Melchizedek, Melchisedec:
Christian Archetype for The Fool, Tarot Key 0
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2002

"He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one - all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after may days. He is the spirit in search of experience."
from, "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot" by A.E. Waite
Zero The Fool

"The wand over the youth's shoulder is a symbol of will, and tied to it is a wallet that is thought to carry universal memory and instinct."
from, "A Complete Guide to the Tarot" by Eden Gray
Key 0 The Fool

The mysterious Melchizedek is the source of a great deal of speculation in the modern world. Melchizedek translates as the god Zedek is my king. Some sources say that Melchizedek was a Canaanite prince and a worshipper of the true God. We are first introduced to Melchizedek, as the King of Salem and priest of God Most High, in the Old Testament Book of Genesis 14:17-20 when he meets Abraham (Abram) after Abraham's victory over Chedoralaomer. We meet Melchizedek again, many generations later, when someone witnesses seeing him in the New Testament Hebrews 7:1-4, 8-10.

Melchizedek shared a communion of bread and wine with Abraham. This act is interpreted as Melchisedec transferring his seed through that communion with Abraham. Abraham was chosen to bring forth the seed of the promised Son. Melchizedek was the Most High God appearing in the flesh to Abraham. During the Last Supper, Jesus transferred his Father's seed to the Apostles in the same manner. Both were symbolically transferred by that act of communion, the taking the bread and the wine

"After the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave them tithes of all." Genesis 14:17-20

"For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abiding a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils." Hebrews 7:1-4,

"And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him."Hebrews 7:8-10.

Jesus is identified as "a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" in New Testament Hebrews 5:6 which is the same description used in the Old Testament Psalm 110: 4 "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek". One of the requirements of the Levitical priesthood was the ability to trace one's lineage back to Aaron. Much debate is made as to whether Melchisedek is God himself, one individual with an incredibly long life, or represents a new, superior priesthood not based on lineage, therefore indicating the end of the Levitical priesthood.

The superiority of Melchisedek's priesthood was based on the fact that Abraham had paid him tithes; he had blessed Abraham - the greater always blessed the lesser; he is the type of a Priest who lived for ever; Levi, before he was born, paid him tithes in the person of Abraham ; his permanent priesthood in Christ implied the end of the Levitical priesthood; he was made priest not without an oath; and his priesthood couldn't be transmitted or interrupted by death: "this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." He had no beginning and no end - the Alpha and the Omega.

Gnostic texts depict Melchisedek as the one who brings the waters of baptism and as a gatherer and emanator of divine light. In the Dead Sea Scrolls he is portrayed as a heavenly being who brings salvation and judgement. In the Book of Mormon he is referred to as the prince of peace and his symbol is a chalice and a loaf of bread. In old Jewish tradition he was Shem, the son of Noah, the supernatural child of Noah's brother Nir, who may have survived to this time. In other sources he has been identified as the Holy Ghost; an angel of the order of virtues and in Phoenician mythology he is the father of the 7 angels of the divine presence.

Tradition identifies Salem with the city of Jerusalem which David had conquered and turned into his capital city. On one of the Amarna tablets from Ebed-Tob, king of Jerusalem, the successor of Melchizedek, he claims the attributes and dignity given to Melchizedek in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

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This page was created on November 17, 2002.