The Aaronic priesthood is the priesthood over temporal matters. This means that it has power over anything that man has instituted: money, schools, governments, food systems, etc. It is also called the Levitical Priesthood because the Levites were the only ones that were able to hold it in Old Testament times. It is named after Aaron, the brother of Moses. In May of 1829, it was restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery through John the Baptist who appeared to them as an angel on the banks of the Susquehanna River. The angel said:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. (JS-H 1:69)

Note that it says “until.” Another scripture talks about having the priesthood “until.”

the priesthood …must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. (D&C 86:10-11)

According to these scriptures, the Aaronic priesthood will be replaced by a higher priesthood when the “sons of Levi do offer again an offering in righteousness.” What is this higher priesthood? There is scriptural evidence that contradicts that it is the Melchizedek priesthood. What other priesthood is there?

On April 3, 1836, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple, fulfilling the prophecy in Malachi in the last verses of the Old Testament:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4)

When the Angel Moroni was instructing Joseph Smith in 1823, he similarly said:

Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. (D&C 2)

Here we see that the gift of Elijah was a priesthood, but at the time that  Elijah appeared, the priesthoods of Melchizedek and Aaron had already been restored. Therefore, the priesthood that was revealed by the hand of Elijah was not the Melchizedek or Aaronic, but a different priesthood that will link the generations on this temporal world. This is a family priesthood that links generations, a temporal priesthood pertaining to this earthly sphere. It is what will allow us to complete the restoration of all things prophesied by all the prophets since the world began (See D&C 86:10). The priesthood of Elijah is the one that will replace the Aaronic Priesthood. In Malachi 3 it speaks of the power of a messenger, who is Elijah:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me… who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness…And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness…For I am the Lord, I change not… Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts…Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it…

Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?… And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. (Malachi 3)

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Behold, I will send you Elijah… (Malachi 4)

The “Spirit of Elijah” allows us to connect to those who have died as if they are ourselves. This an amazing gift, but it is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, the frailties of the flesh, the addictions, the pains, the broken hearts, the unresolved emotions – all of the darkness that our forebearers weren’t able to give to Jesus Christ is brought to the present for us to manage. On the other hand, the healing of these energies is the key to connecting to the promises given to the saints of the latter-day. Of the verses at the end of Malachi, the Lord says:

…the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children…For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect…that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. (D&C 128:18)

Although we have this responsibility, connecting in this way to those who have gone before will bring the power necessary to do temporal miracles. The Lord continues in verse 19 with:

Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them! (D&C 128:19)

This is the Spirit of Elijah. We are “saviors on Mount Zion” for them, but they become for us the link to the true Earth and her power. This is the higher temporal priesthood.

And saviours shall come up on mount Zion…and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)

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