Melchizedek and the Last Supper – Rev. Joseph Pohle

𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐫

From Rev. Joseph Pohle, Professor of Catholic Dogmatic theology:

The Old Testament prophecies are recorded partly in types, partly in words. Following the precedent of many Fathers of the Church (see Bellarmine, “De Euchar.”, v, 6), the Council of Trent especially (Sess. XXII, cap. i) laid stress on the prophetical relation that undoubtedly exists between the offering of bread and wine by Melchisedech and the Last Supper of Jesus. The occurrence was briefly as follows: After Abraham (then still called “Abram”) with his armed men had rescued his nephew Lot from the four hostile kings who had fallen on him and robbed him, Melchisedech, King of Salem (Jerusalem), “bringing forth [proferens] bread and wine for he was a priest of the Most High God, blessed him [Abraham] and said: Blessed be Abram by the Most High God . . . And he [Abraham] gave him the tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20). Catholic theologians (with very few exceptions) have from the beginning rightly emphasized the circumstance that Melchisedech brought out bread and wine, not merely to provide refreshment for Abram’s followers wearied after the battle, for they were well supplied with provisions out of the booty they had taken (Genesis 14:11, 16), but to present bread and wine as food-offerings to Almighty God. Not as a host, but as “priest of the Most High God”, he brought forth bread and wine, blessed Abraham, and received the tithes from him. In fact, the very reason for his “bringing forth bread and wine” is expressly stated to have been his priesthood: “for he was a priest”. Hence, proferre must necessarily become offerre, even if it were true that the Hiphil word is not an hieratic sacrificial term; but even this is not quite certain (cf. Judges 6:18 sq.). 𝐀𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐲, 𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝-𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐞.

Now it is the express teaching of Scripture that Christ is “a priest for ever according to the order [kata ten taxin] of Melchisedech” (Psalm 109:4; Hebrews 5:5 sq.; 7:1 sqq.). 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭, 𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐢𝐧 𝐧𝐨 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐨𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐭 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐋𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐫. 𝐎𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐜𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐇𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝-𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭, 𝐚𝐬 𝐀𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞, 𝐇𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐚 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐞, 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐁𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐞. Otherwise, the shadows cast before by the “good things to come” would have been more perfect than the things themselves, and the antitype at any rate no richer in reality than the type. Since the Mass is nothing else than a continual repetition, commanded by Christ Himself, of the Sacrifice accomplished at the Last Supper, 𝐢𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐜𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐡.

Pohle, J. (1911). Sacrifice of the Mass. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 23, 2022 from New Advent:

For more information on this connection and the Scripture/Church Fathers, see my book

Magisterium & History: Friends or Foes? – Answering a Protestant Critic

A Protestant reader reached out to me recently with some questions that he came up with having read my recent article The Dogmatization of the Bodily Assumption of Mary and the Appeal to History: A Brief Introduction to the Interpretative Differences between the Apostolic Churches and Protestant Skeptics. Apparently, some thought that I was simply divorcing the need for historical evidence and I thought the questions posed to me provided an opportunity for me to clarify my thought on the issue of history and its relationship to the credibility of the Catholic magisterium.

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