1 A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. [This is where the temple of the New Jersusalem will be built, in Jackson County, Missouri.]
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. [A “generation” is a time appointed. It can mean a generation of a life cycle, or a generation of a time. This is why sometimes we hear of the Times of the Gentiles, or such language.]
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud [glory of God, hiding the view of His visage] shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. [This has not yet occurred in any temple in these last days, but will in the future.]
6 And the sons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of his father-in-law, Jethro;
7 And Jethro received it under the hand of Caleb;
8 And Caleb received it under the hand of Elihu;
9 And Elihu under the hand of Jeremy;
10 And Jeremy under the hand of Gad;
11 And Gad under the hand of Esaias;
12 And Esaias received it under the hand of God. [Here we see a break in Fathers, having received his ordination directly from Heaven.]
13 Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham, and was blessed of him—
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;
Why is there a lineage of priesthood listed here? Does it require a man to lay his hand upon another man to receive priesthood? It is not so much that a hand must be placed upon a person and words spoken to be given some unseen power. It is the passing of knowledge and understanding from one who has such a relationship with God to a younger generation. Who will carry the true relationship with the Lord and pass it on to the next? Each of the Patriarchs had to come to their own priesthood in their own time, seeking the Lord intimately with no man between them and God. Moses came to the burning bush and began a relationship, but he would not have known God if his father-in-law Jethro had not taught him.
In tradition, all things were passed from the Patriarch of a family to their oldest son whose responsibility it was to carry it to the next generation. The “knowledge of God,” and priesthood relationship also existed between a husband and wife of the righteous, but by tradition it is listed in this manner.
16 And from Enoch to Abel, who was slain by the conspiracy of his brother, who received the priesthood by the commandments of God, by the hand of his father Adam, who was the first man—
17 Which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations [periods of time], and is without beginning of days or end of years. [always existed and will continue in perpetuity]
This lineage of priesthood from Moses to Adam, and how it continues today by those who receive it. What is this priesthood, or relationship of the divine, that has persisted in the world even until today? This is what the Lord is about to explain.
18 And the Lord confirmed a priesthood also upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations, which priesthood [relationship to God] also continueth and abideth forever with the priesthood which is after the holiest order of God.
The Sons of Aaron were selected to be a choice lineage of priests, after the order of God. These, selected based upon pre-Adam covenants, would lead the rest of the House of Israel to find God. These were to represent the 4th Estate, although those acting in that capacity were 2nd estate. It was a role for teaching purposes to prepare the House of Israel. The Levites (Sons of Moses) represented the 3rd Estate who would set an example for the rest of the House of Israel as they would seek a relationship with God. The Nazarites were those of the 2nd estate that would self-select to become 3rd estate. In all this is a pattern of the Everlasting Covenant, the full purpose of the Mosiac Law and the ancient Hebrew ceremonies as given by the Lord to His chosen people.
19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. [The 4th estate, as symbolized by the Sons of Aaron (Priests), would administer the Gospel (Doctrine of Christ), which would prepare the Lord’s people to receive all the knowledge of the Kingdom of God (the mysteries).]
20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. [Ordinances are teaching vehicles to prepare the spirit for the true reality of what is promised. Usually, they represent an invitation to receive at a future time.]
21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood [messengers of God], the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; [Without these things experienced and taught, the Lord cannot prepare the individual to receive His glory while in the flesh.]
22 For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. [No man or woman can stand in the presence of God unless they are made clean by the power of the Holy Ghost. These ordinances, specifically the baptism of fire and becoming born again of the spirit (a baptism of the Holy Ghost) allow us to enter the presence of the Father. And who is our Father? It will be Him whom has saved us, even Jesus Christ. Each Father (and mother) lifts us to a new beginning. In this is a mystery.]
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify [make clean] his people that they might behold the face of God; [to literally enter His presence and stand shoulder to shoulder with Moses]
24 But they hardened their hearts [chose to turn away and follow unbelief and false tradition] and could not endure his presence [could not be sanctified]; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest [receive the gift of the HG] while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. [to become Zion]
When we read about the “wrath of God” or “anger” of God, it creates a picture in the mind of an unfamiliar, mean and spiteful God, which is far from the truth. These expressions of scripture should be read differently. God’s wrath and anger are more accurately interpreted as the removal of His Spirit, to fall into the hands of the Adversary because of a lack of protection from the divine. The Lord is grieved when His children forsake him, and when His spirit withdraws, the uncertainty of the temporal world can rain down upon us. Only in the case of protecting future generations from a cycle of sin does the Lord clean away a people by destruction. There is always mercy, but justice is how God organizes his creations according to the laws of Heaven.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; [The opportunity to receive the higher blessings of the Everlasting Covenant, namely the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the means to commune face to face with God.]
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; [In other words, he prepared a system of ordinances that would prepare their minds to accept His servants, the angels, the 4th estate which are in heaven, and in the flesh on this earth. This preparatory Gospel was the Law of Moses.]
27 Which gospel [God’s Word] is the gospel of repentance [turning to God]and of baptism, and the remission of sins, [cleansing by water, spiritual renewal] and the law of carnal commandments [Ten Commandments], which the Lord in his wrath [despite their wickedness] caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb. [When John came into this world it was the beginning of a new dispensation, or renewal of priesthood. John was born with the relationship to God needed to fulfill His mission. He is not the first to have been born with the HG from his mother’s womb.]
28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood [John received the Holy Ghost before baptism of water], and was ordained [given instructions to perform His mission] by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.
29 And again, the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages [offices to assist in the work] belonging unto the high priesthood. [namely, the ordinations that point to Higher Priesthood, such as the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Sacrament, and officiating over the Church.]
30 And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood, which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons. [Namely, the preparatory needs of the church to learn of the Doctrine of Christ.]
31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses [Levites}—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed—[Here is the call to the 4th estate to gather and build the Church of the Lamb to prepare for the coming of the Lord. The building of the temple in the New Jerusalem.]
32 And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord’s house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church. [The question: how many were as the sons of Aaron, symbolic in this capacity, and how many were literal 4th estate? In the Parable of the Watchtower in Section 101, the Lord rebukes the slothful servants on the tower for not protecting the vineyard.]
33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods [ascending in this divine relationship] of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling [honoring their sacred call], are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. [This sanctification is the literal resurrection of the spirit body, the ascension to a higher glory and knowledge of God.]
There are attempts to divide various priesthoods into multiple kinds or levels, but it is very simple. In each realm of glory (i.e.: telestial, terrestrial, celestial) there is an introductory and then a fullness of priesthood. The telestial priesthood brings us into a relationship with the Holy Ghost. It begins as we repent and exercise gifts of the Spirit, followed by the receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost after following the pattern of the Doctrine of Christ. This priesthood officiates in preparatory ordinances.
The terrestrial Priesthood brings us into a tangible relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. This usually begins with a Second Comforter experience and then is made whole when receiving one’s calling and election made sure. This priesthood officiates in spiritual ordinances with eternal consequences.
The celestial or highest priesthood brings us into a relationship with the Elohim, which is the line of Fathers and Mothers of all creation, without end. Any of these can be experienced in mortality, but requires a transfiguration. Thus, a person must be sanctified and given access to God for this to occur. This priesthood officiates in ordinances of creation.
These three priesthoods are limited in this world according to the power we can bear. Most people will experience the power of the Holy Ghost who can bear it by faith. Some will experience the power of the Son, by means of a Second Comforter, or even more. All else comes after a calling and election made sure in accordance to their life mission.
34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God. [They join the family of the Elect, the Sons and Daughters of God, and the Church of the Firstborn]
35 And also all they who receive this priesthood [The Holy Ghost] receive me, [the gaitway to Him] saith the Lord;
36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; [Again, those who follow His Gospel as taught will receive Him through repentance, baptism of water and fire, the Holy Ghost.]
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; [The gate way to the Elohim, which is Father, Mother, and beyond.]
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. [This is Exaltation, the full purpose of the Everlasting Covenant, to rise the full ladder of our progression.]
39 And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. [This is how we enter the Everlasting Covenant, which is administered before the foundation of the world. This priesthood is our true relationship with God.]
40 Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved. [We are bound to it. Either as a 2nd estate or 4th estate being. The Third estate is accomplished only in this life. Fourth and Fifth only in the life to come.]
41 But whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come. [Referencing one who has become a Son of Perdition.]
42 And wo [so sad] unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, by mine own voice out of the heavens; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. [A commandment of God]
44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. [Every revelation received, by whatever means. Whether it be by the whisperings of the Spirit, the voice of a Servant, or words of scripture. Seek revelation to know which is the “mouth of God” to you.]
45 For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ
46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit. [All can receive this light, intelligence, truth, and “word of God” if we do not turn away from it.]
47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.
48 And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world. [These verses are demonstrating how God reaches out to us. Those who have made the covenant before this world hear his voice. They hearken to the Spirit of Truth, and then their Covenant is renewed in baptism of water and then fire. Why? Because the servants of God must awake and save the whole world. This is done through bringing the Gospel to the House of Israel and all those who will hear His Voice.]
49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin. [This is a literal reference to the earth itself, a sentient being, whose spirit is aware of the degree of sin that is upon her.]
50 And by this you may know they [the children of men] are under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me. [They have not made the Covenant and have no inclination to do so.]
51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. [The Lord now sets the record straight: who are righteous and who are not of Him by giving an example.]
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief [To set stakes in the ground of how one will believe, and how much faith they are willing to exercise. Often those with unbelief carry false traditions that prevent them from receiving the blessings of God.], and because you [The Lord informs them that they are guilty of this.] have treated lightly the things you have received—
To “treat lightly” is to not see the reality of the promise. To dismiss the gravity of the situation. To focus upon the mundane of the world and pass up the great clarity and beauty of Heaven that is within reach. To see one’s own wisdom above that of God.
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. [This is a powerful rebuke against the church. Not just part of the church, all of it!]
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion [The followers of Mormonism], even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say [teach], but to do according to that which I have written—
What are they condemned for? For not repenting (turning their hearts to God) and remembering the new covenant (The Doctrine of Christ, to come unto Him and receive the Holy Ghost as written in the Book of Mormon). What are the former commandments? (3 Nephi, Chapter 11)
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom [to receive the Holy Ghost and ascend to the Third Estate]; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. [you who are seeking Zion]
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay. [The Lord will not allow wickedness to thrive or cause a stumbling block to His work. He will separate them and allow them to stumble that they may repent and come unto Him again.]
Has this condemnation on the church ever been revoked? No, it has not. Why is the Lord so strong in his words regarding the church from only a couple years since it was organized? (1832) Because, the priesthood relationship He desired to share with them was not bearing fruit.
When the condemnation is lifted, the children of Zion will finally see the glory of God come down and the establishment of Zion with its temple in Jackson County will be built. All of the Saints, both men, women, and children, will have the priesthood of God and know Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and our oaths and covenants of priesthood shall be fulfilled.