D&C 113


I had totally forgotten that D&C 113 existed! I found it again today and wondered what I’d find now, after all the years Joe and I have worked on the Abrahamic Covenant and all the ways Nephi has helped us see that covenant in Isaiah. Would it be in D&C 113 too? Or were they focused on other aspects of Isaiah so it didn’t come up?

Well! I learned a lot today! Here are some of those thoughts:

4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power

This might not sound like much, but look at that description: both a descendant of Jesse (that is, of David’s family, right? Which means, of Judah) and of Ephraim (or Joseph, it says). That means that the split (and rivalry) between Judah and Joseph is overcome in one person at some point! If I understand Genesis 49 right, Jacob splits the covenant into two parts when he blesses his sons. Where as Abraham had once chosen son (Isaac) and Isaac had one chosen son (Jacob), Jacob blesses two with greater blessings than the rest: Judah will reign, and Joseph will be prosperous and multiply exceedingly. Of the two, I think Joseph’s is closer to the Abrahamic covenant, so I’d tended to assume that basically Joseph was the chosen son as far as priesthood, chosen seed, and so on went. But reading this description from D&C 113 made me realize that perhaps it really was split in some way, and in some future person those two houses of Jacob will be reunited! And on this person “there is laid much power.” It doesn’t say it was Joseph Smith, so I think we’re talking about someone else, likely in the future, and likely someone who will gather Zion? (Because so much else in D&C 113 talks about Zion? And because someone who gathers might be a king (Judah) and have priesthood rights (Joseph)? Or can I really assign to Joseph those rights of the Melchizedek priesthood? That’s messy business I guess. Anyway, on to other verses:

5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter? Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.

Whoa! And here we go again with priesthood. This descendant has a birthright, and to him, “rightly belongs the priesthood.” So, apparently, for the rest of us, we’re using it by authorization for now, by adoption? By virtue of the statement in Abraham 2 that all who embrace the gospel are “counted” as Abraham’s seed, and so by that promise can hold the priesthood? So many questions! But look at elsewhere in the D&C that talk about legal rights, or rightly belongs. There’s D&C 68 and D&C 107 that talk about literal descendants of Aaron holding the priesthood and right to being a Bishop, but there’s talk of Melchizedek priesthood too. See this from D&C 107:

40 The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. 41 This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:

So while here we have a revelation talking to a group of Latter-day Saints on how to organize themselves as Melchizedek priesthood members, this same revelation is telling them that they don’t actually have a “right” to the priesthood. They are being called within it, and being told how to use it and to organize within it, but they aren’t actually the people for whom it was intended. Those people are hidden for now but they do exist. I have wondered where else to learn about that and I didn’t realize that D&C 113 was a place to go! So here’s that part again:

D&C 113:6 descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom

So here we go! Someday there will be that person who has a right to the priesthood! And that person will be a combination of Jesse (Judah) and Ephraim (Joseph)! How incredible! How many times those two are used to represent two parts of Israel! Two nations! (Northern and Southern Kingdoms.) Two books of scripture! (The Bible and the Book of Mormon!) How amazing that the person to whom the priesthood belongs is a unification of those two parts! Perhaps that is symbolic of the moment at which Israel can really be gathered again into one! And when Zion can really be built! How amazing, and I had no idea! :)

The next part I want to share is a little complicated as far as who the verses are talking about, but there’s more about lineage and priesthood so I want to share it!

8 to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

Now Zion is personified, but that’s still awesome! Zion has a right to priesthood by lineage? I don’t know but that’s cool. And also “return” to that power “which she had lost.” Part of the restoration or gathering of Israel is to gather them together so that the group itself, not just one person can have the priesthood power they have lost – that they once had, as a group, but in a scattered state they have lost. I wonder if that is a fair reading of this?

The last verse is similar: “The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.” And “the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation.”

 


My feelings this Easter


“I know that my Redeemer lives – What comfort this sweet sentence gives!”

I believe Christ has felt and overcome death, sorrow, pains. These are real and carried by us now, and they were real for him and carried by him then. But he rose from the dead! He literally endured and overcame all. I know it can’t be proved, or even adequately explained, but it gives me such great hope and joy when I think about it. My soul asks, “Why else come to this planet, if not to see how every thing in existence can be overturned for good?” God is great because he overcame all – there is nothing in this world that could possibly stand in his way; evil exists, death exists, but because Christ rose from the grave everything – everything! – can be consecrated or turned for good. And that thought gives me the sweetest sort of comfort imaginable, because it means everything now, past, or future, can always be turned for good! “In His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.” Hope you have a happy Easter, and find yourself rejoicing in the good that is always possible – the hope the future always holds – because Christ really did rise again!


131 search results for “covenant” in the Book of Mormon


Another starting place:

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=covenant&X-Forwarded-Scheme=https&testament=bofm&sort=chronology


A few leads on seeing the Abrahamic Covenant in 2 Nephi


It’s fun to look at scriptures.lds.org page for 2 Nephi, with all of the headings (original and added) all in a row. It gives a sense of what the message of the book is and how the different parts build on each other.

For example, if Nephi is concerned with making the Abrahamic Covenant known to his descendants, and he does this by quoting Isaiah, then it’s helpful to see, even at a glance, what themes and topics Isaiah talks about.

I get the idea that a gathering and a restoring of Israel is primary here. But how is that accomplished? That’s the sort of question I have in mind. (That I’m only starting to think about.)

On a related note, it was helpful to see the sermon of Jacob summarized chapter by chapter. He reads Isaiah, then talks about atonement/resurrection, and then back to the Jews relationship to Christ and the fulfillment of the Covenant. Why detour to the atonement in chapter 9? Or rather, I should probably realize it’s not a detour at all and crucial to his conversation about the Abrahamic Covenant.

Again, just leads in my short study time this morning, but at it’s fun to even see a few leads.


Just found this page – cool stuff


A part of lds.org focusing on women’s history in the Church. I especially liked this article:

https://history.lds.org/article/unofficial-mormon-women-missionaries?lang=eng


My testimony of Jesus Christ


I read these words this morning from this post:

That he could be touched literally showed that he could be touched by our pains and came to heal them. And it seems to me that the promised resurrection of the spirit is the healing of our physical and spiritual wounds.

I thought about that first line a lot. He came to his disciples (in the East and in America) with those marks still in his hands and in his side. Why were they still there? A question not asked first by me, certainly, but this post got me thinking about that again. It shows that he could be touched, that he is real, that he really actually does feel pain (and is capable of feeling our pain). But I thought about something beyond that point: it also shows that he can carry those pains and overcome them. To be resurrected yet carrying the marks of death is something pretty astounding. It reminds us that his death and pain really happened and yet didn’t hold him back. And no matter what pains or evils he encounters, they can’t hold him back. He has overcome them all – he has “overcome the world.”

And along with his resurrection we are promised a resurrection too. We too overcome death because he overcame death. And similarly, he has overcome all spiritual evils or afflictions or sins by his suffering. We too conquer all spiritual death because he conquered spiritual death.

I haven’t thought about it quite in this way before. He carries the marks of death to show us that he can actually carry them. And by implication, if he can overcome death than he can overcome every other effect from the fall – he has overcome death and hell! We are free.

Death is conquered; man is free.

Christ has won the victory.

I’ll add my own testimony to so many others who have believed: I believe Christ has overcome it all – death, sorrow, pains, these are real and carried by us now, but in the future, all can be overcome! Else why come to this planet, if not to see how every thing in existence can be overturned for good? What a hopeful message! And one I believe in!

(As we end a testimony in our Church, I’ll do the same here:) In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!


Are storehouses more Melchizedek or Aaronic?


Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

We’re looking at D&C 68 on our Dews From Heaven blog so I’m thinking more about storehouses, bishops, and high priests. I don’t have many answers or insights yet. In fact, I’m just beginning to ask questions!

My initial question is: What is the connection between a bishop/agent and high priest like Melchizedek, who had the great powers of Enoch, and who taught the people, and who was appointed keeper of the storehouse? Melchizedek’s story (at least in JST Genesis 14) seems to connect his work of preaching and his work of receiving tithes, in that they are both necessary for a transformation of a city into a Zion. Why separate them in the latter-days?

I think the answer might come from the time of Moses.

The office of Bishop belongs to the Aaronic priesthood, and specifically to a literal descendant of Aaron. The Aaronic priesthood was given (or at least, was left) when the people refused the greater opportunities that Moses begged them to received. He worked diligently that his people might repent and behold God; in other words (perhaps): he wanted them to become Zion and be translated to God’s home. They refused that, but God left agents over the temple (the Levites). Is that a fair way to say it? The Aaronic priesthood takes care of the temple, but as I think about that, I remember how they received the sacrifices and tithing of the people in order to take care of the temple and themselves and keep a storehouse.

So perhaps the two roles I see Melchizedek having (teacher and storehouse) were divided into to priesthoods only at the time of Moses. And perhaps this was because the people needed to get the one down before they could get the other down (they needed to be able to tithe temporally before they could do and receive more?

I like the reference in Malachi today: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

It’s a sort of “lose your life to find it” logic. If you bring all the tithes to the storehouse, blessings will come. If I understand the D&C right, “all” tithes means anything that you have that is more than what you need. Bring everything you don’t need to the storehouse, and you will be blessed. Your lands will grow food well, there will be enough rain, etc. Give up what you don’t need first, then everything you need and more will be given to you.

Ok so back to Aaronic priesthood. Why is this an Aaronic duty (to receive and manage tithes)? At first I felt like Melchizedek was being replaced by a Bishop. But now I see how Melchizedek’s work could be divided into do kinds of work, and perhaps that’s just what happened with Moses and Aaron. How merciful that God didn’t just take the priesthood and covenant (or knowledge of the covenant, rather) away from the people altogether!

So what does it mean to say we have a Melchizedek priesthood? If I look at Melchizedek as someone who built a city, and we give the temporal work to the Bishop, then I guess what is left is teaching in such a way that people are ready to behold the face of God (see D&C 84). Is that fair? But Aaronic priesthood holders teach too. And women, of course. So it isn’t just that they teach. It could be that they have the responsibility to teach, such that if they do not, they are held accountable. It could be that they can perform the ordinances associated with beholding God. It could be… what? What else?

 


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