After reading the JST for Genesis 14, I am left with some questions about how Abraham relates to Melchizedek.
Was Melchizedek an example for him? Did Abraham go to him in order to receive his priesthood? Abraham says, “I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same,” and finally that “I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers” (Abr. 1:2). Could that be referring to this particular visit with Melchizedek? The last verse of the JST for Genesis 14 says that:
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 covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.
It doesn’t mention the priesthood or appointments or promises concerning seed, etc., but, it does mention a covenant, and also a blessing given by Melchizedek. Who knows, but it could be that he received his appointment to the priesthood from Melchizedek (since Abraham says he received it from the fathers — he had to receive it from someone, and I don’t know of any reference of him going to see any other priesthood holder). Anyway, fun speculation, as always.
Also, Abraham seeks to be a “Prince of Peace” in Abraham 1:2, which is what Melchizedek was just called. Did Abraham want to do what Melchizedek was doing? Was he hoping Melchizedek could ordain him to be the same? Did he? But, if I understand right, Melchizedek was translated to heaven, but Abraham wanders on the earth. Was he appointed to stay on earth, like Noah was after Enoch’s city left? (see Moses 7:42). Abraham is even compared to Noah in Abraham 1:19, though I’m not sure exactly what the connection is (“As it was with Noah so shall it be with thee.”) Was Abraham seeking to be someone who built up a city, but instead, was given the promise that he would be a father, rather than a prince or king? I think there might be some interesting things to think about there.
Abraham will have lands for an “everlasting possession,” but his promised city is set in the future: “a strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession, when they hearken to my voice” (Abr 2:6). The land that could be made into a celestial city isn’t given to Abraham in his lifetime: there is no possibility of building up a city for Abraham. It is something his future seed will need to do. But in addition, his seed is charged with teaching the whole world in such a way that anyone and everyone can be a part of Abraham’s seed (Abr. 2:9-11)! Abraham sought to be a “Prince of Peace,” but perhaps he got instead the promise of being a father over, really, the rest of the world’s posterity. Interesting trade!
But going back to the JST again, at the least it seems to be that Abraham gets his blessings, whatever they amount to, in return for his tithing. It says, “Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had … more than that which he had need.” Melchizedek is “the keeper of the storehouse,” and the one “God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.” And in return, Melchizedek, “being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God,” “lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram” with riches, honor, lands. It sounds more like consecration of Joseph Smith’s time: consecrate what you have, and you will be given a stewardship back!
I don’t know if I’ve got any right answers, but I do think there are definitely details in there that deserve some more thinking!