son” “in the counsels of eternity.” Second, on page 233 he quotes Hebrews 7:28 and correctly says “This Word of the oath was since the Law; that is, after the setting up of the Aaronic priesthood.” Finally on page 239 he states that BOTH are true: “The Melchizedek Priesthood is revealed before the Law, and confirmed with the oath since the Law.” Yet there is absolutely nothing in the Word of God which says that “the Melchizedek priesthood was revealed before the Law.” Conner is forced to state this because 7:28 destroys all of his previous arguments that God had revealed the Melchizedek priesthood to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses!

 

In reality (1) Christ was ordained a priest before creation when he offered Himself to redeem mankind. (2) It is also true that Christ was always the king who would follow David’s typology from Micah 5:2. (How does Conner justify Christ following a mortal “man’s” typology in his kingship when he cannot do so in his priest-kingship?) (3) Around 2000 BC a man named Melchizedek became the first “named” person in the Bible who was a king-priest. He was NOT the first king-priest but was the first one named. (4) 1000 years later King David captured the mountain-top where Melchizedek’s temple had stood and began calling Yahweh by the title of Yahweh El Elyon. (5) God gave King David divine inspired prophetic insight and revelation that the Messiah would someday replace the Aaronic priesthood and would reign as a king-priest “similar to” (after the similitude of) the king-priest “order” or “arrangement” of the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14.

 

These three texts (7:20, 21, 28) and the above statements by Conner DESTROY his entire previous argument that the historical Melchizedek was a priest after a “divine” “eternal” “order” that was not human because the word of the oath was since the law. It was given AFTER THE LAW. In fact it was given many centuries after the Law through David. In other words it did not even exist when the historical Melchizedek lived in Genesis 14!

 

Jesus became a priest the moment he volunteered to die and redeem fallen mankind in heaven before creation –but that was NOT the oath of Melchizedek which did not come until AFTER the Law.

 

As soon as Adam sinned Jesus, as a priest, sacrificed and forgave the sin because of the promise of his eventual perfect sinless sacrifice. In other words Jesus began his priesthood and priestly ministry in the Garden of Eden thousands of years BEFORE Abraham encountered Melchizedek in Genesis 14. This was at least 1000 years before God the Father swore to God the Son that he would be a priest-king after the same political-religious “arrangement” of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4.

 

Psalm 110:4 is a crucial text in the arguments presented in the epistle of Hebrews. It is quoted at least partially six (6) times. The first half of this text is quoted in Hebrews 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11 and 17. And the full text is quoted only in Hebrews 7:21

 

Except for the political –religious ‘order” (“arrangement”) Psalm 110:4 does not refer back to the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14 because no oath is found there. It refers to the prophetic Messianic Melchizedek-type used by King David. The oath was made by God the Father [Yahweh: LORD] to God the Son [Adonai: Lord] in heaven and not on earth. It was made “since the law.”

 

(239) These things are involved in the very essence of priestly ministry. If there is priesthood, then there must be a sanctuary to minister in, there must be a covenant on which to minister, and there must be sacrifices also - and this is exactly how Paul develops his line of truth. All this truth is in the type and by implication.

 

Comment: Conner insists that Melchizedek of Genesis 14 was only a temporary theophany who quickly dematerialized along with his completely unneeded spoils of war. And he also insists that an active priest MUST have a sanctuary and MUST offer sacrifices. Yet he denies both of these to Melchizedek in Genesis 14 while he was on earth! It does not make sense.

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Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.

 

33. (Heb 7:25) Priest who is the intercessor between God and man.

 

Counterpoint: If the historical Melchizedek was Jesus and was an intercessor and if he “ever lives to make intercession,” then Conner should allow for Melchizedek in Genesis 14 to be an active priest. His “proof” cannot possibly refer to a literal Melchizedek of 2000 BC whom he says was literally Jesus.

 

“Those who witness that he is still living” (7:8) are those who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection as the typical Melchizedek. And there are no eye-witnesses who testified that the historical Melchizedek never died.

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Heb 7:26 For such an high priest [He] became [for] us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.

 

34. (Heb 7:26) Priest who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners ……

35. (Heb 7:26) Priest who made higher than the heavens.

 

Comment: These (#34 and #35) are not proofs that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus because none of these words are used in Genesis 14:18-20 (or even Psalm 110:4). They are New Covenant post-Calvary revelation and not Old Covenant prophecy.

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Heb 7:27 Who needs 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.

 

36. (Heb 7:27a) Priest who had no need to offer for his own sins.

 

Comment: “Those high priests” could not possibly refer to the historical Melchizedek or else it would destroy Conner’s entire argument that he was the sinless pre-incarnate Christ. No relevance to Genesis 14.

 

37. (Heb 7:27b) Priest who offered one sacrifice forever for all mankind.

 

Comment: This is not even implied in Genesis 14. The most important part of Psalm 110:4 is not that the Messiah would be a king. Israel wanted him to come as a king and physically defeat their enemies. The most important NT revelation about Psalm 110:4 is that he would come as a king-priest with a once-for-all sacrifice.

 

38. (Rev 19:16) King-priest who is king of kings and Lord of Lords.

 

Comment: Not a proof that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus. Irrelevant! Not said of either the historical or the prophetic Melchizedek.

 

39. (Ps 110:4) King-priest revealed to Abraham the father of all who believe at Covenant time and revealed to David under the Aaronic priesthood period.

 

Comment: There was no supernatural revelation of the historical Melchizedek’s title in Genesis 14. The title of king-priest was very common among pagan Canaanites. The revelation to David in Psalm 110:4 was that the Messiah would be a priest-king “after the order of Melchizedek.” That does not make him the same thing as the historical Melchizedek. The Messiah was to be revealed as a priest-king of El Elyon, the Most High God of all nations.

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Heb 7:28 For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

 

Counterpoint: Again, the “word of the oath” mentioned first in Psalm 110:4 came “since the law.” Therefore it did not come “before the law” to the historical Melchizedek!!! This is a proof that the Messianic Melchizedek of Psalm 110 is not the same as the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14.

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40. (Heb 5:10-11) King-priest of whom the writer of Hebrews has many things to say where the (a) historical –Gen 14 and the (b) prophetical –Ps 110 and the (c) theological are brought together as being fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Comment: Since this is a reference to the events of Jesus after his incarnation, then it cannot be a proof that the historical Melchizedek was Jesus.

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26. Priest as a forerunner within the veil. Heb 6:14-20).

 

Comment: No correlation to the historical Melchizedek of Genesis 14.

 

30. Priest who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. Heb 1:3; 10:10).

 

Comment: This is proof of the deity of Jesus Christ, not the historical Melchizedek.

 

31. King-priest combining in Himself both offices. Zech 6:9-13 Ampl.

 

Comment: Again not a proof because of no direct reference to the historical Melchizedek.

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Qumran scroll 11QMelch describes a messianic Melchizedek. The Qumran community probably existed from the mid second century BC until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.Therefore it is likely that the writer of Hebrews knew of its teachings. This could be why he drew his type of Christ from Melchizedek in order to promote Christianity among Jews. That does not mean that he agreed with ideas which went beyond types.

 

To change the subject, soon after the events of Genesis 14, the Canaanite Jebusites occupied and ruled the area now known as Jerusalem for over 1000 years until being defeated by King David (Josh 15:8; Judg 19:10 cf 2 Sam 5:8). Biblical archaeologists have found remains of a temple on the highest SW corner of Jerusalem and speculate that it might have been Melchizedek’s temple. In that culture it was customary to build a temple on the highest hill unless it had previously been defiled by being used as a temple for a false god. David’s Mount Zion was on the second highest hill in the SE corner where the Jebusites had been. And Solomon’s Temple was built on the third highest point in the NE corner. Think this through! If David and Solomon had thought that Melchizedek was a true worshipper of the true Yahweh, then why did they not build Solomon’s Temple on the site of his temple? And why did Abraham offer Isaac up at Mount Moriah in the NE corner in Genesis 22:2 (2 Chron 3:1) if there already existed a proper sacrificial place where Melchizedek’s temple had stood?

 

Deut 32:8 When the most High [Elyon] divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

Deut 32:9 For the LORD's [YAHWEH’S] portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.

 

God’s name, El Elyon, Most High God, which the Gentiles used is all-inclusive whereas Yahweh was exclusive to national Israel. I think it is inspired that the NT concept of God is Most High in Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28; Acts 16:17 and Hebrews 7:1.

 

Russell Earl Kelly, Ph. D.

russkellyphd@earthlink.net

www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com

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