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Christ the First-Born, High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek.

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Question #1:

Dear Professor,

I deeply appreciate your continuous support in my growth, both with regard to your replies and prayer. I said it many a time already, but you can be sure that my gratitude hasn't changed. All the time and effort you have invested is something I never just assume or take for granted - you are most definitely a very busy person and yet you always find the time to provide in depth answers to my questions. I have been copying and pasting our correspondence into a Word document, in order to be able to locate certain pieces of information quicker - through just over a year this document is nearly 400 pages long, and the writing is in a small font.

I want to do everything in my power to prepare for whatever role God has planned for me, but in the meantime I've been promoting your website, and by the looks of things one seed has been planted - my friend started to read your resources and in recent weeks he has begun to grow. There is nothing better than to help someone grow in faith and perceive things as they are, even if my role is about referring others to your website and providing some limited support. Meeting any one person with heart open to the truth and willing to receive it is a blessing, particularly in this world, mostly either evil or lukewarm.  And now a new set of questions:

You wrote: Since Jesus is the one and only Son of God (Jn.1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; 1Jn.4:9), His status of firstborn refers not to any order of birth but rather to the privileges that fall to the lot of the firstborn, namely, rulership (Dan.7:13-14; Matt.22:41-45; 28:18; Col.1:18; Heb.2:10; 3:1-6; Rev.2:27), priesthood (Heb.5:6; 7:13-14), and double portion of inheritance (Rev.19:9; cf. Deut.21:15-17).

It is clear from the passages you provide that priesthood is a privilege of our Lord, but could you please clarify the relationship between Him being firstborn and this privilege.

Response #1:

Hello Friend,

Thanks as always for your splendid attitude and persistence! Thanks too for your "proselytizing" on behalf of this ministry – it is greatly appreciated. As to your questions:

The high priest is by rights the first born in the line of Aaron; priesthood in the ancient world is passed down through to the eldest just as kingship is. But uniquely our Lord is both priest and king (Zech.6:13b; cf. Jer.33:16-18). This is why Melchizedek is a perfect parallel for Christ "when he is considered by analogy with the Son (who is actually eternal)", namely, because he was both a king and a priest of God.

Question #2:

What is the 'unity of consultation between the two offices' in Zechariah 6:13?

For there will be a [unity of] consultation between the two [offices].

Response #2:

The "two" are the kingship and the priesthood. Jesus will rule the world during the Millennium as the King and the High Priest of God (thus uniting the two offices).

Question #3:

You wrote: That uniqueness is shown by the fact that only by being God and man could Jesus be the Firstborn, the One who would earn the privileges of rulership, priesthood, and double portion. What do you mean by 'double portion'? I also cannot link this concept to the passages you provide, in particular Rev.19:9: (Rev.19:9; cf. Deut.21:15-17).

Response #3:

The first-born always received a double portion of the inheritance as opposed to all of the other heirs (Deut.21:15-17; cf. Gen.48:22; 1Sam.1:5; 2Kng.2:9; Job 42:10; Is.61:7; Zech.9:12; 1Tim.5:17). Christ's double portion is the Church plus the Friends of the Bride, equal numbers of saved human beings, the former formed before His return, the latter afterwards. That is the reason for the Revelation 19:9 citation: it refers to the wedding of the Bride/Church with Christ, but also mentions those invited, part of and standing for the Friends of the Bride (see the link).

Question #4:

Another question on Romans:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:29 NIV

I struggle to establish causality in this statement. Paul says the first part of this sentence, and then says 'that he might be the firstborn...'. I cannot understand the causal structure of this statement: '(For those God) foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn' - as if the fact that Jesus might be the 'firstborn' depended on whether 'those God foreknew' were 'conformed to the image of His son'. Hopefully I did make my question clear there; please clarify.

Response #4:

Paul means that God's marking out of us is meant to fulfill the purpose of Jesus having His double portion as the First-born. We exist for Jesus, not the other way around. We are His "prize", His Bride, whom He created and for whom He suffered and died. God foreknew us in this way (i.e., took into account our faith in Him, among all other things), with the result that / with the purpose that Jesus might have us, His Bride, as His prize of victory for fulfilling the Father's plan.

Question #5:

Could you please explain the following: . . . indicating that it is His death for us that forms the basis for His receiving all of the rights and privileges of firstborn status (cf. Gen.49:4; and Heb.12:16, where it is made clear that this privilege is based upon merit). The link between this statement and the passages is unclear to me. Also, regarding the firstborn status being based on merit, why in Deuteronomy 21:15-17 it says it is given to whichever son is born first?

Response #5:

Yes; the right of the firstborn goes to the one who is born first, but sometimes this is changed. Esau sold his birth-right. Reuben lost his right for disgraceful conduct. Shimri was "not first" in his family line but was appointed firstborn (apparently through merit: 1Chron.26:10). Absalom was David's first born but Solomon came to the kingship. Jesus Christ is the firstborn – the only born of the Father, the uniquely born One – but He won what He has through His victory on the cross. Were it just a matter of birth, He would have been the glorified Messiah from the cradle. As it is, God's plan required Him to fight the greatest fight of all, the culminating battle of which occurred in the three hours of darkness on the cross when He expiated all of our sins. Genesis 49:4 refers to Reuben, an example of losing the right; Hebrews 12:16 gives the example of Jacob winning the right from Esau by valuing God's heritage much more than his pagan brother.

Question #6:

Could you please clarify Colossians 1:15: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. What exactly is meant by 'firstborn of all creation'? Since Christ existed with God from the beginning and through Him the world was created, I assume it cannot be interpreted as Christ being 'created by God first, before other creations'? Please clarify.

Response #6:

This title, "Firstborn of all creation", indicates Jesus' priority as Head of the entire family of God which when complete will consist of 1) all elect angels (complete), 2) the Bride (nearing completion), and 3) the Friends of the Bride (millennial believers who, in tandem with the Bride, will exactly equal the number of elect angels). So this is a title that applies primarily to His human nature (since His deity is of course eternal). The "firstborn" title is important through the Bible in that it indicates the place of privilege and, in Jesus' case, a place of privilege won meritoriously. Please see the link: Firstborn (in BB 4A).

Question #7:

You wrote: The "firstborn" title is important through the Bible in that it indicates the place of privilege and, in Jesus' case, a place of privilege won meritoriously.

When you say 'place of privilege won meritoriously', do you refer to the privilege meritoriously won in Jesus humanity (as He had all the privileges in His deity anyway and no need for any as a result)?

Response #7:

Yes, that is exactly right.

Question #8:

You wrote: Furthermore, the leaves of the tree(s) of life will benefit these nations outside the city wall (Rev.22:2). From this compound description it is very clear that there will be a sizeable population living outside of the city wall.

How can we discern that there is a sizeable population living outside of the city wall?

Response #8:

Since there will be "kings" and "nations" outside the city wall, this certainly suggests to me a sizable group in order to have multiple kings and multiple nations, and in order to be bringing into the city enough offerings to be considered worthy of remark in proportion to the mammoth size of the city and the great number of its inhabitants. Further, New Jerusalem is said to be "the Bride" (Rev.21:9) – by which is meant of course the habitation of the Bride. Since the Bride of Christ consists of all believers resurrected at Christ's return, and since the Bride will apparently be complemented by an equal number of believers from the Millennium (the "friends of the Bride" as part of the Messiah's double portion: Ps.45:14-15; Rev.19:9; see the link – the other places where the subject is covered are in the subject index sub voc.), it is my supposition that these millennial believers will be the ones living outside New Jerusalem but with full access to it (see the link).

Question #9:

35 "Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. 36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."
John 4:35-38

Is it to do with the prophets and teachers of old not reaping rewards for their labor and the apostles reaping them, as the time of harvest - our Lord's advent has taken place (only foretold in the past and anticipated until this day)?

Response #9:

John 4:35-38: a much disputed parable. Here is my take (from SR 5):

The bounty of believers during the Church age is in numerical terms the richest so far:

Haven't you been saying, 'There are still four months (50) until the harvest comes.'? Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvesting. He who reaps is receiving a reward and gathering grain for eternal life (i.e., bringing those who respond into God's family), so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together.
John 4:35-36 (cf. Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2)

Though in terms of sheer numbers, gentiles predominate in the Church Age, Jews, as we have seen, are the pillars of the Church and included as the "remnant according to the election of grace" in every generation of the present era (Rom.11:5). This duality of Jew and gentile is symbolized in the ritual of the feast of weeks by the presentation of the two bulls (Num.28:27), the two rams (Lev.23:18), the two lambs (Lev.23:19) and the two loaves (Lev.23:17), this last element being unique to the feast of Weeks.

The four months symbolize the Church Age (two millennia) and the double portion Millennium (see below).

Question #10:

About John 4:35-38 you wrote: The four months symbolize the Church Age (two millennia) and the double portion Millennium (see below).

When you write about the Church Age being symbolized by the four months, do you refer to the Church Age gap of approximately four months in the Jewish calendar, which is 14 + 12x9 days long (122 days)?

Why do the 4 months also refer to the double portion Millennium?

Response #10:

What I mean is that the four months may be taken either way. Predominately they refer to the Church Age, the harvest of the Bride which is soon to begin in earnest at the first Pentecost after our Lord's resurrection. But the Millennium is also represented in the calendar by a gap of precisely the same size, and the number of millennial believers (see the link), the Friends of the Bride, will exactly equal the number of the Church. Most of the members of Christ's Bride are called out during the Church Age, so that the principle of an abundant and comparable harvesting of believers being repeated in the Millennium is represented the same way in the Jewish ceremonial calendar. So while the four months in the parable have direct reference to the Church which the disciples will soon be inaugurating, and I wouldn't wish to leave the idea of the millennial harvest out of a discussion of this parable.

Question #11:

You wrote: Beyond any question, our Lord's sacrifice of His own body was the true sacrifice to which all of the Levitical rites pointed (having passed into the true Holy of Holies into the presence of the Father: Heb.1:3; 4:14; 6:19-20; 8:1-5; 9:11-12), and the only sacrifice which expiates our sins in fact (for the Levitical rites conducted by the high priest only represent the saving work of our Lord). This is the ultimate point of superiority to which the priesthood of Melchizedek points, namely, other priesthoods were only symbolic (as well as temporary and hereditary), but our Lord's is the one true mediation between God and man in the Person of and through the work of the God-Man Jesus Christ.

Since you write that 'this is the ultimate point of superiority to which the priesthood of Melchizedek points' (referring to the 'the only sacrifice which expiates our sins'), does it mean that Melchizedek also made a sacrifice for our sins and his priesthood was not symbolic? Could you clarify what is 'the ultimate point of superiority to which the priesthood of Melchizedek points'? Does it refers to what you already wrote about Melchizedek's priesthood not having a beginning or end (at least not described in the scripture), as opposed to lasting for some time and then being replaced, as it was with the Levites?

Response #11: 

Jesus is the true High Priest, as the book of Hebrews points out exhaustively. His is the real sacrifice. All other sacrifices of animals were symbolic, pointing the way to the Substitute who would actually die for the sins of the world, our Savior Jesus Christ. Melchizedek was a human being who happened also to be a priest "of the most high God". Paul compares him to Jesus in chapter seven of Hebrews chapters 5-7 to demonstrate, using what is said at Psalm 110:4 ("You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek" NIV), that Jesus' Priesthood is different from and superior to the Levitical priesthood. It turns out that this was the prophetic purpose of that verse in Psalms. Melchizedek was not Jewish, nor was he a Levite, nor did he receive his priesthood through physical birth but was (apparently) appointed by God; nor does he have recorded any genealogy so that what is a benefit in the Levitical priesthood is surpassed in his case since he is nonetheless a priest in spite of not being born to it. Paul's point is that Psalm 110:4 proves Jesus' superiority as High Priest to all things Levitical in every point of comparison. But of course the fundamental point is that He offered Himself as the Sacrifice – and that His death was the only way the sins of the world could be paid for. So to make all this more clear I have changed the text you ask about to "This is the ultimate point of superiority to which our Lord's priesthood 'in the order of Melchizedek' points".

Question #12:

Could you explain some of the differences between the two translations, yours and the NASB?

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God most high (who came to meet Abraham when he was returning from routing the kings and blessed him, and to whom Abraham divided a tenth part of everything), on the one hand being "king of righteousness" (when we translate his name), and on the other hand being also "king of Salem" (which means "king of peace"), lacking a genealogy [in scripture] on either his father's or his mother's side, lacking [also in scripture] a [recorded] beginning of his days or an end of his life, continues in his priesthood forever - [that is] in respect to this comparison of him to the Son of God.
Hebrews 7:1-3

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
Hebrews 7:1-3 NASB

When you add the explanation "[in scripture]" - is that a difference of interpretation or translation? Similarly, 'continues in his priesthood forever - [that is] in respect to this comparison of him to the Son of God' and 'but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually'. It seems your translation talks about comparison, whereas the NASB just says 'made like the Son of God'. I read your posting on Melchizedek (see the links: Melchizedek I and Melchizedek II) and understand much more, but these are things still unclear.

Response #12:

This is a difficult comparison. Yes, whenever I use square brackets I do so to indicate something I have added by way of explanation. The KJV, for example, uses italics when it fleshes out a translation, and that version and probably most English versions are more meticulously in doing so in that they add forms of the verb "to be" which Greek regularly leaves out. My expansions are usually to explain what the language means while yet making it clear that this is my interpretation and not something technically in the original.

The operative part of the particular phrase you ask about here translated in the NASB "made like the Son of God" is the Greek passive perfect participle from aphomoioo (ἀφομοιοω). The word homoios means "similar" and the omicron contract verb formation means that in the active voice the derived verb should mean "make similar" and in the passive "made similar". But the concept is tricky in this case. The preposition apo here has an additional reciprocative force so that the verb in the active in secular Greek means "produce a facsimile" (as in making a painting of something else). So the problem in most translations is that they give the word the force of "make/made" as if it is to be understood as a concrete "making" as opposed to what is really meant, namely, a merely analogical representation (i.e., the difference between "making" a building and "making" a picture). To translate "made like the Son of God" or something similar without further explanation makes it sound as if there is some tangible or concrete similarity whereas we are dealing only with a comparison or representation, and only in terms of the specific points Paul mentions (this last part is also key). The NLT has Melchizedek "resembling the Son of God" and that is not bad, because the points made by Paul are fully true only of the Son of God, not of Melchizedek – the latter's priesthood merely "resembles" the former's in certain respects.

Melchizedek' genealogy is not listed in scripture, but he was not virgin-born like our Lord. Melchizedek's birth and death are not recorded in scripture, but he has not yet been resurrected into an eternal body as has our Lord. The status of Jesus' Priesthood (i.e., one based upon appointment rather than lineage) and the enduring nature of it (i.e., He is now and always will be our High Priest being no longer subject to death) are the critical points of comparison with Melchizedek – but it is a loose comparison given to explain the superiority of Jesus' appointed, eternal priesthood over the inherited and temporary Levitical priesthood, and to demonstrate that Jesus fulfills Psalm 110:4. Melchizedek's non-recorded genealogy helps to illustrate Jesus' appointment to this unique High Priesthood; Melchizedek's non-recorded birth and death help to illustrate the eternal nature of Jesus' High Priesthood. But it is just an illustration. And the most important thing to remember in interpreting this passage – the thing that most often gets turned around – is that the passage is about Jesus, and not about Melchizedek. The illustration helps us to understand the unique and the enduring nature of Jesus' High Priesthood through comparing it to that of Melchizedek (in contrast to any Levitical priest), and Paul goes down this road in spite of the difficulties which all such loose illustrations can produce because it was important to show the Jewish community in Jerusalem who were having issues with Jesus' divinity just how it was that He fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 110:4 in a divine and eternal way.

Question #13:

. . .who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.
Hebrews 7:16

What is meant by 'has become such (...) according to the power of an indestructible life'? Is it again a reference to Melchizedek's priesthood not being hereditary and not having clearly marked boundaries in the scripture?

With continuous prayer for you and your ministry and in our Lord,

Response #13:

KJV has "endless" here for akatalytos, and that is helpful for purposes of this discussion. Yes, it is the parallel between Melchizedek's (apparent) unending life and our Lord's actual unending life (demonstrated in power by the resurrection) which is in view here.

Have a blessed Easter!

Your friend in Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Thank you ever so much for the thoughtful links as well as the scholarly info. Here is something I have been asked regarding this particular concern.

Therefore, based on the KJV Hebrews 7:3 translation – how long does Paul declare that the man Melchizedek would actually ‘abide’ as a priest?

Did he actually say CONTINUALLY?

Hebrews 7:3 (KJV)
3 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.

To this end, if Melchizedek actually DIED what became of His CONTINUAL priesthood according to the KJV translation of Heb. 7:23?

Hebrews 7:23-24 (KJV)
23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

Also, seeing that Paul declared that this man Melchizedek would have NO END OF LIFE do we have any secular record or Scriptures that reveal a DEAD Melchizedek?

Response #14:

As I attempt to explain in the links (Melchizedek I and Melchizedek II), the "problem" with this passage in Hebrews is that the essential grammar is nearly universally misunderstood, which leads to mis-translation, which leads in turn to mis-interpretation. Melchizedek only "abides a priest forever" in the analogy of being "likened to the Son of God". So the point is that the Son of God abides forever. Jesus is the focus here, not Melchizedek who is only being used as an analogous point of comparison, and only in terms of the details provided by scripture. Paul does not actually say, therefore, that Melchizedek will abide forever (he was a human being and passed from the scene millennia ago). To provide a paraphrase which I hope you will find helpful, what Paul means is . . .

"Now about this Melchizedek we know little from scripture – he has no genealogy and we don't even know his date of birth or death. So I want to use him as an analogy to make a point about the priesthood of Christ. Just as, as far as we know from scripture, Melchizedek's priesthood has no beginning or end, so in fact with our Lord Jesus His priesthood actually does abide forever (in stark contrast to the Levitical priesthood)."

In the Greek, verses 1-3 of chapter seven are one sentence, and attempting to parse out part of this sentence or break it up or understand one part without the others will not do. Greek often makes use of these complicated periods which are largely foreign to modern English speakers, and on top of that Paul's thinking and expression is particularly complex and problematic if every aspect of the construction is not first fully understood.

The major grammatical "fly in the ointment" for incorrect assessments of this passage is the participle aphoiomenos which is circumstantial and conditions the entire sentence in a pivotal way, explaining it as an analogy (but is often treated only as an inconvenient aside!). The major semantic "fly in the ointment" for incorrect assessments of this passage is the fact that the argument is presented in reverse of what we would expect (Greek does this often enough as well; cf. the verb lanthano): the theological point being made by Paul is all about Christ's perpetual priesthood (and I hope any casual observer would have to admit that obvious fact), so that Melchizedek is only brought in as a loose parallel to explain the eternity and special nature of Christ's priesthood; the passage is not about Melchizedek and is not making any advance on what scripture says about him in Genesis. Failure to take these two facts into consideration is at the heart of all the "problems" in interpreting this passage. However, given what Paul is clearly doing in Hebrews, I have always found it passably odd that good Christian interpreters have so badly missed the boat in failing to see that this is all about Jesus and His priesthood (which point will be missed to the extent that the focus is felt to shift to Melchizedek as somehow exceptional in a supernatural way).

Hope this helps. As I say, the specifics of grammar and translation are covered at the links. Feel free to write back in case you have any follow-up questions, however.

Yours in our great High Priest Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

As I have read your suggested links may I humbly ask the following question. Was the "humanity" of Jesus in the loins of Adam when Adam fell? Likewise, was the "humanity" of Jesus in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to the mortal man Melchizedek and was "blessed’ by Melchizedek - seeing that Paul declared in Heb. 7:7 the "less is blessed by the better"?

Hebrews 7:7 (KJV)
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

Response #15:

Well, Paul doesn't say so. And, after all, Jesus was virgin-born, which is one of the many factors that makes our Lord's situation different from everyone else'. Also, although our Lord's humanity did come through Abraham on His mother's side, the fact that He is the Son of God would surely negate any such calculation. As Jesus tells Peter when the latter is questioned by the individuals collecting the temple tax, "Then the sons are free" from these sorts of obligations (Matt.17:26 NKJV). It is also the case that Jesus is descended from David, but as our Lord tells the Pharisees . . .

"How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." ' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"
Matthew 22:43-45

Since He is LORD of all, all such human considerations are trumped by His privilege as the first born Son of God.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

What do you think about this excerpt from Quran, 11Q13 and its references to Melchizedek?

Melchizedek in the Dead Sea Scroll 11Q13 11Q13 (11QMelch) is a fragment (that can be dated end II century or start I century BCE) of a text about Melchizedek found in Cave 11 at Qumran in Israel and which comprises part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this eschatological text Melchizedek is seen as a divine being and Hebrew titles as Elohim are applied to him. According to this text Melchizedek will proclaim the "Day of Atonement" and he will atone for the people who are predestined to him. He also will judge the peoples.

http://www.simchatyeshua.org/assets/halakhah/Melchizedek.pdf

http://otstory.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/melchizedek-in-11q13-11qmelch/

http://ad2004.com/Biblecodes/Hebrewmatrix/melchizedek.html

Interestingly, there is a Dead Sea scroll that identifies Melchizedek as the one who will carry out the vengeance of God's judgments and the one who delivers the people from the hand of Belial and the spirits of his lot. Here is a translation for those who are interested.

The Coming of Melchizedek

Dead Sea Scroll: 11Q13, Column 2

(...) And concerning what Scripture says, "In this year of Jubilee you shall return, everyone f you, to your property" (Lev. 25;13) And what is also written; "And this is the manner of the remission; every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because God`s remission has been proclaimed" (Deut.15;2) the interpretation is that it applies to the Last Days and concerns the captives, just as Isaiah said: "To proclaim the Jubilee to the captives" (Isa. 61;1) (...) just as (...) and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, for (... Melchizedek), who will return them to what is rightfully theirs. He will proclaim to them the Jubilee, thereby releasing them from the debt of all their sins. He shall proclaim this decree in the first week of the jubilee period that follows nine jubilee periods. Then the "Day of Atonement" shall follow after the tenth jubilee period, when he shall atone for all the Sons of Light, and the people who are predestined to Melchizedek. (...) upon them (...) For this is the time decreed for the "Year of Melchizedek`s favour", and by his might he will judge God`s holy ones and so establish a righteous kingdom, as it is written about him in the Songs of David ; "A godlike being has taken his place in the council of God; in the midst of divine beings he holds judgement" (ps. 82;1). Scripture also says about him ; "Over it take your seat in the highest heaven; A divine being will judge the peoples" (Ps. 7;7-8) Concerning what scripture says ; " How long will you judge unjustly , and show partiality with the wicked? Selah" (Ps. 82;2), the interpretation applies to Belial and the spirits predestined to him, because all of them have rebelled, turning from God`s precepts and so becoming utterly wicked. Therefore Melchizedek will thoroughly prosecute the vengeance required by God`s statutes. Also, he will deliver all the captives from the power of Belial, and from the power of all the spirits destined to him. Allied with him will be all the "righteous divine beings"(Isa. 61;3). (The ...) is that whi(ch ...all) the divine beings.

The visitation is the Day of Salvation that He has decreed through Isaiah the prophet concerning all the captives, inasmuch as Scripture says, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion "Your divine being reigns"." (Isa. 52;7) This scriptures' interpretation: "the mountains" are the prophets, they who were sent to proclaim God`s truth and to prophesy to all Israel. "The messengers" is the Anointed of the spirit, of whom Daniel spoke; "After the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed shall be cut off" (Dan. 9;26) The "messenger who brings good news, who announces Salvation" is the one of whom it is written; "to proclaim the year of the LORD`s favour, the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn" (Isa. 61;2) This scripture`s interpretation: he is to instruct them about all the periods of history for eternity (... and in the statutes) of the truth. (...) (.... dominion) that passes from Belial and returns to the Sons of Light (....) (...) by the judgment of God, just as it is written concerning him; "who says to Zion "Your divine being reigns" (Isa. 52;7) "Zion" is the congregation of all the sons of righteousness, who uphold the covenant and turn from walking in the way of the people. "Your divine being" is Melchizedek, who will deliver them from the power of Belial. Concerning what scripture says, "Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; in the seventh month . . . " (Lev. 25;9)

The above excerpt from the Dead Sea Scrolls, reveals the same future duties for Melchizedek, that the New Testament reveals for Yeshua (Jesus). The matrix report and matrix below show that they are the same person.

Transcription of 11Q13 (11QMelch) Col. II

11QMelch Col. II

The transcription is taken from Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (eds.Garcνa Martinez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, 1208). Highlights in the transcription indicate the parts of the Old Testament verses which are quoted in the Hebrew text of the manuscript.

Translation of of 11Q 13 (11QMelch) Col. II

1 [...] … [...]

2 [...] And as for what he said: Lev 25:13 « In [this] year of jubilee, [you shall return, each one, to his respective property », concerning it he said: Deut 15:2 « Th]is is

3 [the manner of the release:] every creditor shall release what he lent [to his neighbour. He shall not coerce his neighbour or his brother, for it has been proclaimed] a release

4 for G[od ». Its interpretation] for the last days refers to the captives, who [...] and whose

5 teachers have been hidden and kept secret, and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, fo[r ...] … and they are the inherita[nce of Melchize]dek, who

6 will make them return. And liberty will be proclaimed for them, to free them from [the debt of] all their iniquities. And this [wil]l [happen]

7 in the first week of the jubilee which follows the ni[ne] jubilees. And the d[ay of aton]ement is the e[nd of] the tenth [ju]bilee

8 in which atonement shall be made for all the sons of [light and] for the men [of] the lot of Mel[chi]zedek. [...] … over [the]m … [...] accor[ding to] a[ll] their [wor]ks, for

9 it is the time for the « year of grace » of Melchizedek, and of [his] arm[ies, the nat]ion of the holy ones of God, of the rule of judgment, as is written

10 about him in the songs of David, who said: Ps 82:1 « Elohim will [st]and in the assem[bly of God,] in the midst of the gods he judges ». And about him he sai[d: Ps 7:8-9 « And] above [it,]

11 to the heights, return: God will judge the peoples ». As for what he sa[id: Ps 82:2 « How long will you] judge unjustly and show partia[lity] to the wicked? [Se]lah. »

12 Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot, wh[o ...] turn[ing aside] from the commandments of God to [commit evil.]

13 But, Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of Go[d's] judgments, [and on that day he will fr]e[e them from the hand of] Belial and from the hand of all the sp[irits of his lot.]

14 To his aid (shall come) all « the gods of [justice »; and h]e is the one w[ho ...] all the sons of God, and … [...]

15 This [...] is the day of [peace about whi]ch he said [... through Isa]iah the prophet, who said: [Isa 52:7 « How] beautiful

16 upon the mountains are the feet [of] the messen[ger who] announces peace, the mess[enger of good who announces salvati]on, [sa]ying to Zion: your God [reigns. »]

17 Its interpretation: The mountains [are] the prophet[s ...] … [...] for all … [...]

18 And the messenger i[s] the anointed of the spir[it] as Dan[iel] said [about him: Dan 9:25 « Until an anointed, a prince, it is seven weeks. » And the messenger of]

19 good who announ[ces salvation] is the one about whom it is written that [...]

20 « To comfo[rt] the [afflicted », its interpretation:] to instruct them in all the ages of the wo[rld ...]

21 in truth … [...] … [...]

22 [...] has turned away from Belial and will re[turn ...] … [...]

23 [...] in the judgment[s of] God, as is written about him: [Isa 52:7 « Saying to Zi]on: your God rules. » [« Zi]on » i[s]

24 [the congregation of all the sons of justice, those] who establish the covenant, those who avoid walking [on the pa]th of the people. And « your God » is

25 [... Melchizedek, who will fr]e[e them from the ha]nd of Belial. And as for what he said: Lev 25:9 « You shall blow the hor[n in] all the [l]and of

The translation is taken from Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (eds.Garcνa Martinez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, 1209). Highlights in the translation indicate the parts of the Old Testament verses.

Response #16:

Always good to hear from you. Here are links to where I have written about what scripture has to say about Melchizedek:

Melchizedek and the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ

New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek

In a word, Melchizedek was just who scripture says he was (rightly understood, that is): the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High (appointed by God, as far as scripture details, rather than being a hereditary priest). In this way he resembles Christ, and so Paul used him to explain the differences (and the superiority) between Christ's priesthood and the Levitical ones: His is eternal while theirs endures only as long as they remain alive; His is by direct appointment by God while theirs is merely inherited. Christ is the point in Paul's comparison, not Melchizedek, and the Messiah is the point in the Psalm 110:4, not Melchizedek. It's not amazing to me that Jewish interpreters get the OT Melchizedek mixed up with the Messiah, but it is astounding how many Christian exegetes miss entirely what Paul is saying in Hebrews: it's all about Jesus Christ.

As to the specifics of your question, I don't find it at all surprising that something like this occurs in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Extra-biblical Jewish writings of that period and throughout the days of the early and medieval Church are filled with this sort of thing. After all, Paul wrote Hebrews in large part to disabuse actual Christians in Jerusalem of the idea that Jesus might have been an angel or was somehow inferior to angels. Most believe that Gnosticism, the fascination with angelic-type beings and similar manifestations, had Jewish origins. We know very well that only the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are divine, so we can give this particular text the attention it deserves. Honestly, I have gotten very little of value out of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In my opinion, for true believers, they are probably the most over-hyped scholarly find of the entire Church Age. About the only thing they do show is that the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Old Testament is wonderfully well preserved and so close to the original as to remove any necessity for concern.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I often here anti-Trinitarians say that the Son was the intermediate creator and not the primary creator. They will go to the Greek to prove this by saying the word "through" (dia) shows that the Son was God's agent (created) through who He made all things. They would also argue that the Son as the "Logos" is the Wisdom of God. To me it would seem that if the Logos is the Wisdom of God, then the Logos would still be eternal since I cannot imagine a time where God was without Wisdom.

Also, is the only "begotten" Son a mistranslation? I heard that the Greek word is actually "monogenes" instead of "monogennao" (begotten). That the Son is the one or unique (mono) of a kind (genes) Son of God. And if this is the case, then would it be correct to state that the Son is not "eternally begotten"? To me, it seems as if that makes the Son inferior to the Father. I believe as I understand scripture, that the Logos became the Son at the incarnation (today I have begotten thee). This would also explain why the Son is subject to the Father in His humanity. I also noticed that the same word "subject" used to describe the Son being subject to the Father so that God may be all in all (Corinthians) is used in the Gospels when Jesus said that He was about His Father's business but then goes on to read that He was also "subject" to His earthly parents. So would this mean that even in His humanity, being under the authority of someone doesn't make Him inferior? I apologize for all these questions, it's just that for some reason people are always trying to convince me that Jesus is not God. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him. If the Holy Spirit lives in all true believers, why would they deny that Jesus is God, which is the opposite of Glorifying Him? Can you help me with these questions? Thanks!

Also, I forgot to mention an argument brought to me which I've never heard before. The argument was basically that the logos was God's expression of Himself and not actually God. He likened it unto "God is light" or "God is love". That both love and light are expressions of God in the same manner that the Word is an expression is God. Is there any biblical precedence for this or is this entirely reading into the text what isn't there? Thanks!

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #17:

Those who are not interested in the truth or who actively oppose it will always be coming up with new wrinkles to explain why their lies might possibly be true. The first thing for believers is to remember is what is true; after that, we can tackle the specifics of the lies hurled against the truth – just as you are doing in such an admirable fashion! Your argument about glorification is an excellent one.

We know that Jesus is God (see the link). We also know that in order for us to be saved He had to come into the world as a genuine human being (see the link). This is not subtraction but addition: Jesus is a true human being now; He is also God and could never have not been God since He is God. So the fact that within time and space, within the course of history, He acts as God the Father's Agent and His Substitute for the sins of the world is well-known to and well-understood by all Christians with even a modicum of familiarity with the Bible. This does not mean that He is not also co-equal and co-eternal and con-substantial with the Father and the Spirit. Indeed He is – in His deity. Assuming that because Jesus is now also a human being that He cannot also be God is illogical – that is if anyone believes what the Bible says.

As to the specifics, the question these individuals raise in the issue of creation makes my case. God is greater than the universe and existed before He made the universe and continues to exist outside of the time and space He created. Indeed, only God could exist outside of time and space; we creatures are just that, "created persons", who by definition were made by Him to have our existence within this time-space environment He made for us, and it is by definition impossible for us to exist without it. So Jesus' humanity exists here in time and space; however, His deity has always existed, even before there was time or space. After all, how in the world could He have created time and space if He were a creature who by definition could only exist within that very time and space which He had yet to create? Only by assuming that God is not really God (i.e., incorrectly limiting Him to time and space) or by denying the Bible which says clearly in many places that Jesus created time and space could it be consistently argued on this basis that Jesus is not God. If we accept from the Bible that Jesus created the universe, and if we accept that God existed before He made the universe, then beyond all reasonable argument Jesus is God.

This applies clearly to the Logos as well, so that there is no need to delve in esoteric argumentation of the type you report (what we have here is an arbitrary and unbiblical redefining of terms and then the making of an argument based on those incorrect definitions – a prime fallacy). Here is what I read in the gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1- KJV

Jesus is the Word. The Word is God. Jesus/the Word was "with" God "in the beginning" (and in the Greek this means that He was on an equal basis with the Father before the world was made). Nothing that exists was not made by Him – so He certainly was not made. Since the Word was "with", literally, "face to face with" God, clearly, the Word, while God in His own right, is not God the Father. The Trinity is the only logical formulation which explains all of the details in this passage (or the way these matters are described throughout scripture).

I'm not sure how much more clearly John could have said it. It just goes to show the hardness of unbelief that so many are unwilling to accept the truth of these words. Actually, of course, those who oppose the truth of these words really are not interested in the truth or the Word or the Lord or God – they are playing games and they consider it a high priority to have the Bible support their folly (which of course it does not).

On the issue of monogenes, this Greek word is a translation of the Hebrew word yachidh, and it is applied to our Lord Jesus just as yachidh is applied to Isaac so that we may see the deliberate scriptural parallel between the two "uniquely born" sons and the sacrifices the father and the Father were willing to make. Of course the differences between the two are vast: Isaac is a type of Christ but he is not Christ. Just because the Greek word chosen by the Septuagint to render yachidh has the morpheme gen- which has to do with birth or becoming does not in anyway mean that Jesus is not God (and after all He most certainly was "uniquely born" through the virgin birth – in His humanity). As this is a fairly technical discussion when all the details are taken into account, I will ask you have a look at the following links for the rest of it:

Mongenes

"Only begotten"

The Only Begotten God?

I think I have answered all of the points here (although please do feel free to write me back about any of the above). Also, as you know, I have a lot of information on all these matters at the website. You might have a look at some of these links:

Jesus is God.

Where does the Bible teach that Jesus is God?

The Divinity of Jesus.

What does "the Word was with God" mean in John 1:1-2?

Kenosis and the Hypostatic Union

Kenosis: Our Lord's Self-Limitation during the 1st Advent

Kenosis: How did Jesus know He was divine?

"The Persons of God: The Trinity", in BB 1: Theology

BB 4A: Christology

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

I have been reading through some of your information concerning how to understand "monogenes" as it applies to the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the missing points is that thsg which gave Issac his "monogenes" was his relationship to his mother. He was the only begotten Son of Promise....his mother Sarah gives him the uniqueness of the title. As pointed out, Abraham had other sons, o which among them were first born males, even as Ishmael. But the promise was to Sarah that she would fulfill the promise of the firstborn. Issac is Sarah's only-begotten son, she had no other. Sarah gives the only-begotten sonship to Issac.

This also occurs again with David. He receives his only begotten status fron his mother, for David's father had other sons before David, but by other women. David is his mother's only-begotten from dsvid's father as was Isssc.to Sarah and Abraham.

The same follows with our Lord. Jesus Only begotteness originates with the Father, but it is only manifested through Mary. Mary gives the uniqueness of her Virginity to Jesus in His beciming Only begotten "Son", not essence of divinity but in Jesus Hypostasis He is wholly One and undivided.

This by necessity establishes the perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos. Christ is not part Only begotten..as in Diety, but not humanity; Jesus is fully God and fully Man and His "monogenes" is one and undivided in His hypostasis.

Sarah's womb gives the seed life. So, the Virgin's womb gives life without man's seed. That which is conceived is the fulfillment of Promise in both stories. In both stories the Father already has many sons. [it is not illogical to reference that Joesph the betrothed also has a tradition of already having sons, and thus already a firstborn. Possibly, congruent to the stories established unity by necessity of fulfillment of types, but thats anither story]. In each story the uniqueness of conception is significant and important as the fulfillment of Promise. This is the single uniqueness which only the English word Only-Begotten satisfies to expound what precisely is unique about "monogenes". The promise is fulfilled through the seed of the Woman: the Only-Begotten One.

Jesus is One single Monogenes, not two and not divided. Hr is the fulfillment to the Woman, just as it was to Eve and Sarah

Response #18:

Dear Friend,

What is your evidence that David's was born of another mother than were his brothers?

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

This page summerizes it well.

http://www.peacekey.com/1-1-a/OSAS/Psalms%2051/David's%20Family.htm

And please, the arguments about original sin as author of page express only his views, not mine. I find his genealogy of david adequate of my own study, but there are other Biblical/Theological reasons than mere genealogy, that being important in topic of present context.

Thank you.

Response #19:

David is described in scripture as "the Son of Jesse", and as the passages your article cites makes clear, made provisions for his mother as well as his father when he was on the run from Saul. As to the rest of the article, it is highly speculative, drawing much of its apparent force from the famous quote "in sin my mother conceived me"; but, regardless of what we take this to mean, the tenor of the Psalm and that section of the Psalm is directed to David's own evaluation of himself rather than on blaming someone else (for anything), and there are plenty of other reasons why I would find fault with this interpretation, with this article, and with this line of proof in general. As you seem in these latest emails not find that proof significant to your argument, however, we can perhaps dispense with further discussion of that topic.

Starting again, perhaps you could make a bit clearer what your specific objections to the teachings advanced on this site regarding monogenes are?

For example, I am not clear on what you mean by "Jesus is One single Monogenes, not two and not divided" or "He is the fulfillment to the Woman, just as it was to Eve and Sarah". While I am not quite clear about the meaning of either statement, they seem to me to work at cross-purposes. I take monogenes to be uniquely applicable to Jesus Christ – He is the only virgin-born human being in the history of the world, "uniquely born" indeed. Isaac is a type of Christ in many ways, including in his unique, but only roughly parallel special birth. Eve is not a part of this comparison at all. Christ is "the Seed of the woman", the archetypical human being who saves all the rest of us from damnation, but that is something different from being monogenes and I don't see any biblical justification for running these two important separate truths into one.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Thank you so much Bob. I have had such pain in my left shoulder for 6 months that I haven't been able to pick up even my laptop! The ultrasound revealed only deep seated inflammation to ligaments+ muscles - no breaks. I have been using my blackberry most times. My last children's story I'm sending to Xulon press contest - so come what may I must get back to writing! I am still praying for you + for Gaurav + Simmie's little one + am writing to them now. I am reading Watchman + Witness Nee's books on prayer - do you have a study on it Bob? I often wonder if I pray amiss! Just a question-who were those invited to the wedding supper- was it the bride? + were the overcomers the Bride ? In John 21 it talks about the number of fishes as being 153 - is that significant ? Thanks a lot Bob, for a wonderful website. Love to you all. In Him.

Response #20:

Great to hear from you, although I'm sorry to hear about your physical troubles. I do hope you win the Xulon contest, and wish you great success for your writing in any case. Thanks so much for your continuing prayers – they are greatly need at present!

As to your questions, most of my material on prayer is parceled out throughout the site rather than centralized, but I will give you some links below. The main thing I would wish to let you know is that while form is important, where a Christian is spiritually mature, what is in his/her heart is much more important that the formula used. That is to say, I think it would be very difficult for you to "get it wrong" in terms of "how you pray". Often, after all, we don't even know what we should pray, but the Spirit intercedes on our behalf in prayer nonetheless (Rom.8:26). The best thing to do is to keep at it.

Prayer

Corporate Prayer

The Lord's Prayer

Persistence in Prayer

Posture in Prayer

Please see the Subject Index on this for many more (and do feel free to write me back about specifics). On the 153 fish, here is something I've written about that:

153 Fish: Explaining some Difficult New Testament Passages

As to Bride, yes indeed we believers, the entire Church, is the Bride of Christ (see the link). The Friends of the Bride are the Millennial believers (who will match us in number one for one and constitute our Lord's double portion).

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ! And here's hoping to hear good news from you (and have good news for you) very soon.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Ah thank you so much, Bob. I knew I'd get a truthful answer. I have looked for "Friends of the Bride" and can't find it on the links. We had a teaching on it to the effect that they were friends, sent to help us Believers here on earth! Ouch! I am going to study the Millennium now, so am sure I'll find it there

Thanks again

Yours in Jesus our Lord and Saviour

Response #21:

You're very welcome.

Here is what I have written about the Friends of the Bride in CT 6 (info in two different places):

part 1

Since the last judgment of Revelation chapter twenty occurs in an interval or interim period between the end of time (i.e., following the resurrection and the destruction of the old heavens and earth described at Rev.20:11b) but before the beginning of eternity (i.e., prior to the creation of the new heavens and new earth described at Rev.21:1), and since the sheep and goats are judged sequentially and in the same venue in Matthew chapter twenty-five, we conclude that the final evaluation of the "friends of the Bride", that is, all who are saved from the point of Christ's return until the end of human history, also takes place during this interlude. This is the final phase of the resurrection of the living prophesied by the apostle Paul:

(23) But each [will be resurrected] in his own echelon. Christ [is the] first-fruits (i.e., the initial person and echelon of resurrection). Next [will be] those belonging to Christ at His coming, [all believers at the 2nd Advent]. (24) Then the end [of human history, the resurrection of millennial believers], when He will hand the Kingdom over to the Father, after He has brought an end to all rule, all power, and all authority (i.e., hostile human and angelic control). (25) For He must rule until He has placed all His enemies under His feet.
1st Corinthians 15:23-25

part 2

The population of the New Earth outside of New Jerusalem will be composed of the Friends of the Bride, that is, the contingent of millennial believers not resurrected and rewarded until history's end. In number, these will equal the Bride, so that together saved humanity will be equal in number to elect angelic-kind (Satan and his followers having been replaced one for one by the Church, with the millennial cohort furnishing Christ with His "double portion").79 The Friends of the Bride will be composed of gentiles (whose kings are described in Rev.21:24), but also of Jews in disproportionately large numbers (we have posited elsewhere that the proportion of three to one of gentiles to Jews in the Church will be exactly reversed during the Millennium).80 Directly outside of the city, therefore, we may expect to find the New Israel, in proportion to its capital city greatly expanded in its territory (cf. Gen.17:7):

"Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."
Genesis 28:14 NIV

The remainder of the greatly enlarged New Earth (and possibly also the rest of the New Heavens, for that matter), will be occupied and husbanded by the gentile Friends of the Bride.

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided the sons of men, He established the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.
Deuteronomy 32:8

And here is something from BB 4A:

As to the third, the firstborn's double-portion of inheritance, in our Lord's case, this consists of His dearest possessions, the Bride (i.e., the Church consisting of all pre-second advent believers: Rev.21:9; cf. Eph.5:22-33; Rev.19:7-8; 21:2; 22:17), and "the Friends of the Bride (i.e., the equal number of millennial believers: Ps.45:14-15; Rev.19:9). Our Lord's uniqueness is thus pellucidly clear in His unprecedented rulership of the world which only the Messiah can attain (Matt.22:41-45; Heb.3:1-6; Rev.1:5-7; 5:4-5; 11:15), the eternal priesthood "according to the order of Melchizedek" which required the sacrifice which only God's Son could provide (Heb.7:26; cf. Heb.15-17), and in the fulfillment and possession of the Bride and her Friends, which only the God-Man will achieve (Rom.8:29; Heb.2:13).

Hope this helps!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #22:

How did you get on and how is your mother? I've been battling with a painful shoulder plus heart investigations ,but still battle on! Have not been able to understand fully about the Friends of the Bride -you did send me some info,but I still can't grasp it. I looked on your site and saw it was the Milenium believers..so now must get an undrerstanding of the difference between them and the Bride of Christ? If you could just give me the link.

Thanks a lot

Love in our precious Lord Jesus

Response #22:

Good to hear from you! I had a splendid time with my mother (thanks for asking). Considering her age and everything else, she is doing quite well. I am sorry to hear that you are having some troubles. I will definitely add this to the prayer list.

As to your question, in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 Paul explains the resurrection as consisting of three phases:

(23) But each [will be resurrected] in his own echelon. Christ [is the] first-fruits (i.e., the initial person and echelon of resurrection). Next [will be] those belonging to Christ at His coming, [all believers at the 2nd Advent]. (24) Then the end [of human history, the resurrection of millennial believers], when He will hand the Kingdom over to the Father, after He has brought an end to all rule, all power, and all authority (i.e., hostile human and angelic control). (25) For He must rule until He has placed all His enemies under His feet.
1st Corinthians 15:23-25

The three phases are thus 1) Jesus Christ, 2) the Church, we who "belong to Him" and raised to meet Him at His return (e.g., 1Thes.4:13-17), and 3) everyone else who is resurrected at "the end" of the Millennium.

The Church consists of all believers from Adam and Eve to the last person to be saved before Christ appears in the sky at the second advent. At that moment all believers, living and dead, will be raised so as to return with Him (e.g., 1Thes.4:13-17); these constitute His Bride, His Assembly, His Church (you and me and all our brothers and sisters from Adam and Eve to the last one saved before Christ returns). After the battle of Armageddon, Jesus will commence His millennial reign, and many will be saved over the course of the 1,000 years which follow to be resurrected at "the end". In fact, there are scriptural indications that the number of these millennial believers will precisely equal the number of believers in the Church: since the Church is a one-for-one replacement of the fallen angels, that means that the final, completed and resurrected family of God will consist of an equal number of elect human beings and elect angels (because the "two thirds" of the angels who did not rebel will be matched by the portion of the Church and the equal number double-portion of millennial believers (i.e., two thirds = one third plus one third); see the links: "Christ's double portion"; "The double portion of the First-born", and "Proportion Shown by the Jewish Ceremonial Calendar").

(6) And I heard something like the sound of a great crowd, like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of powerful peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah (i.e., "praise the Lord")! For God our Lord the Almighty has begun His kingly reign! (7) Let us rejoice and be jubilant, and let us give glory to Him, because the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His Bride (lit., "wife"; cf. Rev.21:9) has prepared herself.59 (8) And it has been given her to wear a pure, resplendent [gown] of the finest material (now this fine material represents the righteous acts of His holy ones [believers])." (9) And [the angel] said to me, "Write this down: Happy are those who have been called to the [wedding] supper of the Lamb! These [words] of mine are the true words of God".
Revelation 19:6-9

Those called to celebrate Jesus' "marriage" to the Bride, His Church, will consist of all who have believed since His return; these are they who will participate in the victory/marriage banquet during the early days of the Millennium (see the link: in CT 6, "The Wedding Supper of the Lamb"). Now at that point this group will not yet have been resurrected, nor will it be anything near complete, but this passage gives the millennial group of believers their name, "The Friends of the Bride", because in accordance with ancient and modern custom the bride at any wedding is traditionally accompanied by a group of friends. I use this name for the millennial believers in toto (and am not alone in so doing), because it ties the group closely to the Bride and the Bridegroom while at the same time both drawing a clear distinction between this group and the Bride/Church as well as explaining the relationship (i.e., these are as close to the Bride as one can get without actually being the Bride).

(13) All glorious is the princess within [her chamber]; her gown is interwoven with gold. (14) In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. (15) They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.
Psalm 45:13-15 NIV

In this Messianic psalm we also see the Bride (princess), the Bridegroom (king) and the Friends of the Bride (virgin companions). Since this psalm is a victory song for Christ's second advent defeat of the devil and commencement of His millennial reign, the presence of the Bride and her companions should likewise be seen as prophetic and as precisely paralleling Revelation 19:6-9 (quoted above).

(21b) And the city's [network of] main streets was pure gold as if [made of] diaphanous crystal. (22) And I did not see a temple in the [city], for the Lord God the Almighty is its temple, and [so is] the Lamb. (23) And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God illuminated it and the Lamb was its lamp. (24) And the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. (25) And the gates of the city shall never be closed in the daytime. Indeed, there will be no night there [at all]. (26) And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations (i.e., everything valuable and fine) into it. (27) And nothing profane and no doer of abominations or any liar will enter into [the city], only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 21:21b-27

This description of the eternal state and New Jerusalem shows a significant population living outside the New Jerusalem. These cannot be part of "the Church", because as we are told earlier in the chapter that the Church's place will be inside New Jerusalem, precisely as we should expect since Christ has promised us that we will always be with Him (e.g., Jn.14:3; cf. 1Thes.4:17).

And I saw holy city, New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, beautified as a bride adorned for her [future] husband.
Revelation 21:2

(9) Then one of the seven angels who have the seven bowls filled with the seven final plagues came [up to me], and he spoke with me, saying, "Come. I will show you the Bride, the Lamb's wife". (10) Then he carried me in the Spirit to a mountain, great and high, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (11) and [it shone] with the glory of God.
Revelation 21:9-11a

Since the Bride is inside, those outside (who have to be believers for they are they are described as coming and going in and out of the New Jerusalem, a place where "no unclean thing" can enter: Rev.21:27), must be the millennial believers, the Friends of the Bride.

Finally, this group of believers which is resurrected at "the end" (1Cor.15:24), are also represented as "the sheep" in the judgment described in Matthew chapter 25 (see the link: in CT 6 "The Judgment of the Sheep"). These are the "good wheat" who are separated from the tares by the angels and brought into the "kingdom of the Father" (Matt.13:24-30), the eternal state of the New Heavens and New Earth with its capital, New Jerusalem, where the Father will indeed dwell with His family forevermore (Rev.21:3).

So while they are described in scripture by various names (i.e., [those resurrected at] "the end"; "virgin companions"; "those invited to the wedding supper"; "kings" and "nations"; "sheep"), these Friends of the Bride are the believers of the Millennium (by any name), that is, all who believe from the point of the resurrection of the Church until the end of history at the conclusion of Christ's millennial reign.

There is more information the following links as well:

The Friends of the Bride

The Population of the New Earth

Hope this helps! Do feel free to write back about this or anything else.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

 

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