Weekly Sabbath Survey
Mystery Solved? — 8-12-2017
When I first began my very serious walk with Jesus, about 40 years ago, I read the Bible like a person deprived of food would eat. I couldn’t get enough of it!! I was sometimes frustrated by ‘the begats’ Someone begat a son, and that son begat another son, etc. But I also knew every word in this Book was there as part of God’s message to us.
In time I also got very interested in Biblical archaeology. I realized that there were artifacts from tribes and civilizations mentioned in various magazines and things I was reading which coincided with the Biblical text. Too many times I heard experts say, “This Babylonian jar” or “Egyptian writing” (whatever) “predates the Bible by X number of years.” It seemed many experts wanted very much to emphasize the timeline and discredit the Bible’s validity like its authors copied stories from other. Every time I heard that, I thought, how can they say that when our Bible starts out with “In the beginning God created the Earth, moon and stars, plants, animals and people.” How can something buried in a pyramid on Earth PREDATE that!?! I believed by faith, thought there should be a way prove we were first, with some discovery like the Dead Sea Scrolls.
For the past few years I have been thinking, how can it be proven that there is an unbroken chain from Adam right on into the time of Jesus and on to us? I believe the Lord has shown me. I was tucked in for the night, praying, as is my habit. I was asking the Lord about this problem with proving that we had the ‘old, old story’ before any other nation or tribe or ‘god’ or religion on Earth. I was close to dozing when I heard in my head: “Melchizedek.” Clear as a bell. I did the usual, “Lord, is that you?” thing. And I heard, Melchizedek is the answer.” A gladness rose up in my heart as prayed for guidance. I asked the Father to lead me every step of the way and thanked Him for guiding me. I fell peacefully asleep, and the very next morning, my quest began.
For many of us, Melchizedek is a mystery, a shadowy figure, almost a myth. But I quickly learned that others were ahead of me in looking into his identity and purpose in being where and who he was in the Biblical story. I’m trusting I have received from the Lord that led me to my conclusion. Others are figuring out other answers. I am not teaching this as a solid doctrine, but a bit of imagination, conjecture, what if’s, and the thoughts I believe God gave me. I present it as a possible truth that proves my unbroken chain theory. As I began gathering material and praying for the Lord to show me what to do with what I was seeing. The Internet makes it possible for us to compare notes and share ideas with others. This possible End Times revelation can strengthen our hearts in these troublesome times. In my search I’ve found some facts and some very interesting coincidences.
I decided in May of 2016 to write a book about it. I got very excited, began writing, making plans. I prayed for guidance. I ask for input and prayers from a few trusted friends. One told me there are already numerous books written on the subject. I went online and saw all those books, written by people likely possessing a lot more education and ability than I have. I was pretty discouraged at this point and abandoned the book idea, for sure, and maybe the whole project as not worthy of seeing the light of day. But I kept the feeling that I wanted to share what I believe is truth even if just with my readers! What God shows me may be sort of elementary, but it is still important and useful for others. So, I prayed more.
So now, I will hit the high spots to inform you leaving a trail of bread crumbs for you to do with as the Lord leads you. My answer is pretty simple and I don’t claim it to be super theology. Just the righteous musings of one of God’s servants. I find my premise believable enough to pump up our faith in a God who is aware of every jot and tittle. I believe He has shown the unbroken line from Adam to the written words of the Torah, right on to Jesus Himself and in to us in our big ol’ King James Bible. The truth is hidden in the begats. There are a few extra-Biblical writings and legends that appear to confirm what the Bible reveals.
In Genesis, there is a list of righteous men who founded the first people of God. The list of patriarchs, fathers and sons in succession, is this: Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Abraham. From Adam to Abraham was 1,947 years. (Take note of how long people lived back then.) The key figure for us is Noah’s oldest son, Shem, who was the founder of the Semites, some of whom became the Hebrews, then the nation of Israel, and finally were all called Jews which is a shortened version of King David’s tribe of Judah. This is the tribe Jesus was born into.
There are also Bible verses and other records of some very wicked men who lived during the time of these named patriarchs. These evil men were very powerful and became known in pagan circles as ‘gods.’ They were so wicked they provoked God to bring on The Flood. One of the most outstanding is Nimrod. He was a peculiar person of amazing strength, a mighty hunter (killer) of men, a warrior king and terrifyingly cruel. He was the instigator and builder of the Tower of Babel. There is a Babylonian legend that Noah’s son Shem killed Nimrod and then hacked his body to pieces (just for good measure). It seems Shem must have distinguished himself from the crowd by taking on this terrifying man, sort of David & Goliath style.
I believe there could have been written records among God’s people very early on, their genealogies and history, but there is no doubt there was much oral history as parents told their children of these events from generation to generation. And these were re-enforced by the fact that their lives overlapped to many more generations than we do now. Adam lived all the way to the time of Noah’s father, Lemech, who was 56 years old when Adam died. Methuselah was 870 years old when Shem was born and lived 99 more years after. Shem was 390 when Abraham was born and lived 210 more years after. Shem actually lived 35 years after Abraham died. He lived to see the birth of Isaac and Jacob, and presumably was still the High Priest of the people. The telling of the story of creation and the days after Adam and Eve left the Garden Eden must have been repeated over and over and over again.
(Abram was returning home from victory in a battle.) Melchizedek, King of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was The Priest of the Most High God. He blessed Abram and said, “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be The Most High God which has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And Abram gave Melchizedek tithes of all the spoils. Genesis 14:19-21
So who is this ‘Priest-King’ of Salem? (A town later known as Jerusalem.) Where did he come from? Why was Abraham giving him tithes? Many Jewish and Christian scholars see it this way: In those days, there was one high priest at a time and it would be the oldest living patriarch. Melchizedek was not the person’s name but the title of his office. It means “King (Priest) of Righteousness.”
Abraham was born in Chaldea and called to go to this land God would show him. Suppose Abraham had heard of this faraway place, Salem, in the family stories. He knew of the High Priest of God living there. And Abraham, after his victorious battle with the pagans, sought out this man to honor him and maybe even to renew his acquaintance with him. Could this King of Righteousness be Abram’s own eight ‘greats’ grandfather, Shem? Some experts say, yes! I believe it is the best conclusion to fill in the gaps in Scripture. This mystery of who Shem was. He was in the line from Noah who was called a preacher (Priest-King) of Righteousness, and was serving as High Priest in his time, even though it was only in his own home and family! There wasn’t even a tribe name back then.
As the world population grew, wickedness grew with it. God was choosing out the one family to carry the knowledge of The Living God, YHVH. By sending Shem on ahead to the Promised Land, was He preparing for Abraham to have the spiritual guidance and encouragement he needed to keep the faith? It was necessary for Abraham to leave his birth family behind because God was starting new with him. Shem would have brought scrolls when he made his pilgrimage to Salem, or written them after he got there. The High Priest would be the keeper of the family stories and bloodlines. He continued his ministry to God right there alone, as he waited for what God had in store. Abraham was very rich, he had thousands of head of cattle, military men to protect his people and belonging, and various skilled craftsmen. They were a whole city themselves as they moved along pitching their tents where there was good grazing. No doubt word of their arrival reached everyone in the land. And Shem (Melchizedek) would know that this was the man, his own descendant, he was waiting to be sent by God. Surely after they met, there were times he schooled Abraham and they had interaction with each other for many years.
Melchizedek is referred to in the New Testament (Hebrews 7). Remembering this is his title, we can see that the priesthood continues from the original patriarchs all the way to Jesus, who is now our High Priest forever. He was both the high priest and the sacrifice that Passover day on Mount Calvary.
Never again will I feel challenged by Hindu, Buddhist, or any other ‘ancient’ religion that their beliefs and spiritual knowledge precede the Jewish faith. They do not! All the various peoples who got left out every time when God sorted the righteous from the others and narrowed the family line, like Able favored over Cain, and Jacob chosen over Esau. The ones left out, took at lot of the stories with them but, forsook YHVH and founded their own pagan belief systems. The reality of the Living God was something that touched everyone who had any contact with His people. The legends in Judaism of scary wicked men, a big tower built, the flood of all floods, giants, and so forth, was not taken from the pagans. It was the other way around.
I want to thank a few friends who never gave up on me for the telling of this story. They encouraged me to get something done with the “by faith facts” we have. I pray you are blessed to think about the marvelously creative ways in which Almighty God gets people to the right place, at the right time so they are making history, and even more, some of them were/are laying the foundation for the future. We don’t always need positive proof of what God is doing or has done, because:
We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
copyright July 2017
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