Well greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
One of the mysteries of the Bible is the identity of Melchisedec. Who is, or who was, Melchisedec? Now we've been reading about Melchisedec in one of the most neglected chapters in all of the Bible, yet one of the most important. And the neglect of it is causing a great many headaches, and a great many fears and worries that a lot of you people are suffering. Because you don't understand this book of Hebrews, the priesthood book, because you don't understand the present mission of Jesus Christ, because you don't realize that He is alive, He is on the job and has been for over 1900 years night and day, and He's on the job now for you, to help you. And because you are not coming for that supernatural help that you could have, a lot of you are suffering a lot of troubles you don't need to suffer.
You know my friends, the day of miracles is not past, but God has kept His hands off this world. The world has cut itself off from God. You read back in Isaiah how God's hand isn't short that it can't reach out and do what you ask. His ear isn't deaf that He can't hear when you pray, and when you ask for things. But it says there that your sins have separated between you and God that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)
Now because the world separated itself from God, and again, "God heareth not sinners (John 9:31). And because God isn't listening and God is not intervening in their behalf and God is not performing any miracles for them, well they think God's gone way off. He just doesn't exist, or else He's busy somewhere else, He isn't concerned about this world. God doesn't seem real. And you hear the expression today that the day of miracles is past.
Now the day of miracles is not past, but the faith that would produce miracles has almost become past, and there hasn't been very much of it for a long time. Now did you ever notice that the miracles that Jesus performed when Christ was on earth, you hear a lot about His ministry of three and a half years, but you don't hear much of His ministry now for 1900 hundred years. Why?
Faith Produces Miracles Why is it they don't want to tell you about the present living Christ in all His power and glory at the right hand of His Father as your High Priest? You hear about the human Jesus when He was here as a lamb. Now listen my friends, a lamb doesn't have much power and when Jesus was here He said, "Of myself I can do nothing" (John 5:30 paraphrased). He was as helpless as a little lamb. He didn't have any more of the power, of divine power and strength than a lamb has physical strength, of and by and in Himself at that time. He said, "Of myself I can do nothing" (John 5:30 paraphrased). But He said, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10)
Now because the Spirit of God was in Him, because of His faith in God, and because God used Him as an instrument and because God Almighty the Father in heaven did perform miracles for Him, and by and through Him, miracles were performed. But now why were those miracles performed? Now you've heard that the miracles were performed to prove that He was the Christ, to prove that the Messiah had come. Did it prove it to the Jews? Did it prove it to those Pharisees and those Sadducees?
They didn't accept Him as the Christ, they saw His miracles and they only infuriated those men, because they said, "Well this is stirring up the crowd and the crowd is going to believe in these miracles and they're going to follow Him and we'll be out of a job." Let me tell you something my friends, "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). He doesn't change, and He isn't going to come and preach a different story now than He did then. He is going to now say things that would make a liar out of what He said then 1900 years ago. He would preach the same things if He were here today, and it is not what a lot of people are believing today. And there would be a lot of people in high places today that would say, "Well now look, the people are going to follow that. That isn't what we've been telling them and we might lose our job."
No, Jesus' miracles my friends, didn't prove that He was the Messiah to very many people. It might have to some. But you take the skeptics and the agnostics of this day and age, do they accept the miracles that He did and say, "Well that proves He is the Messiah?" Why no. They weren't there. They didn't see the miracles. They just simply laugh and sneer and deny that the miracles ever happened. They don't see those miracles. Let me tell you one proof that Jesus Christ did give was prophecy. Now He uttered some prophecies.
He also gave one. He said the only proof He would give, the only sign which is a divine miracle giving an identity, of proof of identity that He would give that He was the Messiah, was that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, in a tomb that was hewn right into the heart of the earth. Just as Jonah was three nights and three days in the grave, and it is called a grave in the Hebrew language, in the second chapter of the book of Jonah, a big belly of the great fish that God had prepared to swallow him up.
After which Jonah was supernaturally resurrected to become the savior in a material sense, of the people of Nineveh who had brought on themselves a dire retribution and destruction because of their acts and the way they had lived. But when Jonah preached to them about it they repented, and so the destruction didn't come. It was averted. So, in a physical sense, Jonah was the savior of Nineveh.
Now in the great spiritual sense Jesus Christ was resurrected after three days and three nights. That's very close to a 72 hour period since God counts days and nights and ends one and begins the other at the setting of sun. They are not an exact 24 hour duration because we're on a round earth and it turns on its axis. But it's approximately 24 hours so that's approximately a 72 hour duration.
Now how are you going to figure that between the popular, customary tradition of a 'Good Friday' crucifixion, a burial at sunset, or just before sunset, on Friday afternoon and a resurrection at sunrise on Sunday morning. There you have two nights and one day. How are you going to get three days and three nights out of that? Now if you have the right kind of spiritual intellectual curiosity, you're going to want to know the answer to that.
Why don't you write in for our booklet about 'The Resurrection?' How was Jesus in His grave three days and three nights? It'll certainly explode some traditions about a 'Good Friday' crucifixion and an 'Easter Sunday' resurrection, but if you're not afraid of being shocked, if you're not afraid of getting the truth that will simply destroy some of the traditions that you never saw through. But remember, the day you were born, you didn't know anything about it and somehow these things have come into your mind. Now you've heard them, you've heard others believe it, you've read it. Everybody seems to believe it. Everybody says it, but you never examined to find the proof.
Now why don't you get it? Write in for this booklet on 'The Resurrection.' There's no charge, so write in for that booklet. That's going to surprise you. There are a lot of surprises in the Bible when you come to understand them. No, the miracles of Jesus were not given for the purpose of proving that He was the Christ at all. But His miracles were given as a mission of love, a ministry of love to those that were helped and benefited by those very miracles. Hope you can understand that.
Prophecy Is Key Now prophecy will prove that He is Christ. Prophecy will prove that God exists. By prophecy you can prove that the Bible is the very inspired word of the living Creator, supreme-ruling God. I can prove that God exists. I can prove that the Bible is the very word of God by fulfilled prophecy. There are keys to understanding. One of the keys is where is the United States mentioned in the Bible prophecies. You can't understand that whole third or any portion of it, well perhaps a portion, but a very small portion, let us say, is all that you could understand, unless you understand our identity and where we are mentioned in the Bible prophecies, that very few people have known.
Well all you have to do is write in for our booklet 'The United States in Prophecy.' It tells you where you can see it in your own Bible, and it's the most fascinating, interesting study you ever went into. It will tell you who you are and who we are, and then you will begin to understand a lot of the prophecies that you could never understand before. That's one of the keys. It isn't the only one, but it's perhaps the major key that has been lacking, without which the prophecies cannot be understood.
Well another one of these mysteries has been the identity of Melchisedec. Now we've been going through this book of Hebrews, the book that tells what Jesus Christ has been doing this last 1900 years. We haven't heard much about what Christ has been doing. Where did He go? What's He been doing? Has He been idle or has He had a job to do? I want to tell you my friends, Jesus Christ has been busy. Jesus Christ is busy this minute. Jesus Christ this very minute is the head of His church. Where is that church, the church He heads, the church He is the active leader of and the active head of?
He only works through human agencies in that church but no man is the head of that church. And it exists, it's here alive today on the earth today. Do you belong to that church or some other church and how do you know? I'm not going to answer that question on this program, but it's about time you looked into some of these things my friends.
Heirs Of The Promises Well, who then is Melchisedec? Now we've been going through Hebrews. We've come up here to the seventh chapter, and we find in the latter part of the sixth and in the beginning of the seventh, that a strange character mentioned here by the name of Melchisedec. Who is this Melchisedec? Let's begin here again at the seventeenth verse of Hebrews six, the sixth chapter of Hebrews.
"Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs [the] of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath." (Hebrews 6:17 paraphrased)
Do you realize my friends, that in Christ we become heirs of the promise, and co-heirs with Christ Himself? We are heirs of the promises that God made to Abraham and here he is mentioning about; well in the thirteenth verse he had mentioned Abraham:
"For when God made promise to Abraham, [verse 13, let's go back to that] because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself. Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee." (Hebrews 6:13-14)
Why did He say that to Abraham? Why did He so give these blessings now my friends to Abraham? You'll find the reason back in Genesis 26. You know there are a lot of people that don't believe that Abraham kept any of God's commands. They don't believe he kept any of God's laws. They think that all he did was obey in an obedience of faith. That's something he didn't do and he didn't have to do it, he just was told to, and he was willing to do it, but he didn't do it because God didn't require it. And therefore it's nothing that he ever did.
Well my friends, will you read your Bible? Will you open your Bible? The twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis.
"...Isaac went unto Abimelech [the] king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the [Eternal] appeared [to] him and said [now dropping to verse three to carry on the story thread], ...unto thee and unto thy seed, will I give all these countries..." (Genesis 26:1-3 paraphrased)
Because God had promised this to Abraham and to his seed, and the one seed Christ, yes, but also there was the birthright promise to the multiple seed and the promises were made to the fathers and Jesus came for the very purpose of confirming the promises made to the fathers. And you will find in both Old Testament and New Testament language that the fathers were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now here it is being confirmed to Isaac.
"...unto thee and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries [now He didn't say I'll give you heaven, He said I will give you all these countries], and I will perform the oath which I SWARE unto Abraham thy father [now here again it was an oath that He had sworn unto Abraham by Himself, because He knew of no greater]; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed [now speaking of Christ, the one seed] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 26:3-4)
Why? Now listen why my friends: "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice..." (Genesis 26:5). Yes when God said, "Give up your only son Isaac," but God didn't require him to do it. But what else? You going to stop right there and say that Abraham never kept any commandments, any laws, any statutes of God? Will you read your Bible? Will you believe it my friends?
"Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Genesis 26:5)
That is Genesis 26 verse 5.
Don't let anyone tell you that God doesn't demand obedience and that the laws of God are bad for us. God gave us laws to give us blessings and when you violate the law of God you bring cursings on yourself and, ultimately, death. During your life, if you choose the wrong way and to disobey God, you get curses. But if you choose the law of God, it will bring you blessings automatically. And also God will give you blessings by miracles. Now as I say, the blessings that came by the miracles of Jesus were given as blessings to those that believed.
Faith And Obedience Go Together We're living in an age of mighty little faith. Do you know one reason? Because you can't separate faith and obedience. You can't have the kind of faith that will save you without obedience to God and to the spiritual laws of God. You can't separate them. And some men want to separate that but they are unwilling. And some people are totally unwilling to separate between the physical laws that God gave an ancient nation and a ritual which were merely typical and merely a substitute for Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. And the great spiritual law that those things were merely given them as a schoolmaster and a help to teach them to obey the spiritual laws.
They can't separate that. No they can't do that but they do want to separate between faith and obedience.
I tell you my friends, human beings seem to get everything twisted and everything upside down until they think black is white, they think east is west, they think that right is wrong, and they seem to think the wrong is all right. Yes, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man [but] the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). And when the blind lead the blind they are both going to fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14)
Now I say my friends, don't believe men. I don't ask you to believe me. I ask you to open your Bible and believe what you see there. And if you'll yield your mind and your heart to God He will show you the way. But the day of miracles is not past, it's just that's there isn't much faith. God will perform miracles for us today just as much as ever. And because a lot of us don't understand that Christ is on the job as our High Priest now, the miracles aren't being performed, we're not getting the answers to our prayers that we should get. I want to tell you it's a practical thing if you come to understand.
God has set before you blessings and cursings now. Most of you have chosen cursings, and ultimately, it's going to be life or death. Eternal life, which is the gift of God, not the life, the existence you have now, but eternal life or the second death from which there will never be a resurrection and it's for all eternity. And that penalty is death. Now:
"...when God made a promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee and multiplying I will multiply thee." (Hebrews 6:13-14)
Because that Abraham kept His statutes, His laws and His commandments, as well as obeying His direct voice. "And so, after [that] he had patiently endured [Abraham], he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise [and if you are in Christ my friends, you are one of those heirs. Not only an heir of Abraham and one of the children of Abraham, but an heir and a joint-heir with Christ, and Christ is the heir of all things. Now unto the heirs] the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold [on] the hope [that is] set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul [there's a real anchor to hold you stedfast and safe and stable], both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." (Hebrews 6:15-19)
A High Priest Forever Now it's speaking of the old typical throne of God that they had here on the earth in the Holy Place in the Holy of Holies and the old ark that they had, and that is in the old Tabernacle in the days in the wilderness and then, again later in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was the type of heaven, the throne of God.
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever [He's a high priest eternally. He will never cease then to become a high priest] after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 6:20 KJV)
Or, as it is otherwise translated, of the same rank as Melchisedec. Now, so you read there of Jesus Christ after His resurrection was made High Priest, and after His resurrection and ascension to heaven, after the order of Melchisedec or with the rank of Melchisedec, equal status with Melchisedec.
Now who is this Melchisedec? Well, first Melchisedec was God's priest. During a war between a number of ancient city states, way back before the days of nations and empires, that is of great nations and empires, Abraham's nephew Lot had been captured and he and his family and goods had been carried off. Now one of their number escaped to come and tell Abraham and Abraham armed 318 of his own servants and he pursued them clear up north to Dan. Now that's the complete northern end of ancient Palestine and beyond, and rescued Lot and his family and then returned them and their goods.
Now on Abraham's return he was ministered to by Melchisedec. Who was Melchisedec? In Genesis 14:18-20 you read this. Listen, Genesis 14 beginning with verse 18.
"And Melchisedec king of Salem [now He was king of Salem] brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God." (Genesis 14:18).
Now He was a priest and He was king of Salem, get that much already. And He said:
"...Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth [that is God is the possessor of heaven and earth]: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abraham] gave him [Melchisedec] tithes of all." (Genesis 14:19-20)
That's ten percent of all the spoils that he had brought back with him. Now notice, Melchisedec was the king of Salem and Salem was later changed to Jerusalem, and the Hebrew names now, have meaning. The meaning of the name Melchisedec in English is 'King of righteousness.' Now if you'll translate that, instead of the word Melchisedec into the English language, you would say that His name was King of righteousness. That was the priest's name.
Now Salem translated into English means 'peace'. Now since He was king of Salem, He was King of peace. So here is the King of righteousness who also was the King of peace. My friends, if you can have real righteousness you will have peace because righteousness is the way to peace. And here the King of righteousness became the King of peace, or the king of Salem, or the city that is now called Jerusalem. And it is stated that He was the priest of the Most High God.
Now Melchisedec is mentioned again in the one hundred and tenth Psalm and the fourth verse. Speaking prophetically of Christ you read here, Psalm 110:4.
"The [Eternal] has sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Psalm 110:4)
Now that's referring to Christ before He came. And then that's quoted in Hebrews five, verses six and ten, as I read it to you in the preceding program I believe it was. Then now coming to Hebrews seven we begin to find Melchisedec identified. Now let's begin in the seventh chapter of Hebrews.
King of Peace "For this Melchisedec [the], king of Salem, priest of the most high 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 of righteousness [because that's what it means interpreted into English], and after that also King of Salem which is, King of peace." (Hebrews 7:1-2 paraphrased)
Well there it is, now since God names people what they are that then is what this man was. King of righteousness, King of peace. My friends, think of it, King of righteousness. When Jesus had said, "...there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17). None can be really righteous but God. You can be made righteous by God putting His Spirit and His righteousness in you, but you can't make yourself righteous to save your soul. You can't do it. Human self righteousness is before God a filthy rag.
Now none can be righteous but God, or one who is made righteous by God's power with Christ in him. And certainly none but one of the Godhead could be King of righteousness. Such an expression applied to anyone but God would be blasphemy. No human could be King of righteousness because all humans have sinned. Then this man was not human. Melchisedec wasn't human because He was King of righteousness, He was one who didn't sin.
And all humans except Christ have sinned.
Now notice too that this man was King of peace. Salem, from which Jerusalem was named, is Jeru-salem, it means peace and remember that Jesus is called the Prince of peace. Jesus is coming to rule the world as the Prince of Peace. Here's a man who was called a King of peace. No human being could ever be called the King of peace. I want you to notice further now coming into verse three. Melchisedec was:
"Without father, without mother, without descent [then He wasn't a human being, He'd never been born like humans are, He had no descent from another but was self-existing], having neither beginning of days, nor end of life..." (Hebrews 7:3).
Therefore He always had existed from eternity to eternity. He was never created like angels, but eternally self-existing. There was a time when angels didn't exist because when they were created, they didn't exist prior to that time. And yet my friends, He was not, He cannot be God the Father. He was the priest of the God Most High. Who then was Melchisedec? I'm sorry, I wanted to give it to you this time but I see time is up and I'm going to have to leave you right there in suspense and reveal to you in tomorrow's program who is Melchisedec the King of peace.
Be listening every morning, every noon or every night at this same time, depending on the part of the country where you live. Now finally my friends, why is it that so few really understand the Bible? Why do you find such confusion, such disagreement as to what the Bible says today? You know you can understand the Bible but you need help. Now you can take 'The Ambassador College Bible Course,' by mail right there in your own home and free of all tuition or fees of any kind. There's no tuition, no charge, no fees of any kind.
Now listen, if you are willing to set yourself to devote not less than one half hour every day. That's one half hour or more every day, and it ought to be more, to the study of your Bible right there in your own home, we will send you without any tuition charges whatsoever, 'The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.' It will take you through those vital prophecies revealing our tremendous world upheaval present and what now lies on immediately ahead in this world. You will see it in your own Bible. There has never been a correspondence course like this no matter what price you might have paid. There has never been anything like this.
Now in this study you will come to really see that God wants everyone of us to be happy, to enjoy life to the very full, to make life interesting, every second of it. And you will, once you begin to understand the Bible, you will come to find this study course the most fascinating, the most interesting as well as the most profitable, the most enjoyable interest that ever came into your life. You will hardly be able to wait from one lesson to the next for the next one to come. But it is a study course, you will have to devote yourself to spend not less than a half hour every day, seven days a week to the study of your Bible. Your Bible is the text book.
Now if you're ready to do that, all you do is tell me that you want to enroll. That's all there is to it. Now write and tell me immediately right now before you turn the radio off or turn to anything else that you want to enroll in the 'The Bible Correspondence Course.' And so now this is Herbert W Armstrong saying, "Goodbye friends."