READ D&C 84:2-5
Why would the Lord (who has all things before His face) say that the New Jerusalem “shall” be built in Independence, MO in “this” generation who shall not pass away until a house shall be built and accepted by the Lord through His presence, when He knew that the Saints would be driven from Missouri and never even begin the temple there?
Truth is knowledge of things as they are, were and are to come (see D&C 93:24); God is a god of truth and cannot lie; and He has all things before His face and knows the end from the beginning (Ether 3:12; D&C 88:41; D&C 38:2; Moses 1:6; Moses 7:67).
So, God knew the Saints in 1832 would not build the Temple or the New Jerusalem or establish Zion due to their jarrings and contentions (see 101:1-8), and in fact would be driven from Jackson County by the end of the next year.
With that, verse two is absolutely spot on: the purpose of the Church was for the restoration of His people to the truths that were lost – this happened through the Book of Mormon and JS’s other writings and revelations; …with the intent that all who come to a knowledge of the truth gather in and establish Zion.
In verse three, the city “shall be” (meaning: will in the future be) built at the temple lot in Jackson County – this happened in 1833 – a city was dedicated and built to be Zion.
Verse four is more problematic on its face – but the New Jerusalem will be built by the gathering of the saints, and if the process can be said to have started with the Saints in Jackson County in the 1830s, that is a true statement; the issue is that the temple was not reared in that generation in Missouri nor has it ever been since – and Zion is actually predicted to be built in the “tops of the mountains”, but perhaps it will extend to Jackson County as Joseph Smith prophesied that all of North and South America will one day constitute Zion.
Verse five: this prophesy regarding the temple being visited by the presence of the Lord was fulfilled in Kirtland, OH in 1836 (i.e. “an house” but not “this house in Missouri”). The Lord knew “an” house or temple would be built by this group of Saints and accepted by Him through the visit of His presence, but He also knew that the accepted house would be in Ohio not Missouri, because the saints would fail in their attempt to build Zion or its temple in MO. The question that is implied from this is: was “Zion’s location changed from MO to Ohio?” What about the command to later build a Temple in Far West? And then in Nauvoo? It seems like the Lord was open to the Saints’ attempts to establish Zion but He always knew that Zion won’t be established until the Saints who are destined to build it (from Israel not the Gentiles) make it to the “tops of the mountains” in some future day.
The High Priesthood After the Holy Order of the Son of God
READ D&C 107:1, 5-6
Why do these verses refer to two priesthoods but Joseph talked about a single priesthood, then three priesthoods (Aaronic, Melchizedek, Patriarchal), while the Temple endowment implies four levels of priesthood?
Priesthood is an association – like a “neighborhood”, it implies a fellowship among people or beings. The scriptural (and Temple) priesthoods are best understood to be "fellowships". There is a fellowship among men (Aaronic 1), a fellowship between men and angels Aaronic 2), a fellowship between men and Christ (Melchizedek 1), and a fellowship between men and the Father (fullness of the Melchizedek).
There is really only one Priesthood from God’s perspective, but because mankind cannot abide the fullness of God’s presence, that wholistic priesthood is cordoned off into segments, according to the light that the individual is willing to bear based on the level of law they are willing to abide by.
Of the three priesthoods Joseph referred to, only two are had by the Church – the third level or “High Priesthood” can only be given by God to man – its “keys” cannot be passed down via ordination from man to another man (or woman) – so it is not had “by the Church” and by 1841, it was completely unavailable to the Church because they refused to accept the invitation to enter into the presence of God, which is what the High Priesthood is all about enabling.
READ D&C 107:2-4
What is the true name of the High Priesthood?
The Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God.
READ D&C 84:6-16 and D&C 107:48-49
What does it mean for the priesthood to be received “under the hand” of another?
This describes the passing, from one man to another, of an ordination to the holy priesthood via the laying on of hands.
An ordination from or conducted by a man, can be an authorized invitation to go to God and receive the actual blessings promised in the ordination; in this case, it is the receipt of spiritual power from God due to an association with Him through the veil.
What is the difference between Moses’ ordination under the hand of Jethro and Esaias’ reception of the priesthood under the hand of God?
Moses received the invitation from Jethro at this point in time; he was later to receive the actual power from God when he was adopted into the family of God as His son, (see Moses 1:1-4; Psalms 2:7).
Esaias received the actual power from God (see Helaman 10:4-7).
What is the difference between Enoch’s ordination under the hand of Adam and his blessing at age 65?
Enoch received the invitation from Adam at age 25 via his ordination to the priesthood.
Enoch received a blessing from Adam (who held the sealing power) at age 65 which enabled Enoch to then see the Lord, walk with Him and have Him take up His abode with him continually.
This blessing enabled Enoch to rend the veil or perhaps rent the veil for him; could this be the same blessing that Adam used with his righteous posterity to bring them into the presence of God (in D&C 107:53) and which Melchizedek blessed Abram with (JST Genesis 14:25; Abraham 1:2-4).
But for Enoch to walk with God, the Lord must have had to have given him the High Priesthood at this time, or he would not have been able to abide His presence.
How does one receive the actual High Priesthood?
God Himself ordains people to the High Priesthood (see TPJS 205:2; JST Genesis 14:26-29).
God calls you with His own voice or “word” to this priesthood or association with Him (see Helaman 10:4-7).
This authority is from “the foundation of the world” or from “eternity to eternity” meaning that one holds this authority or association in the eternities, in the presence of God, and it is then “activated” when one comes to earth for a mortal experience by God’s voice.
But it must be initially obtained during a mortal probation outside of God’s presence where one proves themselves through their faith and good works in a world of opposition – they must awake from their mortal “sleep” or fallen condition to “rise up” and rend the veil with their faith and enter the Rest of the Lord or His presence (see Alma 13:3-6).
The “line of authority” for this kind of Priesthood is always short – the person and God!
Those receiving this priesthood are secure in the knowledge of what God has given them and have faith in God’s power to enable them to complete the missions they have been given in the mortal probation and beyond – they have a “sure” promise of their “election” because God Himself has given it to them and He cannot lie.
How did Joseph Smith receive the High Priesthood?
By the calling of God’s own voice in the chamber or house of Peter Whitmer Senior (see D&C 128:21) in June 1829 (see JS Papers, Documents vol 1, pp 25-26; JS Papers History vol 1, pp 326-328).
Peter, James and John appeared to declare themselves possessing the keys of the kingdom and of the dispensation of the fullness of times (see D&C 128:19; note, the language added to D&C 27:12 regarding the ordination to be apostles was not part of the original revelation but was added by a committee of Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick Williams who arranged the revelations for the 1835 printing of the D&C – see JS Papers Revelations and Transcriptions, facsimile edition pp 40-42 and JSP R&T, vol 2 pp 489-491).
“We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz., that provided we continued faithful, we should also have the Melchizedek Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the chamber of Mr. Whitmer's house, in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here, to our unspeakable satisfaction, did we realize the truth of the Savior's promise—"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"—for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord came unto us in the chamber, commanding us that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ; and that he also should ordain me to the same office; and then to ordain others, as it should be made known unto us from time to time.” (DHC 1:60).
READ D&C 84:17-22 and D&C 107:18-19
What does it mean that the High Priesthood continues “in the Church of God in all generations” if we know that the children of Israel lost it at the time of Sinai and the Latter-day Saints had lost it by 1841?
The “church of God” is not what we think it is – it is not the ancient church of Israel or the modern LDS Church.
To be part of the “Church of God”, you must hold this priesthood.
The Church of God is really the family or House of God – it is the “Church of the Firstborn”, which requires attaining to this High Priesthood, because one must be able to abide the presence of God to be a “member” of this Church (which requires this priesthood – see D&C 84:22).
What does it mean that the High Priesthood is “without beginning of days or end of years”?
It does not originate in “time” or mortality but comes from eternity (see Alma 40:8; Alma 13:7).
It is without “father and mother” because it is not and cannot be passed from mortal to mortal but comes only from God to man (see JST Hebrews 7:3).
If the Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys of the gospel of repentance, baptism and the ministering of angels (v26), then what does it mean that the High Priesthood “administers the gospel”?
Perhaps “the Gospel” is more than repenting, keeping carnal commandments, and participating in outward ordinances.
This sets up the notion that the gospel or “good news” of our salvation or eternal life requires us to be spiritually reborn, so that we can reenter the Lord’s presence in the flesh and receive promises that only He can make to us (see John 17:3).
The outward ordinances and commandments enable the inward or spiritual or actual changes which happen when one is quickened by the Holy Spirit.
What key does this priesthood hold?
The mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
This “key” seems to confirm the definition of the “gospel” given above and what is required to have it administered to us – i.e. it is administered by God to man in the flesh (v 21-22).
What is the key of the mysteries of the kingdom?
The key of the knowledge of God.
The key which unlocks access to God, for God is a mystery until He reveals Himself to you.
And a sure knowledge of God requires entering into His presence (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).
What is the “knowledge of God”?
It is not just knowing of or knowing about God.
Knowledge of God implies firsthand knowledge of Him through experience; it requires entering back into His presence and beholding His face – it is experiential, as it is with “knowing” anyone else (see D&C 84:22-23; 3 Nephi 11:14-15).
Ultimately, it also means obtaining His knowledge (the knowledge that God has) or being (made) like or becoming like Him, for we cannot know something we do not fully comprehend, and we cannot comprehend a God unless we ourselves are sanctified and changed to be like Him; knowledge of God requires knowing God, which requires being precisely like God because He is infinite, and we must also be infinite to be capable of knowing or comprehending Him.
What is “godliness” and how is it manifest?
It is becoming precisely as He is – acquiring His character and attributes by following His example and doing all His works.
And by so doing, obtaining more light and knowledge (intelligence) or glory (God’s power).
So, manifesting the power of godliness is God or His power being manifested in this mortal world.
What does it mean that “in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest”?
Ordinances are not the “real thing”, but they are also more than just hollow rituals.
The ordinances of the High Priesthood are necessary for anyone to be able to see the face of God because they are an indispensable part of preparing you to part the veil and enter His presence in the flesh (see Ether 12:19).
Ordinances are intended to point the way to the real thing like a blueprint – they are a necessary prerequisite or preparatory device; He gives us these truths to reflect on, pray about and begin to exercise faith in; they introduce ideas to mankind that we can have faith in seeking after; without the introduction of these ideas through ordinances, we would be unaware of the privileges or opportunities that God is offering us and we would not understand how to even begin to experience them in real life because they would never occur to us.
Ordinances contain covenants or promises that precede the reality of what has been promised; they promise what is to come if one exercises sufficient faith by believing the promise and doing what has been commanded (see Ether 12:32).
God hides His truths in plain sight through ceremony and rites.
What is the difference between having a “form” of Godliness (see JSH 1:19) and manifesting the power of Godliness?
A form is a symbol or ceremony or ordinance; if it is not believed and acted on in faith as a preparatory device or inherent promise, it is a “form” of Godliness without power. The form or symbol alone is powerless.
And having ordinances (even true ones) without power is a sign of faithlessness because you did not believe and act on them to receive the “real thing” – which is to manifest the actual power of Godliness through the veil and into the physical world.
Do you have to hold the High Priesthood to see God’s face?
The verses don’t say you have to HOLD the priesthood, rather they say that the ordinances of the priesthood prepare people to enter God’s presence (see 2 Nephi 26:33).
It is receiving (and living according to) the ordinances, not administering the ordinances, that enables you to see the face of God.
What does it mean, then, that without the power and authority of the higher priesthood, no one can see the face of the Father and live?
The ordinances that the High Priesthood officiates or facilitates are necessary to prepare the individual to enter & see the face of God.
One cannot officiate in the ordinances of the High Priesthood, in an efficacious way, unless one has entered the presence of God for oneself.
Entering the presence of God means, by definition, forming a relationship or association with Him.
That relationship is familial in nature (see Psalms 2:7) and is entered into by covenant (see D&C 84:33-42, the oath and covenant) which God extends to you.
You are changed or sanctified or quickened by that association with God or you could not bear His presence.
The association with God through the veil and the attendant power that comes with that association with God, is priesthood.
You must “hold” this priesthood or have the privilege of this association or relationship with God, if you are to stand in the full glory of His presence and not be utterly wasted (see D&C 107:18-19).
What does this mean for women?
Elohim (who had power in the priesthood) created Adam in “His” image and conferred authority upon “him”, which invitation or calling “he” received and sought after until “he” obtained it from God himself and was sealed up to Eternal Life and received the Priesthood after the Holy Order of God.
Both Elohim and Adam are plural names (Elohim means “the Gods”, Adam was created in Elohim’s image, male AND female; Adam is a surname, as in “the family of Adam” or Adam Adam and Eve Adam).
“Elohim” is the holy man and holy woman who are “one God” - together they are infinite and complete – together they are Elohim.
The woman is the King-maker (see Hugh Nibley, One Eternal Round, p 156); her role is to create or establish the man as a king on his throne, then in his first act as king, he establishes her on her throne and a royal, immortal family is created. (Because King without Queen is doomed to end but together they are infinite because of their seed - “this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”); this is the role that Mary performed for Christ when she anointed Him prior to His death (see John 12:3-8); what comes first, the chicken or the egg? What is more important, to be the King or the King-maker and Life Enabler?
So, what keys do the High Priesthood hold?
The scriptural "greater" or "Melchizedek" priesthood actually opens the heavens (see D&C 107:18-19).
Rending the veil and entering the presence of God and His Church of the Firstborn constitutes “all of the spiritual blessings of the (mortal) Church”; without which they are just an association of mortals without any ability to be saved.
READ D&C 107:53-56
What do we now understand about the fact that Adam and his direct line of seven descendants were “high priests”?
They had been given this authority by God Himself, individually.
They each knew God; they had been in His presence.
They each held the “birthright” in their “generation” to have “dominion” via the Holy Order.
What was Adam trying to do with the “residue of his posterity” at Adam-ondi-Ahman?
He blessed them because he wanted to bring them into the presence of the Lord like he had been and some of his sons and grandsons had been (see TPJS 180:3-4).
Which he was able to do; Adam-ondi-Ahman was where they established Zion or the beginnings of the city or group that Enoch was able to later take to heaven.
READ D&C 84:23-25
What was Moses’ goal with regards to the children of Israel?
To teach them the truth about the High Priesthood of God – that it is what enables one to enter the presence of God and live.
To sanctify his people or teach them the principles that would enable them to go to God and be sanctified by Him, so that they might also behold the face of God as he had done.
Who can and should receive these blessings?
ALL people - not just the leaders or priests or the men.
How did the children of Israel react to Moses’ invitation for them to enter God’s presence in the flesh?
They hardened their hearts.
They were fearful and lacked faith (see Exodus 20:18-21).
And as a result, they could not endure God’s presence (see Hebrews 12:18-21).
At the heart of it: they lacked the desire to enter God’s presence.
How did God react to their rejection of His invitation?
He was angry or offended.
He rescinded His offer to them (see JST Exodus 34:1-2).
He swore that they would not enter His presence or the fullness of His glory while they lived.
He took Moses out of their midst.
He removed the High Priesthood from them.
What does it mean that God took Moses out of their midst when he continued to reside with them for many more years in the desert?
He was still with them physically but he was no longer allowed to minister to them regarding the mysteries of the kingdom or how to walk back into the presence of God and enter into His rest (see Alma 12:9; 2 Nephi 32:7).
They would have to live the preparatory gospel, which has the keys to the ministering of angels, and each alone receive from the angels (when they were ready to receive them) what they were unwilling to receive collectively from Moses, which was the knowledge (or the law or commandments to abide in) required to live in the Celestial Kingdom and receive the High Priesthood.
What is the “rest of the Lord”?
Entering into his presence and receiving the fullness of His glory.
The glory of God is intelligence, light and truth (see D&C 93:36).
The rest of the Lord is the light and truth of a perfect day – think about not only staring straight at the sun at noon of Midsummer’s Day but being on its surface… and the sun is only a symbol of the light of the Lord.
To enter His presence requires His glory be in you, so that you can abide in it; you must be filled with light and truth – animated by it; you must be able to comprehend things that are presently hidden.
What is implied by the fact that the Lord wanted the children of Israel to enter His presence?
This was critically important for them all – it wasn’t just a “cherry on top” or treat for a few “righteous” leaders.
This is the Fullness of the Gospel of Christ and is required of redemption and salvation! (see D&C 132:21-25; Ether 3:13).
What is implied by the fact that Moses also wanted them to enter God’s presence?
He didn’t want to be the “strongman” leader anymore.
And if no one need tell another “know ye the Lord” but all knew Him, Moses would not have needed to play that role.
Moses understood God’s work and glory and shared His goals.
What was Moses trying to build or establish?
A kingdom of “High Priests and High Priestesses” each holding the Priesthood after the Holiest Order of God.
A nation of “Prophets” - a whole people who could behold the face of God and receive His glory - who have received the “Testimony of Jehovah/Jesus” or “Jesus’s testimony” from His own mouth (that He is who He says He is and that they are sealed up to Eternal Life).
Zion – a people who have all entered into God’s presence so that when He comes to visit the community, none are “utterly wasted” at His appearing.
What is implied by the fact that the Lord included this account in a revelation to Joseph Smith?
If Adam wanted to bring his children into God's presence, and Moses wanted to bring Israel into God's presence, then that is also what Joseph Smith wanted, and D&C 84 (including the "oath and covenant" passage) should be read in that context.
And He is affording us the same invitation (see Hebrews 12:18-25).
Or at least He afforded it to the Saints in 1832…but they rejected it and were condemned; although the fact that He is still teaching them about the High Priesthood in this same section held out hope for them and holds out hope for us, that we can still attain to this knowledge of God.
You could “liken the scriptures” by replacing the name “Moses” with the name “Joseph Smith” and the story would be just as accurate – very few of the early Saints followed the doctrine revealed through Joseph Smith sufficiently to experience the same things Joseph experienced – and none of his successors as Church President did (only Assistant President Hyrum Smith did); in fact, from the time of Reed Smoot’s calling into the Twelve, the Apostles were no longer even charged with trying to make their apostolic calling “in effect” by seeking to be a face to face witness of the Lord, and from the time of Heber J Grant to the present, Church leaders have held a distain about seeking the Second Comforter or really any spiritual experience outside the “norm” or what they themselves may have experienced.
He requires a similar Kingdom on Earth prior to His coming in Glory.
READ D&C 84:26-27 and D&C 107:20
What priesthood were the children of Israel left with?
The children of Israel had proved themselves to be unfit or unready for greater things; when offered, they had refused the opportunity (see Exodus 20:18-21), so they were left with the Aaronic priesthood, which is an association with the Powers of Heaven or angels.
A preparatory gospel of outward ordinances and the law of carnal commandments; a gospel or message of faith, repentance, baptism and outwardly focused or behaviorally focused commandments and rites.
If that preparatory gospel is lived, the keys of the ministering of angels inherent in the Aaronic priesthood will enable angels to come to the earth to minister and restore the rest of the knowledge that was lost to Israel when the High Priesthood was removed.
Why was the Lord so angry when they hardened their hearts?
The heavens weep when we disobey - they realize what our disobedience or apathy means MUCH more than we do – or at least more than we do in the present moment.
Christ suffered Eternal Punishment but it goes to waste (to some degree - it doesn’t get the full return, at least) when we don’t come unto Him; the Children of Israel would not come unto Him.
He cannot look upon sin except with abhorrence - and they are breaking the prime commandment: you shall have no Gods before me - you are not loving the Lord your God because you will not put Him first in your life by coming unto Him.
Why was the lesser priesthood given?
To prepare the people for the HOLY ORDER – the fullness of the Priesthood. There is still some hope in the Lord’s plan, despite the “curse” of losing the High Priesthood – people can still rise up and obtain it again individually, if they will follow the path the law of the gospel, with its external ordinances, is trying to point them in.
While the majority of Israelites never rose up to claim the blessings (almost all failed to receive angels to teach them how to enter the presence of God), a few did and they became prophets that God sent back to attempt to positively influence the rest to follow the same path; the apostasy and wickedness of the institutional Church of the time did not have to prevent the humble followers of Christ from finding Him, if they exercised the faith to soften their hearts and hear God’s voice, and courage to buck the system by following His counsel.
It is interesting to note that the only Israelite priest who also held the High Priesthood after Moses was Samuel – all the others, including Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Lehi, Daniel, John the Baptist etc., functioned outside the Church hierarchy and in many cases were sent back with a message of repentance for the high priests and the people in the Church.
What does this imply about ministering angels, the gospel of repentance and baptism, and the carnal commandments?
They are designed to bring us into alignment with the desire, capability and knowledge needed to receive the Holy Order when it is offered.
READ D&C 84:28
What does it mean that John the Baptist was given power to overthrow the Kingdom of the Jews, especially as they killed him?
He was given the power from God to end the dispensation of Moses and prepare the way for the new Dispensation of Christ.
John “wrested” the kingdom from the Jews but they did not notice it at the time, or even now, as they still think they have it and are waiting for the Messiah (see TPJS 312:1); implied is that the keys are God’s to give and if those to whom they are given don’t actually use them, then they may be taken by God and given to another and those who have lost them will not even know. Implied in this last idea is the fact that unless you have true priesthood (an association with angels and gods across the veil) with the spiritual experiences that come with it, you won’t know if you have the “keys” or not. But it probably doesn’t matter because effectively, you don’t have the keys anyway if you don’t have an association with heaven; all you have is a claim to “authority” (without a connection to heaven) which you can wield against the unsuspecting mortal masses that also have no association with heaven – so they don’t know the difference.
READ D&C 84:29
Why is an “office” like elder a “necessary appendage to” the Priesthood and not an office IN the priesthood?
Office = a position of authority, trust or service, typically of a public nature.
Appendage = a thing that is added or attached to something larger or more important.
There are no “offices” in the priesthood; there are orders or magnitudes of priesthood, particularly when the wickedness of men requires that some elements of the priesthood be cordoned off from men because they lack the godly attributes and light to handle them (see D&C 121:34-46); but the priesthood itself is unitary – there is really just ONE priesthood or association with the powers of heaven.
Offices reflect the requirements of an organization or institution, with their responsibilities and decision rights; offices MAY be administered much more effectively with Priesthood power but they are not synonymous.
The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood
READ D&C 84:33-40
What is an oath?
Oath = a solemn affirmation or declaration made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed; the appeal to God implies that the oath maker imprecates His vengeance if the declaration is false; or if the oath is a promise, if the oath maker should fail to deliver what was promised (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
What is a covenant?
Covenant = To enter into a formal agreement; to bind oneself by contract, with associated terms for all parties (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
Who makes “the oath and covenant of the priesthood” and what is it?
The Father makes the oath and the covenant to us; this is not an oath we swear to Him.
Actually, in this case, He makes a covenant with us, by an oath, which is the Father’s word.
It is how God delivers the high priesthood after the Holy Order of the Son of God to us; we receive the covenant with an oath that God swears to us.
It is not something that you aspire to or earn, but you accept it if/when offered by following the covenantal conditions established by God to receive it.
The priesthood – in particular this “high priesthood” is an association with the Father Himself; so the oath and covenant of the priesthood which the Father gives is His promise to you that He will have an association with you or that you will be one with Him – in all aspects of what that word could mean – one in mind (Holy Spirit), in capabilities (precisely like Him), in glory (a fullness or completeness of His knowledge or intelligence), so that you are capable of knowing Him and in fact, do (or will) know Him like He knows you, worlds without end.
Why can’t the Father break this covenant?
He cannot break it or He will cease to be God, as He is a god of truth and cannot lie (and continue to be who He is).
He swears it by His own life, which is eternal.
Implied is that He is swearing on His own godhood and omniscience – He is saying, “I am swearing this oath to you that you will receive this priesthood and all that it enables you to become and to do regardless of your current state of progression and light – I am promising you that this will happen by my life as a God and by my power to command all things according to my will”.
What must we do to qualify for the Lord to offer this covenant by oath to us?
Be faithful unto obtaining the “two priesthoods” – this is referring to obtaining the first two orders of Priesthood which the Church had (see D&C 107:1) of the three priesthood orders mentioned by Joseph Smith (see TPJS 362-363), but not the High Priesthood which can only be obtained from God Himself – that “heavenly gift” cannot be passed from one man to another.
Magnifying your “calling” – this is not referring to a calling in the Church but to a calling into the Priesthood, for many are called but few are chosen (see D&C 121:34-46); chosen is a “self-election” in this case – it is magnifying yourself by pursuing the calling or invitation to receive the first two orders of Priesthood and gaining an association with angels (first) and Christ (second), so that Jesus can prepare you to receive the fullness or High Priesthood from the Father.
If priesthood is an association between mankind and gods/angels, what does it mean to magnify your “calling” in the priesthood?
Magnifying a priesthood is cultivating a relationship with the angels or Gods associated with that priesthood; you have been “called” or invited to have a relationship with angels, the Lord, and Elohim (Father and Mother), magnifying that calling means rising up in faith and action to actually have those relationships in the flesh, so that you can have them again in the eternities.
It means to enable the work and power of God to flow through the veil from the heavens to the earth through you and those on the other side you are communicating or associating with – as God will honor our agency and will not intervene in this world unless we “pull Him in” through our association with Him.
It is about obtaining and keeping a habitation or long term association with the powers of heaven (gods and angels); it is not just about visitation but habitation – constant companions or living together in close proximity; making your home and ultimately, your body, a place where gods, angels and the Holy Spirit can dwell.
The powers of heaven (gods and angels) cannot be controlled or handled, only upon the principles of righteousness – by persuasion, meekness, and love unfeigned; otherwise the priesthood or the association with gods and angels will be broken – they will withdraw themselves from you and the Holy Spirit or light/spirit/glory of God will also withdraw and you will be left in darkness (see D&C 121:36-37, 41-46; Alma 12:9-11).
How do you cultivate a relationship with Gods and angels?
As with anyone, you must desire to know them.
You should find out about them – by reading the accounts of others’ experiences with them; i.e. the scriptures.
You must seek an introduction to them – prayer and meditation (waiting/watching/listening).
You must feel an affection for them; this will cause you to want to please them – reflect on all they have done for you (see 1 John 4:19); we please angels by serving God – they want to affiliate with those who love God and are seeking after light like they are (see 1 Nephi 11:6).
To please God, you must keep the commandments and do His will (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2); God’s will or work and glory is our immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39); pleasing God, then, is about participating in His work – both for yourself and for all of His other children, your fellow beings; we must love and serve God and each other (see Mosiah 2:17).
A relationship implies knowing someone, which does not happen at the first meeting but requires spending time together and seeking to truly comprehend each other; we must be with them physically – doing things they like to do, sharing things we like to do, working and playing together, going through hard times and joyous ones together, eating together and talking deeply about the things that matter most to both – sharing one’s must heartfelt desires and thoughts; it ultimately means taking up one’s “habitation” together (see John 14:23; D&C 130:3; 1 John 3:24; Revelation 3:20).
A relationship implies deep love for each other; if we love God, we will keep His commandments (see John 14:15); if we keep His commandments we will be filled with light and comprehend Him better – one day you will comprehend Him completely because you will be precisely like Him (see D&C 130: 18-21; D&C 88:49, 67; LoF 7:9, 15-16); to truly love Him, we must comprehend Him – otherwise we only love an idea which we’ve invented, not the true and living God Himself, who we don’t know and can’t understand.
If we truly and deeply love someone, we will sacrifice all things for them – we will lose or sacrifice our lives for them (see John 15:13; Matthew 16:24-26; Helaman 10:4-7); it is the same with God; when we get to the point that we will offer all things to Him because we love Him, we will know Him because that is what He has done for us; just as a child can’t understand the love a parent has for her/him until the child grows up to be a parent themselves, neither can we comprehend the love the Lord has for us until we follow His example and perform an atonement to save those depending upon us (see TPJS 390-393).
What does receiving these priesthoods make you?
A “son” of the “fathers” (84:34 and D&C 2) – Aaronic fathers (Moses and Aaron who are “sons of Levi”) and Melchizedek fathers (the seed of Abraham who is the father of the righteous and one of the fathers to whom we must be connected or be utterly wasted at the Lord’s return); this refers to the “welded link” that must exist from Adam down to the last Son of God in an unbroken chain of “fathers” and “sons” (albeit adopted, as taught by Joseph Smith).
The elect of God (a “son of God”) or one who has been elected into the Church of the Firstborn who are sons and daughters of God and part of His kingdom or family or royal blood.
It is the Abrahamic covenant - this is the same Priesthood that Abraham is seeking after in Abraham 1 - the “blessings of the fathers” - to possess greater knowledge, greater righteousness and be a father of nations - to become a rightful heir, a High Priest (see Abraham 1:2).
What do those who obtain and magnify these priesthoods receive?
A “renewed” body through the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit.
True messengers/servants (v36).
Christ in the flesh (v35).
The Father (v37; D&C 84:19-22; Mosiah 5:15), through or because of the ministry of the Son, who enables and makes that introduction (see D&C 88:75).
All that the Father has (v38) or the promise of exaltation and eternal life; they have knowledge from the Father that they are His and will inherit all He has.
How are these promises received?
By an oath and covenant (v39).
From God Himself (v40).
When is the oath and covenant given by the Father to the individual?
In this life, which requires a great deal of faith to receive it.
So that it will be efficacious in the eternities.
Why does the Father desire to extend to us this High Priesthood through His “oath and covenant”?
He wants us to KNOW Him, which is eternal life – but we can’t do that unless we enter His presence and we must have this priesthood or association to be able to do that.
He wants us to follow His example and be LIKE Him, which requires us holding the same power He does so that we may serve and love our brothers and sisters as He does.
Our work and our glory becomes enabling the immortality and eternal life of mankind by ministering, blessing, serving, and persuading all to repent and come UNTO Christ themselves.
We become GUIDES to others, pointing the way and bearing testimony of His grace and greatness, because we have traveled the road ourselves and we KNOW that it leads to Him; and we KNOW Him as He knows us (or at least to the degree we can, given our level of progression).
READ D&C 84:41-42
How do we know that we are NOT talking about an ordination to the office of High Priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood in the Church, as we traditionally understand it?
If we break this covenant with the Father, there is no forgiveness in this world or the next - it sounds like SON OF PERDITION, which requires being sealed up to Eternal Life and knowing the Father and the Son (v41).
We have received the sealing power (JST Gen 14:30-31).
We have obtained knowledge of God from the Son and a covenant from the Father – we have perfect knowledge of them and our standing before them which they have promised us with an oath they cannot break; therefore, to turn away from them after this is to rebel against the Godhead with full knowledge of what we are doing.
Who is commanded to receive this priesthood?
ALL who have been ordained or called (v42).
This is not just for the “Prophets” - this section of the D&C was given to a bunch of regular missionaries upon their return.
Who teaches you the way to “magnify” this priesthood?
The Father (v47-48).
This is a great example of things that MUST be learned but CANNOT be taught by man to man.
What happens to us if we are not faithful in obtaining this Highest Priesthood?
“Wo” - a cursing (v42).
When the Lord offers a gift, He expects us to love Him enough to value it and do what it takes to receive it.
If you do not receive this priesthood, you do not receive the fullness of the gospel and you do not have the knowledge that will save you.
Are we under condemnation for not receiving this Priesthood in greater numbers?
Yes - this is the context in which the Lord gives His “condemnation” of the LDS Church for not taking the Book of Mormon and former commandments seriously - “not only to say, but to DO according to that which I have written” (v54-59).
As an aside, what does this context tell you about the true purpose of the Book of Mormon?
We have been called but a massive majority have not been chosen, so who does the “choosing”?
Ultimately the Father chooses, but for all intents and purposes, we choose.
Chosen is a “SELF-ELECTION”, as we each “elect” to humble ourselves and come unto Christ, keep His commandments and be filled with light.
READ D&C 84:43-48
What is the “word of the Lord”?
Word of the Lord = truth = light = spirit (of Christ).
Light and truth = intelligence (see D&C 93:36); and Christ was more intelligent (had more light and truth within Him or in other words, was the embodiment of the word of the Lord because He fully submitted to it and obeyed it until He had become one with it) than all the rest (see Abraham 3:19; Alma 13:3-5).
Since the “word of the Lord” is truth, the power of the word is not in the sound that it makes (even in one’s head) but in the nature of the truth conveyed; in other words, it’s about the intelligence (which is light and truth) that the word can impart – not just to know something that is true but to align one’s life with that truth (i.e. obedience to commandments); that is how one grows in intelligence and light, or truth, and “becomes” the “word” of God, as Christ did – they embody God’s words or truth because they have chosen to follow it to the degree that it has become them and they have grown in intelligence and light because of it. It is not just about being an academic scriptorian – a “scribe” or scholar.
It is for this reason that “keys” refer to a “key of knowledge” not a “right to direct or command or authorize” work (or ordinances); an ordinance has power when it comes from God – when His “word” is bound to honor it because He said He would and cannot lie; it is also for this reason that words or sounds are neither good or bad and have no power to harm us (as in “someone’s language was harmful to these young children who heard it” or a “spell” from Harry Potter where the inherent sound of the words has a physical effect – but rather the power is in the truth of the meaning of the intelligence conveyed).
This is another reason why the vain repetition of words or using a word thoughtlessly is frowned upon, as the meaning is lost or even forgotten; i.e. people don’t use “swear” or “curse” words literally but as curses (or in some cases, they use them as thoughtless filler) – the emotion that accompanies the use of the word confirms the meaning much more than the meaning of the actual word or the sound of the word and that is where the actual curse is conveyed – it’s the negative, hate filled intent of the energy that one gives to another that is the curse; it’s the opposite of someone healing another with light or positively charged energy intended to bless.
What is the connection between living by God’s every word and gaining the Spirit of Christ?
Obedience to the commandments, which is aligning our behavior with eternal law (or at least that part of eternal law that the Lord has revealed to us, at our stage of progression), quickens the individual’s spirit or increases the amount of light within their spirit.
As light cleaves to light (see D&C 88:40), the more light one has within them, the more attracted they are to the Spirit of Christ and the more the Spirit of Christ is able to abide within them.
Why does the Lord say “live by every word” not “live by every feeling”?
The Spirit of truth teaches not by issuing a feeling but by giving the word (intelligence) of truth (see D&C 91:4; D&C 88:66).
The Holy Spirit acts on your spirit and your body; your reaction to that interaction could trigger an emotion, a thought or a physical sensation - but so could your reaction to a good movie or piece of music – it is critical to realize that emotions are not the Spirit.
Revelation is about hearing and understanding Him, not feeling something.
The Spirit is pure intelligence (see TPJS 328; 151; 51; 149; 2 Nephi 32:5).
How does the Spirit of Christ guide us to obtain the High Priesthood?
Spirit gives light to everyone who is born.
It enlightens (grows within) everyone that hearkens (listens and obeys) it.
Which is done by keeping the commandments or aligning our behavior with eternal law.
Which fills us with light, spirit and truth, as a natural consequence.
Until it leads the person back to the Father to learn of and receive this covenant/oath.
Is it possible to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God?
Yes, otherwise we wouldn’t be commanded to do so (see 1 Nephi 3:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13); because God has promised that He will never give you a commandment that you do not have the capacity to obey, you can know that the only reason for your disobedience is a lack of desire (2 Nephi 2:27-28; Alma 40:11-14; JST Matthew 16:26; Alma 5:41; John 14:15-23; Alma 24:19; JST Mark 8:37) and the only reason for your failure is a lack of faith.
Implied is that we can be confident or have faith in the idea that any commandment of which we are personally aware is within our capacity to fully obey! This is a profound truth that ought to lead to significant change in our lives.
God cannot save sinners in their sins, only from their sins (Alma 11:34-35) and sinning removes one from the path to eternal life by cutting you off from God’s presence as He cannot tolerate even the least degree of sin (see Alma 45:16).
Becoming “sinless” in this life or living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God requires a great deal of faith in God – if He says we can do it, do we believe Him? If not, we will never even attempt it.
As the goal of the gospel and our mortal probation is to achieve the promise of our immortality and eternal life, and as Christ is the prototype of the saved being and is only saved because He is precisely what He is (see LoF 7:9, 15-16), the objective of the gospel is to produce sinless men and women (see Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:13; Mormon 9:3-6; 1 John 3:1-10; Moroni 7:48).
People who are capable of sin cannot endure God’s presence because as soon as they sin again (even if initially forgiven), they would rather cease to exist than stay in His presence (see Alma 38:1; Mormon 9:3-5), so we need to become precisely like Christ anyway.
The secret is that, in our current state or at our current level of progression, we cannot keep ALL of the commandments that Christ kept during His mortal life on this earth, but we have been told by God that we can “live by every word that proceeds from His mouth” or in other words, as He gives us commandments, either universally through the scriptures or personally through revelation, He knows we already have the ability to keep those commandments if we try our hardest and rely on Him to sanctify or quicken us, which increases our capabilities and changes our desires by filling us with additional light, knowledge, truth and spirit.
If you continue faithful, God will reveal more and more to you; God will increase the difficulty of each commandment to correspond to your increasing spiritual strength.
As you are able to bear them (sanctification or the strengthening of your spiritual capabilities), He will eventually reveal to you all the laws that you must live by to be comfortable in His presence (the Celestial Eternal Law), and He will extend to you the High Priesthood, through covenant with an oath He cannot break.
Keeping all of God’s commandments (to the level of the Celestial law) is the only way to dwell in His presence (1 John 3:19-22; 1 John 3:20-24) in this life and the next.
How can you tell when a person is in possession of this priesthood?
Their conduct is altogether different; they possess “love unfeigned” for those to whom they minister because they have accepted Christ’s “yoke” and walk His walk – and in return He bestows charity as an endowment or grace or gift of His Spirit to them.
Since it is impossible to compel men to salvation, the priesthood can only invite, and persuade; the priesthood holder acknowledges they have the burden to persuade and to convince, and cannot simply say something is so because they have “authority” (D&C 121: 41).
The Church Under Condemnation
READ D&C 84:49-53
What is sin?
Sin is acting and being out of alignment with eternal law, to any degree.
Disobeying God’s commandments – which is the embodiment of eternal law for us in this mortal state (it is a subset of the fullness of eternal law).
Why is sin a bondage?
Being out of alignment with eternal law results in a darkening of the individual’s spirit – it is the opposite of quickening and results in one not being able to see things as they really are (truth) and becoming muddled or mistaking truth for falsehood and visa-versa, which is unbelief (see Alma 12:9-11; D&C 93:24).
Sin results in losing intelligence (see D&C 93:36-37, 39) and it constrains our decision making now and our opportunities going forward.
What is the result of this bondage to sin?
The people will not come unto Christ; this is not a metaphorical concept, they will not come unto Christ in the flesh, partly because they have lost the desire to come unto Him, partly because they do not know the way, and partly because they lack the faith in Christ or obedience to be filled with sufficient light.
They think it is foolishness – both the need to do it and the possibility of achieving it, in this life at least.
They may even suggest that it is evil or a “trick of the adversary” to think that coming unto Christ is needed – calling good evil; they may redefine what it means to “come unto Christ” as some metaphorical concept instead of an actual knowledge of the Lord – again calling evil good…showing how dark or muddled their minds have become.
Although it is a bit of a circular argument, those who are under the bondage of sin will not seek for God, as their minds’ are darkened; and unless or until one comes unto Christ and the Father in the flesh, they are under the bondage of sin.
How can you know if you are in the bondage of sin?
You have not come unto Christ in the flesh.
You do not receive revelation from Christ – His own voice to you in a way you cannot deny.
READ D&C 84:54-59
What brought the Church into condemnation in 1832?
Vanity – trifling labor that produces nothing of value; emptiness; fruitless desire or endeavor; want of substance to satisfy desire.
Unbelief – believing things that are not true or rejecting the truth or some aspect of the truth and then “dwindling” or losing truth and light as a result (see Alma 12:10-11).
Treating lightly the things that had been given to the Church, specifically the covenant of the Book of Mormon.
What is unbelief and how does it darken the mind?
Unbelief is believing (which leads to having faith in or taking action based on…) things that are not true.
Unbelief will never bear “good” fruit in time or eternity because the tenants upon which it is based are not true or real.
Unbelief darkens the mind because it is not true; and truth is light, spirit, glory and intelligence (see D&C 84:45; D&C 93:36), so the opposite or lack of light is darkness; in other words, truth is light and falsehood is darkness.
It is the mind or spirit that is darkened, making it “muddled” or “asleep” or unable to comprehend things of light (see D&C 88:11; D&C 93:39).
Truth is understanding or comprehending all things (both things that must be “ascended” to understand and things that must be “descended” to understand – see D&C 88:6, 41); one must understand the dark and the light, but it takes light or intelligence to do this – a darkened mind cannot comprehend the light (see Alma 12:9-11; D&C 88:49) or the darkness, ironically.
Truth or light is gained by aligning oneself with eternal law, or in other words, keeping God’s commandments (see D&C 93:28; D&C 88:36-39, 21-24; D&C 130:18-21).
What does the Lord mean when He accuses the Church of vanity?
Vanity = emptiness; fruitless desire or endeavor; trifling labor that produces no good; untruth (see Webster’s 1828 Dictionary).
Vanity is uselessness.
Vanity in this case is assuming that one is saved based on what is given (special knowledge or relational covenants) - on some “chosen” status.
As a result of taking lightly the need to actually enter and abide by the covenants and knowledge offered to the Church by the Lord, which should have led to coming unto Christ individually as the children of Israel were also invited to do, it is vain or useless to assume that the Church has anything more than anyone else in the world – it is like the old adage that not opening one’s scriptures is the same as not having scripture at all; but in fact the Church is worse off, as they are condemned for not accepting what was offered to them.
What is condemnation?
Condemnation = the state of being pronounced or judged or declared to be utterly wrong or guilty and doomed to a state of punishment; to be censured or blamed; the state of being unfit for service or use (see 1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
To be cursed with a judgement for having failed in an obligation.
To be officially rejected.
How is the Book of Mormon (or other written scriptures) a covenant?
The Book of Mormon (and the “former commandments” contained in modern scripture) constitutes a “law and covenant” which the Gentiles and the Remnant must enter into if they are to be sanctified enough to build Zion.
The Book of Mormon was preserved to come forth in the last days to restore the Lord’s covenant people – for all who will come (see 3 Nephi 16:5-13; Alma 42:27).
If one abides by or aligns their behavior or performance with celestial law, they will inherit a celestial glory because they will be filled with a degree of light which can abide that glory or state (see D&C 93:28; D&C 88:36-39, 21-24; D&C 130:18-21).
How has the Church treated lightly the things that it has received?
It has taken lightly (i.e. rejected) the need to receive the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood from the Father.
It has taken lightly (i.e. rejected) the Fullness of the Gospel of Christ as taught and testified to in the Book of Mormon – in other words, it has rejected the need to come unto Christ in this life as a condition of salvation in the Celestial Kingdom.
The Gentile Church in the latter days “perceived not the light and they turned their hearts from Christ because of the precepts of men” (see John 1:5, 10-12; 1 Nephi 13:35-37).
This rejection of the Fullness of the Gospel has been articulated recently by current apostles (see Dallin Oaks, Boise ID June 17, 2015 Fireside talk – the “Boise Rescue”; D&C 76:51, 74, 79, 82) but it has always been the case when you think about the extremely small number of early Saints who went on to experience the Fullness of the Gospel themselves, with Hyrum Smith the only other one who received the sealing power, although it was offered to all who would come unto Christ (see D&C 124:91-96).
What is the result of the Church being under condemnation?
There remains a “scourge and judgement” that has been and will continue to be “poured out” upon the children of Zion.
But at some point the times of the Gentiles will be past and the opportunity will be taken from us (see 3 Nephi 16:10-11; D&C 112:23-26).
Was that condemnation ever lifted?
No, in fact it was reiterated in 1841 (see D&C 124) and in modern times by President Benson (see Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p 51 and 64 or “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” April 1986 General Conference or “The Book of Mormon” Oct 1986 GC) and Dallin Oaks (“Another Testament of Jesus Christ” June 6,1993 at CES satellite fireside from BYU).
What will lift the condemnation?
Repenting by remembering (i.e. practicing) the new covenant contained in the Book of Mormon and the D&C.
The condemnation remains only because we will not repent – it is completely up to us and the Lord continues to feel after us in the hopes that we will heed His voice and repent (see 3 Nephi 10:6).
What is the purpose of this covenant?
To establish Zion in the latter days – which will primarily consist of the Remnant of Israel but will be begun by the Gentiles – they will do the initial gathering but they must have entered the covenant first themselves.
To enable a people to enter the rest of the Lord or His glory before the great day of His coming in glory, so that they might be able to survive that day and not be utterly wasted, because they, too, have a portion of that glory within them and can abide in it.
The covenant enables the sanctification necessary to enter the rest of the Lord in the flesh; it will enable Christ to manifest Himself to them in word, in power, and in very deed (see 1 Nephi 14:1-2).
The purpose of the covenant was not to establish a traditional church but enable the Church of the Firstborn or Zion on earth.
Does the priesthood of God exist separate from the Church and what is implied?
Yes, John the Baptist is the example (see Matthew 21:23-27); the Jewish church leaders had not given John his authority and yet he demonstrated authority from God in his works and his teachings; in fact, John “wrested” God’s authority from the Jews and was the sole “legal administrator” in the affairs of the kingdom of God, separate from the Church (see TPJS 307-309).
Yes, the Aaronic priesthood was restored and people were baptized to Christ in 1829, prior to the establishment of the Church; these baptisms were efficacious with regards to the covenant with Christ, although they did not bestow membership in the Church.
Implied is that the priesthood is not dependent upon the Church to operate (including performing ordinances), although the Church is dependent upon priesthood to ensure that what ordinances it performs on earth are honored in heaven.
So if the Church goes into apostasy and loses the High Priesthood (see D&C 84:23-27; D&C 124:91-96), that does not mean that individuals within the Church who already possess it (i.e. Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Moses, etc.) lose their authority although they may be constrained in its use with regards to the Church or its members (see D&C 84:25); neither does it mean that others within the Church cannot rise up and obtain that Priesthood for themselves despite the fact that the leadership or Church in general does not possess it (see 1 Nephi 1:4-8, 18-20); neither does it mean that others outside the official “Church” cannot be given the priesthood (see Matthew 21:23-27; D&C 133:26; Mosiah 11:4-5, 20, 27).
As this power is not dependent upon the righteousness of the Church but is given to man by God Himself, if the Lord gives one this power only He can take it away from that individual again; Church excommunication will not remove it.
What does it mean “not only to say but to do” what has been written?
Professing belief is not enough, we must align our behavior with the commandments of God.
Aligning our behavior with the commandments of God is intended to both a) lead to an internal or spiritual awakening and rebirth, and b) be the natural result of such a spiritual awakening or rebirth.
God’s law or commandments are written or are “words” so that we might be able to better receive them; however, we must take them into our hearts, or receive them from God as a result of being quickened, to truly understand them and be changed by them.
Signs Shall Follow Them That Believe
READ D&C 84:63-73
Why do signs follow an efficacious baptism by water and fire?
To give demonstrative proof to both the individual who has entered the covenant and those who have not that God and His power is real and living!
To bless those who have entered into the covenant.
To show that God’s hand is truly in the ordinance (see Mark 16:17-18; Mormon 9:24; Matthew 9:4-7).
Because the ordinance is just an invitation to receive a true spiritual gift – in this case, to receive the Holy Spirit and have one’s spirit be sanctified or changed or quickened, to be more filled with light and have new desires.
And those who have this new, intimate relationship with God through His Spirit can influence the physical world by enabling the power of God to be manifest in it more obviously, for the blessing of the lives of those around them and to be an ensign to others that “here is God; come and see for yourselves”.
How do you know if someone actually possesses the High Priesthood?
They will demonstrate at least some of the signs or fruits that are the right of that priesthood to perform (see JST Genesis 14:27-33; Helaman 10:4-11).
But you will not be able to tell this from a Church calling or their own testimony alone.
God can reveal it to you, if it is His will for you to know; an example is how God told Abraham that Melchizedek possessed the High Priesthood and inspired him to leave his country and journey into the wild to find Melchizedek to receive an ordination, blessing and knowledge of the ways of God at his hand (see Abraham 1:1-5, 16-19; JST Genesis 14:25-40).
READ D&C 84:74
What is damnation?
It is to be stopped in one’s ability to progress and become like God.
It is to be separated from God’s presence.
What will damn people?
Their refusal to heed the call of God and His servants who have been born of the Spirit - and choose not to be baptized by water that they may receive the Holy Ghost.
What is implied about those who are damned?
They shall not come into the Father’s kingdom, where Christ and the Father are; except to be judged and quickly exited again.
It is not clear to me whether or not they will have additional opportunities or that they are damned or stopped from progressing into God’s presence completely (it is clear they won’t in this eternity but will they get additional chances in future eternities?).
READ D&C 84:88
What surprise will those that receive Christ’s servants receive?
They will find the Lord, because He makes His abode with His servants.
This will not be obvious to others at first, as they must first “receive” the servant to find out that the Master is there with the servant.
What is the nature of the relationship the Lord has with His High Priests (v63)?
He is with them; He has taken up His abode with them.
He will go before their faces – He will make a way for them.
He will be on their right hand side and on their left hand side – He will be their companion to the degree that they need no others.
His Spirit will be within them, in their hearts, to animate them, to be intimately close to them and to help them to be as He is, as they listen to Him and align their will with the guidance, they receive more light from Him, from moment to moment via His Spirit (which is the mind of God).
He will send His angels to protect them and strengthen them and bring them to Him in the heavens from time to time (to bear them up through the fiery portal).
READ D&C 84:98-102
What kind of relationship does the Lord want with all mankind?
He wants to know us all personally, from the least of us to the greatest.
He wants us to see eye to eye with Him – to be like Him, to be able to comprehend Him.
He wants us to have knowledge of Him (see 3 Nephi 11:14-15).
What does He mean “who remain”?
The time in earth’s history when “all” the inhabitants of the earth shall know Him will be when those who don’t already know Him and are unable to withstand His presence have been utterly wasted and removed from the earth.
This is referring to the Millennium, after the refining and purging which will sadly take the lives of the great, great majority of people that live on the earth today, unless they repent (and the prophesy is that they won’t – including “Israel”).
What is implied about the fact that all will know Christ, from the least to the greatest?
All those who know Him have eternal life (see John 17:3), which is the greatest of all gifts (see D&C 14:7).
Christ’s definition of what constitutes “least” and what constitutes “greatest” is different from ours (see Luke 22:24-27).
By the world’s definition of “least” and “greatest”, there will be a cross-section of people who will actually come unto Christ and know Him.
What is the “new song” that those who know Christ will sing?
It is a song of worship.
It is a song of rejoicing and redemption or freedom from sin and from the travails of this mortal life.
It is the new song mentioned in Psalms 40, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 14:3 which only those 144,000 which will be sealed up to eternal life can learn.