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Q- You make a unique connection in your portrayal of Melchizedek. How do you predict it will go over with the public?

A- I don’t think “unique” is helpful in this context. I prefer something in the order of “discovery.” I see it as a rich vein of gold that perhaps no human ever laid eyes on. No one would say the gold is unique, but the discovery is without precedent—at least as far as I know. Mysterious is often how Melchizedek is described, so I wrote about him in the style of an investigation. First, I laid several chapters of groundwork for the priest, and his God-given role, so we could identify them by their actions. The mine is the Old Testament and its history, so that’s where we did the biggest share of the digging. The Lord directed not only our curiosity, but he led us to the unveiling of Melchizedek and of his order of priests as well.

Q-  How do you think it will be received by Christians?

A-  Hard to say. I am not optimistic that those who share my faith will see this book for what it is. I see it as transformational, but, most are not to the point where they see anything wrong with the traditional way we are doing things. Reform must come from the outside, and this has that potential. What I write is solid from a Biblical standpoint, but lies outside the accepted boundaries of what we call “the church.”

Many will look at the title and go “Ho-hum,” though “priest” is a common Bible term and common to our faith. Some may be somewhat intrigued by the sub-title, but, after seeing it doesn’t confirm their belief about Melchizedek, they will likely dismiss it. (I ran into this already.) Others will ask their trusted church leaders or teaching elders what they think, and will meet with a negative caution such as “You must be careful about books like these! I heard it was written by a Mormon,” or something else absolutely false. Whatever enthusiasm there is, then has water poured on it. I understand, believe me. I used to do the same thing. With all of that said, I’m hopeful there are believers who will trust the Scriptures, trust the Holy Spirit and read with a Christian mind—sort of like a non-prejudiced juror charged with hearing and weighing objectively all the evidence before rendering a decision.

The first time we saw the house we live in today, nothing on the outside sparked my interest. My wife suggested we look, since it had a “For Sale” sign and was across the street from the church. We had an accepted contract on another house, but were dealing with some big obstacles. I listened and we toured it. It had a lot of things we didn’t like—they were style things like carpeting and paneling—but the price was right and buying it made a ton of sense. From the street, it is still not an eye-catcher. Inside, there are big pluses. It’s the backyard, the gardens, and all that, that have made it great for us. The thing I’m saying is if we were only subjective we wouldn’t have given it a serious look. We would have missed out on a fine home. Subjectively, this book may appear uninteresting but it is anything but–if you love God’s Word that is.

One other obstacle I should mention, keeping Christians from picking up The Priests of God and saying “Wow!” is how we receive our information. Book reading is not exactly what many are spending time doing these days. Looking at our devices and monitoring our social network is more the norm. So, if there is no buzz on Facebook or Twitter about The Priests of God, then, for those on social media, it might as well not exist.

Rank-and-file Christians are conditioned: They rather be told what to think, then how to think. That’s what our culture has become. Reading this series is work. It challenges people to use Scripture to determine what is true–which is a superb concept. God gave us a mind for figuring out things. I love to make people think about important matters. Once thinking begins, there are fabulous rewards. There is a niche-market of Christian thinkers that will absolutely love The Priests of God–if they hear about it.

(Next week’s Part 6 of this interview with John Finkbeiner will be the last in the series.)

Q- Who are you writing this book for? What is your target audience?

A- That’s a question I wrestled with from the beginning. I used to think the books I would write were for Bible students of all ages. Now I am not so sure. Some excellent students of the Bible that I’ve met had no–I mean zero–curiosity about the end times. I came to the conclusion there is a sub-section of Bible students that The Prophets, Priests and Kings Series connects with, namely the last day’s saints. There has to be an interest in end time prophecy or, even if one is a student of Scripture, the lights won’t go on. There is a veil over the mind. On the other hand, end time saints who are going through hardships like we find in the Gospels, or they expect to go through persecution, for instance, well, they have a hunger that this series satisfies.  Since we cannot be sure when final events leading to Jesus’ return will happen, I may be history before The Priests of God serves it’s true purpose. So be it. As long as it serves the saints.

Q- Define the term “order” in reference to “the Order of Melchizedek.”

A- I like this question because I believe there is a lot of misunderstanding on this issue. When the Bible uses “order” it implies both heritage and legacy. For example, we have the Aaronic Order of priests, which means Aaron’s descendants inherited their position as priests because they were in the blood line of Aaron, the high priest of Israel. God anointed and appointed Aaron as high priest over the nation of Israel, then his sons took over, then his grandsons, and so on down through the generations. In Jesus’ day, there were twenty-four divisions of priests (1 Chronicles 24:1), all descendants of Aaron. His offspring will go forever, but take a back seat in the Millennium serving the priestly order of Melchizedek.

Let’s go back. Aaron’s order made up the priesthood, while others from their tribe, Levi, served the worship community in other ways. But here is something I did not realize until I studied this, the priesthood of God was being passed from generation to generation long before Aaron came along. Amram, Moses’ and Aaron’s father,  was a high priest of the Hebrews while in Egypt. Does the Bible say this exactly? No, but it is implied. We see evidence in the protection of Moses and Aaron from Pharaoh’s edict to kill the male Hebrew babies. Obviously, God and the people took great pains to let no harm come to the infants Moses and Aaron. Hebrews tells us they were special babies. From Levi, Jacob’s son, came offspring who assumed priestly roles of carrying on sacred rites and guarding God’s oracles passed on from Noah to Abraham all preserved by a remnant. What I am getting at is the order of Aaron, the high priest, did not start with him; he was a priest in an order that started with God, heaven’s high priest, and passed to Adam as a priest of God, then to his sons.

If I may continue, we have a parallel to this order thing in the kingly line of David. The royal line–a synonym for order–runs in both directions from David. In one, leading through the present and culminating in the future, we have David’s legacy in Christ, the royal son of David, the Son of God. The Ruling Messiah is called David in Old Testament prophecy. And He, meaning Christ, will be seated on David’s throne and reign forever and ever. Others will learn in the last days they are also of the seed and offspring of David–but Christ Jesus is the ultimate King of kings.

In the other direction, David was an offspring of Caleb, an offspring of Judah, son of Jacob, grandson of Abraham. God told Abraham in Genesis 17, kings would come from him. So David is the father of royalty as well as a royal heir. With whom did David’s line begin? Listen to how Jesus refers to himself with respect to David in Revelation 22:16. “I am the Root and Offspring of David…” David sprang from Christ, the root, meaning the royal order originated with Christ, through God’s son, Adam (Luke 3:38). It ends with Christ. The order of Melchizedek originated in Christ, the root. Christ ministered at the altar in heaven. Many generations after Adam and Eve, Christ’s priestly seed was manifest in Melchizedek. He inherited it from the daughters of Eve. It was passed on by his female offspring to Mary, and other daughters of Zion yet to be identified in these last days. Christ, our high priest, is Root and Offspring, not of Aaron, but of Melchizedek, Priest of God Most High. It is amazing when we put it together.

 

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