Bible References About
The Priesthood that Jesus Christ Established
The LDS church believes in the same priesthood organization that existed in the primitive church. This means that the church uses the same priesthood offices and authority that Christ organized during His Earthly ministry. Priesthood authority is very important to the church. It was the cornerstone of the Restoration.
The LDS Church is comprised of two Priesthoods: the Melchizedek, the greater priesthood; and the Aaronic, the lesser priesthood.
The offices of the Aaronic Priesthood are: Deacon, Teacher, and Priest.
The offices of the Melchizedek Priesthood are: Elders, High Priest, Seventy, and Apostle.
Bishop and Patriarch is a specific calling that falls under the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Each priesthood office has specific duties and authority, or keys, that are delegated to it.
Here are the bible references that teach about these priesthood callings and reaffirm that property authority is necessary to exercise them. These references are also further proof that Christ did, indeed, organize His Church.
Jesus Ordained a Priesthood
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."
Notice that Jesus both called and then ordained them with power. He didn't just tell them to go drop his name here and there. He bestowed His authority and power on them. No man can just assume this authority.
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Jesus knew the importance and necessity of priesthood authority, this is why He bestows it to Peter and the apostles, in this verse. If there were no need for the leaders of the church to be priesthood holders, then Christ would not have given it to them. Everything Christ does has a specific purpose, nothing is done in vain.
"And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away."
This verse teaches the proper way the priesthood is conferred, by the laying on of hands by one who already has it. Someone can't give what they don't have. It's like me offering someone one million dollars. I can tell them I've given it to them all day long, but in the end, they still don't have it because I don't have it to give. For context sake, the subjects of this verse already have the priesthood, they are just being set apart by a priesthood holder for missionary service. But if setting apart requires laying on hands, logically conferring the priesthood would too.
"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
This passage teaches that trying to exercise the priesthood by simply invoking the name of Jesus isn't enough. You must have proper authority to act in His name.
1 Corinthians 12:28
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
Paul is teaching that Jesus organized and ordained a governing priesthood body.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
This verse teaches that Christ did in fact organize and ordain priesthood leaders, and it explains why the priesthood is necessary. For perfecting the saints, (notice the word "saints" is used to describe regular members of the church, not special ones), the work of the ministry, and for edifying the church. All priesthood functions in the LDS Church fall under these criteria.
"And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."
This verse explains that people have to be called and ordained like Aaron was.
"But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
In this verse, Paul is saying that the priesthood of Christ is unchangeable and never ends. This means that the authority it wields will be the same throughout all time, and those whom it is given to will wield it forever.
Melchizedek Priesthood is required
"As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."
In this verse men are being called and ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood. This contradicts the belief some have that Jesus was the only one who held it.
Hebrews 7:11-12, 17
"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? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
This whole chapter actually deals with the importance of the Melchizedek Priesthood. In these particular verses, Paul is explaining that the Melchizedek priesthood is mandatory for the church because the Levitical, or Aaronic Priesthood, was no longer enough because we were now under a higher law. It also teaches that Jesus held the Melchizedek Priesthood.
"Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedek."
This verse refers to callings in the priesthood office of High Priest, in the Melchizedek priesthood. This calling was an established and proper priesthood office in the early church.
"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
This verse shows us the nature of the priesthood held by the Savior, himself. This verse teaches, (along with Hebrews 5:5) that Jesus was a High Priest, and held the Melchizedek priesthood.
The Church Must Have Bishops
"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers."
These verses teach us that the bishop is a very important role in the church. There is a lot required of them, and they are NOT to be paid.
"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:"
This verse shows bishops and those who have been ordained to the priesthood office of deacon, have already been established in Philippi. Paul is addressing them in this verse.
1 Timothy 3:1-3
"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;"
This whole chapter deals with the responsibilities of the office of Bishop. Once again the scriptures stress that the bishop must not be a paid office. They shouldn't be greedy for filthy lucre. This is also another verse that demonstrates the early churches practice of a lay priesthood.
"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:"
Paul is instructing Titus to ordain people to the priesthood office of elder in every city. This verse alludes to the fact that the church practiced a lay ministry, ordaining numerous people to priesthood offices. These were common men who were ordained were from the main body of the church, not just those who have completed theological schools, or have applied for the job. This verse also teaches us that only someone who has already been ordained to the priesthood can ordain another. Paul says that this is the reason he left Titus there in Crete, so he can ordain others. This is logical, because how can someone give something that they don't possess themselves.
"And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."
This verse also teaches that there must be elders in every congregation, and that they must be ordained.