Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Historical Melchizedek - The Book of the Bee

August 10, 2010
by Tim Barker

The Book of the Bee was a sacred Christian History by the Nestorians, who were a Christian offshoot, based on the teachings of Nestorius the "Patriarch of Constantinople."  This movement began sometime in the mid 5th century A.D. after Nestorius' teachings were condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.1 The text of this book is believed to have been written around 1222 A.D., by a Syrian Bishop named Solomon and contains many Biblical legends.2  From the text it is interesting to note that Melchizedek is given a genealogy from Noah through Shem, whose son was Arphaxad [Arphaxar below], and that Melchizedek received the priesthood from Shem.  The chapter on Melchizedek is included below:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Seal of Melchizedek

August 8, 2010 (updated September 3, 2010)
by Tim Barker

The "Seal of Melchizedek" is becoming a popular icon within modern Latter-day Saint culture, generally popularized by stories regarding the design of the San Diego Temple, and briefly discussed by Hugh Nibley, in his Temple and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present.  Brother Nibley includes an illustration by Michael Lyon of the below mosaic, and describes it as follows:
Another Ravenna mosaic, c. A.D. 520, shows the priest-king Melchizedek in a purple cloak, offering bread and wine at the altar (Genesis 14:18-20).  The white altar cloth is decorated with two sets of gammadia, as well as the so-called "seal of Melchizedek," two interlocked squares in gold.  Abel offers his lamb as Abraham gently pushes Isaac forward.  The hand of God reaches down to this sacred meeting through the red veils adorned with golden gammadia on either side.  The theme is the great sacrifice of Christ, which brings together the righteous prophets from the past as well as the four corners of the present world, thereby uniting all time and space."1
The Three Sacrifices of the Old Testament. Abel, Melchisedec, and Abraham (6th-7th century).
Mosaic, Ravenna, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe.2

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Apocryphal Melchizedek - The Book of the Secrets of Enoch

August 4, 2010
by Tim Barker

Abraham and Melchizedek, Verdun Altar, Bergun 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun

The purpose of this post is to document apocryphal writings relating to Melchizedek. This will be a continuing series, beginning with the Book of the Secrets of Enoch.  To take into consideration to our apocryphal studies, is Elder McConkie's statement that in order for us to "gain any real value from a study of apocryphal writings, the student must first have an extended background of gospel knowledge, a comprehensive understanding of the standard works of the Church, plus the guidance of the Spirit."1  Additionally, Hugh Nibley adds insight regarding a study of the corpus of apocryphal writings available.  He comments that "what makes the documents so exciting is that they follow along familiar grooves to the end and then continue onward into new territory, expanding the confines of the gospel."  He continues:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Scriptural Melchizedek

August 3, 2010
by Tim Barker

Melchizedek offering bread and wine to Abraham, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome

The purpose of this post is to document all the references to Melchizedek and the Melchizedek Priesthood  (where specifically mentioned) within the scriptures.  Succeeding posts related to Melchizedek will be forthcoming, including an analysis of the Scriptural Melchizedek, the Apocryphal Melchizedek, the Messianic Melchizedek, and other similar studies will be forthcoming.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Connection between Melchizedek and Shem

August 1, 2010
by Tim Barker

"...According to Jewish traditions, Melchizedek is Shem, the son of Noah, whom God consecrated to be a priest for ever, and who set up a kingdom on Salem."1 Included in his book on the Legends of Old Testament Characters, the Reverend Sabing Baring-Gould includes a quotation from the Targumim, stating, "Melchizedek, who was Shem, son of Noah, king of Jerusalem."2 Louis Ginzberg continues this tradition, in his Legends of the Bible (a condensed version of the 7-volume Legends of the Jews), stating that "when Abraham returned from the war, Shem, or, as he is sometimes called, Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, priest of God Most High, and king of Jerusalem, came forth to meet him with bread and wine."3 More recently, scholars Raphael Patai and Robert Graves note that, "others again say that Melchizedek (also known as Adoni-Zedek), was Abram's ancestor Shem, and that he now taught Abram the duties of priesthood..."4 Numerous other historical Jewish sources confirm this same teaching.