Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and 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.
We’re looking at D&C 68 on our Dews From Heaven blog so I’m thinking more about storehouses, bishops, and high priests. I don’t have many answers or insights yet. In fact, I’m just beginning to ask questions!
My initial question is: What is the connection between a bishop/agent and high priest like Melchizedek, who had the great powers of Enoch, and who taught the people, and who was appointed keeper of the storehouse? Melchizedek’s story (at least in JST Genesis 14) seems to connect his work of preaching and his work of receiving tithes, in that they are both necessary for a transformation of a city into a Zion. Why separate them in the latter-days?
I think the answer might come from the time of Moses.
The office of Bishop belongs to the Aaronic priesthood, and specifically to a literal descendant of Aaron. The Aaronic priesthood was given (or at least, was left) when the people refused the greater opportunities that Moses begged them to received. He worked diligently that his people might repent and behold God; in other words (perhaps): he wanted them to become Zion and be translated to God’s home. They refused that, but God left agents over the temple (the Levites). Is that a fair way to say it? The Aaronic priesthood takes care of the temple, but as I think about that, I remember how they received the sacrifices and tithing of the people in order to take care of the temple and themselves and keep a storehouse.
So perhaps the two roles I see Melchizedek having (teacher and storehouse) were divided into to priesthoods only at the time of Moses. And perhaps this was because the people needed to get the one down before they could get the other down (they needed to be able to tithe temporally before they could do and receive more?
I like the reference in Malachi today: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and 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.”
It’s a sort of “lose your life to find it” logic. If you bring all the tithes to the storehouse, blessings will come. If I understand the D&C right, “all” tithes means anything that you have that is more than what you need. Bring everything you don’t need to the storehouse, and you will be blessed. Your lands will grow food well, there will be enough rain, etc. Give up what you don’t need first, then everything you need and more will be given to you.
Ok so back to Aaronic priesthood. Why is this an Aaronic duty (to receive and manage tithes)? At first I felt like Melchizedek was being replaced by a Bishop. But now I see how Melchizedek’s work could be divided into do kinds of work, and perhaps that’s just what happened with Moses and Aaron. How merciful that God didn’t just take the priesthood and covenant (or knowledge of the covenant, rather) away from the people altogether!
So what does it mean to say we have a Melchizedek priesthood? If I look at Melchizedek as someone who built a city, and we give the temporal work to the Bishop, then I guess what is left is teaching in such a way that people are ready to behold the face of God (see D&C 84). Is that fair? But Aaronic priesthood holders teach too. And women, of course. So it isn’t just that they teach. It could be that they have the responsibility to teach, such that if they do not, they are held accountable. It could be that they can perform the ordinances associated with beholding God. It could be… what? What else?