High Priesthood of Melchizedek
My Companions, you have been consecrated this day by the laying on of hands and the anointing of oil. This is a ceremony which is so old that we can not accurately date it. but for more than 6,000 years this ceremony has been the privilege of many thousands of men. It had it’s beginning in the primitive priesthood’ of the ancient past before Abraham began his entry into the land of Canaan and then came down. with many breaks, through the Jewish line for almost 2,000 years, until the time of Christ. But this High Priesthood is not a Jewish priesthood for the High Priesthood of Melchizedek ante dates the Jewish priesthood by 500 to 600 Years.
You. Today have been inducted into a very long line of sacred and holy responsibility and this experience is not to be. taken in a light and frivolous spirit, or as it is ,just another degree. ”This is a sacred and solemn experience for you are among the chosen few who have been selected for this high honour today.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 years before Christ there lived in Palestine a king who was, also, a High Priest of the Most High God . The name of this king was, Melchizedek whose kingdom was not large but was of tremendous importance for it constituted a valuable buffer state between the Egyptians to the south and the Assyrians to the north. The seat of this kingdom was a most impregnable fortified city named Salim. it was a self-contained city and deeply respected by the many lesser kingdoms whose names were read before you a few minutes ago. The evidence of this kingdom-city is not only recorded in the Holy Bible but by the great archaeologists who have discovered many references to it in the most ancient records of the past. These records were letters and historical reports by both Egyptian and Assyrian rulers,. In some of these records the Habiri people were mentioned and were later called Hebrews. They were the Abraham tribes that had come into this Ancient land of Canaan.
The fourteenth chapter of Genesis tells of a series of battles between the several small kingdoms in this area. One king, Chedorlaomer, was successful in the prolonged battle and during the campaign captured Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and his family, and carried them away to his own kingdom. Abraham was informed of the capture of his nephew Lot and immediately gathered his own private forces and set out to do battle with Chedorlaomer and his army to rescue Lot. Abraham was successful, for by careful planning he struck his enemy at night and defeated him. Armies in those times did not do battle at night and this was a complete surprise for Chedorlaomer’s forces.
—Abraham collected an enormous amount of loot and brought Lot safely to his home. Abraham was a generous man and did not need to keep all the loot so he gave much of it to the neighbouring kings and a tithe, or tenth of all the loot, to Melchizedek who was the High Priest of the Most High God. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and served him bread and wine in a religious ceremony. Again, let me remind you that the Holy Bible records the events I have just related to you.
As we search through the Holy Bible we find many references to Melchizedek in the Psalms and one, Psalm 110:4. speaks of it king: “Thou art a High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. “
—Then there is a most important reference in the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament which has much to say about this Order of the High Priesthood.
Now allow me to digress and tell you that Salim means peace. The name was changed. later, to Salem, and when King David gained control of the city he named it Jerusalem, which meant, God’s City of Peace. And that name remains today.
—In the Letter to the Hebrews in Chapters five and seven the author goes into detail about the priesthood: “Thou art a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek,” referring to Jesus, Also the text says of Jesus. “Called of God as High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek.” Then is added, “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus. made a High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. For this Melchizedek, King or Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth of all, first by interpretation King of righteousness, and that after also, King of Salem, which is, King of Peace; without father. without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days and end of life, made like unto the Son of God; abiding a priest forever. . . .” (Hebrews 6:20 - 7:3) Then the writer of this Scripture goes on to point out Ow the priesthood of Melchizedek is not the same as the priesthood of the Jews but it is granted to those outside the Jewish line. (Hebrews 7:9 - 1 8)
—The priesthood-of the Jews ended forever shortly after the Jews had Jesus crucified by the Romans. Since that there has been no priesthood, no sacrifices, no Temple. But ... this priesthood of which you am now a part is something which began more than 3,000 years ago and is older than Moses and the Ten Commandments.
Again, let me impress upon you, most strongly, this is not “just another degree.” As you have discovered all through the York Rite all the teachings and materials are taken from the Holy Bible.. We teach no philosophies, no pagan beliefs, no theories. This High Priesthood is something very special for you have been selected, instructed. anointed, and blessed at the sacred altar and made a High Priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek. .
I charge you that there is a solemn obligation upon you to follow the teachings of this degree and remember that you have been anointed and set apart for a special purpose, a very high purpose, to exert a high morality and a deep and strong determination to conduct yourself as one set apart.
Roland E. Darrow (Arkansaas) - Royal Arch Mason