Response by: Christopher Sernaque
Question from YouTube video: Who is Melchizedek with Pastor Bill Hughes from Truth Triumphant | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uufemJDgYOI&list=PLI_SU2SFwv4u0VN5S79pi-XyhlmjCtDCL&index=12&t=0s
And from Article: Is Melchisedec the Holy Spirit? | https://www.christjesusministriesllc.com/post/is-melchisedec-the-holy-spirit
*All references to Claim is by B.D.B 1978. All references to Response is by Christopher Sernaque.
Dear B.D.B 1978,
Claim: My response... I read your article.
Response: Thank you for taking the time to read the article. It is evident that after your reading you are still looking for further clarity, which I am happy to provide.
Claim: The Bible teaches God was incarnate in the form of His Son once.
Response: With all due respect, the argument that you are using is what’s called a “red herring” because it diverts attention from the actual argument presented in the article. There is a difference between a member of the Godhead becoming incarnated into humanity and a member of the Godhead appearing in the form of another creature. I am not advocating an incarnation of the Holy Spirit, I am advocating a change of form, as the Holy Spirit did when He appeared as a dove. (Matthew 3:16) I would draw your attention to the segment of the article entitled “Objection 3: How do we know that the “Angel of the Lord” is a Manifestation of Christ and not the Holy Spirit?” This section goes over numerous instances where Christ appeared in the Old Testament in the form, or chose to manifest Himself as, the “Angel of the Lord.” If Christ may appear in the Old Testament in the form of an unfallen angelic creature, then the Holy Spirit is likewise at liberty to appear as a human, dove, fire or whatever other form He chooses. Please see the section of the article entitled, “Objection 1: Melchisedec could not be the Holy Spirit as Abraham paid tithe to Him.”
Claim: The scriptural statement Melchizedek had no ancestry is an inconclusive argument. Paul could simply have meant his ancestors were of unknown origin not non existent.
Response: I would like to strongly caution you to please re-read the article and re-watch it’s accompanying video. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and I am going to affirm your sincere desire to make sure that I am teaching correct Christian doctrine. That is a beautiful desire, and one that I commend you for. However, with that being said, the argument that you used is an ipse dixit, or bare assertion fallacy, i.e. the argument you are using is merely presented without proof that this interpretation is more valid then the one presented in the article.
I also have an additional caution. Thus far in my response, I have made use of two principles of logic. If you look up the Greek word for “Word” in John 1:1, you will find that the word for “Word” is “Logos”, from whence our word logic, in part, stems. My caution to you is to use laws of logic to evaluate your responses, not just to me, but to anyone you are having a dialogue with. With all due respect to you, as I believe that you are an intelligent individual who can voice their opinion reasonably, the arguments that you used to respond to me were in fact logical fallacies. I have more logical evidence to the contrary of your position, and I humbly ask that you please consider my appeal to you.
Unfortunately, your assumption that Melchisedec could not under any circumstances be divine has in turn caused you to dismiss any evidence in favor of His divinity as “inconclusive.” In this manner, you are committing the fallacy of circular reasoning as you have assumed what you are trying to prove. Furthermore, this argument begs the question of Biblical perspicuity, or the straightforwardness of Scripture. The Apostle Paul did not say, “Melchisedec’s father and mother are not inscribed among the genealogies; and therefore no one really knows who he is”, Paul said, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Besides the parts about Melchisedec’ lack of recorded ancestry or descendance, the Apostle Paul still argues that Melchisedec has “neither beginning of days”, “nor end of life”, and “abideth a priest continually.” The Greek word for “beginning” is “ἀρχή” (archē) and it means “a commencement.” The Greek word for days is “ἡμέρα” (hēmera) and means “the time space between dawn and dark or the whole 24 hours” and it means “a period…time.” In other words, Paul is saying that Melchisedec lacks a “commencement, or an origin, in time.” The Greek word for end is “τέλος” (telos) and means “termination” and the Greek word for life is “ζωή” (zōē) and can mean “life” or “time.” So, Paul is saying that Melchisedec will never cease to exist in time. Finally, the Greek word for abideth is “μένω” (menō) and it means “to remain.” How long was Melchisedec to remain a High Priest for? Paul says “continually” or, “διηνεκές” (diēnekes), which means “forever.” Melchisedec has no inception point, no cessation point, and is a priest forever, in other words, Melchisedec is an eternal being.
Claim: Genesis 14 tells us Melchizedek was a the "King of Salem" and "priest of the Most High God." If Melchizedek was the Holy Spirit than we not only have God incarnate twice but we have a perfect High Priest on earth prior to Christ our true High Priest!
Response: Once again, I strongly advise that you take a course or read a book on introductory logic. I say this not in a condescending way. I myself have studied logical reasoning and have found logic to be an immensely helpful tool in my Christian experience. The author of my favorite hymn, Isaac Watts, has a book called, “Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth.” I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy, for it will be a blessing to you and your loved ones, as it was to me.
To return to your point, the argument that you used in reply to me was the argument from incredulity. In other words, because you cannot possibly imagine Melchisedec being the Holy Spirit, it simply must not be true. You are also committing the fallacy of argumentum ad lapidem, or the appeal to the stone fallacy because you are dismissing the claim that Melchisedec is the Holy Spirit as absurd, without demonstrating proof for the absurdity of that claim. Finally, the same Apostle Paul that says that Christ Jesus is our intercessor, likewise says the Holy Spirit is our intercessor, so specially pleading, “Christ our true High Priest” is a “No true Scotsman.” (1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 8:26-27). I mention the Holy Spirit’s intercession in the article under the section, “Melchisedec: The Intercession of the Holy Spirit.”
Claim: Paul calls Melchizedek a MAN (Hebrews 7:4) whose origins are a mystery. He does not state he was God (Holy Spirit) in human form. He was a man!
Response: This claim is already addressed in the article, “In other words, just as we have “the man Christ Jesus” interceding for us we have to ‘consider how great this man’ Melchisedec, or the Holy Spirit, is for interceding for us. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:4) We should offer praise and thanks for this great intercession and forgiveness to Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.”
Claim: The point of Paul's discussion in Hebrews about Melchizedek is to show how Jesus High Priestly ministry is superior to the Levitical Priesthood! Jesus is our High Priest forever! Paul contrasts in Hebrews 7:23 and 24 between the priesthood of men who die with the priesthood of Jesus which continues forever!
Response: Please read the article again, as there is a section called, “Why did the Apostle Paul Mention Melchisedec?’, which gives you the clarity that you are looking for. In the article I wrote the following passage which addresses your question: “Paul, aware of the fact that Christ cannot be a member of the
Levitical priesthood, as He was of Judah, makes it clear that the priesthood of Melchisedec, which Christ is in the order of, both predates and supersedes the Levitical priesthood. (Hebrews 7:1, 9-15, 22).”
Claim: You diminishes Christ priesthood by claiming the Holy Spirit (Melchizedek) was an eternal High Priest prior to Jesus assuming the role of our eternal High Priest!
Response: While I understand and fully appreciate your desire to make sure that Christ is never robbed of glory, I must firmly disagree with the idea that Christ’s sovereignty robs the Holy Spirit of His intercessory power and ability to assume the forms that He desires. In your reply you have used the fallacy of “proof by assertion.” Do you have any Biblical proof to back up your statement that my acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit’s priesthood, somehow diminishes the priesthood of Christ? Paul had no problem acknowledging both the priesthood of Christ and the Holy Spirits, so the arguments you are leveling at me can likewise be leveled at Paul. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:4)
Claim: This is Babylonian influence creeping into God's Church!
Response: You have used both the ad hominem fallacy and the fallacy of poising the well by attacking my character by calling me Babylon in an attempt to discredit everything I have said.
Claim: Imagination has led some to believe fallen angels and women reproduced the Nephilim!
Response: You have used the fallacy of irrelevant thesis. The idea that fallen angels had sex with women is not one that I advocate and is irrelevant to this discussion.
Claim: You seem sincere, but it is not wise to create and teach doctrine without clear biblical evidence.
Response: Finally, in your last claim, you have used the fallacy of the appeal to motive by passive-aggressively questioning my sincerity. I would be more than happy to change my mind on this issue, but critics need to provide me with evidence that overturns my position without committing a string of fallacies. If I am proven wrong on this issue, I will gladly take this video and article down.
Claim: God bless my friend!
Response: I hope and pray that you will consider purchasing Isaac Watts’ book on Logic. Furthermore, I would advise that you please review both Christ Jesus Ministries’ video and article on Melchisedec before responding again. May God bless you and may He bless your loved ones.
In Christ Jesus,
*The points below are the follow up to the points above.
Dear B.D.B 1987,
Thank you again for your third response. I appreciate the tone of this response, albeit it is always a dangerous practice to attempt to infer tone from text. As with the last response, I will address each of your “Claims” with “Responses” labeled as such.
Claim: Christopher, I appreciate your responses. First off, I freely admit I cannot prove Melchizedek was not a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I suppose it is possible.
Response: As I said in my last response, I am perfectly happy to overturn my view that Melchisedec is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in human form, if sufficient evidence is provided. Furthermore, I do not view this issue as a “matter of salvation.” In other words, to those who disagree with me on this issue who have accepted Christ Jesus as their Saviour, I say, I firmly believe you will be in Heaven.
Claim: Apparently, some people believe this. Many people believe Melchizedek was a preincarnation Christophany. I admit this is also possible. There are others who believe he was a man foreshadowing the Priestly ministry of Jesus.
Response: Indeed, Stephen Haskell, an early Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, believed that Melchisedec was the Holy Spirit. Professor Edwin Cotto, who studied Biblical Hebrew at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, on the prior rendition of his website, “Adventist Defense League” expressed his support in favor of the view that Melchisedec was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in human form. Although, he has expressed to me, that he is likewise open to changing his view on the subject. As you said, there are individuals that believe that Melchisedec, like the Angel of the Lord, was a manifestation of Christ Jesus in the Old Testament, and then there is the view that Melchisedec was Shem. I personally believe that the evidence from the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and the grammar of the texts concerning Melchisedec indicate that He is in fact the “eternal Spirit.” (Hebrews 9:14)
Claim: I personally am undecided, because I think all theories are unprovable. If you shared other examples of the Holy Spirit manifesting as a man that in my opinion would support your theory. All you suggest is the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove. On the other hand Old Testament manifestations of Jesus according to sister White are numerous. From the beginning He was the “Logos” the Godhead’s spokesperson.
Response: I would highly encourage you to review the evidence for Melchisedec’s eternality in the video, original article, and particularly the grammar sections in the response I sent to you. With regard to more examples of more instances of the Holy Spirit taking other forms, specifically the form of a man, I would point you to Christ Jesus’ statements concerning the work of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:13, Christ said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13) In other words, the reason why the Old Testament, and the New Testament for that matter, are not replete with facts and figures about the Holy Spirit is because the Holy Spirit choose to always keep the focus on Christ throughout the Testaments, both Old and New. Describing the work of the Holy Spirit, Christ said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26) The Greek word for “testify” is μαρτυρέω (martureō) and can mean, “to be a witness, that is, testify” and “bear record” and “report.” In other words, the goal of the Holy Spirit is to be constantly witnessing about, and reporting about, Christ Jesus and not to draw the main focus of the attention of the readers to Himself. Christ Jesus even makes it clear that once we are filled with the power of the Holy Ghost, we too shall have the mission of being “witnesses unto me (Christ)…unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) This is why you do not find to many details about the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible.
Claim: I will share a few thoughts and quotes I believe show your theory to be untenable, but not impossible. On page 510 of the Book Eternity Past E.G.W. makes the statement… “Twenty miles from Hebron a place was selected as the future metropolis of the kingdom. It had been called Salem. Eight hundred years before, it had been the home of Melchizedek, priest of the most high God...” From Eternity Past Page 510 paragraph 1 In this statement sister White suggests Melchizedek had a home in the city of Hebron.
Response: I would agree that the idea that Melchisedec having a dwelling could be viewed as being suggestive of Him being a mere human being. There are however instances in the Bible of supernatural beings, including God Himself, temporarily visiting with human beings. The Bible records God Himself and two angelic beings coming to visit and eating with Abraham. (Genesis 18:1-2, 13, 20, 22, 26, 33) The Bible also records angels dwelling with Lot temporarily. (Genesis 19:1-4, Hebrews 13:2) The book of Genesis was a time when God was truly walking among men. (Micah 6:8) The Bible records God appearing to Abraham in several instances, such as when He first called him. (Genesis 12:1-3) God appeared when Abraham parted ways with Lot. (Genesis 13:14-17), when they made the covenant together (Genesis 15), when that covenant was restated, (Genesis 17) and when Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac. (Genesis 22:11-12, 15-18; Acts 3:25) The Godhead was clearly interacting with Abraham all of His life and so I do not believe, based on these Biblical facts, that it is a stretch to conclude that the Holy Spirit took the form of a human being in Melchisedec in order to once again guide Abraham on the path of righteousness. The key in Hebrews 7 is figuring out whether Paul was writing acutually, meaning literally, or figuratively. I believe the analysis in the last article I sent you of the Greek grammar, and the Biblical textual indicators, is sufficient evidence to point in the direction of the divinity of Melchisedec.
Claim: Here is a statement from the Review and Herald, May 16, 1882 Paragraph 24 ...“Upon his return from a successful military expedition, he (Abraham) was met by Melchizedek, “king of Salem, and priest of the most high God.” This holy man blessed Abraham, in the name of the Lord, and the patriarch gave him tithes of all the spoils as a tribute of gratitude to the Ruler of nations. In the first statement she says Melchizedek had a home in the city of Salem. In the next quote she calls Melchizedek a “holy man” not the Holy Spirit.
Response: Once again, a member of the Godhead being called a man does not diminish their divinity. Please re-read this quote from the original article that accompanied the interview: “In the self-same chapter, the Apostle Paul also outlines the intercessory work of the Holy Spirit saying, “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26-27) In other words, just as we have “the man Christ Jesus” interceding for us we have to “consider how great this man” Melchisedec, or the Holy Spirit, is for interceding for us. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 7:4) We should offer praise and thanks for this great intercession and forgiveness to Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.” https://www.christjesusministriesllc.com/post/is-melchisedec-the-holy-spirit
Claim: Melchisedek seems to foreshadow our High Priest Jesus and apparently was God’s representative on at the time. As Moses foreshadowed Christ’s mediatorial work
Response: Indeed, Christ’s priesthood is charged with the eternal power of person of the Holy Spirit and is not bound to the tribe of Levi. Please re-read the section of the article mentioned above entitled, “Why did the Apostle Paul Mention Melchisedec?”
In Christ Jesus,