Three Old Testament Sacrifices

Second half of the 6th century
Mosaic
In the church of Sant'Apollinare in Clase, Ravenna, Italy

Christian typology takes these three sacrifices in the Book of Genesis as foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and hence the sacrifice of the Mass.

On the left is Abel with his lamb. In the center Melchizedek presides over the sacrifice of bread (the two round loaves with crosses at the center) and wine (the two-handed pitcher between the loaves). On the right is Abraham with his son Isaac, whom he was willing to sacrifice at God's command.

Abel's sacrifice: Genesis 4:1-16
Melchizedek's: Genesis 14:18-20
Abraham's: Genesis 22:1-14

Inscription below the main image:


MELCHISEDEC S[AN]C[TU]M VETUS SCRIBTURA DEMONSRAT _____NUS INLUSTRIS SENIOR HAC HABEL

More of Abraham
More of Melchizedek
More of Abel

This image in full resolution

Photographed at the church by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.