In a recent video I pointed out that John the Baptist (who is Elijah the prophet from the Old Testament) visited Joseph and Oliver to restore the keys of the “Priesthood of Aaron” as documented in section 13 and that this fulfilled the following prophecy of Moroni who modified a prophecy in Malachi:
“I will reveal unto you the priesthood by the hand of Elijah the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord..”
Indeed, the Priesthood of Aaron, as used in the context of section 13, is the patriarchal priesthood of Abraham which is also referred to as the evangelical priesthood. It is the priesthood of the promise that God gave to Abraham that his posterity would bless the nations of the earth by taking the gospel to them.
With this understanding, it now makes sense that Elijah (John the Baptist) appeared to Joseph and Oliver again seven years later as documented in section 110, to declare that the prophetic promises in the book of Malachi, including the promise that he, Elijah would reveal the priesthood BY HAND, had now all been fulfilled.
After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.
After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
Clearly, the turning of the hearts of the ancient fathers such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob towards us and us towards them is making reference to the ancient promise that Abraham’s posterity would bless the nations with the gospel.
In that video I said I would address the visitation of Peter James and John in the context of John the Baptist’s visit. Due to the dementia and attention deficit that I suffer from, I never did address the issue very much. Aging prematurely is a real pisser!
Anyway, I will address this topic now.
Admittedly, we have precious little information about the mysterious visitation of Peter James and John. Nevertheless I am going to share my latest speculation on this topic
Oliver Cowdery was quoted as saying:
“I was also present when the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood . . . was conferred by the holy angel from on high.”
This testimony from Oliver of course is somewhat confusing to some people because the corporate church construes certain revelations pertaining to Peter James and John as implying that all three of them appeared to Joseph and Oliver to ordain them. The testimony that it was a single angel is somewhat disruptive to the storyline given by the corporate church, nevertheless, I accept Oliver’s account, not the storyline of the corporate church.
On another occasion, in 1846, Oliver Cowdery once again reaffirmed that it was just one angel that conferred the higher priesthood and he identified who it was:
“I have been sensitive on this subject [his character], I admit; but I ought to be so–you would be, under the circumstances, had you stood in the presence of John, with our departed Joseph, to receive the Lesser Priesthood–and in the presence of Peter, to receive the Greater, and look down through time, and witness the effects these two must produce.–you would feel what you have never felt, were wicked men conspiring to lessen the effects of your testimony on man, after you should have gone to your long length rest.”
According to Oliver Cowdery, it was Peter that appeared and did the ordination.
I personally find this to be very beautiful and consistent with the New Testament narrative:
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
It was Peter that held the keys of the kingdom. It was Peter that came and ordained Joseph and Oliver to an office in the pertaining to the highest priesthood. I realize that Joseph stated that the rock being spoken of was the “rock of revelation” and that is true, HOWEVER, the keys spoken of, that result in obtaining revelation are very real and they were given to Peter, who clearly understood that he would eventually need to pass those keys on to another. Peter understood that the keys needed to pass from the kingdom of Judah to the kingdom of Israel, as noted by Peter in the first chapter in Acts:
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
Clearly Peter plays an integral role in the restoration movement. Joseph identified Peter as the angel flying in the midst of heaven, relative to the 2nd watch, and according to some accounts, it was Peter that appeared in the Kirtland Temple to accept the temple at the beginning of the week, prior to the Lord accepting the House at the beginning of the following week.
We know from the testimony of Joseph and several others that the Melchizedek priesthood was not restored to the earth by the voice of God out of heaven until June of 1831, at the special conference at the Morley Farm.
So what exactly was the purpose of Peter’s visit which apparently took place sometime between the visit of John the Baptist and the special conference at the Morley Farm?
I am going to suggest that the ordination or confirmation that took place, that apparently had to do with transferring the keys of the kingdom to descendents from the Kingdom of Israel, or being ordained to the apostleship, or both, represented a preliminary ordinance that was predicated upon a ratification taking place in a future event.
This principle of a preliminary ordination followed by a final ratification was clearly expounded upon by Oliver Cowdery when he and David Whitmer ordained the quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835. This is what he said to them.
“… Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination 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 Savior in former days laid His hands on His disciples, why not in latter days?
As you can see, God often calls people to positions with a preliminary ordination but their actual calling becomes ratified at a later time, predicated on faith and faithfulness. Oliver was explaining to these newly called apostles that even though they are recieving this preliminary ordination and calling, it would not be fully complete until they got a final ordination from Christ.
In the case of the quorum of the Twelve that were called and ordained in 1835, the Lord later acknowledged in 1837 that they were still not converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
And pray for thy brethren of the Twelve. Admonish them sharply for my name’s sake, and let them be admonished for all their sins, and be ye faithful before me unto my name.
13 And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.
Almost exactly one year later, while the Twelve were still unconverted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord gave them a limited commission to depart and go over the great waters and promulgate the gospel and testify of the name of Christ.
Clearly these unconverted apostles were only qualified to testify of the NAME of Christ. They were not qualified to testify of Christ because they had not yet been visited by him and had the fulness of the calling ratified.