Joseph Smith taught that all priesthood is Melchizedek (ONE). In the oath and covenant of the priesthood Joseph teaches that whomever obtains “…these TWO priesthoods…” (D&C 84″33). Then Joseph says, “…all those who receive the priesthood (ONE), receiveth this oath and covenant…” Thus, the title of this blog is: “One-Two-One.” This is all about the oath and covenant of the priesthood in D&C 84. This is a place of great misunderstanding and unbelief. We gotta get this one straight in order for the rest of the gospel to fit into the grand picture of Zion.
The truth about the priesthood is that all priesthood is Melchizedek. Joseph breaks the one priesthood into parts to teach us how to obtain the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which houses within it, amongst other things:
- The calling and election made sure
- The second comforter
- Membership in the Church of the Firstborn
- Seeing the face of God
The two priesthoods are taught in D&C 84:19-26. The lesser priesthood held the key to the ministering of Angels (v 26). The higher priesthood held the key to the mysteries of God, even the key of the knowledge of God (v 19). When the House of Israel refused to be sanctified, God took Moses, and with Moses, God took the higher priesthood. Thus, they had the key to the ministering of Angels, but not the key to the mysteries or the key of the knowledge of God. However, if they used the key to the ministering of Angels properly, the Angels would lead them to obtaining the higher priesthood so that they could obtain the fullness of the priesthood Moses offered initially.
In our day, we have mistaken these two priesthoods as the Aaronic (the lesser), and the Melchizedek (the higher). But, we run into a problem within the oath and covenant of the priesthood. It says that once you have obtained these two priesthoods, and then you fall away, you shall not be forgiven of your sins in this world, or in the world to come (v 41). Therefore, if you have gone on a mission, received the Melchizedek priesthood, and then fell away from the church, you cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or the world to come? That just doesn’t sound like a fair God to judge so harshly an ignorant return missionary.
I don’t think that is what is being taught. I believe that what is being taught, in the oath and covenant of the priesthood, is the same method Christ used to gain knowledge (grace for grace, and from grace to grace). The two priesthoods refer to a connection amongst men (here on earth), and a connection in the heavens (angelic messengers, Christ’s visitation, and seeing the face of God). These two combined make up the receiving of the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Let me try to explain.
The lesser priesthood acquired here amongst men can only be obtained within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That is the reason I keep repeating on the blog that we are still God’s chosen people. This is still the Church of Jesus Christ, and it offers the greatest blessings through it’s ordinances and it’s ancient scriptures. It offers the opportunity to genuinely be as Christ.
The higher priesthood was offered by Moses to the House of Israel, but was rejected (D&C 84:23-24). It was also offered to the Nauvoo saints, but they did not build the temple in “sufficient time” (D&C 124). It is also promised to be offered to us, as we get closer and closer to the day of the Gentiles ending (3 Nephi 16). The higher priesthood holds the keys to the mysteries of God, and the key of the knowledge of God. The mysteries refer back to the greater endowment that was going to be received in the Nauvoo temple, the second facsimile, the ascension, the second comforter. It is through this greater covenant that men could see the face of God and live.
Those who have obtained these two priesthoods are told that there is more to do. They must:
- Magnify their calling (this has little to do with your church calling or offices among an organization of men- remember we gotta think in God’s terms, not in ours)
- Be sanctified by the spirit
- Have their bodies renewed
Then, they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. That is when the hearts of the children are properly turned to the Fathers, and the hearts of the Fathers are turned to the children. Then Christ tells us that, whoever receives these two priesthoods receives Him. That has always been the goal, return to Christ and see the face of God.
Verse 36 throws people off track, because of the word “servants.” Again, we tend to try fitting God into our context, rather then the other way around. The word Angel comes from the word Angellion, which literally means messenger, in Greek. Proto Avangellion is “the good message” or “the gospel.” That is the servant being referred to here, it is angels who come from the presence of God to deliver a message.
Christ says that those who receive his “servants” (or the angels- through the ministering of the angels, or the leaser priesthood), will receive Christ Himself (the higher priesthood). And those who receive Christ, will receive God the Father and inherit all that the Father hath. This is the point where the priesthood becomes referenced as just one priesthood again, which includes the earthly and the heavenly order combined. Christ says:
“39. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
40. Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood [singular, but includes both the earthly and heavenly connection], receive this oath and covenant of My Father, which He cannot break, neither can it be moved.”
It is God the Father that makes the covenant. All priesthood is Melchizedek. There is an earthly order, which we offer through our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which offers us the ministering of Angels to give us further light and truth, if we are faithful to our covenants, and if we seek their instructions. The ministering of Angels leads all who receive it to the higher priesthood, Christ and God the Father. The higher priesthood is of the heavenly order. It is in the heavens that priesthood is made complete, and the holder of these two priesthoods receive an oath and covenant from God.
This is the same oath and covenant of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, the same as Enos, Jacob, Nephi, Lehi, Moses, Abraham, Enoch and all the Fathers. It was this covenant that Malachi refers to as the promise made to the Fathers, that we are instructed to turn our hearts to, lest the whole earth is cursed and smitten at His coming. The covenant is the objective. It is not offices, not positions, not wealth or security in the economy, not false idols, or anything of this world. The covenant is the work and glory of God, because that is how we obtain immortality and eternal life. It is the covenant. There is no other way.