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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

245: ILLEGITIMATE PRIESTHOOD


A descriptive banner from the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit currently on display at the Leonardo in Salt Lake City. 

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Salt Lake City is one of only six cities in the United States to display a collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls. On display is one of the largest collections of the priceless 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls and can be seen at the Leonardo Museum through April 27, 2014.

 Discovered by a shepherd in the Qumran caves in 1947, the Scrolls contain the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible. Qumran, was home to a community of a religious group called the Essenes, who devoted much of their time to writing and preserving sacred texts. The Essenes refer largely to those people who left Jerusalem after the destruction of Solomon's Temple and  went into the desert to continue to practice the ancient temple religion.

Part of the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit on display is the War Scroll popularly known as "The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness," is one of the seven original scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. The scroll sheds light on the New Testament Book of Revelation, in which a final war is described between earthly and heavenly forces.

Above is a photo of one of the banners above the War Scroll display. I found the information contained on the banner to be really interesting. It reads:
 
"The authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls were intimately familiar with Jerusalem. It is likely that some of them lived in the city at one time. Many scrolls mention both the contemporary city and messianic visions of it in a perfect future age. For these writers, the city was polluted and profane. It was  place from which they had spiritually and physically withdrawn because of its religious corruption, "the city in which the evil priest has undertaken abominable actions so as to render the Temple impure." 

The Temple was the seat of an illegitimate priesthood, which would be delivered into the hands of the Kittim, probably the Romans. At the same time, the scrolls speak of Jerusalem's future restoration, it would again be worthy of the divine presence at the end of days, when God would build a perfect Temple there."

I think this is the first place I have read the words " illegitimate priesthood." The word illegitimate means not authorized or in accordance with accepted principles or standard. It is not recognized as valid or sanctioned.  A question to think about is... what makes the Priesthood illegitimate?  Some answers can be found in D&C 121.