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Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Priesthood Part One: Melchizedek and Aaronic

Color Key:
Quotes from the Ensign article in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

Priesthood (Part One): Melchizedek and Aaronic
By Connie Raddon

Each Ensign Magazine has a section entitled, “What We Believe”.  In the June 2011 Ensign, this section has an article called “Priesthood is the Authority To Act In God’s Name”.  This is an official message from the leadership of the LDS Church. 

For references, the article cites
1.      LDS scriptures (mainly the Doctrine & Covenants),
2.      LDS teaching manual, “Gospel Principles 2009” pg 67-80
3.      LDS published book entitled, “True to the Faith”, pg 124-128

The article begins, “To govern His [Father in Heaven’s] Church on earth, He delegates a portion of His power and authority to worthy male members of the Church.  This delegated authority is called priesthood.”

In last month’s blog article (May 2011), the topic of being “worthy” was covered.  So for now, we will skip over the heresy taught by the LDS Church that its members can be worthy by obedience to laws and ordinances – and we will continue on with the PRIESTHOOD.

“We see this pattern of delegated responsibility in the New Testament, when Jesus Christ gave His Apostles the authority to act in His name (see Matthew 16:19)”.

Matt 16:19 – “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus is speaking to Peter, and giving Peter the “keys” of the “kingdom of heaven”.  Giving keys is a metaphor for giving someone responsibility or even authority.  The “Kingdom of Heaven” here on earth is Christ’s Church, which includes ALL believers.  Jesus was giving Peter the responsibility to open up the gates of the Church on earth.  Peter did this when he preached the gospel to the Jews, and then the Gentiles.  This has nothing to do with deeming yourself WORTHY to act in God’s name. 

You can hear more about this verse in a clip from “Heart of the Matter”.    The part about Matt. 16:19 starts at nine minutes into the program, and lasts eight and a half minutes.  (The entire clip is an hour long.)

“Those who hold the priesthood are authorized to act in God’s name in leading His Church and in administering the sacred ordinances necessary for salvation, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage.”

Galatians 2:16 – “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law:  for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

JUSTIFIED means to “be declared righteous”.  To have salvation, we all need to be declared righteous.  Both Mormons and Christians believe that anyone who is NOT righteous cannot be in the presence of God, and therefore, cannot have salvation.  However, the LDS church teaches that there are “sacred ordinances necessary for salvation”.  The Bible clearly states that no one will be justified (saved, gain salvation) by the works of the law.  The Bible says we are saved by faith alone, in Jesus Christ.

Temple marriage is the ordinance that most stressed me out.  As a young woman, I felt I needed to find a worthy returned missionary and marry him as soon as I could.  As most teen girls with a “fluctuating” self esteem, I often worried that I wasn’t attractive enough or worthy enough and might not get the chance to get married.  Not only was I worried about getting married, I had to make sure I was worthy to go to the temple.  If I didn’t get married, and have that marriage performed in the temple, I couldn’t live with God.  That is an incredible amount of pressure for an immature, naïve 18 year old girl.  My thoughts were focused on myself, on finding a husband, and on the temple.  Jesus couldn’t really take up too much of my time, heart, or mind – I had too much work to do.


According to the LDS Church:

“There are two divisions of the priesthood:  Melchizedek and Aaronic.”

According to the Bible:

Melchizedek Priesthood

The Bible refers to a priesthood “according to the order of MelchizedekHeb. 7:11. 
The person, Melchizedek was a “type”, or picture of Christ.  Here are the similarities…

A priest
Heb 5:5-6
A priest
Heb 7:1
From the tribe of Judah
Heb 7:14
Not from the tribe of Levi
Heb 7:3
Superior to Abraham
Abraham paid tithes to
Heb 7:4
No beginning or end
Rev 1:8
Beginning and end are unknown
Heb 7:3
Prince of peace
Isaiah 9:6
King of peace
Heb 7:2

Only Christ could hold the “priesthood according to Melchizedek”.   

Heb 7:17 “For it is attested of Him, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 7:24 “but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.”

No one other than Christ can qualify for the priesthood without being in the line of Aaron, deserves tithes from Abraham, has no beginning and no end, and is called the King of Peace.  Therefore, no one other than Christ can have the Melchizedek priesthood.

Joseph Smith claimed that Peter, James, and John appeared to him and Oliver Cowdry and gave them the Melchizedek priesthood.  This cannot be true, because Peter, James, and John didn’t hold it – only Christ did, (and still does as our only high priest).

Aaronic Priesthood

In the Old Testament, the only priesthood was the Levitical priesthood.   One had to be from the tribe of Levi to serve in it.  Aaron was born into the tribe of Levi.  Only sons of Aaron could be priests and high priests.    

God is speaking to Moses about Aaron and his sons in Ex 40:15  “and you shall appoint them [sons of Aaron] even as you have anointed their father [Aaron], that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing will qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”

God was serious that ONLY the descendents of Aaron could be included in the priesthood.  We see an example of this in Nehemiah. 
Neh 7:64  “These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.”

 The LDS Church gives their “Aaronic Priesthood” to any teenage male who obeys the laws and ordinances of Mormonism regardless of their ancestry.

Joseph Smith claimed that John the Baptist appeared to him and Oliver Cowdry and gave them the Aaronic Priesthood.  This cannot be true because John the Baptist, being a first cousin to Jesus through their mothers, Mary and Elizabeth, was from the tribe of JUDAH – NOT LEVI.  Therefore, he could not have held the Aaronic Priesthood himself.

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.

In the June 2011 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.

Thanks to research partner, Art Haglund