Saturday, May 9, 2009

No Man Taketh This Honour

In commenting on Looney's blog, I posted the following scripture:

"And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. " Hebrews 5:4

I wanted to write a little further about what this scripture means. I think it is helpful to back up and read more of the chapter.

1 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

In this chapter, Paul is talking about how men are called to serve, and ordained to the Priesthood. He taught that men must be called of God as was Aaron, but how was Aaron called? For an answer to this question, we can go back to the Old Testament. In Exodus 28:1 we read what the Lord said to Moses,

"And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons."

Moses was the mouthpiece of the Lord at that time. Through Moses, the children of Israel were led out of Egypt. Another word for a "mouthpiece of the Lord is "prophet". Moses had received the Priesthood under the hands of his father in law Jethro. He had the authority to give the Priesthood to whomever God chose. And in this case, God chose Aaron and his sons, and his posterity after him.

From these scriptures we learn that there are some necessary things in order for a man to receive the Priesthood, and serve as a Priesthood leader. First, he must be called of God by someone who has the Priesthood authority to pass on to him. Second, Aaron did not decide for himself that he should have this position. There is no jockeying for position in the church of God. God calls whom he will. Elder N. Eldon Tanner said,

"The authority of the priesthood cannot be assumed or arrogated to oneself, but must be delegated by God through one having authority. One of the reasons for confusion in the churches today is that man has assumed this authority without proper delegation from the Lord. A man would have no more right to arrogate this priesthood authority unto himself than would one citizen or another decide to be a representative of the king or the parliament or the president of the United States. In fact, if one began to sign papers as their representative, without having been properly appointed, he would be accused of forgery and handled by the law. ...Only by the authority of the priesthood can the ordinances of the gospel be received or administered. Without it one cannot baptize, confirm, ordain, officiate, or hold any presiding office in the Church" N. Eldon Tanner, “The Priesthood of God,” Ensign, Jun 1973, 3


In The Doghouse said...

Great post about authority. I know that by studying the OT we can really come to understand better the importance of authority.

Looney said...

Delirious, just wondering what you think of Matthew 23 and the seven woes:

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

I have seen many similar patterns in the modern era, but then again, I have seen some who truly love the Lord and serve from their heart.

Delirious said...

I think these are good teachings for anyone who is to serve in the Priesthood. The Pharisees had lost the meaning of the law, and did not understand that it pointed to Christ. They loved to serve to be seen of men. The Book of Mormon teaches that we need to beware of these "priestcrafts". It teaches, "29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion." 2 Nephi 26:29

As you are well aware, the media has brought many "priestcrafts" to our attention. They are those who preach to gain money, and glory of the world. These are the very things that the Lord councils against. One of my favorite scriptures in Matthew 23 is this one, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness." It is so important that someone who represents the Lord be as clean inside as they appear to be on the outside. A Priesthood holder must be worthy of the office. In latter day scripture we read what the Lord says about the obtaining of the priesthoods, "That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man." Doctrine and Covenants 121:37 The Priesthood is a power that is conditional upon the holder's righteousness.

I agree with you, there are many in the world who are pure in heart, whose only desire is to love the Lord, and serve Him. I actually think of you as this type of person. But we do need to keep ourselves in check, and to beware of those whose motives are less than righteous.