Abraham envisaged the conquest of all Canaan. His determination was only weakened by the fact that Melchizedek would not sanction the undertaking. But Abraham had about decided to embark upon the enterprise when the thought that he had no son to succeed him as ruler of this proposed kingdom began to worry him. He arranged another conference with Melchizedek; and it was in the course of this interview that the priest of Salem, the visible Son of God, persuaded Abraham to abandon his scheme of material conquest and temporal rule in favor of the spiritual concept of the kingdom of heaven.
Melchizedek explained to Abraham the futility of contending with the Amorite confederation but made it equally clear that these backward clans were certainly committing suicide by their foolish practices so that in a few generations they would be so weakened that the descendants of Abraham, meanwhile greatly increased, could easily overcome them.
And Melchizedek made a formal covenant with Abraham at Salem. Said he to Abraham: “Look now up to the heavens and number the stars if you are able; so numerous shall your seed be.” And Abraham believed Melchizedek, “and it was counted to him for righteousness.” And then Melchizedek told Abraham the story of the future occupation of Canaan by his offspring after their sojourn in Egypt.
This covenant of Melchizedek with Abraham represents the great Urantian agreement between divinity and humanity whereby God agrees to do everything; man only agrees to believe God’s promises and follow his instructions. Heretofore it had been believed that salvation could be secured only by works—sacrifices and offerings; now, Melchizedek again brought to Urantia the good news that salvation, favor with God, is to be had by faith. But this gospel of simple faith in God was too advanced; the Semitic tribesmen subsequently preferred to go back to the older sacrifices and atonement for sin by the shedding of blood.
It was not long after the establishment of this covenant that Isaac, the son of Abraham, was born in accordance with the promise of Melchizedek. After the birth of Isaac, Abraham took a very solemn attitude toward his covenant with Melchizedek, going over to Salem to have it stated in writing. It was at this public and formal acceptance of the covenant that he changed his name from Abram to Abraham.
Most of the Salem believers had practiced circumcision, though it had never been made obligatory by Melchizedek. Now Abraham had always so opposed circumcision that on this occasion he decided to solemnize the event by formally accepting this rite in token of the ratification of the Salem covenant.
It was following this real and public surrender of his personal ambitions in behalf of the larger plans of Melchizedek that the three celestial beings appeared to him on the plains of Mamre. This was an appearance of fact, notwithstanding its association with the subsequently fabricated narratives relating to the natural destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And these legends of the happenings of those days indicate how retarded were the morals and ethics of even so recent a time.
Upon the consummation of the solemn covenant, the reconciliation between Abraham and Melchizedek was complete. Abraham again assumed the civil and military leadership of the Salem colony, which at its height carried over one hundred thousand regular tithe payers on the rolls of the Melchizedek brotherhood. Abraham greatly improved the Salem temple and provided new tents for the entire school. He not only extended the tithing system but also instituted many improved methods of conducting the business of the school, besides contributing greatly to the better handling of the department of missionary propaganda. He also did much to effect improvement of the herds and the reorganization of the Salem dairying projects. Abraham was a shrewd and efficient business man, a wealthy man for his day; he was not overly pious, but he was thoroughly sincere, and he did believe in Machiventa Melchizedek.