4. Melchizedek - A Type of the Christ to Come
We proceed to consider Deedat's manner of dealing with the resemblance between Jesus and his forerunner, Melchizedek. He says of the latter that he is “another person greater than Jesus” (Christ in Islam, page 26) and quotes Hebrews 7:3, which says that Melchizedek was without father, mother or descent, and had neither beginning of days nor end of life. After this description three innocuous-looking dots follow in Deedat's booklet (page 26). This is not unusual - the phenomenon occurs in other booklets Deedat has written (see No.1 in this series, The Crucifixion of Christ: A Fact, not Fiction) and in pamphlets published by his Islamic Propagation Centre. These three dots invariably stand for certain words that have been discreetly omitted from the text by Deedat because they refute the very point he is trying to make. A remarkable phenomenon indeed! We shall quote the whole passage from Hebrew, placing in italics the words of the text casually suppressed by Deedat and replaced by three little dots:
The closing words in italics openly refute the point Deedat is laboring to make, that is, that Melchizedek was “greater than Jesus” for they show plainly that he only resembles the Son of God. He was thus only a forerunner, a type, a shadow and limited example of the eternal High Priest to come.
The point made in the passage quoted from Hebrews is that the Scriptures do not contain a genealogy of Melchizedek, not that he actually had no genealogy. They simply do not mention his father, mother or genealogy, nor do they tell us when he was born or when he died. He appears in a brief passage in Genesis 14 where he is described as the king of Salem, who met Abraham returning from a slaughter of the people who captured his nephew Lot. He is openly described as a “priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18) but apart from these notes, no other mention is made of him.
The argument set forth in the Epistle to the Hebrews is that Jesus was not a Levitical priest after the order of Aaron but an eternal high priest after the order of Melchizedek. This means that as the latter's beginning and end are not specifically mentioned in the Bible, so in this respect he prefigures Jesus who was actually from heaven, an eternal being who really has no beginning or end in an absolute sense. Melchizedek only resembled him - the point Deedat subtly obscures - and the brief description of his character as a priest of God to whom Abraham paid tithes serves as an example of the ultimate, true minister of God to come, Jesus Christ.