Symbol on Melchizedek’s Altar:
The very name of the symbol comes from its bold center presence on the front of the altar pictured in an A.D.520 Ravenna Mosaic. Read more in “The Story of the Seal“. Behind the altar is the High Priest, King Melchizedek. Hence, the Seal of Melchizedek. The association of the eight-point symbol with the name Melchizedek is also mentioned by Henry Bromwell in a 1905 religious text.
This brings to mind three very strong associations with Christ: First, the association with worship. The altar is a place to worship God, representative of coming before Him in His Holy Presence. The altar is also associated deeply with the Tabernacle of the Israelites and their temples, as well as the Temple at the time of Christ. In other words, the House of God. The purpose of which is to bring the body and mind to God.
Secondly, the altar’s association with the High Priest Melchizedek, who is a “type” or foreshadowing of Christ. Melchizedek means literally; The King of Righteousness and was also called the Prince of Peace…names also synonymous with Christ. Coming before the altar and before Melchizedek was also then symbolic of bringing one’s body and soul to God.
Thirdly, the altar is the place of sacrifice. When one submits oneself to God, the sacrifice brought to, and laid on the altar. In Old Testament times, that meant an animal sacrifice. After Christ’s coming, one kneels before the altar, symbolic of offering one’s contrite heart and will to the Lord. Our personal sacrifices to remind us of the ultimate sacrifice of God himself. Again, the altar draws us to Christ!
The Seal of Melchizedek therefore has very strong associations with the altar, the temple, all leading to Christ. Inherent to the symbol then is also His priesthood, submitting wholly to Christ, giving oneself to Christ, and so forth.
The symbol resembles the Sun:
Anciently stars and diety were akin to one another in the collective minds of Eastern cultures. Hence, it was not unusual to accept that the Wise Men would follow the newest and brightest star to find God. This figure also easily represents our greatest star; the Sun. Babylonian culture artwork shows them worshiping a different form of the 8-pointed star or sun as their version of highest deity. Historically, the Sun symbol often represents God or the glory of Heaven. In Christianity, the sun is also often seen as symbolic of the source of all light: the Son of God. Again a symbol of Christ.
A circle has no beginning and no end, symbolizing eternity. It is relates also to the Son of God who is the Alpha and the Omega, with no beginning or end.
The number eight to the ancient Hebrews symbolized “New beginning” or “Beginning again.” The “eighth day” of the week is the first day, or beginning of a new time. Eight days was the time of Isrealitish circumcision, to devote a man-child to God. Eight years is the age of baptism; the time to begin a new life as a disciple of Christ. Eight souls were saved in the ark when the world was baptized and started again in God. Again, only a few of the many ways the number of the symbols points/sides point to a new life in Christ!
Just the beginning of the symbol’s power:
Given the beauty of these precepts, it’s no wonder we are drawn to this particular eight-point star, and ponder its significance. The sole end-purpose of this symbol is to remind us of, and therefore help bring us to, and ultimately unite us with, Jesus Christ. Continue on to “Symbol of Christ” for a deeper look at ancient symbolism locked up in the Seal of Melchizedek!
You may also want to visit The Power of the Seal for more insight on how you can use this symbol to bring more Christ-centered thought into your daily life.