Some of my greatest spiritual and doctrinal ah-ha’s have come from reading accusations against Joseph Smith written by anti-Mormons. For instance, Sandra Tanner has done so much excellent research that has saved me from spending countless hours at the church historical library and many of her criticisms have forced me to study issues resulting in a strengthened testimony. The same is true of countless other anti-Mormon sites.
The other day I was doing a search to verify some things about the priesthood that Aaron held and I came upon a website titled “Mission to Mormons”
On this website they quoted from Numbers 18:1-7
“The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your father’s family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood. Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the tent of the Testimony…”
Following that, they quoted from Leviticus 6:16
“The Lord also said to Moses, “This is the offering Aaron and his sons are to bring to the Lord on the day he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah (about 2 quarts or 2 liters) of fine flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening. Prepare it with oil on a griddle; bring it well mixed and present the grain offering broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. The son who is to succeed him as anointed priest shall prepare it. It is the Lord’s regular share and is to be burned completely. Every grain offering of a priest shall be burned completely; it must not be eaten”
After quoting from these two most revealing sections of scripture that were in fact providing veiled prophecies of the latter day offering by the “sons of Levi” and the “sons of moses and of Aaron” they pose the following accusative question with regard to Joseph Smith-
“When Joseph Smith received the Aaronic Priesthood, did he make this offering? Has anyone else since that time who has been ordained to the LDS priesthood made this offering? Note that the scriptures say, “The son who is to succeed him as anointed priest.” This priesthood is hereditary, from father to son and only the descendants of Aaron.”
Little did these good intentioned critics realize it, but they just provided additional proof that Joseph Smith is the end times servant that brings to pass the fulfillment of these prophecies. The passages they are bringing to light are similar to statutes in that they are typological and they outline prophetic enactments of future events relative to a servant that would bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood. In other words, he would intercede in behalf of apostate Israel when they sin against the Lord.
In response to the critics, YES, Joseph Smith received the priesthood of Aaron, and YES, he did in fact make an acceptable offering, just as Malachi prophesied that he would, and YES he would make reconciliation for iniquity by providing an intercessory atonement offering and participate in the anointing of the most holy [place] within the Sanctuary, just as the Book of Daniel prophetically notes.
Leave it up to a bunch of anti-Mormons to provide me with some of the ancient passages of scripture that provide context to the “acceptable offering from the sons of Levi” narrative in modern revelation. I needed that scriptural context for my book.