Questions for the S.E. Idaho neighbor . . .

Hebrews 7 is a very theological, rich chapter  . . .  a lot of food for thought.  Read it, friends.

1.  Prophet, Priest, Seer – How come it isn’t Prophet, Priest, King?

2.  Are you without father, without mother, without genealogy?  Then who is?

3.  If you are at the elevated status of a preexistent Son of God, how come the devil doesn’t come to you and ask, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4.  To whom ultimately do you pay your tithe?  Why?

5.  Do the sons of Levi come to your house and collect a tenth from you?  Is this Christ’s law?

6.  What need is there for a contemporary Aaronic priesthood in S.E. Idaho?  If the Melchizedek priesthood shares the better hope, why continue the Aaronic priesthood?

7.  The Melchizedek Priest perfects people.  Right?

8.  No priest abides forever except one.  Right?

9.  No priest saves forever except one.  Right?

10.  Do you think the “Melchizedek priests” in Idaho Falls fulfill Psalm 110:4?

29 comments

  1. Let me try answering these, now that I have refreshed myself on the chapter.

    1. I don’t understand the question, and this list is not given in this chapter.

    2. Personally, I think this is a reference to the Priesthood that Melchizedek had, not to Melchizedek himself.

    3. We are all spirit children of God. However, Christ was the only Begotten in the Flesh. His is a unique sonship, which is why Satan used this to tempt him.

    4. To God, because he has commanded it.

    5. No they do not, as the law has been changed. Now the deacons, who can be of any Tribe, come to collect offerings, but the actual tithe is done in person with the Bishop or his counselors.

    6. The Aaronic Priesthood is part of the Melchizedek. You cannot have the Melchizedek without the Aaronic. The Aaronic is simply that part of the Melchizedek that officiates in outward ordinances (or the Law of Carnal Commandments).

    7. Wrong. The Melchizedek Priesthood perfects people.

    8. Where does it say only one. I must have missed that.

    9. Only one Man saves, and that is Christ. However, the priesthood is what he uses to save or perfect us.

    10: Yep

  2. I understand how the author interprets Genesis 14 and Psalm 110 in Hebrews 7.

    But Shem, the way that you are interpreting Hebrews 7 as I read this tonight, makes me fall right out of my chair.

    Oh my.

    Oh my.

    Oh my.

    There is no way on God’s green earth that Jesus’ priesthood can be passed on to earthly sinful creatures.

  3. “There is no way on God’s green earth that Jesus’ priesthood can be passed on to earthly sinful creatures.”

    Wow. Oh my. I don’t know where to begin. I guess I will simply quote II Peter 1:4 about Christians “partaking of the divine nature.”

    Now if you are speaking of Mormons per se, as opposed to Christians, then of course I agree with you.

  4. I would say the priesthood had already been given to Earthly men, as Melchizedek had it. Why else would it be called after his name?

    I would also say that there is evidence that Moses had it. In Numbers 16: 8-11 “And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?”

    What was the priesthood Korah was seeking for? It wasn’t the levitical, as he already had that. It was the priesthood of Aaron, as he was going after Moses. It appears to have been a higher priesthood, such as the Melchizedek.

    Just saying.

    Any other comments on what I said before.

  5. Greg, here is my question posed to you: how can Jesus’ priesthood be passed on to earthly men?

    I, in a sense, am an intercessor for this church family that I am a part of in Ammon, Idaho. But I am not their high priest. I am an elder and only that. There are no successors to the Christ. His Melchizedek priesthood does not change hands. Through two millennium, the Church has utterly depended on that same Priest who offered the sacrifice, “once for all”. That phrase keeps popping up in my study.

    And Shem, just a curious aside, why do the LDS General Authorities allow “all tribes” to participate in the function of the Aaronic priesthood that they have resurrected? Where does God’s written word give them the authority to do this?

  6. Patricia

    No. Lehi was descended from Mannassah and Ishmeal from Ephraim. Later the Mulekites were of the tribe of Judah.
    However, the Nephites did not hold the Aaronic or Levitical priesthoods. They held the higher priesthood that Moses had, as indicated by the passage from numbers I gave above. They could still perform the sacrifices, for the Higher priesthood cantains within it the lesser, as I wrote in my original response.

    Todd

    I see no place in the Bible where it states that no man can hold the Melchizedek priesthood.

    As to all members holding the Aaronic Priesthood, let us do a little clarifying.
    Technicaly the levitical and Aaronic are two different priesthoods. The Levitical is the lesser priesthood, and the Aaronic is the presidency over that priesthood. They are used today as sinonomous, but the literal distinction needs to be understood.
    Now, no person who is not a direct disendant of Aaron has a right to the Aaronic priesthood, or the presidency of the Lesser priesthood. However, since the greater Melchizedek priesthood cantains within it all other priesthoods, as long as one is a High Priest they have athority to act in the place of the Aaronic Priesthood. (see D&C 107) This is the office of Presiding Bishop, which can only be held by an High Priest or discendant of Aaron. All other Bishops are High Priests of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    As to the rest of it all; The reserving the priesthood for the Levites was not in effect until after teh people rebeled at Sinai. Before this all men could hold the Priesthood.
    In Exodus 19: 6 the Lord states ” And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” with only one tribe holding the priesthood they were hardly a nation of Priests.
    Also, Numbers chapter three tells us that the Levites were taken instead of the firstborn, as was originally planned as stated in Exodus 13. We can see that all families were to have the priesthood, as the firstborn was to be given over to it, just as the Levites were when they took their place.

    However, as it says in Hebrews 7, Christ was of Judah, not Levi, and yet he held the priesthood. It states in verse 12 tha the prieshood was changed, or that the restrictions on who could hold it had changed, and it was now open to all worthy males.

  7. Shem, I love Exodus 19:6 which connects me to I Peter 2:5 & 9 which I believe abolishes the LDS Aaronic priesthood and the male hierarchy in town. The apostle is not writing exclusively to males.

    But back to the Melchizedek priesthood, tell me, Shem, how do all the presiding Bishops in the greater Idaho Falls area fulfill the job description of the Melchizedek priesthood spelled out in the book of Hebrews.

    I think part of the problem is that we are looking at two different job descriptions.

  8. Todd, if I didn’t have the Evangelical background that I do, your initial question would be almost meaningless to me. Here is why:

    The situation is this: as [baptized] Christians, we are “in Christ” and Christ is in us. As noted previously, we “participate” in the Divine Nature. The Holy Spirit indwells each of us. “I am the vine and you are the branches,” says the Lord, “Without me you can do nothing.” The Eternal Word of God became human so that humanity can share/participate in everything that He is as God. Thus, He, the Eternal, natural Son of God, makes US sons of God, not by nature, but by grace and adoption, by incorporating us into Himself so that He dwells in us and we in him.

    Further, Revelation, quoting Torah, says that Christians are a “kingdom of priests”. This has been the classic proof-text for the notion of “the priesthood of all believers”. However, note that it was originally given to Israelites, who also had a specific priesthood that did NOT include the whole nation. Also, in the New Testament, every title that is applied to those who lead the Church is applied also to Christ, as to the archetype: Apostle, Pastor (Shepherd), Bishop, Prophet. It is true that the New Testament does not refer to any Christian specifically as “priest,” but the word “minister” often translates “leitourgos,” or “liturgizer,” a word which is essentially equivalent to “priest”. Toward the end of Romans, St. Paul speaks of his ministry as “priestly” using a word related to leitourgos, so that, he writes “the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” So, given all that, there is noting surprising about the fact that before the First Century was out, “bishops” and “prophets” and “apostles” are called “high priests” in the Didache which also sees the offering of the Eucharist as the fulfillment of Malachi 1:11.

    Further, the Letter of Clement of Rome to the Church at Corinth, written about the same time (mid-nineties), also sees Christian worship as the fulfillment/completion of Jewish worship, implying that those who lead Christian worship are in some sense priests. By the early Fourth Century, St. Athanasios of Alexandria refers to the Bishop as the “high priest,” the Presbyters as “priests,” and Deacons as “Levites”. Clement, BTW, also contains the first explicit documentation of Apostolic Succession, although it is implied in the New Testament. So therefore, Todd, at this time, as you say, you are NOT a Christian priest since you have not been ordained in the Apostolic Succession as presbyter or bishop. (But I’m pretty sure that is going to change at some point.)

    Again, let me caution you against reading Hebrews in isolation. It was not universally accepted in the canon until relatively late, perhaps the sixth century (in the West, earlier in the East). As noted above, Church leaders are understood to participate in Christ’s priesthood from an early date. Therefore, the critical issue that must be understood is that Hebrews was not written against the structure and practice of the Church as it had evolved (a process that was in essence completed by c. AD 200 at the latest) prior to the Reformation, as Luther read it, but against the practice of Judaism. The author does not stress the uniqueness of Christ, His sacrifice, and his priesthood over against the priesthood and sacrifice of the Church (which in fact would be absurd, since the priesthood and sacrifice of the Church is precisely the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ) but against those of Judaism.

    Think it still applies as Luther read it? Skip ahead a bit. Look at Chapter 13: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.” Apostolic Christians of all traditions, RC, Orthodox, Assyrian (and some Anglicans) know immediately what this is referring to: the Eucharist. A little later, we are admonished to continue doing certain things, including “communicating” “for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” “Koinonia” is a broad word, but there is here certainly a call to continue celebrating the Eucharist, “a sacrifice with which God is well pleased”.

    “Koinonia” is such a crucial word, one that seems to trip up many people. It means “communion” or “participation”. I participate in Christ’s priesthood, even as He participates in our humanity. I am not a priest apart from Christ but because I hold a specific place within the Body of Christ. I do not offer Christ “again and again”, but what I do offer repeatedly (since I am still within time) participates in the one, unique sacrifice of Christ such that those who feed on it eat his Body and drink His Blood. This is not repetition but participation: koinonia, and this transcends time and space, which is part of the essential meaning of the command to “do this to commemorate me” or, as St. Paul puts it, to “proclaim the death of the Lord until He come”. The Eucharist celebrates the past, participates in the heavenly worship of the present, and intercedes for the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom by way of the Christ’s return in glory. Thus, it is no accident that “Maranatha” “Our Lord come” is a prayer that is specifically associated with the Eucharist in the Didache.

  9. TODD

    Peter is not writing to Males exclusively, no. But it really makes no difference, because he is writing to the saints as a collective, not as individuals.
    A woman has the priesthood in that she is married to a priest, or is the daughter of a priest.
    As he says in chapter 3, verse 7: “Likewise, ye husbands, well with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
    It is through uniting the Man (the priesthood) with the woman (the life) that we becomes heirs of the grace of life. It is when they are joined in one flesh (Matt 19: 5-6) that all the saints partake of the Priesthood and are thus described in the manner used in chapter two.

    As to the job written in Hebrews, I would like to know what verses you are refering to, because I didn’t see this in the chapter your questions came from. From what I can see in Hebrews there is no “Job description” for the High Priests of the Melchizedek priesthood, but a description of the changing of the priesthood, why it is changed, and the unique role of Christ in that change.

  10. Since the LDS Priesthood is totally derivative and reliant on Christ Todd, all your bullet points here are more or less beside the point.

  11. Sorry, Seth. It isn’t. There was no complete apostasy. There will be no complete apostasy. The one priesthood of the Apostolic Church, which is the one priesthood of Christ, as passed on by succession from Christ and the Apostles and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is intact and will remain intact. No complete apostasy, no restoration. Full Stop. Joseph Smith, Jr., was therefore either deluded by the adversary, a fraud, insane, or some combination of all three.

  12. Yes Greg.

    Thank you for reminding me that you are not a Mormon.

    Glad to help you get that off your chest. Feel better now?

  13. You’re welcome, Seth. I am praying that you will cease being one and become a genuine Apostolic Christian (actually, the latter is my prayer for anyone reading this).

  14. Shem, I will try to sometime bring out the details and job description of Jesus Christ in his High Priestly office. If in doing so, let’s try to compare how this even remotely matches up to the details and job description of Thomas S. Monson as a holder of the LDS Melchizedek priesthood and prophet of the LDS Church.

    Seth and Greg, in tracing Joseph Smith and the early days, I have taken my wife to the banks of the Susqehanna river between Harmony, Susqehanna County and Colesville, Broome County. If I were there in Joseph’s early meditations, I would have pled with him to reconsider how he was using and tampering with the authoritative message of Hebrews.

  15. TODD

    You never asked me to outline Christ’s job description. If that is the job that you see outlined in Hebrews 7 than the Bishop doesn’t fill it because it is unique to Christ.

    However, the job of the Melchizedek High Priest is not a unique one, and thus the Bishop can fill it.

    GREG

    If the priesthood existed without corruption from the time of Christ than what was the point of the Reformation. To me the fact that so many people fealt that reform was need is proof enough that the apostacy occured. Combine this with the plethora of reforms that were instituted and it because nearly impossible to remain logical and claim it didn’t happen.

  16. Shemat: the Reformation was a reaction to distortions that had occurred in the West, primarily, but not excusively, with regard to turning papal primacy into papal supremacy. The tragedy, however, with the Reformation is that much was changed that should not have been changed and others things that should have been changed (reverted actually), such as the Augustinian understanding of original sin and predestination and the Anselmian view of how the death of Christ saves us, remained firmly in place and actually, with Calvin, became dogma in a way that they had not been, and are not, in the Roman Church.

  17. GREG

    With so much change and reform how con you really know which things needed to be changed and which didn’t.

    I agree with what you say concerning the Reformation, but if the priesthood had remained in tact the problems that caused it should not have occured, nor should the error made in the attempt to fix those problems.

    TODD

    Hebrews 9 is speaking about the Law of Moses. This law was added (as we are told in Galatians 3: 17) to that which was given to Abraham because of transgression. However, even in giving it the Lord, through Moses, tells us “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deut 18: 18-19)

    Paul is speaking about a reformation that had been prophecied of as early as Moses. It was not a full restoration, as the Law of Moses was still had and the priesthood was still on the Earth.

    It is not the same as the Reformation Era of the Christian church. The Law had been altered by God at the time of Moses, and thus a reformation was required by which God brought us back to the original. However, with the Christian church God did alter the law and thus had no need to reform it.

  18. Shem, I would disagree.

    I do not consider the presence of a legitimate Priesthood to be an automatic assurance that no error will creep into the Church.

  19. Shem: See my comments to Blake in the comment thread on the post “Is there a Father greater than God?” Basically, there exists a consensus between the Roman Church and the Eastern Apostolic Churches except in regard to several well-defined issues, one of which is, of course, the status of the papacy. However, for the most part, where Protestantism and Rome disagree, the Eastern Churches agree with Rome.

    Seth: With specifically the Roman Church in mind, I would agree with that. However, don’t you think that a complete apostasy would entail the loss of the legitimate priesthood?

  20. A study of Hebrews 7, which emphasis on verses 5,12,18.

    In the first nine verses of Hebrews 7 the words tenth or tithes appears SEVEN TIMES. The ONLY place in the Bible, after Calvary, that tithing appears is in Hebrews 7.

    Hebrews 7:18 is telling us that Numbers 18 was disannulled. Numbers 18 established the Levitical priesthood, and part of that establishing included tithing. When the Levitical priesthood ended (at Calvary, or at least in the year 70AD when the temple was destroyed), all laws that established that priesthood were canceled.

  21. So, Gary, are you saying that Christ is not a priest?

    Hebrews says that Christ “is a priest forever.” Concerning the general priesthood of the Church, what of Revelation 1:6 and I Peter 2:9, both of which hark back to Exodus 19:6 and Isaiah 61:6? These demonstrate that there is no contradiction between the Church being a general, “royal priesthood” and there being a ministerial priesthood which presides within it, directly participating in the priesthood of Christ Himself. The structure of Israel, as “church”, as the people of God pre-Christ, prefigures the structure of the Church as the Body of Christ.

  22. FrGregACCA – I am saying that the Levitical priesthood had to end IN ORDER THAT we could move to a better priesthood – that of Jesus Christ. Christ is the high priest, and we are now the priests.

  23. Gary: the Church as a whole is indeed a collective, royal priesthood, led by a hierarchical, “sacerdotal”, ministerial (“liturgical”) priesthood, even as the people of God of the Old Testament were.

  24. Gary, I looked at your website. Very interesting.

    Tithing dominates the culture in S.E. Idaho, culminating in annual LDS tithing settlements throughout the towns organized by wards.

    My hope and prayer is that the New Covenant explodes all the boundaries, resulting in gospel grace giving.

    Greg, I believe that the book of Hebrews blows to pieces Roman sacerdotalism.

  25. Todd: first, it is not simply “Roman sacerdotalism”. It is Roman and Byzantine and Syriac and Coptic and Ethiopian and Armenian and Assyrian sacerdotalism. Second, how could Hebrews do this? It wasn’t even universally accepted into the canon until centuries after the sacerdotalism of the Apostolic Churches was firmly in place, a sacerdotalism that is implied elsewhere in the NT (Romans 15:16, for example), is explicitly documented as early as the Didache (also strongly implied by Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians), and which is manifested in the Church(es) which, by definition, are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is not a case of the rest against Rome. This is a case of Rome and the rest against Protestantism (and Mormonism). You will bet on the side of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli against the universal Tradition and practice of all the Apostolic Churches?

    Well, not only are you depriving yourself of as much communion with Christ as is possible in this life, you are also implicitly opening the door for the claims of the LDS Church.

    No great apostasy, no need for restoration. Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, et. al. open the doors for the possibility of LDS claims. (Further, as I said to Blake, IF any such apostasy occurred, then Jesus lied, the Bible is false, and there is nothing to restore. This statement concerns Protestants as well as Mormons.)

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