The Priesthood in the New Testament

One of the central teachings of the New Testament is that the concept of Old Testament priesthood was completely done away with through the Atonement of Christ. No longer, the New Testament teaches, are men to come to God through other men, but they are to come boldly to God through a doorway opened into heaven by the atonement of Jesus Christ. (Heb. 4.16) The primary goal of Christ's death was to restore men and women to a personal relationship with God. "There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (I Tim. 2.5)

The entire Book of Hebrews is dedicated to proving that Jesus Christ ended the old system of priesthood. What did priests do? According to the writer of Hebrews they made intercession for forgiveness of sins through the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats. Well, the writer continues, Jesus shed his own blood and there is now no longer need for priests to continue with those sacrifices.

In the Old System (or Old Covenant) God's presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and priests approached the Ark of the Covenant once a year with a blood offering on the Day of Atonement so that men could be cleansed from sin. But in the New Covenant, "Jesus ever lives to make intercession" (Heb. 7.25). (Unlike, we are told, the Old Testament priests who died–Jesus never dies and He never stops making intercession.) Priests are no longer necessary to do blood offerings, or to perform rituals in the temple. These things, were only a shadow of the reality of the Priesthood of Christ.

When Jesus was crucified, the veil which hid the Ark of the Covenant was instantaneously torn from top to bottom, signifying the work of the priests was at an end and men had direct access to God. (See Matthew 27: 51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45) Unbelievably, the Old Testament priests sewed the veil back together and continued with their sacrifices!

Mormonism, by reinstating the concept of priesthood, attempts to take us back to the Old System, the very system God did away with.