Offerings

Why is our Lord called a priest after the order of Melchizedek?

“King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High.”

6 Replies to “Offerings”

  1. It is associated with the bread and wine clearly showing precedence to the priesthood of the cult. (Hebrews 7:10,21) He is king of peace and of righteousness as is the One who died and was raised. It is one of the promises by oath in the Psalms (110). I wonder how to understand that Psalm – the beauty of holiness, the womb of the morning, the woundings, the judgment, drinking from the torrent in the way… Even that word – order – occurs only in the wisdom literature (Psalms once, Job once, Ecclesiastes 3 times).

    Why do you think? Maybe you will find another marvelous poem. I love what you have given us. Thanks.

  2. One day, the inhabitants of Scetis assembled together to discuss Melchizedek and they forgot to invite Abba Copres. Later on they called him and asked him about this matter. Tapping his mouth three times, he said ‘Alas for you, Copres! For that which God commanded you do, you have put aside, and you are wanting to learn something which you have not been required to know about.’ When they heard these words, the brothers fled to their cells.

  3. Christ was not descended from Aaron, nor was he even descended from Levi. Matthew and Luke both trace his descent from Judah via David. Melchizedek serves as a precedent for an older and higher priesthood, resident in what would later become the City of David and Capital of Judah, whose office was not dependent upon Aaronic or Levitical ancestry.

  4. What, Roland, do you make of the following? “In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. … And now [Mary], your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren” [Lk 1.5, 36]. Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron, is the relative of Mary. In addition to this, both of Mary’s parents in tradition, Joachim and Anna, even as read of in the Protevangelium Iacobi, were of priestly heritage. Throughout the patristic writings the connection was made that this is representative of Mary’s bearing a priestly heritage, and therefore Jesus bearing it too. The traditional explanation is that the genealogies of Matthew and Luke relate only to Joseph, and their differences describe two different lines which came together in a levirate marriage (note the letter by Africanus to Aristides, the core of which he gained directly from the Desposynoi, the Lord’s relatives). Seeing Melchizedek only as a pointer toward a non-Levitical priesthood is only one part of the story, and doesn’t in itself sufficiently explain much of the imagery used even in the apostolic writings, much less the patristic. Likewise, of the two “anointed” roles in ancient Israel, the Son of David King and the Son of Aaron (or Levi or Zadok) Priest, both were later to find expression as eschatological “messiahs” (anointed ones), indeed separately named as such in the Qumran scrolls. That these (the Kingly and the Priestly lines) were viewed as combined in Jesus by early Christians is not controversial at all. He is the unexpected “Anointed One” par excellence in that sense: a confounding surprise to those who were expecting separate messiahs, and further confounding by his nature, which was not the political figure expected, but a prophetic and, as we believe, a theophanic one.

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