Lord of the Old Testament
Before going on to the prophetic works themselves, I would like to review the confusing designations used to denote deity and divine personages. In the Old Testament there are a host of different names used to refer to God. Some of these are: God, Lord God of Hosts, the Most High, God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel, the Lord your God and Lord. The Urantia Book tells us that many Melchizedek references were erased from the otherwise complete scriptures regarding his activities and teachings (UB 1023). We are also told that conversations between Abraham and Melchizedek were changed to "angel of the Lord" and "Lord" in the place of Melchizedek’s name (UB 1023). Moses knew the traditions regarding Melchizedek (UB 1016, 1022). Otherwise, these traditions were progressively lost over time by nearly all. The Urantia Book also tells us that many of the later Hebrew scribes and priests thought that Melchizedek was one and the same as God (UB 1023). There is much confusion regarding these various designations of deity. One solution is simple—forget about the particular name used entirely and decide by the context of the scripture who is being referred to. There are really only two choices in the Old Testament, i.e., the reference is either to God or else to Melchizedek, who is often confused with God. Consider:
135:21 KJV Blessed be the Lord out
of Zion, who dwells at Jerusalem
Praise the Lord.
Zion is also called the City of David and
literally means "the dwelling place of the Lord". Since we know that
God himself has never "dwelled in Zion", therefore "the
Lord" must be either Melchizedek or an error of some type. The likelihood
of this being an error would seem remote, as this same "dwelling in
Jerusalem" context in association with "Lord" is used in many
places and by many different authors in the Bible. That Zion is a literal dwelling place for a divine being is supported
by many other contexts as well. For example, "the Lord" is said
to leave Zion before the Babylonian captivity because of the continued
rebelliousness and obstinance of the people. The Lord can't leave Zion unless
he previously lived in Zion. Also, Melchizedek was at the right place, at the
right time, and is known to have ministered in "semi-material" form.
(UB 491). We also know from the Urantia Book that Melchizedek was
referred to as "the Lord" in Genesis—why not in Exodus, Deuteronomy,
and the prophets? Moses speaks to "the Lord" in conversational dialogue
and is described in scripture as being observed by the people while directly speaking to "the
Lord". There are dozens of lines of scripture in a variety of different
books that speak of "the Lord" leading the Israelites and Moses from
a "pillar of cloud"
overhead. The cloud leads them during
the day and radiates light "like a fire" overhead during the night.
Who else but Melchizedek, in semi-material form, could conceivably fit these
Biblical descriptions? We will also see
later on that one of Melchizedek’s attributes in scripture is that he is able
to emit large amounts of visible light.
Most importantly though, this same "Lord" returns in the
future to "dwell in Zion" again, to "judge the nations,"
and to establish peace and righteousness in the "latter days". The Dead
Sea Scrolls identifies this "Lord" as the Messiah figure of the
future and as being none other than Melchizedek himself. 11Q13 is a striking
and tremendously important document written in the first century BCE. It centers on the mysterious figure of
Melchizedek and is titled ‘the coming of Melchizedek’. There are only a few
references (Genesis 14, and Psalms 110) in the Old Testament regarding
Melchizedek by name.
The following excerpt is a quote from Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls about the 11Q13, Melchizedek scroll. This excerpt is addressing "the agent of salvation," the Messiah who comes at the end of the age and is referred to in the Bible as Lord and even ‘God’.
Wise The author (of 11Q13)
declares that the agent of this
Dead Sea Scrolls salvation is none other than Melchizedek, a mysterious
figure referenced only twice in the Bible (Old Testament),
in Psalms 110 and Genesis 14. For our author (of 11Q13,
probably the Teacher of Righteousness) Melchizedek is an
enormously exalted divine being, to whom are applied
names that are generally reserved for God alone, the Hebrew
names el and elohim. In the author’s citation of Isaiah 61:2,
which speaks of "the year of The Lord’s favor," Melchizedek
is substituted even for the most holy name of Israel’s God,
Yahweh. (parentheses are the author’s)
Urantia Book tells us that Melchizedek’s name is removed from scripture,
here we see it being put back in by the Teacher of Righteousness of the Dead
Sea Scrolls sect.
This remarkable document (11Q13) tells us several things. First, that the Qumran sect interpreted scripture as we are doing right now. They substituted Melchizedek’s name for "the Lord" designation used in the original scripture. This sect must have still retained at least some of the truth about Melchizedek and his role in the history of Israel. Second, this document confirms the statements in the Urantia Book pertaining to the Lord/Melchizedek confusion, i.e., "Lord" is erroneously used instead of "Melchizedek." The Dead Sea Scrolls reverse the process and puts Melchizedek back in place of the ‘Lord’ designation in scripture. This correspondence between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Urantia Book mutually validates both sources, as neither source could have had access to the other. (Urantia Book published in 1955 before 11Q13 had been made public. Lastly, the document, by its truth, indicates that the Qumran group is an heir to the "river of truth running down through the ages" in the form of Hebrew scripture.
Elsewhere in the Scrolls the Teacher of Righteousness is said to have had revelatory experiences that enabled him to accurately interpret scripture. As many other prophets, he gathered in much truth, but his timing was wrong, as he expected the "messianic period" to occur close to his immediate period (around 100 B.C.). Nevertheless 2000 years later, modern Israel is born in 1948, thus setting the stage for the potential fulfillment of prophetic scripture regarding the "latter days". As if on queue, the timely arrival of the Urantia Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls now make possible a new and deeper reading of the Old Testament scripture, which is so crucial to the understanding of the confusing world of today.
In conclusion, the deity designations of the Old Testament are usually either references to Melchizedek or references to God. The prophetic usage, "the Lord says" and many similar phrases now take on a new connotation altogether. From the context of any particular designation, one can usually infer whether the reference is to God or Melchizedek. The psalmist writes:
Psalm 110 The Lord said to my lord, I will make your enemies your footstool…
Your people will come forward willingly on your
day of battle (The Day of the Lord)…The Lord has sworn and
will not relent; you are a priest forever, a rightful king by My decree.
This somewhat confusing passage becomes simple when you understand who is talking to whom. Consider the same text with the appropriate designations of deity filled in:
110 God said to Melchizedek, sit
at My right hand while I make
your enemies your footstool. Melchizedek’s people (Israel)
come forward willingly on your day of battle (the Day of the
Lord). God has sworn and will not relent ; Melchizedek is a
priest forever, a rightful king by My decree.
Melchizedek’s very name means King of Righteousness in Hebrew and he is Priest of the Most High, as illustrated below.
14:18 King Melchizedek of
out bread and wine ;
he was Priest of God Most High. He (Melchizedek) blessed
him (Abraham), saying,
"Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your foes
into your hand."
Notice in Psalm 110 that God has made
Melchizedek "a priest forever" indicating that Melchizedek is a
divine being who has an immortal existence as did Jesus. This divine being
offers bread and wine just as Jesus does two thousand years later indicating an
association of some sort between these two personalities. Also, Melchizedek through his blessing of
Abraham tells us that the Most High acts beneath the surface of the historical
event to "deliver your (Abram’s) foes into your hand." "Someday
civil rulers will realize that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men."
Melchizedek is the psalmist’s Lord, and God is Melchizedek’s empowering Agent. In Enoch, an analysis of the attributes and actions of the one called the Elect One, strongly indicates that this is also Melchizedek by another title. God says this about the Elect One in 1Enoch :
54:5 O ye Kings, O ye mighty
who inhabit the world, you shall
behold My Elect One, sitting on the Throne of My Glory…
This stanza implies that it is God Himself who selects and authorizes the Elect One’s sovereignty that is implied by the throne. 1Enoch also tells us that:
The Elect One is in the presence of the Lord of Spirits,
according to his own pleasure.
Therefore, the close, personal
relationship between God (Lord of Spirits) and Melchizedek (Elect One) is well
described in the Psalm just considered where "The Lord said to my lord, I
will make your enemies your footstool…" And so, Melchizedek has devoted
thousands of years to a group of human beings, and they are indeed his
people. And, conversely, Melchizedek is
indeed their Lord. The Jewish people know him as the Lord of their historical
experience but they know not his true name.
The Israelites remain lost to history.
And so, Melchizedek knows and awaits the day when he will gather up and
rejoice with his peoples, who yet know him not.
In summary, the Old Testament Biblical references to "The Lord" are often designations that belong to Melchizedek.
Next, we begin our chronologic journey through the Old Testament prophets.