In the series “10 reasons why Melchizedek was actually the pre-incarnate Word of God” the following article is reason # 6.
Melchizedek abides a priest continually and Jesus has a priesthood that is said to be unchangeable.
Before us lies a great paradox that should have caused the Melchizedek-disparaging commentators to cease with their naturalistic interpretations of the text. Hebrews 7:24 makes it known through what is attributed to Christ that Melchizedek’s priesthood could neither be transmitted to another nor interrupted by death. Thus if Melchizedek is still a high priest (as Hebrews 7:3 very clearly states) then Jesus cannot at the same time also be a high priest since there can only be one perpetual high priest at a time. Yet, Hebrews 6:20 states that Jesus is a high priest forever as well. The only rational conclusion that this verse leaves us with is that Melchizedek is really the pre-incarnate Word of God Who is spoken of in John 1:1.
Nevertheless and as expected, some commentaries have gone out of their way to defy the clear meaning of the Greek word dienekes (which means perpetually or forever) and have put forth the charge that even though Melchizedek was continually a high priest in his time, this does not necessarily mean that he is continually a high priest today. So we now have theologians redefining what the word perpetual means in order to side-step this contradiction. Of course, if the word forever does not really have to mean forever then we must also be willing to say that the word of the LORD does not stand forever (Isaiah 40:8), God will not preserve his Word forever (Psalm 12:7), God’s Word is not settled in heaven forever (Psalm 199:89), God’s kingdom is not an everlasting kingdom (Psalm 145:13), the LORD does not sit as a king forever (Psalm 29:10, Jeremiah 10:10) and neither is His throne forever (Psalm 45:6). Such is the high cost of abandoning the ordinary meaning of a word for the purpose of blending in with one’s peers. Other dissenting views argue that Melchizedek’s perpetual priesthood spoken of in Hebrews 7:3 is merely a determination that is based upon the silence of the scriptures. Consider the following statements:
The words “continually”, “perpetually”, “forever” are related terms, and are simply indicative of the period to which they are applied, whether it be long or short. Newell, p. 219: “It does not say that the man Melchizedek is a continual priest today.”
Since Moses did not record Melchizedek’s death, this writer could say that he continued as a priest forever, another respect in which he was like Jesus Christ.
In the previous points we have already explored and demolished the idea that arguments from silence are plausible so nothing more needs to be said about the above comments. If it is true that Melchizedek abides a high priest continually and so does Christ (Hebrews 7:24) then it must follow necessarily that Melchizedek was Christ in a pre-incarnate theophany. Dr. Guzik’s Commentary on the phrase “remains a priest continually” states:
Either this refers to the continuation of the priesthood of Melchizedek, or it is evidence that Melchizedek was actually Jesus appearing in the Old Testament.
This is an important comment; however, unlike Dr. Guzik, I do not see a bifurcation between the two statements in the above citation. In fact, I would reword his comments so that it reads:
This refers to the continuation of the priesthood of Melchizedek and is evidence that Melchizedek was actually Jesus appearing in the Old Testament.
Hebrews 7:24 informs us that Christ has an unchangeable priesthood but since Christ is a priest after the similitude of Melchizedek we must therefore conclude that Melchizedek’s priesthood was also unchangeable. The word unchangeable, according to its contrast in the previous verse (Hebrews 7:23) means that Melchizedek was allowed to continue being the one and only high priest by reason of His immortality. In contrast, there was of necessity many successive high priests in the Levitical priesthood since each high priest’s mortality prevented him from continuing. Therefore, if Melchizedek is still the unchanged high priest of the Melchizedek priesthood and so is Christ, then it follows by good and necessary consequence that Melchizedek must be Jesus Christ.
- See notes on Hebrews 7:1-3, Helps from Hebrews – The College Press Bible Study Textbook Series, Don Earl Boatman
- See notes on Hebrews 7:3, The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Dr. Constable’s Bible Study Notes), Dr. Thomas L. Constable
- See Hebrews 7:1-28, Guzik Commentary on O.T. and N.T., Dr. David Guzik