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The Restored Priesthoods


Dale

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I have a series of anti-Restored Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood tracts I thought I would see what different persons on the message board thought of. I am interested in seeing if anybody had any new ideas on how to respond to the content. These tracts were written to witness to a Reorganized LDS membership, so references in the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants won't match the LDS editions.

LDS apologists are not always in touch with Evangelical scriptural objections to LDS belief. The author Paul Trask seem's to present the objections to the Restored Church idea of priesthoods quite simply. If anybody here is a volunteer in writing articles for FairWiki these tracts objections will be a good idea for future articles.

Here are the links to the two tracts:

The Melchizedek Priesthood----a Biblical analysis

http://help4rlds.com/melchizedek_priesthood.htm

The Aaronic Priesthood

http://help4rlds.com/aaronic_priesthood.htm

I am not persuaded to disbelieve in the restored priesthood based on anything the author wrote. But I like improving my arguments as much as I can. So I thought it would be fun to see if my LDS apologist friends could come up with any new apologetic answers. I may not have thought of something others had. My Evangelical friends, or other non-LDS are welcome to discuss the content also.

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Melchizedek still holds his office because of Hebrews 7:3. He abides a priest continually. That's two kingly priests not just one.

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There is only one that holds the order of Melchizedek and that is Jesus Christ. He serves in a temple not made by human hands. Any thing else is a fraud. It is blasphemy.

exactly. the Aaronic priesthood was meant to present sacrifices to God on behalf of the people, but when Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross and released the Spirit at pentacost, the priesthood was no longer needed to offer sacrifices or approach God on the peoples' behalf. I never understood why Mormonism thought it was special for bring something back that was no longer needed 2000 years ago. to gain adherents by sounding important?

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What verse in Hebrews prevents the Aaronic Priesthood from being brought back in another revamped form by Christ? The law and it's rules have been abolished so why would an Aaronic priesthood have to offer sacrifices? Who is higher Jesus, or the law of Moses?

The claim priesthood has violates 1 Tim. 2:5 has been answered by Catholic apologists. Though to be clear catholics reject restored priesthood, and believe in an unrelated ministerial priesthood. The answer is at the end part of the article. tHey have other responses, but this was one answer I have been pondering lately. I just don't believe in the priesthood of believers only idea of Paul Trask.

http://catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907fea1.asp

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I only looked at the first two of the Mel Preisthood and realized this guy's an ignoramus, not worth spending much time on. Heresies of JS:

â?¢ Origin of the High Priesthood. High priesthood in the Bible originated with Aaron at Mt. Sinai under the law of Moses. Melchizedek was never a high priest in the Bible, invalidating that claim in the Book of Mormon, D&C and Inspired Version.

First, the High Priesthood has no beginning nor end of years, and began in this world with Adam. I don't understand how the "Melchizedek Priesthood" started with Aaron (a Levite) if Melchizedek was many years previous to Aaron. This guy's view of what Joseph taught are tremendously naive.

â?¢ Multiple High Priests. Only one high priest served at a time under the Mosaic law (foreshadowing Christ, our great High Priest). But the Book of Mormon refers to many high priest at the same time (Mosiah 7:14; Alma 21:34; Helaman 2:23). Why?

Many High Priests? The context of Zacharias when he met the Angle in the temple was significant because this was his once in a lifetime opportunity to, as High Priest, go into the Holy of Holies. Considering there was such a "waiting list," it's surprising that the conclusion is there was only one. Moreover, John the Revelator is explict in referring to he and his brethren having been made "Priests and Kings," the two great titles of both Melchizedek and Christ.

Maybe tomorrow I'll refute the rest of them...

PacMan

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I'll just do them now since they're so ridiculously easy.

â?¢ The Lineage of Melchizedek. Jews kept precise genealogical records to validate eligibility for priesthood. In Hebr. 7:3, the superiority of Melchizedekâ??s priesthood was that he had no such genealogy: â??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.â? In Godâ??s Word there is no end recorded to his priesthood, and so he is compared to Jesus, whose priesthood also endures forever. Contrast this with Alma 10: 14 which says Melchizedek reigned under his father; and with D&C 83: 2c-g which claims that Melchizedek is one in an unbroken chain of high priests from Adam to Moses. God never alters His own Word (see Numbers 23:19).

He is making a tremendously ignorant proposition, battered in fallacy. A ray can be broken into definite "segments." By suggesting that there was an unbreakable chain from Adam to Moses says NOTHING concerning its beginning or end. This is either a dishonest and malicious distortion of the facts, or innocent yet ridiculous moronic attempt to sound intelligent. The conclusion had NO logical bearing on the evidences.

â?¢ A Melchizedek Order of Priests. Every Biblical reference to the Melchizedek priesthood pertains to Jesus Christâ??s unique role in bringing salvation to mankind. Any attempt by man to appropriate our Saviorâ??s unique priesthood or title is a form of blasphemy.

Call for references? Moreover, this is stark argumentum ad ignorantium. To make a wild, overreaching assertion from the very few citations that we DO have is tremendously presumptuous. Is it blasphemous for the Savior to "appropriate" His own "unique priesthood or title?" Again...if this is the case, why did John refer to himself as both a King and a Priest?

PacMan

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There is only one that holds the order of Melchizedek and that is Jesus Christ. He serves in a temple not made by human hands. Any thing else is a fraud. It is blasphemy.

Sweeping statements of ridiculous presumption void of citation are not taken seriously around here.

FYI.

PacMan

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The arguments he uses are important to Evangelicals so good apologetic's will deal with them.

What scripture say's Christ alone holds that priesthood?

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I think all of Hebrews chapter 8 packs it up.

Hebrews 8:1 "The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by men."

Hebrews 8:13 "By calling this covenant "new", he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."

the only Aaronic priesthood that continues today is no priesthood but an institution set up by men to perform some service that is unnecessary.

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I think all of Hebrews chapter 8 packs it up.

Hebrews 8:1 "The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by men."

Hebrews 8:13 "By calling this covenant "new", he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear."

the only Aaronic priesthood that continues today is no priesthood but an institution set up by men to perform some service that is unnecessary.

Frost,

The problem is when you take the scripture out of context. Go back to the previous chapter in Hebrews 7:26:

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

(New Testament | Hebrews 7:26)

When Paul is referring to "such a high priest," he is talking of such a priest that is 'becoming of us,' holding those listed characteristics. But let us NOT confound the scriptures to suggest this is the ONLY type of high priest, for that is certainly not what the scriptures say.

Secondly, the "new covenant" made the first one old...not obsolete. Christ fulfilled the law...He didn't do away with it. But most interesting is the following:

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.

(New Testament | Hebrews 7:11 - 14)

Why did Paul speak of the Levitical preisthood yet ask about the order of Aaron? If they were one and the same, then clearly the answer would have been simply that he couldn't hold the Levitical Priesthood for He wasn't a Levite. The insinuation is, however, that he COULD receive the Aaronic Priesthood as one from "another tribe," but that He brought the priesthood of Melchezedek and it would be right to do so, being the greater priesthood.

PacMan

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The concept of a Christian priesthood was a gradual development coinciding with the early church's gradual institutionalization. Christians are not called priests in a literal sense until the start of the third century. Even then, Origen denied that anyone but Christ could be called a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Secondly, the "new covenant" made the first one old...not obsolete. Christ fulfilled the law...He didn't do away with it.

Jesus' rejection of the formalisms of the Law was really quite sweeping. It should be little surprise, then, that Hebrews (9:1, I believe) implies and the Epistle of Barnabas explicitly states that the temple is abolished. Nor is it a surprise that priesthood is considered obsolete. After all, Jesus' most vehement criticisms were reserved for the priests, and he told his followers not to let anyone call them rabbi.

Here's an excerpt from an essay I wrote on this subject some time ago:

All of this [from the church fathers], however, pales in comparison to the evidence we find in the New Testament. The author of the book of Hebrews clearly believed that the Aaronic priesthood was a thing of the past and that human priests are no longer necessary under the New Covenant. Hebrews 7:28 says, "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." Men were made High priests under the Law, which was until the oath. Under the oath, the Son is made high priest. The implication is that men are no longer made high priests. And again in Hebrews 7:23-24: "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." Here the Scripture uses the past tense, saying that there "were" many priests, suggesting a contrast with the present in which there is only "this man," meaning Jesus Christ. And these are only the most explicit statements. Hebrews 7:12 speaks of Jesus’ coming as a "change in the priesthood", a switch from the Aaronic to the Melchizedek order. And when 7:18 says that the previous commandment has been annulled, it assumes that the Aaronic priesthood goes with it. Everywhere Jesus is lauded as the high priest of a better covenant that supercedes the former, along with its priesthood and its human ministers.

-CK

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The concept of a Christian priesthood was a gradual development coinciding with the early church's gradual institutionalization. Christians are not called priests in a literal sense until the start of the third century. Even then, Origen denied that anyone but Christ could be called a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus' rejection of the formalisms of the Law was really quite sweeping. It should be little surprise, then, that Hebrews (9:1, I believe) implies and the Epistle of Barnabas explicitly states that the temple is abolished. Nor is it a surprise that priesthood is considered obsolete. After all, Jesus' most vehement criticisms were reserved for the priests, and he told his followers not to let anyone call them rabbi.

Here's an excerpt from an essay I wrote on this subject some time ago:

-CK

On the contrary CK:

"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." Here the Scripture uses the past tense, saying that there "were" many priests

They "were" many priests because their sacrifices were finite, not eternal like the sacrifice of Christ, meaning after one died another had to take his place to perform these sacrifices in the tabernacle/temple. Moreover, their "temporal" priesthood was finite as well. The law followed the priesthood.

The two questions I have:

1) Considering Priesthoods have names, what priesthood did NT Priests (after Christ) hold?

2) This "binding" and "sealing" power...is it not priesthood? Which one?

PacMan

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They "were" many priests because their sacrifices were finite, not eternal like the sacrifice of Christ, meaning after one died another had to take his place to perform these sacrifices in the tabernacle/temple. Moreover, their "temporal" priesthood was finite as well. The law followed the priesthood.

I really don't see how that alleviates the problem. Are you redefining what is meant by the word "priests" in this passage? Or are you just suggesting that we should take this statement loosely? I see no reason to take it loosely except that it rebels against the LDS paradigm.

The two questions I have:

1) Considering Priesthoods have names, what priesthood did NT Priests (after Christ) hold?

There were no NT priests.

2) This "binding" and "sealing" power...is it not priesthood? Which one?

No. It is a power that, according to Matthew, is given not only to Peter but to the church as a whole (cp. Mt 16 and Mt 18). The specific context in Mt. 18 is that it is the power of excommunication (and presumably also of salvation): the power to bind someone to the community or to loose them from it. It may have broader application than that, but if so then the Bible does not say as much. There is no reason I'm aware of to believe that the power of binding and loosing refers to priesthood.

The interpretation of binding and loosing as the power to accept into or to excommunicate from the Church/kingdom is consistent with the passage in Mt 16 in which Peter is told he will be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven. These may be compared with the keys to Death and Hades, which occur in Revelation 1:18. In essence, Christians are given power over spiritual life and death.

-CK

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The Ten commandments were a part of the Old Covenant and all but one were re-affirmed by Jesus. The Old Covenant can pass but Jesus can keep stuff from the Old Covenant like priesthood. I don't see Jesus deciding to keep the Aaronic priesthood as violating Hebrews 8:13.

Jesus and Melchizedek are priests. And I have seen documentation By Barry Bickmore on early Christian ministerial priesthood. Anybody that serves in a ministerial priesthood whether called priest or not is a priest. I don't see a priesthood of believers only priesthood in the early church. Though priests are priests.

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The Ten commandments were a part of the Old Covenant and all but one were re-affirmed by Jesus. The Old Covenant can pass but Jesus can keep stuff from the Old Covenant like priesthood. I don't see Jesus deciding to keep the Aaronic priesthood as violating Hebrews 8:13.

There's no question that Jesus left intact the parts of the Old Testament law that can be summarized on the two Great Commandments: love God and love neighbor. But he was opposed to the priests, he predicted the destruction and obsolescence of the temple, he very frequently flouted the purity laws, he claimed God desires "mercy, not sacrifice"... honestly, I don't see Jesus being particularly amenable to the continuation of an institution like priesthood that he so vehemently opposed. As for violating Hebrews 8:13, what about 7:23-24 and 7:28 (as I explained above)?

Jesus and Melchizedek are priests. And I have seen documentation By Barry Bickmore on early Christian ministerial priesthood. Anybody that serves in a ministerial priesthood whether called priest or not is a priest. I don't see a priesthood of believers only priesthood in the early church. Though priests are priests.

Barry Bickmore's documentation is less impressive than it seems. His Theophilus quote doesn't say what he thinks it says. Neither does his quote from Ray Robert Noll contra the priesthood of all believers. (Ray Robert Noll, by the way, agrees with me that there was no priesthood till the third century.) The quote Bickmore attributes to Ignatius is actually from a "long version" of one of his epistles. It's universally considered a spurious late-date expansion. That just about demolishes his entire case for an early Christian priesthood.

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CK:

I really don't see how that alleviates the problem. Are you redefining what is meant by the word "priests" in this passage? Or are you just suggesting that we should take this statement loosely? I see no reason to take it loosely except that it rebels against the LDS paradigm.

No, I'm suggesting that Paul is making an obvious emphasis of why Christ as a High Priest is such a big deal--sacrifice. Consider:

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.

[WHY?

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.

Obviously his intercession was different than the other priests. Let us be sure also that the members of his church are to be saviors on mount Zion...to save others to the uttermost by bringing them to Christ. To do as he did and work the miracles that he worked, would in a very real sense need His authority--that being the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Moreover, Paul speaks in the present tense:

Heb 8: 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

If the old law is fulfilled, certainly those priests aren't following the old law, for it exists no more. Such must be the new law that Christ brought.

There were no NT priests.

Oops.

Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

24 Elders evidently are (Okâ?¦theyâ??re not exactly NT, but they're definitely post-OT).

Also: Rev 1:6 (John and an undefined number of othersâ??contextually those of the churches);

Also: Rev 20:6 (All those that receive the first resurrection)

No. It is a power that, according to Matthew, is given not only to Peter but to the church as a whole (cp. Mt 16 and Mt 18).

Don't pull (what I have termed) a RCC on me. Those chapters do NOT in anyway prove your point. The scriptures prove that the disciples...not the church, were given the power.

â?¦the power to bind someone to the community or to loose them from it.

Huh? Where in the WOLRD do you get that from?

It may have broader application than that, but if so then the Bible does not say as much.

A good indication that it's likely a power that cannot be assumed, but given (Heb 5--authority had ALWAYS been given in one manner...why change now?)

The interpretation of binding and loosing as the power to accept into or to excommunicate from the Church/kingdom is consistent with the passage in Mt 16 in which Peter is told he will be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

On the contrary. Acceptance in the church was through baptism, which practice was happening during the life of Christ before this power was given to the disciples. While excommunication could certainly be a part of it, is it exercised by popular demand? Let us be sure that the key to the binding power is, "Whatsoever ye shall bind" and not limited to a few, administrative duties.

These may be compared with the keys to Death and Hades, which occur in Revelation 1:18. In essence, Christians are given power over spiritual life and death.

They were given that with the atonement of Christ, and by Matthew 18, Christ hadnâ??t died yet. This explanation is left wanting.

PacMan

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Worth considering would be "The High Priesthood" chapter in Margaret Barker's The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God, which adds several non-Biblical texts to the discussion, including the Enoch texts, Philo, Josephus, the Qumran Melch text, the Testament of Levi, various Dead Sea Scroll texts, considers the significance of the corrupt state of the Hebrew texts, and differences in the Greek.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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CK:

No, I'm suggesting that Paul is making an obvious emphasis of why Christ as a High Priest is such a big deal--sacrifice.

Sacrifices (and other formalisms) were the purpose of the Jewish priesthood. So it's really not surprising to see Paul emphasizing that. But whether he gives sacrifice as his reason or beef stroganoff as his reason, the fact is that he speaks of the priesthood as a past reality.

Moreover, Paul speaks in the present tense:

Heb 8: 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

And obviously he's right; there are priests at the time of writing, offering sacrifices in Jerusalem. But they are Jewish priests, not Christian priests. He is here using a hypothetical: what if Jesus hadn't ascended to heaven? Then there would be no need for him to be a priest, since there are already priests offering sacrifices in Jerusalem (this demonstrates, again, that the purpose of a priest was thought to be the offering of sacrifices). But since Jesus did ascend to heaven, and offers sacrifices in a heavenly tabernacle, precisely the reverse is true: there is no need for the human priests in Jerusalem to be priests! This is why, for Christians, priests are spoken of as a past tense thing: they continue to exist in Jerusalem, but they are no longer necessary. Under the new covenant, such distinctions are abolished.

In this regard, consider the vision of the new covenant proffered in Hebrews 8:10-11:

10This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel

after that time, declares the Lord.

I will put my laws in their minds

and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God,

and they will be my people.

11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,

or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'

because they will all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

What is described here is clearly a breaking down of rank, distinction, and spiritual privilege. In the context of vv. 3-6, which describe the superiority of Jesus' priesthood to that of the priests in Jerusalem, this reinforces the notion that under the new covenant there are no priests.

Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Who is "us"? Is it those in the previous verse who sing "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;"? If all the redeemed are made kings and priests, how do you arrive at the ostensible conclusion that this is not a priesthood of all believers? The same goes for 1:6 and 20:6. There is no reason to think this means such people are formal priesthood-holders. Rather, they have the same access to God that under the old covenant was restricted to a few priests: the veil is torn and "they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." Once only the priests could approach God, but now anyone may approach him thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ. As such, we are all priests-- a kingdom of priests.

Ex 19:22 - Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them." (cf. 24:2, 28:43, 30:20)

Eph 3:12 - In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

I think it is very significant that although "priests" make a great metaphor for both the access that is available to all believers and for the responsibilities exercised by Christian leadership, Christian writers almost entirely avoid predicating the term "hiereus" of Christians for the first two centuries of church history except when quoting this verse. I think that was intentional. They certainly never use it in an obviously non-metaphorical sense.

Don't pull (what I have termed) a RCC on me. Those chapters do NOT in anyway prove your point. The scriptures prove that the disciples...not the church, were given the power.
â?¦the power to bind someone to the community or to loose them from it.

Huh? Where in the WOLRD do you get that from?

Who are the disciples? Mt 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." In any case, Matthew 18 actually is the one place in the New Testament where Jesus himself is on record as having spoken of a church. Consider the passage in question:

15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

This is the classic excommunication passage. What is being "loosed" in this context? Is it not the brother who sins and is unrepentant? Who makes the decision to "loose" him? Is it not the church? As I mentioned before, when Peter is granted this binding/loosing power in chapter 16, it is typified by "the keys to the kingdom of heaven". This may be compared to the keys to death and Hades in Revelation. Jesus and his followers may let people into the kingdom, and may also cut them off from it.

-CK

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CK:

But whether he gives sacrifice as his reason or beef stroganoff as his reason, the fact is that he speaks of the priesthood as a past reality.

No--he speak of the Levitical High Priests as a comparison for what kind of priest Christ is.

And obviously he's right; there are priests at the time of writing, offering sacrifices in Jerusalem. But they are Jewish priests, not Christian priests.

On the contraryâ?¦the law theyâ??re practicing under is no law at allâ?¦the Moses law was fulfilled! By referring to it as you suggest really validates the old law as being used under the new law.

1) If the old law is fulfilled, but it is still legitimate to practice under it then clearly priests are legitimate in this temporal, limited function.

2) If not, then they are clearly other priests practicing under the new law in another legitimate function.

He is here using a hypothetical: what if Jesus hadn't ascended to heaven? Then there would be no need for him to be a priest, since there are already priests offering sacrifices in Jerusalem (this demonstrates, again, that the purpose of a priest was thought to be the offering of sacrifices).

Incorrect! The hypothetical is if he had yet to come, thus needing sacrifices to continue. Moreover, whether Jesus ascended or not, I bet you'd consider him still a High Priest. I don't understand this argument.

But since Jesus did ascend to heaven, and offers sacrifices in a heavenly tabernacle, precisely the reverse is true: there is no need for the human priests in Jerusalem to be priests!

Non sequitur. WE are those to offer spiritual sacrifices.

Hebrews 8:10-11 refers to after the second coming of the Lordâ?¦not now.

If all the redeemed are made kings and priests, how do you arrive at the ostensible conclusion that this is not a priesthood of all believers? The same goes for 1:6 and 20:6. There is no reason to think this means such people are formal priesthood-holders.

Who said all?? Women donâ??t become Kings nor priests! Only those with the Priesthood can be called preists! Moreover, I didn't say that it is not a priesthood of all believers; but you still have to receive it appropriately--you can't ignore Heb 5! This is a perfect illustration of LDS practice! All worthy (believing) men CAN hold the priesthood. Moreover, you have yet to answer the question--what Priesthood do these priests hold? John in Rev 1:6 says,

6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;

IN THAT MOMENT, John had been made a king and a priest! What priesthood did he have??

I think it is very significant that although "priests" make a great metaphor...

So where priests ARE mentioned in the NT, they are now metaphoric?

Who are the disciples? Mt 28:19: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Non Sequitur! Those that were, and to become disciples are mutually exclusive. There is no reason to believe that those there were those to whom the promise was given in Mathew 18--the apostles. This is like saying the whole church was in the garden of Gethsemane when Christ speaks of his 'disciples' being with him. In fact, when Christ speaks to his 'disciples,' I can't think of an instance were it referred to anyone other than the chosen apostles.

Is it not the church?

NO!!! IT NEVER SAYS THE CHURCH!!! It refers to individuals, not a congregation or a body of people. Christ is talking to select disciples--a finite number with him at the time. For you to extrapolate that beyond what it says is erroneous!

PacMan

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PacMan,

I haven't time for a full response right now, but I do want to make two quick comments:

1) Matthew 18 does mention the church. I didn't just make that up.

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. 18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

2) I do hope that we can refrain from getting too shrill with each other. That will only hinder productive discussion.

More later,

-CK

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CK:

I hope that there is benefit of the doubt between us when it comes to the shrillility (?) of our threads. I'll try and be careful--thanks for the note.

But yes, now I see what you're saying on the church. Certainly, I interpret it to mean that one should come before its leadership...I don't know how many EV's cast themselves upon the pulpit for a public judgment. Most that I'm aware of still use a system of hierarchy, with its leadership speaking for the church.

But interestingly, the scripture seems to dilineate the difference between the church and disciples...the latter to whom the power was given.

Please get back when you have a moment to the other questions. Rev 1:6 is still eating away at me...as a Priest, what priesthood does John have?

PacMan

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PacMan,

It seems quite evident to me that the "kings and priests" reference does not refer to "priesthood" in the Catholic or Latter-day Saint sense, but rather to the rights and privileges of the Jewish priesthood. Latter-day Saints and Catholics seem to think of priesthood as a "thing" in and of itself-- a sort of disembodied essence that passes from person to person. I suspect the early Christians thought of it rather as a special office or rank that came with certain responsibilities and privileges. The responsibilities have passed away, but the rights and privileges have been granted to all the righteous (on that, see also Irenaeus Adv. Haer. 4.8.3: "all the righteous possess the sacerdotal rank"). So on the one hand one can say that now all Christians are priests in the sense that they all now have the direct access to God that was once exclusive to priests. But on the other hand one can also say that "priesthood" is no more: there is no longer a special class of men with special religious access, and there are no longer sacrifices to be made or purifications to be performed.

A similar thing happens with the temple: it has passed away (Heb. 9:1, also the Epistle of Barnabas says it was "abolished) but it also persists in the same that all believers are the temple. Christians could affirm both these propositions: "believers are the temple" and "the temple has been abolished." So when you complain that I don't take "priests" literally in the book of Revelations, I wonder if you take "temple" literally in I Corinthians 6. Or is it merely that believers take on some attributes of the now-obsolete Jewish temple? I think it's the same situation with the priesthood of all believers.

The evidence for this, in my view, is the near-complete absence of priesthood language from any of the other Christian works of the first two centuries. If Revelation were referring to literal priesthood (is anything in Revelation literal?), we would expect mention of it in the works of Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Alexandria (both of whom were fairly authoritarian and exhorted people to obey local church leadership). But we find it in neither place. What's more, when Origen writes in the third century about Christian leaders being called "priests" (remember this practice started in the early third century), he actually sounds rather defensive. He basically explains that they're called that because they fill some of the same functions. And he does not allow for human priests to be called high priests after the order of Melchizedek; he agrees with me that Jesus is the only Melchizedek priest.

I don't want to drag this thread out unnecessarily. I understand that due to your faith commitments you are not going to accept this view, so on many points we are going to have to agree to disagree. So I'll refrain from responding to a lot of the individual comments in your posts.

On the contraryâ?¦the law theyâ??re practicing under is no law at allâ?¦the Moses law was fulfilled! By referring to it as you suggest really validates the old law as being used under the new law.

No, I don't think so. He goes on to quite explicitly abrogate the covenant under which these priests operate. So I don't think there is any such implication here.

Who said all?? Women donâ??t become Kings nor priests!

They don't? Why not? Under the new covenant there is no longer any male or female. Women could prophesy; why wouldn't they be included among the "saints" of Revelation or the "all the righteous" category mentioned by Irenaeus? (I mean, besides the obvious prejudices of the day.)

But yes, now I see what you're saying on the church. Certainly, I interpret it to mean that one should come before its leadership...I don't know how many EV's cast themselves upon the pulpit for a public judgment. Most that I'm aware of still use a system of hierarchy, with its leadership speaking for the church.

Most do, but many also use a congregational system of government in which the leaders are elected. This also seems to have been practiced in some early Christian circles. (Or at least, so I've read. I don't know all the details on that.)

But interestingly, the scripture seems to dilineate the difference between the church and disciples...the latter to whom the power was given.

I actually think that it fails to make such a distinction, at least in Matthew 18. Jesus is speaking to the Apostles, but his message is clearly for all Jesus-followers in the early Christian Church.

-CK

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CK:

It seems quite evident to me that the "kings and priests" reference does not refer to "priesthood" in the Catholic or Latter-day Saint sense, but rather to the rights and privileges of the Jewish priesthood.

Rights and privileges of a fulfilled Priesthood? So he had...nothing? I don't understand that at all. What rights and privileges were these? And how could someone be a priest without a priesthood? Did John have the Jewish Priesthood? And what's that called?

Latter-day Saints and Catholics seem to think of priesthood as a "thing" in and of itself-- a sort of disembodied essence that passes from person to person. I suspect the early Christians thought of it rather as a special office or rank that came with certain responsibilities and privileges.

First, it's not a rank. Priest is a rank of the priesthood...as is High Priest. The Priesthood is definitively an authority (of God). But what about Hebrews 5? It needs receive as did Aaron--laying on of hands. Right?

So on the one hand one can say that now all Christians are priests in the sense that they all now have the direct access to God that was once exclusive to priests. But on the other hand one can also say that "priesthood" is no more: there is no longer a special class of men with special religious access, and there are no longer sacrifices to be made or purifications to be performed.

Recall...I reject Irenaeus anyway (he's a bit removed from it all). Moreover, one "could" say anything at all. Certainly, this idea has no biblical support but is based in your personal interpretation. Hebrews, however, speaks of authority at length...and how it is perpetuated.

/A similar thing happens with the temple: it has passed away...

On the contary...I don't take on the temple of I Corinthians 6. That isn't literal. All the same...the temple question is an interesting post for another thread altogether.

The evidence for this, in my view, is the near-complete absence of priesthood language from any of the other Christian works of the first two centuries.

Well...that'd make perfect sense if the Apostasy DID occur. And concerning the literalness of Rev., I think when John says he was been made a priest and a King of God, I don't know how to take that but literally.

And he does not allow for human priests to be called high priests after the order of Melchizedek; he agrees with me that Jesus is the only Melchizedek priest.

Well, Melchizeked himself had the Melchizedek Priesthood. But interesting is when the Jews questioned Jesus concerning His authority. He didn't answer...but it was obviously this Priesthood, and by which He did His miracles. Yet He promises His disciples to do even greater things. Intuitively it'd suggest that they'd need this same authority.

Women could prophesy;

They could before but weren't Priests.

why wouldn't they be included among the "saints" of Revelation or the "all the righteous" category mentioned by Irenaeus?

Because a woman is a priestess, not a priest. Moreover, Paul made particular comment about woman and their roles. Do you accept that?

But you agree than that the "church" can refer to its leadership?

I actually think that it fails to make such a distinction, at least in Matthew 18. Jesus is speaking to the Apostles, but his message is clearly for all Jesus-followers in the early Christian Church.

Clearly this is NOT clear. As I suggested, when Jesus talked of His disciples, he spoke of the 12. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. If you have a citation, please pass it on. As such, I think we have to accept that they were the Apostles that received the powers and authorities...not the church. All the same, the authority was still mentioned by Paul, and talked about during and after the life of Christ.

Here's another question: For as much as "Christianity" believes in closed scripture, what then gives them the right of authority to interpret scripture? Clearly (as we see here) there are drastically different interpretations. While I believe my reasoning very solid (and persuasive) its not bullet proof. As such, I do concede you the right to interpret it differently. But what gives you the knowledge to so...the Catholic councils?

PacMan

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