Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

 

“Wherefore” is a connecting word pointing us to the previous verses.  ‘Because of what was just stated, thou shalt…’.    In this case, the Lord has previously declared Joseph “a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father and the Grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation [of the church] and to build it up unto the most holy faith.”

God declared Joseph’s identity and duties in establishing a new covenant.  It was by the will of the Father, the grace of Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost.  The whole godhead approves. The church is commanded to keep the record among them saying the same.   This is a meeting of the minds, and the covenant is in place. Without all parties in agreement, the covenant can’t be enacted.  If the members declared Joseph their prophet, seer, and revelator, but he had not communed with God and Christ nor obtained the power of the Holy Ghost, he would remain powerless to instruct them in truth.  Conversely, if Joseph had pierced the veil and obtained God’s approval, but nobody believed him, God would have no people (besides Joseph) with whom to establish a covenant.

The covenant has requirements and promises, neither of which have been revoked.  The members of the Church are to “give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”    

We are to give heed to his words.  We are also to give heed to his commandments.  These include all words and commandments which he received in his capacity as a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle, and the first elder of the church.  This includes the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (including the Lectures on Faith), the revelations and translations in the Pearl of Great Price,  and his inspired translation of the Bible.   The covenant only binds the members to give heed to the things Joseph received from God.    The proper receipt of this word will entail “walking in all holiness before” God, and will require “patience and faith.”

The promises for doing so are still available to “the church,” meaning the members constituting the church.   Those blessings include freedom from bondage and darkness, and the movement of the heavens for our good.  Joseph entered into the rest of the Lord (the fulness of God’s glory) and obtained the high priesthood.  He was thus able “to teach [God’s] commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest.” The words Joseph received from God have saving power when they are heeded and obeyed.

The invitation is to connect with heaven, but that connection begins by receiving Joseph’s words.  Failure to do so has resulted in our remaining “darkened” by the powers of darkness (DC 84:54-57), earning us a communal condemnation which stands today.  We have yet to come forth “out of obscurity and out of darkness”, (DC 1:30) because we continue to reject the scriptures through real-time correlated self-censorship in our sporadic, shallow personal study.  We fail to differentiate between the words of servants and the words of husbandmen, because we trust in the arm of the flesh that has done the thinking and searching for us (Matthew 21:33-46).  We even remove the words of the servants from the scriptures because they don’t accord with our traditions.

The path of repentance begins by waking up and finding ourselves in the dust.  Until we begin to see our current awful condition for what it is, we have no reference point to begin our return to God.

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