Tag Archives: angels

Keys of the ministering of angels


Here are all 5 references to Aaronic priesthood and angels in the scriptures (if the lds.org search I did was thorough enough).

My research question is this:

Do the words “keys of the ministering of angels” mean something like the Aaronic priesthood has power to receive ministering spirits/ministering angels?

(such as the gift of the spirit Moroni mentions in Moroni 10:14 “the beholding of angels and ministering spirits”)

Or, do the words “keys of the ministering of angels” mean something like the Aaronic priesthood has the power to authorize or invite angels to minister to others?

(such as when Alma prays for his son, and an angel comes in Mosiah 27:14 “therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.”)

This latter interpretation might follow along with what Elder Oaks said in the 2018 General Conference (and elsewhere):

“The keys of the priesthood are the powers to direct the exercise of priesthood authority.”

With those thoughts in mind, here are the 5 verses:

Doctrine and Covenants 13:1
1 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:26
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;

Doctrine and Covenants 107:20
20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

Doctrine and Covenants 129:1,9
1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—

9 These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.

Joseph Smith—History 1:69
69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

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Faith is faith on a word about Christ


I was rereading Moroni 7 today, and verses 20-34 seemed to have such a clear logic and flow that I wonder why I hadn’t seen this so clearly before! I guess that’s why we keep reading over and over and over again! So many things yet to be noticed that are right in front of us.

Mormon says his speech is going to be about faith, but he has some groundwork to lay down first. Mormon says that without Christ, none of us could have any good thing. “Otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them” (verse 24). But how do we lay hold upon good things then? “Thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing” (verse 25). Faith is also what gives us power to do good things: “If ye have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (verse 33). And most importantly, along with repenting and being baptized, Christ says, “have faith in me, that ye may be saved” (verse 34).

So we see know that faith is necessary to lay hold upon good things, to do good things, and even to be saved. But how does faith come about? What is faith? Does God have a plan to make all of this possible?

Well, of course, he does. “For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to…make manifest concerning the coming of Christ (verse 22). “And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come” (verse 23). “Wherefore…men began to exercise faith in Christ” (verse 25). We get a little more detail on angels in verses 31-32:

“And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him. 

“And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth a way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.”

This is all so remarkably clear to me today. God creates the possibility of faith by sending messengers (either by calling prophets or by sending angels to chosen men, women, and children who then bear testimony). The possibility of faith is conditioned on God sending words and messages about Christ into the world. That is faith. Faith is believing on a word, and that faith creates a place for the Holy Ghost to empower, teach, sanctify, etc. It all seems to start with faith, and faith seems to start with a message, and that message seems to start when God speaks or sends angels.

—————————-

I was very impressed with the idea laid out here that the work of the covenants (the Abrahamic Covenant being the big example) is accomplished through speaking! I knew that angels ministered and that they did the work of fulfilling covenants, but for some reason I had separated those as two different jobs. But I think verses 31-32, quoted above, are clear that ministering messages is how they fulfill the covenants. They teach, which brings the Holy Ghost, which changes people, and that gathers Israel or whatever other promise is given through a particular covenant. Teaching. Teaching. Teaching. Wow. I’m again shocked at the value and power of teaching.


Administering the gospel vs. Preaching the gospel?


Thoughts on “administering the gospel vs. preaching the gospel –” that I need to work out before posting a comment as Dews From Heaven…

I think Kim is right that we ought to spend a great deal of time on Joseph’s 4-part list of events. I’m going to copy them here for easy reference:

“Firstly he receiving the testimony from on high”
“Secondly the ministering of angels”
“Thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministering of Angels to administer the letter of the Gospel—the Law and commandments as they were given unto him—and the ordinances”
“Fourthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God [and] power and ordinance from on high to preach the gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit.”

The way he uses “the” (as in “the testimony,” and “the ministering of angels,” etc.) implies that this list is a pattern for how God calls prophets. So first, he receives a testimony or witness from on high; he knows for himself that God is real. Then, angels come ministering. The phrase “ministering of angels” is often given in lists of gifts of the spirit so it’s not surprising to see him say “the” ministering of angels. I did a quick search for “ministering of angels” in the scriptures and I think I could write a whole post thinking through those! How many times is the ministering of angels mentioned after Satan came tempting, or after someone repented of sins, and so forth? Why are the words developed into a phrase? It seems early in the Book of Mormon it isn’t a phrase but the word “minister” is still used in connection with angels. And in 3 Nephi angels minister and then Christ also comes ministering. D&C 7 says that a person will be made as a ministering angel. All sorts of things to work on! 🙂

But anyway, second, he receives angels, or further light and knowledge. A testimony was the important first step, and now we add to that.

Third, we find out another thing that the angels bring to him: the priesthood, which allows him, a mortal, to administer the gospel it was given to him. (Does it follow that the gospel laws, commandments, and ordinances were given to him by the ministering of angels?)

I do like the idea of “administering” the gospel as “giving out” or “distributing” the law, commandments, and ordinances of the gospel. I also like the idea that one administers what one has already received. Also, it makes sense that receiving the priesthood is what allows one to administer what one has received. I don’t know what about that feels so clear, but I like it.

Forth, he receives a confirmation and reception of more priesthood. Why a confirmation? Of what, exactly? We’ll see that word used in D&C 84 but I don’t really understand what we are confirming yet. Confirmation that he is doing the right thing? A confirmation of salvation? And why is it now “a” confirmation and reception instead of “the”? Is it that the first three steps have happened enough in history that his audience would be familiar with them, but the fourth one goes beyond that?

And what is it about preaching that requires such a grand and holy calling? In most churches, preaching is a lesser calling than administering ordinances. But what about separating preaching as in missionary work from teaching in Church settings? In Church settings, the majority of the audience has already received ordinances, whereas when someone is preaching the audience has not received ordinances. Is the role of a preacher to prepare the way for ordinances, and somehow that requires a higher priesthood?? D&C 42:11 is very clear that “it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.” I think this is meant to be separate from teaching, since the verse next few verses go on to talk about how elders, priests, and teachers should teach in the Church. But, they also must teach “as they shall be directed by the Spirit” and can’t teach without it, so my whole idea of the Melchizedek priesthood needing the Spirit more doesn’t really hold up in the end. 🙂

I suppose there might be still something to the idea that administering is more straightforward where as teaching and preaching need the Spirit…