Hey guys, so in a past episode, I talked about what the priesthood is, and what the difference between the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood is. In this episode, I really just want to drive home just how important this issue is. If you are a Christian, you really need to decide where you stand when it comes to Priesthood Authority. You need to decide for yourself, is the Priesthood really a thing? If it’s not, then whatever. If it is, where is it? Now obviously I’m going to give you the Latter-day Saint perspective on this issue. I admit up front that I am totally biased, so don’t just take my word for it—study this out for yourself. Because in my mind the question of priesthood authority is like… one of the top 3 most important issues you need to take a stand on before going all-in with whichever faith you choose. So let’s do this.
So just to recap what the priesthood is, bear with me through a little metaphor: You remember Joseph of Egypt. His 11 brothers sell him to some Ishmeelites, there’s lots of singing and dancing, he ends up interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, and then we get this in Genesis 41:
“And Pharoah said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharoah took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand…”
Anciently, that was a big deal. If you wore the King’s signet ring, you had the authority to act in the name of the King. You are part of the King’s government. If you didn’t have that ring and you tried to make some declaration in the name of the King, that act is not binding, because you had absolutely no authority to do that. The Priesthood of God is like that signet ring. And we see throughout the Bible Christ metaphorically giving these signet rings out to his disciples as he ordains them to the priesthood.
Luke 9 says, “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”
In Mark 3: “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” In Luke 10: “After these things the Lord appointed other 70 also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” Paul states his authority in 1 Timothy 2:7, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle…”
As Christianity starts to grow we see the apostles who hold Priesthood authority start to ordain others. In Titus 1:5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee…
In Acts 14: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord…”
This authority is real, and it is required for ordinances such as baptism to be binding. Baptizing someone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is making an official declaration in the name of the King. You have to have that signet ring for that to be binding. And in order to receive the Priesthood, you have to be physically ordained by someone who already holds that priesthood. It’s a chain of Priesthood authority leading all the way back to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings. You don’t receive it by just reading the Bible or through baptism. Having faith is powerful and can work miracles, but faith is not priesthood authority. You can’t just do stuff in the name of the King. It reminds me of what Christ said in Matthew 7:
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
God is a God of order, and the Priesthood is His government. We see it used throughout the Bible, both before and after Christ’s death. So, it existed. But where is it now? Well, this is where things get difficult and you have to figure out what you want to believe. There are generally three Christian trains of thought:
The Catholic Church claims that Priesthood authority has been passed down from Christ all the way down the line to the current Pope. I’m not going to dive into the history of papal succession and the problems I see with that claim because I love and respect our Catholic friends. You can decide for yourself if that claim is legitimate.
During the Reformation, Protestant churches challenged Catholicism’s claim to the priesthood. But since Protestantism broke off from Catholicism, they didn’t have a claim to a direct priesthood line either. And they didn’t like the culture in Medieval Catholicism where only the clergy held the priesthood and everyone else was just… a peasant. The result was what is now known as the “Priesthood of all believers,” which essentially is the belief that anyone with faith in Christ has the Priesthood. I talk about it a little more in this video. I don’t think scripture supports this belief, but it’s on the table for you to investigate for yourself.
The Latter-day Saint belief (and my belief) is that there was a general apostasy in the early Church after the death of Christ and his apostles. I talk more about that in this video. But in a nutshell, we believe that because of the wickedness of the people, priesthood authority was lost. But, we believe it was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith in the 1820s by John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John the Beloved.
Ultimately it is up to you to decide what to do with the ‘Priesthood’ question. Check out our website and the links in the description for more info on this topic, and have a great day!
- More info on the “priesthood of all believers:” https://bit.ly/2mADcMh
- Even more info on the “priesthood of all believers:” https://bit.ly/2PoNutn
- More on the priesthood in Bible times: https://bit.ly/2lK8VdV