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Aaron: Brother of Moses

by Edward J. Brandt

Aaron was a son of Amram and Jochebed of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:20), and a brother of Moses and Miriam (Ex. 4:14; 15:20). God directed him to meet his brother at the "mount of God" (Ex. 4:27-28), and appointed him spokesman for Moses (Ex. 4:14-16; 7:1-2; 2 Ne. 3:17). The Aaronic Priesthood, or lesser priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, takes its name from Aaron.

While the Israelites were encamped at Sinai, Aaron, two of his sons, and seventy elders accompanied Moses to the holy mountain, where they saw God (Ex. 24:1, 9-11). Aaron and his sons were called by God through the prophet Moses to serve in the priests' office (Ex. 28:1), Aaron becoming the "high," or chief, priest over the Levitical order (Num. 3:32). His call from God through a prophet is used as an example for all who receive any priesthood appointment of God (Heb. 5:4). He held the Melchizedek Priesthood, but as chief priest of the lesser priesthood he served in a lesser position equivalent to that of the modern Presiding Bishop (John Taylor, Items on the Priesthood, p. 5, Salt Lake City, 1881). Direct descendants of the firstborn son of Aaron have a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood (i.e., bishop; D&C 68:15-18; 107:16-17), but such an appointment requires a call from the First Presidency of the Church (D&C 68:20).

Aaron was not privileged to enter the land of promise (Num. 20:7-13). Malachi prophesied that, in the latter days, the sons of Levi—which would include Aaron's descendants—would again offer an offering in righteousness (Mal. 3:1-3; cf D&C 13:1). Moreover, all who receive both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods and magnify their callings through sacrifice and righteous lives are spoken of as the sons of Moses and of Aaron (D&C 84:18, 27, 30-32, 34).


Palmer, Lee A. Aaronic Priesthood Through the Centuries. Salt Lake City, 1964.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Aaron, Brother of Moses

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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