Summary Lesson 25: Priesthood: “The Power of Godliness”
- Covenant, a Name of the Lord: The restored priesthoods are covenants between God and man. One of the many names that describe the Lord is “covenant.” He is the Messenger “. . . the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant . . . “ (Malachi 3:1)
- Attempts to Return to Original Organization: The Dead Sea Scrolls describe the Essenes organization including a Teacher of Righteousness and two assistants, also a council of twelve overseers. Their priestly system included two castes: One of a higher authority that they connected with an order of the Melech Zedek (righteous king), and another of lesser authority that they connected with the Levitical, or Order of Aaron. Some suggest that Jesus copied this, and that he may have studied with this sect. But, this is highly unlikely. Jesus did use the same system of government that was given to Moses, a system that partially continued to exist in other Jewish traditions up to and at the time of Jesus.
- Comparison of Old and New: “. . . he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve . . .” (Luke 6:13) “These . . . were numbered . . . being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers.” (Numbers 1:44) “Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.” (Joshua 3:12) “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also . . .” (Luke 10:1) “And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.” (Exodus 24:1)
- Leadership Not Always Determined by Age: Because of the experience of the aged, old age and wisdom are sometimes regarded as going together. Thus, throughout the Bible and Talmud, the word ‘elder’ means judge, leader, or sage. On the other hand, the Book of Job also stresses that there are young men who are wiser than old men. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Mormon “Judges in Israel:” The Latter-day Saints have an ecclesiastical legal system that includes “Judges in Israel.” They are the Branch Presidents, Bishops and the Stake Presidents. The modern Hebrew word for president is “nasi.” “In biblical use, nasi refers to a person of importance, a leader, a tribal ruler or a king. Under the Roman occupation of Erez Israel toward the end of the period of the second Temple, when there was no independent Jewish leadership, the term nasi was used by Jewish rulers to show their authority while not claiming kingship.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)