Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How Christ Said The First Mass, Or The Lord's Supper. Part 25.

Abraham meets Melchisedech (San Marco)

Christ chose the Cenacle in which to celebrate the Passover, because there lived, died, and were buried Melchisedech, David, Solomon and all the kings of David's family till the Babylonian Captivity.
Melchisedech comes into history under this name in the account of the four Mesopotamian kings, who went into Palestine, captured Lot, Abraham's nephew, and started for home. Abraham roused his servants, fell on them at night, rescued Lot, took their spoils, and returning passed by Salem, as Jerusalem then was named.
"But Melchisedech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was a priest of the most high God, blessed him and said: 'Blessed be the most high God by whose protection thy enemies are in thy hand.' And he gave him tithes of all." 1
Here for the first time in Holy Writ we find a priest "of the most high God" offering the "bread and wine" of the Passover and Mass. Eight centuries of silence pass, and 1,100 years before Christ David wrote of Christ's priesthood: "Thou are a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech." 2 Then this great pontiff-king appears no more, in Holy Writ, till St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews mentions him eight times as a type of Christ. 3
In patriarchal days, the chief of the tribe, or the king, united in his person the two offices of priest and ruler. Abraham was a priest, and sacrificed suffering animals, for of his race the priests of Aaron's family were born—the Hebrew priests who demanded the death of Christ—as they had in tabernacle and Temple immolated the victims which foretold the crucifixion.


But here for the first time in history, comes forth another order of priests, this mysterious Melchisedech offering bread and wine of the Last Supper and Mass. To him Abraham offered tithes—the tenth part of the fruits of his victory. Therefore Melchisedech's priesthood was higher than that of Abraham; it was to be eternal; it pointed to Christ's priesthood of the Last Supper and of the Catholic Church. The whole prophetic scene in that vale beside the sacred city was emblematic of the future.
First dimly the bread and wine appear in patriarchal sacrifices, but brighter in the Temple ceremonial, and still clearer in the Passover. Beautifully S. Augustine explains prophetic Noe naked in his tent after taking the wine, an image of Christ crucified nearly naked. Ham, his son, reviling him, foretold the Jewish people mocking the dying Lord. 4 To the wine his son Melchisedech added bread, and from that time the bread and wine were always offered with the bloody sacrifices of the Hebrew Temple.
Who was Melchisedech? Early heretics hold he was the Holy Spirit himself, who in human form appeared as the "Just King." But this is wrong. Origen, Didymus and others of that age say he was an angel, but this we cannot hold. 5
It is certain he was a man. He was the king of Salem, as Jerusalem was then named, who offered bread and wine in sacrifice. 6 Others think him one of the Canaanite kings, who lived a holy life amid the awful corruptions of that age. 7
Coming into history to bless Abraham, to receive the tenth part of all he had, nothing given of whence he came, his history, his parents, his origin and end, of him St. Paul says: "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 forever." 8


Not according to Aaron's priesthood killing countless animals foretelling the Redeemer's awful death, but according to this great high priest's order, Jesus Christ offered bread and wine at the Last Supper.
Melchisedech, "King of Peace," in that Palestine where kings were then called Abimelech, as in Egypt they were named Pharaoh, and later the Ptolomies, in his innocence and justice he was a striking figure of Christ, spiritual King and High Priest of mankind. Ignatius of Antioch 9 and other fathers say he was a virgin, without father or mother, foretelling the Redeemer without mother in heaven, father on earth or posterity. 10
Many learned works on this subject give various solutions. But Oriental traditions, Jewish and Samaritan writers clear up the difficulty. The Targums of Pseudo-Jonathan and Jerusalem, 11 Jewish Cabalistic works, 12 Rabbinical writers, 13 Samaritans 14 of ancient time, with Luther, Melanchthon, Lightfoot, Selden, etc., say Melchisedech was the patriarch Sem, sole survivor of the flood, eldest son and heir of Noe, king and high priest of the world.15
Noe established the right of primogeniture, that the eldest son should succeed the father in his property, kingship and priesthood, a custom coming down to our day. In monarchies, the eldest son sits on his father's throne, or becomes owner of the family estates. Of this Virgil sang "King Anius was indeed the king of men and the priest of Phebe." 16 Sem was therefore heir of Noe.
What is the meaning of the word Melchisedech? The Hebrew word for king is melek, and for justice tsaddiq, the latter coming from the Babylonian sadyk, "the just one," Therefore the name of this Pontiff-Founder of Jerusalem is "My King is Just." In our day, at Tel-el-Amarna in Egypt, terra-cotta tablets were discovered inscribed in the Babylonian tongue, the diplomatic language of the nations a hundred years before Moses led the Hebrews from the Nile land. When Melchisedech died
Adoni-Zedek, his successor as king of Jerusalem, sent these tablets to the Egyptian king, telling of the great king Melchisedech his predecessor, who had founded the city, stating he had five sons. A wealth of Jewish and Arabian lore is found relating to this personage.


Smith in his Dictionary says under the name Shem:
"Assuming that the years ascribed to the patriarchs in the present copies of the Hebrew Bible are correct, it appears that Methuselah, who in his first 243 years was contemporary with Adam, had still nearly 100 years of his long life to run after Shem was born. And when Shem died, Abraham was 148 years old, and Isaac had been nine years married. There are therefore but two links— Methuselah and Shem—between Adam and Isaac. So that the early records of the Creation, and the Fall of man, which came down to Isaac, would challenge, apart from their inspiration, the same confidence, which is readily yielded to a tale that reaches the reader through two well-known persons, between himself and the original chief actor in the events related. There is no chronological improbability in that ancient Jewish tradition, which brings Sem and Abraham into personal conference."
Sem or Shem, "Name," "Renown," or "Yellow," father of the yellow Asiatics, was born before the flood, when Noe was 500 years old. 17 "He (Sem) begot Arphaxad two years after the flood, and Sem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years." 18 When the latter was in his thirty-fifth year, he begat Sale. And when Sale was thirty years old his son Heber was born. 19 Heber became the father of Pheleg in his thirty-fourth year. The latter had a son in his thirtieth year named Reu, who in his thirty-second year had a son born to him called Sarug. This Sarug in his thirtieth year begat Nachor, and the latter in his twenty-ninth year had a son Thare, who in his seventieth year became Abraham's father. 20
According to this statement, Abraham was born 352 years after the flood, when Sem was 450 years old. "Sem lived after he begot Arphaxad five hundred years." 21 Born 92 years before the flood, Sem lived till Abraham attained his forty-sixth year. Josephus has the following "Abraham, who accordingly was the tenth from Noe, was born in the two hundred and ninety-second year after the flood." 22 Following this Sem died when Abraham was ninety-two, and eighty years before Isaac's birth.


Sem therefore died when Abraham was either forty-six, ninety-two or one hundred and forty-eight years of age, and he could have been that great pontiff of mankind, high priest of the nations, whom the Canaanites called Melchisedech. Oriental and Hebrew traditions have the following, we think the best, solution of the difficulty. But we do not say that the following statements are all true. Let the reader judge for himself.
Dying Adam said to his son Seth: "Now I die for my sin, but bury me not till God shows you the place where I will sleep till the 'Seed of the woman,' who will crush the serpent's head will come." 23 They embalmed the body, patriarchs passed it down, Noe had the skull in the ark, and before he died, 350 years after the flood, he gave it to Sem his eldest son telling him the tradition.
There was born of Ham's family, his grandson Nemrod, "Valiant," or "The Rebel," who comes down among the Heathen nations as Baal, Bel, the god Jupiter, Hercules, Thor, etc. "He was the grandson of Ham, a bold man of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as it were through his means they were happy, but to believe it was their own courage, which procured them that happiness. He also changed the government into a tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, and to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again. For that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach, and he would be revenged on God for destroying their forefathers." 24
This Nemrod turned mankind from Adam's religion; taught that the sky was a crystal ceiling; that their forefathers, the patriarchs, went to heaven and became the planets; that the natural forces were gods, and thus he founded paganism. Guided by him, the seventy-two families, born of Noe's grandsons, built the Tower they called Bab II, "Gate of God," in the Babylonian tongue, which the Hebrews later changed to Babel, "Confusion," whence they called the nearby city Babylon, "City of the Gate of God." 25


Infidelity, the worship of their father-patriarchs, the degradation of woman, immorality, irreligion were spreading through the people tyrannized over by this wicked Nemrod. But before the Tower of Babel was finished, God changed their language so each family spoke a different tongue and they could not understand the other families so they had to separate. Japheth's children migrated to the southern shores of the Caspian Sea; Sem's sons remained in his father's house, Asia, because he was the eldest; Ham's dark tribes went to Africa, except the tribes which had rebelled against Sem over the division of the continents. They remained in the rich plains between the Tigris and Euphrates, where they founded the Babylonian empire, of which Nemrod was the first king. From these seventy-two families or tribes came the great nations of antiquity.
Sem, father of numerous tribes, eldest son and heir of Noe's civil and priestly power, was stripped of all authority in this revolt. Left alone in his old age, his children gone, an angel told him to come and he would show him where to bury Adam's skull. For full many a day they went west, till they came to a little hill, whereon he entombed our first father's relic, and called it Golgotha, a Babylonian word meaning "The Place of the Skull." Greeks later rendered it Cranion, and Romans Calvaria— Calvary. There the angel told him to guard the relic of the first man.
The Revelations of Moses, an ancient book the Jews honored, gives a long account of how the angels embalmed Adam's body. "And God said to Adam: "I will set thee in thy kingdom, on the throne of him that deceived thee, and he shall be cast down in this place (Calvary) that thou mayest sit upon him." Beside him they buried Abel's body, and there they laid Eve, when she died six days after Adam. Thus the thirty children of Adam laid to sleep our first parents with the priest Abel beside them. And the archangel Michael said to Seth: "Thus bury every man that dies until the day of the resurrection."


We give this as a specimen of numerous doubtful Oriental traditions. On the way to Damascus, not far from the vast ruins of Baalbec, amid the Libanon mountains, they show you the tombs of Noe and the patriarchs. Perhaps Adam was buried there and later his skull taken up and guarded as the relic of the first sinner and saint. The Church in honoring the relics of the saints, follows the customs of ancient races, especially the Hebrews. In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre they point out Melchisedech's tomb.
Half a mile south rose rugged rocky heights surrounded on three sides by deep valleys, which Sem fortified and called Sion, "the Projecting." There he reared his palace, round which rose a little city he named Salem, "Peace," from the Oriental salute. Salama, "Peace," a word still used in these countries, as we say "How do you do?"
In the migrations of the tribes, Caanan's cursed sons, 26 Jebusites, Hittites, whom the Greeks called Phenicians, had colonized the land, where they had built many a city and town. Not knowing Sem, who he was, or whence he came, they called him "The Just King," the King of Salem, in their language Melchisedech.
Last of the great patriarchal fathers of the nations, heir of Noe's fatherhood, royalty and priesthood going back beyond the flood to Abel and to Adam, in his palace on Sion, on the very spot where Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper, this great high-priest king first offered the bread and wine of the Mass.
He was then the last link of the world before the flood. No writing, record, or monument of the ages before God wiped out the world's wickedness with waters of his wrath survived, but Sem, who had preserved them according to the patriarchal customs of that epoch, when the eldest son was sole depositary and heir of all his father's learning, property and priesthood.


In Chaldea, at Ur, "Light of the Moon," where she was worshiped, now the ruined Mughier, "The Betumined," lived Abraham. His father made a living manufacturing and selling idols, says the Talmud. But his son did not believe in them, and God gave him supernatural faith, and told him to go into Palestine, where he would meet this great pontiff-king from whom he would learn Adam's religion, the story of creation, the fall of man, the prophecy of the Redeemer, the story of the world before the flood. According to patriarchal custom, these truths passed down to Isaac, Jacob, to the Hebrews as traditions, till Moses gathered them up in the Book of Genesis.
Jewish rabbis say Sem called the little city Salem, "Peace"; 27 that after offering Isaac on Moriah, Abraham named the city Jireh, "Possession"; that the two great patriarchs disputed about the city's name; but then agreed to unite the two words making Jerusalem, "The city of Peace," 28 a word found six hundred times in the Old Testament, and seventy times in the New.
Hebrews called it Ariel, "Lion," or "Hearth of God"; 29 Grecian Jews said it was Agia Polls "The Holy City"; 30 when Hadrian destroyed it the Romans named it ælia after his first name. 31 It was the holiest of all the cities of earth, because of Him foretold to come and there redeem our race.
When Omar, Mohammed's cousin, captured it, Moslems called it El-Kuds, "The Holy," Beit-el-Makdis, "The House of the Holy Sanctuary"; Esh-Sherif, "The Venerable" or "The Noble." To them Jerusalem is a most sacred place, where lived the prophets they hold inspired, and in their eyes Jerusalem in sanctity is second only to Mecca where Mohammed was born, and Medina where he lived.
Sem, bearing the name of Melchisedech, lived on Sion, his palace being built on the very spot where Herod built the Cenacle in which Jesus Christ said the first Mass. 32 This great prophet-king priest of the most high God, 33 "bringing forth bread and wine," 34 offered this sacrifice of thanksgiving for the victory God gave Abraham; he offered this bread and wine to God as an image of the Mass, and not for food for Abraham's troops as Calvin wrote.
And Abraham "gave him tithes of all." 35 Why did he do this? To show that there was to come a priesthood,offering the Mass in bread and wine, superior to the Aaronic priesthood offering bloody sacrifices, suffering animals immolated in the Temple by the priesthood to be be born of Abraham's race.


Abraham gave tithes to Melchisedech because that was the custom in those days. Pagans gave tithes, that is the tenth part of the spoils of their victories to their priests. 36 Zenophon 37 says: "For of this money collected from the captives, the tenth part consecrated to Apollo or to Diana of Ephesus the pretors received." Agesilao writes: "Offerings, that is fruits of the earth, every two hundred years a hundred talents or more, the Ephesians dedicate the tenth part of that to God."
Christ was therefore a priest according to the order of Melchisedech when he offered bread and wine at the Last Supper, and a priest according to the order of Aaron when he brought the lamb of Passover to the Temple to be sacrificed. 38
Sem and Abraham slept with their fathers, and were buried one on Sion, the other at Hebron, sixty years of silent history passed, and Jebusites, sons of the third son of wicked Canaan, captured Sion, fortified its ramparts, and their dwellings rose round Melchisedech's fortress. They called the city Jebus, "Trodden down," in memory of their father.
It was a place of extraordinary strength. Recent excavations in Jerusalem laid bare the ancient ramparts running from near the Joppa gate, down deep into the Tyropoeon valley, separating Sion from Moriah, and continued along the southern slopes and to the west bordering the Hinnom vale to the place of beginning. They show Sion must have been in that day an acropolis, "A Citadel." They then called it "The Dry Rock." The Tyropoeon valley was then twenty-six, thirty-three and and eighty feet lower than now, while to the south and west the ramparts rose hundreds of feet over the Hinnom and Cedron vales.

1 Gen- xiv. 18-20.

2 Psalm cix. 4.

3 Hebrews v. 6-10, vi. 20, vii. 1 10, 11, 15-17

4 S. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, L. XVI C. i. and ii.

5 S. Augustine, Quest. in Gen. Quest. Ixxii.

Epiphanius, Heres, 56, St. Cyril, etc.

7 Theodorus, Eusebius, etc.

8 Hebrews vii. 3.

9 Epist. ad Philadel.

10 St. Augustine, De Doct. Christ., L. IV. XLV, Epist. clxxxii. v.

11 Rashi, in Gen. xiv.

12 Apud Bochart, Phaleg, Pt. I., b. ii., sec. 69.

13 Schotgen, Hor. Heb. II. 645.

14 Quoted by St. Epiphanius, Her. LV., 6.

15 See Bereshith Rabbah. S. 9, etc.

16 Eneid, III., V. 80.

17 Gen. v. 31.

18 Gen. xi.10, 11.

19 Gen. xi. 12-15.

20 Gen. xi. 12-26.

21 Gen. xi. 11.

22 Antiq. B. I., c. vi. n. 5.

23 Gen. iii. 15.

24 Josephus, Antiq. B. I. c. iv. n. 2.

25 Dutripon, Concord. S. Scripturæ, Babel.

26 Gen. x. 16.

27 S. Augustine, Enar in Ps. xxxiii. Ser. 1, V.

28 Young's Concord, of the Bible; Edershein, Temple. 3; Smith's Dic. of Bible, Jerusalem, etc.

29 Isaias xxix. 1, 2, 7. Ezech. 43-15.

30 Matt. iv. 5, xxvii. 53.

31 ælius Hadrianus.

32 See Josephus, Antiq. vii. c. iii. n. 2.

33 In Hebrew, veliu cohen.

34 Hotseti mincha.

35 See Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ, v. 47; Gen. xiv. 20.

36 Livy, L. 6.

37 Cyro, L. 6.

38 See Migne, Cursus Comp. S. Scripturæ xxv. 319 to 325. v. 47, etc.