In part one of this series I focused primarily on making the distinction between the office of Priesthood and Patriarch that Hyrum Smith was called to, and the spiritual gifts of being a prophet, seer and revelator which he was appointed to seek.
The next topic I want to address has to do with the term “office of Priesthood and Patriarch“.
Section 124 informs us that Hyrum was appointed to the office of Priesthood and Patriarch by his father by blessing and by right.
91 And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as counselor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right;
92 That from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,
The term “priesthood and patriarch” in the above passage could be interpreted two different ways.
One interpretation is to assume that the “office of Priesthood and patriarch”, represented one office and that Joseph Smith Sr. held the same singular office. Such an interpretation creates somewhat of a dilemma since the term never shows up anywhere in the four standard works.
Another way to interpret it, is that Hyrum was being appointed to two separate and distinct offices. The “Office of Priesthood” required him to be appointed by “blessing” while the “Office of Patriarch” was appointed by lineal “right”.
If it is true that Hyrum was being given a duel appointment, the office of priesthood by blessing and the office of patriarch by right, we must beg the question, what is the “office of priesthood”?
I would suggest that the answer to that becomes apparent by researching what office or offices Joseph Smith Sr. held before he died. Was he simply the church Patriarch, or did he hold another office?
Here are a few excerpts from a document produced by historian and researcher H. Michael Marquardt
Patriarchal Blessings pronounced by Joseph Smith, senior, a Patriarch, and President of the high priesthood in the church of the Latter Day Saints, organized on the 6th of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and thirty, upon his children, assembled at the house of his son Joseph, on the 9th day of December, 1834, at a feast prepared for that purpose.
Joseph Smith Sr. was the President of the High Priesthood as well as the Patriarch of the church as of December 9 1834.
It may seem strange and inconsistent that Joseph Smith was replaced by his father as the President of the High Priesthood, but I am not suggesting that to be the case. I am suggesting that Joseph Smith Sr. was the president of the Aaronic High Priesthood, not the Melchizedek High Priesthood.
Notice also that he was not the Patriarch and President of the High Priesthood in the “Church of Christ”, or the “Church of God” but rather of the “Church of the Latter day Saints”
I would point out that December 9 1834 is just a few days after the Lord notified the saints that both leaders and members of the church were condemned and needed to have a reformation in all things.
My point is that the presidency of the high priesthood held by Joseph Smith Sr. was different from the presidency of the high priesthood held by Joseph Smith Jr. previous to that time.
Since the 3 ½ years during which the fullness of the gospel and priesthood was on the earth had come to an end, a priesthood transition was taking place.
When Joseph Smith produced his “draft plat” for the 24 temples that were to be built in Zion, he revealed that there was an office of “High Priest” after the order of Aaron as well as an office of “High Priest” after the order of Melchizedek.
It is obvious that Joseph Smith Sr. was called to the office president of the High Priests after the order of Aaron, not Melchizedek.
Context is everything and an understanding of the true prophetic narrative of the LDS restoration movement provides coherency and sanity to an otherwise disjointed storyline.
It makes perfect sense that since the fullness of the gospel/priesthood had been collectively rejected by the saints by December 5 1834, that the Lord would begin positioning the priesthood dynamic to match the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham that was being ushered in.
I believe we have clearly documented that the term “office of Priesthood” is referring to President of the High Priests after the order of Aaron and that that is the office that Hyrum Smith was appointed to, as declared in section 124.
“Office of Priesthood” = “Priest’s Office”
“President of the High Priesthood after the Order of Aaron”
Looking for a second confirmation, I did a Google search of the term “office of priesthood” and learned that the Catholic Bible translation uses that exact term where the KJV uses the term “Priest’s Office”
The Catholic Bible translation is consistent with what has been presented. Notice the two following passages out of Exodus 28 from the Catholic Bible translation:
And these shall be the vestments that they shall make: A rational and anephod, a tunic and a strait linen garment, a mitre and a girdle. They shall make the holy vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons, that they may do the office of priesthood unto me. 28:4
Moreover, for the sons of Aaron you shall prepare linen tunics, and girdles and mitres for glory and beauty: 41 And with all these things you shall vestAaron your brother, and his sons with him. And you shall consecrate the hands of them all, and shall sanctify them, that they may do the office of priesthood unto me. 42 You shall make also linen breeches, to cover the flesh of their nakedness, from the reins to the thighs: 43 And Aaron and his sons shall use them when they shall go into the tabernacle of the testimony, or when they approach to the altar to minister in the sanctuary lest being guilty of iniquity they die. It shall be a law for ever to Aaron, and to his seed after him. 28:40-43
As you can see, the term “office of Priesthood” is simply another term for what the King James translation refers to as “Priests Office”
This is consistent with the definition of priesthood in the 1828 dictionary which is virtually synonymous with priest, order of priests or perhaps an office over the the priesthood office presiding over the order of priests
PRIE’STHOOD, n. The office or character of a priest.
- The order of men set apart for sacred offices; the order composed of priests.
All of this fits in quite nicely to the context of Section 124 since the major theme of the section has to do with the Lords sanctuary. Below I am providing the passages in the Old Testament showing how the “priests office” (Office of Priesthood) was given to Aaron and his sons and how it related to ministering to the other tribes of Israel and had responsibilities relative to the Lord’s sanctuary.
Since the Lord’s sanctuary is one of the primary themes in section 124 the appointment of Hyrum as the President of the High Priests according to the Order of Aaron becomes even more pertinent.
Furthermore, we have observed in previous posts that the keys of the “priesthood of Aaron” that were restored by John the Baptist in section 13 of the Doctrine and Covenants is the very priesthood that the church was being governed by until the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood at the Morley Farm in June of 1831. Indeed, the Priesthood of Aaron is also referred to as “patriarchal priesthood” or “evangelical priesthood”.
Listing of Passages using the Term “Priest’s Office”
· Eodus 28:1
1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’soffice, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’soffice.
1 And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in thepriest’s office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish,
9 And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and thepriest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.
44 And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in thepriest’s office.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
10 And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office,
41 The cloths of service to do service in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons’ garments, to minister in the priest’soffice.
13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst 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 generations.
35 ¶This is the portion of the anointing of Aaron, and of the anointing of his sons, out of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, in the day when he presented them to minister unto the Lord in the priest’s office;
32 And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in thepriest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments:
3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, thepriests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office.
4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’soffice in the sight of Aaron their father.
10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
7 Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest’s office for every thing of the altar, and within the veil; and ye shall serve: I have given yourpriest’s office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord:
11 Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king’s office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.
· Luke 1:8
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed thepriest’s office before God in the order of his course,
· Luke 1:9
9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
As you can see, Section 124 was revealing that Hyrum Smith was appointed to two very important offices within the Aaronic priesthood, the keys of which John the Baptist had restored back in 1829.
The fullness of the priesthood had been lost, or taken away. Now the saints were going through a priesthood leadership transition. The trajectory of the church would change even further when the saints would become rejected as a “church” and become a tribal kingdom lead by the Priesthood of Aaron.
The following snippet from an article done by Victor L. Ludlow may be of help in showing how the Lord was putting into place an ancient priesthood hierarchy similar to the one used by the Children of Israel.
Notice the similarity in how the Lord uses Moses to designate his older brother to preside over Israel after Israel refused too accept the higher law, just as the Lord used Joseph to designate his older brother Hyrum to preside over latter day Israel after they rejected the fulness. This lessor priesthood commission of Aaron was referred to as the office of “High Priest even though it was a lesser priesthood than the one Moses held:
Under the Lord’s direction, Moses ordained his older brother, aaron, to preside over the tribe of Levi, which served all the people (Lev. 8:1-13; Num. 8:13-22; Heb. 5:4). Over time, Aaron became exemplary in his priesthood service and the “lesser” priesthood was named the Aaronic Priesthood after him (Heb. 7:11; D&C 84:18, 26;107:13-16). The major priesthood offices were the priests, including a “high” (Hebrew “great”) priest, and the Levites.
Priests were worthy male descendants of Aaron. The high priest was designated from among the first-born descendants of Aaron. His office was responsible for the annual Day of Atonement rituals (Lev. 16) and for all the tithes and offerings of the Israelites (see Tithing). The priests supervised the system of worship and sacrifices at the holy sanctuary and helped regulate the religious affairs and holy days of Israel.
The Levites included all male descendants of Levi. They assisted the priests in collecting and distributing the tithes and offerings, in the elaborate system of animal and food sacrifices, in teaching the law, in singing, and in building and maintaining places of worship, especially the tabernacle and the temple…
Although the Melchizedek Priesthood was limited to those prophets specially called and commissioned, the Aaronic Priesthood continued “with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel” from Aaron to John the Baptist (D&C 84:26-27; TPJS, p. 319).
More to come in part three