God takes away the Melchizedek Priesthood at Sinai

So, in this week’s Sunday School at the LDS (Mormon) church we learned that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the 10 Commandments, saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf, he not only broke the tablets, but also took away the Melchizedek Priesthood, leaving on the Aaronic or Lesser Priesthood. The following quote is from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible:

JST, Exodus 34:1–2.
Compare Exodus 34:1–2; D&C 84:21–26
1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.

2 But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me, in the top of the mount.

How would you argue against Brother Joseph’s claim from the Bible?

God Bless,


The JST doesnt match any other known ancient Hebrew or Greek manuscripts.

The only thing I really have to say is that there is absolutely nothing about the Melchizedek priesthood in that passage. The Joseph Smith Translation is not divinely inspired, but the exaltation of Joseph Smith’s own imagination.

In the real Bible, God forgave the Israelites and renewed his covenant with them because he is a God of mercy and steadfast love:

The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

I’m not sure if those passages you’re quoting are from Exodus or from the D&C, but if it’s from Exodus 34:1-2, that is, except for the first sentence (commanding Moses to carve out the replacement tablets for the Commandments), not what is actually written.

[quote=Douay-Rheims Bible] 1And after this he said: Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the former, and I will write upon them the words which were in the tables, which thou brokest. 2Be ready in the morning, that thou mayst forthwith go up into mount Sinai, and thou shalt stand with me upon the top of the mount.

[quote=NIV]34 The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.

[quote=Ignatius Bible/RSV] The Lord said to Moses: “Cut two tables of stone like the first; and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first table, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on top of the mountain.”

[quote= The Torah] Exodus Chapter 34 שְׁמוֹת
א וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, פְּסָל-לְךָ שְׁנֵי-לֻחֹת אֲבָנִים כָּרִאשֹׁנִים; וְכָתַבְתִּי, עַל-הַלֻּחֹת, אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עַל-הַלֻּחֹת הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֲשֶׁר שִׁבַּרְתָּ. 1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which thou didst break.
ב וֶהְיֵה נָכוֹן, לַבֹּקֶר; וְעָלִיתָ בַבֹּקֶר אֶל-הַר סִינַי, וְנִצַּבְתָּ לִי שָׁם עַל-רֹאשׁ הָהָר. 2 And be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to Me on the top of the mount.

Pat Payne:

The quote is from the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) version of the Bible. It apparently was given under divine inspiration by God to Joseph Smith.

I do not believe it was, but rather was Joseph smith’s imagination. But see how the gospel is perverted!!

Mormonism claims to ‘restore’ the Church of Christ which, according to Mormonism, would include the Melchizedek Priesthood. Now you are being told the Melchizedek Priesthood was never Christian.

I agree that the Melchizedek Priesthood was never Christian, so maybe this is one more step in Mormonism’s move toward Christianity.

The entire part that I bolded is not included in any other translation of the Bible, but was inserted by Joseph Smith into his translation, so it is his own addition not an actual claim from the Bible.

Hello PrinceHal.

So, I’m guessing your leaving your affiliation with Mormonism behind and striking out on your own? or are you moving in a Catholic direction?

I’m practically clueless when it comes to most things Mormon. Can you tell what a D&C version is? As far as I know a D&C is a type of abortion!!! Sorry that isn’t meant as a joke.


D&C = Doctrine & Covenants, which is part of the LDS canon. Most of the sections of the Doctrine & Covenants were written by Joseph Smith.

Hello Iepuras.

Thanks for the response. Now I know.


??? How can the second set of tables be both at the same time — that is, “the words” written as they were on the first set and not written as they were on the first set??? The statement contradicts itself.
Strange. What sort of interpretation do the LDS give to it.

Even the mormon church doesn’t endorse the use of the jst. According to them (the last I knew), the “translation” had not been completed.

They use the KJV.

Even with that being said, the scriptures you are quoting do not support your position.

Hi PrinceHal,
As a former RC ,I believe the Levitical priesthood ,seen in the loins of Abraham ,is seen subservient to “Melchizedek king of Salem” ,Genesis 14:18-20,where we see ,after being ‘blessed’ by Melchizedek,Abraham gives him ‘tithes of all’.

Now the lesser pays the greater one :the ‘tithes’ ,so here we see ,before even the Law was given( or before Sinia) the figurative( I would claim) Melchizadek,towering over the Levitical priesthood ( also a type I would say) which would much latter follow.

Mormons to be consistent then ,would for me, have to eliminate also Aaron’s role and high priesthood :because Melchizedek’s role or Priesthood not only predates the giving of the Law; but also transcends and extends past the OT itself,and as you know,continues into the NT.
Taken up by Christ Jesus himself: an unending priesthood .

Hebrews 7:21"(For those priests were made without an oath;but this with an oath by him that said unto him,The Lord sware and will not repent,Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizadec:)

Wait a minute. The LDS claim that Elijah had the sealing power and that when he was taken up to heaven, the sealing power was taken from Israel. The sealing power is associated with the LDS Melchizedek priesthood. How did Elijah get the sealing power if Elohim (or was it Jehovah?) took away the Melchizedek priesthood from Israel at Sinai? Makes no sense to me.

What also makes no sense is that Peter, James and John supposedly received the sealing power from Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration but they couldn’t bother to restore it to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery when they restored the Melchizedek priesthood.


That’s because God wanted (as manifest through the prophet Malichi) Elijah to be the one who restored the Melchizedek priesthood.

Latter-day Saints conclude that a major reason for Elijah’s translation was to enable him to return to the earth to confer keys of authority on the three chief apostles before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection (see Mount of Transfiguration). Since spirits cannot lay hands on mortal beings (D&C 129), and since Moses and Elijah could not return as resurrected beings because Jesus was the first to be resurrected (Packer, p. 109; cf. TPJS, p. 191), the need for the translation of Elijah and Moses is evident. On the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-9), Elijah specifically restored the priesthood keys of sealing, the power that binds and validates in the heavens all ordinances performed on the earth

Your history is off a bit.

The LDS church claims that Peter, James and John restored the Melchizedek priesthood to Joseph and Oliver. If they had no hands to lay on Joseph and Oliver, how could they have conferred the M. priesthood on them?

See here for the LDS church’s official history of Peter, James and John giving the M. priesthood to Joseph and Oliver.

They may claim that Elijah restored the sealing keys, but the LDS have consistently maintained that Peter, James and John (at least two of whom had no hands) restored the M. priesthood.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

Maybe someone else can respond, but he can’t.

  1. A bible that they use but insist that after the death of the last apostle the church was apostate and corrupt. So how can they use the KJV of the Bible?
  2. There is also a KJV Mormon Edition bible that they use too.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.