Monday, 12 November 2018
…without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Hebrews 7:3
The author continues to relate information which can be gleaned about Melchizedek from the account found in Genesis 14. However, the information he passes on now is not what was stated, but what was left unstated. He begins with three family-related matters by saying, “without father, without mother, without genealogy.”
In this, he is not literally claiming that Melchizedek had no parents or other genealogy. Instead, he is making the point that the author of Genesis (God through Moses) specifically left these points out in order to establish a connection to Jesus in this regard. In Genesis, there are numerous genealogical listings. Adam was created, but after him, the successive generations of the people who are recorded are listed by their individual families, showing where they came from, and to what people groups they eventually became a part of. However, nothing is recorded about Melchizedek in this regard. There is no listing of it despite the meticulous care provided for other peoples’ family listings.
Even if a person was seen only once, it might say, “John Doe was a Canaanite.” That alone would tell us that his father descended from Canaan, who in turn descended from Ham, who in turn descended from Noah. Thus, the genealogical record is implied in the statement. But such is not the case with Melchizedek.
Next, we are told that he has “neither beginning of days nor end of life.” Again, fanciful ideas of a supernatural being are made up about Melchizedek because of this statement. And yet, the only point the author is making is that there is no recorded birth record, nor is there any recorded death regarding Melchizedek. For example, Abraham’s birth is recorded in Genesis 11:26 –
“Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.”
His death is then recorded in Genesis 25:7, 8 –
“This is the sum of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.”
This is a common occurrence in the Bible. Therefore, the exclusion of such information is as telling as its inclusion. God purposefully left this information out in order to establish a connection between Melchizedek and Jesus. The author demonstrates that, in contrast to others who are recorded, Melchizedek is “made like the Son of God.” Notice that he calls Jesus the Son of God, indicating Christ’s eternality. Jesus has a human genealogy which is carefully recorded for us in Matthew and in Luke. However, being the Son of God, he is also “from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
With this understanding, we can now see the author’s logic taking shape. First, it is the words, “without genealogy,” upon which the author’s careful attention explains the first two points – “without father, without mother.” Secondly, it is the eternality of the record of Melchizedek – “having neither beginning of days nor end of life” – which explains the words, “but made like the Son of God.” And finally, the two thoughts then meld into the final words of the verse which says that “he remains a priest continually.”
The word for “continually” is diénekés. It signifies to “bear all the way across in an unbroken (non-stop) fashion; to persist all the way, to the (intended) end” (HELPS Word Studies). In other words, it means “forever.” It is this information that the Hebrew audience would need to be told. Once explained, the pieces would begin to fit together. Under the Old Covenant, Aaron was the first high priest. Only a descendant of Aaron could minister as a priest before the Lord, and so a meticulous genealogical record was kept. After the first exile, the priests were gathered together in order to minister once again in Jerusalem, but this is recorded in Ezra concerning some of those people –
“These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 63 And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.” Ezra 2:62, 63
These men were excluded until a decision could be rendered by the Lord concerning their genealogy. But what is also true is that these men would die, and someone would step in from the sons of Aaron to continue to minister, one generation after another. However, David said in the Psalms –
Melchizedek was neither from Aaron, nor was there any birth or death record given for him. David, under inspiration of the Spirit, prophesied that One would come who would fit this pattern. There is no need for a genealogy which reaches back to Aaron for this One to minister as a priest. And there is no time after He became a priest that His duties would end. Instead, He “remains a priest continually.” It is Jesus who is referred to, and it is then another of the numerous proofs found thus far in Hebrews which establishes His deity.
David was intimating that the Messiah to come would be God (by using the term Adonai (Lord, when speaking of Yehovah)) in Psalm 110:1. He is, therefore, eternal as is confirmed in verse 4 of the psalm. The author will continue to explain these things concerning Melchizedek in the verses ahead.
Life application: As always, the deity of Jesus Christ is on full display in the book of Hebrews. If you know someone who is in a cult which denies this, are you willing to take the time to show him or her the logical and indisputable connections that the author of Hebrews is making to prove this point? Further, what if someone challenges you on this precept? Will you remember where to go to find the answer to shut them up concerning their heresy. These are matters of the greatest weight and importance. Salvation of the human soul depends on our calling on Jesus through the truth of the gospel, and there is but one gospel. Be ready at all times to defend your stand on the truth of Christ, and be willing to do so when you are given opportunity to do so as well.
O God! How absolutely glorious to know that you have chosen real figures in history to point us to the eternal truths about Jesus our Lord! The words recorded in the Bible demonstrate Your marvelous wisdom in ways we can’t fully comprehend or imagine. Thank You, O Lord, for opening our eyes to the beauty of Your glorious word. Amen.