264. XII. BEFORE THE WORD THAT IS NOW IN THE WORLD, THERE WAS A WORD THAT WAS LOST.
From what is told in the books of Moses it is manifest that worship by sacrifices was known, and that men prophesied from the mouth of Jehovah before the Word was given to the Israelitish nation through Moses and the prophets. That worship by sacrifices was known is evident from the following:
The sons of Israel were commanded to overturn the altars of the nations, to dash in pieces their statues, and to cut down their groves (Exod. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:3).
In Shittim Israel began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab; they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods, and the people did eat (Num. 25:1-3).
That Balaam, who was from Syria, made them to build altars, and they sacrificed oxen and sheep (Num. 22:40; 23:1, 2, 14, 29, 30).
He also prophesied of the Lord, saying that a Star should come forth out of Jacob, and a Scepter should rise out of Israel (Num. 24:17).
He also prophesied from the mouth of Jehovah (Num. 22:13, 18; 23:3, 5, 8, 16, 26; 24:1, 13).
All this shows that there existed among the nations a Divine worship, almost like that instituted by Moses in the Israelitish nation. That it also existed before the time of Abraham, is clear from the words in Moses (Deut. 32:7, 8), but conclusively from what is said of Melchizedek, king of Salem:
That he brought forth bread and wine, and blessed Abraham, and that Abraham gave him tithes of all (Gen. 14:18-20);
also that Melchizedek represented the Lord, for he is called the priest of the Most High God (Gen. 14:18); and it is said of the Lord in David:
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4).
It was for this reason that Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine as the most holy things of the church, as they are the holy things in the Holy Supper. These and many other things are clear proofs that before the Israelitish Word there was a Word from which such revelations as these were derived.