Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Preisthood book notes on JST Gen 14

There  are some interesting notes about JST Gen 14.

JST Gen 14:27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
 28 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;

Here we see that god made a covenant with Enoch. It wasn’t just any covenant, it was entering an order (kind of like entering an order of knighthood, or like the order of the arrow in scouts, it is a group, and a group that is select, and requires certain commitments and obligations to enter it). This order was after the order of the Son of God, which sounds like it was modeled on the order of the Son of God, or it was a smaller less complete version of the full order of the son of God. The order of the son of God was not given to people by man, i.e. by a man ordaining someone to it, nor did one get to enter it automatically based on who one’s parents were, nor by what time period one was born in (beginning of years_, nor by how old one grew up to (end of years). Instead we find in the next verse that it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice. That is, unlike most priesthood positions which come through the prophet, this one comes only direction from God (that is what the “not by man, nor by the will of man” part refers to).

JST Gen 14:29 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.

One might be tempted to think “his own voice” could simply mean the Holy Ghost, but there is a very compelling example of this, where Nephi is walking home and the Lord speaks to Nephi and tells him that because he has declared the gospel with such unwearyingness the Lord would give him power that sounds a lot like what we see in JST Gen 14. Here is the description of what happened to Nephi:

Helaman 10:3 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying:
 4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
 5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
 6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. 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.
 7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
 8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.
 9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done.
 10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass.

Now apparently God swore an oath to Enoch and Enoch’s seed that everyone that is ordained after this order and calling should have power over the things of the earth.

JST Gen 14:30 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;
 31 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.

This sounds a lot like the sealing power Elijah had. We learn that Elijah was the last old testament prophet to hold the sealing power and that it meant he could seal the heavens by his word. That sounds a lot like this. The sealers in the temple hold some portion of the sealing power, sufficient to seal families for eternity. But they do not speak and the earth and heaven obeys. What is referred to here comes not by man, but only by the Lord’s own voice.

There is another interesting element here, which is that it says that any that receives this would have power to stand in the presence of God. That makes sense, and fits with what we learn in the temple, without saying any specifics, of course. What verse 31 says is that these men receive this priesthood only by God’s own voice. It is by his voice because until they receive it, they are not prepared to enter his presence. But having received it, then they have power, as this scriptures say, “to stand in the presence of God”. Since this is so closely tied to the power and authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, we assume the oath that God made to “Enoch and Enoch’s seed” (which is all of us) is the oath and covenant of the priesthood. But that oath is fulfilled only as we receive the same covenant Enoch made.

So receiving this covenant seems to go hand in hand with being able to enter the Lord’s presence. Who do we know of that entered the Lord’s presence? Certainly Joseph Smith, also Enoch, Melchizedek. We assume Elijah did on the mountain, as the usual conflict between the adversary and God took place there similarly to the “temptations” of Christ and Moses 1. While we don’t see Joseph Smith exercising this sort of power, we do have this from him:

I asked a short time since for the Lord to deliver me out of the hands of the Governor of Missouri, and if it needs must be to accomplish it, to take him away; and the next news that came pouring down from there was, that Governor Reynolds had shot himself. And I would now say, Beware, O earth, how you fight against the Saints of God and shed innocent blood; for in the days of Elijah, his enemies came upon him, and fire was called down from heaven and destroyed them. (TPJS page 340)

Certainly we see Moses who entered the Lord’s presence, rather than simply learning from him in dreams and visions, exercising this sort of power. Obviously Enoch did both. So did Melchizedek, who exercised great power in his childhood by faith alone. It seems like the great miracles go along with those who enter the presence of the Lord in mortality.

The next part is more confusing. But I think maybe it refers to being transfigured, even though it uses the word translated, because it says those coming up to this order were translated and taken up into heaven. But it also clearly refers to them being here in mortality after the fact. On the other hand the list of those who we know did such miracles and entered the presence of God agrees pretty well, but not completely, with the list of those who were translated: Moses, Elijah, Alma the Younger, Enoch, Melchizedek. We would assume Adam’s name belongs among those who entered the presence of the Lord. In fact, he introduced his (very) righteous posterity into the Lord’s presence both here, and in the spirit world. But the following section is confusing, for when we read the people of Salam “obtained Heaven” we would assume they were translated (or maybe their calling and election was made sure??) but immediately after that it says they then sought for the city of Enoch, so they “obtained heaven” but were not yet translated. But we do learn this, that in the time when the heavens and the earth should come together the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.

JST Gen 14:32 And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven.
 33 And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
 34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
 35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
 36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment