The Sacrament, Tithing, and the Covenant God Made With Enoch

I’m going to skip ahead about 30 pages in my notebook and jump back into where Melchizedek comes into the life of Abraham. But first, I’ll provide a summary of what I skipped over.

The Battle of the 9 Armies

In the valley of Siddim, which is at the southern end of the Dead Sea, there was a great battle. The kings of that area, Sodom, Gomorrah, and three other cities gathered to fight against the Babylonians and 4 of their allies. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were sacked and the Babylonians took off with prisoners and other victuals of their conquest. Among the prisoners was Lot, Abraham’s nephew. When Abraham received word of his nephew’s capture, Abraham personally led a military campaign of 318 men from Hebron    (Hebron is much further to the North and West of where the battle took place) to recapture his nephew and defeat the army returning to Babylonia. Abraham and his men intercept the Babylonians in the city of Dan and defeat them. Abraham is able to get Lot and bring back all the goods, women, and other people.

In the valley of the Shaveh or the king’s dale, the King of Sodom and all the kings involve in the fighting meet up with Abraham. One of those kings was Melchizedek. He had come from Jerusalem I guess. My question is what was the relationship of the cities of the plain with cities much more north, such as Jerusalem? I know back in the day cities were more like city-states. It seems like everyone knew each other from this gathering. Are all the kings friends? That would be cool. Abraham is there because he is just a boss and everyone knows him, plus he just single-handedly took on the Babylonians.

Melchizedek Administers the Sacrament

Melchizedek breaks bread and blesses it. Does the same with wine. It’s interesting. Why does he do that? I know the sacrament is how we renew our covenants with God, not just our baptismal covenant. I’m used to doing it on Sunday as part of sacrament meeting but this doesn’t exactly sound like a sacrament meeting. Maybe the Bible Dictionary and topical guide can teach me something.

What Christ Says About the Sacrament in the New Testament

I’m going to go through the New Testament real fast and see what Jesus says about the sacrament. He says that the bread represents his flesh and the drink represents his blood. It’s symbolic of the sacrifice that he would do, that all those that would believe on him, might live. Christ says in John that whosoever partakes of his flesh and blood, he (Christ) will dwell in us and us in him. Or as I take it, his spirit will be with us. Ok, now go over to the Book of Mormon.

What Christ Says About the Sacrament in the Book of Mormon

When Christ comes to America, he talks about the sacrament being a testimony and witness unto the father that we do always remember him and are willing to continue to remember him. He promises that is we do these things that we shall have his spirit to be with us. We are witnessing unto the father at the time of the sacrament that we are willing to do the things which he hath commanded us. We are also promised that we’ll be blessed if we keep the commandments. And if we keep these things ad do them, then we are built upon His rock. #Helaman 5:12.

In 3rd Nephi, it talks about how Christ was with the people for 3 days, during which time, it says that he broke the bread and blest it oft. I’ll talk about that next.

What Christ Says About the Sacrament in the Doctrine and Covenants

The bread and wine are emblems of Christ’s flesh and blood. D&C 20:75 says to partake of the sacrament frequently. Not as individuals but as a church. It says that we are to go to the house of prayer and offer up sacrament on the Lord’s holy day. Chapter 27 says that it doesn’t matter what we eat or drink for the sacrament as long as we remember the Lord’s body and blood. Section 62 of the D&C could offer insight into taking the sacrament at other times. The section heading says that:

“Revelation given through Joseph Smith the prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River at Chariton, Missouri, August 13, 1831. On this day the prophet and his group, who were on their way from Independence to Kirtland, met several elders who were on their way to the land of Zion, and after joyful salutations received this revelation.”

After reading this section, I take it to mean that the men are to continue to Zion. Once there, hold a meeting together and rejoice and offer a sacrament and then go your ways to declare glad tidings. If you think of the sacrament as a sign of rejoicing, I suppose it could be done whenever. I think that these missionaries had no idea where the nearest congregation was, or even if they had any in that part of the land. Maybe that is why they did it. Because they were the only congregation.

Another angle I think you could take on it is what the sacrament means. It is an ordinance that is a witness and testimony unto God that we are willing to follow his commandments and always remember him. If that is something you want God to know, to renew your covenants with him, then it is probably ok to do. In this instance, God gave them permission to do it. They were about to set off and go teach people. before they went their ways, they witnessed to God their willingness to follow him. Nowadays, you can have the sacrament at other times under the direction of a priesthood leader. Think of taking the sacrament to peoples’ homes who can’t come to church. That way, these people can renew their covenants with God and witness unto him for the coming week that they are willing to follow and always remember him.

What Does It All Mean?

Tying that all back to Melchizedek. Why did he break bread and bless wine? This was a joyous time. God had blessed Abraham to return with Lot. Since he was the presiding high priest, it was under his jurisdiction to have a sacrament. I don’t know about the religious level of the other kings present but at least for Abraham and Melchizedek, this seems like a good time to rejoice together, renew promises with God, and witness their willingness to serve him. This is interesting because, in the previous chapter, God promised Abraham seed as the dust of the Earth. Perhaps the sacrament was a way of renewing that and for Abraham to re-pledge himself to the Lord?

Abraham Pays Tithes to Melchizedek

Next, Abraham pays tithes to Melchizedek. Why? As I was writing the question, the answer came. Melchizedek was the presiding high priest of the church at the time. The bishop if you will. It was what he ought to do.

The king of Sodom tries to trick Abraham here. Actually, I don’t know if that was his intention. Let me explain and then you can decide for yourself. The King of Sodom says to Abraham, “Le me have the people you brought back and you can take all the goods.” First off, I guess Abraham did rescue more people than Lot. Second, they came back with lots (hahaha) of provision, probably a majority of what was stolen from the cities. Abraham says in effect, “I’m not taking your provisions. If I did, you would just take credit and say you made me rich. Let Aner, Eschol and Mamre (some of the men that helped Abraham in his campaign) take their portion for what they did and the food the men have eaten too. That is enough.” I think this demonstrates what kind of person Abraham was. He didn’t get swallowed up in who he was. He obviously had a lot of followers and friends. He was concerned about them. He could have said, “Yes! I’ll take it all!” But he didn’t. He deserved it for sure. I mean he took out a Babylonian army and brought back the captives and provisions. He did what no one else did. He could have taken it, but he didn’t.

Additional Insight Into Melchizedek’s Life

That the end of the story. now that you know it, let’s go back a bit to Melchizedek. There is a JST reference in the appendix as part of the last verse in this chapter. It’s a pretty long JST. I want to copy it in here and then we can talk about Melchizedek a little more. I’m sorry I’ve strayed so much. Please bear with me. This is JST Genesis 14:25-40:

“And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abraham.

Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouth of lions and quenched the violence of fire.

And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

It being after the order of the son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that everyone being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God were translated and taken up into Heaven.

And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of Peace.

And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God before had taken, separating it from the Earth, having reserved it unto the latter days. Or the end of the world;

And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and Earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.

And This Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of Heaven by his people, or, in ther words, the King of Peace.

And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;

Him whom God had appointed to received tithes for the poor.

Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him, more than that which he had need.

And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had bless him.”

There is so much we can learn here, not only about Melchizedek but also about the priesthood. We learn that when he was a child, Melchizedek feared God and stopped the mouths of lions and quenched the violence of fire. That is a pretty intense childhood. I wonder why it was necessary for him to do that? Do you think people wanted to kill him? I think it is a possibility. I don’t have access to info like that if there is any at all. For a moment, though, let’s pretend it is true. People didn’t like as a kid because he feared God. It rings familiar of other kids who feared God and had troubles because of it. Think of Joseph Smith who was ridiculed because he claimed to have seen a vision. Think of Abraham trying to be killed as a child. I bet Abraham and Melchizedek had much in common. Other examples I can think of are Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Samuel. Righteous individuals. It seems that the Lord prepares his prophets/ leaders when they are young.

The Covenant Between God and Enoch

Because of Melchizedek’s faith and righteousness, it says he received the priesthood after the order of the covenant that God made with Enoch. What is that covenant? It says both in this scripture and in another JST appendix scriptures. See JST Genesis 9:21-25. I’ll copy verse 22 in. And part of verse 21. Well…all of it actually.

“And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the Earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.

And this is mine everlasting covenant that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the Earth shall tremble with joy.”

Without going way deep into what Zion is, I’m going to explain this or attempt to explain what these two verses say according to my own understanding. Take it as you will. The covenant, in a nutshell, as I see it, is that the city of Zion or the city of Enoch will again return to the earth. This scripture, God is talking to Noah. He seems to be extending the same covenant to him. Noah is a descendant of Enoch. Therefore, Enoch’s posterity is overlapped by Noah’s. Verse 22 can be read as if speaking to Enoch or Noah. The city of Enoch will return at a time when Enoch’s/Noah’s posterity shall embrace the truth and look upward. At that time, Zion will be looking downward (ready to come?) and the earth will shake with joy and the heavens with gladness.

The city of Enoch has yet to come again. Which means the specifications that describe the circumstances of this advent have not been fulfilled. There have been many 1000s of years since Enoch and Noah’s time. I’m sure that there have been times when their posterity have been righteous and looked upward. But it wasn’t time. Thinking about the last days and the condition of the Earth, there is a lot of wickedness. In D&C 88 it talks about the earth wheeling to and fro as if drunk because of wickedness. I imagine that the less wickedness there is on Earth, the happier Earth is. Therefore, when the city of Enoch comes, it will be a time when much wickedness has been swept off the planet. And that will be what happens during the Second Coming.

One thing I wanted to point out before moving back to the JST of Genesis 14:25-40 is that we need to avoid thinking that the Lord is waiting for us to be worthy to receive him. Or the city of Enoch. That’s  what verse 22 makes it out to be. The Lord has his own timetable. He isn’t waiting for us. If he comes when we least expect it ( and he will, “as a thief in the night.”) and we aren’t ready, bad news bears for us. We need to be doing our best so when he does come, we can rejoice and enjoy his presence.

I feel like Genesis 9 JST gave an overview of the covenant God made with Enoch. I think Genesis 14 JST goes a little more deep into it. let me re-copy the promise into here and then we can go over it.

For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;

To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.

And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God were translated and taken up into Heaven.

The priesthood of God is the way people become translated. It is the way cities become translated. Righteously exercising the priesthood, whatever capacity, brings salvation to souls. It is by the priesthood that saving ordinances are performed. God promised the priesthood to Enoch and his seed. If you go back to the JST of Genesis 9 and substitute one word, perhaps it could become more meaningful.

“And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the [priesthood] and upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness and the Earth shall tremble with joy.”

I think this is a legitimate switch for the topic at hand. So what then, is the priesthood?

We’ll talk about that in the next post.

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One thought on “The Sacrament, Tithing, and the Covenant God Made With Enoch

  1. Pingback: The Priesthood Covenant and How Melchizedek Used It | Towards a Greater Light

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