Church History Lesson 08 (D&C 13,27,84,107; JSH 66–73)
THE RESTORATION OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD
● The Prophet Joseph Smith described the circumstances surrounding the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood (JS–History 68–72).
● The words spoken by John the Baptist to Joseph and Oliver (D&C 13:1).
“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.”
● The keys associated with the Aaronic priesthood (D&C 84:26–27).
— The ministering of angels.
— The preparatory gospel—the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments.
— It is an appendage to the Melchizedek priesthood.
● The Ministering of Angels (D&C 107:20, 14).
President Gordon B). Hinckley said, “That means . . . that if you live worthy of the priesthood, you have the right to receive and enjoy the very power of heavenly beings to guide you, to protect you, to bless you.”1
President Wilford Woodruff said, “I had the administration of angels while holding the office of a priest. I had visions and revelations. I traveled thousands of miles. I baptized men, though I could not confirm them because I had not the authority to do it. I speak of these things to show that a man should not be ashamed of any portion of the priesthood.”2
Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “[The ministering of angels can occur through personal appearances and] “can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. . . .Most angelic communications are felt or heard rather than seen.”3
● Never . . . Taken Again from the Earth
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “We may be sure that the Aaronic priesthood will never be taken from the earth while mortality endures, for there will always be need for temporal direction and the performance of ordinances pertaining to ‘the preparatory Gospel.’”4
THE RESTORATION OF THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD
● Some weeks after John the Baptist restored the Aaronic priesthood, Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Melchizedek priesthood.
● Heading, D&C 13 An account of this experience is not included in the Doctrine and Covenants, but references to it can be found in these scriptures (D&C 13:Heading; D&C 27:12–13).
The Keys Associated with the Melchizedek Priesthood:
● D&C 84:19–22
— The authority to administer the gospel of Jesus Christ
— Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom and knowledge of God
— The ability to see the face of God (obtain exaltation).
● D&C 107:8–12, 18–19
— The keys of the spiritual blessings of the Church
— The right to have the heavens opened & receive the “mysteries” (revelation)
— The right to commune with heavenly beings
● D&C 110:11–16
— The keys of the gathering of Israel
— The gospel of the dispensation of Abraham
— The sealing power.
A Comparison of the Two Priesthoods:
Aaronic Priesthood Melchizedek Priesthood
1. Holds the keys of the ministering 1. Administers the gospel (D&C
of angels (D&C 84:26) 84:19) and holds the keys to the spiritual blessings of the Church (D&C 107:18)
2. Administers the preparatory 2. Holds the keys of the mysteries
gospel (D&C 84:26), including: of the kingdom (D&C 107:19;
a. Faith 84:19)
c. Baptism for remission of sins
d. The law of carnal commandments
3. Officiates in temporal matters 3. Necessary to see God and live
(D&C 20:46–59) (D&C 107:19; 84:22)
● Following the time of Moses the greater priesthood was withdrawn from the people as a whole because of their unrighteousness (D&C 84:23–28).
● Only the Aaronic Priesthood continued among the tribe of Levi, John the Baptist being the last to receive it before the ministry of Christ.
THE THREE GRAND ORDERS OF THE PRIESTHOOD
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“There are three grand orders of priesthood. . . .
“1st. . . . What was the power of Melchizedek? ‘Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam. . That priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
“The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.
“The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinances, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.”5
1. In Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 64; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 45.
2. The Discourses of President Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham , 298.
3. In Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 51; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 39.
4. Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [1946–1949], 1:62.
5. History of the Church, 5:554–555.