The Church Fathers on Melchizedek and the Last Supper

I think the argument from Scripture is much stronger than our cited theologian gives, but this summarizes my efforts with ๐‘ด๐’†๐’๐’„๐’‰๐’Š๐’›๐’†๐’…๐’†๐’Œ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ณ๐’‚๐’”๐’• ๐‘บ๐’–๐’‘๐’‘๐’†๐’“. I think it should be of considerable importance for Protestant inquirers (especially those who respect tradition), not only because of the Scriptural evidence (which is sufficient), but also the unanimity of the Church Fathers.

“Finally, something must be said of the argument to be drawn from Christ’s priesthood ‘according to the order of Melchisedech.’ The argument, as repeated in dozens of theological text books, many be thus briefly set down. Priesthood and sacrifice are correlative; priests of the same order must offer sacrifice according to the same rite. Melchisedech offered sacrifice in bread and wine, therefore so did Christ. But the only time he can possibly be said to have done this was at the Last Supper, and therefore the Eucharist is a sacrifice.

Intrinsically and as a purely scriptural argument this ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—บ to be defective. The Greek word translated ‘order’ refers rather to rank, quality, manner, than to the sacrificial rite. To this no reference seems to be made either in the Psalm or in the Epistle; in the latter the writer is wholly occupied with the eternity and superiority of Christ’s priesthood as compared with that of Aaron. This he illustrates and explains by saying that Christ is ‘a priest according to the order of Melchisedech.’ The King of Salem is shown to be Abraham’s superior by receiving from him the tribute of tenths; he is the type of the eternity of Christ’s priesthood by his manner of appearing in the pages of Scripture, ‘without father, without mother, without geneaology, having neither beginning of days nor end of life,’ and therefore he is ‘likened unto the Son of God (and) continueth a priest for ever.’ Hence those who are content with the purely objective and apparently obvious interpretation of Scripture may reject the argument.

๐—•๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฐ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป; ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—บ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ต๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—›๐—ผ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ช๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜, ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—™๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐——๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€. ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ, ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€, ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฎ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐˜„๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—บ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜’๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐˜๐˜‚๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—˜๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€. ๐—”๐˜€ ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ฝ๐˜‚๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜:: ‘๐‘ถ๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‚๐’๐’„๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’˜๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’†๐’“๐’” ๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’“๐’†๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’”๐’–๐’„๐’‰ ๐’‚๐’ ๐’Š๐’๐’„๐’“๐’†๐’…๐’Š๐’ƒ๐’๐’† ๐’†๐’™๐’•๐’†๐’๐’•, ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’๐’ ๐’“๐’๐’๐’Ž ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’๐’†๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐’…๐’๐’–๐’ƒ๐’• ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’Š๐’๐’… ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚๐’๐’š ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’“๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’‚๐’.'”

“The Eucharistic Sacrifice,” in Rev. B. V. Miller, D.D., Ph.D., in The Teaching of the Catholic Church: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine, ed. Canon George D. Smith, D.D., Pd.D., (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1955), 885-886.

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