Melchisedech appears in ten different locations in the Holy Bible. Let’s take a look at these passages.
He appears in the Old Testament first in the Book of Genesis (Chapter 14, verses 18-20):
But Melchisedech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God (at vero Melchisedech rex Salem proferens panem et vinum erat enim sacerdos Dei altissimi),
blessed him, and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth (benedixit ei et ait benedictus Abram Deo excelso qui creavit caelum et terram).
And blessed be the most high God, by whose protection, the enemies are in thy hands. And he gave him the tithes of all (et benedictus Deus excelsus quo protegente hostes in manibus tuis sunt et dedit ei decimas ex omnibus).
Next, the Book of Psalms, of the Old Testament, mentions Melchisedech in the 109th Psalm (verse 4):
The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech (iuravit Dominus et non paenitebit eum tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech).
And Saint Paul writes about Melchsedech in the Epistle To The Hebrews (Chapter 5, verses 6 & 10; Chapter 6, verse 20; Chapter 7 verses 1-4, 10-11, 15-17):
5:6 As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech (quemadmodum et in alio dicit tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech).
5:10 Called by God a high priest, according to the order of Melchisedech (appellatus a Deo pontifex iuxta ordinem Melchisedech).
6:20 Where the forerunner Jesus is entered for us, made a high priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech (ubi praecursor pro nobis introiit Iesus secundum ordinem Melchisedech pontifex factus in aeternum).
7:1-4 For this Melchisedech was king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him (hic enim Melchisedech rex Salem sacerdos Dei summi qui obviavit Abrahae regresso a caede regum et benedixit ei): To whom also Abraham divided the tithes of all: who first indeed by interpretation is king of justice: and then also king of Salem, that is, king of peace (cui decimas omnium divisit Abraham primum quidem qui interpretatur rex iustitiae deinde autem et rex Salem quod est rex pacis): Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but likened unto the Son of God, continueth a priest for ever (sine patre sine matre sine genealogia neque initium dierum neque finem vitae habens adsimilatus autem Filio Dei manet sacerdos in perpetuum). Now consider how great this man is, to whom also Abraham the patriarch gave tithes out of the principal things (intuemini autem quantus sit hic cui et decimam dedit de praecipuis Abraham patriarcha).
7:10-11 For he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedech met him (adhuc enim in lumbis patris erat quando obviavit ei Melchisedech). If then perfection was by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchisedech: and not be called according to the order of Aaron (si ergo consummatio per sacerdotium leviticum erat populus enim sub ipso legem accepit quid adhuc necessarium secundum ordinem Melchisedech alium surgere sacerdotem et non secundum ordinem Aaron dici)?
7:15-17 And it is yet far more evident: if according to the similitude of Melchisedech there ariseth another priest (et amplius adhuc manifestum est si secundum similitudinem Melchisedech exsurgit alius sacerdos), Who is made, not according to the law of a law of a carnal commandment, but according to the power of an indissoluble life (qui non secundum legem mandati carnalis factus est sed secundum virtutem vitae insolubilis). For he testifieth: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech (contestatur enim quoniam tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech).
But, what if a Biblical Scholar or Bible Enthusiast wanted to know more about this person? Where would he go to delve deeper into the life of Melchisedech?
Lucky are we… for in this day and age, God has provided us with a visionary to whom He graced with privileges in knowing aspects of the Bible that do not appear in the Holy Book.
The visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich provide a wealth of information not found in the Bible.
“In these times of disbelief, when the Sacred Scriptures are so often regarded as symbolical narratives with little historical value, the visions of this privileged soul providentially confirm the Christian’s faith in the rock-solid reality of the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of His words, His deeds, and His miracles.
“In addition, Sister Emmerich’s visions show how our sacred religious heritage goes back in an unbroken line all the way to the time of Adam, to the very beginning of the world – a line which no other religion but the Roman Catholic can claim.”
- – from the Preface of Volume 1 of ‘The Life of Jesus Christ And Biblical Revelations’ From the Visions of… Anne Catherine Emmerich… as Recorded in the Journals of Clemens Brentano Arranged and Edited by the Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.SS. R.
Here are Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s description of Melchisedech as revealed to her via Divine privilege:
I have often seen Melchisedech, but never as a human being.
I have always seen him as a being of another nature, as an angel, as one sent by God.
I have never at any time seen any determinate dwelling place, any home, any family, any associates connected with him.
I never saw him eating, drinking, or sleeping, and never did the thought occur to me that he was a mortal.
He was clothed as no priest at the time on the earth, but like the angels in the heavenly Jerusalem.
His robes were such as Moses, upon the command of God, afterward ordained the priestly vestments should be.
I have seen Mechisedech appearing here and there, interposing and legislating the affairs of nations; as, for instance, at the celebration of victories after war, at that time waged with such cruelty.
Wherever he appeared, wherever he was, he exercised an irresistible influence by his mere presence.
No one opposed him, and yet he never resorted to harsh measures; even the idolaters cheerfully accepted his decisions and acted upon his advice.
He had no companion of his own nature; he was entirely alone.
Sometimes he had two hired couriers. They were clothed in short white garments, and they ran on before him to announce his coming.
All that he needed, he had without trouble of acquiring. They from whom he received anything could always spare what they gave. They bestowed it upon him with joy.
They regarded him with reverential fear, but esteemed themselves happy to be in his company.
Although the wicked found fault with him, yet they humbled themselves in his presence.
Melchisedech, that being of a higher order, was regarded by the great ones of the pagan world, those sensuous, godless men, in much the same light that an extraordinarily holy man would be looked upon at the present day, if he suddenly appeared amongst us as a stranger doing good to all around…
I often saw Melchisedech as he appeared in Palestine long before the time of… Abraham, when the country was still a wilderness.
He seemed to be laying it out, marking off and preparing certain districts.
I saw him entirely alone, and I thought:
‘What is this man doing here so early? There is not a human being in this place!’
It was the source of the Jordan. He had a long fine instrument which, like a ray of light, pierced the mountainside.
I saw him in the same way opening fountains in different parts of the earth.
In those early times, that is before the Deluge, I never saw the rivers gushing forth and flowing as they do now, but I saw volumes of water pouring down from a high mountain in the east.
Melchisedech took possession of many parts of Palestine by marking them off.
He measured off the site for the Pool of Bethsaida, and long before Jerusalem existed he laid a stone where the Temple as to stand.
I saw him planting in the bed of the Jordan the twelve precious stones upon which the priests stood with the Ark of the Covenant at the departure of the children of Israel.
He planted seeds, and they increased in size.
I always saw Melchisedech alone, save when he had to busy himself with the uniting, the separating, or the guiding of nations and families.
I saw that Melchisedech built a castle at Salem. But it was rather a tent with galleries and steps around it, like the castle of Mensor, in Arabia. The foundation alone was solid, for it was of stone. I think the four corners where the principal posts stood, were still to be seen even in John’s time. It had only a very strong foundation of stone, which looked like a fortification overrun with verdure. John had there his little hut of rushes.
That tent castle was a resort for strangers and travelers, a kind of safe and convenient inn near the pleasant waters.
Perhaps Melchisedech, whom I have always seen as the guide and counselor of the still unsettled races and nations, kept this castle as a place in which to harbor and instruct them. But even at that time, it bore some reference to Baptism.
This was Melchisedech’s central point. From it he started on his journeys to lay out Jerusalem, to visit Abraham, and to go elsewhere.
Here also he gathered together and distributed families and peoples, who settled in various places.
All this took place previously to the offering of bread and wine which, I think, was made in a valley south of Jerusalem.
Melchisedech built Salem before he built Jerusalem.
Wherever he labored and constructed, he seemed to be laying the foundation of a future grace, to be drawing attention to that particular place, to be beginning something that would be perfected in the future.
Melchisedech belongs to the choir of angels that are set over countries and nations, that brought messages to Abraham and the other Patriarchs.
They stand opposite the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
- Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 110 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
- Carissimi: Today’s Mass; S. William of York, Bishop & Confessor (frjeromeosjv.wordpress.com)
- A priest in the order of Melchizedek (dailymedit.wordpress.com)