First of all, where is the genealogy coming from? It is so specific, including each name in the chain, that it appears to be drawing the names from elsewhere. Is this in the Bible? If not, are we receiving a revelation about genealogy here? (sounds like D&C 68:21) Or, is it being drawn from records that are elsewhere but not found, not considered scripture, so on?
References to Jethro: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=Jethro&testament=ot&sort=chronology. It is so mind-bending to me that we have members of the priesthood who received their priesthood through a chain that goes back to Abraham but is not descended from the Issac-Jacob line. And I can’t tell if these are even descendants of Abraham at all. (It doesn’t look like it.) That makes me want to change my picture of priesthood and covenant some, but I can’t tell exactly what to change it to yet.
Verse 14. Elsewhere we learn that Abraham was blessed by Melchizedek (like Esaias in verse 13 is by Abraham), but only here (that I know of right now) do we read that Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek. Even the book of Abraham is vague as to how and by whom Abraham received the priesthood.
I do love the lineage chain from Abraham on back.
Why does it go through Abel and not Seth? That doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Seth appears to have been born after Abel dies, so how could he pass it to Seth and then to Enos? Did Abel come back as an angel? Was there another chain of priesthood besides the Seth-Enos line? What then would be make of Adam and Eve’s despair in the book of Moses and their joy in having Seth be appointed their new (chosen) seed?
Verse 17 – we have a narrative where the priesthood is “gone” during times of apostasy. So this verse could be read that the priesthood continues in all generations in which there is the Church on the earth. Are there other ways to read this verse? I have a hope in me somewhere that there is always a person on the earth with priesthood keys, but we only notice that whenever there is a Church organized. But then, what about Peter, James, and John coming to Joseph Smith? Then again, what about Jethro, Nephites, and other times were keys were given in parallel times or lineages or ways? In other words, what if Joseph Smith needed to receive the keys via Peter, James, and John because of the kind of work or kind of beginning point or kind of Church that was being organized at that time?
But, D&C 128:9 seems to confirm the normal reading: “Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given.”
Interesting to play around with ideas, anyway. 🙂 I want to make sure I’m open to whatever the scriptures say, and then also see how our narratives are working with those scriptures in various ways.
That’s all for this morning!