There are two fellowships. One is among men on earth, and the other is with the “Powers” of the heavens. The first two facsimiles in the Book of Abraham can be identified with these two fellowships. Facsimile #1 is a sacrificial scene, which is a fellowship with men on earth. Facsimile #2 is an ascension scene, which requires a fellowship with the “Powers” of heaven. This is what D&C 84:33 is referring to as these two priesthoods. I’ll discuss the two fellowships (priesthoods), but emphasize the importance of the fellowship on earth in this blog.
Unbelief: The two priesthoods, mentioned in the oath and covenant of the priesthood, has been taught for years as the Aaronic and the Melchizedek priesthoods. Both of these priesthoods are accessible without any connection to the heavens.
Two Priesthoods: Since we are taught that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of heaven (D&C 121:36), I propose a different approach that combines our Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods as merely an invitation given among men in a fellowship on earth (facsimile #1). And once the invitation has been accepted and the power in the priesthood has been obtained, the heavens confirm it with a fellowship with the heavens (facsimile #2). This is the only way that those who break this covenant with the fellowship on earth and in heaven (once they have obtained both fellowships) cannot have “…forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.” (D&C 84:41).
If we are to take this scripture as we have understood it in the past, a return missionary (or any Melchizedek priesthood holder), who has obtained both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood, and then falls away from the church, never to return, cannot have forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come, according to D&C 84:41. That just doesn’t fit, especially when you compare the punishment with the understanding of Melchizedek priesthood holders who have fallen away into less activity. However, someone who has obtained a fellowship with the heavens have a far greater responsibility, …and now the punishment fits the understanding.
The Fellowship on Earth: The fellowship on earth is among men. The key to that fellowship is the words of Christ. All men face different difficulties that they must overcome, despite being raised in the same family, or by the same principles. However, for each individual the solution is the same, it is to know Christ, and then He lifts the burdens. That is the purpose of the atonement, to give us truth and light to remove all darkness within us. When all darkness is removed, what is left is the mind and will of God in you, making you an equal heir with Christ.
The way we get to know Christ is progressive. It begins with the static words of Christ in the scriptures, then you can recognize His voice, and finally He will appear unto you to personally instruct you. Thus, the fellowship on earth is based upon how we talk of Christ, preach of Christ, rejoice in Christ and teach according to our prophecies (2 Nephi 25:26). Only the words of Christ can change a man’s heart.
Only the words of Christ has the power to save and to seal. They are the words of power. We think that we can manipulate situations to produce results that are mistaken for conversion, salvation, and sealing for time and all eternity (cub scouts, boy scouts, temple ordinances, missions, temple marriages, genealogy, offices, etc.). Yet, those results have never solidified a person’s personal witness of Christ. Millions have been awarded these privileges, but most people have never had, or known someone who had, a personal witness of the savior.
The fellowship on earth was intended for men to sacrifice, to lift one another, to gain the trust of others, in order to set the stage to speak the words of Christ. In the exchange of the words of Christ, all parties are edified, and come nearer to Him. It is Christ that does the fixing. Men don’t have the ability to fix men. The atonement is what does the repair, and since none of us have the power to atone yet, none of us have the power to do the repair. All we can do is talk of Christ. Once we reconnect with the words of Christ, then we can step-up out of the darkness into the light. It is Christ who empowers each individual to come out of the dark. None of us have the power to save another. All we can do is save ourselves by coming to Christ, and invite others to do find salvation by dong the same.
Conclusion: Our sacrifice was never intended to be for Christ. We have nothing that we can sacrifice on His behalf. Our sacrifice was always for our knowledge to increase in Christ. As we sacrifice, we gain trust. With trust we can talk of Christ openly and correct our unbelief with the words of Christ. That is the value of the fellowship with men on earth, it is to speak the words of Christ openly, and without offense (to reason with one another). Our sacrifices will only be accepted when they are offered in exchange for knowing Christ. When we see things as they really are, we will be willing to sacrifice all things in consecration, in exchange for a complete knowledge of Christ.
Those who do so will obtain life eternal, “…for this is life eternal to know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Those involved in this earthly fellowship will find themselves sealed up together, with one heart and one mind. Their prayers will be offered in unity, in a true-order of conversation, or prayer. It is the words of Christ that makes it so. Feast upon the words of Christ, for the words of Christ will tell you all things what you should do.