Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 4
NAMES OF DEITY, MOST HIGH
If you recall, I began last lesson with an absurd illustration, but I had a reason for my madness. My illustration was that if you had a tremendously expensive, intricately designed Swiss watch, and beside it you had a plain, old, cheap alarm clock, and then you had some well-known, famous jeweler come along and tell you there is no difference in them, it would be absurd to the extreme. I’m going to make my point in this lesson, so stay with me. In our last chapter, we were following the changes of the names of Deity up through Scripture, and were in Genesis 14:18 talking about Melchizedek, the king of Salem, a Gentile community. He was the priest of the Most High God. Israel is not yet on the scene.
“And he blessed him, and said, `Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:‘”
“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, `I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord (that’s all capitals, so Who is that?…Jehovah), the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
Go, if you will, to Matthew 28. In our last chapter we showed that Jesus definitely referred to Himself as the `I AM,’ or the Jehovah of the Old Testament account. In Matthew 28 He alludes to this title, The Most High, by virtue of what He says in verse 18:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, `All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'” He is the possessor of Heaven and earth. He is not only the Jehovah, but He is the El Elyon.
Before we go back to Genesis 14, I want to explain my ridiculous illustration. Repeatedly I will read or hear `so-called’ theologians (I use the term loosely – not all of them, but too many of them) who will refer to the Bible as nothing but a compilation of Jewish myth and legends. I remember reading one who said that all this `stuff’ (as he put it) in the Old Testament began as the ancient Jews sat around their campfire and exchanged stories; that after several generations someone got the idea they should be writing this stuff down. Result? The Old Testament. That’s just as absurd as the illustration I gave you. When seminaries and educated men with degrees who have written their dissertations, make a statement like that, it is just as absurd as the jeweler saying there is no difference between a multi-thousand dollar Swiss watch and a $5.00 alarm clock. It is just as ridiculous.
I remember a few years ago reading that the president of one of our more well-known seminaries made the statement that the account of Moses and the burning bush was just a figment of some good Jew’s imagination. I don’t know that he has ever retracted his statement. That’s absurd! Hopefully, I have shown you how the Bible is so meticulously put together that the theme is never lost. It comes all the way through from start to finish. Everything is in its rightful place. How in the world could 44 men, living over a period of 2000 years, do that without the supernatural? They couldn’t.
What I try to emphasize is that you and I can rest on this Book. It is letter perfect (in the original). I realize that all we have are translations and there have been some slight errors in translation. But God has so brooded over His Word that He hasn’t allowed any gross error to come in, not even in our translations, so that we can rest on this as the inspired God-breathed, Word of God. When we can just believe it without doubting, whether it is the account of the creation, the Flood, the call of Abraham, the Covenant with the Nation of Israel, the Gospel of the Cross, the writings of Paul or the Book of Revelation, what do we say? – It is the Word of God! It is miraculous from start to finish and we have no room for doubt.
Here is another good example of what I am talking about. Clear back in 2000 B.C. when no one in Scripture had any idea of God the Son going to a Roman Cross to purchase mankind’s redemption. Oh, it was there in latent terms as in Genesis 3:15 where the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. Now we know what He was talking about, but they didn’t. Even the writers of Scripture didn’t understand these things. But God so put all these things into His Word, that it fully assures us that He knew everything from start to finish before it ever happened.
In the middle of Genesis 14:18 we find that Melchizedek brought to Abram bread and wine. They certainly used bread in the worship in the tabernacle – the table of shewbread. The wave offering was the sheaf of grain. Another time they would have drink offerings of wine and they would pour that out, but never was bread and wine associated in combination throughout the Old Testament economy. In the Age of Grace, what does the bread and wine speak of? The Lord’s Supper; the Communion Table. The only way we can really identify that is to go back to Matthew’s Gospel where we have The Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted The Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper, at the Passover.
“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.”
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, `Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, `Drink ye all of it;'”
I’d like to ask a question. Did the disciples understand what all of this stood for? They didn’t have the foggiest notion. They followed His directions, but there is no explanation by The Lord Jesus, or even by the writer of this Gospel account, that they had any idea what He was doing. So, we have to wait until we come to the writings of the Apostle Paul. Now we understand what it was all for. Turn with me to I Corinthians, Chapter 11. Here, again, is progressive revelation. The eleven there at the night of the Passover didn’t understand it. Jesus didn’t explain it; it wasn’t time yet. The Lord’s Table of the bread and the cup is a memorial of His death, and on the night of the Last Supper His death hadn’t taken place yet.
I Corinthians 11:23-26
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, `Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, `This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.'” Verse 26 gives us the explanation. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lords death till he come.'”
This is the purpose of The Lord’s Supper. It is remembering what Christ accomplished on the Cross; that just as in ignominy and shame His Body was broken, the bread is broken. The pouring out of His Blood is, of course, in the cup. Back in Genesis we have the picture of His death, burial and Resurrection, but that’s all. All of this is to reassure us that the Word of God is so true. It is so supernatural. Now back to Genesis 14 to answer the question of who Melchizedek was. The Scripture tells us he was the king of Salem, or the City of Peace which we now know as Jerusalem. He came as the priest of the Most High God.
We learned in our last chapter about the term El Elyon. In the Hebrew the ordinary word elyon means the highest, or the most high. But when it is elevated to the capital, then it equals God’s title of The Most High God. That’s the way so many of these titles of Deity are used. In the ordinary vernacular they are just another Hebrew word out of the Hebrew language. But when it is elevated into the realm of Deity, it becomes something unique and special. Now, Melchizedek. Who was he; what was he? Turn to the Book of Hebrews, which is the only answer we have. Remember as I previously pointed out, this Melchizedek was a Gentile priest insofar as the symbolism is concerned; there was no Israel on the scene. He was a representative of the Most High God, which is the term used for God by the Gentiles. Now then in Hebrews (I’m sure that Paul wrote Hebrews; at least that’s my view) Paul writes:
Hebrews 6:20 – 7:3
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. FOR this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God (see how Paul is in perfect accord with the books of Genesis and Daniel, Keeping Melchizedek as priest of the Gentile term for God), who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King (what sets that word apart? It is capitalized) of righteousness (which now sets Him up as Deity), and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent (or genealogy), having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
I know not everyone is going to agree with me, but I maintain that Melchizedek was Jehovah, or God the Son, in a theophany (that’s just a big word that means God appeared in human form). This was God in the Person of Jehovah, the Son, appearing to Abraham in a role that would define our whole New Testament economy. That is, that as Gentiles, we have to have a high priest who is not tied to the Law of Israel. That is why the Scripture points out so clearly that this Melchizedek was not a high priest of Israel, he was a high priest of a Gentile community. Let’s go on. Since he had no genealogy, no beginning or ending, I have to feel that it was Christ appearing to Abraham in human form just for the sake of laying the groundwork for our High Priest – for us as Gentiles.
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) “
Beginning with Aaron (the very first high priest of Israel back just before they came out of Egypt), out of what tribe did every priest have to come? – the tribe of Levi. They couldn’t be a priest unless they were of Levi, and Aaron was the first one.
“what further need was there that (why did there have to be another priest?) another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?”
What is the answer? We Gentiles couldn’t approach God through a Jewish high priest. We have to have one who represents us Gentiles. That, remember, is what Melchizedek was in 2000 B.C.
“For it is evident that our Lord (The Lord Jesus) sprang out of Juda (not out of the tribe of Levi. He was not eligible to be a priest out the order of Aaron, having come out of the tribe of Judah); of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
All the way from start to finish we have the connection of the High Priest of the Gentile and The Most High God. The Lord Jesus is not only The Most High, the possessor of Heaven and earth, but He is also the High Priest of the Gentile God so that you and I can rest assured that we have a High Priest interceding for us at the very Throne Room of Heaven itself. Not a high priest after the order of Aaron, but a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek.
On the day of atonement in Leviticus 21, the high priest once a year would take the blood of a sacrificed animal, make his way through the front part of the tabernacle, go in behind the veil, and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat, which was the very presence of God under the Shekinah Glory. Israel’s sins were then covered for that next year. Now that was the role of the high priest on behalf of Israel. Our High Priest had to do the same thing. Go to John’s Gospel, Chapter 20. We cannot get a comprehension of Christ’s role as our High Priest unless we can understand what He has done to fulfill that role. It is Resurrection Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, saw it was empty, and ran back and told the disciples, who couldn’t believe. Then Peter and John came running. I believe that although verse 9 tells us so much, most people are not enlightened on this. As Peter and John saw all the evidence there at the empty tomb, verses 8 and 9 tell us:
“Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they (the Twelve, and Peter and John in particular) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.”
They had no idea He was going to rise from the dead until they saw proof of it; however, that isn’t the point I want to make. Come down to the account of where Mary saw the tomb was empty. And she said, “Oh, where have they put my Lord?” As she turned, there stood The Lord Jesus, only she didn’t know Him.
“And they (the two angels) say unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou?’ She saith unto them, `Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.'”
“Jesus saith unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, `Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus saith unto her, `Mary.’ She turned herself, and saith unto him, `Rabboni;’ which is to say, Master.”
What do you think Mary wanted to do? Embrace Him! He was alive! But what does He do? He holds her at bay and says:
“Jesus saith unto her, `Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'” Now back to Hebrews, if you will. Then I think we can put all this together.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come (not after the order of Aaron, remember, but after the order of Melchizedek, the priest of the Gentile name of God), by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (where is it? – in Heaven);”
Remember what you just read in John; that Jesus, on that Resurrection morning, said to Mary Magdalene, “Don’t touch me until I have ascended to the Father.” This is on Resurrection morning. We’re not talking about the ascension of Acts. This is in John’s Gospel on the Resurrection morning. Why did He have to ascend?
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in (to the very throne room of Heaven) once into the holy place (the very presence of God, and as He presented His Blood…), having obtained eternal redemption for us.
What role was He fulfilling? – High Priest! Not the high priest of Israel, but the High Priest of all. We don’t have to leave the Jew out insofar as His High Priesthood is concerned because now, as a result of the Cross and the power of His Resurrection, He is the High Priest of all. That, of course, is what Melchizedek represented. Please go back with me to Romans, Chapter 3. I am always stressing that Paul is the one who has received the final part of our progressive revelation, except the Book of Revelation. But Paul brings everything to a head by asking the question:
“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:”
See, nobody is left out. As a result of the work of the Cross, as a result of the work of His presenting His own blood in the very Throne Room of Heaven as our High Priest, everything has been satisfied. Everything is done that had to be done.