Mormonism, a.k.a. LDS
● Heb 5:9-11 . . He became, to all those who obey him, the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Though the author of the letter to Hebrews was no doubt duty-bound and inspired by God to write it, I can sense reluctance in his tone-- not because his audience lacked enough spiritual acumen to keep up. No, nothing like that. The Greek word for "dull" primarily means sluggish, i.e. lazy, slow, and/or indifferent, i.e. a lack of interest. In other words, he knew that the recipients of his letter would likely be bored to tears by his discussion of Jesus Christ's association with the high priest order of Melchizedek, and would resist making an honest effort to understand it.
The author's comment is expected in a letter primarily intended for Jews; for example:
● Matt 13:14-15 . . And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith: "By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive; for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed."
Many of Mormonism's men of a certain age and experience are priests in the Church's order of Melchizedek.
According to the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews, the Melchizedek priesthood is a high-priest priesthood. As such it is very exclusive; viz: it's supposed to be occupied by only one man at a time; viz: a Melchizedek priest is solo, i.e. he has no fellows.
Also: the position of a high priest is for life, i.e. he's not replaced until he dies, which should never happen to a Melchizedek priest because according to the New Testament letter to Hebrews, they're supposed to be immortal.
According to some people, it's reasonable to assume that Christ's followers are Melchizedek priests too because of their priesthood's association with Jesus (1Pet 2:9). But as already pointed out, Jesus is a high priest; as was the original Melchizedek (Heb 5:10]. There can be only one of those at a time rather than a guild of many high priests.
The same pattern is employed in Aaron's priesthood. He too was a high priest but the priests under him were not. They had no special title, viz: they were just simply Levites.
FAQ: Does Mormonism's order of Melchizedek have to be biblical? Why can't a church employ the name for their proprietary order of priests; sort of like the Mason-sponsored community of Job's Daughters International?
A: Because it's fraud. Maybe Mormonism's brand of morality doesn't see it that way; but my brand sure does. Christ's high-priest priesthood is not a trifling matter; it is crucial to humanity's association with God and when Mormon men take that title to themselves, they are nothing less than identity thieves and usurping someone else's authority as their own. I can't stop them of course, but neither can I condone their conduct.
The qualifications for Melchizedek high priesthood as per specifications in the letter to Hebrews are as follows:
1) The candidate has to be human
2) There can be no record of the candidate's birth
3) The candidate can have no father and no mother
4) The candidate can have no genealogy
5) The candidate must be an eternal being, i.e. there has never been a time when he didn't exist, viz: he always was, he always is, and he always will be.
This is problematic because the current Melchizedek high priest is Jesus Christ; a Jewish man whose birth is recorded, his mother is known, and he has a genealogy that can be traced.
There's no doubt in my own mind that only a man who is both human and divine can satisfy all five of those requirements; the letter to Hebrews bears that out.
● Heb 3:3-4 . .For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
Even the Jehovah's Witnesses admit to Christ as a creator and a divine being though they won't go so far as Heb 3:3-4 to grant that he's God. Here's how they translate a portion of John 1:1-14
"In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence."
Well, "a god" is better than no god at all, so at least they got that part right.
This may seem like a trivial issue but according to the New Testament's letter to Hebrews; in order for someone to be an effective mediator between God and Man, he has to be both human and divine. I seriously doubt that there's even one sensible Mormon man anywhere on Earth who would dare lay claim to being both human and divine. Those are some really big shoes to fill.
BTW: If Mormons challenge you to produce textual evidence to substantiate your knowledge of the Bible's two high priesthoods: don't do it. Instead tell them that if they want textual evidence then they will just have to study the letter to Hebrews themselves because you're not telling.
The reason I recommend that stance is because Mormon men are supposed to be well-versed so that you shouldn't have to produce textual evidence. Don't let them talk you out of this by citing rules of academic discussion and so forth. You're neither a salesman nor a politician, i.e. you don't have to win; all you have to do is know what you're talking about; and as for him that's biblically ignorant; let him be ignorant still.
If the Mormons with whom you are conversing attempt to divert you, or refute you with "revelation" or in any way confuse the issue and/or snow you with clever LDS sophistry; it's time to come to a full stop-- politely thank them for their time, and bid them have a nice day.
● Acts 17:10-11 . . And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.
Follow the Berean Jews' example and do your own research. Don't expect others to do it for you when you can do it yourself; that's a churlish approach to Bible study.
The first Melchizedek high priest presided on Earth in the book of Genesis. That's changed. According to the New Testament's letter to Hebrews, the Melchizedek high priest now presides in Heaven.
In point of fact, were Jesus on Earth he would not be a high priest at all because the Earth is Aaron's jurisdiction; and to replace Aaron, Jesus would have to descend from him because Aaron's high priesthood is obtained by inheritance; whereas Melchizedek's is obtained by appointment.
Another fact worth knowing is that high priests in Aaron's order have to be Jews, while the racial distinction of high priests in Melchizedek's order doesn't matter because the original Melchizedek's race is unknown. But for sure he wasn't a Jew because none existed in Abraham's day.
FAQ: Doesn't the 110th Psalm imply that David was a priest after the order of Melchizedek?
A: According to Matt 22:41-45, that Psalm speaks specifically of David's son Christ rather than David himself; and within the Psalm, David refers to Christ as his superior, which is very interesting because David is the paterfamilias of the Davidic dynasty. As such, he outranks them all; yet in Psalm 110 there's one among his royal posterity whom even David himself must worship.
● Phil 2:9-11 . .God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (cf. Dan 7:13-14)
FAQ: If what you are deriving from the letter Hebrews is true, then wouldn't a Melchizedek priest not have a father or a mother?
FAQ: Wouldn't that would rule out Christ?
A: It would.
The trick to this is that Christ is not only human, but also divine (John 1:1-14, Hebrews 3:3-5). Were he only human, Christ would not qualify for Melchizedek high priesthood as per the specifications in the letter to Hebrews.
According to Deut 5:2-4, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:13, and Gal 3:17, the covenant that God instituted with Moses' people-- per Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy --doesn't have ex post facto jurisdiction, i.e. it isn't retroactive.
That was a tremendous advantage for Abraham because he lived something like 400 years before that covenant; viz: Abraham was exempt from the covenant's rules, laws, and regulations; which means that he was at liberty to break all ten of the Ten Commandments without fear of incurring the covenant's curse prescribed by Deut 27:26, which reads:
"Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out."
It was an advantage for Melchizedek too because the covenant designated Aaron and his male posterity for the high priesthood; which of course would've disqualified Melchizedek seeing as how he wasn't one of Aaron's descendants.
Aaron's high priesthood can be legitimately called an "order" because a succession of his male posterity inherited the office as each died in turn; whereas technically Melchizedek's high priesthood isn't an order because his priesthood isn't transferred via inheritance; which is no doubt why his genealogy isn't recorded in the Bible.
Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that the constituents of Aaron's high priesthood are always in grave danger of the curse prescribed by Deut 27:26, whereas the constituents of Melchizedek's high priesthood aren't. So then, were people to be given an option between those two high priesthoods to represent them before God, obviously the sensible choice would be Melchizedek's because his offers the greatest degree of safety; and also the best access to God seeing as how Jesus Christ is seated at God's right hand, practically rubbing shoulders with Him. (Acts 2:33, Eph 1:20, Heb 8:1, Rev 3:21)
Jesus Christ today is a high priest patterned after a high priest in the Old Testament named Melchizedek (Ps 110:1-4, Heb 5:1-7:28). In order for him to be effective, one of the qualifications of a high priest is that they have to be able to relate to their constituents. So; in order for Jesus to satisfy that requirement, he had to be a genuine h.sapiens; which entails having a genuine h.sapiens' body.
● Heb 2:13-18 . . Here am I, and the children God has given me.
. . . Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
. . . For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Christ lived on this earth for about 30 years prior to his public appearances; and during those years, he did not lead a sheltered life; in point of fact, he underwent a sort of boot camp.
● Heb 5:7-9 . . During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
The Greek word translate "source" refers to that which is causative, i.e. a motive force that gets the ball rolling and makes thing happen, so to speak.
It's a piece of cake for the Word of John 1:1 to comply with God's wishes because the Word himself is God too. But when the Word took on the nature of a human being; that's when he found out just how difficult it is for flesh and blood to comply with God's wishes; hence the prayers and loud cries and tears. But his experiences as a human being forged him into the kind of high priest that God deems suitable to hold the office.
● Heb 2:10 . . For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
● Heb 4:15-16 . . We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areó yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
The Greek words for "confidence" indicate that when speaking to Christ, it's okay to just be yourself; viz: to be out-spoken, i.e. frank and candid: which has been made possible by a priesthood in Heaven chaired by a fellow man who lived down here on the Earth as an h.sapiens long enough to know what it's like to be one.
The primary purpose of a high priest is to reconcile God and Man, i.e. a mediator. No ordinary high priest can do that because he himself is likely in need of reconciliation.
● Heb 5:1-3 . . Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
The representation available to people via an ordinary man is limited. Take for example Aaron; the Jews' high priest. Though he was the holiest man in the whole land, he was permitted to approach the presence of God only one day out of the entire year, and even then for a limited amount of time. He was not allowed to remain in the presence of God and spend some time discussing the personal needs and concerns of each and every one of his constituents on an individual basis, and that's because Aaron was just as much a sinner as they; in point of fact maybe even more so.
At times the high priest's constituents could plead ignorance as an excuse for their sins, but not him. Aaron was supposed to know God's feelings about things well enough to teach them (Mal 2:7) so at least some of Aaron's disobedience was in the full knowledge that it was wrong. Those kinds of sins are called "willful" and according to Num 15:30-31 willful sins are unpardonable and offenders are supposed to be banned from Temple services.
The ideal mediator is someone that's 100% innocent in thought, word, and deed because then they can remain in the presence of God permanently and spend as much time as necessary discussing their constituents' needs and concerns.
● Heb 7:26-28 . . Such a high priest meets our need-- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
● Heb 10:11-12 . . Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
The Kingdom Of The Cults
by Walter Martin