Chapter VIII


Modern Commentary Related to Chapter VIII


KEY OF KNOWLEDGE, POWER, AND GOVERNMENT.

     Heaven’s Nobility, whom worlds obey,
    Clad in the brightness of eternal day,
    Enthroned in majesty, as “Priests and Kings,”
    To whom the universe its incense brings!
    Angels, its ministers! Heaven is its throne!
    The stores of infinitude are all its own!

Having given a general view of the powers, operations and effects of Theology, as developed amongst the nations of antiquity, the mysteries of the Godhead, the law of nature, and the origin and destiny of the universe, the subject next in order is the KEY of knowledge, power and government, as developed in the heavens and on the earth, for the organization, order, peace, happiness, education, improvement, and exaltation of intelligences in the image of God—His sons and daughters.

The great family of man, comprising the inhabitants of unnumbered millions of worlds, in every variety and degree of progress, consists of five principal spheres, or grand divisions, in the scale of progressive being, viz.—

First. The Gods, composed of embodied spirits, who inhabit tabernacles of immortal flesh and bones in their most refined state, and who are perfected in all the attributes of intelligence and power.

Second. The Angels, who are also composed of spirits and immortal flesh and bones, less refined, and endowed with vast intelligence and power, but not a fulness.

Third. Embodied Spirits, without a tabernacle of flesh and bones. These are they who hate passed the veil of death, and are awaiting a resurrection.

Fourth. Embodied Spirits, with mortal tabernacles, as in the present world.

Fifth. Embodied Spirits, who have not yet descended to be clothed upon with mortality, but who are candidates for the same.

There is also a sixth division, but of those we need not speak, as they are not, as yet, included in the scale of progressive being, not having kept their first estate.

The spirits of all men in their primeval states, were intelligent. But among these intelligences some were more noble, that is to say, more intelligent than others.

And God said, these will I make rulers in my kingdoms.[A] Upon this principle was manifested the election, before the foundation of the world, of certain individuals to certain offices, as written in the Scriptures.

[Footnote A: See Book of Abraham, translated from Papyrus, lately taken from the Catacombs of Thebes in Egypt.]

In other words, certain individuals, more intelligent than the others, were chosen by the Head, to teach, instruct, edify, improve, govern, and minister truth and salvation to others; and to hold the delegated powers or keys of government, in the several spheres of progressive being.

These were not only chosen, but set apart, by a holy ordinance in the
eternal worlds, as Embassadors, Foreign Ministers, Priests, Kings,
Apostles, &c., to fill the various stations in the vast empire of the
Sovereign of all.

Jesus Christ, being the first Apostle thus commissioned, and the President of all the powers thus delegated, is Lord of lords, and King of kings, in the heavens and on the earth. Hence this Priesthood is called the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. It holds the keys of all the true principles of government in all worlds, being without beginning of days or end of life. It was held by Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Melchisedec, and others. Abraham obtained this Priesthood, and an election of the same in his seed after him to all generations. The decree went forth in an everlasting covenant, that in Abraham and his seed, all the nations and kindreds of the earth should be blessed.

Of this lineage according to the flesh were the Prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the Jewish Apostles. Since the covenant and election thus manifested, the keys of revelation, government and miraculous powers on earth have been held exclusively by the literal descendants of this noble and royal house.

The Gentiles could partake of a portion of the same blessings, but this could only be done through their ministry, and by adoption into the same family.

This election or covenant with the house of Israel will continue for ever. In the great restoration of all things, this lineage will hold the keys of Priesthood, salvation and government, for all nations. As saith the Prophet Isaiah—”The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”

And again—”Ye shall be the priests of the Lord; men shall call you the ministers of our God: but strangers shall build your walls, and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vine dressers.”

This Priesthood, including that of the Aaronic, holds the keys of revelation of the oracles of God to man upon the earth; the power and right to give laws and commandments to individuals, churches, rulers, nations and the world; to appoint, ordain, and establish constitutions and kingdoms; to appoint kings, presidents, governors or judges, and to ordain or anoint them to their several holy callings, also to instruct, warn, or reprove them by the word of the Lord.

It also holds the keys of the administration of ordinances for the remission of sins, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit; to heal the sick, cast out demons, or work miracles in the name of the Lord; in fine, to bind or loose on earth and in heaven. For the exercise of all which powers the student of Theology will find abundant precedents in the sacred Scriptures.

Man holding the keys of the Priesthood and Apostleship after the order of the Son of God, are his representatives, or embassadors, to mankind. To receive them, to obey their instructions, to feed, clothe, or aid them, is counted the same, in the final judgment, as if all had been done to the Son of God in person. On the other hand, to reject them, or their testimony or message, or the word of God through them, in any matter, is counted the same as if done to Jesus Christ, in his own person. Indeed, such embassadors will be the final judges of the persons, rulers, cities or nations to whom they are sent.

Although the chosen instruments to hold the keys of this Priesthood must be the literal lineage of Israel, yet that lineage are not all thus commissioned, nor indeed are any of them Priests merely because they are of the chosen seed. Such an instrument must be revealed, and his ordination which he had before the world began, be renewed and confirmed upon his fleshly tabernacle, or he cannot be a Priest on earth.

One who already holds the authority, or keys of Priesthood, can reveal, by the word of the Lord, and ordain and anoint others to similar callings, and through these ordinances fill them with the Holy Spirit, as a qualification for their holy calling. By this means Joshua succeeded Moses, Elisha succeeded Elijah, &c. And by this means the great Apostle of the Father chose and ordained the Twelve Apostles of the Jews, and gave the keys or presidency of the kingdom to Peter.

There have, however, been times when, by a general martyrdom or apostacy, the keys of this power have been taken from the earth, (see chapters 2, 3, 4.) In such case there would be no longer visions, revelations or miraculous gifts from the Lord, manifested among men, because the Priesthood is the channel, and the ordinances are the means, through which such blessings are enjoyed by man. In the absence of these offices and powers, darkness, ignorance, superstition, priestcraft and kingcraft, idolatry, and every species of abuse, would fill the earth, and usurp the place of the true government of the kingdom of God.

The most remarkable and long continued instance of this kind, which perhaps ever transpired in our world, commenced with the destruction of the Apostles and Saints who immediately succeeded the Lord Jesus Christ, and continued until the present century, producing in its consequences all the human butcheries, wars, oppressions, misrule, ignorance, superstitions, kingcraft, priestcraft, and misery, which have visited the world in the false name of Christianity.

On the Western Hemisphere, the Apostleship, oracles, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit, ceased from among the people in the fourth century.

The precise time of the discontinuance of these powers on the eastern continents, or in the Roman world, is not known. Suffice it to say, the last of the Twelve Apostles predicted, in his vision on the Isle of Patmos, the reign of a certain power which should make war with the Saints, overcome them, be drunken with their blood, and hear rule over all nations. “And by thy sorceries,” said he, “were all nations deceived.” If these predictions have had their fulfilment, then it is the height of inconsistency for any one to contend, that Rome or any nation has perpetuated the Priesthood, Apostleship, or Church. This would be the same as to say, the Saints were destroyed, and yet perpetuated; all nations were deceived, and yet had the truth.

Could a universal or catholic power at once destroy the Saints, and perpetuate them? Could the same power, at the same time, be the conservator and promulgator of a system of universal salvation, and of universal deception?

But leaving the prediction, and the reasoning on this subject, what are the facts which present themselves for our own inspection, clearly visible to all men?

Do we not find the world, for many ages, and up to the present time, destitute of those manifestations, visions, powers, and keys of knowledge and government, which would enlighten, purify and exalt the race, and establish permanent righteousness and peace? In short, have the powers of the eternal Priesthood, as described and exemplified in the Holy Scriptures, and in this work, been manifested for the government of the Catholic, or Protestant world, or any nation thereof, since the destruction of the ancient Saints and Apostles?

If we answer this last question in the negative, then, we verify the truth of the prediction by the last of the Twelve; if in the affirmative, we deny both the truth of the prediction, and the facts which clearly present themselves in the past history and present circumstances of the world called “Christian.”

When there is no longer a commissioned Priesthood perpetuated on the earth, it becomes necessary, in order to restore the government of God, for the man or men last holding the keys of such power, to return to the earth as ministering angels, and to select, by the word of the Lord, and ordain, certain individuals of the royal lineage of Israel, to hold the keys of such Priesthood, and to ordain others, and thus restore and re-organize the government of God, or His kingdom upon the earth.

After the destruction of the Apostles and Saints, who succeeded Jesus
Christ, there is but one dispensation or restoration predicted by the
Prophets.

That dispensation will fulfil the times of the Gentiles, complete their fulness, restore the kingdom to Israel, gather home their twelve tribes, organize them into a theocratic government, that is, a government founded and guided by Prophets, Priesthood, visions and revelations. It will, in fact, not only restore to them the ministration of angels, but receive its final consummation, by the resurrection of the ancient Saints, and their return to the earth, accompanied by the Son of God, in his own proper person. To this dispensation, all nations must submit.

All merely human religious or political institutions, all republics, states, kingdoms, empires, must be dissolved, the dross of ignorance and falsehood be separated, and the golden principles of unalloyed truth be preserved, and blended for ever in the one consolidated, universal, eternal government of the Saints of the Most High, and all nations shall serve and obey Him.


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