Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Apocryphal Melchizedek - Nag Hammadi Library

October 30, 2011
by Tim Barker

Melchizedek XI, 1, 1-27, 10

From The Nag Hammadi Library (James M. Robinson, Ed.)
Translated by Søren Giversen and Birger A. Pearson


The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts found in upper Egypt near the town Nag Hammadi in 1945.  These texts were translated under the direction of James M. Robinson by the Coptic Gnostic Library Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, first published in 1977; and provided below from the 1981 edition.  The following work was entitled Melchizedek, who is depicted as an "eschatological high priest and Messianic warrior," reflecting "Jewish speculations on Melchizedek current at the turn of the Common Era..."  In this apocryphal text, Melchizedek is identified with Jesus Christ.  This text was "originally written in Greek by an unknown author, possibly as early as the second century, probably in Egypt..."  The text contains revelations given to Melchizedek by heavenly messengers. The second revelation given to Melchizedek is his vision of the role of the Savior who suffered and triumphed.1 


   Jesus Christ, the Son [of God ...] from [...] the aeons, that I [might tell] all of the aeons, and in (the case of) each one of the aeons [that I might tell the] nature of the aeon, what [sort] it is, and that comradeship and goodness I might put on as a garment, O brother, [...].
   [...] their end [...].  And he will [reveal to them] the truth [...] proverb(s) [... from the beginning] in parables [and riddles...] proclaim them, Death will [tremble] and be angry, not only he himself, but also his [fellow] world-rulers, and archons [and] the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods together with the archangels.  And [...] all of them [... the] world-rulers [...] all of them, and all the [...].
   They will say [...concerning] him, and concerning [...] they  will [...] hidden [mysteries...] those that [...] out of [...] the All.  They will [...] this, the [lawyers] will overwhelm him with punishment.  [And they will] call him "impious man, lawless [(and) impure]."  And [on] the [third] day he [will rise from the] dead [...holy disciples.  And] the Savior [will reveal] to them [the word] that gives life to the [All].
   [But] those in the heavens spoken [many] words, together with those on the earth [and those] under the earth [...].
   [They] will come in his name, and they will say of him that he is unbegotten though he has been begotten, (that) he does not eat even though he eats, (that) he does not drink even though he drinks, (that) he is uncircumcised though he has been circumcised, (that) he is unfleshly though he has come in flesh, (that) he did not come to suffering <though> he came to suffering, (that) he did not rise from the dead <though> he arose from [the] dead.
   [But] all the natures [and all the...] will say [these things] while they are receiving from [you] yourself, O [Melchizedek], Holy One, [High Priest], the perfect hope [and] the [gifts of] life.  [I am Gamaliel] who was [sent] to [...] the congregation of [the children] of Seth, who are above [thousands of] thousands and [myriads] of myriads [of the] aeons [...] essence of the [aeons a] b[....] aiai ababa.  The divine [...] of the [...nature ... the Mother] of the aeons, [Barbelo, the first]-born of the aeons, splendid Doxomedon, Dom[...] the chief of the luminaries, Armozel, Oroiael, Daveithe, Eleleth, and the Man-of-light, immortal Aeon Pigeradamas, and the good god of the worlds who is beneficent, Mirocheirothetou, through Jesus Christ, the Son of God whom I proclaim.
   Just as the One who truly exists [of those who] exist [received the] greatness [] not [exist], Abel, Baruch [] you (sing.)  the knowledge [...] that he is [from the] race of the High Priest [which is] above [thousands of thousands] and [myriads] of myriads of the aeons.  The adverse [spirits are] ignorant of him and (of) their (own) destruction.  Not only (that, but) I have come to [reveal] to you [the] truth [which is] within the [brethren].  He included himself [in the] living [offering] together with your [offspring.  He offered] them up as a [sacrifice to the] All.  [But the cattle...] you will offer up [...] and the unbeliefs, [...] ignorances [and the] evil [...] which they [will do...].  And they [will not attain to the] Father of the All [...] the faith [...] to receive [baptism...] waters [...].  For [the waters] which are above [...] that receive baptism [...].  But receive [that baptism which is] with the waters which [...] while he is coming [...baptism] as they [...] pray for [...] archons and [all] the angels with [the] seed.
   It flowed [forth from the Father] of all the All [...the] entire [place] from [... He] engendered the [gods and the angels] and the men [...] out of the [seed] all of them, those in [the heavens and] those upon the earth and [those] under the [earth...] nature of the females [...] among those that are in the [...] they were bound with [...] true Adam [...] true Eve.
   [For when they ate] of the tree [of knowledge] they trampled [the Cherubim] and the Seraphim [with the flaming sword].  They [...] which is in Adam [...the] world-rulers and [...] them out [...after] they had brought forth [...] begetting fo the archons and [their worldly things] belonging to [...] light [...].  And the females and the [males] who exist with [... hidden] from every nature, [and they] renounce the archons, [that is, those who] receive from him the [...].  For [they] are worthy of [...immortal], and [great...] and [great... and] great [...] sons of [men... disciples ... image] and [...] from the [light...] wihch is holy.  For [...] from the [beginning...] a seed [...].
   But I will be slient [...] for we [are...who] came down from [...] living.  They will [...] upon the [...] of Adam [...Abel], Enoch, [Noah ... you], Melchizedek, [the Priest] of God [Most High ...] those [...] women [...].
   [...] these two who have been chosen.  [At] no time nor [in] any place will they be convicted, whenever they have been begotten, [by] their enemies, by their friends, [nor even] by strangers or their [own] kin, (nor) by the [impious] or the pious.  [... . All of] the adverse natures will [...] them, whether [those that] are manifest, or those that [are not manifest], together with those [that dwell] in the heavens and those that are [upon] the earth and those that are under the earth.  They will make [war...] every one [...].  For [...] whether in the [...] many [...].  And these in the [...] every [one] will [...].  These will [...] with every blow [...] sufferings.  These otherwise will be imprisoned [... and will] be punished [...].  The Savior will take them [away] and everyone will be overcome, [not with] their mouths and words but by means of the [...] which they will do to [them.  He will] destroy Death.
   [These things] which I was commanded to reveal, these things reveal [as I (have done)].  But [those things] which are hidden, do not reveal [to] anyone, unless [it is revealed] to you (to do so). 
   And [immediately I] arose, [I, Melchizedek], and I began to [...] God [...] that I should [rejoice...] while he [is acting...] living [... I said], I [... and I] will not cease, from [now on  for ever], O Father of the [All, because] you have had pity on me, and [you have sent the] angel of light [...] from your [aeons] reveal [...] when he came [... he raised] me up from ignorance and [from] the fruitfulness of death to life.  I have it as a name, I, Melchizedek, the Priest of [God] Most High.  I [know] that I am truly, [verily], the true High Priest [of] God Most High, and [...] the world.  For it is not [a] small [thing that] God [...] with [...] while he [...].  And [...the angels that dwell upon the] earth [...] the [...] of [...] whom Death deceived.  When he [died] he bound them with the natures which are [leading them astray].  Yet he offered up sacrifices [...] cattle [...] I gave them to [Death ... and the angels] and the [...] demons [...] living sacrifices [...] I have offered up myself to you as a sacrifice, together with those that are mine, to you yourself, (O) Father of the All, and (to) those things which you love, which have come forth from you who are holy (and) [living], even the [perfect] laws.  I shall pronounce my name as I receive baptism [now] (and) for ever among the living (and) holy [names], and in the [waters], Amen. 
   [Holy are you], Holy are [you], Holy are you, O [Father of the All], who truly exist [...who do(es) not exist, [Abel, Baruch ...] for ever and ever, [Amen].  Holy are [you, Holy are you], Holy are [you, ...] before [... for ever and] ever, [Amen].  Holy are [you], Holy are [you, Holy are you, Mother of the] aeon(s), Barbelo, for ever and ever, [Amen.  Holy are you], Holy are you, Holy are you, [First]-born of the aeons, Doxomedon.  [... for ever] and ever, Amen.  [Holy are you, Holy are you], Holy are you, [... for ever and ever], Amen.  [Holy are you, Holy are you], Holy are you [...] aeon [...for] ever and ever, [Amen.  Holy are you], Holy are you, [Holy are you], Commander, luminary [...] Oriael, for [ever and ever], Amen. Holy are you, [Holy are you, Holy are you], Commander [...] Man-of-Light, [...] for ever [and ever, Amen].  Holy are you, [Holy are you, Holy are you, Commander-in-chief...] aeon.  [Holy are you, Holy are you, Holy are you, ... for ever and ever], Amen.  [Holy are you], Holy are [you], Holy are you, good [god of] the worlds, [(you) who are beneficent], Mirocheirothetou, [for] ever and ever, [Amen.  Holy are] you, [Holy are you, Holy are you], Commander-in-chief [of the] All, Jesus Christ, [for ever and ever], Amen.
   [...].  Blessed [...] confession. [And...] confess him [...] now [...] then it becomes [...] fear [and...] fear and [...] disturb [...] as he seeks him [...] in the place [which has a] great darkness [in it and] many [..] appear [...] there [...].  And [...] they are clothed with [...] all, and [...] disturbances.  They gave [...] their words [...] and they said to me [...Melchizedek, Priest] of God [Most High...] speak as [...their] mouths [...] in the all [...] lead astray [...] with his [...] worship [and...] faith [and...] his prayers.  And [...] those that [are his...] first [...].  They did not care that [the priesthood] which you perform, [which] is from [... in the] counsel of [...] Satan [...] the sacrifice [...] which is small [...] of this aeon [...which] exist(s) [in...] lead(s) [astray...] and some [...] he gave them to [...and] thirteen [...] throw [it... in order that ] you might [ ... for] immediately [... by means of ... on the ground].  The [...(p. 23 almost completely missing) which is above ...] me.  And [...] you (pl.) struck me, [...] you threw me, [...] transgression.  And [you crucified me] from the third hour [of the Sabbath-eve] until [the ninth hour].  And after [these things I arose] from the [dead.  My body] came out of [the tomb] to me.  [... they did not] find anyone [...] greeted [me...].  They said to me, Be [strong, O Melchizedek], great [High Priest] of God [Most High...] over us who [...they] made war; you have [...] they did not prevail over you [and you] endured, and [you] destroyed your enemies [...] of their [...] will rest, in any [...] which is living, which [... those that] exalted themselves against him in [...] flesh.
   [... with] the offerings, while he is working on that which is good, fasting with fasts.
   These revelations do not reveal to anyone in the flesh, since they are incorporeal, unless it is revealed to you (to do so).
   When the brethren who belong to the generations of life had said these things, they were taken up to (the regions) above all the heavens. Amen.

1 The Nag Hammadi Library, "Melchizedek," James M. Robinson (Gen Ed.), translation by Søren Giversen and Birger A. Pearson (Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1981), 399-403  

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