READ Abraham 1:2-5
What is Abraham’s greatest desire?
To receive that which the “fathers” had.
To become a High Priest in the Holy Order, like the fathers were.
To become a rightful heir (legitimate, adopted); which implies that you one could possibility become an illegitimate “heir” or beneficiary of priesthood (but not with God; this does speak to the idea of eternal law and how both light and dark beings – and all of the gradations in-between – can form associations with mortals through the veil, giving them priesthood of one kind or another.
To possess greater knowledge and be a greater follower of righteousness – he already possesses knowledge and is a follower of righteousness but this Holy Order is “greater”.
To become the father of many nations - a “prince of peace” like Enoch and Melchizedek - establish a Zion where “all know God” (i.e. the God of Light).
What must Abraham do to find this happiness, peace and rest?
He must reject his own father’s beliefs.
He must find the living God and receive Priesthood (the Holy Order) from Him – the appointment unto the priesthood according to the appointment of God.
In his ensuing trials, Jehovah visits Abraham twice and gives him a promise that he will receive the Priesthood he is seeking, sometime in the future - this is what is known as receiving a “hope” or promise from God.
READ Abraham 1:18-19 and Abraham 2:8-12
How many times does the Lord promise Abraham using the words “will”, “shall” or “shalt”?
16 times in 6 verses.
What does this “hope” or promise do for Abraham’s faith?
It gives him something concrete to have faith in.
But it is still tough to exercise faith in this hope or promise in the real world - Abraham laughed incredulously when the Lord finally told him that aged Sarah was going to conceive their long awaited child (see Genesis 17:17).
Abraham must find someone who can confer the Priesthood upon him; who does he find that holds the Priesthood?
Abraham is ordained to the priesthood by Melchizedek (D&C 84:14).
The Holy Order
READ JST Genesis 14:25-36 and D&C 84:39-40
Although Melchizedek confers this Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God upon Abraham, where does Abraham have to go to actually receive this priesthood?
To God Himself (see TPJS 205:2).
An ordination from a man is not enough to make this High Priesthood efficacious; God must give it or authorize it personally.
So how does God deliver this priesthood to a person?
By the calling or actual vocalization (as opposed to being in the mind – “calling” infers vibrating soundwaves through the atmosphere) of God’s own voice, such that others could hear it if they were nearby, although they might not recognize the words (see 3 Nephi 11:3-4), so that the angels and even earth itself is witness to what God has decreed (see D&C 128:21; Helaman 10:3-11).
Via an oath and covenant from Him to you (see D&C 84:33-48).
If this Priesthood only comes from God Himself, why does Abraham need to find Melchizedek to ordain him?
Ordination is an authorized invitation to live the terms of the covenant and receive the actual blessing - which in this case is the Fullness of the Priesthood!
Even from the beginning ordinance of baptism, we are commanded by God through ordinance of confirmation to “receive the Holy Ghost” - all ordinances must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be efficacious, and that only happens after we have lived up to the terms of the specific covenant.
It is interesting that the conferring of the priesthood, at least in this case, has to come from a man and not directly from God especially as the Holy Order cannot come from man; it speaks to the need for an “unbroken chain” of mortals – in this case from Melchizedek to Abraham – and the work that those mortals must engage in to establish that link. For Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, there was no living mortal who held the Holy Order, so they each had to go directly to God to receive it.
How did Melchizedek stop the mouths of lions and quench the violence of fire as a child without priesthood?
Through his faith alone.
That’s what it means by the phrase that he “wrought” (to form by work or labor; to perform) or produced “righteousness”; he exercised his faith (as a principle of power, see LoF 1:13-17) to perform these miracles without any priesthood (or formal association with angels or Gods).
It was through these acts of faith that he become approved of God.
Working by faith without priesthood means using one’s own energy or light (without the association with others, on either side of the veil) to affect something in the spirit realm or physical world via one’s intention and the focus of one’s energy/light upon a desired outcome.
Faith in Christ requires obtaining the will of the Lord to pursue a specific objective or desire, but then turning one’s intention to manifesting God’s will in this mortal world without help from the powers of heaven; implied is that one might exercise faith without focusing that faith in Christ (but the wisdom in doing that is questionable, at best).
What does it mean that the Holy Order comes “not by man” neither by “father nor mother” neither by “beginning of days nor end of years”?
This priesthood is from eternity, not from mortality.
The Holy Order has not begun on this earth – meaning is it not a product of this earth and can only be brought to this earth to be given to one who has already received it in eternity; it is an activation of an association that is already in place in heaven, rather than a new state which has never been experienced before.
What power does the Holy Order have?
The Holy Order has power or “dominion” over the elements of the earth – break mountains, cause earthquakes, divide the seas, dry up or move rivers.
Has power or dominion over mankind – to defy their armies and weapons and to be able to escape from them (it does not have the power to control their minds or impact their agency – only the affects of their agency in certain circumstances when it suites God’s will).
Has power or dominion over the powers and principalities of heaven (different levels of gods and angels – light and dark).
Enables the holder to be able to stand (not just exist) in the presence of God; to have a habitation with God (see John 14:23).
Enables the holder to be translated and taken up into heaven; perhaps (like Enoch, Melchizedek and Elijah) to stay but at least to visit (like John, Paul and Abraham).
Enables the holder to obtain and accomplish God’s will upon the earth; to reason together with Him and occasionally to influence His decisions as a friend to and Son of God (see John 15:15; James 5:16; D&C 50:10-12).
Where does this power come from?
A direct association with God the Father.
The Holy Order is the highest degree of priesthood available to mankind; Joseph Smith identified three levels of priesthood – the Aaronic holds the keys to the ministering of angels, so it is an association with angels that gives the Aaronic priesthood its power; the second degree is an association with Jesus Christ; the highest is an association with God the Father.
Does this priesthood have the power to establish Zion?
To have this priesthood (to be a part of this Holy Order) is to be a “Zion person” or the kind of person who could live comfortably in Zion, where the Lord Himself dwells with His people.
This priesthood allows the holder to ascend to heaven and receive the promise of one’s exaltation, as such these people have obtained God’s word regarding how to make this journey and have accomplished it successfully, so they are the only ones qualified to teach others how to find and navigate the Way; to the degree that others open their hearts to their words and follow them – finding the Lord themselves, Zion can be established if these various individuals, couples and families gather together to form a community.
However, this priesthood cannot “establish” Zion if the word means anything but what I have just explained; holders of this priesthood cannot force righteousness in any way, and they cannot stand as a “mouth piece” or “strong man” between the people and the Lord; in verse 33 it says “his people” did the work – they wrought righteousness and obtained heaven for themselves – there is no magic that a holder of the Holy Order can perform to create Zion against the will of other participants.
Note: Melchizedek was called the King of Heaven by his people because he served them so diligently (see John 13:4-17); and because he was of the Holy Order and held dominion over the earth – and these two are intimately connected in a cause-and-effect relationship (see D&C 121:34-46).
The Abrahamic Covenant
When Abraham is older and has overcome many trials, the realization of the covenant promises that were given to him years before finally comes to pass. The Holy Order was given to Abraham to help him overcome the trials but growing in his relationship or association with God (and trust in God, especially in the sacrifice of Isaac) was part of what had to be learned in the ensuing years.
READ Genesis 21:1-5 and Abraham 2:6, 8-11
What are the promises God made to Abraham in the Abrahamic Covenant?
Land (Genesis 17:8).
Posterity (Genesis 17:4-6).
Priesthood (Abraham 2:11).
…All of which apply in this life and in the eternities.
Who is the “literal” seed of Abraham that will bless all of the families of the earth?
Jesus Christ (see Galatians 3:16, 20JST, 26-29).
Who will make Abraham a great nation?
Abraham is told that he will be a blessing unto his seed after him, who is “his seed”?
As many as receive the (fullness of) gospel AND (fullness of) the priesthood (i.e. the Holy Order) shall be accounted as his seed (Abraham 2:10) - they become his spiritual progeny because they must reject the false teachings of their own fathers and seek after the living god, as did Abraham.
It is not about the literal offspring of Abraham but those who are “adopted” into his direct line, as he was “adopted” as Melchizedek’s heir.
READ D&C 84:33-38
How do we become the “seed of Abraham” and inherit the same blessings?
We must obtain the Fullness of the Priesthood ourselves – we must obtain the covenant from God to us as Abraham did.
Then we must “magnify the calling” by overcoming all of the trials which will be put in front of us to test us and our association with God.
What is the High Priesthood “calling” we must magnify?
To be even as “I am” (3 Nephi 27:27) – we must follow Christ’s example in ministering, serving, loving, blessing, and interceding on behalf of those who are suffering or who have done us wrong (Alma 5:14 - have we received His image in our countenance).
To be a servant in supporting God in His work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of our brothers and sisters as a “savior on Mount Zion”.
READ D&C 132:4-6
What “land” does obtaining this Priesthood and Abrahamic Covenant enable you to enter and have?
Enter into the glory of God (while in the flesh).
Inherit the Celestial Kingdom to go no more out.
But you must abide the Law of that kingdom - “instituted for the fullness of God’s glory” means “in order to prepare mankind to withstand” the fullness of God’s glory.
But if you do abide the law, you will obtain an inheritance of land (i.e. have the right to live) in God’s heavenly kingdom.
READ D&C 132:7
What happens if the family bonds and vows we make in this life are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise?
They are void in the world to come.
Which results in not having eternal posterity because we will be single in heaven.
Being “single” without “family bonds” implies that we don’t have a family to belong to – i.e. we lack the welding link to the family of God.
Melchizedek and his city were translated to join Enoch, leaving Abraham as the new dispensation head. Abraham is the model or prototype for the modern Saint: he is a convert whose immediate father was an idolater (as opposed to Adam and his family of directly descended “patriarchs” or fathers); he has to forsake his father’s beliefs and society’s culture, fight through religious and familial persecution, and seek for and embrace the living god, like we must do if we would rend the veil of unbelief and actually come unto Christ ourselves.
Is the Abrahamic Covenant unique to Abraham? Was he the first one to receive it?
No - it was first given to Adam, and then extended to all the “fathers” or patriarchs who came unto Christ.
It is called the “Abrahamic covenant” in the same way that the Holy Order is called the Melchizedek Priesthood, in honor of one who held and embodied it; the Abrahamic Covenant is called that today because we receive the covenant as “children of Abraham”.
Why is it called the “new and everlasting” covenant?
It is everlasting because it was established before the foundation of the world.
It is new because it is extended new to US, if we will do what is required to come unto Christ (and then the Father) to receive it - we are not saved by covenants made to others. (That’s why God is called the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” not the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” - the same covenant was extended individually to each).
Abraham not only held this Priesthood but received the promise that all who received the Gospel after him would become his descendants. From the time of Abraham to the present, every saved soul has had their heart turned to him, become his son or daughter, and received that same priesthood (see Abraham 2:10-11).
READ 3 Nephi 20:25-27
Who are the children of the prophets or the children of Abraham?
Those that have accepted, believed and followed the Lord’s true messengers back into His presence.
They have received the priestly authority sealing them into the family of God, joining the “fathers”, having their hearts turned to the fathers in heaven.
They are the fruit or result of any successful restoration of the Gospel.
They are those that through the word given to those who have gone before, have also obtain the same light and truth; they received knowledge of the path that leads back to Christ in the flesh and also, like their fathers before them, become people who know God and are His friends and companions while living here in this fallen world; and when you have a group who all know God individually, you have Zion.
What does “turning the hearts of the children to the fathers” mean?
It speaks to the need we have of becoming part of the House of God via a “welding link” or familial adoption to those who have gone before (“fathers”); we must “turn our hearts” to the fathers or in other words, we must understand the need we have to become part of the family of God and become a “link” in the chain of those who have been saved from Adam to the last saved mortal being – and then seek after the fathers as Abraham did when he left the land of his nativity to find Melchizedek or as Joseph Smith did by rending the veil and associating with angels and Gods and receiving promises or “hope” of salvation, administered via covenant, to him.
It is a reference to the restoration of sealing authority, allowing a connection between mankind living on the earth and the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) in heaven. In this dispensation, that restoration occurred when Joseph Smith was given the sealing authority and High Priesthood or Holy Order, and having his calling and election made sure, whereby he could ask and receive answers (see D&C 132:45-47, 49), sometime between 1929 and 1831.
Abraham received the Holy Order which came down from the beginning but had been lost to his own fathers (see Abraham 1:2-3) and received the promise that all who received the Gospel after him would become his descendants; from the time of Abraham to the present, every saved soul has had their heart turned to him, have become his son or daughter, and received that same priesthood (see Abraham 2:10-11); when Joseph Smith received this, he was not merely sealed up to eternal life, but he became part of the family of Abraham – being grafted into the “family tree” or House of God.