“In order to investigate the subject of the Priesthood so important to this as well as every succeeding generation, I shall proceed to trace the subject as far as I possibly can from the Old and new Testament.

¶ There are two Priesthoods spoken of in the Scriptures, viz the Melchisadeck and the Aaronic or Levitical Altho there are two Priesthoods, yet the Melchisadeck Priesthood comprehends the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood and is the Grand head, and holds the highest Authority which pertains to the Priesthood the keys of the Kingdom of God in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter is revealed from heaven. Its institution was prior to “the foundation of this earth or the morning stars sang together or the Sons of God shouted for joy,” and is the highest and holiest Priesthood and is after the order of the Son [of] God, and all other Priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers and blessings belonging to the same and are held controlled and directed by it.

It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing his glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth and through which he has continued to reveal himself to the children of men to the present time and through which he will make known his purposes to the end of time–

 

In its fullness, the priesthood is fellowship and communion with God.   It is the channel by which “the Almighty commenced revealing his glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth and through which he has continued to reveal himself”.   Its existence is independent of any earthly institution, and tied to the ability of the holder to commune with the “powers of heaven”.   To have received this priesthood is to have received a dispensation, because receiving it requires one to receive “knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter” revealed from heaven .

One can call any priesthood “the Melchizedek Priesthood”, but the name doesn’t make the priesthood.  As DC 107:18-19 says: “The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

We may ordain men to this priesthood, but until they decide to function in the priestly office by exercising the “power and authority” of that priesthood, they haven’t received anything.   An analogy: what if one of the grandsons of Aaron was consecrated to be a priest in the tabernacle, but refused to put on his white garments, hold an incense burner, mix the holy anointing oil, or offer any sacrifices?  He would not be functioning as a priest if all he did was claim the title without doing any of the duties.  He could not be said to be magnifying his calling. Those invited to minister in the higher priesthood are under the same obligation to learn their duty.   DC 107 concludes: “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence. He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.”

Thus, obtaining the Melchizedek priesthood requires more than just an ordination by an earthly priesthood holder.  It requires authority to be confirmed by God’s voice.  This was the case with Melchizedek himself.  Melchizedek received an earthly ordination to a priesthood through the lineage of his fathers (DC 84:14).   However, he obtained the High Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God  directly from God:

Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.

And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,

It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God;

And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.

(JST Genesis 14:26-29)

Thus Melchizedek obtained his own dispensation, receiving authority dispensed directly from God.  It only comes after “exceeding faith and repentance” and having one’s “garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb,” being made pure and entering the rest of the Lord (Alma 13:10-12).  It is this priesthood of which the scriptures primarily speak.  It is not the same thing as the authority used in the LDS church to perform ordinances.  It is not passed from man to man in the church.

The Temple endowment shows us, through ritual, the pattern of how we can enter this order.  It does not confer any authority on us.  It merely tells us how we can be chosen, called up, and anointed kings and queens, priests and priestesses.   If we do in real life what we do ritually in the endowment, we can pass through a real veil, into the real presence of a real God, and there obtain “priesthood,” or fellowship with God.

This fellowship with God “is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation and every important matter is revealed from heaven.”   It is only such priests who “have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.”

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