Sunday, October 4, 2015

An answer regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood

Receiving the Priesthood of Melchizedek

I post this because I find this subject to be of great worth. Worthy of much careful study and pondering. 

A good friend of mine asked me this question. “Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration Date?”

My response below, though altered a bit for this blog post.

“All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself.”  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pg.180-181).

When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went into the woods to pray concerning baptism for the remission of sins on May 1829, John the Baptist came to them descending in a cloud of light. He laid his hands on them and ordained them saying, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins;” (JS-H 1:69). What they received was a portion of Melchizedek Priesthood, but a “different portion or degree of it.”

The Melchizedek Priesthood you are referring to is to be given by the voice of God. Men cannot give it, nor can it be handled only in righteousness. God has told us how this is to be received, and under what conditions we need to obey to receive it. “Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God,(by his faith) he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.” (JST Gen 14:25-29).

There are laws the Father lives by. If we in turn live by the laws he has ordained, we will receive the blessings associated with those laws. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (D&C 130:20-21). The law he has asked us to live by to receive the higher level of Melchizedek priesthood is spelled out in plainness in these words: “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.”(He goes on to tell us what those principles of righteousness are) “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (It is gone, taken from the man until he repents and gains these principles of righteousness) --- “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death. Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion (this is a level on Jacob’s ladder) shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (D&C 121:36-37,41-46) WITHOUT COMPULSORY MEANS. This is a huge statement made by the Lord. I’d like to outline all of the laws established we must obey to receive the rights of the priesthood connected with heaven.

The Amen’s to priesthood are if we:
·         Undertake to cover our sins
·         Gratify our pride
·         Gratify our vain ambitions
·         Exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of men
 Any of these in ANY degree of unrighteousness is Amen to the mantle of Priesthood. The Lord takes it from the man.

NO POWER OR INFLUENCE CAN OR OUGHT TO BE MAINTAINED BY VIRTUE OF THE PRIESTHOOD!!!! It’s not about power, nor is it about having influence.  

The Principles of Righteousness are:
·         Persuasion
·         Long-suffering
·         Gentleness
·         Meekness
·         Love Unfeigned
·         Kindness
·         Pure Knowledge (which comes by the Holy Ghost, and by gaining the mind of God as spoken in the Lectures on Faith)
·         Reproving with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost

The traditional narrative tells us that Peter, James and John came and conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood. This account Is not found in either one of their journals. This would have been a very significant thing to write in a journal. The only thing I have been able to find Joseph writing about Peter, James and John is in D&C 128:20 “…The voice of Peter, James and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fullness of times!” (reviewing D&C 27:12, The earlier revelation has nothing said about ordination or conferral. Joseph spent all of his time editing the Lectures on Faith while a committee edited and published the D&C. They freelanced a bit. It is important to review the original histories to make a true accounting.)

When did Joseph receive the greater Priesthood? It would have been when he met all of the criteria, and heard the voice of God proclaim to him what his rights were. In 1829, in the home of old father Whitmer this occurred. “We now became anxious to have that promise which conferred upon (realized to) us, which the angel had that conferred upon us the Aaronick Priesthood upon us. had given us, viz, that provided we continued faithful, the we should also have the Melchesidec Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost we had for some time made this a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the Chamber of Mr. Whitmer’s house, in order more particularly to seek of the Lord information, and if possible obtain what we now so earnestly desired. We had not been long  After some time spent in solemn and fervent prayer, the Word of the Lord came unto us, in the chamber, commanding us that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, and the he also should ordain me to the same office, and that after having thus been ordained, we should proceed to ordain others to the same office, according as it should be made known unto us, from time to time.” (JS Papers, Histories Vol. 1: p.326, all as in original) This in my view, is when Joseph through the voice of the Lord was given higher priesthood. He had translated Genesis 14 already. Therefore, he understood ordination came “by the voice of God.” Joseph recorded: “The authority of the Melchisedec priesthood was manifested and conferred, for the first time, upon several of the elders.” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 1:July 1828-June 1831, p. 320. Spellings original)

Again, it comes from God Himself; “For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.” (JST Gen 14:30-31). Did Joseph experience ANY of these things? Because if he experienced one of these things, he held greater priesthood. Did he stand in the presence of God? Did he subdue principalities and powers ?(Could mean Earthly powers, but also those who have inherited glory on Jacob’s ladder aka angels). This is explained in the Book of Mormon. In Helaman 10:6, Nephi was given sealing power in the presence of God’s angels. “Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.” The angels were in the presence of God, He telling Nephi what power was being given him. The angels were witnesses so to heed the voice of Nephi, therefore being subdued by him.
        In my studies, looking at the characteristics and qualities of those who hold this higher priesthood, I believe that Joseph held it. I do not believe he received this from any man or angel just as Melchizedek did not. He received it from God’s own voice as both Enoch and Melchizedek did. So we must adhere to the laws governing this priesthood if we wish to receive and be given this priesthood by His own voice. Those who hold this power have been proven to do exactly as the Lord asks. The Lord knows they will not freelance with His power. Instead, only to act upon it when asked to act. God says, “wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received.” I hope that my own state will not be woeful when I enter into His presence. I hope to receive Him as the Lamb, and not experience Him as the Lion.

         I believe this to be an extremely important subject. Worthy of much careful labor, time and study. What I hope to deliver here, is that each of us must go to God directly to receive this power. “Which order came, not by man; nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; but of God.” He gives liberally unto all who ask, and who obey Him.

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