264. XII. Before the time of the Word which we have in the world to-day, there was another Word, now lost.
It can be established from what is recorded in the books of Moses, that before the time of the Word, which was given to the Israelite nation by means of Moses and the Prophets, worship by sacrifices was well known, and that prophecies were given from the mouth of Jehovah. The following passages show that worship by sacrifices was known. It was commanded that the Children of Israel should overturn the altars of the gentiles, break in pieces their statues, and cut down their sacred groves (Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3.) Israel in Shittim began to wanton with the daughters of Moab; they invited the people to the sacrifices offered to their gods, and the people ate of them (Numbers 25:1-3). Balaam, who came from Syria, had altars built and sacrificed cattle and sheep (Numbers 22:40; 23:1-2, 14, 29-30). He also prophesied about the Lord, saying that a star should arise from Jacob and a sceptre from Israel (Numbers 24:17). And he gave prophecies from the mouth of Jehovah (Numbers 22:13, 18; 23:3, 5, 8, 16, 26; 24:1, 13). It is plain from these passages that the gentiles had Divine worship almost exactly like that established for the Israelite nation through Moses. Some words in the books of Moses show clearly that it existed even before the time of Abraham (Deuteronomy 32:7-8); but it is even more obvious from the case of Melchizedek, king of Salem:
He brought out bread and wine, and blessed Abram; and Abram gave him tithes of everything, Genesis 14:18-20.
Melchizedeck represented the Lord, for he is called the priest of God Most High (Genesis 14:18); and it is said of the Lord in the Psalms of David:
You are priest for ever, after the fashion of Melchizedek, Psalms 110:4.
That was why Melchizedek brought out bread and wine, as being the most holy things of the church, just as they are the holy things in the Holy Supper. Apart from these there are extant many indications that there was a Word before the Israelite Word, which was the source of such revelations.