The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, (Part 3)


Renewing of Their Bodies

Continued from “The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood (Part 2)

When our souls realign to magnify this grand Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, then the remainder of our original quotation on the oath and covenant of the priesthood makes exciting, glorious, life-altering sense.

33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. (D&C 84:33)

Verse 33 is speaking of a beginning and an eventual, glorious outcome all in the same sentence. The Lord speaks of obtaining the priesthood and magnifying our callings. Then, in a masterful over-simplification, He sweeps forward in time to the grand fulfillment of that whole process and proclaims that we will be sanctified unto the renewing of our bodies.

Elder Orson Pratt described this promised renewing of bodies in verse 33. He states that all of the sons of Moses and Aaron, whom he describes as holders of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood:

. . . who are pure in heart will behold the face of the Lord and that too before he comes in his glory in the clouds of heaven, for he will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple an offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. [Mal. 3:1-4.] In doing this, he will purify not only the minds of the Priesthood in that Temple, but he will purify their bodies until they shall be quickened, renewed and strengthened, and they will be partially changed, not to immortality, but changed in part that they can be filled with the power of God, and they can stand in the presence of Jesus, and behold his face in the midst of that Temple.

This will prepare them for further ministrations among the nations of the earth, it will prepare them to go forth in the days of tribulation and vengeance upon the nations of the wicked, when God will smite them with pestilence, plague and earthquake, such as former generations never knew. [Sec. 29:14-21; 45:28-42; Rev. 9.] Then the servants of God will need to be armed with the power of God, they will need to have that sealing blessing pronounced upon their foreheads that they can stand forth in the midst of these desolations and plagues and not be overcome by them. (JD, 15: 366.)

Without using the term “translation” he clearly describes the translated state. Translated people are still mortals, and thus not “immortal” as he notes. He also notes that they can endure the presence of Christ and behold His face, which is also the means whereby one is allowed to request this supreme blessing.

To understand what the Lord meant by “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of our bodies” we need to examine for a moment what sanctification means.

Sanctification

There are many degrees of sanctification. The first noticeable experience with the power of the Holy Ghost to make saintly (sanctify) is when a person first accepts that Jesus is the Christ, and decides to make life changes for that knowledge. Such a change often occurs prior to baptism. Many Christians refer to this change as being born again; and so it is, in a very real, but rudimentary way. In the LDS vernacular, we often refer to this as “being converted”, which means to be changed or upgraded. This is the point which John 3:3 suggests is being born again to “see” the kingdom of God.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5)

In other words, at this initial rebirth of the soul, the believer can begin to see himself obtaining the future glories of eternal life, and thus begins to seek after them. Their conversion gives them faith in Jesus Christ, a testimony of His atonement, and a strong desire to lay hold upon the promises of Christ.

It is this author’s opinion that it is not necessary to be baptized into the true church to experience this marvelous, but rudimentary change. Millions upon millions in the Christian community enjoy this gift from our merciful Savior, and have great faith in Him because of it. It uplifts and prepares for a journey that may actually be unfathomable until much later in one’s growth.

Moroni calls this stage of sanctification “hope.” (Ether 12:28,Moroni10:20-21) It is a revealed “hope” born of the Spirit (the Light of Christ), which gives a hope that there will be a place in eternity for the spiritual pilgrim. They can now see with an eye of faith.

The greater rebirth mentioned in John 3:5 follows being born of the water (baptism) and of the Spirit (the Gift of the Holy Ghost) and makes one able to enter the kingdom of God. Obviously, one must be baptized by authority to enjoy this incrementally greater sanctification.

This further sanctification to enter into the kingdom is when one receives the Holy Ghost and is upgraded by the grace of the Atonement to make them Christ-like, making them willing and anxious to sacrifice and consecrate all that they have to enter the kingdom of God. At this time the person is changed, upgraded, filled with righteous desire, and changed from fallen man to a saintly man or woman. Such a change is prefigured in Mosiah 3:19.

9 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)

This degree of sanctification is generally referred to in the LDS community as being born again. As the verse above indicates, this change is accompanied by sweeping upgrades to the soul. The qualities of becoming like a child, submissive, meek, humble and so on, are enhancements to the soul brought about by the Holy Ghost at this marvelous change.

There is further sanctification and a greater change when one is so blessed to receive an assurance in mortality that they have a guaranteed place in the eternal kingdom. This change is often referred to as “making one’s calling and election sure.” Joseph spoke of this change.

“The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure . . .” (TPJS, 150)

The following quote is when Joseph Smith experienced his own calling and election being made sure.

3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.

4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;

5 Which glory is that of the Church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—(D&C 88:3-5)

As we noted earlier, this is the “promise” of those blessings, not the actual receipt of them. It is a promise of eventual eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom, and a promise that we may enjoy the glory of the Church of the Firstborn, a subject we will touch upon later. This grand experience bestows upon the humble soul further degrees of sanctification which greatly expand the previously obtained perfections of the rebirth.

Even beyond these glorious steps on the upward reaches of sanctification is the far greater blessing of at last entering into the presence of Christ, and there being changed, and made able to endure His presence. We call this glorious gift the Second Comforter. This degree of sanctification, and the blessings it bestows upon the body and soul of righteous men and women, is supernal.

Once a person qualifies themselves to be in the presence of God in this life, there are blessings that may be requested as part of one’s “endowment”. One of these is the renewing of their bodies mentioned above.

It is this glorious, and nearly unthinkably powerful blessing of sanctification unto the renewing of their bodies, that D&C 88:33 is describing. It is not referring to resurrection because these people have not yet died, and because all mankind will be resurrected. This renewing is wholly conditioned upon magnifying priesthood callings, and being purified through priesthood ordinances. Renewal implies taking something worn out, and repairing it. Resurrection is not a renewal since the body has died and decayed into dust. Resurrection is a re-creation of the body, a return of life, not a renewal of the existing one.

There are other grand truths here that are less obvious. One is that if our bodies are being sanctified and renewed, then this whole process can and must take place while we yet have a body, while we are still mortal. This grand outcome of righteous priesthood is to occur in this life.

Brother John

© June 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

Paraphrased from The Triumph of Zion, pages 148-152

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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3 Responses to The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, (Part 3)

  1. Brent says:

    Interesting comments on degrees of Sanctification. Moses 6:59 and 60 have always been my standard of progression, with Sanctification being the requirement for the second comforter as I think that these verses outline. However I have much learning to do.

    I enjoyed your comments about a rebirth outside of the church. I have a neighbor who is a devout Christian, and humbles me in his peaceful disposition and cheery attitude. I can tell he is truly doing what he can to follow Christ. I just wish I could have a gospel discussion without him immediately changing the subject for finding an excuse to leave the conversation.

    Like

  2. cheyenne brashear says:

    How beautiful these truths are. Every time I read the truths that you present in these un-blogs, my mind seems to almost go to another place as I dwell upon these principles and the scriptures that make mention of them.

    It seems to me that D&C 84 is another one of those golden chapters in scripture that contains such great truths, on so many levels, that is worthy of continual study and deep pondering.

    You make mention in your book, FTL, that obtaining these two priesthoods mentioned in verse 33 is much more than just having them conferred upon you. After alot of pondering, I feel like I have some understanding as to when a person actually obtains these two priesthoods.

    The priesthood of Aaron brings into a person’s life the preparatory gospel, which gospel is: repentance, baptism, and the remission of sins. It seems to me that the climax of the priesthood of Aaron is to bring a person to the rebirth to enter the kingdom of God. I agree with you brother John that there is a rebirth that enables a person to “see” the kingdom of God which a person can receive before being baptized(in John 3:3, this first rebirth mentions nothing of being born of water and the Spirit),and a rebirth that a person receives when they are “born of water and the Spirit” that enables them to “enter” into the kingdom of God.

    It seems to me that this rebirth, being born of water and of the Spirit, qualifies a person for the Celestial Kingdom( not exaltation yet, but the Celestial Kingdom). I also feel that after the rebirth, a person is prepared for the ministration of angels. I feel a person really receives or obtains this priesthood when they receive the powers, gifts, and blessings that this priesthood bestows: the remission of sins that comes from true faith and repentance, the rebirth, and the ministry of angels. To me, this is when a person truly becomes a son or daughter of Aaron.

    When a person becomes a son or daughter of Aaron, they become in a sense, as their father Aaron. Aaron was a spokesman for Moses for the house of Israel, so they too become spokesmen in the sense that they can now speak with the “tongue of angels”, therefore, they speak the words of Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost.(2 Nephi 31:13,and 2 Nephi 32:2-3). Also, angels begin to minister to them for not only their benefit, but also for the benifit of others, see also (Moroni 7:28-32).

    After a person has received the preparatory gospel, and the blessings it bestows, they are now ready to receive the Melchizedek priesthood which brings the fullness of the gospel into a person’s life. When a person receives the fullness of the gospel, they receive the mysteries of the kingdom, which is the key of the knowledge of God. This priesthood actually has the power to bring a person into the presence of God.

    Again, it seems to me that a person actually receives or obtains this priesthood when they receive all the gifts, powers, and blessings that this priesthood bestows, some of which are: the fullness of the gospel, the key of the mysteries of the kingdom,and being able to stand in the presence of God.

    One thing that really used to confuse me for years is why when we actually receive this greater priesthood, we are called the “sons of Moses”? I could undestand being called “the sons of Aaron” when we receive the priesthood of Aaron, because the lesser priesthood is named after him, but why Moses? Why not Melchezedek? After alot of inward prayer and pondering, I feel I know (at least in my mind)one of the reasons.

    Moses and Melchezedek were both translated beings, but when a person studies Moses’ life, there are certain parallels that I can see between his life and the lives of those that become his children.

    Moses(under Christ) led a very obstinate, rebellious people for forty years to bring them to the promised land. As they neared the promised land, Moses was told that the people would be able to enter, but that he would not be able; he was told to go up into the mountain and that he would be able to see the land, but he was not allowed to go there. What a great trial of faith this must have been for Moses; this people that had been so obstinate,hard hearted, and rebellious were going to be able to enter the promised land, and yet Moses wasn’t able to. Because of this great sacrifice that Moses made, there was a much greater land of promise in store for him.

    Those that will become the sons and daughters of Moses, I feel will make a similar sacrifice. Based on my studies and the feelings that the Spirit has placed within my heart, I feel that before a person is translated, they are taken up(like Moses was taken up into the mountain) and shown the beauties and glories of the highest degree of the celestial kingdom(the true promised land). While there, they are shown what their eternal inheritance will be. I have heard, I don’t know if it is true or not,but I have heard that the prophet Joseph Smith said that even the Telestial Kingdom is so beautiful and glorious that if we could see it, most of us would try to take our own lives to get there. I can’t imagine how one would feel to see the Celestial Kingdom. Yet, it seems to me that those that will choose to be translated,have such a great love for their God, their Savior, and their brothers and sisters, that they will choose to delay entering into their own promised land for a much longer season which they KNOW,not just believe is thier inheritance, so that they can continue their labors here in mortality to bring souls to Christ. As it was with Moses who was kept from entering into the promised land, only to enter into a far greater one, so I feel that those who delay entering for the sake of ministering to their brothers and sisters, will receive an even greater inheritance when they finally do enter the Father’s kingdom.

    To me, becoming a son of Moses is more than making your calling and election sure, it is more even than receiving the second comforter, it is becoming like Moses and making similar sacrifices, all for the sake of leading(under Christ)our brothers and sisters home to their promised land. Thank you Brother John for sharing truths that are so beautiful and profound. Brother C.

    Liked by 1 person

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