Melchizedek Priesthood required to Establish Zion
The Commandment to go to Jackson County and preach along the way
Having reviewed the testimony of what took place at the special conference at the Morley Farm and acknowledging that all hell broke loose as the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, both battled for dominion among the Saints, and played an integral part in the bestowal of the highest priesthood, let us now evaluate what the Lord God of Israel had in store for this quorum of High Priests and those called to assist them.
Joseph Smith said, “…the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders. It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.” (History of The Church, 1:175-177)
According to Joseph Smith, this event represented the necessity of greater priesthood power and authority based on a specific work that needed to be done. It was an urgent work that had a specific time period to it. Hence his characterization of a “race” set before the Saints.
One of the amazing things we see in modern revelation is that once God gives a command, he expects the Saints to move with speed. Apparently, when the Saints take things lightly and don’t hasten to do God’s will, Satan takes the advantage.
Joseph Smith once made the following observation;
“The moment we revolt from anything that comes from God, the Devil takes power.” (TPJS 214-5)
With the above statement as context, it is disturbing that there was so much doubt in the minds of several priesthood holders, including some that were given the highest priesthood, about the event that took place at the Morley Farm and the priesthood that was bestowed.
It is interesting to note that a specific and strict time frame was given, that had to be met, for the completion of both the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples.
The same is true with the establishment of Zion. As we have discussed in previous posts, God gave a specific date by which time Zion was to be redeemed in Jackson County.
We will eventually discuss that date again with the new context that we have of what happened at the Morley Farm.
But what was the specific work that the 23 High Priests and their associates were to accomplish, that required the same priesthood that Enoch and Melchizedek had?
Amazingly, section 52 which is given the day after the conference ended, and was specifically addressing the conference attendees begins by saying;
“Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of his spirit- saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant”
From the statements contained in this passage and others we are informed that the 23 High Priests were to travel to Missouri, the land that God is going to consecrate unto his people which are composed of two groups;
1- Literal descendants of Jacob who bloodline has not been mingled among the gentiles nations…. IE, “The remnant of Jacob” (Nephites and possibly other remnants of Israel from other areas of the vineyard)
2- Those literal descendants of Jacob whose bloodline has been mingled among the gentile nations…. IE, those who are “Heirs according to the Covenant” (Gentiles that enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood)
Amazingly, one day after the completion of the special conference at the Morley Farm, the Lord is giving notice of the next conference which is to be held in Missouri!
The Lord then directs 21 of the 23 newly ordained High Priests and some additional elders to make preparations to leave their homes in Ohio and other places, and travel to the land of Missouri where, if Joseph and Sidney are faithful, God is going to make “known unto them, the Land of [their ] inheritance” (Joseph Smith Sr and John Whitmore are among the “residue” that are to remain in Kirtland and not travel to Missouri.)
It is no coincidence that Joseph and Sidney are paired up as the two who God will work through to make known where Zion is to be. It is no coincidence that they jointly are warned about being “cut off” together.
Why would God put these two individuals on notice, in a public revelation, that they, as a priesthood pair might be cut off at some future time regarding transgression?
Admittedly, they did successfully accomplish their journey and the identification of where Zion is to be. Nevertheless, one must wonder why God brought up the warning.
Interestingly, when David Whitmer is ordained as the President of the Church in Zion, the priesthood blessing that he receives informs him that if Joseph is “cut off”, he or his counselor will become the President of the entire church. It is not surprising that at a later time in Kirtland, when apostasy breaks out and Joseph is accused of being a fallen prophet, several members of the Church would elect David to be the president of the Church.
Why would God, who has infinite foreknowledge of future events, make those kind of statements if there is not going to be a problem? Surely he knows that those statements will put people on edge and cause people to take a critical look at God’s Servants! Perhaps God wants the saints to take a critical look at what the servants are doing at some time in the future.
Such prophetic utterances cause people to look for transgression in Gods servants!
This is, in part, why people like Oliver and David became increasingly critical and outspoken towards Joseph and Sidney.
Is it possible that ancient prophecy speaks of a joint transgression that takes place between several anointed ones in the end times?
For those not familiar with the “atonement statute” and the “scapegoat doctrine”, wherein it was prophesied that several of God’s servants would be involved in an intercessory offering wherein they take upon themselves the sins of apostate Israel after latter day Israel rejects the fullness of the Gospel, in an effort to prevent them from being wiped of the face of the earth. (please click here to learn more.)
Just as the children of Israel were preserved by the intercessory atonement that Moses made, it was to happen again in the latter days by the one like Moses.
But getting back to section 52, How many times have you read section 52 without realizing that those who had just been called and chosen were the 23 High Priests that had just received the Melchizedek Priesthood at the Morley Farm?
Context is critical!
Read sections 52-65 now with the information you have just read about this amazing conference at the Morley Farm and it will become much more meaningful to you! This period of time during the early history of the Church will make much more sense to you.
Although I am going to provide a brief summary of some of the major things covered in these sections, I want to challenge you, to read and search them yourselves to find hidden treasures that are not discussed in this paper.
The reason I started this article with the inspired version that reveals that Moses was trying to institute celestial law and consecration, and the passages out of section 84 about how the Lord took the holy priesthood out of the midst of the children of Israel after they rejected the law, is because there is an incredible type and shadow pertaining to those ancient events and what took place between 1831 and 1836. (between 1831 and 1834 in particular)
Joseph Smith was trying to establish the higher law and create a Zion people just as Moses was trying to do.
Moses wanted so much to sanctify his people and for them to see the face of God. They didn’t want to see God face to face, they wanted to be told what to do by a prophet… or better yet, a ruler… a King.
Moses wanted to accomplish the same goal that Melchizedek and Enoch did. He wanted his people to become translated.
You will recall that Moses had a group of 72 Elders who had been called to help Moses and Aaron bear the burden of the children of Israel. In preparation for receiving the higher law, God allowed these elders to see him;
“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.” Exod 24
When Eldad and Medad started prophesying one day, Joshua the son of Nun beseeches Moses to forbid them and others from prophesying. Moses reply was;
“… would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”
Joseph Smith, like Moses, was trying to prepare the elders to see God and become prophets! He wanted everyone to become spirit filled and to prophesy! (after all, “the testimony of Jesus IS the spirit of prophesy”)
This is why the school of the Prophets was instituted AFTER the Highest Priesthood was conferred for the first time in this dispensation.
Again, I highly encourage you to read sections 52-65 which all related to the word of the Lord concerning the newly called high priests and their calling to travel to Missouri for the next conference, preaching the Gospel along the way.
I am going to provide a brief summary and chronology of what took place in section 52 at this time and in part 4 I will briefly cover the remaining sections.
For those of you who, like David Whitmer and others of the early brethren may have your doubts about this amazing event that took place at the Morley Farm, you need to realize that if it was a grand delusion, then all of the revelations we are about to review, would also be false. Now is the time to come to terms with this event because this event is what gave the first laborers of the last kingdom the greatest power, the power by which they shall go forth to establish Zion when they return.
It is interesting to note that 21 of the 23 newly ordained High Priests are mentioned by name in this revelation and personally assigned companions and commanded to travel to Missouri.
As we read these, and the spirit unfolds to you why God was doing what he was, these passages will bear witness to you of the truthfulness of what took place at the Morley Farm;
It was God, not man, that called and chose these High Priests. Some were called while others were chosen: “Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom HE hath called and chosen…” (52:1)
“I will” is the prophetic term God has given to pinpoint the time when the Servants will return to the vineyard and pull down the tower of the enemy and establish Zion. (See D&C 101:60 88:75):”
Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I WILL consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.” (52:2)
There is a possibility that Joseph and Sidney could be “cut off” at some point in time: “in as much as they are not faithful they shall be cut off…” (52:6)
Despite the fact that God has called these brethren to be High Priests and Prophets, he holds their feet to the fire commanding them to teach nothing more than what the prophets and apostles have written; “And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the comforter through the prayer of faith.” (52:9)
The Lord prophesies here that this particular work that these high priests are involved in, having to do with consecration and the establishment of Zion, will be cut short in righteousness and will proceed again at a later time with judgment! Both the suspension and the resumption of this amazing work appears to takes place at the Lords house. Indeed, it would be suspended at the appointed time in September of 1836 after the Saints fail to successfully consecrate in Jackson and Kirtland. Yet the Lord would appear in righteousness at his house to accept the house to be used for the resumption of the work. (see section 110) We also know that the work will resume at his house (see section 112) and we know that he will come with judgment to his house (see section 133) “For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory“. (52:11)
Lyman Wight, who was the first to be ordained as a high priest, is the third to be mentioned in this revelation, following Joseph and Sidney. Joseph of course is the one who performed the first ordination and was the mouthpiece through which God identified which elders were to be called to this high and holy priesthood. This is revealing a priesthood order pertaining to the redemption of Zion. Satan wants to sidetrack and destroy everyone he can, however, Lyman would be toward the top of the list. Notice the warning to Lyman, yet the prophecy about a successful outcome wherein Lyman will be faithful and made a ruler; “And let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff. And behold, he that is faithful shall be made ruler over many things.” (52:13
The Lord gives us a pattern in all things to help us avoid being deceived; (I will commentary on this below.) (52:14-19)
Two more are to be “ordained”. Since they were already elders, does this mean they were the 24th and 25th high priests to be ordained? If so, why weren’t they ordained a few days previous with the others? Perhaps they had increased in faith during those events while a few of the others decreased in faith as a result of the previous events! “And let my servants Newel Knight and Selah J. Griffin both be ordained, and also take their journey“. (5232)
It appears that the Lord does not want multiple sets of elders declaring the gospel to the same community or family. This could possibly indicate that it is not appropriate for someone to take years to think things over and go through multiple sets of missionaries; “…one man shall not build upon another’s foundation, neither journey in another’s track.“(52:33)
Idolatry and wickedness results when you don’t labor with your own hands! We learned that from the book of Mormon when a righteous king refused to live off of the efforts of others; “Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them; and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced.” (52:39-40)
The Lord commands the Saints to assemble to rejoice upon the land of inheritance. He reveals something they were about to find out the hard way. Those encumbering the promised land were the enemies of God and his people. Who, but an all knowing God could have known that? “And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance which is now the land of your enemies” (52:42)
Christ bears testimony of himself and promises that the faithful will be crowned and “lifted up” (“caught up- raptured); “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I will lift them up at the last day. Even so. Amen.” (52:44 see also 88:96-7)
In closing out part three of this series I want to make a few observations.
First, it is important to realize that a great work was beginning with these brethren. It was beginning not with their arrival in Missouri to have a conference and have the Lord identify where Zion would be established, it began with their ordinations and the spiritual phenomena and was followed by one of the most incredible missionary movements in the history of America. (of course we will find out later that this was laying the foundation for the beginning (or resumption, however you choose to view it) of the marvelous work that was to take place four generations later in the 3rd watch)
Secondly, in verses 14-19 the Lord gives us a “pattern” in all things by which the Saints could avoid being deceived.
Webster defines pattern thusly;
An original or model proposed for imitation; the archetype; an exemplar; that which is to be copied or imitated, either in things or in actions; as the pattern of a machine; a pattern of patience. Christ was the most perfect pattern of rectitude, patience and submission ever exhibited on earth.
Read, ponder and search the following passages;
“And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations—
“Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances. He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances. And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you. And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me. Wherefore, by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases under the whole heavens. ”
I believe the Lord is telling the Saints how to discern between priesthood leaders that are bringing forth good fruit (including true doctrines and inspired advise) vs priesthood leaders that bring forth bad fruit ( including false doctrine and uninspired advise) and are not in harmony with the truth.
Several Old Testament passages prophesy of shepherds that eventually, lead the latter day Saints into the wilderness of darkness and deception in the last days.
We also know from the New Testament that the time would come when the Saints would not be able to “endure sound doctrine” and would reject the truth. (2nd Tim 4:3) Because of this, God would send “strong delusion”. (2nd Thes 2:11)
In the six verses above, God clearly warns the Saints how to discern leaders that lead the people astray.
The first key is that a righteous leader will pray with a contrite spirit and will obey the admonition of the confirmation ordinance, to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
When speaking, a righteous leader’s language will be “meek”.
Language will edify
When speaking, this person will edify his listeners, with the words of Christ from the scriptures that came forth out of the restoration movement, not his own philosophies and doctrines that contradict previous revelations.
Tremble under God’s Power
This person will tremble under the power of God. He will be a spiritual being that will show physical effects while the spirit of the Lord distills upon his soul.
Fruits of Praise and Wisdom based on revelations
This person will bring forth the fruits of praising God instead of himself and his favorite minions (the “the Arm of Flesh”). His efforts will be in getting people to receive personal revelation rather than in following the arm of flesh.
He will not claim that his own beliefs and philosophies and doctrines that contradict previous revelations, represent the mind and will of God, but rather, his sermons will be based on the revelations brought forth through the Prophet Joseph Smith during the restoration movement. His sermons would be based on the Book of Mormon and the Book of Commandments (including additional revelations that followed as contained in the D&C)
During the first six years of the restoration movement Joseph Smith had a very distinct style of speaking.
He had a contrite spirit.
His language was meek.
He would tremble under the power of God.
His sermons were always edifying and were based on what had been revealed in the Book of Mormon and particularly in the revelations he had received.
He was always praising the Lord God of Israel!
He brought forth good fruit!
In those early years, he once said of his management style, that he taught the truth and respected the agency everyone had to make their own choices and govern themselves; “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” (quoted by John Taylor, Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851)
When asked why so many followed him, he replied; “It is because I possess the principle of love. All I can offer the world is a good heart and a good hand” (History of the Church, 5:498.)
He also said;
“I love to wait upon the Saints, and be a servant to all, hoping that I may be exalted in the due time of the Lord.” (History of the Church, 4:492. See also the following verse in the NT “Whosoever will be great among you, . . . shall be servant of all.“)
Joseph Smith spoke meekly, as a servant during those early years in Kirtland.
Some might contend that his style changed after the Kirtland apostasy during the later years in Far West and Nauvoo. If this is the case, I would suggest that it has to do with the “atonement statute” and “intercessory offering” doctrines spoken of in other articles.
Here is an example of what he sometimes sounded like during the Nauvoo period
“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409 (Sunday, May 26, 1844) http://www.boap.org/LDS/Parallel/1844/26May44.html
Does the tone sound a little different to you?
There are a multitute of statements I would love to share with you to demonstrate the bold, authoritative and intimidating tone that Brigham Young used to cajole the saints but I don’t want to get off on a tangent.
Prophecy seems to indicate that eventually there would be those who would arise to leadership positions in the Church who would speak as a harsh master, using arrogance, fear and intimidation to motivate others.
I want to point out a few things about the concept of “consecration” and the concept of “Zion”.
Some of these issues have been prompted by observations and questions brought up by readers who have made comments on the blog.
First of all the two terms (Consecration and Zion) are not synonymous although they are deeply interrelated and codependent!
I believe we are seeing that the law of consecration was given BEFORE the highest priesthood was restored, yet the commandment to travel to Missouri to establish Zion was not given until AFTER the highest priesthood was restored. That is very significant.
This is why the New Testament church was able to attempt consecration under the apostolic priesthood, even though they did not apparently have the priesthood of Enoch and Melchizedek. They didn’t need the priesthood of Enoch and Melchizedek because they were not commanded to establish Zion at the time. The timing was not right for Zion to be established at that time and, they were not in the correct place geographically to establish Zion. The Zion established by Enoch, Melchizedek and Christ, were probably all located in what is now termed North America.
Although consecration IS a mandatory, not optional, requirement for the celestial kingdom, once it is given to an organized people, the outer commandment to live it is only given at certain times, according to the infinite wisdom of God.
We unofficially enter into the spiritual law of consecration at the time of baptism.
Those who give up their temporal name, put off the natural man, take upon themselves the name of Christ, become spiritually born again and become one with him, obviously become one with all other Saints who have become one with him. Therefore, everyone who has become baptized to the fullest extent of the term, has entered into the spiritual covenant of consecration.
During some dispensations God only speaks to his people in terms of individual salvation which involves faith repentance, baptism of water and the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. During those times all saints have still entered into the spiritual law of consecration via the baptismal covenant.
During other dispensations he speaks in terms of “group salvation” with a strong commandment to enter into the outer, temporal covenant to consecrate and participate in a united order with other Saints.
Once a people are commanded to live consecration, if they don’t successfully do it quickly, within the very short time frame that God gives them, they will be overcome by Satan.
Once the Saints break a covenant of consecration while attempting to live it on sacred ground, they must ultimately flee from that land within a short period to time. This is why the Saints were driven from Independence, Kirtland, Far West and Nauvoo.
In part four we shall continue with our summary of the other sections pertaining to the amazing event that took place at the Morley Farm. Then we shall drill down on what God tells us about the importance of consecration. Finally, we will take a detailed look at what God has revealed about the three grand divisions of priesthood.
Praise the Lord God of Israel… the Servants are returning with the fulness of the priesthood to take up where they left off with regard to the establishment of Zion!
Part four is coming….
The Highest Order of the Melchizedek Priesthood
makes you a Possessor of All Things