THE TEACHINGS OF MORMONISM EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT OF THE BIBLE AND HISTORY
THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD AND THE MELCHISEDEC PRIESTHOOD - Do Mormons possess them today?
The Aaronic Priesthood
Mormons claim that they now possess the Aaronic priesthood, but what does the Bible say?
At present, no-one has any legitimate claim to the Aaronic priesthood, for the following reasons:
1. The clear teaching of the New Testament is that in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which was made once and for all, the entire Aaronic atoning system, including the duties of the priesthood, was fulfilled and completed (Hebrews 10:12). To return to the old system is to annul the saving work of Jesus Christ. A sign of this is found in the fact that when Christ died, the veil of the Temple in Jerusalem was split in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). This veil represented the wall of separation between God and man, which was crossed by the high priest only once a year, when he offered the atoning sacrifice for the people (Leviticus 16, Hebrews 9: 7). However, Christ offered the final sacrifice - and, in doing so, opened the way permanently for all who want to approach God through him. Christ did not simply remove the Aaronic priesthood, He also fulfilled it. Its purpose was fulfilled and finished. Hebrews 7:12 tells us that there was a "change" in the Aaronic priesthood. Dr. A. T. Roberson, an eminent American scholar, commented on this passage:
"God's choice of another kind of priesthood for his Son left the Levitical line on one side, discontinued forever" (Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol.5, p.383).
In view of this, we can see clearly, that anyone who today wishes to revive in any way the Aaronic priesthood, has unfortunately not understood what was accomplished in the Sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9: 8-28).
2. No man is eligible to hold the Aaronic priesthood, unless he belongs to the tribe of Levi and is a literal descendant of Aaron. Numbers 16 tells the story of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Korah was a Levite, but not of the family of Aaron. They rebelled against Moses, claiming that "the whole congregation is holy" (16: 3). They wanted to be close to God, which was the exclusive function of the Aaronic priesthood, whose high priest was Aaron. Because of these pretensions, God caused the earth to open, and it swallowed Korah and those who followed him. As a result of this, Eleazar the priest made sheets of the censers of those who had died, to cover the altar with them:
"To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before Yahweh; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as Yahweh said to him by the hand of Moses" (Numbers 16:40; compare 2 Chronicles 26:18).
The possession of the Aaronic priesthood was a perpetual right only for Aaron and his literal descendants:
"...it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him" (Exodus 28:43).
Neither Joseph Smith nor Oliver Cowdery were Jews, and so they were not eligible to hold the Aaronic priesthood. They themselves recognize that in order to possess the Aaronic priesthood one had to be a literal descendant of Aaron:
"No man has the legal right to occupy this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron" (Doctrine and Covenants 107: 16).
The Melchisedek Priesthood
"In Mormonism, unlike most other Christian denominations, the Melchizedek priesthood is thought to be held by common mortals...In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Melchizedek priesthood is one of two governing priesthoods, which is typically given as a matter of course to worthy male members 18 years and older" (wikipedia).
And so Mormons also claim to possess the Melchisedek priesthood, but what does the Bible say? .
Hebrews 7: 3 tells us that Melchisedek was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life." Only Melchisedek and Christ meet those qualifications, because this priesthood is unique; No one except Melchisedek and Christ has had it. Indeed, Hebrews 7: 3 also makes it clear that Melchisedek is only similar to the Son of God. He was not the role model for Jesus Christ; it was more a representation, or the reflection of the full expression of the Son of God. On the basis of the above passage, this priesthood is also seen as something that is not transferred from one to another. There were no Melchisedek priests between Genesis 14 and the coming of the Lord Jesus. Melchisedek did not "give" the priesthood to Jesus Christ (or anyone else), for it belonged to Him by right.
Although a priest named Melchisedek is mentioned in Genesis 14, there is little information about his background. Like Christ, there is no evidence of his priestly succession or priestly ancestry. There is no evidence in the entire Bible of anyone except Jesus Christ who has been called according to the order of Melchisedek.
The work of the Melchisedek priesthood is seen in Hebrews 7: 24-25, where the Bible says:
"But this man [i.e. Jesus Christ], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
The priesthood that Jesus Christ has is His, non-transferable and permanent. Nobody else can be qualified to have it.
more pages to come in this series
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