As I contemplated writing this article, I at first considered titling it, "Fatherhood, Front and Center," but finally opted for what appears above. It will be understandable to me if the connection-thesis I'll be developing will seem to the reader to be highly speculative. I both expect the same, and plan to be respectful of any and all such reasonable questioning. The subject matter comes almost completely, if not totally, from the Book of Hebrews, an epistle superior in its treatment of the superiority of Jesus over and against all the elements of the old covenant whose only justification for existing at all, was that they pointed forward -- with a special appeal to the intuition of those former worshipper -- to the One who is the fulfillment of all its types and shadows. [As an aside, I've felt for a long time, that the author was Apollos]
Beginning with some admittedly broad brush strokes, I want to point out how God's Fatherhood; faith; and the person of Melchizedek, deserve to be understood as having a very fundamental connection, tracing the connection to the description given to Melchizedek as the Priest of the Most High God; the man, Enoch, who is described as one who walked with God in such a way, that it was known of him that he pleased God; and Abraham, for whom faith was reckoned as righteousness. Now,
Also for the readers consideration, it would seem appropriate, that Abraham, given the name, father of many nations, would be blessed with special visitations by the Father, whose Fatherhood Abraham by grace participated in, even, and especially, being drawn into sharing in the emotions of THE Father of us all, as He was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, with -- as Hebrews points out -- both, in faith, expected resurrection would be the final issue. That is central to Jesus' admonition,
Proceeding with finer brush stokes: For weeks, I'd been stirred by the Spirit of Truth, to give myself to pondering just who fit the description of Melchizedek as being without father or mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. The stirring culminated in hours spent in my motel room between meetings of the Easter ingathering conference, this year, held in Sallislaw, OK, instead of Dickson, TN, but still hosted by
There was that moment in my motel room, laying staring at the ceiling, when suddenly -- accompanied by what seemed to me to be a big smile in my spirit -- God dropped the obvious into my spirit: God, as the Father, is the only One who perfectly fits the description of being without father or mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days, or end of life. Yes! Of course. He, our Father God, has no Father. As the generating One of all being, He is un-fathered Father, and as the Creator of all things, He is the Uncaused Cause. All being owes its being to Him, as the Being in which we all have our being; all creation owes its existence to Him, with nothing pre-existing Him.
Even God as the Son, owes His generation to God as His Father. Simply stated, the Son has a Father, which ought to put a question mark over the theory that Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate Christophany. Yes, the description of Melchizedek goes on to include being made like unto the Son of God, but that is to be expected even when God, in this very rare instance, arrives on a scene as THE Father blessing the father of all nations, for God's Fatherhood, in the eons, manifests Itself as like unto His Son. The Father chooses to be seen as the Son:
So what of the connection of Enoch in all of this? Along with God pointing out to me that God, as Father, fits the definition of who Melchizedek was, came the almost (and I will confess, almost) complete conviction -- so here one might understand the element of speculation being involved -- that when Enoch was transported that he should not see death, he was transported into a dimension of a pre-new covenant/kind of first fruits, uniquely supernal experience of God's Fatherhood. Enoch so walked with God that he came to that point in his
The union was such, that God, as Father, appeared to Abraham, manifested in and as Enoch. He was made like unto the Son of God, in that his exemplary walk of faith was a pre-incarnate faith-walk of the Son of God on earth, but the essential encounter was one of THE Father of all, confronting, and blessing, the father of many nations. I don't believe that Enoch was--as conventionally presumed -- transported to heaven, as heaven is conventionally understood, or better, misunderstood. I don't believe that Enoch in that transportation, entered into immortality, for, with all the presumed revelation about the attainment to immortality, folks seem to forget, or unconsciously ignore the fact, that scripture tells us that
We all must die in order to live "life, and that more abundantly." Jesus spoke of Himself as the resurrection, and spoke of "THE resurrection." And He spoke of the moment when all those who are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth. I see a parallel between how Jesus' coming again, WAS concurrent with His going away or: Journeying on, as an accurate translation of John 14 reveals, and how the final resurrection of all those who are in the graves plays out. For that final (bodily) resurrection will occur concurrently with, and when the final human dying shall be consummated. In the very same instant when all dying shall be existentially consummated -- in that same instant, all the dead shall rise again. Please refer to Jonathan Mitchell's Translation of the New Testament, to get the true sense of the Greek in those opening verses of Jn. 14. The Concordant Version is also good, but not as clear and detailed as Jonathan's.
Paradoxically, there is no immortality without death. Adam was not immortal before sinning, otherwise if he had been immortal, he couldn't have died. Immortality means immunity from death. An immortal cannot die. Enoch didn't gain immortality without death. He, also, like us all, must go into immortality through death. We presume all kinds of things based upon the scripture that says he was transported that he should not SEE death. That begs the consideration, that not seeing death, does not equate to doing an end run around death. There is no end run around
I'm thinking that any existential transportation into other dimensions other than this earthly one, normally requires that one die, but with Enoch, that was not so. But that does not mean that he -- and as it is presumed also of Elijah -- that they got free passes for escaping death. What a moment in history it was when He, the Father, showed up to personally bless the father of all nations. The One to Whom Jesus will take us all, came to Abraham. No wonder Abraham is such a central figure in the Book of Hebrews, and in the theology of the apostle Paul.
One question that may come to mind is in regard to Gen. 14:18 where it speaks of Melchizedek being God's priest -- and of course Christ is associated with his order of priesthood in Hebrews -- so, how does this fit? The role or function of a priest is normally seen as one who is a mediator between God and mankind.
In answer to this question, I had no intention at all of questioning the very obvious point that the writer of Hebrews makes re: the superiority of Christ's priesthood/mediatorship in contrast to the imperfection of the Aaronic/Levitical priesthood, but rather, I hope to stimulate some thinking as to who, so to speak, is front and center in the narrative -- who it is who is highlighted.
While classical orthodox theology, rightfully so, insists that we must never treat the Persons of the Father and Son in a way that detracts from Their essential oneness, there are those places in scripture that highlight one or the other, as in Paul saying that Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, and in that parallel passage, that speaks of the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead. For Jesus to "stand up" in resurrection, required a complete dependency upon "Him who was able to save Him from so great a death."
So maybe the point that the writer is making, is that of tracing the Priesthood of Christ to its Origin. If I'm recalling correctly, in a prophetic passage, Christ is portrayed as confessing that God has made Him a priest after the order of Melchizedek. As it was God who made Jesus to be both Lord and Christ, so also the same is true of Christ's Priesthood. Is not the fundamental point being the difference between a temporal and eternal priesthood, and if so, it would be appropriate that the One who is without father or mother, etc., confirm that Eternality which He IS--the Eternality of which He is the Source, appear on the scene?
The Presence of Christ, the Son, in that meeting of the Father and the father, is undeniable, since, first of all, it is always true that the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, as Jesus affirmed in Jn. 17. I see Enoch's involvement bringing both Presences together, in that he could only have so supernally walked with God so as to lead to being transported out of earthen visibility, and so as to have the reputation of pleasing God, by enjoying a pre-incarnation participation in the faith of Christ, and therefore, in that exemplary walk of his, he was brought to the Father/transported into the dimension of Divine Fatherhood, so that it was he (Enoch) in and by whom the Father (up front) appeared to Abraham, but of course, not to exclusion of the pre-incarnate Christ.
I'm wondering at this very moment, that in looking back at those moments on my experience of the Divine Presence, there those that were distinctively encounters with "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" in distinction -- as whatever sense we can make such a distinction -- to those encounters with Christ.
In looking back in my own experience of being raised from the tomb of depression "where" I could no longer even conceive of God, that it was the Father who raised me from that death: "And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, that same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal body, by His Spirit that dwells in you." Wow! There's theological tension, in the way Paul writes specifically of the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead, and elsewhere writes of "the Spirit of Jesus."
Well, if I seem to be shooting from the hip here, I can understand how I'd come across that way. Mystical moments need interpretation that gives understanding, so it is with that moment, staring at the ceiling in my motel room, when the thought came to me, "why it's obvious Who it is who is without father or mother: The unbegotten Begetter, the fatherless Father. Simultaneously, I sensed a huge -- so to speak -- in spirit, from-ear-to-ear smile breaking out in my inner man.