Higher Priesthood – What is It?

The following is from a sermon given by the Prophet Joseph Smith. 

Joseph Smith
August 27, 1843

History of the Church, (5:554-556) Version

Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; [They claim priesthood, but not called Melchizedek by name.] consequently they never could save any one, and would all be damned together. [Not the power to assist in receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost at the time of Joseph Smith.] There was an Episcopal priest who said he had the priesthood of Aaron, but had not the priesthood of Melchizedek and I bear testimony that I never have found the man who claimed the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The power of the Melchizedek priesthood is to have the power of “endless lives;” for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken. [Laying on of Hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which opens the door to ascension in the Everlasting Covenant.]

The law was given under Aaron for the purpose of pouring out judgments and destructions. [For the purpose of separating the righteous from the wicked and preserving their lives.]

The sectarian world are going to hell by hundreds, by thousands and by millions. [Those who follow the path to perdition. Not the same as a son of perdition.]

There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here. 1st. The King of Shiloam. (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life. Angels desire to look into it, but they have set up too many stakes. [Angels are referring to those exalted souls who have not yet ascended to their 4th estate, which requires a condescension of glory.] God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses. [This is what we refer to as Melchizedek Priesthood.]

The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac, shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things. [An important note regarding Abraham. He was the Dispensation head who would establish the covenant line of God’s people. His sacrificial test of Isaac was prepared before the foundation of the world as a sign and foreshadowing of the covenant with the House of Israel.] When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. [Whether in this life of the next.] The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law. [And thus they did not receive the higher priesthood, or relationship, needed to come into the presence of God.]

What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. [temporal ordinances] Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. [Sealing Power in Heaven and Earth] In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.

Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained [set apart for future events] Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood. [relationship with God]

Salvation could not come to the world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.

How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. [The return of the Melchizedek priesthood.] The law [How to acquire this priesthood] revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation. [But, was received by individuals at times, such as prophets.]

Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers. [First shall be last, and the last shall be first. The rise of the 144k servants to restore Zion in the last day.]

The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure. [These servants.]

“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.” The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. [From before the foundation of the world, bestowed upon the High Priest and Priestesses of the 4th estate. See Alma 13]

The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood. [Our current temple endowment barely touches upon this priesthood. Had Joseph’s life not been taken more would have been revealed. Listed as the “2nd Priesthood” is not to imply that it is second in acquiring. It is the second to be taught in the forthcoming temple that Joseph was hoping for.]

The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinance, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant. [These are second estate Priests who are seeking their Second Comforter and help to lead the people toward a fullness of the Priesthood. There will be an abundance of these in Zion to help those who are new to Zion to prepare their minds for greater things. This particular priesthood will not exist on the earth during its terrestrial and celestial state.]

The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger to administer in all those priesthoods. [4th listed, and certainly not in order is the Lord’s Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, as often these terms are used interchangeably). All communication from God to us comes via his Spirit.] 

Jesus Christ is the heir of this Kingdom–the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, and holds the keys over all this world.

Men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens. [The mystery of condescension.]

I know a man that has been caught up to the third heavens, and can say, with Paul, that we have seen and heard things that are not lawful to utter. [The Throne of God is beyond comprehension. Much of what you will witness there is not permitted to share, especially to those unprepared to receive it. During Joseph’s day even fewer were able to receive than today.] 

Understand that the priesthood of God is analogous with the degree of relationship we have with Him. It is available to both men, women and children according to their faith. Nothing can be done in His name without permission; otherwise, we are taking His name in vain.

Priesthood categories could be defined as such:

Aaronic = temporal, telestial, perfunctory, earthly ordinances, 2nd Estate

Levitical = temporal, telestial, transitional, earthly ordinances, 2nd Estate, introductory to the higher priesthood (These priests are on the path to ascension.)

Melchizedek = terrestrial, heavenly ordinances, High Priest and Priestess, Dominions, 4th Estate, 144k, sealing power of Heaven, from before the foundation of the world.

Patriarchal = Highest priesthood, Celestial, includes Matriarchal, Fullness of glory, Omnipresence, Omniscient, Omnipotent, power of creation in its fullness, without end. (5, 6, 7, 8th Estate)

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23 Responses to Higher Priesthood – What is It?

  1. Anthony says:

    Questions… Did the people of Melchizedek ascend to heaven similar to those of Enoch? Are these individuals, who were the “first” to ascend, those servants (the 144k) who would condescend in the last days? Or are they in translated bodies, awaiting to descend into New Jerusalem once it has been prepared? Is their condescension, as servants, part of completing their priesthood / fullfilling their 4th estate? Are these the first who shall be last? Last to do what? Will these servants have the power of the Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, in other words, having the power to assist those who are 2nd estate to ascend to 3rd estate (being born again)?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 1. The people of Salem ascended the same way as those of Enoch.
    2. A mystery.
    3. Not translated yet.
    4. Yes.
    5. Yes.
    6. To Gather Israel.
    7. Yes.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Rebecca Brent says:

    Can you explain more about the Levitical Priesthood, you said they are priests of 2nd estate seeking their Second Comforter and will be assisting others in Zion. How will they prepare others? Why aren’t they 3rd estate and what is the role of those who have received 3rd estate in Zion?

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  4. Rebecca,
    Thank you for your comment. This link talks more about the Levitical:https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/levitical-priesthood/
    The Levitical are both 2nd and 3rd estate. In the future Zion they will be mostly 3rd estate. Thank you for the clarification.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Rebecca Brent says:

    Thank YOU for all of this! Pretty sure you’re the one doing all the clarifying 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for all of your posts.

    I have wondered if the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood was the patriarchal priesthood. You are saying not so. The patriarchal priesthood is a separate order of the priesthood that pertains to estates higher than the 4th estate. It does not coordinate the saving of souls of mortals in our mortal sphere, right? I will try to answer your questions. The names we use to identify priesthood have changed over time. It is all the same priesthood, but with different degree of use and authority. I don’t believe that what the LDS church refers to as Melchizedek priesthood in the church is accurate. We can be ordained to priesthood, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bestowed upon us. In the church, those who have Melchizedek Priesthood have authority to administer certain ordinances and leadership, but the powers of heaven are completely dependent upon our relationship with the divine.

    The Patriarchal Priesthood, as it has been called, is more accurately referred to as the Highest Priesthood after the order of the Father. There are circumstances where it is used in this sphere, but I am not permitted to explain that in detail. All priesthood functions involving both men and women are part of the Everlasting Covenant of Eternal Lives and Exaltation.

    Instead, earthly saving work is done through the Melchizedek priesthood on earth under the direction of the dominions (in heaven) who work directly with the 4th estate people on the earth, right? Yes, it is administered through the Dominions, or the Anointed Ones.

    So the church right now is using a lower order of the Melchizedek priesthood that allows people to be called to positions in the church and perform earthly ordinance. We receive this priesthood under the hand of men while on the earth. So people do not have to be 4th estate beings to receive this lower order of the Melchizedek priesthood. That is correct. The vast majority of people on this earth are 2nd estate that need to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and become 3rd estate. Christ’s authority decides who administers these ordinances.

    But to receive the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood power while yet a mortal, one has to have been foreordained to it before the foundation of the world (per Alma 13). At that time 4th estate beings made an oath and covenant with God. That is what the oath and covenant of the priesthood refers to. We just renew the oath as mortals? Is that what Alma 13 is saying? Yes.

    D&C 84:18 refers to the “holiest order of God.” This is referring to the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood not the patriarchal priesthood, and not to the lower order of the Melchizedek priesthood that is active in the church now, right? It is referring to a fullness of the priesthood, which is the highest priesthood, or Patriarchal as it is sometimes called. “…which priesthood also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.” D&C 84:18

    Which order of the priesthood did Abraham receive from Melchizedek? He received the High Priesthood which contains the sealing power. This is obviously where the term Melchizedek Priesthood originated. Again, priesthood is analogous to the relationship we have with God; and Abraham walked with God. Melchizedek ordained Abraham and Abraham then after received his calling and election made sure.

    “14 Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah; 15 And from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers;” The “relationship” of God to man was one of blood line. There was no guarantee they would receive it, but if they learned to awake and arise it was given.– D&C 84:14-15

    Enoch and Melchizedek had the highest order or the Melchizedek priesthood, as evidenced by the mighty miracles and works of saving God’s people that they performed, but that is not the priesthood that Melchizedek conferred upon Abraham, right. Because only God confers the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood? Or were these patriarchs given permission to bestow it? Having the High Priesthood, which is what Enoch and Melchizedek had, doesn’t necessarily mean that they will raise the dead and move mountains. Abraham had the same priesthood, but a different stewardship. Prophets cannot bestow High Priesthood. They can ordain to this priesthood, but the individual must exercise faith to make it happen. An ordination (ordinance) is like a formal invitation.

    How does receiving/dispensing the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood relate to the restoration of all things? It will require this High Priesthood to restore Zion, which must occur before Christ comes in His glory.
    We are waiting for the fullness (highest order) of the Melchizedek priesthood to be restored so that it becomes actively used in the church. It is currently not active in the (our) LDS church. I am assuming that it is the restoration of this highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood that will occur at beginning of the new dispensation that is about to begin. A new dispensation always begins with a restoration of priesthood. The priesthood which is about to be restored will be a climactic use of God’s power in the gathering of Zion.

    I assume that obtaining this highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood is given by the laying on of hands by Christ. We have to receive this highest order before we can endure the presence of the Father and live. I assume this is an ordinance that is usually performed in heaven but it does not have to be. A person receives this highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood under the hands of Christ (usually when they have their calling and election made sure experience in heaven). Yes.

    Are all three of these ordinances conferred in one laying on of hands ordinance, or are they done in separate ordinances: Can be at once, but often separate and in stages.
    1. Ordained to the highest order of the Melchizedek priesthood,
    2. Receive the ordinances of translation
    3. Receive the sealing power or are these separate ordinances?

    Translated beings become priests and priestesses of the Most High God, which is God the Father. They were already priests and priestesses. Is there a separate ordinance administered directly by the Father that empowers us to become priests and priestesses of the Most High God? This occurs before the foundation of the world when they begin their 4th estate. Or, are we given this ordinance by Christ before we see the Father? The ordinance of translation is performed by Christ after we have been taught by the Father. It is like a resurrection that is similar to the kind Christ had after his death, but a little different. Its purpose is to keep the visage of our mortal body so we can more easily minister amongst the living. That is, when we are empowered to see the Father, is it to be reunited with him or must we receive an ordinance from him to have the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood? There is a type of sealing performed in the Heavenly Realm that bestows all these gifts.

    Thank you for your help.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Karla says:

    Where did the people of Salem go when they ascended? Same place as the people of Enoch? So the people of Enoch and Salem will be the 144 that will condescend in the last days? So many of them are already here?

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  8. They went to the same realm as the City of Enoch. I don’t know if they are together. The 144k consist of these, but they are also amongst the living today (not yet translated). It will be a concerted effort to gather Israel.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Werd Ynnek says:

    I have learned so much from your blog!! Thank you so much. Mentioning Melchizedek brings up something that I’m sure I misunderstood on page 97 of your book, “A Witness of the Temporal Dispensations”, 3 men approached Abraham, one of them, Melchizedek, “As they were sitting on the ground I saw the Lord stand and say to Abraham…” My question is who is the Lord that spoke to Abraham? Did I misunderstand from the wording of this account that Melchizedek was in fact Jesus Christ?

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  10. Rebecca Brent says:

    So essentially, those who are High Priests and Priestesses were those who entered into the priesthood or Holy order after the order of the Son of God, to follow the path of ascension of the only Begotten? This was received through oath and covenant before the foundation of the world.
    The sons of Levi and daughters of Zion are those among the order of Aaron, who are preparing to receive their baptism of Fire and Holy Ghost? Was this priesthood received before birth as part of the Everlasting covenant as well?And I guess I’m still trying to understand the difference between Aaronic and Levitical… what puts the Levitacal priests and priestesses on the path of ascension before the Aaronic?
    Thanks!

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  11. Werd Ynnek, yes, that is a mystery.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. In the time of the Hebrews the Levites were set apart to symbolize the Levitical order of priesthood, meaning those who have received the Holy Ghost and are preparing to receive more. They help others to also come to the Lord. In the last days in will be those of the third estate who have received their baptism of fire and HG, but not yet had their Second Comforter. They too made a covenant before the foundation of this world and are the Elect. Those of the 2nd estate will include both the House of Israel and the Gentiles.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. What does the priesthood have to do with gaining power over evil spirits?

    I have read all of your books and posts, which have been very helpful. I am also reading books and listening to podcasts by some so called “deliverance ministers” who are not members of the LDS church. Some of these ministers seem to be very sincere and say they receive revelation about what types of curses and evil spirits afflict specific people and are using faith (not priesthood?) to cast out demons.

    They claim that by becoming a born-again Christian the Bible says that we receive “authority” to cast out devils and demons. Christ gave his apostles and the seventy power to cast out evil spirits. These ministers claim that because Christ gave this authority to his disciples that all committed Christians received this same authority. A few appear to be regularly casting demons out of Christians in their congregations. I suspect that some of these are deceivers but some appear to be very sincere and really help people. Some examples of these are the late Derek Prince and Pat Holliday. These ministers seem to be much more experienced and knowledgeable on the topic of overcoming evils spirits than most members and leaders of the LDS church (including me). This suggests that as a church in general we are spiritually flabby and really need to improve in this area. Being a committed Christian is no guarantee of authority for anything. Our relationship with the Lord (priesthood), and the ability to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit will have an impact on our success in dealing with such things. The Church doesn’t teach anything useful in dealing with aggressive evil spirits and it is prevalent among the members the unbelief that all we need to do is not mention it, live a good life, and pray the words “in the name of JC with the arm to the square.” This of course rarely is effective.

    You stated in your books that you receive revelation on a case-by-case basis of what to do when confronted by evil spirits because each situation requires different interventions. You also stated that we should ask for and receive the spiritual armor of God that is real armor to protect us against the adversary.

    From what I have learned, there seems to be four related spiritual powers that we can receive to helps us overcome evil spirits and curses:

    1) The spiritual armor of God.
    2) Revelation to discern when evils spirits/demons are attacking individuals and to recognize curses that we have brought on ourselves by our own actions or by the actions of our ancestors (familiar spirits and generational curses). Some people even receive “spirit sight” so they can see these demons/evil spirits.
    3) Revelation about what steps to take to overcome these evils spirits and break these curses.
    4) Power to cast out evil spirits and to break these curses.

    Now a few questions related to what priesthood ordinances have to do with helping us gain the above four powers:

    1. Do sincere committed Christians have access to the above powers exclusively through faith? Yes, if they seek revelation and act upon it. Do they only receive very limited forms of these powers compared to what we can receive through proper priesthood ordinances and ordinations? Those who receive higher ordinations such as calling and election have additional markings. This is where the arm to the square means something, raising up the palm of the hand to show the marking of a servant.

    2. What additional help related to the above powers does a person gain from receiving the following earthly and heavenly ordinances by those who have authority? Nothing from man, it only comes from God. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost is a big step in establishing the relationship with Christ. Revelation is the key.
    a. The gift of the Holy Ghost
    b. The Baptism of Fire
    c. Ordination to the Aaronic and to the lower order of the Melchizedek priesthoods
    d. Temple ordinances Only a little extra knowledge regarding the Adversary.
    e. Ordinances administered in heaven (calling and election made sure, translation, sealing power, ordination to the highest level of the priesthood)?

    3. To receive these four powers in full measure do we need to have made the oath and covenant in the priesthood before the foundation of the world? In other words, do we need to be 4th estate beings to fully have these powers? Or can 3rd estate beings receive these powers? Is it much harder for 3rd estate beings to acquire these powers than 4th estate beings in this mortal existence? If we have a relationship with the Lord, understand revelation, and seek His will, always remembering that “perfect love [for the Father] casteth out all fear” we will have the tools we need to overcome a tangible crisis with the Adversary.

    Thank you so much for your help. Answers to these questions will help me to know how to direct my efforts to make meaningful progress in this area.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Anthony says:

    I have often thought that Enoch was the first High Priest to ascend to the Heavenly Realm, and that Elijah was the last High Priest to ascend…. And that they would have major roles to play in the last days (in reverse order)… Is their any truth to this?

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  15. Rebecca Brent says:

    Growing up in the LDS church we hear the term “priesthood keys” all the time. But whenever I would ask what that means exactly I would be told that it was authority pertaining to a priesthood office. It seems the keys came with the office or position and the priesthood was just the right to hold the position, and therefore carry the keys.
    In the church culture it seems the emphasis is all about who has the most keys (the higher the position the more keys and authority) thus our hierarchy.

    In your End Times addendum you shared how you asked Joseph about why he created offices for the priesthood. This has me wondering what Joseph meant when he referred to the keys of the priesthood, as opposed to how the church has interpreted it.

    Could you describe the keys of the priesthood?

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  16. Both Adam and Seth walked with God. Alma and Moroni also walked with God. If you are referring to translation, the Nephite prophets and John also had this happen to them. Both Enoch and Elijah have an important role in end time prophecy and you could apply the first last, last first saying, but it may not be what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. There are different kinds of “keys.” There are keys that are bestowed by the church and carry the authority to administer the ordinances and leadership. Then there are “Keys” or spiritual privileges that cannot be guaranteed by any man upon another. Only the Lord can bestow them.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Anthony says:

    Is the One Mighty and Strong an Indian Prophet?

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  19. The one “mighty and strong” mentioned in D&C 85 is the Davidic Servant who will set in order the House of Israel before the Lord’s coming. His assistant who will lead the gathering in the America’s is the Indian prophet, a direct descendant of Joseph, son of Jacob.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Anthony says:

    Dear Brother, thank you! May I ask one more question? If the prophet from the loins of Joseph/Lehi has stewardship over the great work to take place in this land (the land of promise), then will this servant have a calling to administer to (preach to) the Gentile church, in a like manner of the mission of Abinidi or Samuel the Lamanite? After all, the blessing offered to the Gentile church is that if we hearken to the Lord (in that day) and repent, that we may “be numbered among the seed [of Lehi]”…. Will not this literal descendant of Lehi have a major role in the fulfillment of the parable of Doctrine and Covenants 101 to “break down the wall… throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen [of those slothful servants]”?

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  21. The Joseph prophet will have a dual role. First, to tear down the wicked gentiles; and second, to gather the remnant of Israel. He will administer the building of the New Jerusalem and assist the Davidic Servant in the winding up scenes against the armies of Armageddon. 3 Nephi 20:15-46 is where the Lord Himself prophecies of him in the last days.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Sarah Martin says:

    If you have received your Second Comforter, would this indicate that you were in your fourth estate? What are those in their fourth estate responsible for doing? As I understand from D&C 138, they are responsible during this life to bear witness of Christ, and after they die they are permitted to preach the gospel in spirit prison; is this correct? [If they have their Calling and Election Made Sure, yes, but the Second Comforter has a broad definition to many people. To some it means seeing the Lord in dreams, visions, etc. Part of their mission is to preach the Gospel with power, but there are also those of the Second Estate that serve as missionaries. Go to this link to learn more: https://purerevelations.wordpress.com/the-second-comforter/ PR]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. daniel Dylan says:

    [ “Those who receive higher ordinations such as calling and election have additional markings. This is where the arm to the square means something, raising up the palm of the hand to show the marking of a servant. PR” ] Is this marking a visible marking on the palm or an unseen spiritual marking ? [It is a visible marking on our spirit that is seen in that realm. PR]

    Liked by 1 person

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