|Jesus Christ The High Priest After the Order of Melchisedec
(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, the Lord sware and will not repent, thou are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.) By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Hebrews 7:21-24.
The Prophet Joseph Smith
In my reading of Mormon literature, it is obvious the heart of Mormonism rests with the teachings of Joseph Smith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that God worked through Joseph Smith to restore the true church that had been lost to apostasy. A foundational belief to Mormonism is that the authority of the original church had been lost shortly after the last apostle had passed away, but through Joseph Smith this authority had been recaptured.
The authority had been restored on earth by the priesthood of Aaron and Melchisedec being bestowed upon Joseph Smith. These two priesthoods were then allegedly bestowed upon Joseph Smith by the laying on of hands in visions by John the Baptist for the Aaronic priesthood and with the laying on of hands by the Apostles John, James and Peter for the Melchisedec priesthood. With the re-establishment of these priesthoods, Mormons claim the authority to preach the Gospel was once again on earth.
When reviewing this doctrine of Mormonism the first thing that comes to mind is that the authority of the Gospel was never lost or taken away from the earth. The Gospel had as much authority in the time of Joseph Smith in the 1820s as it had in 50 AD. The authority was never lost as the Apostle John so clearly writes. John wrote that all that believed on the name of the Lord Jesus as the only begotten Son of God were given the authority to become the adopted sons of God:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power (authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12.
Jude wrote that believers should earnestly contend for the faith which was only once given:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3.
The Lord Jesus said that He would always be with the believers in Him until the very end of the world. There was no break in time when the Lord forsook those that believed in Him:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20.
The fact that the authority of the church was never taken away eliminates the message of Joseph Smith. The continuation of the church from the time of the Lord Jesus right up to today has never been broken; therefore the message of Smith has no validity. However, let us go further and examine the Mormon doctrine of the priesthoods of Aaron and Melchisedec being restored upon the earth through Joseph Smith.
Mormonism claims in May 1829 Joseph Smith was visited by John the Baptist. During this meeting, Smith was ordained with the Aaronic Priesthood. This ordination included ministry of angels, preaching the gospel of repentance and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. This began the process of restoring the authority back on the earth. The Mormon record of this event, in part, follows:
Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministry of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness
The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist
It is clear that Joseph Smith claimed the Aaronic priesthood (also referred to as the Levitical priesthood) was conferred upon him, but several questions come to mind. These two questions are: What was the purpose of the Aaronic priesthood? And, what happened to this priesthood prior to May 1829?
The Purpose of the Aaronic Priesthood
For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: (4) And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. Hebrews 5:1,4.
(1) The Prophet Joseph Smith Testimony, page 18, printed January 1981, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah.
A study of both the Old and New Testaments reveal God had established this priesthood to deal with the problem of mans sin. The Aaronic priesthood was established by God to offer the sacrifices and blood atonement needed to reconcile sinful man with the holy God of Israel. The Bible reveals that God is holy, righteous and just, while man is sinful. Sin has caused a separation between the holy God of Israel and sinful man:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2.
God warned man not to rebel against Him. The penalty for rebellion against God is death. This death is both physical and spiritual death:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:17.
For the wages of sin is death... Romans 6:23.
Man disobeyed God, and to this day everyone faces both physical and spiritual death. Gods holiness, righteousness and justice demands that sin be punished; otherwise, God would cease to be holy, righteous and just. However, God is also love. He did not want man to remain separated from Him, so God provided a way to restore fellowship with Him. God instituted the Aaronic priesthood to act as a mediator between Himself and sinful man.
God provided that a vicarious sacrifice or substitute would die in place of the sinner. The wages of sin is always death and this price had to be paid. The Aaronic priesthood performed the rituals and made the vicarious sacrifices which reconciled for sin and kept man in fellowship with God.
In the Old Testament an innocent animal died in place of the sinner. Thus, the death of the animal would temporarily atone or cover over for sin. This was Gods way of restoring fellowship with Him, and it was the only way to restore fellowship. If man refused to come to God this way, there was no other way to be reconciled with God. The idea of sin, death and the shedding of blood to atone for sin is one of the fundamental doctrines of both the New and Old Testaments:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22.
The Function of the Aaronic Priesthood
God did not allow every Jew to offer sacrifices, but only Jews from the tribe of Levi were authorized. Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, and he was the first High Priest under the law which was given to Moses.
they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood
This is a critical teaching of the Aaronic priesthood that it was passed on through genealogy. To be an Aaronic priest ones genealogy had to be traced directly back to Aaron. For Joseph Smith to be an Aaronic priest he would first have to prove he was a Jew. After proving this, Smith would then have to prove he was from the tribe of Levi and a direct descendent of Aaron.
The Bible is very specific and detailed with genealogy. The genealogy of both the kings of
and the high priest are maintained with great detail. The descendants of Levi are listed along with all the Aaronic high priests of
up to the Babylonian captivity. All the Aaronic high priests were a direct descendant from Aaron. This is found in 1 Chronicles 6 which in part follows:
1 Chronicles 6:1 The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (2) And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, and
, and Uzziel. (3) And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
(14) And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak, (15) And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the LORD carried away
by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
The function of the Aaronic priests was to perform the rituals which would shed the blood that would atone for the sins of the Jews. The Levites were specially called by God to minister for the people of
, and their main function was to serve in the temple in
. There was absolutely no way a Jewish sinner could have his sins forgiven except by a sacrifice performed by the Aaronic priesthood.
The Aaronic high priest was the only one allowed to enter the presence of God in the holy of holies in the temple on the Day of Atonement. He did this to offer the blood that would atone for the sins of the nation of
But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. Hebrews 9:7.
The following Bible verses about the Day of Atonement show the importance of the Aaronic priesthood and the substitutionary death for sin. When the Aaronic priesthood completed the rituals, the people were clean of their sin before the holy God of Israel:
And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities... Leviticus 16:21-22.
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. Leviticus 16:30.
This was the function of the Aaronic priesthood. There is no mention in the Bible of the ministering of angels, the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. In contrast to what Joseph Smith said, the Aaronic priesthood and sacrifice for sin reveals very important concepts. These concepts would be fulfilled by the death of the Lord and by Him being the Melchisedec priest forever:
The penalty for sin is always death.
The innocent died for the guilty a substitutionary death was needed to atone for the sinner.
A sinner could not come directly to God, but needed the Aaronic priesthood to intercede for him.
The Aaronic priesthood had some glaring weaknesses. The Bible states it was weak and unprofitable for the law made nothing perfect. Animal atonement was not sufficient to permanently remove the penalty for sin. This is clearly seen because continual sacrifice for sin had to be made. The priests had to continually offer sacrifices for sin. These sacrifices were daily as well as yearly. This was a sign of the weakness of this priesthood:
Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
(2) For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
The priesthood was also weak because it was based upon human genealogy. If the genealogy was broken the priesthood also would end. Death prevented a high priest from continuing. Therefore the priesthood was constantly being transferred from one priest to another:
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death. Hebrews 7:23.
All these weaknesses point to the fact that the Aaronic Priesthood was temporary, and man needed a permanent savior from sin:
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Joseph Smith and the Melchisedec Priesthood
In addition to the Aaronic priesthood, Joseph Smith also claimed that the priesthood of Melchisedec was conferred upon Him. Smith claimed that the Apostles Peter, James and John laid hands on him and the priesthood of Melchisedec was transferred to him.
we also should have the Melchisedec Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. (2)
A careful study of the Bible discloses Melchisedec first appears in a meeting with Abraham found in Genesis 14. He is referred to as the King of Salem and a priest of the most high God. There is no introduction of Melchisedec, and he then quickly disappears. Abraham, the father of the faith, showed respect and paid Melchisedec tithes. This shows that Melchisedecs priesthood was superior to Abrahams as the Levitical priest came through Abraham, yet he was submissive to Melchisedec. In other words, Melchisedec was superior to Abraham.
Melchisedec is a type or picture of an eternal priesthood because there is no record of his genealogy, birth or death, he just exists. He then becomes a type of the Lord Jesus whose priesthood is eternal and not tied to human genealogy:
For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God
Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Hebrews 7:1,3.
This is why Christ is said to be High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Christ is the eternal Son of God, and His priesthood is not tied to human genealogy as the Aaronic priesthood requires. The Psalmist states of the Lord Jesus,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 110:4.) The book of Hebrews fully explains the priesthood of Melchisedec and why there is a need for such a priesthood.
The Need for the Melchisedec Priesthood
As we studied the Aaronic priesthood, it was clear this priesthood was not final. Death caused the priesthood to pass to other men and the atonement was not complete because continual sacrifice had to be made for sin. Concerning the Aaronic priesthood, the writer of the book of Hebrews states:
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood
what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11).
The purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was to show people they were sinners. They needed a substitute to die for their sin. They needed an eternal high priest to intercede before God for them and a permanent or final redemption. The entire function of the law (including the Aaronic priesthood) was to lead sinners to salvation through Jesus Christ who is the Melchisedec priesthood:
Wherefore the law (including the Aaronic priesthood) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24.
(2) The Prophet Joseph Smiths Testimony, Page 18.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the law. He became mans sin bearer. The sin of mankind was placed on Him, and He then died the death for sin that we deserve. The redemptive death of Jesus Christ was complete and there is no need for any additional sacrifice for sin:
but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26.
With the shed blood death of the Lord Jesus for sin there is no longer any need for animal blood atonement and thus no need for the Aaronic priesthood. Christ, when He rose from the dead, became a High Priest, not in this world, but in heaven. The priesthood of Melchisedec is heavenly and far superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and did away with the Aaronic priesthood. This priesthood ended not because of apostasy within the Church. It ended because it was no longer needed because of the death and shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
The Aaronic Priesthood Prior to 1829
The Aaronic Priesthood was ended by the Melchisedec Priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood was a type and the Melchisedec priesthood was the fulfillment. Once the Lord Jesus was the high priest in heaven there was no longer any needed for the Levitical priesthood. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus ended the need for the Aaronic priesthood:
He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:9,10.
This is a most important concept to grasp: that with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ there was no longer any need for the Aaronic priesthood. Christs work of redemption was complete and eternal or as the Scriptures say, once for all. Christ is both the sacrifice for sin and our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. He is a High Priest not in an earthly temple but in heaven itself:
We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 8:1,2.
When the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, He entered the holy of holies of heaven with His own shed blood. He was the perfect sacrifice, and His blood paid the price for sin. The shed blood of the Lord Jesus paid the price for sin so that sinners who have trusted in Jesus could have eternal life:
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12.
The priesthood was then changed from one on earth which was temporary to one in heaven which was based on the endless, resurrected life of the Lord Jesus, thus it was eternal.
The Lord Jesus is now the High Priest in heaven where He ministers for the believers in Him. He is the mediator between God and mankind. As the heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ is both the perfect sacrifice for sin and the perfect and eternal High Priest.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:24.
The last thing to note about Christ being the priest after the order of Melchisedec is that this priesthood being eternal is nontransferable. The priests under the Aaronic priesthood died; therefore new priests were continually needed. However, the Lord Jesus Christ possesses eternal life and therefore His priesthood can never be transferred. The Lord Jesus would have to die before the priesthood of Melchisedec could be transferred to another, and we know it is impossible for Him to die. The priesthood of Melchisedec is nontransferable:
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Hebrews 7:24.
This verse is also translated:
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath a priesthood which passeth not from one to another. (emphasis added.)
The Bible is very clear that the Aaronic priesthood ended, and it was replaced by the eternal priesthood of the Lord Jesus. This priesthood was not lost to apostasy, but it was ended when the Lord Jesus became the eternal high priest after the order of Melchisedec. The following verses show this concept:
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. Hebrews 7:12.
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect
Hebrews 7:18, 19.
A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13.
He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:9,10.
Superiority of the Melchisedec Priesthood
The Melchisedec priesthood brings in a better hope through which we draw near to God. It is a perfect priesthood anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ. The priesthood is only as strong as the priest behind it, and because of the power of an endless life which Jesus Christ possesses, the Melchisedec priesthood has the power to purge sin from the conscience and grant the assurance of eternal life. This is the power of the blood of Christ and His intercession as our High Priest before the Father.
The following verses show the superiority of the Melchisedec priesthood over the priesthood of Aaron:
The priesthood is no longer on earth but now is transferred from the earth to heaven:
We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens. Hebrews 8:1.
It is not based on human genealogy, but on an oath by God Himself:
(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) Hebrews 7:21.
The source of its power is the endless life of the Lord Jesus:
for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. Hebrews 7:15,16.
It is not limited by human weakness:
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: Hebrews 7:26.
It is based on the blood of Christ, the perfect sacrifice:
by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12.
Through Christs shed blood, you have assurance of eternal life:
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 9:12
Because the Lord Jesus is our High Priest forever, you have assurance of eternal life:
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. Hebrews 7:25.
Comparison of Joseph Smiths Claims With the Bible
The Bible rejects the claims that Joseph Smith received both the Aaronic and Melchisedec priesthoods. Smith could not receive the Aaronic priesthood for several reasons. He was not a Jew from the tribe of Levi, so he is automatically prevented from this priesthood.
The Bible shows this priesthood was only temporary. It was ended by God when the Lord Jesus brought His blood into the temple in heaven. This priesthood was never lost because of apostasy. In fact, it is apostasy to say it was reinstituted through Joseph Smith. This teaching of Mormonism is to be totally rejected.
Joseph Smith claimed he received the Aaronic priesthood which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, gospel of repentance and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. The purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was not, as Joseph Smith claimed, but was instead to lead sinners to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Once the Lord Jesus died and rose again, there was absolutely no need for the Aaronic priesthood. God Himself, through the Holy Scriptures, says the Aaronic priesthood ended through the New Covenant:
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13.
The priesthood was not lost due to apostasy within the
, but because God Himself did away with it. God gave the Jewish nation one generation to repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Melchisedec High Priest.
refused and in 70 AD the Roman armies destroyed
, the holy temple and the Aaronic priesthood. This stopped the Jewish sacrifice of animals for sin. Christians never offered any sacrifices for sins as the Aaronic priesthood required. Christians just believed by faith the Lord Jesus was their redemption from sin.
The doctrine that the Aaronic priesthood was reinstituted is a direct assault on the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Did Joseph Smith ever offer blood sacrifices for sin as the Aaronic priesthood requires? There is no need whatsoever for the Aaronic priesthood because there is an eternal priesthood in heaven anchored in the Lord Jesus.
Joseph Smith also claimed he received the priesthood of Melchisedec. He claimed this priesthood, holds the authority of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Using the inerrant Word of God as my standard, I have to reject this claim. The Melchisedec priesthood is eternal and in the heavens before God. The Bible states this priesthood belongs solely to the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity and cannot be transferred to anyone else. Because the Lord Jesus possesses eternal life, He can never die; therefore, His priesthood is nontransferable:
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath a priesthood which passeth not from one to another. Hebrews 7:24 (Alternate reading.)
The Christian Church never lost this priesthood by apostasy because it always solely belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ. This priesthood eternally belongs to the Lord, and it was impossible for this priesthood to be transferred to Joseph Smith. The sure proof that it was not transferred to Joseph Smith was that he died.
The purpose of the Melchisedec priesthood was for the Lord Jesus to shed His blood and die for sin and then intercede for man in heaven before God the Father. Christ is both the sacrifice for sin and the great High Priest. The laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the Melchisedec priesthood.
The Melchisedec priesthood is not on this earth but before the very throne of God. The priesthood is eternal and after the power of an endless life, Jesus Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us.
I have not taken a couple Bible verses out of context to prove my position, but the entire books of Hebrews and Leviticus reject the claims of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What is the final authority for a Mormon: the eternal Word of God or the teachings of Joseph Smith? What is the greater authority the Holy Bible or Joseph Smith? Whether Mormons realize it or not, the teachings of Joseph Smith regarding the priesthoods alter the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The priesthood of Melchisedec is nontransferable and therefore Joseph Smith is a false teacher and to be rejected.
For the Prophecy came not in Old Time by the Will of Men:
But Holy Men of God Spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
Joseph Smith also claimed to be a prophet who spoke the oracles of God. He claimed to be receiving direct revelations from angels. Using the Bible as the standard, let us again examine the claims of Joseph Smith. The Bible clearly has established who a prophet is and the test for someone who claims to be a prophet of God.
What is a prophet? He is one who speaks the oracles of God, remember God cannot lie:
I will raise them up a Prophet
and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deuteronomy 18:18.
The test of a prophet: All prophecy must be true:
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:22.
The Holy Scriptures are clear. God cannot lie, and any prophet that claims to be speaking the oracles of God must be correct 100 percent of the time in his prophecy. If the prophet fails on one occasion,
thou shalt not be afraid of him.
With this scriptural test as my standard, I tested the prophecies of Joseph Smith. Many of his prophecies did not come to pass. Two of the more obvious false prophecies are found in the Mormon book, Doctrine and Covenants. These prophecies follow:
Doctrine and Covenants, Section 87 (Given by Joseph Smith on December 25, 1832. War predicted-Northern States and Southern States.)
Verse 3. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of
, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
(4.) And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.
(5.) And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles.
History reveals this prophecy did not happen as predicted by Smith. There was a civil war 29 years after this prophecy. Smith apparently could see the division in the country could lead to a civil war. But, his prophecy about the outcome was totally wrong. The following events of his prophecy failed to happen:
failed to enter the war.
All nations were not involved in the war.
The slaves failed to rise up against their masters.
The remnants who were the Indians themselves were vexed by the Gentiles.
Doctrine and Covenants, Section 84 (Given by Joseph Smith on September 22 and 23, 1832, Prediction of Temple being built in the Western boundaries of the State of Missouri.)
Verse 3. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of
(4.) Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
(5.) For verily this generation shall not all pass away until a house be built unto the Lord
It has been over 170 years since Smith made this prophecy. History revealed Joseph Smith and his generation have long passed away, but no New Jerusalem or temple was built in western
or any other location. It is ironic that in the 170 years since this prophecy, God has restored Old
once again be the capital of
. The Jews are back in
just as the true prophets of God said would happen. There will never be a New Jerusalem in
or any other location than
. The literal restoration of
as its capital is further proof that Smith was not a true prophet of God.
Based on these two prophecies which failed to come to pass, I cannot accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. The Lord cannot lie, and a prophet is supposed to speak the oracles of God. Therefore, Joseph Smith was not speaking the oracles of God. He failed the scriptural test and as Deuteronomy 18:22 states,
thou shall not be afraid of him.
All Scripture Is Given By Inspiration of God
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2 Timothy 3:16.
The apostasy that the Mormon booklets talk about is not the corrupting of the word of God, but the corrupting of the truth revealed in the Word of God. The Apostle Paul said that some shall depart form the truth and follow the doctrine of demons. Notice the truth remains, but men depart from the truth and follow lies.
This is a very important concept to grasp. The Word of God is truth and eternal, but men became apostate by refusing to believe the truth and by following lies. There is no place in the Bible where you can find that God made an error and lied,
God, that cannot lie... Titus 1:2.
If God allowed error in the Bible, He would cease to be holy, righteous and just. God has exalted His Word above everything. The truth of the Word of God is most important to God as Psalm 138:2 state:
for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Apostasy means turning away from truth. If there were no truth, there could be no apostasy. A careful examination of the Bible reveals the Word of God claims to be truth, eternal, pure, indestructible and given directly by God. It is not the Bible which has been corrupted, but the message given in it which has been corrupted by men. The Bible remains true, but many who teach it have departed from the message of it. Let us look at what the Bible states about itself:
The word of God is truth:
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17.
The word is eternal:
Thy word is true from the beginning: and everyone of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. Psalm 119:160.
The word of God is pure:
Every word of God is pure... Proverbs 30:5.
The word of God is indestructible:
the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever... I Peter 1:24-25.
The Bible is Divinely inspired:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God... 2 Timothy 3:16.
It is of the highest importance you realize your faith rests upon the divinely revealed, eternal Word of God. If you believe the Bible contains error in one part, how can you trust it at all? Who becomes the final authority to judge what is truth and what is error? It cannot be Joseph Smith as He failed the test of a prophet.
You can read through the entire New Testament, and you will not find one place where the writers said that the Old Testament was in error. The Lord Jesus when speaking of the Scriptures said in Matthew 5:18:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
The Lord said that even the smallest marks of the Old Testament were eternal. Heaven and earth did not pass away; therefore none of the word of God was lost. A belief that the Bible contains error completely undermines the entire Bible and literally makes God a liar because Proverbs 30:5 states: Every word of God is pure
and John 17:17 states:
thy word is truth. Also, a person receives eternal life by being Born again with God based upon an incorruptible word of God as stated by Peter:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. I Peter 1:23.
This concept of the truth of the word of God being eternal is very important to Mormonism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be restoring the Church to the truth that was lost by apostasy. The Mormon Church has to be built upon the truth of the Bible or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no foundation. Mormonism instead of restoring truth is actually teaching apostasy. The very thing that Mormons claim they are trying to accomplish is actually apostasy which the Bible warns against.
The Apostle Paul warns that there are teachers of a false Gospel who preach a different Jesus. The Apostle John tells us to test people who claim to be prophets. The Bible clearly warns to be aware of false teachers and to test people who claim to be prophets of God:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1.
The Apostasy from the Truth
The Bible warns in many places about apostasy. The apostasy is not about the Aaronic and Melchisedec priesthoods, but about faith in the person of the true Jesus Christ and obtaining eternal life by simple faith in the redemptive works of the Lord. Paul warned there are people who preach another Jesus. The Apostle John warned:
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God... II John 1:9.
No matter how sincere you are in your faith, if you do not believe in the Lord Jesus as He really exists your faith is in vain. You have a false Jesus that does not exist. Jesus Christ is the most important person in the entire Bible, and without true faith in the real Jesus a person does not possess eternal life:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36.
The heart of both Judaism and Christianity is the belief in only one God. Because Jews and Christians refused to worship the pagan gods of other countries, they have suffered terrible persecution. The fact that Jews and Christians worshipped only one God made them virtually unique in the pagan world of plural gods.
went into apostasy, it was because the people began to worship many gods. Restoration from apostasy always involved a revival that caused only the Lord to be worshipped. Both the Old and New Testaments teach there is only one true God:
before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. Isaiah 43:10.
I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus 1 Timothy 2:5.
The Bible does not say there are three separate gods that came together on purpose to make one God. The Bible simply states there is only one God. However, the Bible teaches that within the one God are three persons. This concept is referred to as the holy Trinity. All the attributes which are given to God are also given to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible claims that Jesus Christ was God in human flesh:
John 1:1, 14, In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God
the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
(For a full teaching on the Godhead or as it is commonly called the holy Trinity see the presentations titled: Understanding the Father and Son in the Holy Trinity; and Revelation 5:6, The Godhead.)
The Lord Jesus Christ
Although the New Testament teaches Jesus Christ is God, the constant emphasis is the oneness of God and unity of Christ with Father. The oneness can be seen as Christ said, I and My Father are one. In the prayer just before His death, Christ said,
O Father glorify thou me
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. Jesus Christ was not a separate God, but He actually came forth from the one God as John 16:27 states,
and have believed that I came out from God.
The Bible reveals within God, God the Son shed the glory He had with God the Father. He took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. God the Son took the penalty for the sins of mankind and fulfilled the Aaronic priesthood. He rose from the dead and He now eternally possesses the Melchisedec priesthood which means, forever, He will intercede on the believers behalf.
God knew that man could not save himself from the penalty of sin which is both spiritual and physical death. In eternity, spiritual death is total separation from God in an awful place the Bible refers to as hell:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire... Matthew 25:41.
Because God is love and does not want anyone to suffer in hell, He sent Jesus Christ to be your substitute in death for sin. he awful punishment of Gods wrath for sin fell on the Lord Jesus. On the cross, Christ was even separated from God the Father,
My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?
The purpose of the Aaronic priesthood was to show the Jews they needed a permanent high priest and a final atonement for sin. The purpose of the blood atonement was to show people the blood of Jesus Christ would be shed for their sin. The entire priestly system was to lead people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. The redemptive work of Christ is complete, as He paid the penalty for all your sins:
but now once
hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26.
The wages of sin is death, and what man could not do, Jesus Christ did. He paid the full penalty for sin:
that he (Christ) by the grace of God should taste death for very man. Hebrews 2:9.
Mormon friend, do you believe in the true Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible? Do you believe in the true priesthood of Melchisedec which belongs for eternity to the great High Priest? Do you believe the sinless Son of God shed His blood for you and paid the price for all your sins? If you do not believe as the pure Word of God reveals, you do not possess eternal life and face eternity separated from God.
Eternal Life through Jesus Christ
Obtaining eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ is very simple and it is done by faith. God simply asks that you confess Jesus Christ as both your Lord and your Saviour:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10.
This confession also recognizes that you believe Jesus Christ shed His blood and died to pay the full penalty for all your sin:
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. This confession recognizes that you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and He is now, as your High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, interceding before God the Father for you:
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. Hebrews 7:25.
This confession also means repentance, turning away, from false teaching to making the true Jesus Christ the center of your life as Acts 3:19 states, Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out
The feelings you receive from Mormonism will not save you. You can feel good and yet at the same time have a horrible sickness. It is your faith in the Lord Jesus and not feelings that gives you eternal life. Also, your good works cannot save you from the penalty of your sin:
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5.
When you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, God spiritually regenerates you into a new person. This regeneration includes power to break the hold of any sin in your life. With the penalty for your sin forgiven, spiritual regeneration and Christ interceding for you through the priesthood of Melchisedec, you have the assurance of eternal life:
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13.
Scriptures to Think Upon
The Lord Jesus is the High Priest of the true believers faith:
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses [was faithful] in all his house. Hebrews 3:1,2.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Hebrews 4:14,15.
And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:21-23.
Hebrews 7 in context:
Hebrews 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
(12) For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
(13) For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
(14) For [it is] evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
(15) And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
(16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
(17) For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
(18) For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
(19) For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
(20) And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
(21) (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
(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.
By John McTernan:
Proclaim the Faith
Blog: John McTernan's Insights at www.johnmcternan.name