Searching for the Holy Order & 23 High Priests Part 9
Moses and Israel are a Type of Joseph Smith and Latter day Israel
“This is Life Eternal” One must Know God
Three Orders of Priesthood
[Editorial Note: I got distracted and forgot to continue posting on this series… again, I find that I have to much information to end this series. I will attempt to wrap things up in part 10]
We initiated this series by reviewing the JST Exodus 34. In it we learn that as a result of the wickedness and idolatry of the children of Israel Moses breaks the first set of plates that contained the holy order and the ordinances thereof which was a higher law and he was commanded to hew two other tablets containing the ten commandments which constitutes a lesser law;
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.” Exod 34:1-2, 14
From this and modern revelation we can surmise that the fulness of the Gospel including the proper manner of the baptismal covenant of water which is followed by fire and the Holy Ghost and the LAW OF ZION (sometimes referred to as GOSPEL LAW) which contains the LAW OF CONSECRATION as contained in section 42 of the D&C, was contained in the first set of plates that Moses broke.
It makes sense that God was giving the fullness of the Gospel to the Children of Israel since the Book of Moses reveals that Adam had the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the beginning.
It was the baptism of water fire and the Holy Ghost that enabled Adam to enter into the Holy Order of the Priesthood. Moses 6: 66
We also learn from the Morley Farm incident and the revelations pertaining to it that followed, that it is the Holy Order of the Priesthood according to the Son of God that must oversee the ESTABLISHMENT of ZION.
Section 84 provides additional clarity pertaining to the holy order or highest portion of the Priesthood that was taken out of the midst of the Children of Israel.
“Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his 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, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;
Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.”
It is evident that Moses was initially endeavoring to implement CELESTIAL LAW or the LAW OF THE GOSPEL which includes the LAW OF CONSECRATION.
Before the Lord took the higher priesthood out of the midst of the children of Israel, Moses was endeavoring to SANCTIFY his people and establish ZION just as Enoch and Melchizedek had done among their peoples.
As a result of the rebelliousness of the people and their refusal to become sanctified and to see the face of God, Moses was taken out of their midst along with the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, the higher law and the ability to establish Zion..
It appears that the above scenario is a type of what happened to Joseph Smith, the latter day Moses and to Latter day Israel, the literal descendants of ancient Israel.
He and the Holy Priesthood were taken out of the midst of the people because they refused to be sanctified and to see the Face of God.
Latter day Israel, like their fathers anciently in the wilderness, preferred to have a prophet speak to God in their behalf instead of becoming sanctified, and conversing with God for themselves.
They hardened their hearts and were unable to endure God’s presence.
“This is Life Eternal” One must See God
The Oath and Covenant of the Father
As I have studied the events that took place at the special conference at the Morley Farm, the revelations that preceded and followed, the life of Lyman Wight and the events of LDS church history, my belief in the simplicity and profoundness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been reinforced.
During this process I have been reminded, to a much deeper degree, that the true manner of the baptismal covenant of water fire and the Holy Ghost is indeed the rock and foundation upon which the church, gospel and the holy priesthood after the order of the Son of God are all built.
I have come to realize how incredibly simple the gospel is when the church simply submits themselves to the fulness of the gospel of Christ instead of fighting submission and looking beyond the mark and focusing on things they don’t understand.
Truly knowing God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ is the spiritual goal of our existence and it is the essence of eternal life. The Father must bestow the fire, testify of his Son and teach us of his covenant.
It appears from this study that we must see the face of God the Father and/or hear him bear witness of his Son to consummate our standing in the holy order of the priesthood, even the priesthood after the order of the Son of God.
We must become sanctified by the baptism of fire and be sealed up to eternal life if we are to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and the highest glory in the celestial kingdom.
Salvation in the highest kingdom requires obtaining the highest endowment of Melchizedek priesthood… I have come to believe they are essentially synonymous. They are both predicated upon the oath and covenant of the Father which includes the promise before witnesses contained in section 20:37 and the baptismal covenant.. all done according to the proper MANNER of baptism contained in the scriptures.
The oath and covenant of the Father has been a mystery to so many, (myself included) because the Lord in his infinite foreknowledge and mercy has put blindness upon Israel and allowed the lawyers of the gospel to prevent and hinder the humble followers of Christ from gaining the key of knowledge, even the key of the mysteries of Godliness.
Notice how the inspired version of Luke makes reference to those who taught false doctrines and withheld the simple truths of the gospel as hindering others from entering into the kingdom,
“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.” JST Luke 11: 53
It is ironic that in our generation there have been lawyers of the gospel who have tried to discourage those who have encouraged others to seek the face of God .
The Key of Knowledge
Interestingly we live in a dark day of apostasy when so many are yearning for the mysterious holy grail of secret knowledge… even the “key of knowledge”of the mysteries of the universe.
Popular books are being written which try to uncover the key of knowledge, even the secret mysteries that lead to enlightenment. They speak of the key of knowledge, the key of Solomon, the key of David, the ark of the covenant, the philosophers stone… etc.
Yet, Joseph Smith, the Seer of the Lord, was offering the key of knowledge to the Saints… both in the form of the written word (fulness of the scriptures-inspired version) and in the fullness of priesthood power.
It is amazing that the significance of the events that took place at the Morley Farm has been obscured from the Saints of our generation. We have not been sufficiently taught about the incredible event that took place at the Morley Farm and the significance it played in the restoration movement.
The fulness of the priesthood and key of the knowledge of God was being offered to Lyman Wight and 22 others at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
“And this greater[Melchizedek] priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God [the Father].
Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.
“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.” JST Luke 11: 53
Modern revelation identifies the fullness of the scriptures as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible which Sidney Rigdon was to write for Joseph Smith, while watching over him,
“Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things. And a commandment I give unto thee—that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect;”
D&C 35: 20.
“And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given…. Thou shalt ask, and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety; And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full.
And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church; And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue.” D&C 42: 15
D&C 42: 56 (56-58)
Unfortunately the key of knowledge contained in the fullness of the scriptures was never fully taught or received by the Saints because of their apostasy which included their failure to live consecration and failure to finance the publication of the fullness of the scriptures to the world.
Joseph Smith had given the ominous warning that if the church did not receive the fullness of the scriptures, it would yet fail,
“Brother Joseph Smith, Jr. said … that the promise of God was that the greatest blessings which God had to bestow should be given to those who contributed to the support of his family while he was translating the fulness of the Scriptures… that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church … and except the Church receive the fulness of the Scriptures that they would yet fail.” (Far West Report, p. 16, quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, p. 9.)
Indeed the church did fail to publish the inspired version of the Bible to the world and thus, it deed indeed fail during the 2rd watch. It failed to redeem Zion. It failed to retain the fullness of the priesthood. It also failed to complete the Nauvoo House and the Nauvoo Temple. (section 124) it failed to bring forth the fullness of the scriptures contained in the inspired version.
We know from prophecy however that the fullness of the scriptures will still go forth to the world when that power that was lost is restored to God’s servants, and they return to fulfill their stewardships in their second commission during the 3rd watch.
Although the inspired version of the scriptures that was preserved by Emma Smith contains a wealth of glorious information that is incredibly important, there is reason to believe that when the fullness of the scriptures finally go forth to all nations, it will include additional information. (the full contents of the inspired version are probably sealed up in a secret treasury in Kirtland where the word of the Lord will go forth from in the last days- see D&C 104)
Oath and Covenant of the Father
It appears from this study that the OATH we make to God is contained in section 20 verse 37 wherein we make a public declaration before witnesses that we are determined to obey God to the end.
It appears from this study that the COVENANT that we enter into with the Father is baptism of water and confirmation. Baptism of course represents having our old sinful natural man die in the likeness of Christ’s death and then being raised up as a new creature in the likeness of Christs resurrection,
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk n newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. ” (see Romans 6)
Following the baptism of water and the gift of the Holy Ghost, God bestows the baptism of fire upon the righteous candidate.
After we have proven to God that we will honor our oath, he then makes an oath to us. It is the promise of eternal life,
“Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom” (section 88)
As simple as that sounds, one must remember that we have been commanded to observe the proper MANNER of baptism that he has given us. We must also receive all three components of baptism which includes water, fire and the Holy Ghost.
If the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost do not follow the baptism of water, the baptism is not complete and the highest priesthood has not been obtained in its fullness.
As we begin to realize what the true manner of baptism is, and it’s associated priesthood authority, we begin to gain a greater appreciation for why the first laborers of the last kingdom must return and restore the breach that has taken place.
The Spirit of Christ
One of the components of the manner of baptism that I have come to appreciate more clearly as a result of this study of the events related to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood at the Morley Farm is the “Spirit of Christ”.
It is amazing to realize that one can exercise faith and belief in Christ after hearing the word of Christ and then can repent of their sins and receive a remission of their sins PRIOR to baptism through the power of the “Spirit of Christ”.
It is also important to remember that as part of the oath that one makes to God before witnesses, after making their declaration that they will serve Christ to the end, they must be able to “manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins“.
It is only after that, that they are to be received by baptism into his church.
It would be interesting to know when and why the church dropped this procedure… perhaps it took place when the Church of Christ was changed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.
It is interesting to note that it does not appear that the Nephites were required to make this oath when Christ descended. This could have to do with the fact that the wicked had been purged and those who remained had already proven they had received a remission by virtue of the fact that they had not been destroyed at his coming and were still alive.
It is also possible that the latter day gentile requires an additional component in the manner of baptism since they had mingled themselves among the nations. Nevertheless, there are places in the Book of Mormon where the followers of Christ did make an oath before the witnesses prior to baptism.
Nevertheless, it is interesting that the doctrine of remission of sins by the Spirit of Christ prior to baptism does not appear to be found anywhere else in the scriptures, even among those who did make a pre-baptismal oath.
This appears to be the primary reason that Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmers took such strong issue with Joseph Smith regarding this doctrine and why they attempted to get him to remove it from section 20.
It seems to be a doctrine unique to the latter day Gentiles although there are a few passages in ancient scripture that do allow the possibility that they had the same protocol.
It is perhaps a component necessary in the process of identifying Gods covenant people who have mingled themselves among the nations and are hid with God in Christ,
“For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—”
D&C 86: 9
It is perhaps necessary in bringing them out of the darkness of their scattered and darkened condition and preparing them for the baptismal covenant.
The Spirit of Christ leads us to the Father. He then teaches us of the Covenant
Although I had always been taught the spirit of Christ is the light of Christ and that it gives light and conscience to everyone that is born into the world, I did not fully comprehend that it actually provides a remission of sins prior to baptism as taught in section 20.
Section 84 provides a profound summary pertaining to how the spirit of Christ enlighteneth every man that hearkens to the voice of the Spirit. Ultimately leading the person to the Father, so that the Father can teach them of the covenant,
“For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.
And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. The Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.”
As we now begin to review what we have learned about priesthood, it is important to remember the flow of things during the LDS foundation movement. The patriarchal priesthood which followed the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood makes it possible to dispense the saving ordinance of baptism that leads to the third and highest priesthood. Hence the flow is
- Aaronic Priesthood (preparatory gospel)
- Patriarchal Priesthood (fulness of the gospel)
- Baptismal ordinance of water
Baptism of FIRE and the HOLY GHOST- Melchizedek Priesthood.
- The Levitical priesthood which is named after Aaron was restored in 1829 which has authority to dispense the preparatory gospel.
- The Patariarch priesthood which is often named after Moses and Abraham was restored in 1829 which holds the keys of the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church. It holds the authority to dispense the fullness of the Gospel including Baptism of water and the confirmation, inviting the recipient to receive the intermittent visitations of the Holy Ghost.
- With the restoration of the Patriarchal priesthood, the dispensing of the saving ORDINANCE of baptism that leads to the third and highest priesthood was made possible. The “Oath and Covenant of the Father” was available for members of the church to enter into through the proper MANNER and AUTHORITY of the BAPTISMAL COVENANT.
- The restoration of the true manner and authority of baptism made it possible for God to restore the Melchizedek priesthood by his voice out of the heavens, at the special conference at the Morley Farm. The baptismal covenant which is dispensed by the patriarchal priesthood enables the recipient to enter into the oath and covenant of the Father. It was the oath and covenant within the proper manner of baptism that enabled Lyman Wight and others to be called to the Highest priesthood after the order of Melchizedek for the first time in this dispensation at the Morley Farm in 1831.
After the baptismal covenant had been restored, several of the Elders of the Church like Lyman Wight had exercised faith, received a remission of their sins through the spirit of Christ, made their public oath before witnesses, and been baptized and confirmed.
Following that, God had his anointed servant summon the elders to a special conference.
God was now calling them to the High Priesthood of Melchizedek according to his voice out of the heavens.
It is important to remember that shortly after the event at the Morley Farm and shortly after several of those who were called to the highest priesthood appeared to have rejected their callings, the Lord makes this very important announcement,
“…there are many [high priests] who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen.
D&C 95: 5
“There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy“. D&C 105: 35
These statements applied specifically to those who had been ordained to the office of High Priest in the Melchizedek priesthood.
From these passages we find that there is a profound difference between being “called” to the Melchizedek priesthood vs being “chosen” to it.
After one is “called” by the voice of God out of heaven to the Melchizedek priesthood, one still needs to experience the baptism of Fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It appears that many of the 23 high priests that were called at the Morley Farm did not progress to the baptism of fire nor did they see the face of God the Father as did Lyman Wight and Harvey Whitlock.
After the experience at the Morley Farm we do have documentation of others who saw the Father and the Son. Joseph and Sidney saw the Father and the Son in the vision they had as documented in section 76. Zebedee Coltrin and others apparently saw the Father and/or the Son while attending the School of the Prophets.
In past parts of this series we were also able to verify that while the apostolic priesthood that was restored by Peter, James and John, was sufficient to dispense the ordinances of salvation, testify of Jesus Christ and govern the church, the highest priesthood of Melchizedek was necessary to secure a person’s salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God and to establish Zion.
The highest priesthood of Melchizedek, also presides over the Elders of the Patriarchal Priesthood in administering the Gospel when it is on the earth, and holds the key of the mysteries of kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God the Father.. without this highest priesthood, no man can see the face of God the Father and live.
This is a great key to understanding the difference between Patriarchal or Apostolic priesthood vs. Melchizedek priesthood.
It appears that those holding the patriarchal priesthood have the privilege upon faith and righteousness to see Christ, however only those called to the Melchizedek priesthood can see the face of God the Father and to hear the father bear witness of the Son.
This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou had sent
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God” (Teachings, 345).
Not only do we need to understand what kind of being God is, we must come to know God. In the same sermon just quoted, the Prophet Joseph further stated,
“If any man does not know God, . . . he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle” (Teachings, 344).
In His great high-priestly or Intercessory Prayer, the Savior confirmed that life eternal was to “know . . . the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [the Father] hast sent” (John 17:3).
According to the above quote, eternal life requires knowing God the Father!
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon also endorsed the following teaching taught in the School of the Prophets:
“One of the three things necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation, is to have a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.” (Lectures on Faith, 3rd Lecture)
In modern revelation the Savior has stated that:
“Verily thus saith the Lord It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me and calleth on my name and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am….
I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time, receive of his fulness.” (D&C 93:19)
Those last passages in section 93 appear to be speaking of two separate and distinct privileges pertaining to two separate and distinct priesthoods and sheds light on what was happening at the Morley Farm.
You will notice that the first segment from the first passages speaks of seeing the face of Christ. I believe this can happen under the authority of the patriarchal priesthood which contains the apostolic priesthood. In fact it is necessary for an apostle to see the face of Christ… more on that later.
However, the passage from a later part of the section speaks about coming to the FATHER
in Christ’s name, enabling the candidate, in due time, to receive of the fullness of the Father.
This is speaking of the authority of the highest Melchizedek Priesthood which incorporates the appearance of BOTH the Father and the Son.
This is a great key to what was happening at the Morley Farm and a great key in distinguishing between the rights of the Patriarchal Priesthood vs the Melchizedek Priesthood.
John 1:18 states, “No man hath seen God at anytime; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him…”
That scripture sates that we can know of the existence of God the Father through the declaration of the Son, however it is impossible for us to see the Father.
One of the many differing theological beliefs that Mormonism has with many other Christian religions is our belief that man can actually see both Christ and God the Father.
The JST provides quite a dramatic and critical correction to the above translation;
“No man hath seen God at anytime, except he hath born record of the Son…”
That illuminating change in the text above not only reveals that man can see the Father, but it appears to make the distinction that God the Father only reveals himself to man for the express purpose bearing record of the Son, or, if there are other reasons for revealing himself, all of his appearances result in the witnessing of his Son. ( I suppose it can also be interpreted to be saying that only those of the patriarchal priesthood who are bearing witness of the Son are allowed to eventually receive the fire and see the Father, transcending them to the highest priesthood)
In other words, most of the time, and perhaps even all of the time that God the Father finds it necessary to deal directly with man on the earth to give commandments or communicate information, it is done through Christ, UNLESS it is for the express purpose of bearing witness of his Son Jesus Christ during the baptism of fire, in which case, BOTH he and His Son appear.
I would suggest that one of the distinctions between the calling and ministry of the Patriarchal portion of the priesthood vs the Fulness of the melchizedek Priesthood, is that the authority of the Patriarchal priesthood parts the heavens to see and converse with Christ and therefore can bear witness of Christ, while the Fulness of the priesthood parts the heavens to see both the Father and the Son and can therefore bear witness of both the Father and the Son.
An Apostle is an Eye Witness of Christ
It appears that the calling of an Apostle in the patriarchal priesthood is to bear testimony of Jesus Christ while dispensing the gospel of Christ. It also appears that a latter day Apostle can be called to the Apostleship BEFORE they have personally seen Christ, yet their calling to the apostleship is not complete until they have seen him.
It is a well established fact in Christianity that an apostle of Jesus Christ must be an eye witness of Jesus Christ.
Here is a quote off of the internet which is typical of what the scriptures reveal and what many Christians believe regarding the qualifications of an apostle;
“The Apostles were special and “extraordinary” officers appointed to found and organize the Church of Christ, by preaching the Gospel and testifying, as eye-witnesses, to the resurrection of Jesus. The following particulars belong essentially to the office;
- Their number was limited to twelve, corresponding to the number of the ancient tribes (leaving out the tribe of Levi). Mat 19:29 “Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes,” et Rev “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the name of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
- The apostles must have been called, personally by Christ. This was the case with all the original twelve; and when a vacancy occurred, by the lapse and death of Judas, Christ returned in person to call his successor. Acts 26:16 “for this cause I have appeared unto thee, to make thee a minister and a witness…” That is the reason why Christ must personally appear to Saul, was to cal him by his own voice to the apostolic office.
- It follows from this that the apostles must have seen the Lord Jesus Christ. Act 22 14,15 “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldst know His will and see that JUST ONE, and hear the words of His mouth, for thou shalt be His witness unto all men”. 1 Cor 9:1 “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not SEEN Jesus Christ, our Lord?…
- The apostles must be able to testify as eye-witnesses to the fact of Christ’s resurrection. Luke 29:46 ” and he said unto them, thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead; and ye are witnesses..” (it is true that there is an account of Barnabas being called by the drawing of straws, however he and … were candidates being qualified by the fact that they had seen the Savior. It is probably not a stretch to assume that he also had another confirmation and visit from the Savior after being called. (Internet Ref )
The LDS website provides the following information and associated comment from Joseph F Smith about the calling of an apostle which seems to agree in principle that apostles cannot function purely on belief, however, it seems to imply that a testimony based on the whisperings of the Holy Ghost may be adequate,
“The knowledge the Apostles have of Christ is no casual thing. They must know for certain by personal revelation that Jesus is the Christ and that he lives as a resurrected, exalted being. President Joseph F. Smith made clear the sacredness of their calling:
“These twelve disciples of Christ are supposed to be eye and ear witnesses of the divine mission of Jesus Christ. It is not permissible for them to say, I believe, simply; I have accepted it simply because I believe it. Read the revelation, the Lord informs us they must know, they must get the knowledge for themselves. It must be with them as though they had seen with their eyes and heard with their ears and they know the truth. That is their mission, to testify of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead and clothed now with almighty power at the right hand of God, the Savior of the world. That is their mission, and their duty, and that is the doctrine and the truth that it is their duty to preach to the world and see that it is preached to the world.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1916, p. 6; or Gospel Doctrine, p. 178.)
One of the great quotes from the events of the restoration movement pertaining to priesthood and apostleship is found in the admonition given to the twelve apostles by Joseph Smith just after they were ordained by Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and himself.
Study it very carefully; it holds the keys to a lot of questions pertaining to certain events that took place.
It is unlikely you will ever see this quote in an official publication of the LDS church;
“You have been indebted to other men , in the first instance for evidence; on that you have acted but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel…. never cease striving until you have seen God face to face, strengthen your faith, cast off you doubts, your sins, and all you unbelief and nothing can prevent you from coming unto God. Your ordination [ as Apostles] is not full and complete till God has laid his hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Saviour in former days laid his hands on his disciples why not in latter days… you have our most fervent prayers that you may be able to bear this testimony, that you have seen the face of God.” (DHC2:195-198 see also HC AD 1835 pg 195-6)
Bearing Testimony of THE NAME OF CHRIST
It is very important to understand that Thomas Marsh and his brethren of the 12 were ordained to be Apostles but they were called BEFORE they had seen Christ.. they were warned that their calling would not be full and complete until they had seen the face of God and been ordained personally by him..
It isn’t clear if the use of “God” in this particular context is referring to Christ, so that they could become apostles of Christ, or if was referring to God the Father, implying that they need to ultimately become high priests in the Melchizedek priesthood. (more on that later)
A careful reading of section 112 (and also another non-canonized revelation received just prior to it) reveals that the quorum of the twelve was currently in a state of apostasy when that revelation was given.. that is why President Marsh was requesting the prophet to ascertain the will of God concerning his brethren.. and that is why the Lord said, ” after they are converted….”
Joseph had previously accused the quorum of the twelve of being an outlaw quorum for acting separately and singly on their own instead of submitting themselves to the first presidency. An unpublished revelation was also received rebuking them for their darkened state.
It appears there are really three levels of apostleship,
- Those who have received the patriarchal priesthood and believe in Christ and therefore bear testimony of his name
- Those who have received the patriarchal priesthood and have actually seen Christ and therefore are eye witnesses and bear testimony of Christ.
- Those who have received the Melchizedek priesthood and the baptism of fire and have seen the Father and the Son.
In the New Testament, only those who had personally seen Christ, were called to the apostleship. It is unclear at which point they transcended the patriarchal level of seeing Christ and graduated to the Melchizedek level of having seen the Father and the Son.
When they were drawing lots to see which of two candidates would be chosen for the ministry to fill a vacancy, the two candidates had both been picked as by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, both of them qualified because they had both seen Christ.
Additionally Paul qualified because of his vision on the way to Damascus, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Christ appeared to him again after his calling as well.
Notice the following declaration in section 112 to Thomas Marsh and the 12 Apostles;
“”Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Thomas: I have heard they prayers and thine alms have come up as a memorial before me, in behalf of those, thy brethren, who were chosen to bear testimony of my name and to send it abroad among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people and ordained through the instrumentality of my servants”
The above scripture appears to reveal that those particular apostles, up to that point in time, were only qualified to fulfill the mandate of testifying of the name of Christ. They were not qualified to testify of Christ for they apparently had not yet seen him.
Their authority to testify of the name of Christ came from their belief in Christ and the promptings of the spirit and from the ordination they got from the hands of mortal men.
This is consistent with the restoration of the Gospel of Abraham as we discussed in the last part of this series. The quorum of the twelve was taking the preparatory gospel to the nations of the earth in fulfillment of the prophecy that AFTER the remnant of Joseph was scattered through the Indian removal act, and after the Saints had been cast out of Jackson County, God remembered his covenant with Abraham and his seed by sending elders to foreign missions with the preparatory gospel.
The quorum of the twelve apostles was initiating the taking of the Gospel of Abraham to the nations.
High Priests of Melchizedek Testify of the Father and the Son
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who had seen the Father and the Son and held the fullness of the apostolic priesthood which was restored by Peter James and John AND had also been elected and chosen to the Highest Melchizedek Priesthood, gave the following testimony, notice how it differs from simply bearing witness of the name of Christ;
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—”
That is a testimony from two high priests.
Here is one of the testimonies of someone who heard Lyman Wight bear testimony of the Father and the Son;
“He saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father, Making intercession for his brethren, the Saints.”
It is not enough to just see the Father and the Son!
One must get the promise!
On May 21st 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a discourse entitled “Making your calling and election sure”. It is so profound and so interrelated to the events surrounding the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood that I am going to quote from much of it here.
In it he used as his text 2 Peter 1.
He gave three grand keys.
1st is the knowledge of God. How can you obtain a knowledge of God? “The apostles says unto them who have obtained through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Equally precious faith; obtained through the knowledge of Him that called them to glory. And how can all this be obtained” As Peter said; Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue: To virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance: to temperance Godliness: then brotherly kindness and finally charity. For if these things abound ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation”
The 2nd Grand Key is in knowing what it is to get your calling and election made sure.
The 3rd key is knowing HOW to make our calling and election sure. “The answer is to obtain a promise from god for myself that I shall have eternal life. And this is accomplished throught he knowledge of Jesus Christ… this is the more sure word of prophecy. And what is the secret? The starting point? “Except a man be born of the water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
Next, to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise which is the testimony of Jesus within himself. And how did Jesus obtain ALL THINGS? Through the knowledge of Him who called him.The almighty God.”
“as Peter said; ” Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.”
What is salvation? Salvation is for a man to triumph over all his foes or be above all enemies even our last enemy which is death through power… Knowledge will do this. And until this is done you will not have obtained salvation.
Further, knowledge must be given to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved. Perhaps there are principles here that few men have thought of.
1 Key- Knowledge is the power of Salvation
2 Key- Make his calling and Election Sure
3 Key- It is one thing to be on the mount & hear the excellent voice &c &c. and another to hear the voice declare to you, you have a part & lot in the kingdom.- [minor changes made in punctuation]
Knowledge is Revelation hear all ye brethren, this grand Key; Knowledge is the power of God unto Salvation.
¶ What is salvation. Salvation is for a man to be Saved from all his enemies even our last enemy which is death and for David Saith, “and the Lord Said unto my Lord ‘Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
The design of God before the foundation of the world was that we should take tabernacles that through faithfulness we should overcome & thereby obtain a resurrection from the dead, in this wise obtain glory honor power and dominion for this thing is needful, inasmuch as the Spirits in the Eternal world, glory in bringing other Spirits in Subjection unto them, Striving continually for the Mastery, He who rules in the heavens when he has a certain work to do calls the Spirits before him to organize them. they present themselves and offer their Services— Therefore, as man is liable t enemies there as well as here it is necessary for him to be placed beyond their power in order to be saved.
There are some things in my own bosom that must remain there. If Paul could say I Knew a man who ascended to the third heaven & saw things unlawful for man to utter, I more. There are only certain things that can be done by the Spirits and that which is done by us that is not done with a view to eternity is not binding in eternity. Oh Peter if they who were of like precious faith with thee were enjoined to make their Calling & Election sure, how much more all we There are two Keys, one key knowledge.
the other make your Calling & election sure, for if you do these things you shall never fall for so an entrance shall be administered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. We made known unto you the power & coming of our Lord & S. J. Christ were Eye witnesses of his Majesty when he received from
God the Father honor & glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy whereunto give heed until the day Star arise in your hearts this is
It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, (this is my beloved Son &c.) & another to Know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own Salvation is making your Calling and Election sure. viz the voice of Jesus saying my beloved thou shalt have eternal life. Brethren never cease strugling until you get this evidence. T Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of Prophecy.
Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject. Notwithstanding the apostle exhorts them to add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc., yet he exhorts them to make their calling and election sure. And though they had heard an audible voice from heaven bearing testimony that Jesus was the Son of God, yet he says we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place. Now, wherein could they have a more sure word of prophecy than to hear the voice of God saying, This is my beloved Son.
Section Six 1843-44, p.298
Now for the secret and grand key. Though they might hear the voice of God and know that Jesus was the Son of God, this would be no evidence that their election and calling was made sure, that they had part with Christ, and were joint heir with him. They then would want that more sure word of prophecy, that they were sealed in the heavens and had the promise of eternal life in the kingdom of God. Then, having this promise sealed unto them, it was an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast. Though the thunders might roll and lightnings flash, and earthquakes bellow, and war gather thick around, yet this hope and knowledge would support the soul in every hour of trial, trouble and tribulation. Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
We made known unto you the power & coming of our Lord & S. J. Christ were Eye witnesses of his Majesty when he received from God the Father honor & glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy whereunto give heed until the day Star arise in your hearts this is
It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, (this is my beloved Son &c.) & another to Know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own Salvation is making your Calling and Election sure. viz the voice of Jesus saying my beloved thou shalt have eternal life. Brethren never cease strugling until you get this evidence. T Take heed both before and after obtaining this more sure word of Prophecy.”
A Prophet hath no Honor in his own country
It is said in the scriptures, a prophet hath no honor in his own country.
It is interesting how we read about the transfiguration of Moses and of Peter James and John and we are awe struck and revere them as great prophets and apostles, then we hear about someone like Lyman Wight who testified of seeing the father and the Son and therefore must have been translated and also received the baptism of fire, yet we brush it off, minimize it and perhaps even question it, instead of holding it up to the light of scripture to see what is really happening.
While I don’t think we should idolize someone like Lyman Wight, I certainly think we need to take special notice of the fact that he attained to a much higher level of spiritual initiation than most seekers do.
Why is it that the truly humble followers of Christ who may not possess the worldly leadership diplomacy and people skills, or the art of intimidation that some leaders successfully used, are not really taken very seriously, while others with great forcefulness in their management style, yet are void of the spiritual gifts, are raised up and idolized by the church membership as great prophets?
It is interesting how the scriptures refer to the act of seeing God and being taught by God as the “mysteries of Godliness”.
I recently heard a speaker refer to the term mystery schools as evolving from the word mysteria which to some connotes a knowledge that cannot be adequately communicated from one man to another, rather, it needs to be personally experienced.
It think that is why the act of seeing God and being taught by him is referred to as the mysteries of God. No matter what is spoken in the human language, nobody can really know God intimately without seeing him. It needs to be personally experienced.
Despite the incredibly enlightening information that came with the accounts of the first vision and the account of the vision known as section 76, a reader can only gain a limited amount of knowledge about God… intellectually about the event… there is no other way than to experience it. This is why Moses tried to get his people to see the face of God.. there is no other substitute for that part of the sanctifying protocol.
I believe people like Joseph smith, Sidney Rigdon and Lyman Wight who have seen the eternal Father, live in a world of their own… One that cannot be adequately described by them to other mortals. I believe they view life from an entirely different context than those who have not been through the fire.
Nevertheless, God can give and take his spirit from people for his own purposes.
The covering of the eyes of the prophets and seers that Isaiah prophesied of, obviously affected Lyman Wight as much as it did Joseph, Sidney, Oliver and the others. He felt the effects of the scapegoat prophecy and he suffered from the darkness that fell upon the Saints after the Saints collectively rejected the fullness of the gospel just like everyone else. Nevertheless, his words and observations should be as worthy of consideration as any of his other brethren of the first laborers of the last kingdom.
Ministering of Christ and Angels is a Patriarchal Priesthood Function
Interestingly, When Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith had the vision of Christ and three messengers at the Kirtland Temple, the Father did not appear to bear witness of Christ.
Of course Joseph Smith had already had his election, confirmation, and sanctification by the highest priesthood. He had had the baptism of Fire and been transfigured at least twice by then.
We are left to wonder if Oliver had already had the appearance of the Father and Son or, if he was simply functioning in a patriarchal, apostolic capacity which may well be limited to the presence of Christ and the ministering of angels.
Is there any reason why the event that took place in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 as recorded in section 110, wherein the restoration of the Gospel of Abraham and the re-institution of the gathering of Israel took place needed anything more than patriarchal priesthood?
Is it possible that the covenant between God and Abraham is a function of patriarchal priesthood? Is there a clue in here for us? (for additional information about how the church was given the gospel of Abraham to take to the nations after the Gentiles rejected the fullness of the Gospel of Christ, click here)
Few people realize that the main floor of the Kirtland Temple was dedicated for the purposes of administrations from Christ and angels to the church and the two lesser. lineage based priesthoods.
The second floor was for the Melchizedek priesthood holders and the school of the prophets. That floor was rarely if ever used prior to the defiling of the temple for obvious reasons.
“Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now..”
Several of Lyman’s brethren who were also called to be High Priests at the Morley Farm and shortly thereafter, were told by the Lord that they were not ready to behold the face of God because of their jealousies and fears.
Apparently they were observing the personal weaknesses of Joseph Smith and being critical of some of the wording in some of the revelations… they began to question some of the revelations he had received.
In section 67, the Lord revealed the secret thoughts of these brethren to prove to them that Joseph was a true prophet and the revelations Joseph Smith had received were of God.
He challenged this group of individuals to identify the wisest among them to construct the best revelation he could and to compare it to the least of the revelations Joseph had brought forth.
The Lord promised that if they would humble themselves they would see God and KNOW that he is.
Since this section is relatively short and so pertinent to this study, I am going to provide it in full;
1 Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hears I know, and whose desires have come up before me.
2 Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.
3 Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you [The Baptism of Fire and beholding the face of God, which was the endowment poured out upon Lyman at the Morley farm]; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.
4 And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you.
5 Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know.
6 Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you;
7 Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true;
8 But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true.
9 For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights.
10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
13 Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen. (D&C 67)
Again, notice that God reiterates what we learned from the Book of Moses and the JST gospel of John, that the natural man cannot see God. One must first be quickened by the spirit of God before being able to see Him.
“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealouslies and fears and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.”
This sobering declaration to Oliver Cowdery and others who had been ordained High Priests informing them that they were not yet worthy to see God or even angels-, reinforces just how remarkable Lyman Wight’s experience really was.
He was truly a chosen vessel among the Saints.
After one comes to the realization of what really happened to Lyman Wight that day, one can more fully begin to appreciate who he is and what his future calling is. For more information about the life of Lyman Wight, click here.
The Three Orders of the Priesthood
In a previous post, after showing that the highest priesthood is bestowed according to the voice of God out of the heavens, following the true manner of baptism as officiated by the patriarchal priesthood, I said that once a sincere seeker reviewed the evidence that there are three orders of the priesthood instead of two, that they will begin seeing additional evidences of this in the scriptures that they have never noticed before.
Things will begin appearing that had not been noticed before.
Shortly thereafter I got a remark from a reader of this blog quoting the words of John the Baptist to Joseph and Oliver. He suggested that if you pay careful attention to the wording, you will see that John was revealing three priesthoods, not two,
“The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first Elder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized. (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:72)
He followed this quote with the following observation,
“Take a close look at the wording of Priesthood of Melchizedek. May I suggest that John the Baptist, ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic, but spoke of them both receiving not one but two higher Priesthoods.
To me it seems when the Melchizedek PH, would be conferred on J and O in DUE TIME, is AFTER them becoming the First and Second Elder of the church. Why do I say this. Hope you noticed the bold words of “due time“. I’ll comment on two linking verses, that might help you understand fully what “due time” is used for. I encourage you to search out any others for yourselves, and take some oil for guidance.
10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11 For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12 Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
13 Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14 Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.“ (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 67:10 – 14)
That was an incredible find by this seeker of hidden treasures!
Keep in mind that the consummation of the highest priesthood of Melchizedek is to receive the baptism of fire and see God!
John the Baptist told Joseph and Oliver that they would be the first and second elders of the church which is clearly referring to the conferral of the patriarchal priesthood by Peter James and John. That priesthood holds the keys of the kingdom in the sense that it administers the saving ordinances of the Gospel which enables a person to enter into the oath and covenant of the Father unto the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism.
Additionally, they were told that they would receive the Melchizedek priesthood, or in other words, they would have the Melchizedek priesthood conferred upon them and SEE THE FACE OF GOD in DUE TIME!
The above passages in section 67 which were given shortly after Oliver had been ordained a High Priest, tells Oliver that he will see the FACE OF GOD IN DUE TIME! This promise from the Lord was a reiteration of the declaration that John had made, that he would receive the Melchizedek priesthood in DUE TIME!
Although Oliver had been conferred a high priest in the order of Melchizedek by revelation under the hand of Joseph Smith, it appears that he had still not been baptized by fire and seen the face of God.
It does not appear as if Oliver did see the face of God before he died, and if that is the case, I believe he will have done so sometime before the end of the 3rd watch when he finishes his calling. THAT is what John the Baptist was referring to when he spoke of receiving the Melchizedek priesthood IN DUE TIME.
Indeed, John the Baptist was speaking of three different priesthoods. The Aaronic priesthood which he bestowed upon Joseph and Oliver, the Patriarchal priesthood which Peter James and John bestowed upon them which made them the first and second elders of the church, and the Melchizedek priesthood which enables one to see the face of God., which they were to receive in the DUE TIME of the Lord.
The patriarchal blessing book of Joseph Smith Sr., of which Oliver Cowdery was scribe, contains Oliver’s description of his and Joseph’s ordination by John the Baptist, in which he notes,
“Our souls were drawn out in mighty prayer, to know how we might obtain the blessings of baptism and of the Holy Spirit according to the order of God.” In other words, the blessings that flow from baptism include the acquisition of [the priesthood after the holy] order of God.
Years later Joseph would give a sermon in which he would clarify what the three orders of the priesthood are. Listed below are two diary entries from two people who were present on that occasion.
I have high-lighted the second of the three priesthoods in both diary passages. Notice the observations that Joseph makes about it during the Nauvoo period when the Church had been renamed the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints” , the patriarchal priesthood had the authority to build the temple, but the Melchizedek priesthood would be required to fill the temple with power!
Additionally, the Abrahamic priesthood which is sometimes referred to patriarchal priesthood (not to be confused with the Gospel of Abraham) is the greatest priesthood power that had been experienced in the current church at that time (the Church of Christ had previously experienced the Melchizedek priesthood in 1831, before the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion resulting in the renaming of the church)
Here is the first diary, listing Melchizedek priesthood first
“3 grand orders of priesthood referred to here.
1st. King of Shiloam–power & authority over that of Abraham holding the key & the power of endless life.–… must sacrifice all to attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life… anointing & sealing–called elected and made sure without father &c. a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods.–and not be descent from father and mother.
2d Priesthood, patriarchal authority finish that temple and God Will fill it with power.
3d Priesthood. Levitical”
Here is the second diary listing Melchizedek priesthood last.
“1st Levitical which was never able to administer a Blessing but Only to bind heavy burdens which neither they nor their father able to bear
2 Abrahams Patriarchal power which is the greatest yet experienced in this church (referring to the “Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints”, not the “Church of Christ” that had been legally organized in 1830)
3d That of Melchisedec who had still greater power even power of an endless life
“2d Priesthood, patriarchal authority finish that temple and god Will fill it with power.”
Each of the three levels or orders of priesthood have been named after some of the great prophets and patriarchs who held them;
- The lesser lineage based priesthood is often referred to as the priesthood of Aaron
- The higher patriarchal priesthood is referenced as the priesthood past down by Abraham or Moses. That is the priesthood that Peter James and John bestowed upon Joseph and Oliver. It contains within it, the apostolic priesthood and the keys to administer all of the earthly ordinances of the fullness of the Gospel.
- The highest priesthood which is not predicated upon a person’s genealogy and therefore does not take into consideration who ones mother and father is, is sometimes called the priesthood of Enoch or Melchizedek. This priesthood can be obtained by a gentile, after one has shown forth faith and magnified one or both of the first two lineage based priesthoods. It is delivered by the voice of God out of the heavens. Although it is not necessary to have in order to govern the church of Christ, it is necessary to establish Zion. This highest priesthood is only attained by experiencing the final spiritual baptisms of “fire” and the “Holy Ghost” which is bestowed by the Father, not by those holding the apostolic priesthood.
How does one distinguish the Aaronic and patriarchal priesthoods from the high priesthood of Melchizedek?
It appears from comments I have received that some people have a serious problem believing that the priesthood restored by Peter James and John was not the highest priesthood that Melchizedek held.
The indoctrination that has taken place during the last four generations has been very strong.
Additionally, I realize that many find it hard to believe that the priesthood restored by Peter James and John was the patriarchal priesthood which is sometimes named after Abraham and Moses.
I have showed several components and characteristics of the Highest priesthood in past articles and will provide a summary later in this last part of the series, however, let us at this time review one of the most powerful statements from Joseph smith that separates with great clarity, one of the most defining outward differences between the two lineage based priesthoods that were restored by angels from the Highest portion of the Melchizedek priesthood that was restored through Gods servant according to the voice of God throught he heavens.
Joseph Smith taught;
“That of Melchizedek who had still greater power even power of an endless life of which was our Lord Jesus Christ which also Abraham obtained by the offering of his son Isaac which was not the power of a Prophet nor apostle nor patriarch only, but of King & Priest to God to open the windows of heaven and pour out the peace & Law of endless Life to man &No man can attain to the Joint heirship with Jesus Christ with out being administered to by one having the same power and authority of Melchizedek.” Words of Joseph Smith 245
The above declaration of Joseph Smith provides yet another witness that the Melchizedek priesthood is greater than the “patriarchal” or “apostolic” priesthood that Peter, James and John restored.
It provides the following characteristics that separate the priesthood of Melchizedek from the two lineage based priesthoods that were restored by angels;
- Melchizedek priesthood gives you power of “endless life”
- Melchizedek priesthood makes you a king and priest unto God
- Mechizedek requires the sacrifice of all things.
- Melchizedek priesthood requires an oath and covenant
Of the items above that Joseph was designating as characteristics of the highest priesthood, the entering into an oath and covenant with the Lord is one of the most significant, defining, recognizable differences between the highest priesthood and the second two.
Perhaps we can illustrate this point using Oliver Cowdery.
He was the second elder and apostle of the restored Church of Christ.
He brought forth many good fruits, using the patriarchal priesthood he received from Peter James and John, back in 1829.
Within this patriarchal priesthood, he was the second elder of the church to receive a calling to the apostleship and co-president of the Church.
He saw Christ in the Kirtland Temple and jointly holds certain keys with Joseph pertaining to the Gospel of Abraham, however, it does not appear from historical accounts that he had offered up the sacrifice of all things. I speculate this because according to historical accounts, Oliver refused to consecrate when the Saints got to Far West and we know from revelation that he was not worthy to see the Father and the Son as of section 72.
Perhaps the most easily distinguishable characteristic between the two lesser lineage based priesthoods that were restored in 1829 and the Melchizedek priesthood that was restored in 1831, is the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.
According to Joseph Smith, the two lesser priesthoods did not require an oath and covenant!
Think about it.
Did Joseph and Oliver have to enter into an oath and covenant for the specific purposes of receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist or the Patriarchal priesthood from Peter, James and John?
The Book of Mormon also teaches that the lesser priesthoods can be administered to people PRIOR to baptism!
PRIOR to taking the pre-baptismal oath!
The account of Christ’s visit to the Nephites in 3rd Nephi teaches that Christ bestowed the apostolic priesthood upon the twelve disciples in America and had them ordain elders priests and teachers BEFORE baptizing any of them! The following passage in Moroni confirms that these priesthood holders entered into the oath and covenant of the Father AFTER receiving the patriarchal/apostolic priesthood,
“And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.” Moro. 6: 1
Joseph and Oliver were able to restore the church of Christ to the earth and dispense the saving ordinances of the Gospel with the priesthood they got from Peter James and john and yet they were not required to enter into the oath and covenant of the priesthood in order to have those two priesthoods confirmed upon them!
Clearly, those two priesthoods did not represent the highest priesthood that Melchizedek held!
So.. let us review this incredible mystery once again… what exactly is the oath and covenant of the Father that enables one to enter into the kingdom and become a priest after the holy order of the Son of God?
As demonstrated in the previous part of this series, the oath is contained in verse 37 of section 20 pertaining to the proper manner of baptism.
The covenant of the Father is the New and Everlasting Covenant of BAPTISM.
Although the term New and Everlasting Covenant has become obscured and misinterpreted during the time of darkness that followed the Kirtland apostasy, in part because of the redefining of the phrase as a result of the Spiritual Wife doctrine, it is critical to understand what the true definition is.
It refers to BAPTISM or the anointed servant that holds the keys of the baptismal ordinance, as previously demonstrated in the scriptures in this series.
To add to the witness of those scriptures, lets take a look at how the term was being used during the LDS restoration movement.
Notice how Joseph Smith used it early in the history of the Church,
[original spelling unaltered]
“18 October 1835 – Sunday
“Sunday 18th attended meeting in the Chapel confirmed several who had been baptised and blessed several childern with the blessing of the new and everlasting covenant Elder Parley P. Pratt preached in the fore noon, and Elder John F. Boynton in the after noon, we had an interesting time“
“1 November 1835 – Sunday
“….I then went to meeting Elder Carrill [JOhn Corrill] preached a fine discourse, in the after noon President [William W.] Phelps continued the servises of the day by reading the 5th chapt. of Mathew also the laws regulating the High Council and made some remarks upon them after which sacrament was administered I then confirmed a number who had been baptised & blessed a number of children in the name of Jesus Christ with the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant, notice was given that the Elders School woud commence on the on the morrow, I then dismissed the meeting,”
It was shown in a previous part of this series that Adam entered into the priesthood after the order of the Son of God which is the priesthood without beginning of days through the new and everlasting covenant of baptism… Even the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost.
If in fact Lyman Wight really was elected by God to be a High Priest, and if in fact he was translated and experienced the baptism of fire, he had to have entered into his oath and covenant BEFORE being ordained a high priest at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
The COVENANT Lyman entered into previous to the Morley Farm experience was the New and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism, the same covenant that Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek and all of the other holy prophets entered into by which they became a priest after the holy order of the Son of God.
The baptism covenant and the oath that is entered into prior to it, requires the candidate to obey all past and future commandments, including the law of the Gospel which requires us to have all things equal and to live the law of consecration.
The corresponding OATH that God makes in return is to give us the PROMISE of eternal life. Once we have obtained the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood, be become possessors of all things with power over all things. In short, we receive all that the Father has.
By sacrificing all things, one gains all things.
At the risk of beating a dead horse with regard to what the process is in obtaining the Melchizedek priesthood, here is a proposed listing of events that must take place in eventually acquiring the fullness of the priesthood,
- exercise faith and repentance when the gospel is preached to you
- receive a remission of your sins through the Spirit of Christ and manifest it in your life.
- make a declaration before witnesses that you are determined to serve Christ to the end.
- be baptized by water and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by one holding the patriarchal priesthood.
- be called by the voice of God out of the heavens
- receive the baptism of Fire & hear the Father & bear witness of the Son
- must be sealed you up to the Holy Spirit which is the Promise of Eternal Life
The Merging of Higher with Highest Priesthoods
One of the reasons that it is so difficult to make a distinction between the higher Patriarchal Priesthood and highest Melchizedek priesthood from reading the scriptures is because there is an almost mystical, cryptic, merging together from the one priesthood to the other if you don’t understand the distinguishing factors between them.
The first two priesthoods are initiated by the will of the mortals and often restored by angels; the third priesthood emerges according to the will of God the Father based on the faith and faithfulness of the mortal candidates. The magnifying of the first two priesthoods morphs into the calling of Gods voice from the heavens.
Let’s review some examples of the mystical merging of these two priesthoods in the written word of God.
Until you realize that the word “sanctified” is synonymous with the highest Melchizedek priesthood, it is difficult to realize the following verse is identifying three priesthoods instead of one;
“And the sons of Moses [patriarchal priesthood] and of Aaron [Aaronic Priesthood] shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, [receive the baptism of fire- Melchizedek Priesthood] upon Mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.
33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, [Aaronic and Patriarchal] and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit [sanctified by the baptism of fire which comes from being elected by the Father to the Melchizedek Priesthood] unto the renewing of their bodies.”
Finally, after identifying the “two priesthoods” (plural) based on the lineage of Moses and Aaron, verse 35 speaks of “the priesthood” (singular) which is the fulness of the priesthood that is bestowed upon those that are elected of God.
“And also all they who receive this priesthood received me, saith the Lord”. ”
See how cryptic that is until these things are understood?
Unless you have a clear understanding of what Melchizedek priesthood is and the descriptives that distinguish it from the other two priesthoods, it is very difficult to identify the existence of the three orders of priesthood in the above passages.
Clearly one can have the first two lineage based priesthoods without becoming Sanctified by the baptism of fire. We see that demonstrated in the events of the LDS foundation movement.
That is what I mean when I say that an elder can hold the keys to the kingdom and can be authorized to provide the saving ordinances that can enable another to eventually become sanctified according to the election of the Father, and yet it is possible for the elder administering the ordinance to never become sanctified himself!
The keys he holds may never facilitate in actuating the magnification of his priesthood and the election from God into the kingdom.
Notice that AFTER they become the sons of Moses and Aaron they are filled with the glory of God and “they become… the elect of God”
Becoming the Elect of God in this context is another descriptive for Melchizedek Priesthood. It refers to the fact that sometime after receiving the two lineage based priesthoods, they are either “called by God” or “elected by God” into the Melchizedek priesthood… into the holy order of the Son of God.
Further, as said before, even after a person enters the gate and is on the narrow path, having received the baptism fire and been sanctified, it is still possible to fall from Grace;
“And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true; And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God”
Now that we know that “sanctification” refers to the baptism of fire and the highest priesthood, it becomes apparent that “justification” refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost and the “showing forth of obedience” is demonstrated by the outward ordinance of baptism by water.
The following passage identifies the three parts of baptism and relates how water, fire and blood correspond with obedience, justification and sanctification;
“For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;”
Let’s now review a few of the distinctions between the three priesthoods,
Melchizedek Priesthood-High Priest
REQUIRES AN OATH AND COVENANT
Abrahamic Priesthood- Apostle, Elder
NO OATH OR COVENANT REQUIRED
Aaronic Prieshood- Priest, Teacher, Deacon
NO OATH OR COVENANT REQUIRED
Water- Obey the commandment
The information in the above tables illustrates a few of the distinguishing characteristics that we have uncovered pertaining to the three divisions of the priesthood as they relate to the three parts of baptism.
Notice how the bottom two priesthoods differ from the highest in that they are lineage based and they do not required an oath and covenant.
Conversely, notice how the top two priesthoods differ from the bottom one in that they are spiritually based priesthoods that have the ability to part the veil, while the lesser priesthood administers the temporal ordinances and carnal commandments.
I apologize for being very repetitive and long winded on several of these concepts throughout this series, but it is difficult to unlearn the traditions of their fathers that have been passed down for four generations without repetition.
Hopefully the part 10 will bring this investigation of the related events of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood to an end.