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ANNVER - John the baptist's father worked in the temple performing ordinances but with only the aaronic priesthood?(priest) how was that so?

JOEL - The Melchizedek Priesthood had been taken from Israel with Moses. According to Joseph Fielding Smith:

"But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his [God's] presence: therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued," (Doctrines of Salvation)

With the Melchizedek priesthood now not available to the general public, authority to perform temple rites had to come from Aaronic priesthood holders; but not by those who obtained it just by bestowal of that priesthood through ordination; they had to be a literal decendant of Aaron, as was Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, who because of his decendancy through Aaron was allowed to perform priestly duties in the temple.

John A. Witdsoe said:
"The Aaronic Priesthood is named after Aaron, who was given to Moses as his mouthpiece, to act under his direction in the carrying out of God's purposes respecting Israel. For this reason it is sometimes called the Lesser Priesthood; but though "lesser" it is neither small nor insignificant. While Israel journeyed in the wilderness, Aaron and his sons were called by prophecy and set apart for the duties of the Priest's office. At a later period the Lord chose the tribe of Levi to assist Aaron in the priestly functions, the special duties of the Levites being to keep the instruments and attend to the service of the tabernacle." (Priesthood and Church Government)

God told Moses in the Bible:
"And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Ex. 28:1.)

Being a literal decendant of Aaron and having this call by prophecy and setting apart as Priest's, gave them the authority and duty to perform certain "outward ordinances" of the temple without the Melchizedek priesthood. Although every dispensation had a prophet who held the Melchizedek priesthood, the availability of that higher priesthood was not given to others until the coming of Christ the first time and then at the restoration of the Gospel with Joseph Smith.

Apparently the decendents of Aaron will again perform ordinances in temples yet to be built. President Joseph Fielding Smith also said:
"It should be remembered that the great temple, which is yet to be built in the City Zion, will not be one edifice, but twelve. Some of these temples will be for the lesser priesthood. When these temples are built, it is very likely that provision will be made for some ceremonies and ordinances which may be performed by the Aaronic Priesthood and a place provided where the sons of Levi may offer their offering in righteousness (D&C 128:24). This will have to be the case because all things are to be restored. There were ordinances performed in ancient Israel in the tabernacle when in the wilderness, and after it was established at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, and later in the temple built by Solomon. The Lord has informed us that this was the case and has said that in those edifices ordinances for the people were performed." (Doctrines of Salvation)

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