MELCHIZEDEK: 'Without Father or Mother'

by David L. Cooper

Scholars are divided in their opinions as to who Melchizedek was. Some even think he may have been the Messiah in his prenatal state.

However, the Bible speaks of Yeshua the Messiah as "another" priest:

"Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the haw), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchisedec, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?" (Hebrews 7:11).

This text shows Yeshua to be a different person than Melchisedec, neither of which were Levitical.

But what is said in Hebrews 7:3 is the more difficult part. Melchisedec is there said to have been:

... without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. "

Since we are told that Melchisedec was without father or mother, many have concluded that he was an angelic being who simply assumed the form of man and played the role set forth in Genesis 14. Moreover, the writer of Hebrews said that Melchisedec was without genealogy, and without the beginning of life, or the end of days.

All this language is very mysterious and puzzling. What is its significance? Possibly a clue to its meaning may be gathered from a statement made by Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century, concerning Sarah, the wife of Abraham.

Josephus said that Sarah was without mother. This being a physical impossibility cannot be taken literally. She was a physical, literal woman; therefore, this statement must have a different significance.

What is it then? When one looks at the Genesis record, there is found to be no account of her ancestors, nor of her birth, nor of the beginning of her life. It is altogether possible that the writer of Hebrews referred to Melchisedec in the same manner as Josephus did when referring to Sarah; she was without mother -- that is, without parents as far as the record is concerned.

This suggestion is heightened and approaches the state of probability when we recognize that in the Graeco-Roman world, men of prominence, whose fathers were insignificant, were commonly spoken of as not having a father, or mother. Those using such terms wished it to be understood that the parents of their subject were as nothing in the estimation of the patricians.

It is possible therefore to construe the language concerning Melchisedec's being without father and mother -- having neither beginning of days nor end of life -- as bearing the same connotation. Most conservative scholars have come to the conclusion that Melchisedec -- as far as the genealogical tables were concerned was without father or mother, and without beginning of days, or end of life -- was without genealogical recognition. His relatives were not important.

Melchizedek was an actual, literal man; one who was a priest of YEHOVAH God Most High; a faithful servant of the LORD. He was a TYPE of the Messiah, made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Yeshua, like Melchizedek, was not born of the tribe of Levi, yet both were priests of YEHOVAH God. Melchizedek and his reign was TYPICAL of what was to be the priestly, royal authority and position of Yeshua the Messiah at his resurrection.


Hope of Israel Ministries
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