Three Distinct Churches Representing Three Distinct Gospel Laws
(in the order of when they were established)
Church of Christ
Church of God
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Aaronic Priesthood- pertains to ministering angels
Patriarchal Priesthood- pertains to seeing The Son-
Melchizedek Priesthood- pertains to seeing the Father
144,000 High Priests to be sealed up in Nauvoo
Introduction to Part Ten
One of the significant blessings of understanding the events of the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood and the further clarifications Joseph gave in his sermon about the three orders of priesthood, is that you will begin to see things in the scriptures pertaining to the three orders of priesthood that you have never seen before.
Here is an example.
The following passage in section 84 identifies which priesthood holders should “travel” doing missionary work and which ones are called to remain among their local congregations.
When we read this section in the context of what had previously happened at the Morley Farm and once we understand that there are three orders of the priesthood (and three orders of associated glory (see section 88:29-31)), we can see that God was identifying how the three orders of the priesthood interrelate with each other pertaining to traveling to do missionary work.
Notice how the High Priests, (Melchizedek) Elders (Patriarchal) and “lesser” Priests (Aaronic) are to travel but the remaining officers in the Aaronic priesthood, ie, Teachers and Deacons are to remain among the local congregations and watch over the church,
“And behold, the high priests [Melchizedek priesthood] should travel, and also the elders, [Patriarchal priesthood] and also the lesser priests; [Aaronic priesthood] but the deacons and teachers should be appointed to watch over the church, to be standing ministers unto the church.” (84:111)
Once one begins to see and understand the distinction between the three orders of priesthood, one cannot so easily be fooled into thinking that the Melchizedek priesthood is the 2nd or middle priesthood and that the Patriarchal or Apostolic priesthood is the highest priesthood, or that there are only the two priesthoods that have been restored. (As is currently believed by many fundamentalist and main stream LDS)
Indeed the foundation of LDS Fundamentalism crumbles once the truth about what was originally revealed about priesthood is brought to light.
The false assumption that the patriarchal priesthood office of “Elder”, restored to the earth by Peter, James and John represents the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood has skewed the meaning behind many of the events of the foundation movement.
Is the Patriarchal priesthood of Abraham the highest priesthood?
Clearly it is not.
And therefore, if there is a patriarchal law of multiple wives which functions under the preparatory gospel of Abraham and patriarchal priesthood, it is not as great as, nor part of the celestial law contained in the fullness of the Gospel which is identified in section 42. (which mandates monogamy as pertaining to celestial law It is helpful to remember that the apostate children of Israel who had rejected the higher law practices the carnal commandment of polygamy)
Obviously, God can command a Melchizedek Priesthood holder to do anything he wants to pertaining to Gods work upon the earth. Although it appears to me that Abraham practiced a form of polygamy BEFORE ascending to the highest priesthood of Melchizedek, I don’t see a problem with God commanding anything he wants, after the fact, as well, because the responsibility falls on God at that point.
(The will of God can supersede at any time and can command someone to do something ON BEHALF OF GOD. Nephi is a good example. If he had determined to kill Laban of his own intent and desires, and for his own purposes, he would have been guilty of breaking one of ten commandments and would have been a murderer just like David. And he and would have been subject to the consequences of his actions. However because the spirit of the Lord dictated to him to kill Laban while on Gods’ errand, in behalf of God’s will, Nephi was acting as God’s right hand of judgment. Nephi is not guilty of doing anything wrong… he simply acted as God’s servant on God’s behalf. God is personally responsible for the killing of Laban not Nephi. Needless to say, God falls under his own set of laws and he certainly commanded the killing of many people during Old Testament times.)
The restoration and loss of the fulness of the Melchizedek priesthood explains why there is very little, if any real power in the priesthood amongst anyone who claims to hold the same priesthood power that Melchizedek and Enoch held when in fact they really don’t.
Nevertheless, Joseph Smith’s declaration that all priesthood is Melchizedek provides a great safety net for those making the claim and provides substance for doctrinal lenience for those making the claim in ignorance.
Perhaps one of the most important things about the lessons learned from the Morley Farm experience and Joseph Smith’s discourse on the three orders of the priesthood is that it better prepares us for understanding why our generation of believers is now at the mercy of God sending a deliverer out of Zion and his fellow laborers to call us to repentance, restore the Melchizedek priesthood, and establish Zion. (see Rom. 11: 26 & Isa. 59: 20)
It also enables us to understand what to expect from the true servants of the Lord when they return.
Now we understand why we will need to be baptized.
Now we understand what the true manner of baptism is.
Now we understand how to enter into the oath and covenant of the Father and how critical it is to become sanctified by the baptism of fire and to see the face of God.
An understanding of the incredible light and knowledge bestowed upon the Saints provides answers to the many apparent discrepancies that exist about priesthood.
Three Distinct Churches Representing Three Distinct Gospel Laws
Church of Christ- 1829-30
Church of God- 1831
Church of the Latter-day Saints– 1834
(later changed to Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints 1838)
When the New Testament Church came out of the wilderness, it was called the “Church of Christ”. A few years later, the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored for the first time at the Morley Farm. Revelations received by Joseph Smith began making reference to High Priests constituting the Church of God or, presiding over the Church of God which represented those that were gathered and attempting to live consecration. those revelations indicated that the High Priests of the Church of God always presided in the Church of Christ. When High Priests were not available, Elders would preside.This seemed to demote the patriarchal priesthood authority of the office of Elder, that had previously been presiding in the Church of Christ and dispensing the saving ordinances.
After the church failed in their attempt to gather and consecrate, the rejection of the fulness of the Gospel resulted in the name of Christ being taken out of the name of the Church of Christ. It was changed in 1834, to the Church of the Latter day Saints. Many years later, section 115 prophecied that in the last days, those that gathered and consecrated would be called the Church in Zion, while those who were yet in a scattered and unconsecrated condition would be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. A misunderstanding of this revelation resulted in the Saints taking this name upon themselves prematurely.
Eventually, after a few short decades the entire church rejected the office of high priest as representing the third and highest order of the priesthood. Rather, it was considered an “office” within the same patriarchal priesthood that the office of Elder had been restored, by Peter, James and John. The patriarchal priesthood administering the office of Elder, was eventually considered by many to be synonymous with the Melchizedek priesthood.
We are now beginning to realize what really happened at the Morley Farm and how the key of knowledge pertaining to what really happened, and what the Melchizedek Priesthood really was, was withheld from future generations. It is now becoming apparent why and how the Saints got off track with regard to their understanding of priesthood and the three separate and distinct priesthoods that priesthood offices were restored from.
At the time the Melchizedek priesthood was restored, there was a need for the Lord to reveal how this higher level of priesthood authority interfaced with the existing patriarchal priesthood in the Church of Christ. Up until that time, Elders presided in the Church. Further revelation was needed to clarify how the High Priests were to function in the existing Church.
That clarification was forthcoming.
On November 12, 1831, shortly after the bestowal of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the office of High Priest for the first time in this dispensation, section 70 was given which introduces the phrase, “Church of God” for the first time in modern revelation.
The opening scripture addresses two distinct groups of people;
“Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my church who are afar off, and hear the word of the Lord…”
The above passages are making a distinction between those who have gathered and are attempting to consecrate and redeem Zion vs those who are still in a scattered condition outside of the designated holy places of gathering.
After speaking about those who have been called to be high priests, that have been made stewards over the revelations, he states;
“wherefore, I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the church of God…”
Following that, he again refers to the “inhabitants of Zion” and addresses the issue of the “Lords storehouse” and the “laws of the kingdom“.
He then makes the following pronouncement;
“And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the church of the living God”
He then emphasizes how those who have entered into the higher order which he refers to as the “church of God” must be equal in temporal things or else the “manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld“.
I would submit to you that the term Church of God, (also referred to as the “Church of the living God” (and upon enduring to the end, the “Church of the Firstborn“) which is later revealed in section 72, is a new, distinct, church organization that is being introduced as a result of the endowment of the Highest Melchizedek priesthood and the organization of consecration.
All other churches that are in a scattered and unconsecrated condition are still called the Church of Christ in contemporary revelations of the time!
Eventually, after the Saints fail to redeem Zion and are sent forth to take the preparatory gospel of Abraham to the nations of the world, the Church organization is is renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, which according to the definition given in section 115 means to be in a scattered condition. (my contentions is that section 115 is a prophecy of the future, not the contemporary renaming of the Church of the Latter day Saints)
The tables below provide a brief distinction between the three primary church organizations mentioned in modern revelation along with the governing priesthood associated with each church organization.
The chart shows these three churches in the order in which they were established during the foundation movement,
Church of Christ
(Functions under Patriarchal Priesthood restored in 1829 )
Apostle, Elder- Patriarchal Priesthood
Ordained by angels or by the will of man
Seed of Moses and Abraham
Referred to as “Sons of Moses”
Church of God [the Father]
(Functions under Melchizedek Priesthood restored in 1831)
High Priest- Melchizedek Priesthood
Ordained by the voice of God out of heaven
Without Father or Mother
Referred to as “Sons of God”
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints
(Functions under Aaronic Priesthood restored in 1829)
Priest, Teacher, Deacon- Aaronic Priesthood
Ordained by angels or the will of man
Seed of Aaron and Abraham
Referred to as “Sons of Aaron”
Understanding that there is a distinction in modern revelation between the following three church organizations can can make the distinction between the lesser priesthood, higher priesthood and the highest priesthood easier to comprehend ,
- Church of Christ,
- Church of God
Church of the Latter day Saints
Furthermore, the D&C really comes alive once these concepts are understood.
But more clarification was still needed as to how the newly ordained High Priests were to interface with the existing church structure until Zion could be established.
During the same month that section 70 was given, in November of 1831, another revelation was given and recorded in the Kirtland Revelation Book, whick would eventually be published as Section 107, after recieving various modifications. This revelation gave a detailed explanation of how the High Priests were to fit into the existing Church of Christ while the Saints were attempting to gather, consecrate and redeem Zion. Section 107 incorporates portions of this un-canonized revelation.
Notice how the first paragraph of this revelation addresses the “Church of Christ” in the land of Zion.
Keep in mind that the only name the restored church had been called prior to the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood and the office of High Priest, in modern revelation is the Church of Christ.
Notice also that what the Lord was about to reveal in this revelation pertained specifically to the Church of Christ in the land of Zion, not to the Churches of Christ outside the land of Zion.
Notice also how the Church of Christ in the land of Zion had previously been presided over by presiding elders.
After giving a brief explanation of the priesthood order of the Church of Christ in the land of Zion, the next paragraph informs us that “the High Priesthood is the greatest of all“.
It then introduces, along with section 70 given the same month, for the first time in this dispensation, the phrase, “Church of God“;
“To the church of Christ in the land of Zion in addition to the Church Laws respecting church business verily I say unto you saith the Lord of Hosts there must needs be presiding Elders to preside over those who are of the office of a priest and also teachers over those who are of the office of a teacher and also the Deacons wherefore from Deacon to Teacher and from Teacher to Priest and from Priest to Elder severally as they are appointed according to the Covenants. Then cometh the High Priesthood which is the greatest of all… for this is the highest council of the church of God, and a final decision upon controversies in spiritual matters
[Notice how the term “greatest” is used again, referring to the Highest or Greatest Priesthood and the office of High Priest. Remember in section 50 how the term was used;
“..he that is ordained OF GOD [Melchizedek Priesthood] and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, not withstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father through Jesus Christ his Son.
But no man is possessor of all things except he is purified and cleansed from all sin.”]
wherefore it must needs be that one be appointed of the high Priesthood to preside over the Priesthood and he shall be called President of the high priesthood of the Church or in other words the presiding high Priest over the high priesthood of the Church from the same Cometh the administering of ordinances and blessings  upon the church…:”
As you can see, in this revelation, the Lord is actually annexing the newly restored Melchizedek priesthood into the existing Churches of Christ living in the land of Zion to preside over the highest priesthood and to preside over the administering of ordinances and blessings.
To read the rest of this remarkable revelation and make comparisons between the different versions of it Click here
Once you realize that modern revelation references three distinct churches presided over by three distinct priesthoods and three distinct priesthood laws, the depth, beauty and clarity of what is being communicated in modern revelation is greatly enhanced.
The Straight and Narrow Path
The acquisition of the highest priesthood of Melchizedek appears to be synonymous with getting through the gate onto the path.
One might assume that the purpose of the straight and narrow path is to get us to the gate, however, it appears that it is entrance into the gate that gets us to the straight and narrow path.
Perhaps finding ones way to the gate is possibly not as difficult as discerning the truth, submitting ones self to the ordinances and getting through the gate and onto the path.
Once the gospel is preached to someone, they simply make the choice to enter into the oath and covenant of the Father and accept baptism of water followed by the “gift of the Holy Ghost”.
Those two ordinances can be administered by an elder in the patriarchal priesthood… although it appears that the first laborers of the last kingdom will be High Priests having the fullness of the priesthood when they return. (Although they are apostles, they will be High Priest with the fullness of the priesthood also.)
After the baptism of water and the invitation to receive the Holy Ghost, you are then standing at the gate knocking.
Again, it appears that once the gift of the Holy Ghost is received, you stand knocking at the gate.
At this point, you are totally at the mercy of the father and the Son to grant your request.
It is up to the Father, acting through his son the mediator, to call or elect you to the highest priesthood by letting you through the gate via the calling of his voice out of heaven and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.
Once you are through the gate, you are on the straight and narrow path which leadeth to eternal life.
Again, using Lyman Wight as an example, he immediately responded to the gospel message in 1830 and made the choice to show his faith and commitment to Christ by making his oath and being baptized. He received a remission of his sins and undoubtedly enjoyed the intermittent reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost which gave him greater revelation
Within about 18 months, because of the desires of his heart, his faith and his love of the Lord which produced good fruits, he was called (and as eventually verified in section 124, elected) to the highest priesthood by the voice of God out of the heavens.
It appears that baptism of water and fire represents one’s entrance into the gate to the strait path,
“Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
One reason I suspect that baptism by water AND fire represent entry into the gate is because in the 2nd chapter of Nephi 9 we are told to repent and be baptized, then several chapters later we are told that entry into the gate only takes place after the Holy One admits us in. I believe that the act of the keeper of the Gate letting us in, is referring to the bestowal of the fire, which sanctifies us and allows us to see God.
The following passages assure us that the wise and learned and rich who are puffed up cannot fool him.
And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.
Wherefore, he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him.
For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.
But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
41 …..O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
42 And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
I believe the above passages are referring to the process of being obedient to the commandment to be baptized by water while exercising faith. That is the process of knocking that the above passages refer to.
Notice that it is Christ himself that must open the gate, which I believe is done by sending the gift of the holy Ghost, followed by the baptism of fire as one is receptive to the preliminary gift of the Holy Ghost.
Patriarchal Sees the Son- Melchizedek Priesthood Sees the Father
One of the things that had occurred to me pertaining to the work of the Father and the priesthood of the Father is that the 2nd priesthood which was restored by Peter James and John, was able to dispense the saving ordinances of the gospel and commune with Christ, but the highest priesthood, enables the recipient to see BOTH the Father and Son and have the Father bear testimony of the Son. That is one of the amazing things we learn from the restoration of the highest priesthood at the Morley Farm.
As this distinction began to become more clear in my mind it occurred to me that according section 76 there are three degrees of glory and that each degree was associated with the privilege of being in the presence of one of the members of the Godhead.
|Those who inherit the Telestial Glory as a result of living Telestial Law– Enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit: “These are they who receive… the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial world…and also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them…’ (86-88)|
Those who inherit the Terrestrial Glory as a result of living Terrestrial law- Enjoy the presence of the Son: “And again we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial… These are they who receive of his glory but not of his fullness, these are they who receive the presence of the son, but not of the fullness of the father.” 71-77
Those who inherit the Celestial Glory as a result of living Celestial law- Enjoy the presence of and equality with the Father: “And thus we saw the glory of the Celestial, which excels in all things- where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever… they who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fullness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion” (92-95)
There ARE higher laws and lesser laws
Section 88 clarifies that there are three LAWS associated with the three degrees of glory spoken of in section 76. We are clearly informed that the Law of Christ represents Celestial Law.
It is very clear in the scriptures that the Celestial Law of the Fulness of the Gospel is a higher law than Terrestrial Law and Telestial Law. Celestial Law clearly leads to a Celestial Glory which is higher than the Terrestrial Glory or the Telestial Glory.
Please notice the wording in section 88,
“…bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.” Section 88
There are those who choose to believe that there are no “higher” or “lower” laws however, that assumption is clearly false. There are higher and lesser laws that result in higher and lesser glories.
As stated in section 88, those that accept and live the “Law of Christ” will inherit the celestial glory. Those that live one of the lower laws will inherit a lower or lesser glory.
The Law of Zion
It is absurd to think that the law Moses that was revealed to the children of Israel is not a lesser law compared to the law of the Gospel. .
Modern revelation specifically speaks of “gospel law”, “celestial law” and the “law of Zion” as being a law that clearly leads to a higher glory.
Notice the following verses from section 105,
“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.”
“That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws.”
“And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.”
Some would suggest that since the exact phrase “higher law” is never used in the scriptures that the various gospel laws must not represent laws that are higher or lesser laws compared to each other.
The fact that the exact phrase “higher law” or “lesser law” is not specifically used in scripture certainly doesn’t negate the truthfulness of the doctrine taught in section 88 and so many other places in Gods holy and infallible word. Such logic is very questionable.
The doctrine of the “rapture” is believed by many Christians is a true doctrine even though the word “rapture” is never used in the scriptures. Yet the word rapture simply is a term that has been used by some divisions of Christianity to refer to an event wherein the Saints are “caught up” to meet Christ in the clouds, it is mentioned multiple times in the Bible and modern revelations. The doctrine is true despite the fact that a term often used to describe it is not in the scriptures.
Paul tells us that the law [of Moses] was given as a school master to lead us to faith.
“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Is it not clear from those verses that the preparatory “schoolmaster” law is a lesser law that leads us to the higher law of Faith?
The inspired version informs us that the first law that Moses was going to give to the children of Israel had a “priesthood” and a “holy order” that the second law did not have. He describes the second law as the “law of carnal commandments“;
“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.
But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai”,
Can anyone really believe that the “law of carnal commandments” is the only law that God has ever given or that it is equal with every other law that has ever been given? Is not the Law of the Gospel as separate law? Is it not a higher law than the law of carnal commandments?
Is not the law of faith and mercy a higher law that transcends the law of carnal commandments?
Apparently the Book of Mormon teaches that the law of mercy and the law of justice are not the same laws nor are they equal to each other. Apparently mercy can overpower the law of justice… does that not make it a higher law?
“And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.”
Is there not a law associated with priesthood?
Are there not three different divisions of priesthoods with three divisions of laws associated with them?
Section 84 tells us the “lesser priesthood” pertains to the “preparatory gospel”… is the preparatory gospel not a division of gospel law?
“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.”
The D&C informs us that the gospel of Jesus Christ is a LAW which includes consecration. This is a higher law than what was given to the Children of Israel.
“Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;”
“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”
A term used in the D&C to designate a HIGHER LAW is “Celestial Law”
“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; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.” 105:4-5
The inspired version tells us that there is definitely a difference between the carnal law of Moses and Gospel Law;
“For the law was after a carnal commandment, to the administration of death; but the gospel was after the power of an endless life, through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.” JST John 1:1-34
Is it a far stretch to assume that the law that leads to eternal life is a higher law than the one that leads to death?
From scripture we learn there are three general laws that result in the three glories that will be inherited after this probationary experience. No, these three laws are not equal and yes, some are higher while others are lesser laws.
It is interesting to note that there are three divisions of the Godhead that seem to coincide with the three divisions of priesthood and the three laws pertaining to three glories.
One might even postulate the possibility that the three aspects of baptism may interrelate in this scenario,
Triumvirates within the Gospel
|Melchizedek- Highest||Abrahamic- Higher||Aaron- Lesser|
|Celestial Glory||Terrestrial Glory||Telestial Glory|
|Presence of the Father||Presence of the Son||Presence of the Holy Ghost|
|Blood- Sanctification||Spirit- Justification||Water- Commandment|
|Church of the First Born||Church of Christ||Church of JC of LDS|
The above three columns are given to illustrate a pattern of three’s in the gospel plan. Some components may not apply in the literal sense. I suspect that other components could be added as well, whether typological or literal in their connection.]
The thought that the Church of Christ that was initially restored to the earth by Peter James and John represented a lesser law of the Gospel until one becomes consecrated and “elected” by the Father to receive the highest priesthood was an amazing possibility to me and it seemed to connect some of the dots.
All of the sudden, I began to see a little more clearly why Lyman Wight felt that the Book of Commandments that was used by the Church of God, represented Celestial Law and the Doctrine and Covenants that was used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints represented telestial Law.
As mentioned in previous articles and parts of this series, once the Saints failed at consecration, were forced out of Jackson County, defiled the Kirtland Temple, failed to redeem Zion at the appointed time and fled from Kirtland a great transition took place in the church.
Among them was yet another name change for the church.
When it appeared that the scattered church of Christ was unable to live the higher law, the Lord then designated those who remained in a scattered condition as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints;
“Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints”……………..…. Telestial Law
“Church of Christ” …………………………………………….…….Terrestrial Law
“Church of God [the Father]” or “Church of the Firstborn”…Celestial law
144,000 High Priests to be sealed up in Nauvoo
The Lord revealed the priesthood by hand through Elijah the Restorer
Those of you who have read my “behold the time has fully come” paper will remember that I observed about 8 different variations of the Malachi prophecy from the D&C, inspired version, the words of ministering angels and the words of Joseph Smith. I then used them to create an amalgamated version of the prophesy that looked something like this;
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, who is to restore all things before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
And during the 2nd watch he shall first plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and in the 3rd watch the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers and he will bind and seal the heart of the Prophets to the Jews, and the heart of the Jews to the Prophets, in preparation for when I come and smite the earth with a curse. If it were not for the return of Elijah the restorer, the whole earth, including the righteous would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Amalgamation and interpretation of the text of the prophecy in Mal 4 by the Watcher.. changes in red)
I love the amalgamated version of Malachi’s prophecy which is made possible from further light and knowledge that the restored gospel provides!
I must say, that the passages above took on greater significance to me after I began this current obsession in trying to understand the events associated with the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood that took place at the Morley Farm.
Although there are multiple fulfillments with many types and shadows of the above prophecy, I firmly believe that to date, the events at the Morley Farm represent the most literal fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi.
Joseph Smith, acting in the spirit and calling of Elijah the Restorer, revealed the Melchizedek priesthood as Gods anointed servant, from the calling of God’s voice out of heaven. The calling and election of 23 High Priests that day at the Morley Farm represented the revealing of the priesthood by hand! The very first high priest to be ordained was Lyman Wight… He was ordained by hand.
The ordination by the laying on of hands represented the revealing by hand!
Those of the 23 that were faithful, eventually did or will receive the other comforter as a constant companion sealed into their hearts!
Truly the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood resulted in the delay of the great curse of God going forth in the earth! I believe the delay of the curse was to last four generations and I believe those four generations are coming to an end! The last warning and associated judgment of those living in the Promised Land is about to take place.
The great work that began during the 2nd watch was hindered, therefore, the fulfillment of the prophecy in the passages above has not been fulfilled to the fullest….when Joseph and the other laborers return, the priesthood will be restored to those from who it had been lost. (see section 113).
In fact, the application of this prophecy to the future, and to the sealing of the 144,000 is implied in the August 13 discourse as he follows up after that prophecy with this one;
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the Seal of the living God and he cried &c. sayin[g] Hurt not the Earth nor sea nor trees
till we have sealed the servants of our Go in their foreheads.—”
As you can see, the curse does eventually go forth, but not until AFTER the calling of the 144,000 high priests.
The prophet goes on in the discourse to tease his listeners about the mysterious meaning of the word “seal” mentioned in Revelation 7,
“What is the seal spoken of in Rev 7-3 find it out if you can I will not reveal it now but will drop an idea that I have never revealed concerning Election connected with the sealing of the servants of God in the fore or top of the head…”
“What is the object of this important mission or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the saints of God gathered, Zion built up and the saints to come up as saviours on Mount Zion!” Jan 21 44
From the above three statements from Joseph Smith we learn this about the sealing of the 144,000 High Priests,
1-Keys delivered (by Peter James and John)
2- the Spirit of Elijah comes (the Lord reveals and restores the Melchizedek Priesthood)
3- The Saints Gathered (to Zion )
4- Zion is built up (those living receive their election and then do work for the dead so they can come forth)
5- Saints to come up as Saviours on Mount Zion (all 144,000 of the living and dead all come forth and be quickened and sealed )
“if you are not one you are not mine”
Regarding the variations I found that enabled me to create the composite, or amalgamated passage above, I was recently reviewing the Joseph Smith Nauvoo discourses and came across yet another variation of the Malachi prophesy that provides even more enlightenment., Look what Joseph Smith said in a discourse given on August 13th 1843;
“I will send Elijah the prophet and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers that they may have the privilege of entering into the same covenant with each other in order to effect the mutual salvation lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse”
I have mentioned in a few posts that there seems to be two levels or characterizations of salvation mentioned in the scriptures, “personal salvation” and “group salvation”. (or mutual salvation)
“Personal salvation” is the personal acquisition of faith repentance, baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost which cleanses a person from sin and enables a person to enter into a covenant that makes a person one with Christ and God.
“Group Salvation”, or as Joseph Smith puts it, “mutual salvation” is simply the merging together into “one”, everyone who has become one with Christ. Obviously, if I become one with Christ, and you have become one with Christ, we would both be one with each other in the collective body of Christ. According to modern revelation this requires consecration.
It should therefore not surprise us that as part of celestial law, there are provision for the Saints to organize themselves into a united, consecrated state… merging individual salvation into group salvation.
I find Joseph Smiths statement with regard to “mutual salvation” very interesting in that context.
But mutual salvation is not just speaking about the law of consecration within Gospel Law which requires those within a given time period to spiritually and temporally become “one”, it also has to do with the linking together of people from all dispensations. It binds together the patriarchal fathers with their posterity. It seals our patriarchal fathers such as Abraham, Issac, Jacob and all of the great prophets such as Enoch, Elijah and Moses to those of the Saints in the last generation of time.
This is why Joseph Smith quoted Hebrews,
“And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.“
Interestingly, the verse in Hebrews that JS was quoting in 1841 has been deleted from the JS translation of the Bible.
Why would Joseph Smith quote a scripture in 1841 that he supposedly had removed a decade earlier while doing the inspired version of the Bible?
Obviously he didn’t remove it. It appears that perhaps someone involved in the RLDS movement, that does not believe in the principle Joseph revealed pertaining to proxy work may have done that.
The doctrine that we are connected to our patriarchal fathers has always been central to Mormonism.
It is the tight link between the ancients and those living in the dispensation of the last times and the fullness of times that initiated the return of Abraham, Moses and Elijah and the delivering of priesthood keys in the Kirtland Temple in 1836.
Notice the following verse given a few years prior to section 128. After admonishing the Saints to document the wrongs committed by the heads of government upon the latter day Saints so that the Saints would be justified in calling the Lord forth out of his hiding place, the prophet observes that we have a duty to God ANGELS and their families,
“That we may not only publish to all the world, but present them to the heads of government in all their dark and hellish hue, as the last effort which is enjoined on us by our Heavenly Father, before we can fully and completely claim that promise which shall call him forth from his hiding place; and also that the whole nation may be left without excuse before he can send forth the power of his mighty arm.
It is an imperative duty that we owe to God, to angels, with whom we shall be brought to stand, and also to ourselves, to our wives and children, who have been made to bow down with grief, sorrow, and care, under the most damning hand of murder, tyranny, and oppression, supported and urged on and upheld by the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity.” (section 123)
Why is there an obligation to ANGELS in being able to call forth the Lord out of his hiding place?
Because Abraham and Enoch and Elijah and all of our ancestors up in the city of Enoch that will be returning with Christ are dependent upon our salvation for their own salvation!
They are the angels being spoken of. They are the angels we will be called upon to make an accounting to.
Notice the other two comments made by Joseph Smith about connecting the fathers to the children through the covenants which were made in two separate sermons in 1843..
“The world is reserved unto burning in the last days. He shall send Elijah the prophet, and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children, and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers.”11
History of the Church, 5:530; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Aug. 13, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards.
“How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. … Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.” History of the Church, 5:555; paragraph divisions altered; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Aug. 27, 1843, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Willard Richards and William Clayton.
As you can see, the New and Everlasting Covenant pertaining to Baptism that has been broken, even the New and Everlasting Covenant that was from the beginning, that enabled Father Adam to enter into the holy order, needs to be revealed again to this last generation by Elijah the restorer… even the Seer Joseph Smith.
One of the themes of a previous post in this series had to do with the excruciating declaration that the highest portion of the Melchizedek priesthood became lost before the Saints arrived in Nauvoo. Then, after failing to complete the Temple and Nauvoo House, they finally had to flee Nauvoo.
I realize how devastating that possibility must be to some of you who had not already come to that conclusion and I suspect that some of you have rejected that supposition or at least put it on the shelf, so to speak.
Part of that supposition is that the highest portion of Melchizedek priesthood that was restored at the Morley Farm in 1831 was lost some time on or before September 11th 1836 which was the appointed time for the establishment of Zion.
Once we get done reviewing what the Lord has said, so many times, in so many ways, about the absolute necessity of living this law, you will better understand why the greater light and higher law had been rejected by those who sat in darkness during the Kirtland years. it was game, set and match before the Saints left Kirtland.
On July 16 1843 the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a discourse on the “Law of the Priesthood”. Unfortunately we do not have many lengthy notes on what he said however, he made the following statement about the purpose of the Nauvoo Temple and the future role of Nauvoo;
“I can not reveal the fullness of these things until the Temple is completed. The necessity of the Temple is that the servants of God may be sealed in their foreheads… the four angels spoken of in the scripture are not permitted to destroy the earth till it was done”
Clearly, if the re-restoration of the fullness of the priesthood which had been lost, was predicated on the completion of the Temple, it is congruent to find that, that is where the 144,000 High Priests will be sealed up.
Interestingly, this sermon is where he made the following observation about himself being replaced as the prophet of the church;
“I will not prophesy anymore. Hyrum holds the office of Prophet to the Church by birthright and I am going to have a reformation and the saints must regard Hyrum for he has authority. Hyrum should be the prophet. I did not tell you I was going to be a Priest now, nor a King, but by and by..”
Of course his amazing pronouncement was fulfilling the prophecy in a previous section about how he might pick a successor before his death under a very specific circumstance….
There was quite and uproar in the church over his statement. In the sermon he gave a week later he tried to calm the people down with some very interesting remarks. Among them, he acknowledged;’
“Although I was called by Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of His revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times.”
During a sermon given the following month Joseph would drop another hint pertaining to his calling as the atonement sacrifice which is mentioned in Leviticus 16
He would remind the Saints that he had previously been given the promise of eternal life and that what he was currently going through had to do with sinning outwardly while contemplating the things of God inwardly, as if the sins of the people had been put upon him;
. “I [Joseph Smith] prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot ever overthrow or overcome this boy, for I have a promise from the eternal God. If I have sinned, I have sinned outwardly; but surely I have contemplated the things of God.” August 27, 1843. HC 5:554
I suspect these words may have had something to do with the scapegoat doctrine springing fourth out of atonement statute and the atonement the Joseph made in behalf of the Saints in Kirtland. The sins of Israel had fallen upon brother Joseph and among other things, his passions were running wild, not because of his base nature but because, after having become sanctified before the Lord, (see section 88:1-5) he became an atonement offering along with brother Sidney and others… which required him to become an offering without blemish.
He went on to acknowledge:
“Last Monday morning certain men came to me and said: Brother Joseph, if you resign Hyrum can’t lead the Church, he is no prophet. You must lead the Church…”
He then went on a long discourse showing that the priesthood of Aaron was a linear priesthood. He quoted the bible;
“And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office…. And thou shalt anoint them as thou dist anoint their father that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generation.”
It appears that with the understanding that the highest Melchizedek priesthood had been lost in Kirtland and the higher priesthood that oversees the fullness of the gospel had been lost a when the Saints failed to complete the Nauvoo temple, Joseph was now showing forth that in fulfillment of the prophecy that the time would come when he would need to call another to lead the church and be responsible for holding the oracles of God (revelations), he was now showing that the legal heir to preside over the Church by Aaronic priesthood lineage was his brother Hyrum.
This concludes our detailed study of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood at the Special conference at the Morley Farm and associated events. Among other things, it has revealed the following ten things,
1- Revealing of the Oath: The Oath contained in the Oath and Covenant of the Father as mentioned in section 84 refers to the pre-baptismal declaration made before witnesses as contained in section 20:37. This practice has been discontinued in the church. It –established when the Servants return.
2- Revealing of the Covenant: The covenant of Baptism which includes the baptism of water, fire and Holy Ghost is the covenant referred to in the oath and covenant of the priesthood as mentioned in section 84. Since the proper manner of baptism and proper priesthood is in question, this may account for the fact that virtually no one in this generation is currently experiencing the fullness of the baptism of fire and the holy Ghost resulting in the entering into the gate and the priesthood after the Holy Order of God.
3- Purpose of the Melchizedek Priesthood: The Melchizedek priesthood which is the third and highest order of the priesthood was restored to the earth at the Morley farm for the purpose of sanctifying the Saints, enabling them to see the Father and the Son and entering into the gate of the kingdom through the baptism of water, fire and Holy Ghost. It holds the keys of the mysteries of Godliness. It is required in order to establish and redeem Zion. It was lost shortly after it was restored however it will be restored to the earth again when the first elders of the last kingdom return.
4- Distinguishing Characteristics of the Melchizedek Priesthood: The Melchizedek Priesthood differs from the other two lineage based priesthoods that were restored by angels in 1829, in that a) it requires an oath and covenant, b) It makes the candidate a “possessor of all things” with power over giving them power over all other spirits, “the spirits shall be subject unto you” c) it is not a lineage based priesthood. It is without beginning of days or end of years.
5- Three Churches Modern revelation identifies three separate and distinct church organizations that were established during the foundation movement. Additionally, there seems to be a related priesthood and law for each of the three churches.
6- Blindness, Conspiracy and Cover up; The details of this miraculous event have been overlooked, misunderstood, misinterpreted, ignored and covered up. The church continues to teach that the two priesthoods restored in 1829 are the only two priesthoods restored during Joseph Smith’s ministry and that the Melchizedek Priesthood is simply an “office” within the priesthood restored by Peter James and John.
7- Rejection of the Fulness of the Gospel by the Gentiles: The rejection of the greater light of the fullness of the Gospel and related failure of the Saints to redeem Zion by the appointed time and the loss of the fullness of the priesthood which took place during the time leading up to the defilement of the Kirtland Temple in 1836 resulted in the fulfillment of the prophecy in the Book of Mormon that the Gentiles would reject the fullness of the Gospel
8– Rejection of the Higher Law: When the Saints ultimately rejected and failed to live the fullness of Gospel Law (Celestial Law) as contained in section 42 (which mandates monogamous marriage), the Lord sent ministering angels to restore the Gospel of Abraham in 1836. The gospel of Abraham represents a lesser gospel law than the Gospel of Christ. If the restoration of the Gospel of Abraham resulted in the restoration of the patriarchal law of multiple wives for the purpose of raising seed, it did not represent the celestial law contained in section 42. It was a lesser law of marriage than the one documented in section 42. Yes… there are higher and lesser laws!
9- The Abrahamic Covenant: After the failure of the Saints to redeem Zion by the appointed time and their rejection of the fullness of the Gospel, the Gospel of Abraham was restored to the earth. This event represented the remembering of God’s Covenant with Abraham and his Seed. The church established foreign missions and began taking the gospel of Abraham which is the preparatory gospel, to the nations of the earth. America is the land that God gave to the seed of Abraham and Jacob in the latter days. This missionary work to the descendents of Abraham continues through the Latter day Saint missionaries to this present day.
10- Restoration of the fullness of the priesthood: The fullness of the Gospel containing the oath and covenant of the priesthood contained in the proper authority and manner of baptism will be restored to the earth when the first laborers of the last kingdom return in the 3rd watch to gather out the elect and bring judgment upon the world. We need to prepare our hearts and our minds to receive the fullness of the everlasting gospel when the Servants of God return to reestablish the everlasting covenant which has been broken.
In my opinion, the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood at the Morley Farm in 1831 is very possibly the greatest single spiritual endowment that took place during the 14 year public ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith… Greater than the restoration of the first two priesthoods by angels, greater than the vision known as section 76, greater than the Pentecostal endowments given in the Kirtland Temple and greater than the restoration of priesthood keys spoken of in section 110. Perhaps it is greater than all of them combined with regard to the impact in had on the church at that time and most of the revelations that followed it. And also with regard to what is going to take place in the 3rd watch.
It provides a critically important context from which to understand most of the revelations from section 52 and those that followed. Conversely, without a knowledge of this most important event, everything that took place after the special conference becomes skewed and very difficult to understand.
Praise the Lord God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Praise the Lord God Jesus Christ for laboring with his children on this earth and for his long suffering and patience with us.
Praise the Lord God for preparing Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Spokesman and Lyman Wight, even Baneemy, the Wild Ram of the Mountains and others for their mission when they will return to participate in the great and marvelous work and a wonder.