Selected Teachings on
Ancient Israel Rejected the Chance
to Become a Kingdom of Priests


Brigham Young (President)

If they had been sanctified and holy, the children of Israel would not have traveled one year with Moses before they would have received their endowments and the Melchizedek Priesthood. But they could not receive them, and never did. Moses left them, and they did not receive the fullness of that Priesthood.... The Lord told Moses that he would show himself to the people; but they begged Moses to plead with the Lord not to do so. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6:100; Address delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, by Pres. Brigham Young; November 29, 1857)

George Q. Cannon (First Presidency)

God designed when He led Israel out of Egypt to make of that people a royal Priesthood—a kingdom of Kings and Priests. He designed to lead them forward under the guidance of the everlasting Priesthood, the Priesthood after the holy order of the Son of God—to lead them forward until they should behold the face of their God and see Him for themselves. But they would not. They hardened their hearts. They could not endure His presence. Moses, despite all the power which God gave him, and the revelations which He poured out upon him—Moses could not succeed in leading that people forward. They were a stiffnecked race; they were a rebellious race; they were an idolatrous race; they were hard in their hearts; and they would not have God to be their King. They wanted a lower order of affairs; they wanted lower laws, laws that were more in accordance with their fallen and carnal natures. Therefore according to those revelations which God has given unto us, He took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also, and the lesser Priesthood continued, the Priesthood of Aaron, a Priesthood that held the keys of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel, the gospel of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. He left that with them, and the law of carnal commandments which the Lord in His wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John. They were under this law during this long period....

Therefore the Lord in His wrath—for his anger was kindled against them, because of their hardness of heart, because of their rebellion—swore that they should not enter into His rest, that they should not attain unto the fullness of the glory that He had in store for them—that is, He swore that they should not enter into this rest while in the wilderness; which rest is the fullness of His glory. So He took Moses from their midst, and took with him the Melchizedek Priesthood; and thus terminated, so far as Israel was concerned, the reign of the Melchizedek Priesthood among them. Occasionally Prophets were raised up who did hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, ordained by God for special purposes; but the people were under the dominion of the rule of the Aaronic Priesthood from that time forward until the days of John. (Journal of Discourses, 25:291-293)

J. Reuben Clark, Jr. (First Presidency)

The Lord tried to make a nation of priests out of Israel (Ex. 19:6), but Israel would not, and so the Lord had to organize as he did, giving the Priesthood to one tribe, withdrawing the Melchizedek Priesthood from their midst, and setting up the Priesthood of Aaron.

We have been more fortunate, more blessed, and I hope we may say, in truth, more obedient, than ancient Israel, we do have a nation, a people of priests, for all our male members over twelve years of age do bear the Priesthood. This Priesthood has been known by various names, but apparently the full name is the Holy Priesthood under or according to the Order of the Son of God (D&C 107:3). (Conference Report, April 1953, pp. 52-56)

Joseph Smith (President)

God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses [see D&C 84:19-25; JST Exodus 34:1-2]....

The law was given under Aaron for the purpose of pouring out judgments and destructions.... 

God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses....  

[T]he Priesthood of Aaron ... administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices....

Priests [are] made without an oath but the Priesthood of Melchisedek is by oath and covenant....  

[The] Levitical [priesthood] was never able to administer a blessing, but only to bind heavy burdens which neither they nor their fathers [were] able to bear.... 

I ask, was there any sealing power attending this priesthood? Oh no, [not] that would admit a man into the presence of God....  

The levitical preisthood was an appendage to the Melchesideck priesthood or the whole law of God when in full force or power in all its parts and bearings on the earth.... 

Malachi says that the sons of Levi shall in the last days offer an offering in rightousness.

Offerings, sacrifices, and carnal commandments, [were] added in consequence of transgression and they that did them should live by them. ("The Three Orders of the Priesthood," The Words of Joseph Smith, p.243-248; spelling and punctuation modernized; see also History of the Church, 5:554-555)