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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Aaronic Priesthood

The Aaronic Priesthood
By Connie Raddon

Color Key:
Quotes from the Mormon Teachings in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.

As with so many other Biblical terms, LDS leadership has taken “Aaronic Priesthood”, and created a completely different meaning for it.  They have twisted it and added to it so much that it’s not even recognizable as the Biblical priesthood it truthfully is. 

Let’s take a look at what the Aaronic Priesthood meant in the Bible…

First, the Aaronic Priesthood was hereditary and was non-transferable to anyone outside the descendants of Levi. 

In his book, “Where Mormonism Meets Biblical Christianity Face to Face”, Shawn McCraney explains this.

            “When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the ancient manner of “head-of-household” priests was still being observed by them.  But on Mount Sinai, a change in this ancient practice was made.  Exodus 28 teaches us that God had a hereditary priesthood take over.  The heritage assigned to the priesthood line was the tribe of Levi.

There are two important things to remember; first, there were priests in this hereditary priesthood; and second, there were high priests.  A man’s Levitical lineage determined the two.  You see, Levi had three sons whose names were Gershon, Merari, and Kohath (Genesis 46:11).  Kohath had a son named Amram (Exodus 6:18); and Amram had sons named Aaron and Moses (Numbers 26:59).

Got that?  ONLY those men who came from the Levi/Kohath/Amram/Aaron line could be high priests while the rest of the sons of Levi – the offspring of Gershon and Merari – acted as priests, subordinated to Aaron’s line in their temple duties.

How important were these hereditary lines in this priesthood?  Well, let me blow your  mind a bit here.  Not even JESUS himself, being from the tribe of Judah, could officiate in the Levitical priesthood duties as either a high priest or a priest.  Don’t believe me?   Hebrews 7:14   For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.1

During the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple, some Aaronic priests returned from exile.  They could not find their family records to prove that they were in Aaron’s line, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.  (Nehemiah 7:63-64)

So being in the correct line, and proving that lineage was absolutely essential for anyone to participate in the Aaronic priesthood.

Second, in the Bible, everything the Aaronic priests did was for the one and only purpose to point forward to the finished work of Jesus Christ.
“This leads us perhaps [to] the most important point relative to the misapplication of the Aaronic priesthood today by the LDS.  The Aaronic priests represented the people before God, and offered the various blood sacrifices which were all shadows of the coming Messiah!

Once a year, on the day of atonement, the high priest
·         Who came from the Kohath line of Levi,
·         Who had to be between 30 and 50 years of age,
·         Who had been purified ritualistically like no other,
·         Who had to be dressed in severely restricted and detailed ways,
·         And who would perform rites and rituals exactly as God commanded him…

…would enter the Holy of Holies alone and once a year offer sacrifice to God for the sins of the people as a type of the Messiah who was to come!  This was the reason it was on earth!  It pointed to the finished work of Jesus.”2

Now, what do the LDS say about the Aaronic Priesthood? 

In the LDS publication, “True to the Faith” says, “Joseph Smith… and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went into the woods to inquire of the Lord concerning baptism.  As they prayed, ‘a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light.’  This messenger was John the Baptist, the prophet who had baptized Jesus Christ centuries earlier.  John the Baptist, now a resurrected being, laid his hands on Joseph and on Oliver and conferred upon each of them the Aaronic Priesthood, which had been taken from the earth during the Great Apostasy.  With this authority, Joseph and Oliver were able to baptize one another. (See Joseph Smith – History 1:68-72)3

The LDS Church wants its members to believe that John the Baptist gave the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph and Oliver without the slightest consideration as to whether or not they are descendants of Aaron.  In fact, the LDS Church doesn’t even pretend that Joseph and Oliver were in the lineage of Aaron, or even in the general tribe of Levi.  The Church acts like heredity doesn’t even matter anymore.

Not only that, but the Aaronic Priesthood had nothing to do with baptism, or any authority to baptize.  But according to Mormonism, it suddenly does?!?

“In the Church today, worthy male members may receive the Aaronic Priesthood beginning at age 12.”4

So any 12 year old boy who is considered “worthy” by his bishop can receive the Aaronic Priesthood.  (In Mormonism being worthy means you are keeping all the laws and ordinances of the Mormon Church – these include the 10 commandments, paying a full tithing, obeying the Mormon dietary laws called the “Word of Wisdom”, and supporting and sustaining all the LDS leaders, to name a few).

They believe that the Aaronic Priesthood is a “…lesser priesthood, which is a preparatory priesthood – preparing and training its worthy possessors to receive the Melchizidek Priesthood…”5

Remember that in the Bible, the sole purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood is to point forward to the finished work of Jesus Christ?  Well, in Mormonism the Aaronic Priesthood points forward to….the Melchizidek Priesthood – NOT CHRIST!  (More on the Melchizidek Priesthood coming up later this year in another article).

In the Bible, the Aaronic Priesthood had two positions – priest, and high priest – that’s all.  But in Mormonism, “the offices in the Aaronic Priesthood now include bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon…”6

Finally, in the book, “LDS Beliefs”, A.C. Skinner inserts the Aaronic Priesthood into a Biblical passage that has absolutely nothing to do with the priesthood.  He says, “The lesser priesthood was a ‘schoolmaster’ to bring or prepare Israel to understand and receive Christ (Galatians 3:24)7

Let’s take a look at Galatians 3:24-25… “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”

Some translations of the Bible use the word “tutor”, and some use the word, “schoolmaster”.  But either word refers to THE LAW – not the Aaronic Priesthood.  Even if “law” means “Aaronic Priesthood” (which it doesn’t), this verse says that it is a tutor to lead us to Christ where we are justified (made perfect) by FAITH.  Then once we have that faith, we no longer need the tutor!  So if the Aaronic Priesthood is this tutor, or schoolmaster, this verse says we no longer need it!  This is a perfect example of how the LDS Church inserts their own doctrines into the Bible without understanding what the Bible really teaches.  It just doesn’t make sense.

The LDS belief about the Aaronic Priesthood is NOT Biblical, and therefore, NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.

On May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46), Brigham Young issued a challenge:  “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.”

I have accepted that challenge from Brigham Young.

On the subject of the Aaronic Priesthood, the LDS religion FAILS this test.

1“Where Mormonism Meets Biblical Christianity Face to Face:  An A to Z Doctrinal Comparative between Mormonism and Biblical Christianity” by Shawn Aaron McCraney (2011)  pg. 460-1
2  Ibid pg 463-4
3 “True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference”  published by the First Presidency of the LDS Church in 2004  pg. 3
4 Ibid pg. 3
5 “LDS Beliefs: A Doctrinal Reference” by Robert L. Millet, Camille Fronk Olson, Andrew C. Skinner, and Brent L. Top.  (2011),  pg 4
Ibid pg 5
Ibid pg 5

1 comment:

  1. Ezr 2:59 And these were they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:
    Ezr 2:60 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.
    Ezr 2:61 And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:
    Ezr 2:62 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

    Ezra is more specific recounting the same event