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Melchizedek, who was he?


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#21 Lolita

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:43 AM

Lets see IF I understand this at all;
The Holy One (G-d), blessed be He (G-d), intended to bring forth the priesthood from Shem, as it is written, And he [sc. Melchizedek](Shem) was the priest of the most high God :huh:

??

ps Jasher is very interesting!



Could this be referring to God The Father in the Holy Trinity???

#22 mikbone

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 12:34 PM

I vote that Melchizedek was Jehovah See Hebrews 7: 1-7
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#23 Lolita

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 12:42 PM

Could this be referring to God The Father in the Holy Trinity???


I referred to the fact that it is expressed in a way that let you think there is more than one God:

The Holy One (G-d), blessed be He (G-d), intended to bring forth the priesthood from Shem, as it is written, And he [sc. Melchizedek](Shem) was the priest of the most high God

#24 rren

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:19 PM

Most LDS scholars concur that Shem and Melchezedek are the same person.
My spiritual journey can be traced back to one significant event that happened to me in the fall of 1997. I invite all to hear my story:

#25 volgadon

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 08:16 AM

Like who?

#26 Vanhin

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 08:50 AM

I thought this was interesting.

Is it possible that Shem and Melchizedek are the same person?

Alma E. Gygi

Alma E. Gygi, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Nov. 1973, 15–16

This question is frequently asked and is an interesting one. Let us examine first what we know about Shem. Although the Bible names Shem as the eldest son of Noah (Gen. 5:32), modern-day revelation places Japheth as the eldest (Moses 8:12). Both reports, however, are harmonious in naming Shem as the progenitor of Israel and in the fact that the priesthood descended through Shem to all the great patriarchs after Noah. (1 Chr. 1:24–27.) In this patriarchal order of priesthood, Shem stands next to Noah. He held the keys to the priesthood and was the great high priest of his day. 1

Living contemporary with Shem was a man known as Melchizedek, who was also known as the great high priest. 2 The scriptures give us the details of Shem’s birth and ancestry but are silent as to his ministry and later life. Of Melchizedek, however, the opposite is true. Nothing is recorded about his birth or ancestry, even though the Book of Mormon states that he did have a father. (Alma 13:17–18.) Concerning his ministry and life we have several interesting and important facts. (Gen. 14:18–20; Heb. 7:1–4; Alma 13:17–18.)

All of this provokes some questions and calls for answers. Were there two high priests presiding at the same time? Why is the record silent concerning Shem’s ministry? Why is nothing known concerning Melchizedek’s ancestry?

Because of this state of knowledge on our part, many Saints and gospel scholars have wondered if these men were the same person. The truth is, we do not know the answer. But an examination of the scriptures is fascinating, because it seems to indicate that these men may have been one and the same. For example, here is the case for their oneness:

1. The inheritance given to Shem included the land of Salem. Melchizedek appears in scripture as the king of Salem, who reigns over this area.

2. Shem, according to later revelation, reigned in righteousness and the priesthood came through him. Melchizedek appears on the scene with a title that means “king of righteousness.”

3. Shem was the great high priest of his day. Abraham honored the high priest Melchizedek by seeking a blessing at his hands and paying him tithes.

4. Abraham stands next to Shem in the patriarchal order of the priesthood and would surely have received the priesthood from Shem; but D&C 84:5–17 says Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek.

5. Jewish tradition identifies Shem as Melchizedek. 3

6. President Joseph F. Smith’s remarkable vision names Shem among the great patriarchs, but no mention is made of Melchizedek.

7. Times and Seasons (vol. 6, p. 746) speaks of “Shem, who was Melchizedek. …”

On the other hand, there is a case for their being two distinct personalities. Many persons believe D&C 84:14 is proof that there are perhaps several generations between Melchizedek and Noah. The scripture says, “Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah.”

If it does turn out that Shem and Melchizedek are the same person, this scripture should prove no stumbling block, because it could be interpreted to mean that priesthood authority commenced with Adam and came through the fathers, even till Noah, and then to Shem.

1. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Deseret Book Co., 1919) p. 474.

2. D&C 107:2; Heb. 7:4; Alma 13:17; Gen. 14:18–20.

3. When Abraham returned from the war, Shem, or, as he is sometimes called, Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, priest of the Most High God. …” (Ginsberg, Legends of the Jews, p. 233.) “Jewish tradition pronounces Melchizedek to be a survivor of the Deluge, the patriarch Shem.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 393.) “And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem. …” (Book of Jasher 16:11.)

See LDS.org - Ensign Article - I Have a Question


Regards,
Vanhin

#27 JW_King

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 08:56 AM

Shalom to all... I wish to start by saying I am very eclectic in my beliefs. When I have attended any established churches, I have mostly attended Messianic Churches for the last few years. However I am fairly well versed in the doctrinal beliefs of the Jews, Christians, and Mormons. As for my personally held doctrinal beliefs, they run far afield from any one church or belief system. To true believes, I am generally looked upon as a heretic, to non-believers I am usually considered a Zealot. What matters to me is my personal relationship to Yehoshua and His Father Eli (Adonai/Yeshua/Yahweh/YHVH/and know by many other names to different peoples). I am a polytheist, a dispensationalist, and a reincarnationalist, which I prefer to call a belief in 'Eternal Lives', to borrow the term from Joseph Smith. I am a devout believer in the evils of apostasy, orthodoxy, and dogma. I am a true believer in correct ceremonial worship, in all its forms, in looking for the eternal patterns, and in embracing the truth no matter what I or others may judge the source to be lacking. Once a truth has been revealed to me, it is true yesterday, today, and forever, until Adonai may chose to enlighten me further or expand upon the principle, precept and my understanding. Do I place any man or being between myself and the Most High? Only those whom He chose to place there, such a Moshac Ben Daved (the Messiah). As for who was Melchizedek? I can say it quit plainly, making it very clear, but I fear I might make many listeners here ears burn, and for that I do apologizes. He was and is Shem the son of Noah. Noah was the Dispensation King, and his son Shem/Melchizedek was the Dispensation Priest. Abraham was the Dispensation Prophet. The Jews understood this, as the pattern of the three, a Prophet, Priest, and King always comes when Adonai (the Lord) is doing a work among men (a Dispensation). Look at what the Jews were asking John the Baptist, in the 1st chapter of John. What the Jews also knew and even many earlier Christians, as well as Joseph Smith, was Melchizedek was Yehoshua, the Messiah! To you who prefer the Greek, Jesus, the Christ, the only begotten of the Father (physical Son of the Yehovah). To quote from some sources you might except testimony from, as the words of a nobody carry no weight: Melchizedek [This entry consists of two articles: LDS Sources, a discussion of what is known of Melchizedek from Church scripture and revelation, and Ancient Sources, a historical view of Melchizedek from ancient writings and traditions.] LDS Sources As a king and high priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14:18), Melchizedek holds a place of great honor and respect among Latter-day Saints. An example of righteousness and the namesake of the higher priesthood, he represents the scriptural ideal of one who obtains the power of God through faith, repentance, and sacred ordinances, for the purpose of inspiring and blessing his fellow beings. Melchizedek was evidently a prince by birth, for he became king of Salem (later jerusalem—Gen. 14:18; Ps. 76:2), where he reigned "under his father" (Alma 13:18). "Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire" (JST Gen. 14:26). Yet the people among whom he lived "waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness" (Alma 13:17). Though living among a wicked people, Melchizedek "exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God" (Alma 13:18). This priesthood was after the order of the covenant that God had made with Enoch (JST Gen. 14:27), and Melchizedek ruled both as king and priest over his people. As high priest, some of his functions were keeping "the storehouse of God" where the "tithes for the poor" were held (JST Gen. 14:37-38), giving blessings to individuals such as Abraham (JST Gen. 14:18, 25, 37), preaching repentance (Alma 13:18; cf. 5:49), and administering ordinances "after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God…for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord" (Alma 13:16; JST Gen. 14:17). With extraordinary goodness and power, Melchizedek diligently administered in the office of high priest and "did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days" (Alma 13:18). Consequently, Melchizedek became known as "the prince of peace" (JST Gen. 14:33; Heb. 7:1-2; Alma 13:18). "His people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven" (JST Gen. 14:34). His Hebrew name means "King of Righteousness." For Alma2 and several biblical authors, the order of the priesthood to which Melchizedek was ordained was of prime importance. It was this "order," coupled with faith, that gave Melchizedek the power and knowledge that influenced his people to repent and become worthy to be with God. This order was "after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God" (JST Gen. 14:28; JST Heb. 7:3; Ps. 110:4). It was given to Melchizedek "through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah," and from Melchizedek to Abraham (D&C 84:14). Those ordained to this order were to "have power, by faith," and, according to "the will of the Son of God," to work miracles. Ultimately, those in this order were "to stand in the presence of God" (JST Gen. 14:30-31). This was accomplished by participating in the ordinances of this order (Alma 13:16; D&C 84:20-22). The result was that "men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven" (JST Gen. 14:32). Accordingly, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the priesthood held by Melchizedek had "the power of "endless lives"' (TPJS, p. 322; see also Eternal Life). So righteous and faithful was Melchizedek in the execution of his high priestly duties that he became a prototype of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:15). The Book of Mormon prophet Alma said of him, "Now, there were many [high priests] before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater" (Alma 13:19). The Doctrine and Covenants states that Melchizedek was "such a great high priest" that the higher priesthood was called after his name. "Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too-frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in the ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood" (D&C 107:2-4; italics in original). It was asserted by some early LDS leaders that Melchizedek was Shem, son of Noah (see, e.g., T&S 5:746). Though Shem is also identified as a great high priest (D&C 138:41), it would appear from the Doctrine and Covenants 84:14 that the two might not be the same individual (MD, p. 475), and Jewish sources equating Melchizedek and Shem are late and tendentious. Bibliography Madsen, Ann N. "Melchizedek, the Man and the Tradition." Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975. Welch, John W. "The Melchizedek Material in Alma 13:13-19." In By Study and Also by Faith, ed. J. Lundquist and S. Ricks, Vol. 2, pp. 238-72. Salt Lake City, 1990. Widtsoe, John A. "Who Was Melchizedek?" Evidences and Reconciliations, pp. 231-33. Salt Lake City, 1960. BRUCE SATTERFIELD Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.2 MELCHIZEDEK Ancient Sources Genesis 14:17-24 reports that Abram ("the Hebrew," 14:3), upon his victorious return from a battle, was met by the king of Sodom ("Bera," 14:2), who was eager to reward Abram for coming to his and his allies' aid. The narrative is interrupted by an enigmatic insertion (14:18-20) featuring "Melchizedek king of Salem," "priest of God Most High" (RSV). Melchizedek "brought out bread and wine" and blessed Abram in the name of God Most High (Hebrew 'el "elyôn). Abram then gave Melchizedek a tithe of his booty. This priest-king of Salem has enjoyed a wide range of interpretation among Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic writings, some that brought him up to the heights of heaven, and others—of developing Christian and Jewish orthodoxy—that brought him down to earth again. The story of Genesis 14 has raised numerous questions. Most modern scholars entertain a possible connection of this Melchizedek with a pre-Israelite kingship and/or priesthood in the Jebusite city of Jerusalem ("Salem") before its conquest by King David (2 Sam. 5:6-10). The incorporation of the story into Judean traditions reflects the interests of the Jerusalem royal ideology. The only other Old Testament occurrence of the name Melchizedek is found in a royal Jerusalemite psalm, Psalm 110:4. There God ("the Lord") addresses the king thus: "You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Melchizedek occurs in the New Testament only in the Epistle to the Hebrews (5:6-10; 6:20; 7:1-17), where the Old Testament figure is interpreted as a type of the "high priest" of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. The key passage is Hebrews 7:3, where it is said that Melchizedek "resembles the Son of God." Melchizedek's priesthood, superior to that of the "descendants of Levi" (Heb. 7:5), is a foreshadowing of the priesthood of the Son of God. Hebrews 7:3 becomes the basis for most Christian interpretation of the figure of Melchizedek (Horton, pp. 111, 152, 161-64). An important witness to pre-Christian Jewish speculation on Melchizedek has surfaced among the Dead Sea Scrolls: 11QMelch. The fragmentary Hebrew text, usually dated to the first century B.C., features Melchizedek as a heavenly end-time redeemer, with attributes of the archangel Michael. He appears in the tenth and final jubilee of world history to rescue the elect, the "men of the lot of Melchizedek" (ii.8), doing battle with Belial and his fellow evil spirits. Melchizedek's triumph is described as a high-priestly act of "expiation" (ii.8; cf. Kobelski, pp. 5-23). Melchizedek is mentioned by Philo, a first-century Jewish philosopher of Alexandria, in three writings (Legum Allegoriae 3.79-82; De Congressu 89; De Abrahamo 235). Philo interprets the text of Genesis in a Platonic-allegorical fashion, seeing in Melchizedek a reference to the divine Logos, the thought of God in which the pattern of all existing things is conceived and the "image" of God according to which man was created. Another important text, 2 Enoch, attests to early Jewish interest in the figure of Melchizedek. The date and place of this document are controversial, but recent scholarship places its original Greek version in the first century A.D. in Alexandria (cf. F. I. Andersen's introduction and translation in Charlesworth, Vol. 1, pp. 91-213). In this text (chaps. 71-72), a child is born miraculously to Noah's recently deceased sister-in-law, and the child, marked on his chest with a priestly seal, speaks and praises God. The boy is named Melchizedek by Noah and his brother Nir, whose wife had been posthumously delivered. In a night vision Nir is told of the impending flood; he is also informed that the archangel Michael will bring Melchizedek to paradise, thus enabling him to escape the flood waters. Melchizedek will eventually become the chief of priests among the people, and in the end of days he will be revealed yet another time as the chief priest. In this text, Melchizedek has three different earthly manifestations: born before the Flood, serving in the postdiluvian age as a great priest, and functioning in the end-time as a messianic priest (cf. Gruenewald, pp. 90-92; Delcor, pp. 127-30). Some of these Jewish interpretations were taken over by Gnostics and are now reflected in some Christian Gnostic texts preserved in Coptic manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries (Pearson, 1990). In one fragmentary manuscript, the disciple John asks Jesus to explain what is said about Melchizedek in Hebrews 7:3. Unfortunately, the text breaks off before Jesus' interpretation is given. A fragmentary text from Nag Hammadi (IX.1: Melchizedek; cf. Pearson, 1981, pp. 19-85) contains an apocalypse given by angels to Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High." It is revealed to Melchizedek that he will ultimately reappear as Jesus Christ, Son of God, to do battle with the cosmic forces of darkness. Here one can see influence not only from the Epistle to the Hebrews but also from non-Christian lore. In the Second Book of Jeu, "Zorokothora Melchizedek" is a heavenly priest who presides over a heavenly baptism. No trace of influence from Hebrews is found in this text. The most developed levels of speculation on Melchizedek, also lacking any influence from Hebrews, are found in Pistis Sophia, Book 4, in which Melchizedek plays a key role in the process of purifying human souls for entry into the "Treasury of Light" and transferring them from the domain of the archons, or earthly rulers, to that heavenly region. The younger material in books 1-3 of Pistis Sophia develops these ideas further: Melchizedek is a heavenly being who seals the saved souls upon their entry into the realm of light. The church fathers attest to several heterodox ideas associated with Melchizedek. Hippolytus of Rome (Refutatio 7.35-36) and Epiphanius of Salamis (Panarion 55) are the most important witnesses to a group of heretics called Melchizedekians. They had a low Christology and exalted Melchizedek as a heavenly power superior to Christ. Others equated Melchizedek with the Holy Spirit (Panarion 67), and some "even in the true church" (i.e., not "heretics") naively regarded Melchizedek as the Son of God (Panarion 55.7.3). The later view seems also to have been present among the monasteries of Egypt (Apophthegmata Patrum, in Patrologia Graeca 65.160) and was even defended in a treatise on Melchizedek by a fifth-century resident of the Judean desert, Mark the Hermit (PG 65.1117-40). Such views were eventually overcome by teacher-bishops such as Cyril of Alexandria (PG 65.160). On the Jewish side, while early rabbis continued to speculate on Melchizedek's role in scripture (e.g., equating him with Shem, son of Noah; cf. b. Nedarim 32b; Midrash Gen. R. 44.7; Targum Ps.-J. Gen. 14:18), a major stream of rabbinic tradition viewed Melchizedek negatively, a fact that indicates some Jewish sensitivity to the use of Melchizedek traditions by Christians (Gianotto, pp. 172-85). [See also Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.] Illustration This mosaic shows Melchizedek standing behind an altar symbolically receiving the sacrifices of Abel and Abraham. Saint Apollonaire in Classe, Ravenna, Italy (sixth century A.D.). Courtesy John W. Welch. Bibliography Charlesworth, James H. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Garden City, N.Y., 1983. Delcor, M. "Melchizedek from Genesis to the Qumran Texts and the Epistle to the Hebrews." Journal of Jewish Studies 2 (1971):115-35. Gianotto, Claudio. Melchisedek e la sua tipologia. Supplementi alla Rivista Biblica 12. Brescia, 1984. Gruenewald, Ithamar. "The Messianic Image of Melchizedek" (in Hebrew). Mahanayim 124 (1970):88-98. Horton, Fred L., Jr. The Melchizedek Tradition. Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 30. Cambridge, 1976. Kobelski, Paul J. Melchizedek and Melchiresva". Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 10. Washington, D.C., 1981. Pearson, Birger A. "The Figure of Melchizedek in Gnostic Literature." In Pearson, Gnosticism, Judaism, and Egyptian Christianity. Studies in Antiquity and Christianity 5. Minneapolis, 1990. Pearson, Birger A., ed. Nag Hammadi Codices IX and X. Leiden, 1981. BIRGER A. PEARSON Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2 To continue... I believe the pattern is very clear that beings on the eternal path, at certain places on that path, come down three times in a creation, to be servants of the Most High, in a world where Yehovah (G_d) can not come. Much more could be said upon this point, quotes quoted, and doctrines revealed, but suffice it for now, I would say that even the Messiah must and will come down three times, and His next coming is going to be an eye opener for most! Shalom (Blessings of Peace be upon you) JW

#28 Daniel2020

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:53 AM

...since Hebrews mentions he has no begining or end, almost as if he was a spiritual personage, like a fictional character that has always been.

This passage is often misunderstood. It's referring to the Melchizedek priesthood, not to Melchizedek himself.

Do you really think Paul was saying Melchizedek was a person without a birth and death? Or that he didn't have a father, ancestors, etc?

Paul is contrasting the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood. Linage determined who could and could not hold the Aaronic priesthood (descendants of Aaron and the tribe of Levi). In contrast, there is no linage requirement to who can hold the higher, Melchizedek priesthood. He does this to show that now that they are living under the Melchizedek priesthood--not the Aaronic priesthood--they no longer have to observe the Law of Moses.

Edited by Daniel2020, 17 May 2010 - 06:56 AM.


#29 Hemidakota

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:08 AM

Melchizedek is a sacred title, as Jesus the Christ is a sacred title, where honor is bestow on to a person of high caliber. For years, I thought it was Shem but after considerable research, study on this topic, and sincere prayers, it was not Shem. Think about who occupied the land before Abraham arrival? Look at the D&C reference and the notable gaps of passing the priesthood. This same tribe also pushed the Egyptians out of the northern part of the kingdom when Abraham left the land of Canaan due to famine. We do know, the children of Canaan were still present in the land but governed by another tribe of Semites. This helped both Abraham and Joseph in accomplishing the Lord's work. You may need to look at one of Shem’s children name Aram and his lineage for that answer. He was also blessed besides Abraham. Many lands were name after him and his children.

#30 Daniel2020

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:19 AM

...since Hebrews mentions he has no begining or end, almost as if he was a spiritual personage, like a fictional character that has always been.

This passage is often misunderstood. It's referring to the Melchizedek priesthood, not to Melchizedek himself.

Do you really think Paul was saying Melchizedek was a person without a birth and death? Or that he didn't have a father, ancestors, etc?

Paul is contrasting the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood. Linage determined who could and could not hold the Aaronic priesthood (descendants of Aaron and the tribe of Levi). In contrast, there is no linage requirement to who can hold the higher, Melchizedek priesthood.

-----------

For those who think Paul didn't write Hebrews substitute "the author of Hebrews" for Paul.

I realize the language of Hebrews differs from that of Paul's other epistles. I think Joseph Smith was correct in saying Paul wrote Hebrews. I also think Paul used an amanuensis in writing Hebrews; my bet is Luke was Paul's scribe/transcriber.

#31 sojourner

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:40 PM

The fascinating thing is in Christendom Melchizedek has such a small role in Christian faith. When I was a young Bible student the fact that there was little or any information about him sparked my imagination since Hebrews mentions he has no begining or end, almost as if he was a spiritual personage, like a fictional character that has always been.

- Justin


Hi,GothLDSMrthnRunnr.
Can I just call you Goth,for any future reference? :)

It's interesting that you view Christians as assuming Melchizedek to have a minor role in our faith.
While many Christians do not address Christ as Melchizedek,that is exactly who Christ is,as our High Priest.Without beginning and without end,indeed.There is none other qualified to assume this priesthood,and there will be no other.A perpetual priesthood,without beginning and without end.
The book of Hebrews,you mention,fully explains Christ as Melchizedek,and His unique role as High Priest.
The name 'Melchizedek' is translated as 'The justifier of those who dwell in Him.'None other than Christ.
If you would like to ask me any questions,on the above,or present your own views,I would be more than happy to discuss.

Many thanks

Sojourner.

Edited by sojourner, 18 October 2010 - 12:44 PM.


#32 Jerubbaal

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:41 PM

...an interesting proposition!! Jehovah was Melchizedek. He and his whole city were translated. Then almost 2000 years later, Jehovah gave up His translated body, and went into His mother Mary's womb, sometime before His birth in Bethlehem. His mother gave birth to Him, then 33 years later Jehovah/Jesus gave up the Ghost, or left His second mortal body/ later to be resurrected??? Sounds like transmigration of the soul...?? What I believe, is that Melchizedek was a type. In fact he was the greatest type of Christ there ever was. He was a king over his people. He reigned under his father(a dual kingship), he gave everything he had in order to bring salvation to his people. He was called The Prince of Peace because he brought all his people into the presence of God(translated) This kind of "PEACE" is the equivalent of "Entering into the Rest of The LORD." ...and like someone said, Mechizedec' city may just come down in the Jerusalem area. There is the fact that there will be TWO Zions from which Jesus will rule the earth through His 1000 year reign. One in Jersusalem, the other in North America. Just my opinion of course!!!

Edited by Jerubbaal, 03 April 2011 - 08:48 PM.


#33 Jbdf

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 08:49 PM

To add to the list of early LDS commentary on the identity of Melchizedek, I offer a quote from W. W. Phelps' 1852 Deseret Almanac, p. 38: "Shem (Melchizedek) ordained under the hand of Noah."

For what it's worth, Martin Luther also believed that Melchizedek was Shem: "Thus I am pleased with the general opinion that Melchizedek is Shem, because there was no greater patriarch at that time, especially in spiritual matters. By common consent the churches and the people honored him with this name and called him [Melchizedek], which means righteous king, because of the office he held. He held both offices, that of king and that of priest. And although he did nothing inordinate in the government but managed all affairs righteously, he gained a reputation for righteousness because of his service in the church; for he taught the forgiveness of sins through the future Seed of the woman. Since the world either had no knowledge of this doctrine or considered it worthless and persecuted it, Shem alone was called a righteous king. This holy and venerable old man the people of Salem chose to be their king" (Luther's Works 2.382)

As for Jewish sources, it's said in the early medieval Targum Pseudo-Jonathan that "Malka Zadika, who was Shem bar Noah, the king of Yerushalem, came forth to meet Abram, and brought forth to him bread and wine". Also, Jerome - in a letter I've found in Latin but can't find rendered into English - appears to accept that Melchizedek is Shem, which he says is a prevaling Jewish opinion in his day in the year 398.

At my blog Study and Faith, I explore numerous issues relevant to positive, upbuilding, and honest LDS-Evangelical dialogue, including a series about the many things I appreciate about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and another series covering the whole Journal of Discourses, among others.


#34 DPMartin

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 04:31 PM

I appreciate your post, jadams, but I'm looking for an explanation of Melchizedek's identity in Jewish tradition. I realize that as LDS we revere him and believe the Restoration reveals his importance, so quoting that is historic, from an LDS point of view.



OneEternalSonata
If this hasn’t been said already. According to commentary in the Stone Edition of the Tora Melchizedek king of Salem the priest of the most high God, Was Shem son of Noah, and Salem is now known as Jerusalem. I do believe Jacob was near fifty years old when Shem died.

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 04:42 PM

Wish I could have gotten in on this sooner. Many, many moons ago (well, a couple of decades) I went to a library in a Synagogue, um... one that let my kind in I might add. But anyway I read an old book discussing Melchizedek. In it was stated that the Melchizedek mentioned in Abraham's time was in fact Shem. It also stated that it was a title and that there was supposed to be something like 13 great Melchizedeks over the history of the earth. I don't recall reading who else they put into this category but it would be likely that Adam,... uh, Noah perhaps and others who were the most influential (especially Jesus) would fit. I would offer that LDS would jump to include Joseph Smith. Be that as it may, this is an interesting topic.

#36 Mataeis

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 11:36 AM

This is a very interesting thread. I myself am currently studying up on ancient semetic religious beliefes as well as babylonian, persian and hindu doctrines.

First of all, I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so this should belay my bias upfront.

I have an intersting hypothesis as to who Melchezedek was/is. As I believe that Melchezedek was translated (ascended to heaven without dying) I do not believe he could have been Shem, as I am under the impression that he did actually die. A also do not believe in reincarnation or that God the father would have come directly to Earth (as the scriptures show that God typically sends messengers in his place, with very few exceptions) specificaly to have Avrahim to pay tithes to him and show him the sacrament. Avrahim also shows no inclination to say that Melchezedek was anything more than an extremly righteous high priest of God, in other words, he was definitely a man, albeit a near perfect man

The fact that he is not mentioned to have a lineage though can be for several reasons. One possibility being that it was intentionaly left out.

Here is where my LDS bias comes in.

I would like to point out, that for many decades now, there have been many Theologins and Scholars that have tried to say that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have stolen/adopted many beliefes from a little known world religion (at least, it could be considered a world religion in its hay day) called Zorastrianism (not to be confused with the cult of Mithras, which was a heresy under Zorastrianism).
These scholars may have actually have been on to something, in a way at least.
First let me give some background knowledge and conjecture.
I will start at the time of Jesus. We all know who the Pharisees and the Saducees were, but there was also a group called the Essenes/Hasidim as well. The word Pharisee originates as the word Pharis, which is the Aramaic term for "of Pharis/Persia". In other words, the Pharisee were a sect of Judaism from persia. The pharisee believed in the ressurection, a judgement of the soul, and in the angels of heaven. The Saducees however, did not, they only believed in the most literal interpretation of the books of moses, which makes no mention of angels, heaven, a hell or anything of that sort. The essenes did believe in much of what the pharisees did as well, but with some twists and extremes.

I would like to point out that the saducees were not incorrect in their beliefes as they were going dirctly upon what the LORD had given them. So then why did the Essenes and the Pharisees differ from them?
So here is some info on the Zorastrin/Mhazdaist religious beliefes, and the LDS members reading this can confirm this through the LDS institute of religions book of world religions (not the actual title) as well as a 1971 general conference talk (easily found in the Ensign archives) given on the faith.

The date of origin for the faith is highly contested. The adherents, as well as the writings of Plato, place the faiths start date in the year we would consider to be around 6000 bc. Many scholars scoff at this record and instead claim that it was a misprint and what Plato meant to say was essentially 600 bc. Since that point, 600 bc became the widely accepted view of its origin.

However, current studies of the linguistics used in this faiths oldest surviving text denotes a date of at least 1500-1300 bc. Which makes the origin of the faith at least 700 years older than the “scholars” said it was.
It began when a man, by the name of Zarathushtra (greek; Zoraster, Egyptian; Zorokothora, Parsean; Zartoshtra), seeks out spiritual enlightenment, by fasting on and off for thirty or so years and doing a lot of praying, in what we would now call bactria afganistan. He goes through a ritualistic cleansing and bathing in a local holy river, while he is doing this, he is visited by an angel, the angel tells him that he is the servant of Ahura Mhazda (farsi for Lord of Wisdom). He is then taken up and shown many visions of heaven and given many rules that man should live by.

In Zarathushtras day, his people worshipped a pantheon of deities called Daeva. When he receives his enlightenment from the One True God (Ahura Mhazda) he is told that the Daeva should not be worshipped because they are evil malighned beings trying to make man chose evil deeds and thoughts over good ones. This is, etymologically speaking, where we get the word Devil.

In fact, a villain is revealed to Zarathustra by the name of Angra Mainyu (Evil/Angry Spirit) who is Ahura Mhazdas chief adversary, he even goes so far as to give a title very familiar to madern day Christians, the title being “The Prince of Lies”.
Zarathushtra, being called of this deity as a prophet, goes on to preach this new religion with little success until he becomes sanctioned by a king. Later, the religion becomes the primary religion of Persia through the act of proselytization, as he establishes a priesthood via the converts of former Daeva priests who converted to the knew religion, these preists are then sent throughout the known world, there is evidence that the religion reached as far as present day Armenia (as the primary deity of worship in pegan Armenian religion goes by the name of Ormazd).

Primary key tenants of this religion are
1. Belief in a singular God, who has an adversary that has existed as long as he has.
2. Belief of Yazatas (Angels) as guardians of man and messengers of God (EDIT NOTE: All Zorastrian Angels were mentioned by SPECIFIC names, usually denoted by the Job they performed)
3. Belief that the Soul and Body would be reunited (The resurrection) at the final renovation (judgement) of the world
4. A belief in a Paradisae, used with the symbolism of the sun for the most righteous who practice Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds
5. Those who do not quite make it to this heaven, will enter into one of three degrees of damnation, likened unto the moon, the stars and a place completely devoid of light.
6. A strong belief in eternal marriage is also posited amongst this religion. But only those marriages performed by the priests in the fire temple were counted as eternal.
7. Finaly, a belief in a Saiyoshyant (Mesiah/Savior) would come to the earth and purify man (although, depending on the period in this faith, they have been known to believe in up to 3 saviors)

Zarathushtra also taught that blood sacrifice was to be stopped, as he himself abhorred the practice, and instituted a tithe system in its place. He also preached against the use of opiates and mind altering substances such as Haoma drink (druged wine, closest English description) in priestly ceremonies.

Many of the traditions of this religion also teach that Zarathushtra did not die, but was, in fact, lifted up to heaven. However, there are also others that say he was killed, and some claim he died peacefully at 77.

This religion, assuming the date of the origin of this faith is at least at 1300 bc, would be the first to teach of angels and the resurrection, a heavenly paradise and a concept of hell very dissimilar to the oblivion afterlives of the Greeks and Babylonians.

Ok, so here is the connection, none of the above doctrines were present in Jewish scripture (EDIT NOTE: in regards to NAMED angels, the hebrew faith did not write down the names of angels until the occupation, as the name was seen as sacred much as the name of God/Yavhevavhe/Yahwe was writting as LORD/Adoni) until the Persian occupation of Israel. And later, these doctrine become enforced by Jesus, with the perceived exception of eternal marriage, when He is asked by the Pharisee as to which man would have a particular woman in the afterlife as she was widowed and remarried, Jesus said neither, not because there is no eternal marriage but because either, she or the men were not living a celestial marriage.
Jesus makes the claim that his priesthood order is after the order of Melchezedek. And the doctrine he enforces is Persian in its origin. But even still, later in Gnostic scripture known as the Pistis Sophia, Jesus teaches the Apostles about Zorokothora Melchezedek and the mysteries of God through the use of his priesthood.
So here is the hypothesis, what if Zarathustra was Melchezedek?

As we currently believe that Avrahim existed around 1800 bc, it is not to much of a stretch to say that the Mhazdaist faith may have also existed at the same time as the OLDest SURVIVING document of Zarathushtras Gathas purport back to at least 1300-1500 bc.

what if Melchezedeks lineage was left out becuase he was actually a foreigner and no one really knew?

The life story of Zarathustra is also somewhat, very tentatively, reinforced by what Alma says about Melchezedek in the Book of Mormon

Alma's sermon in chapters 12 and 13 teaches the principle that God will provide men access to certain mysteries of God (Alma 12:9—11). The first verse of this sermon sets the theme for the entire discourse. Alma says that many know these mysteries as priests (Alma 13:1), but they are laid under a strict condition of secrecy (Alma 12:9) that can be lifted only by the diligence and repentance of the children of men (Alma 12:9—11; 13:18; cf. Alma 26:22). The plan provides all mankind a chance to know the mysteries in full (Alma 12:10), by humility (Alma 12:10—11; 13:13—14) and through the ministrations of properly ordained priests (Alma 13:16; cf. Mosiah 2:9; Alma 26:22) (John W. Welch: "The Melchizedek Material in Alma 13:13-19", for more info on churches view of Melchezedek).

The similarity being the humility and pious search for truth that the Mhazdaists believe Zarathustra went through, and that Alma obviously believed that Melchezedek went through.

Yes, I know this is all speculation, and moderate portion of this ‘evidence’ is highly circumstantial. But very fun none the less.

Edited by Mataeis, 21 May 2012 - 05:27 PM.


#37 Desertknight

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:16 PM

The fascinating thing is in Christendom Melchizedek has such a small role in Christian faith. When I was a young Bible student the fact that there was little or any information about him sparked my imagination since Hebrews mentions he has no begining or end, almost as if he was a spiritual personage, like a fictional character that has always been.

- Justin

As was mentioned above, I'm not sure where you were a student, but Melchizedek plays a large role in both Protestant and Catholic traditions. All Catholic priest, for example, are ordained within the “the Order of Melchizedek,” sharing in Christ's eternal priesthood.

#38 GothLDSMrthnRunnr

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:29 PM

This is a very interesting thread. I myself am currently studying up on ancient semetic religious beliefes as well as babylonian, persian and hindu doctrines.

....

Yes, I know this is all speculation, and moderate portion of this ‘evidence’ is highly circumstantial. But very fun none the less.


hey Mataeis:

Your post was.... awesome :-) Just finished reading it and I am sure will re-read it again in the future. We should compare notes one day from a person also interested in semetic religious beliefs.

#39 volgadon

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:50 PM

I will start at the time of Jesus. We all know who the Pharisees and the Saducees were, but there was also a group called the Essenes/Hasidim as well. The word Pharisee originates as the word Pharis, which is the Aramaic term for "of Pharis/Persia". In other words, the Pharisee were a sect of Judaism from persia. The pharisee believed in the ressurection, a judgement of the soul, and in the angels of heaven. The Saducees however, did not, they only believed in the most literal interpretation of the books of moses, which makes no mention of angels, heaven, a hell or anything of that sort. The essenes did believe in much of what the pharisees did as well, but with some twists and extremes.


Umm, no. The word Pharisee- Parush (פרוש), spelled with a shin, stems from the Hebrew word for becoming separated from someone or something. Has nothing whatsoever to do with Persia- Paras (פרס), spelled with a samech.

#40 volgadon

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 03:57 PM

Angels as protectors of man and messengers of God appear many times in the Pentateuch.




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