The priesthood is the power of God delegated to man to act in his name. Let me write that again so that it sinks in a little more. The priesthood is THE POWER OF GOD delegated to MAN to ACT in his name. I hope it sunk in a little more. We are talking the same power by which worlds without end were and are and ever will be created. The same power that Jesus Christ himself had when he healed the sick, raised the dead, and caused the deaf to hear and the blind to see. Yes, the priesthood can do everything. I hope you noticed the list of things earlier from Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14 (click here to read the last blog post about it)
- Break mountains
- Divide seas
- Dry waters
- Turn [waters] out of their course
- Put at defiance the armies of nations
- Divide the earth
- Break every bond
- STAND IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
- Do ALL things according to his will and command
- Subdue principalities and powers.
This is even the end of the list. These are all of the more spectacular things that can be achieved. I’ll add in some of the same, everyday things,
- Give blessings of health, comfort, and direction
- Ordain men to offices in the priesthood and give callings
- Govern the church
- Perform baptisms and confirmations for the remission of sins
- Confer the priesthood upon worthy males
- Seal families together forever
- Perform vicarious ordinances in the temple
- Bless and administer the sacrament
How Many of These Have You Done?
Even though these things aren’t as noticeable as perhaps breaking mountains or dividing waters, they are still important and inspiring because they relate to our eternal progression. All these things help us move forward. To return back to our Heavenly Father. My next comment/question is do these 18 things happen, or have they happened before? We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up. A lot of the items on this list I have had experiences with. The last one, blessing the sacrament, I did most recently. I’ve done number 17. I haven’t sealed anyone before.
Update: 2/20/17: I have now! Not to mention I’m sealed to my wife!
I have also done 15-11. Now onto the more spectacular displays of priesthood power. Since this promise was made to Enoch, I think it is only natural to read about Enoch in the Pearl of Great Price and see if it mentions any of these things.
How Many of These Did Enoch Do?
I just read Moses 6&7. At least, part of it. I read this last when I was in the MTC nearly 20 months ago. Reading now, the story seemed to come alive and my understanding was enhanced. It seemed as if the story of Enoch being called of the Lord played before my eyes. I saw him preaching among a wicked generation and leading people into battle. I saw him building up a refuge city, away from wickedness–even the city of Zion, the pure in heart. It was pretty neat. That has only happened once or twice other than this time. When it happens my interest shoots up and the story is so good I have to keep reading. I think to myself, “How would someone not want to read and explore it?” My appreciation for the scriptures went up.
Going back to what I was talking about with the priesthood. I found some things that Enoch did. I’ll write down what he did that coincides with the Lord’s promise.
- Earth trembled and mountains fled
- Rivers of water were turned out of their course
- All nations feared greatly (put at defiance the armies of nations)
- Land out of the depths of the sea (dry waters)
Those are the ones explicitly mentioned that I found. I think he stood in the presence of God at some point. Don’t all prophets do that? And I’m sure because of that, he had all power to do whatsoever was commanded of him. I guess you could add those two on there as well. By no means do we have a complete record of the books of Enoch. I’m sure all of these God fulfilled. Which is cool because that means that God made and followed through on his promise while Enoch was still alive. We also have other scriptural accounts of things on this list happening. Moses, Elisha, and Elijah all parted waters (The Red Sea and Jordan River). It talks about the brother of Jared moving a mountain and Nephi broke bands that he was bound with. My point is, God has kept his promise all throughout the ages. Since God is unchanging, he’ll continue to come through with his promise. I think I have definitely learned a lot from studying the priesthood. It means more to me now than it did before. I hope to uphold it righteously so I can bless the lives of those around me. I’ve learned that it definitely has more power than we often attribute to it. Maybe since we aren’t doing spectacular things every day or can’t see immediate results (that we notice) from blessings or efforts, we tend to dimish its effectiveness. But it’s there. It works. Maybe we aren’t experienced enough to know the intricacies of it, I mean, we are only mortal. Of course, we are going to be awkward with the most powerful thing in the universe. It shows just how much God trusts us. I hope I can fulfill that trust.
An Example From the Chronicles of Narnia
Kind of going along with that, I’ve been thinking about the Chronicles of Narnia lately. In Prince Caspian, the Telmarines are coming to destroy the Narnians. Prince Caspian, having allied himself with the animals is tempted to make dark oaths with old creatures in order to bring back the witch (ice queen) and gain dominion over the Telmarines. He is saved and no one makes any bad oaths. Later in the story, Aslan helps them win the battle everyone thought they’d lose. I was thinking about how you can gain powers of darkness by making others with the devil. It will be fantastic, imitative, and all for show. Think of the priests of the pharaoh in the story of the exodus. As members of the church and as holders of the priesthood, we also make oaths but these are more than that. They are covenants. Eternally binding and significant. They come from God, not the devil and bring real power, peace, comfort, and protection. Real in every sense. More than the devil could ever hope to accomplish. But the only thing is, unlike what Satan has, it’s not for show and to make people wonder. People don’t often fully grasp its power or significance because of that. It operates more on faith and trust on your part.
How Did Melchizedek Use the Priesthood?
Sorry for that long tangent. Back to the JST of Genesis 14. It is the last thought I want to write about before going back to the Book of Mormon for good…unless there is another tangent I need to go on.
Melchizedek. Who was he again according to the JST? We get quite a lot. Most of it is similar to what is written in Alma as well.
Melchizedek was a priest after the order or the Son of God (which priesthood we’ve just finished talking about). He was able to obtain peace in Salem, or Jerusalem as it is now called. Because of that, he was called the Prince of Peace. Alma 13:17-19 provides a neat insight into this. It says that before Melchizedek obtained that peace, the people were abominably wicked. But through exercising much faith and priesthood, teaching repentance to the people, that peace was obtained. I wonder how long that took to accomplish?
After that, it says that the people wrought righteousness and obtained Heaven and sought for the city of Enoch. This is interesting. Melchizedek and the people of Jerusalem were trying to set up a Zion society like Enoch had done thousands of years earlier. Abraham, according to one of the books I have, was also attempting to attain a Zion city or people. If these facts are both true, then this is one more thing that Melchizedek and Abraham would have had in common, making them good friends.
Melchizedek as a Christ Type
Last thing I wanted to write about before going back to the Book of Mormon. It is of Christ types. In the topical guide and Bible dictionary, it links Melchizedek to Jesus Christ. Often, people in the scriptures have things happen to them in their life that parallels what would later happen in the Savior’s life. Based on what limited info we have access to nowadays, we can see Melchizedek holds one of the same titles as Jesus Christ–Prince of Peace. Earlier, I wrote about how Melchizedek exercised faith and priesthood to preach repentance and bring about peace in the land. When Christ was on the earth, he did the same thing. Though he brought peace to individuals at the time. Later, when he comes again, he’ll sweep off the wicked from the earth and establish peace.
Other examples of foreshadowing include Abraham. He offered his only son as a sacrifice as Heavenly Father would do with Christ. The place of sacrifice of Isaac is traditionally held to be on the same mount as was Christ’s sacrifice.
That’s it for Melchizedek’s background tangent. Now back to the Book of Mormon!