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A Study of Dispensationalism
by Arthur Pink

"But there is further reason, and a pressing one today, why we should write upon our present subject, and that is to expose the modern and pernicious error of Dispensationalism. This is a device of the Enemy, designed to rob the children of no small part of that bread which their heavenly Father has provided for their souls; a device wherein the wily serpent appears as an angel of light, feigning to "make the Bible a new book" by simplifying much in it which perplexes the spiritually unlearned. It is sad to see how widely successful the devil has been by means of this subtle innovation."

Theology

Christ in the Old Testament

Wil Pounds | Priest of the Order of Melchizedek


A strange Priest–King of Salem by the name of Melchizedek met Abraham after he fought with kings in the valley to rescue his nephew Lot.

Salem is called Jerusalem in latter days in the Old Testament. The old name Salem is referred to in the Psalms and means, "founding of peace, or "possession of peace," "the peaceful," hence city of peace.

"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said,

'Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.'

He gave him a tenth of all" (Genesis 14:18–20).

Melchizedek brought bread and wine from Salem to supply the exhausted warrior. For obtaining peace, freedom and prosperity for him Melchizedek expressed his gratitude to Abraham. "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, the founder of heaven and earth: and blessed be God, the Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand."

Abraham reciprocated this priestly blessing by giving to Melchizedek a tenth of all of the booty taken from the enemies. By giving the tenth, Abraham acknowledged the divine priesthood of Melchizedek whose God reaches beyond a local deity; He is the "Most High God, founder of heaven and earth," the God of "all the families of the earth."

Keep in mind Abraham would not keep the property belonging to the king of Sodom because he would have nothing in common with him. However, he accepted from the king of Salem not only bread and wine for the invigoration of the exhausted warriors, but a priestly blessing as well. In return, he gave a tenth of all his booty. This was a definite sign that Abraham recognized his God and submitted to the royal priesthood of Melchizedek.

Moreover, this self–subordination to Melchizedek was the practical benediction of a royal priesthood that is higher than the priesthood entrusted to Abraham's descendents.

Melchizedek's name means, "king of righteousness." No doubt, he was a king who ruled his people in righteousness. He was characterized by righteousness.

Our Lord Jesus Christ "made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20). By faith in Him we are pronounced righteous. "Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1; cf. 3:21–26). Paul goes on to say, "For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah said of Him, "He shall be called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:5–6).

Moreover, Melchizedek is also described in the Scriptures as having no known genealogy. There is no account of his descent, or of the beginning and end of his life. He is "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life" (Hebrews 7:3).

In noble form this priest–king was a type of the God–King and eternal high priest Jesus Christ. It was King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who said regarding the coming Messiah, "The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek'" (Psalm 110:4). David wrote these words a thousand years after Melchizedek lived and served as priest of the Most High God. David declared that the ultimate priest should be one like Melchizedek, without father, without mother, without genealogy.

The priesthood of Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, was after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:5–6, 10; 6:19–20; 7:1–3, 17, 20–28; 8:1–3, etc., etc). The Son of God entered within the veil as a forerunner, and there abides, exercising His priestly function. All of the mystical qualities revealed in the historic account of this priestly king came to their ultimate fulfillment in Christ.

Please remember that it is not the type that determines the antitype, but the antitype determines the type. Jesus is not portrayed after the pattern of Melchizedek, but Melchizedek is "made like unto the Son of God" (Heb. 7:3). Indeed, many scholars see this passage and others as a Christophany. This is the first mention of the angel of the Lord in the Bible. He was probably the Second Person of the God-head. Cf. Genesis 32:30; Exodus 3:2; 14:19; 23:20; Joshua 5:13-15; Judges 13:22; Isaiah 63:9. 

The Scriptures record nothing of Melchizedek's ancestry, or progeny, nothing is said of his birth or death. He appears as a living man, king of Salem, and as such he disappears. The eternal being of the Son of God is in view here. This is the eternal priestly side of the Messiah. We are not looking at the human perspective of Christ in this passage.

In His eternal being the Son of God has reality, as Melchizedek has typically, "neither beginning of days nor end of life." He is exalted at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He "abides a priest continually." Melchizedek remained a priest continually for the duration of his appearance in the biblical narrative. However, the antitype Jesus Christ remains a priest continually without qualification forever.

The divine commentary on this great passage in Genesis makes it very clear that Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest of whom Melchizedek was a type. Hebrews chapters five through ten explains how the priesthood of Jesus is superior to Aaron and the Levites. The whole emphasis of Hebrews is on a better priest, a better covenant, a better sanctuary, a better sacrifice and consequently better promises. Jesus is acclaimed the perpetual High Priest "after the order of Melchizedek."

Now, if Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, his priesthood must be greater than a priesthood, which traces its descent from Abraham. Abraham recognized Melchizedek's superiority by giving Melchizedek tithes and receiving his blessings. The priesthood of Melchizedek enjoys higher status than the Levitical priesthood in Hebrews. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, not from Levi. He could never serve as a Levitical priest. Moreover, no Levite could ever serve as the Messiah King.

The perpetual priesthood of the Messiah was confirmed by a divine oath: "The LORD has sworn, and will not change His mind: Thou art a priest forever." The order of Levi had many priests in number, because they continued to die off. "The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:23–25). Jesus' eternal priesthood is similar to Melchizedek who had no descendents, and there were no priests to follow him.

Moreover, our Great High Priest "does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself" (vv. 27–28). He is the Great High Priest who voluntarily offered up the perfect sinless sacrifice of Himself as a substitute for sinful people.

Generation after generation of High Priest's of Israel died and the office passed to another until in all, Josephus reckons that 83 high priests officiated from Aaron to the fall of the Second Temple in A. D. 70. However, the priesthood that Jesus Christ holds is perpetual, because "He remains forever." Our eternal High Priest Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father ever ready to make intercession for us today. He will never have to hand it over to someone else. Those who have Him as their high priest and mediator with God have in Him a savior whose saving power is available without end. He lives eternally always engaged to bless and protect those who have put their eternal trust in Him.

The way of approach to God through Jesus Christ is always open, because He is forever in the presence of God. He represents His people forever. He is living to plead your case before the Father in heaven right now. He is willing to be your merciful and faithful high priest. Call upon His name and He will save you.

Jesus is not only our Great High Priest, but He is also the Divine Melchizedek, King of Righteousness and King of Peace. Oh come and worship Him who is the sovereign king whose "name is above every name." "For this reason also," writes the Apostle Paul, "God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 1:9–11).

In the person of Jesus Christ, the Son God and our blessed Savior,

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10).

 

  Wil Pounds is the Field Director for the Honduras Baptist Dental Mission in Tegucigalpa and central Honduras. Previous to God directing them to Honduras, Wil and Ann served as missionaries in Panama, Ecuador and pastored churches in the U. S. They made numerous trips to Honduras with medical and evangelism teams before assuming their new field responsibilities.
 

A special thanks goes out to Abide in Christ for permission to reprint this article on our site.

 

Martyn Lloyde-Jones

From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
James 4:1

It is interesting and strange to note in what may be termed the religious attitude towards war, or the attitude of religious people towards war, two tendencies almost invariably manifest themselves.
 
CONTRIBUTORS
Rev. Paul Alexander
Christopher Alexion
Rev. Greg Bahnsen
Nat Carswell
Gordon H. Clark
Edward Dalcour
Rev. William Einwechter
J. C. Evans
Kenneth Gentry
Perry A. Hess
Michael S. Horton
Ronald Kirk
Amanda Krystaponis
Rick Martin
Charles A. McIlhenny
Larry J. Michael, PhD.
Wil Pounds
Eunice V. Ray
Colonel Ronald D. Ray
Ernest Reisinger
P.Andrew Sandlin
Steve M. Schlissel
Geoff Thomas
Sarah Thomas
K. Cody Vest
Peter J. Wallace
 
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