Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice

19
Feb
09

Jesus and the Melchizedek Priesthood

Jesus and the Melchizedek Priesthood

     A point Christians and Mormons agree on is that Melchizedek and Jesus were in the Melchizedek priesthood.  The point of contention is  whether or not they were the only ones holding that priesthood.  Christians say yes, Mormonism says no.  In this post, I  will expand on why Christians state that and the importance they have for stating that.

     To do that we have to look at the book of Hebrews, because it is the only place that gives us any details about the Melchizedek priesthood.  In 7:22-28 it contrasts Christ’s priesthood with the Aaronic priesthood.

 “22] By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

[23] And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:

[24] But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

[25] 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.

[26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

[27] Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

[28] For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

    Note the contrasts.  In the Aaronic priesthood there were many priests (v. 23, 28) because they died and could not continue in the priesthood.  In striking contrast to “men” in verse 28 is the “Son”.  Not other men.  And there is no need for others because Jesus “is consecrated for evermore.”   This is a contrast that continues throughout the book.  The contrast is always between the many priests of the Aaronic priesthood and the one priest of the Melchizedek priesthood.  There are no “priests” when it comes to the Melchizedek priesthood.

     Secondly, note the contrast in verse 27.  They daily sacrificed.  He once for all.  Again this is expanded on greatly in the coming chapters.  For example, Hebrews 10:

10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
[11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
[12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
[13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
[14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

     What a striking contrast.  Aaronic priests stand working because their work of sacrificing is never done. Jesus sits because his work of sacrificing is done.

     The Bible does not talk about subsequent priests in the Melchizedek priesthood – in fact, the idea of subsequent priests violates the whole argument put forth in the book of Hebrews.  There are no successors because Jesus remains forever our priest – because Jesus has made the one offering “once for all”.

     The Bible intertwines the Melchizedek priesthood with Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.   That is what Christians immediately think of when they hear the phrase, “Melchizedek priesthood”.  They immediately think of God’s great love for them in sending Jesus to do everything for them so that they are perfect forever, not by anything they do, but by his one offering.

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17
Feb
09

PRIESTHOOD AND SACRIFICE

 

     As I stated in my last post, in the Bible the main function of a priest was to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.  The Old Testament temple worship revolved around two altars:  the bronze altar in the temple courtyard where animals were offered and the altar of incense within the Temple where incense was offered up. 

     The Bible keeps that emphasis on offering sacrifice when it talks about Jesus and the Melchizedek priesthood.  The book of Hebrews, the only place in the New Testament that describes Jesus as a priest, centers on the idea of sacrifice and that he, by offering himself, offered the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin.  (See my last post for one small example of that.)  But not once, in the entire book, does it even mention, much less elaborate, on priesthood authority. 

     This connection between priesthood and sacrifice cannot just be flippantly ignored. This holds true especially because Mormonism says that, through Joseph Smith, the priesthood was restored.  Restoring implies that the same thing is involved.  I don’t build an airplane and call it a restored car. 

      This is my question.  Just for the sake of discussion, assume that I accept the premise (which most of you know I don’t) that many things about the priesthood have been lost – wouldn’t it still be true if the priesthood was restored that a major function of it would be sacrifice?  If not, then wouldn’t it be true that not only would I have to believe that many things about the priesthood had been lost, but everything the Bible says about the priesthood is wrong?  What function of the priesthood that the Bible connects to priests does Mormonism still retain?  (It doesn’t connect baptism with the priesthood.  James 5:14 doesn’t mention priests either.)

05
Jan
09

The Temple

 

     One of the most important aspects of Mormonism is the temple.  It often refers to the temples of Bible times and implies that the modern-day LDS temples are continuations of those biblical temples.  But there is nothing similar between the two.

     Consider first who could enter the temple.  In biblical times, only the priests could enter it.  And priesthood was determined by genetics.  Only the men from the house of Aaron could be priests.  In Mormonism, both priest holders and non-priest holders can enter the temple.  And LDS priesthood is not determined by genetics. 

     Even more striking was the fact that only one man, the high priest, could enter the inner part of the temple, the Holy of Holies.  And he could only do that on one day of the year, the Day of Atonement. 

     Another difference is their structure.  In the Bible, the temple consisted of only two rooms:  the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.  There were no sealing rooms or celestial room as there are in LDS temples.

     Most striking is the difference in activities between the two.  Biblical temples revolved around sacrifice.  It sounded and smelled like a slaughter-house.  For example, when it was dedicated King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats!  Each day afterward daily sacrifices both for the nation and for individuals were offered.  The book of Hebrews wonderfully explains all this as it talks about how these sacrifices and all that blood prefigured Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  The activity of biblical temples was one striking and repeating object lesson: “without shedding of blood is no remission.”  (Heb. 9:22)

     The activity within LDS temples is completely different.  In it people receive endowments for themselves and vicariously for the dead; are married for eternity and are vicariously married for the dead, and are baptized for the dead. There the emphasis is on how people can redeem the dead, one of the three main missions of the Mormon Church.  That is in striking contrast to how biblical temples pointed ahead to Jesus’ redeeming us by the shedding of his blood.

     Instead of connecting Mormonism to the Bible, LDS temples strikingly show the difference between the Bible and Mormonism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     One of the most important aspects of Mormonism is the temple.  It often refers to the temples of Bible times and implies that the modern-day LDS temples are continuations of those biblical temples.  But there is nothing similar between the two.

     Consider first who could enter the temple.  In biblical times, only the priests could enter it.  And priesthood was determined by genetics.  Only the men from the house of Aaron could be priests.  In Mormonism, both priest holders and non-priest holders can enter the temple.  And LDS priesthood is not determined by genetics. 

     Even more striking was the fact that only one man, the high priest, could enter the inner part of the temple, the Holy of Holies.  And he could only do that on one day of the year, the Day of Atonement. 

     Another difference is their structure.  In the Bible, the temple consisted of only two rooms:  the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.  There were no sealing rooms or celestial room as there are in LDS temples.

     Most striking is the difference in activities between the two.  Biblical temples revolved around sacrifice.  It sounded and smelled like a slaughter-house.  For example, when it was dedicated King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats!  Each day afterward daily sacrifices both for the nation and for individuals were offered.  The book of Hebrews wonderfully explains all this as it talks about how these sacrifices and all that blood prefigured Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  The activity of biblical temples was one striking and repeating object lesson: “without shedding of blood is no remission.”  (Heb. 9:22)

     The activity within LDS temples is completely different.  In it people receive endowments for themselves and vicariously for the dead; are married for eternity and are vicariously married for the dead, and are baptized for the dead. There the emphasis is on how people can redeem the dead, one of the three main missions of the Mormon Church.  That is in striking contrast to how biblical temples pointed ahead to Jesus’ redeeming us by the shedding of his blood.

     Instead of connecting Mormonism to the Bible, LDS temples strikingly show the difference between the Bible and Mormonism.




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