The other article that impressed me from the latest Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 16/2 (2007), was Donald W. Parry’s “Service and Temple in King Benjamin’s Speech.” Why did it impress me? Because it related subjects in the Book of Mormon to the temple, something that we haven’t seen a lot of yet, but is becoming more common in recent days. Some of our detractors like to criticize the fact that the Book of Mormon appears to have little content related to the temple, while on the other hand the Church emphasizes the importance of the temple and the ordinances that occur therein. It is articles such as this one in the JBMS that clearly show otherwise. The temple plays a central role in the gospel, even in the text of the Book of Mormon, but we must be willing to look for it, and search a little deeper. I can attest that once you have this focus, the temple appears everywhere in this book of scripture as it does in all scripture. [Read more…]
I used to ask myself that question, and I believe that many others probably still do. We believe that our current temple ordinances as revealed by the prophet Joseph Smith are as old as the human race, and were first revealed to Adam, the Ancient of Days ((TPJS, 237)). So why don’t we read more about temple practices similar to our own today in the Old Testament? It can get very confusing trying to compare our modern-day temple ordinances to those of Moses in the Tabernacle, or Solomon’s temple, or even Herod’s temple at the time of Christ. And our critics also love to point out the dissimilarity.
The ordinances just aren’t the same. We might initially think that it is because of the sacredness of the temple that it was kept from being written about much by the ancient patriarchs. But this is not the case. Many details are given about the Tabernacle of Moses in the first books of the Bible. While there are still some similitudes in the structure of the temples, the priestly clothing, and even in the rites, if the ordinances were the same or very similar as we have them today we would find many more allusions to them. But they just aren’t there.
So where are they? [Read more…]
One of the criticisms leveled at the LDS (Mormon) practice of temple worship is the seemingly dissimilar forms of the ordinances when compared with those found practiced by ancient Israelites in the Bible. It is true that the forms of the ordinances and sacrifices are different, but their meaning and symbolism remain the same. Let us consider why the forms are different.
From Adam down to Moses, the Melchizedek priesthood, with its accompanying higher ordinances, were practiced by the covenant people of the Lord. These were similar in form to LDS temple worship today. Unfortunately, since most of the accounting from the Old Testament takes place from the time period of Moses to Christ, from the Bible we become most familiar with the lower ordinances that the Israelites practiced in the Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, Zerubbabel’s Temple, and Herod’s Temple. This is because when Moses desired to give the higher law of the gospel and the ordinances of the Melchizedek priesthood to his people they rebelled against him and the Lord withdrew these higher ordinances and instituted the lower Aaronic priesthood (including the Levitical priesthood) with its accompanying outwardly observances and performances. The Israelites were not worthy to come into the presence of the Lord as a whole; only the high priest was allowed into the most holy place in the Tabernacle, and only on certain prescribed days. These practices continued for 1200-1300 years, and the Israelites’ writings during this time fill a large measure of the Bible.
When Christ came to earth, he restored the Melchizedek priesthood with its accompanying higher ordinances. The Mosaic law was also fulfilled in Christ at that time, and the type of sacrifices performed in temples were consequently changed. Blood sacrifices were no longer required. Intermediary animals were also now not required. All of the Lord’s covenant people were able to approach the Lord directly and offer a self-sacrifice of their time, talents, and everything that they had, including the only true sacrifice we can give God, our individual will. The form of the sacrifice changed, but the meaning and symbolism remained exactly the same.
Yesterday and today, the ordinances and sacrifices offered in the Lord’s temples have always pointed to Jesus Christ and his ultimate sacrifice and atonement. The following table helps compare the types and forms of sacrifice offered in the temple of the Lord since Adam to the present day: ((Most of this information was gathered from Andrew Skinner’s Temple Worship, 121-125, 181-189)) [Read more…]