Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Lost Temple of Melchizedek

The History of the Temples of Jerusalem is well documented in the Old Testament, and in archaeological research. But the Lost Temple of Melchizedek is forgotten. Long before Solomon built his magnificent Temple for God, there was a earlier temple. The Temple of Salem; the Temple of Melchizedek!


Melchizedek is mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The patriarch of the Jews, Abram is contemporary with him. Genesis relates the story of a war in which Abram fought in. The kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adama, Seboim, and Segor (Bala); fought a war against the kings of Sennaar, Pontus, and Chodorlahomar, King of Elamites, and Thadal, King of Nations. Abram joined this fight to rescue his nephew Lot, who dwelled in Sodom. Abram pursued the invaders that had defeated, and raided the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He defeated them, and brought back the people and spoils of war. After returning to the Kings Dale (a valley); they were met by Melchizedek. Genesis relates this:



“But Melchisedech the King of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God,

Blessed him, and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high god, who created heaven and earth.

And blessed be the most high God, by whose protection the enemies are in thy hands. And he gave him the tithes of all. (Genesis 14: 18 -20)



Now who is Melchizedek, where is Salem, and where is the King’s dale? Salem was the original name of Jerusalem. The addition of “Jeru” was added later. In Abrams time there was a city in the general area of Jerusalem, then called Salem. And Melchizedek was it’s king; as well as being a Priest of God. Given that Abram journeyed to Mount Moriah, to sacrifice Isaac. We may wonder where Salem was located exactly. Could Abram see it from Mount Moriah? No mention is made of a Temple being present there on Mount Moriah. So I’ll speculate it was in the King’s Dale somewhere, perhaps with the city of Salem. Josephus the Jewish historian provides more details:


“So Abram, when he had saved the captive Sodomites who had been taken away by the Assyrians, and lot also, his kinsman, returned home in peace. Now the king of Sodom met him at a certain place, which they called the Kings Dale, where Melchizedek, the king of Salem, received him. That name signifies the righteous king; and such he was without dispute, insomuch that, on this account, he was made the priest of god: however they afterward called Salem, Jerusalem. Now this Melchizedek supplied Abram’s army in an hospitable manner, and gave them provisions in abundance; and they were feasting he began to praise him, and to bless God for subduing his enemies under him. And when Abram gave him the tenth part of his prey, he accepted of his gift:………..” Antiquities I.10.2 (179 - 181)



Obviously the Kings Dale or valley, was an important place in those days. Perhaps it was a meeting place for all the regions kings, or a burial place for there kings. The Kings dale is mentioned elsewhere in scripture; assuming it’s the same dale. Absalom, King Davids son had a monument erected to his memory in the King’s Valley.


“Now Absalom had reared up for himself, in his lifetime, a pillar, which is in the king’s valley: for he had said : I have no son, and this shall be the monument of my name. And he called the pillar by his own name, and it is called the hand of Absolom, to this day.” (II Kings 18:18)


The historian of the Jews Josephus, can add some further light on this valley. Josephus relates the following:



“Now Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the kings dale, two furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom’s Hand…….” ( Antiquities VII.10.3 {243})



Now we have a good idea of where the Kings Dale is ; a furlong is 220 yards. So this valley was a short distance from Jerusalem; less than a mile.  The Kidron Valley runs nearby the Temple Mount, it may be the "Kings Dale!" 


Finally, we come to the Temple of Melchizedek. The ruins of this temple lie hidden somewhere.  Perhaps on the Temple Mount, or in the nearby Kidron Valley?  No mention is made of this temple in Genesis, and obviously it was destroyed by some invader. Was it the Assyrian invasion that Abram fought in, or a later invader? Hopefully, archaeology will bring this Temple to light; and the history of those days. Wait, where is the proof of such a Temple? It is found in the works of Josephus!


“But he who first built it was a potent man among the Canaanites, and is on our tongue called [Melchisedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first built a temple [there], and called the city Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem.” (Wars VI.10.1 {438})




The Temple Mount and the Kidron Valley.



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Sources: (All quotes used with permission of the publishers.)



William Whiston, A.M., The Works of Josephus: New Updated Edition, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1987)



The Holy Bible: Douay - Rheims (Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1899)


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