Monday, December 29, 2008

...from everlasting to everlasting, GOD.

Melchizedek. The story of his meeting with Abraham in Genesis 14 is both mysterious and forgettable…forgettable if the Holy Spirit had not inspired writers centuries apart to use it. Psalm 110:4 suddenly speaks of “the order of Melchizedek.” The writer of Hebrews mentions the enigmatic character in chapter 7. In preaching through Hebrews, I struggled with this strange being. Now, as I spend my days meditating on the eternal nature of God the Son, I find Hebrews 7 to suddenly be immensely valuable. You see, all the passages that speak of Jesus as being with God before the foundation of the world don’t necessarily assert His eternality. Those who would exaggerate this technicality to lessen Jesus’ ontology challenge us to find the forever pre-existent Christ (pre-existence before Incarnation isn’t enough for them, for He could still be a created being and therefore NOT God). We need Him to be forever to be God. The answer that has been provided occurs in this most alien of passages to our contemporary culture!

Speaking of Melchizedek: “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually” (Hebrews 7:3). Do you know what jumps out at me about this assertion? The writer (inspired by the Holy Spirit) takes an absolutely literal, narrow, rigid interpretation of the Genesis 14 passage. No lineage is mentioned in the Bible, and so none exists. That appeals to this rat. Where was I? Oh yeah, no beginning.

No beginning – like the Son of God.

Eternality is not a communicable attribute. God cannot create a being and make it have an eternal existence. A Son of God with no beginning co-existed with God from all eternity and is therefore also God.

For those who say that “Son of God” is a title implying inferiority and therefore something less than God: God calls the prophet Ezekiel “son of man” at least 93 times. Is God somehow implying that Ezekiel is less than human? Of course not! The son of a man is a man. The Son of God is God.

God the Son has no beginning: “…the Son is eternally begotten of the Father” (Westminster Confession of Faith, II.iii). This is a challenging confession, yet it embraces the scriptural truths.

From the two preeminent apostles of the infant Church:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14).

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:1-3).

God is God, and cannot be created. He is eternal.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thankful for Melchizedek.

No comments: