Order of Melchisedek

What is the Order of Melchisedek ? It is mentioned in Hebrews.

I come from a mormon background, but did not want this question to be a refutation of mormon beliefs, but to understand what it means in Catholic terms.

I heard Tim Staples say that Christ was a priest after the order f Melchisedek, because He sacrificed as Melchisedek did - with bread and wine (His body and blood). Can anyone confirm this. Or does the Catholic Church have a different understanding of the term. Tim has probably been the one that I have heard use the phrase more often than any.

[Just so you know where I am coming from, I have been mormon for over 20 years, but believe that it is a false religion, and the truth lies in Catholicism. The Catholic priesthood, particularly when referencing Melchisedek is a mystery to me - but I want to believe.]

God bless,

Hal.

This from the Haydock Bible Commentary may give you some insight. Melchisedek was a high priest in a way during the time of Abraham. See Genesis 14:18

Ver. 6. Some may perhaps wonder why St. Paul does not dwell more in this epistle on the eucharistic sacrifice; but until the Hebrews understood the bloody sacrifice on the cross, they could not be supposed to understand the unbloody sacrifice of the altar. The holy Fathers observe, that the sacrifice of Melchisedech, (Genesis xiv. 18.) offered in bread and wine, prefigured the unbloody sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ at his last supper. See Clement of Alexandria, lib. 4. Strom. chap. viii.; St. Cyprian, lib. 2. ep. 3. ad Cæul.; Eusebius of Cæsarea, lib. 5. Dem. Evang. chap. iii.; St. Jerome, ad Marcel.; St. Augustine, ep. 95. ad Inn. Pap.; St. Ambrose; St. Epiphanius; St. Chrysostom; &c. apud Bellarmine, lib. 1. de missa. chap. vi. Hence it follows, that the holy Eucharist is truly and properly a sacrifice as well as a sacrament, as the paschal lamb or passover of the old law was both a sacrament and sacrifice. For either our Saviour offered sacrifice at his last supper under the forms of bread and wine, or he cannot be called a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech. For the different orders of priests are chiefly distinguished by their sacrifice; (see ver. 1.) and if it be supposed that our Saviour only offered a bloody sacrifice, he would with more propiety have been called a priest according to the order of Aaron, and not of Melchisedech. See St. Augustine, lib. 16. de Civitat. Dei. chap. xxii.Ver. 6. Some may perhaps wonder why St. Paul does not dwell more in this epistle on the eucharistic sacrifice; but until the Hebrews understood the bloody sacrifice on the cross, they could not be supposed to understand the unbloody sacrifice of the altar. The holy Fathers observe, that the sacrifice of Melchisedech, (Genesis xiv. 18.) offered in bread and wine, prefigured the unbloody sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ at his last supper. See Clement of Alexandria, lib. 4. Strom. chap. viii.; St. Cyprian, lib. 2. ep. 3. ad Cæul.; Eusebius of Cæsarea, lib. 5. Dem. Evang. chap. iii.; St. Jerome, ad Marcel.; St. Augustine, ep. 95. ad Inn. Pap.; St. Ambrose; St. Epiphanius; St. Chrysostom; &c. apud Bellarmine, lib. 1. de missa. chap. vi. Hence it follows, that the holy Eucharist is truly and properly a sacrifice as well as a sacrament, as the paschal lamb or passover of the old law was both a sacrament and sacrifice. For either our Saviour offered sacrifice at his last supper under the forms of bread and wine, or he cannot be called a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech. For the different orders of priests are chiefly distinguished by their sacrifice; (see ver. 1.) and if it be supposed that our Saviour only offered a bloody sacrifice, he would with more propiety have been called a priest according to the order of Aaron, and not of Melchisedech. See St. Augustine, lib. 16. de Civitat. Dei. chap. xxii.

I’m citing the IGNATIUS Catholic Study Bible. I don’t have alot of time to comment now, but I will later. I’m just going to abbreviate Melchizadek with the letter M.

M is the first person in Scripture who is explicitly called a “priest” (Gen 14:18). He is the only figure in Genesis who is identified as a priest of “God Most High”, who Abraham knows as “the Lord”. (Gen 14:22) The only other priests in Genesis are pagan clerics who serve idol gods. M is the king of “Salem” (Gen 14:18). Psalm 76:2 identifies this city as Zion, i.e. Jerusalem. This is the holy city that would later become the spiritual center of Israelite religion and the political capital of the Davidic kings. M ministers to Abraham as a priest, not only by “blessing” him (Gen 14:19), but also by bringing forth “bread and wine” (Gen 14:18). These are probably the elements of a thank offering made to God Most High in gratitude for a successful mission, and as such they would constitue a communion sacrified to be consumed by the priest and particpants alike (cf. Lev 7:12-15). Abraham reciprocates these actions by giving a tithe of his spoils to M (Gen 14:20), suggesting that a priestly and spiritual service had been performed for the patriarch and his company (cf. Num 18:21)

Scott Hahn wrote an article Melchizedek titled, “The Meal of Melchizedek”. You can read it here.

Thanks everyone. Now I have some good reading to do.

Reading the articles. Very insightful. But in Scott Hahn’s article he says:

“He is a ‘priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’ The word ‘order’ here does not mean a religious order like the Dominicans or the Franciscans. It means ‘after the manner’ of Melchizedek’s priesthood.”

Why does it mean “after the manner” ? Is there any basis to make this interpretation ? The Greek or some other reason.

God bless,

Hal.

Sure there’s basis. Religious orders are a new covenant thing. At the time of the writing of Hebrews they hadn’t become part of the lexicon. There was no “order” of priests founded by Melchizedek, in the sense that we have Franciscan and Dominican orders.

The Letter to the Hebrews finds theological significance, not only in the person of M as an individual, but also in his prieshood. This is why the phrase “the order of M” appears five times in the span of three chapters (Heb 5:6, 10: 6:20; 7:11, 17). The expression itself is taken from Psalm 110, where the Lord swears and oath of ordination to the Davidic Messiah, making the king at his right hand (Ps 110:1) a priest after the order of M (Ps 110:4).

The statement is striking, since for well over a thousand years, Israel knew only the Levitical priesthood of Aaron and his descendants established by the Mosaic covenant (Ex 40:12-15). No other priesthood was acknowledged by the Law or permitted to officiate on behalf of the covenant people (Num 17:1-13; 18:1-7).

So what is this “order” linked with M?

Genesis implies that the order of M is the patriarchal order of priesthood that function for many centuries before the ordination of Aaron and his sons took place at Mt. Sinai (Lev 8:1-36). In other words, it is the original, pre-Levitical form of the priesthood that was exercised during the long stretch of pre-Mosaic history. This was the age of natural religion, an era when priestly authority was rooted in the authority structure of the family.

In these ancient times, the father of the family conducted public rites of worship, and his sons became his successors in the ministry. In particular, the first-born son, by the natural right of primogeniture, was the primary heir who stood to receive the full measure of his father’s priestly and ruling responsibility. This is what we see throughout Genesis, where the Patriarchs- not a professional class of clerical priests- exercised spiritual leadership by:

building altars (Gen 12:7-8; 13:18), calling upon the Lord in prayer (Gen 21:33; 26:25), consecrating natural landmarks (Gen 28:18-22), pouring out libations (Gen 35:14), and offering sacrifice on behalf of the family (Gen 8:20; 46:1; Job 1:5).

What makes the Melchizedek priesthood different form the levitical priesthood? What are key differences?

Maybe this is to obvious but it was the first thing to come to mind.

The Melchizedek priesthood (including Jesus) does not have to show proof of Aaronic descent on the father and mothers side.

Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. (Heb 7:3)

But he who was not of their ancestry received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. (Heb 7:6)

It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. (Heb 7:14)

Also, of the priests: sons of Habaiah, sons of Hakkoz, sons of Barzillai (he had married one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and became known by his name). These men searched their family records, but their names could not be found written there; hence they were degraded from the priesthood (Ezra 2:61-62)

The levitical priesthood was established at Sinai after the people worshipped the golden calf. Only the Levites did not. So instead of each man being the priest of his own household as formerly, only Levites were permitted to be priests.

The form of Melchizedek’s sacrifice (as mentioned above) was bread and wine, not bullocks and rams . . .

Aaronic priesthood started at the age of 30 and ended at 50. The Melchizedek priesthood has no age limits.

between thirty and fifty years of age; these are to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent. (Num 4:3)

but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. (Heb 7:24)

Only 12 posts but this is a GOOD thread.

Because Jesus is a type of the Old Testament Melchizedek, which was both priest and king. The levitical priests were not kings. In the Old Testament, there is a threefold priesthood: A high priest, ministerial priest, and a royal priesthood. Read the following articles. It mainly speaks of the priesthood in the New Testament as it relates to the priesthood of the Old Testament.

catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0404sbs.asp

catholic.com/thisrock/1992/9211ntg.asp

Agree - very interesting and educational.

I read them; can you make sense of them?

I’m a Scott Hahn fan, but I think his assertion that animal sacrifice did not start until after the golden calf incident is incorrect. The passages in Exodus indicate that the sacrificial worship, which Moses was petitioning Pharoah to allow the people to go into the wilderness and offer, involved animal sacrifice. (This is prior to the Golden Calf incident.) That is why the Egyptians would be upset - because it involved the killing of calves, whom they connected with the gods.
Ex 8:25 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 8:26 But Moses said, "It would not be right to do so; **for we shall sacrifice to the LORD our God offerings abominable to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice offerings abominable to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us? **"
Even prior to that, at the very beginning, the acceptable offering from Abel was an animal offering. (I admit, I’m presuming it had been sacrificed/slain; ref. the “fat portions”):
Gen 4:4 and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering,

Yes, but i will have to write up something tomorrow because my break is over and I will be in surgery till around 10 tonight. If I have the energy, I will reply later, but don’t count on it. One will come tomorrow definitely. Ok?

Please join me in prayer; Dear Father, we lift broski234 up to you for Your comfort and healing. We ask that you would be with him and those that will be operating on him. We pray his/her surgery is successful. In Jesus name. Amen.

I don’t have much time, but I think Hebrews 7 addresses some of it as it talks about both Levitical priests and Melchizedek.

Hebrews 9:9 states that the Old covenant sacrifices could not clear the conscience of the worshiper, which suggests that Christ’s sacrifice does clear the conscience of the worshiper. We would say this happens through the offering of Jesus’s ‘bread and wine’ (Gen 14:18). In other words, the Eucharist :slight_smile:

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