In a sense, Melchizedek is the Boba Fett of the Old Testament: although he's mentioned only twice (Genesis xiv:18-20, Psalms cx:4), he has a cult following of incredible size, and his name has been co-opted by myriad New Age orders. What little is known of him is, although fact, almost unbelievable: he is both King of Salem (which apocryphal references identify as Jerusalem) and High Priest of Israel -- not a bad job for a guy who isn't even an Israelite. Even more startling are the claims Paul makes in Hebrews, where Paul proclaims him
... 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; abideth a priest continually. (Hebrews vii:2-3)You get the picture, then, that Melchizedek ain't no ordinary Joe. But who is he ? I have no idea, and I'd very much like to know, so I figured, "Hey. Let's find a Bible-oriented LJ community and see what they have to say."
The consistency of the Christian forums, without mentioning their names, ranged from pablum touchy-feely to dead to actively repellent. In fact, one of them seemed to be primarily populated with ostentatiously Christian chain-letters espousing the moribund Prosperity Gospel that was so ubiquitous in the 80's. One of the posts contained the following Scripture:
"YOU CAN PRAY FOR ANYTHING, AND IF YOU BELIEVE ... IT'S YOURS!" MATTHEW 11:24 TLBI'd lived through the 700 Club in my youth, I couldn't remember any verse so garrulously generous, and I certainly didn't recognize a translation called the TLB, so I turned to my trusty King James version and saw what Matthew had to say there. You'll love this:
24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for theeWow. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of the TLB. In fact, I found this misquotation of Scripture both sloppy, stomach-turning, insulting to those that actually read and research Scripture, and recklessly misleading to those to whom their evangelism is directed. If the quotation were in fact accurate, I would equate Christianity with the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, and probably respond to its message the same way I respond to PCH's mass mailings. My primary response to this is one of disappointment: somebody has abdicated their responsibility as an ambassador of a higher power while continuing to wear the ceremonial robes.
So. This leaves me in rather the Samaritan's position. Anybody know Melchizedek ? Anybody ?