True Oath & Covenant found in True Manner of Baptism
Father Adam, Lyman Wight and Everyone Else
Must Enter into the Gate the Same Way
Via Water, Fire & Holy Ghost
(previously titled part 5-b)
True Manner of Baptism & the Oath & Covenant of the Father
As you know, the Melchizedek Priesthood was originally called the priesthood after the order of the Son of God before it was named after Melchizedek,
Section 76 explains that it was originally referred to as being after the order of the Only Begotten, after that, it was referred to as being after the order of Enoch and eventually it was after the order of Melchizedek;
59 Wherefore, aall things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall aovercome all things…”
“without beginning of days or end of years”
We are also informed in the Book of Alma that the highest priesthood of Melchizedek is the priesthood after the “order of the Son” and it is described as the priesthood “without beginning of days or end of years”.
I suspect it is referred to as being without beginning of days or end of years because this highest priesthood was before the earth was formed whereas the Aaronic priesthood and the patriarchal priesthood of Abraham and Moses pertain to human priesthood lineage having been created by covenant during the existence of this earth with various patriarchal fathers. Those two priesthoods had a beginning on this earth, according to the lineage of the fathers.
“This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—
Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.” Alma 13: 7,9
The JST agrees with the Book of Mormon in identifying the highest priesthood as being called after the order of the Son of God and also describing it as being “without beginning of days or end of years”,
“And Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram.
26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.
27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;
29 And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
30 For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course;
31 To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.”
The Book of Moses reveals what the Covenant of the Father is
We know that Adam is the first man and the first father of the human race. He is second in authority to Christ himself. The ordinance by which he made an oath and covenant, in order to obtain an oath and covenant from God, in obtaining the highest priesthood would certainly be the same ordinance for others.
Having shown that the highest priesthood is the one referred to as being “after the order of the Son of God”, and having shown from the word of God that this highest priesthood is also referred to as being “without beginning of days or end of years”, please review a most remarkable passage from the Book of Moses which clearly shows that the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost is the New and Everlasting Covenant through which the humble follower of Christ obtains the highest priesthood.
And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was acaught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the bwater, and was brought forth out of the water.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with afire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.
Our Father Adam entered into the highest priesthood after the order of the Son of God that is without beginning of days or end of years DIRECTLY through the oath and covenant of BAPTISM!
The New and Everlasting Covenant of baptism which was from the beginning, is the highest priesthood covenant into which the Father invites us to enter.
The “Oath and Covenant of the Father” spoken of in section 84 is clearly and unmistakably linked to the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism! (this may seem obvious and basic to you and if it does I congratulate you for not being sidetracked by the false doctrines taught in section 132 and other places which teach the false doctrine that the Oath and Covenant and New and Everlasting Covenant is interrelated to and predicated on the Spiritual Wife Doctrine and false temple rituals)
After crying out his promise to the Lord and being baptized by water, Adam received, according to the will of the Father, the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost!
It is important to note that although the baptismal candidate begins the process by making the oath and covenant of water baptism, the highest priesthood and the promise of receiving all that the Father has is not consummated until the candidate receives the corresponding oath and covenant in return from the Father confirming that the candidate has received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and has become a Son of God.
In other words, the covenant and oath is between two parties and both parties must enter into covenant and make an oath.
The candidate begins the process of making the oath and covenant via the baptismal ordinance. Predicated upon faithfulness, the Father calls the candidate to the fulness of the priesthood. The candidate needs to continually seek the face of God as Lyman Wight did. Being called to the priesthood by the voice of God out of the heavens is an important step, however one needs to receive their election as well.
Once the Father has accepted the offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit, the Father gives the candidate a verbal confirmation that the offering has been accepted and swears an oath that the candidate has become a Son of God and will inherit all that the Father has.
Adam got the same baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that the Lamanites got in the 5th chapter of Helaman. It appears that he was transfigured before God and got the same baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that Lyman Wight got at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
The baptism of water, fire and Holy Ghost is the priesthood covenant by which Adam and all of the great prophets obtained the promise of eternal life.
That’s what it means to enter into the order of the priesthood that has no beginning or end! It is the priesthood of eternal life!
The patriarchal priesthoods of Aaron (restored by John the baptist) and Abraham (restored by Peter James and John) were based on mortal lineages pertaining to this earth. The Patriarchal priesthood was given the responsibility and authority to administer the New and Everlasting covenant so that we might transcend the two lesser priesthoods of lineage and mortality and obtain the highest priesthood of Godhood and eternal life.
“This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever”
Did you notice in those passages from Moses that it is by entering into the oath and covenant of the Father through the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism that gets you recorded into Gods book?
Notice the definition of record from the 1828 websters;
RECORD’, v.t. [L. recorder, to call to mind, to remember, from re and cor, cordis, the heart or mind.]
1. To register; to enroll; to write or enter in a book or on parchment, for the purpose of preserving authentic or correct evidence of a thing..
Section 88 refers to this book as the “book of the names of the sanctified”.
Of course the above passages in the Book of Moses don’t tell us what the oath or promise was that Adam cried out, but it doesn’t matter, because we have been given the commandments that pertain to the ordinance of Baptism through a latter day prophet.
The Oath we make to the Father
Here is the verbal oath or promise we have been commanded to make in the presence of witnesses PRIOR TO BAPTISM;
“And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.”
I would suggest that if we are serious about salvation, we study the above passage very carefully because it very possibly contains the oath that we must make before we can enter into the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Father. This verbal determination to serve God is to be made publicly in front of the church.
Even if we are the most righteous people on God’s green earth, we technically don’t qualify for the will of the Father to grant the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost if we failed to follow the commandments of God concerning the proper MANNER of Baptism that we have been commanded to follow… which includes repenting, receiving a the spirit of Christ unto the remission of sins AND making a public declaration of your determination to serve Christ to the end, in front of witnesses, BEFORE baptism.
Again, notice that verse 37 is the COMMANDMENT to the Church concerning the MANNER of Baptism.
Lets review this promise that we have been commanded to make before baptism,
First, humble ourselves before GOD.
This promise we are making before God must be made verbally in front of the church as witnesses.
Our promise and declaration must state that we have truly repented of our sins.
We must state that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ.
We must state that we are willing to SERVE HIM TO THE END.
Prior to making this promise we must manifest by our works that we have received the spirit of Christ unto the remission of our sins.
ONLY AFTER MAKING THIS OATH SHALL WE BE RECEIVED BY BAPTISM INTO THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD.
Following the above passages, section 20 informs us that it is the duty of the elders of the church to “confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.”
WOW, it is a good thing we searched the scriptures in our last part of this series to better understand what is the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
We must Sacrifice all things like Abraham
I have mentioned several times that we must make a covenant to sacrifice all things. Did you know that the sacrifice that we are to offer up unto God is actually our offering up a “broken heart and a contrite spirit”?
Do a key word search of the phrase and it takes you to the words of the Savior to the Nephites,
“And ye shall offer for a SACRIFICE unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.”
There you have it. Those who truly follow the commandment to make the oath contained in verse 37 and offer unto God a broken heart and a contrite spirit are actually offering the sacrifice that is required in order to receive the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, which sanctifies you and allows entrance through the strait gate and into the path… which is synonymous with being called to the High Melchizedek Priesthood.
Lyman Wight had obviously received a remission of his sins by the spirit of Christ and obeyed the commandment to make the aforementioned declaration before witnesses at the time of his baptism BEFORE his baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost at the Morley Farm!
The Baptismal covenant and the sacrament wherein we covenant to keep all of his commandments represent an “offering” and “sacrifice” that are usually spoken of in ancient and modern scripture. ( See Malachi 3:1-3 D&C 59: 8, 12, 84:31,
Following verse 37, section twenty gives us the exact wording that we are to use in administering the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism.
That baptismal prayer in the D&C was identical to the baptismal prayer contained in the Book of Mormon UNTIL the 1835 edition of the D&C was published. At that time, the baptismal prayer was CHANGED to the words that are in the D&C today.
It is not clear exactly when the Church quit having new converts obey the commandment in verse 37, nor is it clear why the leading brethren of the Church changed the wording of the baptismal covenant. Nevertheless, the fact that it was changed must surely be significant.
Isaiah apparently saw in vision the changing of the manner of baptism, including the discontinuance of the baptismal oath that is required BEFORE the baptism. This of course changes the ordinance. He spoke prophetically of it…
Lyman Wight was equally unimpressed.
He was quite upset about changes made in the 1835 edition of the D&C which included the changing of the baptismal prayer. Perhaps he also had concerns about the fact that the church was no longer having converts obey the commandment in verse 37 to make a public oath to the Father.
Despite the efforts made to conceal much of what Lyman Wight did and said, we have historical records showing that In 1837 Lyman Wight was teaching “that the church was under a telestial law, [and] the Doctrine and Covenant was a telestial law, but the Book of Commandments was celestial law”
Lyman also alludes to the defilement of the temple and the Saints having to flee Kirtland he said,
“..because God does not whip in a Celestial, or under a Celestial law; therefore he took us the Church out doors to whip us—as a parent takes his children out of doors to chastise them.”
(See http://saintswithouthalos.com/m/370424.phtml see also volume 1 part 1 of the “historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants” by Woodford)
David Patten was so offended at what Wight was teaching that he brought him before a church court.
When I first saw that statement by Lyman Wight years ago it made no sense to me and I blew it off and discounted Wight as one of the many loose cannon, wing-nuts who had gravitated to the restored church.
I have since re-evaluated the situation after learning about the events at the Morley Farm, the incredible life of Lyman Wight and the things God says about Lyman in the D&C.
In our next installment, when we review the three orders of priesthood and the corresponding three levels of law and three degrees of glory, we shall see that the terrestrial “priesthood” of Abraham initially offers celestial law and the opportunity for people to transcend to the highest priesthood of Melchizedek through the fullness of the Gospel and the New and Everlasting covenant of Baptism.
However, when the church collectively rejects celestial law and the fullness of the Gospel, then the “priesthood” of Abraham replaces the “gospel” of Christ with the “gospel” of Abraham, which functions under a lesser law and a lesser Priesthood.
I now believe Lyman Wight knew exactly what he was talking about!
I honestly believe now that Lyman Wight was one of a few holy men among the gentiles for a period of time, until the scapegoat doctrine kicked in. He clearly was human and eventually the affects of the latter day apostasy and the atonement statute fell upon him, but he enjoyed a period of enlightenment for a season and had the priesthood sealed upon him for the part he would play in the 3rd watch.
His words were often blunt and harsh and not politically correct. People probably thought he was a heretic.. perhaps much the same way John the Baptist was perceived… a wild man.
But true prophets speak the word of God with the tongue of angels and those words are sometimes words of sharpness and are like a two-edged sword.
Once you have been sanctified and have truly entered into the narrow path, you see things with your spiritual eyes that others don’t see. The eyes of your understanding are touched by the finger of God and you only traffic in the truth.
The words of Lyman Wight were as a two-edged sword to those who heard them.
Another holy man that used much sharpness was King Benjamin,
“…For behold, king Benjamin was a holy man, and he did reign over his people in righteousness; and there were many holy men in the land, and they did speak the word of God with power and with authority; and they did use much sharpness because of the stiffneckedness of the people—” Mormon 1:17
Lyman Wight made another politically incorrect observation in a letter he wrote in 1851, after the martyrdom.
At a time when he could have been trying to take the leadership control of the church jointly with his brethren of the 12, or claim the presiding position by virtue of having been the first High Priest of this dispensation, he simply made the following declaration;
“… We were to have a sufficient time to build that house, during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river. If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church, we and our dead together. Both the temple and baptizing went very leisurely, till the temple was somewhere in building the second story, when Bro. Joseph from the stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for our dead was no longer acceptable in the river. As much to say the time for building the temple had passed by, and both we and our dead were rejected together..”
“The church now stands rejected together with their dead. The church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word.” (ref )
The Key of Knowledge has been hidden
If you are like me, you are somewhat baffled and awestruck at how we latter day saints have missed the simplicity of the Gospel and gone past the mark.
How have we missed the simplicity of Baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost being the gate by which the highest priesthood and eternal life is gained? How have we allowed ourselves to become so confused with so much other doctrinal and ritualistic baggage?
How has this happened to four generations of Latter day Saints?
In JST Luke 11:53, the Savior makes an astonishing accusation against the religious “lawyers” that were largely responsible for teaching doctrine in the corrupt Jewish church,
“Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge, the fulness of the scriptures; ye enter not in yourselves into the kingdom; and those who were entering in, ye hindered.”
In previous posts and/or comments I have pointed out that just because a person holds the keys of the kingdom (church), it doesn’t mean that they have successfully used those keys themselves to get into the kingdom.
We see from the Saviour’s chastisement to the Jewish lawyers that they not only failed to use the key of knowledge to get themselves in to the kingdom, but they hindered others from entering as well.
The above passage reveals that the “key of knowledge” is the “fulness of the scriptures”.
It should be remembered that in the Law of the Gospel as contained in section 42 the Lord said;
In section 104 the Lord said
“And for this purpose I have commanded you to organize yourselves, even to print amy words, the fulness of my scriptures, the revelations which I have given unto you, and which I shall, hereafter, from time to time give unto you for the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth, and to aprepare my people for the time when I shall bdwell with them, which is nigh at hand.”
As I have pointed out before, the church was warned that they would be damned in their progression if they failed to finance the publishing of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Although evidence suggests that the JST was finished long before the Saints left Kirtland, Joseph Smith was still pleading with the Saints in Nauvoo to contribute to the publishing of the JST.
Although the JST that we get from the reorganized church is pregnant with incredibly important and enlightening information, there is reason to believe that perhaps there will be much more to it when it finally comes forth under the direction of the first laborers of the last kingdom, including the record of John.
As we dig deep into the understanding of what priesthood is, we need to remember that an important aspect of priesthood power is knowledge. Indeed, knowledge is power. And it is priesthood and the fulness of the scriptures that enables one to obtain knowledge,
“… Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the apowers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a bknowledge of facts in relation to the csalvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living… This, therefore, is the asealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the bkeys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of cknowledge.” (Section 128)
“The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” (107:18-19
This is a time to Rejoice and Prepare our Minds and Hearts
Let me take this opportunity to remind the readers of this article that the information you have read about the changing of the manner of baptism, the changing of the actual ordinance and the breaking of the covenant should not be cause for despair but rather for rejoicing.
This explains why the servants need to restore the breach!
If you are feeling despair, you either are not familiar with the doctrine of the three watches or you don’t believe it. I strongly advise you to go here and review it.
We live in an exciting time. We are living during the time of the fourth generation that will experience the return of Gods servants to the earth.
God is slowly removing the blindness from the eyes of a portion of Israel.
This information that God has granted us to have is a blessing for it explains why the gifts of the spirit in large measure have been withheld from the church. It explains why and how the covenant has been broken and why the heavens have been sealed since the death of the prophet Joseph Smith.
Perhaps most importantly, it explains why the first laborers of the last kingdom need to return and restore the breach prior to the return of the Lord!
Knowledge is power. Once you understand the truth pertaining to the New and Everlasting Covenant, you are less likely to be deceived by the false prophets and false teachers out there who are seducing people into a state of complacency. Others are seducing people into believing in the spiritual wife doctrine and other false doctrines and practices. (Once a person understands about what took place at the special conference at the Morley Farm, and what the fulness of the priesthood is, and that it was restored and lost between 1831-1834, it is easy to detect the fallacy of section 132 and the “spiritual wife doctrine” that categorically contradicts the celestial law of monogamy revealed in section 42)
This information enables us to better prepare our hearts and minds for the return of the servants and for the opportunity to enter into the true manner of baptism and the true covenant with the Father.
Lyman Wight had previously entered into the Oath and Covenant
In my closing remarks of part 6 of this series I made the following statements
“If it is true that Lyman Wight was indeed transfigured before the Lord and that he received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost in the process of being elected to the Melchizedek priesthood, then he had already entered into his part of the oath and covenant of the Father that is mentioned in section 84.
He had entered into it BEFORE the special conference.”
Chances are pretty good that you ascertained during the last part of this series, if not before, that the Oath and Covenant of the Father pertains to the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism .
Now, hopefully you have an even better understanding of this. Hopefully you are internalizing this doctrine.
This requires a huge paradigm shift since we have not been conditioned to think of the highest priesthood being predicated upon the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost.
Once you have an epiphany that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is granted by the will of the Father and that indeed it precedes the oath and covenant made by the Father, confirming that the candidate has been born again and become a Son of God, inheriting all that the Father has.
Why did God reveal the Law of the Gospel AFTER the Saints promised to live it?
Now then… I want to point something out to you that is very curious.
- In 1829 The Lord restored the priesthood of Aaron.
- Shortly after that, in the same year, he restored the patriarchal priesthood which contains the apostolic priesthood authority to dispense the saving ordinances of the gospel.
- In 1830 he legally restored the church of Christ according to the laws of the land
- Shortly after that he informs the Saints that they have the fullness of the Gospel
- He also tells them they have the keys to the kingdom.
End of story as far as priesthood and associated gospel law?
After restoring the first two priesthoods and telling them they have the fullness of the Gospel and the keys of the kingdom, he then tells them to go to Ohio so that he can give them the Law of the Gospel and a higher endowment of priesthood!
Wait a minute! Doesn’t that seem a bit illogical?
If they have the fullness of the gospel and the keys of the kingdom, why in the world would they still need to receive the Law of the Gospel?
And why in the world would they need an additional priesthood endowment?
To add more intrigue to this story, once the Lord reveals that the law of consecration is part of the law of the Gospel, he acts as if it is a given that they will obey it.
The reason for this is because they had already made a covenant to obey the law of the gospel even though they didn’t fully understand what it was.
I had a person emphatically declare on my other blog several months ago that the baptism covenant is separate and distinct from the covenant to consecrate and that a person can enter into the baptismal covenant but choose not to consecrate and still make it into the celestial kingdom.
When you enter into the baptismal oath to serve God to the end instead of others and to serve God instead of yourself, you are making a covenant to obey ALL of the commandments that have been revealed to you and all of the commandments that will be revealed to you in the future.
Can you agree to something before knowing what you are agreeing to?
One of the things that bothered me about the temple endowment when I went through for the first time is how, right before you go through, you are taken into a room and given the opportunity to back out if you want to.. but they don’t tell you exactly what the covenants and ritualistic reception of tokens are that you are about to enter into… so you can’t really make an intelligent decision as to whether you want to back out or not.
They don’t tell you what you are going to do nor what you will say and to what you will agree to do.
It seems to me that it would be helpful to know that information before having to commit one way or the other.
That information is revealed after you have declined to back out of the ceremony!
As disturbing as it is to me that the temple endowment was handled that way, I must confess, that protocol is, in essence, how God works with his covenant of baptism.
This is why you need to really make sure you know which God you are dealing with and whether the gospel is being administered by true shepherds or false shepherds when you enter into a covenant that binds you to future commandments… fortunately, the scriptures inform us that we can break false covenants into which we are duped.
Anyway, the baptismal covenant is the same way. Once you know that Jesus Christ is the creator of the heavens and the earth and that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, and that you can become a possessor of all things and have eternal life if you enter into covenant with them upon obedience and your willingness to sacrifice all things, you get to make that decision even though you don’t have a full understanding of the gospel and all of the future commandments that may be given to you.
Notice in verse 68 of section 20 that the elders don’t teach the new converts everything concerning the Church until after they are baptized but BEFORE they covenant again to keep all of the commandments by taking the sacrament.
“The elders are to have a sufficient amount of time to expound all things concerning the church of Christ to their understanding previous to their partaking of the sacrament”
It is interesting that God has given us the sacrament ordinance which is a renewing of our original commitment to obey all of Gods commandments that was made in the ordinance of baptism.
“But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. (2nd Nephi 31)
Notice how we renew our original promise to God every time we partake of the sacrament,
“..that they may always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may have his spirit to be with them, Amen”
Since a foundational law of the fulness of the gospel is consecration, one has to wonder if those not living that most important commandment are supposed to be taking the sacrament… clearly, we cannot have the spirit to be with us if we are not living the commandments.
Law of Consecration
One could make a case for the proposition that the law of consecration is the covenant of the Father and that when a person enters into the promise to live consecration that that is the oath that begins the covenant. But I would suggest that the law of the gospel and the associated requirement to consecrate and live a monogamous life, as contained in the law of the gospel in section 42, was entered into the day a person makes the public oath that is detailed in section 20 verse 37.
It is interesting to note that Oliver Cowdery received what is now known as section 20 by revelation after being commanded to do so.
You can learn a little more about the unique roll that Oliver Cowdery has and will play in the church here and you can read various versions of section 20 here http://saintswithouthalos.com/p/1831_articles.phtml
Although Oliver received the majority of this revelation, it was, however, the prophet Joseph Smith, who, by revelation, added verse 37 to section 20.
While Oliver Cowdery was reviewing some revelations and preparing them to be published, he came across the verse that Joseph Smith had added and felt like the phrase “they have received of the fSpirit of Christ unto the gremission of their sins” was incorrect and not in harmony with the word of God in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. He therefore wrote a letter to Joseph Smith stating,
“I command you in the name of God to erase these words, that no priestcraft be amongst us!!”
In Joseph’s diary he said;
“I immediately wrote to him in reply, in which I asked him by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter or erase, to add or diminish to or from a revelation or commandment from Almighty God.” (ref http://saintswithouthalos.com/s/d&c_28.phtml)
It took a week of Joseph laboring with Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmer Family to convince them that Joseph had not erred in using those words. He had added them by direct revelation from God.
His labors with those good folks was followed up by a revelation wherein the Lord told Oliver,
“..no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my Servant Joseph Smith Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses. And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him… And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church..” (D&C 28)
It is important to realize that prior to the printing of the Book of Commandments, the early elders of the church would hand copy sections 20 and 42 and take them with them on their missionary assignments.
At that time section 20 was referred to as the “Articles and Covenants” of the Church.
These two sections were all that were needed to teach new converts about the true oath and covenant of the Father and the law of the Gospel.
Now then, getting back to this amazing sequence in the history of the church, after bestowing the first two priesthoods, restoring the church, acknowledging that the church has the fullness of the gospel and the keys by which entrance into the gate is made possible, God commands the Saints to go to Ohio where they will get the greater endowment of priesthood and find out what the details are of the gospel law they have already made an oath to obey.
I have spoken much about what we have learned about priesthood and I am going to provide a detailed summary about priesthood in a later part of this series; however, I want to address the law of the Gospel and more particularly the law of consecration at this time.
We need to take a few minutes to revisit and encapsulate the warnings and consequences associated with not living the law of consecration.
It is essential that we understand just how critical is the law of consecration.
Here is a brief summary of the admonitions and warnings given about the importance of this law with dates and sections;
It is essential to understand and remember that the oath and covenant of the priesthood is incorporated within the new and everlasting covenant of baptism and that the everlasting covenant of baptism contains the commandment to serve God and live consecration.
Interestingly, the Saints didn’t have the law of the gospel given to them before being given the covenant of baptism. It wasn’t necessary for the Lord to give the details of the law first because the baptismal recipient is agreeing to sacrifice all things by serving God instead of anyone else. The baptismal oath requires us to be obedient to every law that has or will be given.
Let us review what the Lord has told us about this law;
|Dates||Sections||Admonitions and Warnings|
|“Be One and If ye are not ONE YE ARE NOT MINE”“Ye shall see that MY LAW is kept.. He that recieveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple he that sayeth that he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple and shall be cast out from among you..”“Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.. Behold, thou wilt remember the poor and consecrate of thy properties… with a covenant and a deed that cannot be broken… and this I do for the salvation of my people
“many shall be converted in so much that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves.. that your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things” [3rd watch fulfillment]
“..it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin
“For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; if otherwise, they will be cut off.”
“that I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according the [oath and] covenant [of the priesthood]
“Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visistion, and of judgment, and of indignation; the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved..”
“Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion… and thjus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the land of Zion, as speedily as can be, with their families, to do those things even as I have spoken.”
“for verily I say unto you my law shall be kept on this land” [3rd watch]
He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come”
“..for he that is tithed [consecrated] shall not be burned at his coming”
“Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant [which is synonymous with the oath and covenant of the priesthood], even the fullness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life..”
“And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God” (The Church of the Living God separate from the Church of Christ, it consists of High priests who have entered into the oath and covenant of the priesthood)
“Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld”
“..according to the LAW every man that cometh up to Zion must lay all things before the bishop in Zion.”
1 The Lord spake unto Joseph Smith, Jun., saying: Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the ahigh priesthood of my church, who have assembled yourselves together;
2 And listen to the acounsel of him who has bordained you from on high, who shall speak in your ears the words of cwisdom, that salvation may be unto you in that thing which you have presented before me, saith the Lord God.
3 For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an aorganization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the bstorehouse for the cpoor of my people, both in this place and in the land of dZion—
4 For a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven;
5 That you may be aequal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.
6 For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be aequal in obtaining heavenly things;
9 Or, in other words, let my servant Newel K. Whitney and my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and my servant Sidney Rigdon sit in council with the saints which are in aZion;
13 Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the aensample which I give unto you, whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you;
14 That through my providence, notwithstanding the atribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world;
16 Who hath appointed aMichael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the bHoly One, who is without beginning of days or end of life.
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are alittle children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just…This order have I appointed to be an everlasting order unto you , and unto your successors, inasmuch as you sin not. And the soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption..”
“And your minds in times past hve been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation..”
“Therefore, inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant through covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse. For I, the Lord, have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or in other words shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will. For I , the Lord, am not be mocked in these things… therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath in your lives. In as much as ye are cut off for transgression, he cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption….”
“Behold, ..were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now… they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them. And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom. And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom. And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer….”
“..If my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.”
Obviously, the above is only a sampling of what the D&C says about the law of consecration.
If you took the time to read all of the quotes above, then you are probably feeling a little sober.
The above exercise was done to remind you just how many times the Lord addressed the law of consecration in modern revelation. He did it repeatedly. The warnings and consequences are numerous and severe.
Looking beyond the Mark
We actually agree to live the law of the Gospel which incorporates the law of consecration when we obey section 20:37 and enter into the true manner of baptism and make our public declaration before witnesses that we are going to serve Christ to the end.
Once you realize just how important it is that we live the law of the Gospel and how integral the law of consecration is, and how severe the consequences are for not living it, you begin to realize just how far off the path we really are.
It would make no sense for God to reveal a higher law to us after we have rejected his previous laws. (see the following article regarding my recent Analysis of Section 132)
It may seem shocking to realize that the oath and covenant of the Father is the baptismal covenant!
That is just too simple!
Hopefully the simplicity of the Gospel is starting to emerge out of the darkness and confusion that we have been in.
We needed to have the lesser priesthoods restored so that the oath and covenant of the Father could be administered by the proper priesthood authority… enabling us to enter into the gate and into the highest priesthood.
Recently a blogger who has taught seminary posted a blog asking the following question,
She went on to pose the following questions,
“Where do you find the actual “Oath and Covenant” of the Priesthood?
Who makes the covenant?
Who takes an oath?
Why is it called the “oath and covenant of the Priesthood”?”
She then acknowledged that she had not been able to find the answers to these questions,
“These and many more questions plagued me the first year I taught Doctrine and Covenants in early morning seminary. I had come to Section 84 where the Lord outlined the beautiful patriarchal order of the priesthood, but still could not find the answers. In Section 84 we are instructed regarding the blessings for obtaining and magnifying the priesthood…. It even refers to the “oath and covenant of the priesthood”, but still not a clue is given to what is meant by that terminology. I asked everyone I could find, and believe it or not, the answers I got would surprise you. The funniest one I think I got was, “That is just what they call it!”
Finally she provides the answer that she got which you can read about here if you are interested.
This dear lady had run into the same wall that virtually all other inquiring minds in church have run into and she did the best she could to try to figure it out.
How is it that we as a people have lost our way?
The Book of Mormon speaks of how the Jews fell because they were looking beyond the mark,
But behold, the Jews were a astiffnecked people; and they bdespised the words of cplainness, and dkilled the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their eblindness, which fblindness came by looking beyond the gmark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they hcannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. Jacob 4: 14
The above passage is fascinating in that it begins speaking about the Jews in the past tense then transitions to speaking about them prophetically, in the future.
“They were a stiffnecked people…” PAST
“They must needs fall…” FUTURE
These passages prophesy that the Jews would fall because they despised the words of plainness and looked beyond the mark. They chose to seek after things they could not understand instead of believing the plain and simply doctrine of faith, repentance and baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost.
I would submit to you that this prophesy has a dual fulfillment. Not only did the Jews look beyond the mark in the meridian of time, they also are doing it in the latter days.
The Gentiles looked beyond the mark and rejected the fullness of the Gospel from 1830 to 1836.
They demonstrated their blindness in rejecting the incredible endowment being offered at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
They treated lightly the true oath and covenant of the Father.
Beginning in 1836, Father Abraham appears to Joseph and Oliver and gave them the keys of the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham. Shortly after this the twelve apostles were sent to establish foreign missions and the preparatory gospel went forth to the remnants of Judah and scattered Israel. Latter day Judah has been restored to the church and preparatory gospel as a result of what took place in section 110!
To this day, the Jews and Gentiles who have accepted the preparatory gospel and the Book of Mormon continue to despise the words of plainness and look beyond the mark as they seek after things they cannot understand.
We have one last chance coming up here very shortly.
The third watch is about to begin.
If we don’t learn from the past mistakes of our fathers in looking beyond the mark, the incredible tragedy of the special conference at the Morley Farm is doomed to repeat itself in the lives of many latter day Saints.
In our next installment we shall see what we have learned about the priesthood in our quest to find 23 high priests and the holy order.