Melchizedek is the first tractate of Codex IX from the Nag Hammadi Library.
The Greek original version has been lost; the Coptic version found at Nag Hammadi is in a very fragmentary state with only 19 lines out of some 750 fully preserved.
Melchizedek was the ancient ‘priest of God Most High’ named in Genesis 14:18; he brings out bread and wine and blesses Abraham.
The tractate is made up of three main parts:
– a revelation given to Melchizedek by the angel Gamaliel
– a liturgy or rite performed by the priest Melchizedek on behalf of his community
– a revelatory vision mediated to Melchizedek by unnamed heavenly ‘brethren’ .
Gamaliel begins his revelation with a prophecy of the earthly work of Jesus Christ, beginning with his descent from heaven. His teachings will elicit the enmity of the world ruler and his archons, who will have him crucified. But the Saviour will rise from the dead and provide his disciples with post-resurrection instruction. Gamaliel then tells of the false doctrine that will be propagated by enemies of the truth. They will deny the reality of Jesus’ birth and earthly life, death and resurrection. But Melchizedek’s teachings of hope and life will provide a guide for the ‘elect’ – the ‘assembly of the children of Seth.’
Gamaliel tells Melchizedek that Jesus Christ is from the ‘race’ of the heavenly high priest who is above all aeons. Gamaliel then commands Melchizedek to renounce animal sacrifices and to undergo a special baptism.
Gamaliel recounts the history of humanity from the creation of Adam until the final battle at the end of time, when the elect ‘seed’ of the Father will achieve their final salvation, and the Saviour will destroy Death.
Gamaliel concludes his revelation with a warning to Melchizedek to keep these things secret, reserved only for the ‘elect’.
The second part of the tractate begins with Melchizedek recounting his reaction to the revelation he has received; he glorifies God the Father and undertakes a series of ritual actions (spiritual offering, baptism and prayers). It concludes with exhortations addressed to Melchizedek’s community.
The revelatory vision in the third main part of the tractate is conveyed by unnamed heavenly messengers, who encourage Melchizedek in his priestly office. This part of the manuscript is badly damaged, but one part relates Jesus Christ addressing his executioners, the archons, recounting his sufferings, crucifixion, and resurrection. Melchizedek is then congratulated on his victory over the archons:
“Be strong, O Melchizedek, great high priest of God, for the archons who are your enemies made war against you. You have gained the victory over them, and they did not prevail over you. You have persevered and destroyed your enemies..”
The tractate concludes with another warning to keep the revelations secret and the ascension back to heaven of the angelic messengers.
There is debate amongst historians as to the relationship between Melchizedek and Jesus Christ. The fragmentary state of Melchizedek results in missing words and lines, but Gnostics believe Melchizedek was a former incarnation of Jesus Christ:
“I am Melchizedek, the priest of God Most High, I know that I am the image of the true high priest of God Most High, and.. the world.”
Along with the rest of codex IX (The Thought of Norea and The Testimony of Truth) I believe Melchizedek was written by Jude, son of Sarah and grandson of Mary Magdalene, at the Lake Mareotis community near Alexandria, Egypt in the late 1st – early 2nd century.
Scholars agree it was written in Egypt for an audience of Gnostic Christians who greatly revered Melchizedek because he was a former incarnation of the Saviour.
My cellular memory tells me that Melchizedek was not a misogynist but was opposed to Mary Magdalene because of her relationship with Yeshua.
Jude was undoubtedly aware of this and did not share other gnostic communities great reverence for Melchizedek.
#angels #egypt #gnostic #melchizedek #naghammadi #spiritual