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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” (Heb. 7: 14-17). Who, then, can not see in reading these Scriptures that if Christ could not be a priest of this order without the power of an endless life, then Melchisedec's life must of necessity be endless, and that both he and Christ are priests forever, or in other words are immortal priests?
But as the name, "Melchisedec, king of Salem,” is a name of doctrinal import, the mystery still remains unsolved as to who the real person is who appeared to Abraham in that capacity. Paul in treating of this matter did not see fit to lift the veil entirely from off this subject and call the person by name, but he has approached so near to it that a wise man ought to discern pretty accurately who he is. For Paul said in another place, "I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say ” (1 Cor. 10:15). Paul tells us what transpired in the case of Melchisedec in the days of his flesh, and also what transpired in the case of Christ in the days of his fesh. Of Melchisedec he says (Heb. 5:7), “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared "; and then speaking of Christ he says (verse 8), “ Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." So the one suffered death, but the other did not; one was translated into immortality, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the other suffered death, although he prayed earnestly, as well as Melchisedec did, that this cup might pass from him, “Yet," he said, “not my will, but thine, be done." He learned obedience by suffering death and was raised from the dead into immortality on the third day, and so was made a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. This is as far as Paul saw fit to lift the veil from off this subject, and therefore for the present we will rest our case here.
We will further contrast and compare these two orders of priesthood and the two covenants under which they minister in another place as we proceed in the investigation of these matters, but will first consider some of the things testified of Christ as a king like unto David.
CHRIST AS A KING It is said by Luke (Acts 13: 14-23) that Paul "came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.” Then Paul arose and gave a brief sketch of the people of Israel from the days of their sojourn in Egypt down to the days of David, and Christ, as follows: “Men of Israel, and ye that
: fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when
he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that, he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man's seed hath God, according to his promise, raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus."
When the Lord found David, the son of Jesse, a man after his own heart, who, he said, would fulfil all his will, he established him and his posterity as the royal family of the kingdom of Israel forever, and he has promised saying, “ David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” And to this end the Lord said, “As the host of the heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the seed of David my servant.” And to emphasize the matter still further it is written, “Thus saith the Lord, If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy upon them” (Jer. 33: 17-26).
Now to the end that the great things contained in these remarkable testimonies as above cited might come to pass and be fully realized, the Lord made a covenant with David and sware to him (for this covenant is after called an oath) as follows: ' And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee; but I will settle him in mine house, and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore” (I Chron. 17:11-14).
There is one feature of this covenant as it is recorded in the seventh chapter of second Samuel which reads a little different from the above, as follows, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee."
Now this covenant has a double signification. The seed of David, of whom the Lord said, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son ” refers first to Solomon, and second to Christ; and therefore whatsoever of these sayings do not apply to, and are not fulfilled in the one, apply to, and are fulfilled in the other. We do not need to strain these Scriptures, as they are susceptible of a natural and easy interpretation. Christ did not commit iniquity, as is contemplated above, but Solomon did, and therefore the rod and the stripes here spoken of were laid upon the loins of Solomon, and not upon the loins of Christ. Nevertheless, Christ hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and by his stripes we are healed, but the stripes and the rod spoken of in the covenant above were to be visited upon the offender for personal transgressions and sins, and especially the stripes that the Lord laid upon Solomon and his house, for what he did in transgressing the commandment of the Lord.
A record of Solomon's evil doings is found in the eleventh chapter of I Kings, where it is said, “The Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding, in thy day I will not do it, for David thy father's sake, but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom, but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have chosen. (Verse 39) And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever." This was the first rod laid upon Solomon's loins, but observe the covenant said, “But my mercy shall not depart away from him as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before thee.” Now Saul was entirely cut off from the kingdom, but Solomon was not. God rent ten tribes away from him and left him with Judah and little Benjamin. So the people for Solomon's sin was divided into two hostile and contending nations, for there was war between them almost continually; and some of the most desperate and deadly struggles that ever occurred between nations were fought out between them, battles compared with which the battles of our modern warfare in which men shoot at each other at long ranges and safe distances dwindle into insignificance. There were slain down to the ground in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel, and Abijah king of Judah, five hundred thousand chosen men of Israel, mighty men of valor, in one day, for the Lord fought for Judah (II Chron. 13:17).
Besides rending away ten tribes from the house of David, it is said, “ And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the king's seed in Edom. . . . And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fed from his lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah. . . . He was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.” This is the manner in which God chastised Solomon with the rod of the children of men.
Again the Lord said in the covenant, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son." This has its first application to Solomon, as is proved by what David himself said, for said he (I Chron. 28:5-6), “Of all my sons (for the Lord hath given me many sons) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.”
But the second and far the most important application of this oracle is to Christ, a greater than Solomon. When the Lord said to David in this covenant (I Chron. 17:11), “And it shall come to pass when thy days be expired, that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons, and I will establish his kingdom, he shall build me an house and I will stablish his throne for ever, I will be his father and he shall be my son ”- these important sayings in their second meaning and application referred to Jesus Christ, and they referred to the raising up of Christ to sit upon David's throne in a much higher sense than they referred first to Solomon's being raised up to sit on David's throne; for Solomon was raised up as David himself was raised up, simply as a mortal man to reign on that throne, whereas the term raise up" as it applies to Christ, means that God would raise him up from the dead to sit upon David's throne. This of course introduces an entirely new feature into the constitution of the kingdom of Israel.
And to this agree the words of Peter on the day of Pentecost, who then said, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the Patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, he, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (the grave), neither his Aesh did see corruption. This Jesus (adds the apostle) hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses." This establishes the important fact that the covenant made with David guaranteed by the oath of the living God the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to reign on David's throne in Jerusalem, the city of which the Lord said, “My name is there."
If any further proof were needed, it is found in another saying in that covenant, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son." Concerning this oracle Paul says that Christ is “made so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, for unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee, And again (as said in the covenant made with David) I will be to him a father and he shall be to me a Son ? ” (Heb. 1:4-5). Both of these oracles have reference to Christ's becoming the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, when he was born of the Spirit into life eternal (see Rom. 1:1-4; Acts 13:32-33).
THE CONCEPTION AND BIRTH OF CHRIST Jesus of Nazareth was a legitimate son and heir of David, counting his generation in the line of Nathan, the son of David. Therefore Christ's first father as son of David, would be Heli, his mother's father. He would be Joseph's son only by adoption. The genealogy of Joseph as a son of David is counted in the line of Solomon, and Joseph's first father in the line of Solomon was Jacob, and not Heli. Jesus therefore was the son of David in the line of Mary, but his conception was by the Holy Spirit, therefore said the angel Gabriel, “ That holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
But let no man be deceived by putting a wrong construction upon these words. Adam was made entirely and directly from the ground by the Holy Spirit and is therefore a son of God by creation. Jesus was not made by the Holy Spirit from the dust of the ground directly, but indirectly, by being made of a woman whose father Adam was. So both Adam and Jesus by creation are sons of God, and Jesus preserves his connection with the rest of mankind by being made of a woman, who was one of Adam's posterity.
When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law” (Gal. 4:4). There was, therefore, nothing in the conception and birth of Jesus on which to build the error of the doctrine of the immaculate conception by which many are deceived. Matthew (1: 18-23) informs us that the birth of Jesus was on this wise; When as his Mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived of her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel; which being interpreted is, God with us."
Christ's Birth a Sign This is the sign that God gave to Israel, and especially to the house of David. There was a conspiracy in the days of Isaiah the prophet, whose visions related to the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem. This conspiracy was between the king of Syria and the king of Ephraim, to go up against Judah and overthrow the house and kingdom of David, and set up a king in Jerusalem of their own, even the son of Tabeal. But the Lord said to the prophet, “ It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.” Ahaz was then king, and when this conspiracy was reported to the house of David, it is said, “ His heart was moved and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved by the wind.” “Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz saying, Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.” But Ahaz, who was rebellious and wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, said, “I will not ask a sign, neither will I tempt the Lord.” But the Lord replied to this evil and unbelieving king of David's house (to whom he had already said, “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established,” by the hand of Isaiah), “Hear ye now, O house of David, Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also ? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive; and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel " (Isa. 7: 1-14).
Now what does this sign signify? as it is evidently a matter of great importance not only to the house of David, but to the whole world, for this