Monday, March 19, 2007

Hebrews 7:3—a few observations

Today's note is a brief one, and focuses on Hebrews 7:3—
ἀπάτωρ ἀμήτωρ ἀγενεαλόγητος, μήτε ἀρχὴν ἡμερῶν μήτε ζωῆς τέλος ἔχων, ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ, μένει ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸ διηνεκές.
First, note the staccato opening: three alpha-privatives, no conjunctions: ἀπάτωρ ἀμήτωρ ἀγενεαλόγητος.

Then note the suspended present participle ("neither beginning of days nor of life an end having"), followed immediately by a perfect passive participle (ἔχων, ἀφωμοιωμένος), then the point: Christ remains a priest for perpetuity.

One last note, and this an interpretive/theological one: if Melchizedek was ἀφωμοιωμένος δὲ τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ, then he wasn't likely himself ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, was he? That is, one is not made like what one is. This should effectively rule out the suppositions one occasionally hears that Melchizedek was a pre-incarnational Christophany. The Son of God is not made like the Son of God.


Michael said...

Good point about Melchizedek not being a Christophany. I have always thought he was. Thanks for the correction.

Matthew S. Harmon said...


I think this example shows the value of typology. Melchizedek is not a Christophany, but rather a real human being whose actions, office, and mysterious origins point forward to Christ, although the original reader/hearer of Genesis would hardly have recognized this.