Who Was Melchizedek from E. J. Waggoner & Other SDA Pioneers

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      Tammy Roesch

      Statements from The Pioneers

      “‘Who Was Melchizedek?’” The Signs of the Times, 11, 31.

      E. J. Waggoner

      How many times this question has been asked, and how many quires of paper have been used up in vain attempts to answer it! The number almost equals the number of those who have ever thought about the matter. Some, in answer to the question, will have that he was Shem, and others insist that he must have been our Lord in disguise. And, strange to say, when a person has one of these ideas in his mind, it is almost impossible for anyone to rid him of it. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.9
      Now to us the discussion over this question has always seemed something strange. We cannot yet conceive how it is possible for anybody with even a slight knowledge of the Scriptures, to be bothered over the matter, for the Bible tells us who Melchizedek was, in just as plain terms as could be desired. For the benefit of all who are troubled over the question, “Who was Melchizedek?” we will give a direct answer from the Bible. Turn, if you please, to Genesis 14:18-20. There you will read:- SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.10
      “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him [Abram], and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.11
      Here we are told, not only who he was but an incident in his life. He was both king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, and in that capacity he blessed the patriarch Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the five kings. He also received from Abraham a tenth part of all the spoil. See also Hebrews 7:1-4. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.12
      If this does not satisfactorily answer the question, we do not know what would. Take other instances! Who was David? Answer, He was king over Israel, and a prophet of God. Who was Moses? He was a prophet, and the leader and commander of the children of Israel. In the wilderness of Sinai, he went up into the mount; and God spoke to him face to face. Who was Paul? He was an apostle, called of God to carry the gospel to the heathen. All must admit that these answers tell plainly who David and Moses and Paul were. And in like manner, to say that now Melchizedek was king of Salem, and priest of God, fully answers the question, “Who was Melchizedek?” SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.13
      Suppose that in answer to the question, “Who was Moses?” I should say, “He was John the Baptist;” or that if some one should ask, “Who was David?” the answer should be given, “He was Hezekiah;” or that if when speaking of my neighbor Mr. Jones, I should be asked who he is, and should answer, “He is Mr. Brown;” what would be thought? People would think that my mind was wandering. To us it seems just as absurd to say that Melchizedek was Shem, or that he was Christ, as it would be to say that David was Paul, or that Mr. Jones is Mr. Brown. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.14
      To be sure, we have a more full record of Moses and David and Paul, than we have of Melchizedek, but what of that? We have by no means a complete record even of their lives. It is not necessary that we should know all of a man’s history, in order to know who he was. Of Enoch we only know that he walked with God and was translated; yet no Bible student ever raises the question, “Who was Enoch?” SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.15
      “But,” some one will say, “we the parents and descent of these men, and of Melchizedek’s parentage we know nothing.” How many are there who can tell who Elijah’s parents were? or who were his descendants, and how old he was when he was translated? No one knows. We are told only his office and some of the incidents of his life, just as in the case of Melchizedek. The schoolboy, in his reading, chances to find references to a man by the name of Paulding. He will ask, “Who was Paulding?” His teacher, or the Biographical Dictionary, will answer, “He was one of the American soldiers who, in 1780, captured Major Andre.” We know nothing of his parentage, and are told only one incident of his life, yet we do not straightway conclude that he must have been Anthony Wayne. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.16
      “Yes,” says the objector, “but the Bible says that Melchizedek had no parents.” If that were so, it ought to put a stop to the folly of calling him either Shem or Christ, for we know who Shem’s father was, and we know the age of Shem when he died. Likewise, of Christ, we know that as to his earthly life he was born of the Virgin Mary, and that before he came to earth he was known, as he still is, as the “only begotten of God.” But the Bible does not say that Melchizedek had no parents. King James’ version reads, “Without father, without mother,” but this, in the Revised Version is correctly rendered, “without genealogy,” thus agreeing with the margin of the old version, “without pedigree.” His ancestry is not given, and in this he differs from the Levitical priests, in that their descent must be traced to Aaron. This was that which made his priesthood a type of Christ’s. Christ has no predecessor nor successor in his priestly office, and therefore he is set forth as the antitype of Melchizedek, who stands as the sole representative of his order. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.17
      The type and the antitype, the shadow and the substance, cannot be identical. Christ is a priest “after the order of Melchizedek,” and therefore it is impossible that they two should be one. Every attempt to go beyond the record and show the origin, descent, etc., of Melchizedek, is in reality an attempt to show that his priesthood was not a type of the priesthood of Christ. Let us give ourselves wholly to “those things which are revealed,” and not waste time in vain attempts to be wise above that which is written. E. J. W. SITI August 13, 1885, page 489.18

      A Kingly Priest .—“Made an High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek.” Who was Melchisedek?—He was “king of Salem” and “priest of the Most High God.” Hebrews 7:1. So Christ is both King and Priest. “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a Priest upon His throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. What is Christ’s work as Priest?—“To make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” How much power has He to do this?—All His power as King; all the power of the throne of grace on which He sits. What more could be said to give confidence to a trembling soul? He is King of righteousness, and also King of peace. Let Him reign in your heart, “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” “Blessed be His glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen and Amen.” PTUK December 30, 1897, page 821.2

      He was “made an High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” Taxis, rendered order, properly signifies “series, succession.” Christ, like Melchizedek, had no priestly descent of pedigree; Hebrews 7:3 (margin) i.e. He never followed nor will have a successor in office; and “because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable Priesthood,” (which passeth not from one to another; margin) verse 24. The Priesthood of Levi to be continuous had many and a succession of priests, “because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death;” verse 23. LOM, page 39.3 (Crosier)

      It was directly in the carrying out of this great purpose to make him and his seed a light and blessing to all the nations, that God called Abram into the land of Canaan to sojourn there. For from only the beginnings of history which we have already studied, it is clearly seen that the country of Palestine was the center of the then known world—the country through which, whether in war or in peace, the people of other lands were constantly passing and repassing. At that point God would set the light of the knowledge of Himself, that all might see it. Melchizedek was already there, and he was the priest of the most high God. And there, before history had fairly begun, God placed Abraham the Friend of God, and the father of all that be of faith, to keep before the people the knowledge of the true God after Melchizedek should have passed away. EB 140.1 (A. T. Jones)

      Some of the greatest characters of the Old Testament were types of Christ. Examples: Adam, Melchizedek, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David. TDOC 12.6 (Prescott)

      We have referred to Melchizedek as the model. He was King of Righteousness and Prince of Peace, and therefore priest of the Most High God. That is all we know of him. In every nation the priesthood has been hereditary; but who can reckon his descent from Melchizedek? Everybody can. Nobody can dispute any person’s claim that he is descended from Melchizedek. He stands out as the representative of an individual priesthood. His nationality and descent are hidden, to show that he stands for every man of every age and nation. This is suggestive of the truth that every individual of right ought to be a veritable son of God, and of the truth revealed in Hebrews 5:5, 6, that every son is priest. “Christ glorified not himself to be made high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Christ is a priest because a son; and as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” and therefore priests. MEDM August 1904, page 244.2 (E. J. Waggoner)

      We would by no means be understood as deprecating a spirit of investigation, or as advocating the shutting off of questions, except such as are indicated in the verse quoted. They are certain death to spirituality either in the school, the teachers’ meeting, or anywhere else. It is a lamentable fact that among any body of persons there will be some whose minds always grasp the fact that is not under consideration. A text of Scripture always conveys to them a hidden meaning, and they feel called upon to make known their doubts, or their new ideas. Others are always reaching out after the unattainable. They want to know more than is revealed. The question as to where Cain got his wife is still current. “Who was Melchizedek?” is asked with as much anxiety as though eternal happiness depended on the correct answer. The question, “How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” is still put in spite of the fact that the inspired apostle has marked the mental ability of the questioner down to zero. SITI November 27, 1884, page 713.2

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