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Melchizedek as a Covenantal Figure: The Biblical Theology of The Eschatological Royal Priesthood

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1. Introduction

As Longenecker said, there is probably a no more enigmatic figure in all of scripture than Melchizedek, and there is a no more difficult problem in biblical studies than tracing the Melchizedek tradition in Jewish and Christian literature.1 His name appears only twice in the Old Testament (Gen 14:17-20 and Ps 110:4) and only in some passages of Hebrews within the New Testament (Heb 5:6, 10; 6:20-7:28).

In Gen 14:17-20 Melchizedek’s sudden appearance surprises the readers by interrupting the main narrative line. No background source exists about why he appears after Abraham’s having defeated four kings, only that he just carries his mysterious name (‘king of righteousness’ and ‘king of Salem’). The name ‘El Elyon’ which he used, when he blessed Abraham, also provides another enigma.

In Psalm 110:4 Melchizedek’s name is mentioned again. Even though Psalm 110 is a famous one quoted most by the New Testament authors, especially regarding Christology (Matt 22:41-43; Heb 6:20-7:28), it is also one of the most difficult to exegete.2

As one begins to read Hebrews, these difficulties seem to intensify because it contains so many exegetical enigmas. One of the most difficult passages would be Hebrews 7:3; “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he abides a priest perpetually.” Because of the exegetical difficulties, there is much debate about his identity and the passages regarding him. But as for his function, many agree that Melchizedek, king of Salem, plays a vital linking role among the Abrahamic, the Davidic, and the New Covenants, especially regarding his priesthood and kingship.3

Through this paper, various views about the identity of Melchizedek will be discussed, especially his function in light of the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12-21 and in light of the theology of the royal priesthood based on the Davidic covenant in Psalm 110. This paper will also connect these discussions with the passage in Hebrews 7:1-10, which shows the New Covenant based on the detailed comparison of Christ and Melchizedek as an excellent example of the subtle and rich Jewish hermeneutics of Gen 14:17-20.4 Lastly, an evaluation will be made of the significance of Melchizedek as a covenantal figure related to the three major covenants.

2. Various Views about the Identity of Melchizedek

To begin the discussion, first of all, it is desirable to separate Melchizedek’s identity from his function. Although his identity has been much debated, most of the debates center around two issues; whether he is a heavenly being or merely a historical human being.5 As to his function, especially in the context of Hebrews, most agree that he functioned as a type of Christ6 because they think that Melchizedek’s encounter with Abraham was part of the historical setting. However, the notion that he is a type of Christ does not necessitate the condition that he must be a historical being because he can be also thought of as a heavenly/historical being like Christ.7 In this part three most popular views about his identity as a heavenly being, as the pre-incarnate Christ, and as a historical being will be presented and will be followed by the discussion of his typological function.

2.1. Melchizedek as a Heavenly Being

Melchizedek’s name is mentioned in two of the scrolls that represent the different views of the covenanters of the Qumran: the Genesis Apocryphon from Cave 1 (1QapGen) and the Melchizedek scroll from Cave 11 (11QMelch).8 In 1QapGen 22:14-17 Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek is described in more detail than in Gen 14:18-20, but it does not add significantly to the portrait of Melchizedek.9 In 11QMelch, however, Melchizedek is depicted as a Heavenly Redeemer Figure, identified with the archangel Michael, who plays eschatological roles in defeating Belial (11QMelch 2.22-26; 3.7; 4.3) and in delivering the sons of light even though the archangel Michael does not appear in this document.10 In the Babylonian Talmud (see Hag. 12b, Zebah. 62a, Menah. 110a) the archangel Michael is described as a heavenly high priest, and in a medieval Jewish source (Yalqut had. f. 115, col.3, no.19) he is identified with Melchizedek, who is called ‘the priest of El Elyon.’11 Further evidence of relevant speculation on Melchizedek as a ‘heavenly being’ is found in 2 Enoch 68-7312 and in the Nag Hammadi tractate Melchizedek, along with various Gnostic sources which depict him as ‘a heavenly power’.13

This view seems to have been supported especially through the implication of Heb 7:3, but it also has created some difficulties. For instance, if the author of Hebrews had thought of Melchizedek as an angelic figure, he would have contrasted Melchizedek with Christ, or else his whole argument of Heb 1:4-14 would have been nullified.14 Because of this difficulty, some insist that Melchizedek was a heavenly being, not an archangel,15 or a heavenly warrior or a heavenly high priest.16 The typical reason why scholars try to consider Melchizedek as a heavenly figure is that some similarities exist between the Qumran documents and the book of Hebrews. The differences, however, also exist at the same time. The differences are dominant in Hebrews 7, but in the book of Hebrews as a whole, the similarities are dominant. The military or forensic portrait of Melchizedek as a holy warrior, which is a major feature of 11QMelch, is quite different from the priestly image in Hebrews 7, whereas some similarities exist in light of the eschatological redemptive action of Christ.17 Because of these similarities, some argue that the recipients of Hebrews were former Qumranites or that they had been influenced by the Qumran sectarians. These similarities, however, might imply the Jewish common thought about Melchizedek at that period. Moreover, it is worth noting that 11QMelch has no reference to the priesthood of Melchizedek or to the OT passages which mention him.

2.2. Melchizedek as the Pre-incarnate Christ

The functional similarities mentioned above and the interpretational difficulties about Melchizedek’s genealogy in Heb 7:3 lead some to argue that he was the pre-incarnate Christ as the Divine Logos.18 This view was not uncommon in the patristic period.19 Regarding this view, Ellingworth carefully summarizes, “The speculation is at its maximum if we are required to think of Melchizedek as a being from but co-equal with Christ…The theory of an implicit identification between Melchizedek and Christ is less alien to the epistle, but the evidence, as we have suggested, falls short of conviction, and the theory itself appears to arise from a desire to impose on the material a neater theological pattern than it in fact possesses.”20 But this view also has some difficulties. First of all, Christ’s incarnation has a significant uniqueness in Christianity. The climactic significance of his incarnation culminates on the Cross. The author of Hebrews definitely declares that Christ’s redemptive sacrifice is ‘once for all,’ having, so to speak, an eternal effect (Heb 7:27; 9:12; 9:26; 10:10). If Melchizedek were the pre-incarnate Christ, the purpose of the incarnation would not be clear and such a relationship would diminish the significance of Christ’s incarnation. Second, the use of a[fwmoiwmevnos (‘made like’) implies that Melchizedek and the Son of God are two different persons because Melchizedek is said to have been ‘made like unto the Son of God,’ and the Son of God is said to have been ‘made a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.’21

2.3. Melchizedek as a Historical Being

Most critics hold Melchizedek to have been a historical being largely through some historical documents that support Salem and El Elyon mentioned in Genesis. The city of Salem is usually thought to have been identical with Jerusalem. Recent evidence has increased the probability that as ‘king of Salem’ Melchizedek ruled over the Canaanite city-state later called Jerusalem.22 The name El Elyon (‘God Most High’) is even more debatable because of two major critical arguments. First, some critics think that El Elyon in Genesis 14:18 was actually not Yahweh.23 As von Rad suggested, it might be true that the cult for El Elyon was practiced in ancient Canaanite Jerusalem before Israelite times.24 Second, some critics regard Gen 14:18-20 and Psalm 110:4 as pieces of syncretism whereby the pre-Davidic kingship and the Canaanite worship of El Elyon were linked with Yahwism and the founding of the Davidic dynasty in order to foster the emergence of Jerusalem as Israel’s cultic center.25 But these two arguments show the contrast with the OT passages because Gen 14:18-20 equates El Elyon with Yahweh. Actually the fact that the two deities, El and Elyon, were regarded as Canaanite gods does not prove that El Elyon in the Genesis 14 context refers to a Canaanite god because the author of Genesis could use El Elyon to express Yahweh’s superiority to the two dominant Canaanite gods by combining both El (the lord of earth) and Elyon (the lord of heaven) in the Canaanite religious setting.26 Another epithet qōnēh shāmayim wā’āretz (‘possessor of heaven and earth’) in Gen 14:19 and 22 signifies Yahweh’s superiority to El and Elyon. Furthermore, the OT elsewhere uses El Elyon as an epithet for Yahweh (Psalm 7:17; 47:2; 57:2; 78:56).27

2.4. Melchizedek as a Type of Christ

Orthodox Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics usually hold the view that Melchizedek is a type of Christ. As mentioned previously, however, this view does not refer to the identification of Melchizedek, but to his function or role. For the typological interpretation, some comments are in order. First, even though the notion that Melchizedek is a type of Christ seems to provide one basic presupposition that he was a historical being, it is not sufficient because he can also be thought as a heavenly/historical being like Christ even in a typological setting.28 Second, Melchizedek can be thought of as a type of office (as a king-priest) by defining him as one whose functions in his office ‘correspond closely to’ or ‘set the pattern for’ similar functions carried out by one who fills the same office in a later period.29 Hebrews presents Melchizedek as one who is ‘likened to but not equated with’ Christ.30 Third, the statement about Melchizedek’s lack of genealogy has been explained as an elaboration on the silence of Genesis regarding Melchizedek’s origin. There seems to be no consensus for the interpretation about his genealogy in Heb 7:3 in a typological setting, even though the Jewish hermeneutical principle known as quod non in thora non in mundo in Latin (Lit. “If it is not written in the Torah, it does not exist in the world.”) is widely applied.31 This subject will be dealt with later on.

3. The Three Covenants and Melchizedek

The various views for the identity of Melchizedek have been discussed. The three Bible passages (Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110; Heb 7:1-10) will be looked at, focusing on Melchizedek’s identity and his function relative to the three covenants.

3.1. The Abrahamic Covenant and Melchizedek in Genesis 14

3.1.1. The Significance of Abraham’s Encounter with the Kings.

Gen 12-22, where God promises to Abraham by an oath known as the Abrahamic covenant, shows a well-organized chiastic and inclusio structure designed in a sophisticated way as follows:

Narrative Structure of Genesis 12-22

God’s covenant with Abraham is more fully revealed as Genesis progresses. Before beginning a discussion of the relationship between the Abrahamic covenant and Melchizedek’s blessing, Let us pay attention to Abraham’s encounter with the kings and his function in Gen 12-21.

First, noticeably, the people Abraham met were usually kings (Pharaoh in Ch.12, some kings in Gen 14, Abimelech in Ch.20-21). Except for these kings, his encounters were with Lot, Hagar and Ishmael. The case of Lot and Ishmael shows clearly one nature of the Abrahamic covenant in Gen 12:1-3, that is, they could be blessed in association with Abraham even though they were not heirs of the blessing. Even kings who had political and military power were blessed through Abraham. The two events in Egypt (Gen 12) and Gerar (Gen 20), and climactically the event of the kings’ war (Gen 14) testify to it. The sons of Heth regarded him as a mighty prince (Gen 22:6).32 Only Abraham himself and his eternal descendants promised by God could be a blessing to others.

Second, Abraham’s role in his encounter with the kings showed two functions: as a deliverer (Gen 12:10-20; 14:1-24) and as a mediator (Gen 18:16-33; 20:1-18; 21:22-34).33 These two functions came from God by the nature of the Abrahamic covenant. Actually these two functions could be regarded as identical with the two offices, i.e., the kingship and the priesthood, which were the same as those of Melchizedek. Although Abraham was not a king-priest like Melchizedek, his two major functions indicated that he was like a king-priest. Thus the encounter of Melchizedek as a king-priest with Abraham was not a sudden insertion as some critics insist, but a carefully designed placement by the author of Genesis. Horton ignores this significant fact by insisting that Melchizedek was the first priest in the Bible, just applying the Jewish hermeneutical principle, “quod non in thora non in mundo.34 Horton failed to appreciate that Melchizedek was actually a king-priest and that Abraham was like a king-priest.35

3.1.2. The Abrahamic Covenantal Nature and Melchizedek in Gen 14.

The three events which occurred between the two covenants of Gen 12 and Gen 15 partially explain the nature of the Abrahamic covenant. As mentioned in the narrative structure of Gen 12-21, these three events along with three other events in Gen 19-20 show the chiastic structure. In addition, Melchizedek’s encounter with Abraham in Gen 14:17-24 clearly shows the contrastive structure as follows:

Setting: King of Sodom’s going out to meet Abraham (v.17)

Some comments about this event are in order. First, the author of Genesis treats Melchizedek very differently from the king of Sodom who was like a representative of the other kings in the context. Abraham gave his humble tithe to Melchizedek, while he showed clearly that he had no religious or political affiliation with the king of Sodom. If Salem had been identified with Jerusalem, it would have been possible that Melchizedek was a Canaanite king of the Jebusites, but he might be a Yahweh-worshipping priest unlike other Canaanite kings through the opposite treatment from Abraham.36 Therefore, it is not necessary to think of this event as a syncretistic link between the Israelite and the Canaanite religion.37

Second, this event shows a close relationship to the Abrahamic covenant. By limiting Melchizedek’s blessing as only being the Abrahamic typology, some have failed to connect it to the Abrahamic covenant.38 There are two clues to show this relationship. 1) The first clue is from Melchizedek’s blessing. The key word of his blessing was מִגֵּן (“to deliver up” or “to give” as a Piel perfect form), providing the reason for praise to El Elyon. However, this term also functions as a connector with chapter 15 because another form of this word (מָגֵן means ‘shield’) is used in Gen 15:1.39 Both verses (Gen 14:20 and Gen 15:1) tell of God’s protection of Abraham in order to accomplish His promise explicitly. Abraham had already experienced God’s security through the events in Egypt and in the kings’ war, but in Gen 15 he was experiencing God’s security for his future descendants, based on the Abrahamic covenant. 2) The second clue is from Melchizedek’s name. As Hebrews mentions, Melchizedek is a king of righteousness and of peace. These two words have been typical for describing Messiah (Isa 9:7) and soteriological for expressing the idea that the peace of God is based upon the righteousness of God (Isa 32:17; Rom 5:1).40 Interestingly, these two qualities of righteousness and peace can be also applicable to Abraham in light of the Abrahamic covenant in Gen 15:6 and 15.

Regarding righteousness, God reconfirmed two crucial promises to Abraham in Gen 15: one in regard to his offspring (Gen 15:1-6), and the other in regard to the land (Gen 15:7-21). Abraham needed to have offspring and land to become a great nation. Abraham knew that he could not make a great nation in his lifetime because God had said to him that God would make Abraham a great nation, emphasizing his descendants. Therefore, he believed that a great nation would gradually be made through his offspring. In Gen 15, God affirmed that He would make a great nation through Abraham’s physical body. Through the kings’ war, Abraham had already experienced the nature of the promise that all the nations would be blessed. Therefore, Abraham thought that through his future descendants, all the nations would be blessed by the affirmation of God in Gen 15:1-6. He believed in the Lord, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. The righteousness of Gen 15:6 is related to obedience to the promise of God about the future, eventually eschatological, descendants.41

Regarding peace, Abraham was depicted as a king-like figure who brought peace to the land in Gen 14. His defeating the kings demonstrates clearly Abraham’s victory over the enemies. Similarly, in Gen 15:16 Abraham’s descendants will return as judges of the Amorites to bring peace to the land which God promised Abraham. Wenham comments, “In these scenes Abram is portrayed not merely as the archetypal Israelite who has faith in God, but as a conquering king who has been promised victory over his foes and a great territory.”42 Abraham had the two qualities of righteousness and peace which were the same as those of Melchizedek in Gen 14. It is worth noting that in the strong kingly motif of Abraham, the priestly blessing occurs in Gen 14, whereas in his strong priestly motif, the kingly oath occurs in Gen 22. This shows the closely functional relationship of both. Actually Melchizedek’s blessing in Gen 14:19-20 is identical with God’s covenant to Abraham in other passages. He functioned as a priest of God who blessed Abraham.

3.2. The Davidic Covenant and Melchizedek in Psalm 110

3.2.1. The Royal Priesthood of Israel.

Concerning whether there was any other king-priest like Melchizedek in Israel, there has been a lot of debate, but still no consensus. The notion of a royal priesthood has been very common in the ancient Near East world.43 Scholars have recognized some common elements in the culture and outlook of the peoples of the ancient Near East from the Nile to the Euphrates, by insisting on ‘patternism.’ However, others such as Frankfort, have reacted against the whole idea of a common pattern of culture, have emphasized the diverse elements of Egyptian and Babylonian civilization, and have dismissed the idea of patternism.44 The main issue is whether or not Israel had a sacral kingship like that of the ancient Near East world. This issue has been one of the most important and fascinating subjects in the Old Testament, and also one of the most controversial. Some critics insist that Israel embraced a sacral kingship and regarded it as a syncretistic process in which other religions, especially of the Egyptians and of the Canaanites around Israel, greatly influenced the religion of Israel.45 However, that Israel has a sacral kingship does not sufficiently prove that it has a syncretistic religion.

Most scholars think of David as a priest.46 However, there are also many objections to that view. There does seem to be a consensus that David did function in a priestly manner. But the issue is that his functioning in a priestly manner was not a sufficient proof that he was a priest.47 Unfortunately, it is not clear how the royal priesthood operated within Israel’s historical setting. For this issue, two discussions are in order. First of all, one thing in the ancient Near East surrounding Israel is clear: the high priesthood of the king. Even though a nation already had a professional high priest, the position of being a king gave him automatically the position of the high priest as the head of the cult.48 The view that the royal priesthood should be thought of in light of the high priesthood corresponds well with the passages of Hebrews because Hebrews often portrays Christ as the High priest who entered into the Holy of Holies (2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:1, 5, 10; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1-3; 9:7, 10, 25; 13:11). In this sense, the case of Uzziah is debatable.49 However, it is evident that the historical background of Num 16 makes a clear distinction between the Aaronic priesthood and other orders among the Levites concerning the burning of incense. Merrill comments, “Despite the punishment of Uzziah for his indiscretion, there is not a hint of a chastisement for his having assumed a priestly role in general.”50 The case of Uzziah does not give any useful information about the royal priesthood of Israel.

Second, the imageries of the Psalms relating to the royal priesthood share many similar concepts about the sacral kingship such as ‘sonship,’ ‘anointed one,’ ‘walking before God,’ ‘right hand of throne,’ or ‘life-breath’ with other ancient Near Eastern countries.51 Even though Psalms may use these imageries to express the ideal king who has an indispensable relationship with Yahweh by the nature of the poetic language, it is undeniable that not all these imageries refer only to the ideal king but also reflect some nature of the Israelite kingship implicitly.

In sum, the discussions imply that Israel might have a royal priesthood. The king-priest of Israel, however, would function only in a limited sense as he performed priestly actions mainly for administrative purposes, except for the ministry limited only to the Aaronic priesthood at which time he would fully function. Now let us pay attention to the king-priest image through the structural analysis of Psalm 110.

3.2.2. The King-Priest Image in Psalm 110.

If Psalm 110 were not related with David, it would be impossible to tell the relationship between the Davidic covenant and Melchizedek because there is no passage which mentions Melchizedek’s relationship to David except Psalm 110. In this Psalm the issue of authorship and addressee is very important because it provides an essential key to the interpretation of the psalm itself. David has been widely recognized as its author.52 Another issue is who the addressee is. This issue seems to be more complicated. The traditional view is that David addressed his messianic Lord, in a directly prophetic manner.53 Another view which has become popular is that the early king such as David or Solomon was the recipient of the Psalm for two reasons. The first reason is, as some have suggested, that the term “my lord” is never used elsewhere in the OT as a divine reference, while frequently it is applied to the reigning king.54 The second reason is from the typological-prophetic interpretation which insists that because the Davidic king had practiced being a royal priest, the psalm could be applicable to its Sitz im Leben in the royal court of Israel.55 It is likely that Psalm 110, which was originally written by David, seems to be addressed to himself by a court priest who spoke historically but that Psalm 110 is attributed to Christ ultimately.56

Though this psalm is surely telling about the king-priest, how can the king’s role and the priest’s role be harmonized in it? Some structural observations are in order. First, vv.1-2 and 5-6 seem to portray the kingship which destroys the enemies, and v.4 mentions the priesthood, not the priestly function, but an oath. It is unclear what v.3 and v.7 refer to. Verse.3 is a verbless clause, consisting of nouns, suffix and preposition according to the MT reading.

Psalm 110:3

This verse shows a partial synonymous parallelism. The term ‘dew’ is parallel with ‘volunteer’ just as ‘your people’ with ‘your youth.’ ‘In splendor of holiness’ is not identical with ‘from the womb of dawn’ because the former refers to the semantic force of ‘instrument,’ while the latter ‘source.’ But they are the same in that these phrases use metonymy. As for the relationship between ‘dawn’ and ‘womb,’ the appositional genitive is preferred, ‘from womb (refers to ’source’), that is, dawn (specific).’ Likewise, the phrase ‘in splendor of holiness’ is also the same, ‘in splendor (refers to ‘garment’), that is, holiness (specific).’ Thus, the translation would be, “Your people voluntarily come out in holiness at your powerful day, and your youth come to you as dew naturally comes out at the dawn.” This verse seems to give the image of the holy assembly in the book of Revelation 7:9 instead of the image of a holy army. Thus, v.3 may be related to the result of the priestly role of consecrating people.

Second, v.7 is difficult because of two symbolic sentences: one is “He will drink from the brook by the wayside” and another is “He will lift up head”. Delitzsch thinks that he lowered his head to drink as a man in the weakness of his flesh, but he lifted his head in victory as the Messiah.57 But there is no indication that “lowering head to drink” refers to the humiliation or the humanity of Messiah. Kraus considers v.7 as “a sacramental act” that belongs to the ritual of the crowning of the Anointed one similar to Psalm 2.58 But it is doubtful for there is neither washing nor anointing in this context. Only drinking is mentioned. ‘Drinking from the brook’ may refer to the renewing ritual after the final victory (Gen 14: 18; Judges 15:18-19; 1 Kings 17:6), and ‘lifting head’ honor gained by victory.59 Verse 7 is related to the priesthood through the kingship like glory gained through fighting. Through the discussion, the structure of Psalm 110 is as follows:

Interchange Structure of Psalm 110

This psalm shows the kingship as a judge and the priesthood as a mediator mixed together with an eschatological implication.

3.2.3. The Davidic Covenantal Nature and Melchizedek in Ps 110.

As most agree, the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are strikingly alike. In 2 Sam 7:8-17 God promised David exactly the same things as He did to Abraham (God promised protection [v.9], land [v.10], peaceful death [v.11], a descendant [v.12], and a kingdom [v.12] as an everlasting promise [v.13, v.16]). As discussed in the previous section, David had two functions as a king-priest like Melchizedek, even though his priestly function was limited. It is also evident that David brought righteousness and peace to Israel as a king. But the peace seemed to be only a limited one. In 2 Sam 7:11 peace was restricted to the personal matter. Both the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants show a kind of development in the term of function. Abraham was neither a king nor a priest, but he performed these two functions in part. David was a king-priest and also did two functions in part, but in a more developed form. 60 The structure of Ps 110 shows the indispensable relationship between the kingship and the priesthood, that is, the priesthood was fulfilled through the battle image of the kingship and the kingship through the holiness image of the priesthood. The Davidic king is elected as a ‘priest’ according to the order of Melchizedek before the holy people who offer themselves willingly (vv.3-4) and performs a peaceful ritual after the final victory (v.7). Thus, the priesthood of the Davidic king seems to be for representing the holiness of his people and for celebrating the final victory. Melchizedek also showed this image in Gen 14 by bringing bread and wine in order to celebrate Abraham’s victory.

3.3. The New Covenant and Melchizedek in Hebrews 7

3.3.1. The Comparison between Christ and Melchizedek.

Melchizedek appeared again in Hebrews (5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:1, 11, 15, 17). In Hebrews the characteristics of Christ’s priesthood enumerated in the extended description of him as ‘a priest after the order of Melchizedek’ were those not merely of a high priesthood but of a royal priesthood; in other words, rather than being the description of a high priest, the picture of Christ given in Heb 7 depicts, so to speak, a sacral king. In this way the two major Christological strands in Hebrews of the divine sonship and of the high priesthood are seen together since these two were the most significant elements of the ancient royal ideology.61

Heb 7:1-2 mentions Melchizedek’s encounter with Abraham in Gen 14:18-20. Some differences between the two passages are in order; there is (1) no mention of the king of Sodom, (2) no mention of the bread and wine, (3) no mention of the content of Melchizedek’s blessing, and (4) the interpretation of his name and title: “king of righteousness” and “king of peace.” These differences show us what the author wanted to elaborate on through the passage: (1) the person of Melchizedek as a king-priest, and (2) Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s tithing.62 Contextually it is important to figure out these differences because they are connected directly with the next passage which explains that Christ is superior to the Levitical priesthood through Melchizedek’s superiority to the Levitical priesthood. However, this passage does not compare the two roles of Melchizedek and Christ. Thus, a comparison of the roles of Melchizedek and Christ is needed since Heb 7:1-3 is an explanation of Heb 6:13-20. The author connects Melchizedek’s event with Christ’s event. Regarding the similarities of the two roles of Melchizedek and Christ, two comments are needed.

First, Melchizedek’s blessing had a close relationship to the Abrahamic covenant. In Gen 14:18-20 Melchizedek’s major function was to confirm the promise of God in Gen 12:1-3 to Abraham by blessing him. In Hebrews Christ’s function is as a confirmer of the New Covenant promised by God to Christians. Second, both are king-priests of righteousness and peace in a higher position than Abraham and the believers. Melchizedek and Christ initiated their blessings first, and then Abraham and the believers respond to the blessings. In the Davidic covenant there was no one who functioned like Melchizedek. Some argue that Zadok functioned like Melchizedek, but there is no clear evidence of it.63

Some differences also exist. First, even though Melchizedek and Christ were king-priests, the function of Christ as a king-priest was emphasized more in detail than was that of Melchizedek. In Gen 14:18-20 Melchizedek simply blessed Abraham, but in Hebrews Christ not only confirmed the New Covenant but also established it. In Gen 12-21 Yahweh, not Melchizedek, was the establisher of the Abrahamic covenant as well as of the Davidic covenant (Psalm 89:3-4). Second, even though the main point of Heb 7:11 is that another priest was needed according to the order of Melchizedek for a perfect sacrifice, it implied that Melchizedek was not a perfect king-priest able to offer a perfect sacrifice. If Melchizedek had been a perfect king-priest, it would not have needed another priest. Hebrews emphasizes explicitly Christ’s once-for-all perfect sacrifice (Heb 7:27; 9:12; 9:26; 10:10) and connects the everlasting oath of God in Psalm 110:4 to the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ in Heb 6:13-18. Melchizedek was not a person able to make an oath to Abraham. Christ is definitely superior to Melchizedek in that sense. Thus, Melchizedek was not the pre-incarnate Christ.64 Now a difficulty found in Heb 7:3 needs to be addressed.

3.3.2. The Interpretation of Hebrews 7:3.

The statement about Melchizedek’s lack of genealogy has been explained as an elaboration of the silence of Genesis on Melchizedek’s origin. For the interpretation about his genealogy in Heb 7:3 in its typological setting, even though the Jewish hermeneutical principle known as “quod non in thora non in mundo” in Latin (Lit., “If it is not written in the Torah, it does not exist in the world.”) is widely applied, 65 there is still no consensus because people use this principle according to their own interpretation. Two viable options are in order to account for Melchizedek’s lack of genealogy.

First, Heb 7:3 clearly shows that there are some very close relationships between Melchizedek and Christ (“made like the Son of God”) through the mysterious statement, “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.” Heb 7:16 and 7:21 give the crucial answer about how Christ became a priest while not belonging to the Levitical order (7:16, “Not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life.” 7:21, “With oath…The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘Thou art a priest forever’”).66 Paul comments, “Jesus became a priest by oath. He did not take over from his parents, and he leaves no task after his death. The task of the Levitical high priest was limited by his predecessor’s death and by his own death.”67 Likewise, Melchizedek might be a king-priest by the oath of a higher king, not from parents as commonly happened in the ancient Near East.68

Second, the Jewish hermeneutical principle can be applicable to Heb 7:3. Strictly speaking, according to this principle, the lack of genealogy about Melchizedek does not seem to support Heb 7:3 because the genealogies of many people were not mentioned in the Scriptures. It would be nonsense to treat all those people equally with Melchizedek. However, in the sense that he was the first king-priest mentioned in the Scriptures without genealogy, the Jewish hermeneutical principle would be still valid. Bird’s comment is apt, “Why did the psalmist choose him? There are no other individuals in Israel’s history, especially its history as recorded in the Pentateuch, to which the explicit titles of king and priest are applied except Melchizedek…in order to make clear the purpose of the typology, the psalmist chooses to speak of Melchizedek and not another individual.”69 However, if we just interpret the mysterious statement about no genealogy according to this principle, the author of Hebrews seems to go too far in his expression because he almost describes Melchizedek as having the same eternal attributes as those of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Even though this Jewish hermeneutical principle is valid in a typological setting, this interpretation seems to weaken the emphasis of the author.

Furthermore, Heb 7:3 seems to support that the priesthood of Melchizedek has eternal characteristics. His eternal priesthood may be from his identity as a confirmer of the eternal Abrahamic covenant the same as Jesus’ sacrificial effect is eternal. Melchizedek blessed Abraham once, but the effect of his blessing is still valid beyond his genealogy and even beyond the Levitical genealogical order.

3.3.3. The New Covenantal Nature and Melchizedek in Heb 7.

As Hebrews clearly states, Melchizedek is a type of Christ through some similarities. Both as king-priests of righteousness and peace functioned as confirmers respectively of the Abrahamic covenant and of the New Covenant, and had eternal characteristics in their priesthoods. However, Melchizedek has no connection with the salvation which is the center of the New Covenant. The reason why the author of Hebrews mentioned Melchizedek is to emphasize the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to the Aaronic priesthood by suggesting Melchizedek’s superiority to Abraham who was the ancestor of the Levites. Christ performed his priestly function by shifting his priestly activity into his willing self-sacrificial death within the framework of the Yom Kippur ritual.

In Hebrews the kingly motif of Christ also appears. Christ is depicted as the Son of God in Heb 1:5 and 1:13 which reflects the ideology of the kingship in Israel.70 Attridge rightly comments, “Alternatively, our author may be operating basically with the pre-existence christology of the exordium. In that case he would be using the language of Ps 2 (“today”) in a metaphorical or allegorical sense, for the eternal generation of the Son.”71 One way to understand the intersection of sonship and priesthood is the view that the priestly act of Christ derives its special character from the fact that it is the act of the eternal Son. In Heb 7:3 the author’s understanding of the eternal priesthood of Christ may well have been influenced by that of sonship even though the symbolic logic of the text works in just the opposite direction.72 The Son is the effective mediator because he is the High Priest who suffered and now sits enthroned in heavenly glory. Therefore, Christ established the New Covenant as the High Priest with the status of the eternal Son.

4. The Significance of Melchizedek on the Royal Priesthood

In the Scriptures, God is always described as the only King over Israel and the world, but through the sonship, the kings of Israel have been considered as typical rulers under God’s authority. The term ‘sonship’ does not mean that the kings of Israel had been treated as the divine gods like the sacral kings of the ancient Near East world. Rather, it meant that they had been regarded as the rulers over people whom God has given to them.

During the Monarchy, the royal priesthood was divided according to two lineages: the kingship in the Davidic lineage and the priesthood in the Levite lineage. Even though there is no clear evidence of the existence of a king-priest, the Israelite kings seemed to be king-priests in a limited sense. Thus, they were called “the sons of God.”

Only through Christ as the eternal Son of God, has the perfect royal priesthood been accomplished. His royal priesthood can be described as the imagery of the Lion and the Lamb. In the Scriptures the image of the Lion represents the kingship, while that of Lamb the priesthood.73 The primary background for the image of Jesus as a Lamb especially in the Johannine community of the New Testament was the Passover lamb, combined with the allusion to sacrificial lambs. The author of Hebrews also clearly states that Christ did his priestly function through his willing self-sacrifice (9:25). The second background was probably the image of the Suffering Servant as a lamb in Isaiah 53:7, a passage to which early Christians devoted much attention.74 One interesting thing is that in Revelation the great lion (Rev 5:5) turns out to be the slain lamb (Rev 5:6).75 The transition from Lion to Lamb does not refer to the change of Christ’s role from a king to a priest. Rather, it shows that his kingship was fulfilled through his priesthood. In other words, Jesus is substantially the eternal King-Priest. Through his sacrifice he did his priestly function to make peace. By his sacrifice as the High Priest his kingship has been established as the righteous Redeemer by those who recognize Christ’s Lordship. The center of Christ’s kingship (eternal throne) is his redemptive work in leading the believers to their eschatological rest. By his redemptive work, those who believe in him can also inherit the royal priesthood of Christ as the sons of God (1 Pet. 2:9).

Through this discussion, we conclude that Melchizedek was a historical being who was a Yahweh-worshipping king-priest. Although he might be a Canaanite king, it does not prove that he was not a Yahweh worshipper. Furthermore, it is not desirable to consider Melchizedek’s encounter with Abraham as a syncretistic process of the Jewish religion with the Canaanite religion. As a person who linked three covenants, the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New covenants together, Melchizedek functioned not only as an excellent type of Christ as a king-priest but also as a significant eschatological model regarding righteousness and peace that Christ has made.


1 Richard N. Longenecker, “The Melchizedek Argument of Hebrews: A Study in the Development and Circumstantial Expression of New Testament Thought,” in Unity and Diversity in New Testament Theology: Essays in Honor of George E. Ladd (ed. Robert Guelich, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), 161.

2 Leslie C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC 21; Waco: Word, 1983), 78-87.

3 Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary (rev. ed., Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972), 179-181; Albert Vanhoye, Old Testament Priests and the New Priest According to the New Testament (Petersham: St. Bede’s, 1980), 147-172; Longenecker, “Melchizedek Argument,” 171-182, and The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity (Naperville: Allenson, 1970), 109-119.

4 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “Now This Mechizedek…(Heb 7:1),” in The Semitic Background of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 221-223.

5 F. L. Horton, The Melchizedek Tradition: A Critical Examination of the Sources to the Fifth Century A.D. and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (SNTSMS 30; London: Cambridge University, 1976), 1-5.

6 For the discussion of the terms ‘type’ and ‘antitype,’ see Horton, Tradition, 161-164; F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 138; James Kurianal, Jesus Our High Priest: Ps 110:4 As the Substructure of Heb 5:1-7:28 (EUS 23; New York: Peter Lang, 2000), 95; Chad L. Bird, “Typological Interpretation within the Old Testament: Melchizedekian Typology,” Concordia Journal 26 (2000) 50-52.

7 Paul J. Kobelski, Melchizedek and Melchiresa (CBQMS 10; Washington DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1981), 126-7.

8 Anders Aschim, “Melchizedek and Jesus: 11QMelchizedek and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” in The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St. Andrews Conferences on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (eds. Carey Newman, James Davila, and Gladys Lewis, JSJSup. 63; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 130.

9 Fitzmyer, “Now,” 227-228, compares the MT, the Genesis Apocryphon, and the Targum Neofiti I.

10 M. de Jonge and A. S. van der Woude, “11Q Melchizedek and the New Testament,” NTS 12 (1965/1966): 301-26; Kobelski, Melchiresa, 3-23, 49-83; Fitzmyer, “Further Light on Melchizedek from Qumran Cave 11,” in The Semitic Background, 245-267. In 11QMelch, Melchizedek leads other angels against Belial. In other sources (Dan 10:13; 1 Enoch 20.5; 1QM 17.5), it is Michael who has similar responsibilities. See M. Davidson, Angels at Qumran: A Comparative Study of 1 Enoch 1-36, 72-108 and Sectarian Writings from Qumran (JSPsup.11; Sheffield: Sheffield Press, 1992), 257-62.

11 Kobelski, Melchiresa, 65.

12 Beverly A. Bow, “Melchizedek’s Birth Narrative in 2 Enoch 68-73: Christian Correlations,” in For A Later Generation: The Transformation of Tradition in Israel, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity (eds. Randal Argall, Beverly Bow and Rodney Werline, Pennsylvania: Trinity, 2000), 33-41.

13 For a detailed discussion of Rabbinic and Gnostic sources, see Birger A. Pearson, Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity (SAC 5, Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 108-123.

14 Paul Ellingworth, “‘Like the Son of God’: Form and Content in Hebrews 7:1-10,” Biblica 64 (1984): 258.

15 M. Delcor, “Melchizedek form Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews,” JSJ 2 (1971): 133-35; and Kobelski, Melchiresa, 126. Kobelski states that as for Melchizedek in Hebrews, it is probably more accurate to speak of a heavenly Melchizedek rather than an angelic Melchizedek as he might appear to be in 11QMelch and 4QcAmramb.

16 Aschim, “Melchizedek,” 129-147.

17 Although Kobelski and Horton hold different views (Kobelski holds a heavenly figure view, but Horton a historical-being view), both agree that many similarities between the two documents exist. See Kobelski, Melchiresa, 127-28; Horton, Tradition, 167-69. Similarly to Kobelski, Aschim, “Melchizedek,” 129-147; Gareth Lee Cockerill, “Melchizedek or ‘King of Righteousness,’” EvQ 63:4 (1991): 305-312.

18 Bruce, Hebrews, 137; Anthony T. Hanson, Jesus in the Old Testament (London: SPCK, 1965), 70-71; and James Thompson, “The Conceptual Background and Purpose of the Midrash in Hebrew VII,” NovT XIX (1977): 209-223.

19 For instance, Ambrose insisted that Melchizedek was a human being (De Fide as Gratianum iii.11.), but elsewhere he also identified Melchizedek with the Son of God (De Abrahamo i.3.). See Hughes, Hebrews, 242; and Hebrews: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament X (Downers Grove, IVP, 2005), 95.

20 Ellingworth, “Like the Son of God,” 260-62.

21 R. C. Stedman, Hebrews (NTCS; Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), 81.

22 For the identification of the city of Salem, see S. E. Robinson, “The Apocryphal Story of Melchizedek,” JSJ 18:1 (1987): 26-39; Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel (Grand Rapids, Baker, 1996), 235-236; J. A. Emerton, “The Site of Salem, The City of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18),” in Studies in the Pentateuch (VTSup. 41; Leiden: Brill, 1990), 45-72.

23 E. A. Speiser, Genesis (AB 1; New York: Doubleday, 1964), 104.

24 Von Rad, Genesis, 179-80; Claus Westmann, Genesis 12-36: A Commentary (trans. J. J. Scullion, Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985), 207.

25 For example, Fitzmyer, “Now,” 233-235 and John Day, “The Canaanite Inheritance of the Israelite Monarchy,” in King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar (JSOT 270; Sheffield: Sheffield Press, 1999), 73-75.

26 The combination of two different gods is common in the Near Eastern society. G. Levi Della Vida, “El ‘Elyon in Genesis 14:18-20,” JBL 63 (1944): 9; Loren R. Fisher, “Abraham and His Priest-King,” JBL 81 (1962): 265-70.

27 Bruce, K. Waltke, “Melchizedek,” in ZPEB (Vol.4, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 177-178

28 Kobelski, Melchiresa, 126-7.

29 Bird, “Typology,”46-47.

30 Ibid., 46-49.

31 Due to Strack-Billerbeck’s book, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, this rabbic maxim has been quite widespread in the hermeneutics of this day. However, there is still much debate about its application. Bruce comments, “The argument from silence plays an important part in rabbinical interpretation of Scripture where nothing must be regarded as having existed before the time of its first biblical mention…thus Sarah is ‘without mother’ because her mother is nowhere mentioned (On Drunkenness, 59ff.).” Bruce, Hebrews; 136; Horton, Tradition, 153-64; and Bruce A. Demarest, “Hebrews 7:3: A Crux Interpretum Historically Considered,” EvQ 48-49 (1976-77): 162. Contra., M. J. Paul. “The Order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4 and Heb 7:3),” WTJ 49 (1987): 204-209.

32 D. J. Wiseman, “Abraham in History and Tradition. Part II: Abraham the Prince,” Bib Sac 134 (1977): 228-237.

33 C. P. Baylis, “The Author of Hebrews’ Use of Melchizedek from the Context of Genesis” (Th.D. diss. Dallas Theological Seminary, 1989), 37-61.

34 Horton, Tradition, 153-64.

35 Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 204-209; Deborah W. Rooke, “Jesus as Royal Priest: Reflections on the Interpretation of the Melchizedek Tradition in Heb 7,” Biblica 81 (2000): 84-86.

36 Waltke, “Melchizedek,” 177-178.

37 For the syncretistic view, see Speiser, Genesis; 104; Fitzmyer, “Now,” 233-235; and Day, “Canaanite Inheritance,” 73-75. Contra., Waltke, “Melchizedek,” 177-178.

38 von Rad, Genesis, 179-181.

39 Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 1-17 (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 408-13; G. J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15 (WBC 1; Waco: Word, 1987), 327.

40 The qualities of righteousness and peace were closely associated in ancient times with the rule of the ideal king, as is evident from a psalm such as Ps 72. See Rooke, “Jesus as Royal Priest,” 87; Attridge, Hebrews, 189; and Paul Ellingworth, Commentary on Hebrews: A Commentary on Greek Text (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 357.

41 Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 335. For the Christological interpretation of Gen 15:6 in the context of Romans 4:3, R. Holst, “The Meaning of ‘Abraham believed God’ in Romans 4:3,” WTJ 59 (1997): 319-26.

42 Wenham, Genesis 1-15, 335.

43 Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom, 265-67; David R. Anderson, The King-Priest of Psalm 110 in Hebrews (SBL 21; New York: Peter Lang, 2001), 13-27; H. W. Fairman, “The Kingship Rituals of Egypt,” in Myth, Ritual, and Kingship (ed. S. H. Hooke, Oxford: Clarendon, 1958), 75; R. de Landhe. “Myth, Ritual and Kingship in the Ras Shamra Tablets,” in Myth, Ritual, and Kingship, 122-148; J. H. Eaton, Kingship and the Psalms (SBT 2:32; Naperville: Allenson, 1975), 101-102.

44 H. H. Rowley, “Ritual and the Hebrew Prophets,” in Myth, Ritual, and Kingship, 236. Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society & Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1948), 277-344.

45 Some scholars think that the religions of Egypt (S. H. Hooke and T. N. D. Mettinger) or Canaanites (J. Day) or Babylonia (S. Mowinckel) influenced Israel’s religion. S. H. Hooke, “Myth and Ritual: Past and Present,” in Myth, Ritual, and Kingship, 9-15; S. Mowinckel, He That Cometh (trans. G. W. Anderson, Oxford: Blackwell, 1956), 56-95, and The Psalms in Israel’s Worship (Vol. 1, trans. D.R. Ap-Thomas, New York: Abingdon, 1967), 50-60; T. N. D. Mettinger, King and Messiah: the Civil and Sacral Legitimation of the Israelite Kings (ConBOT 8; Lund: Gleerup, 1976), 268-75.

46 Those who insist that Israel had a royal priesthood usually insist David’s priesthood: (1) David offered sacrifices (2 Sam 6:13, 17-18; 24:18-25; 1 Ch 21:18-28). (2) David wore an ephod (2 Sam 6:14; 1 Ch 15:27). (3) David ate the shewbread (1 Sam 21:6). (4) David exercised authority over priests (2 Sam 6). (5) David blessed the people (2 Sam 6:18). (6) David’s sons were called priests (2 Sam 8:18). Aubrey R. Johnson, Sacral Kingship in Ancient Israel (Cardiff: University of Wales, 1967), 46-53; Day, “Canaanite Inheritance,” 75; Merrill, “Royal Priesthood: An Old Testament Messianic Motif,” Bib Sac 150 (1993): 50-61.

47 For the argument against David’s priesthood, see Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 195-211; and Anderson, King-Priest, 19-27. Wenham suggests that the ‘priest’ of 2 Sam 8:18 would be better translated as ‘administrators,’ although he thinks that Davidic kings were priests in a limited sense. G. J. Wenham, “Were David’s Sons Priests?” ZAW 87 (1975): 79-82.

48 O. R. Gurney, “Hittite Kingship,” in Myth, Ritual, and Kingship, 105-121; Frankfort, Kingship, 262-276, 313-325; and Mowinckel, Psalms, 50-60.

49 Paul considers 2 Chronicles 26:16-23 as one of the evidences that Israel did not have a royal priesthood. But Merrill argues, “The infraction was not that of a king functioning cultically, but of a king undertaking a cultic ministry limited to another order of priests,” by quoting Num 16:40. Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 197. Contra., Merrill, “Royal Priesthood,” 61.

50 Merrill, “Royal Priesthood,” 61.

51 Mowinckel, Psalms, 50-80; Mettinger, King and Messiah, 185-293; and Eaton, Kingship, 135-97.

52 For the Davidic authorship, see Anderson, King-Priest, 38. Contra., H-J. Kraus, Psalms 1-59: A Commentary (trans. H.C. Oswald, Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1989), 64.

53 For the purely messianic view, see Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 195-211 and Anderson, King-Priest, 35-86. For Solomon, H. Bateman IV, “Psalm 110:1 and the New Testament,” Bib Sac 149 (1992): 445-46. For David, Merrill, “Royal Priesthood,” 50-61.

54 Bateman, “Psalm 110:1,” 448; and Gerald Cooke, “The Israelite King as Son of God,” ZAW 75 (1961): 202-25.

55 Merrill, “Royal Priesthood,” 51, 57-58.

56 It is impossible to think that the recipient of Psalm 110 was Solomon through Jesus’ question, “If David then calls him ‘lord,’ how is he his son?” in the synoptic Gospels. His rhetorical question implies that ‘my lord’ in Ps 110 cannot be Solomon.

57 F. Delitzsch, Psalms (Commentary on OT 5; trans. F. Bolton, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 196.

58 Kraus, Psalms 60-150, 352-53 and Anderson, King-Priest, 60-61.

59 Kurianal, “Jesus Our High Priest,” 41-45. Horton also thinks that Ps 110 represents a victory song sung upon David’s return to Jerusalem. Horton, Tradition, 34. The Akkadian expression ina qāti [d]ullim re-ši ula a-na-ši (‘I cannot lift my head due to my misery.’) may be a proper example related to this verse. See CAD N-2, 85.

60 Rooke, “Jesus as Royal Priest,” 81-94.

61 Attridge, Hebrews, 146-47; and Rooke, “Kingship as Priesthood: the Relationship between the High Priesthood and the Monarchy,” in King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East (JSOT 270; Sheffield: Sheffield Press, 1998), 193-195.

62 Ellingworth, “Like the Son of God,” 255-57.

63 John Day proposes that it is unlikely that Zadok had previously been the priest-king in Jerusalem since it would have been a dangerous policy for David to have kept an ex-king as his chief priest. Day, “Canaanite Inheritance,” 75-80.

64 Bruce, Hebrews, 137; Hanson, Jesus, 70-71; Ellingworth, “Like the Son of God,” 257-60.

65 Refer to fn. 32.

66 Some insist upon the legitimacy of Jesus’ Levitical heritage, but according to Hebrews, Jesus was not of the Levitical descent. The main point of Hebrews is that he did priestly functions as a spiritual High Priest. William Adler, “The Suda and the “Priesthood of Jesus,” in For A Later Generation, 1-12.

67 Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 208-10.

68 The most popular example for this case is Abdu-Heba, king of Jerusalem (14th BC) in Amarna Tablet No. 288, lines 14f., “Neither my father nor my mother but the mighty arm of the king [of Egypt] gave it to me.” Paul, “Order of Melchizedek,” 207. Cf. Bruce, Hebrews; 136-37

69 Bird, “Typology,” 47.

70 Cooke, “The Israelite King,” 202-25; Mowinckel, Psalms, 50-60; Johnson, Sacral Kingship, 46-53; and Eaton, Kingship, 124-25.

71 Attridge, Hebrews, 54.

72 Ibid., 146-47.

73 S. A. Ellisen, Biography of A Great Planet (Illinois: Tyndale House, 1975), 25.

74 C. S. Keener, “Lamb,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development (eds. Ralph Martin and Peter Davis, Grand Rapids: IVP, 1997), 641-42.

75 Patricia M. McDonald, “Lion as Slain Lamb: On Reading Revelation Recursively,” Horizons 23/1 (1996): 29-47.

Related Topics: Christology, Prayer, Prophecy/Revelation, Covenant, High Priest