D&C 84:2-5 The New Jerusalem
The section heading indicates that Joseph Smith called this “a revelation on priesthood,” which it certainly is, but it could also be described as a revelation on covenants and ordinances, the gathering of Israel, missionary work, the law of consecration, and the Second Coming.
Verses 2-5 teach us more about the New Jerusalem—or City of Zion—which the Lord also spoke of in Doctrine and Covenants 57:1-3. In D&C 84:4-5, 31 the Lord states that the city and temple shall be built “in this generation.” President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that this can be better understood to mean “this dispensation” (Church History and Modern Revelation; 1:337; see also D&C 5:10).
D&C 84:19-27 “This Greater Priesthood”
These verses reveal significant truths in relation to the “greater” or Melchizedek Priesthood:
- It includes the “keys of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God” (verse 19). In John 17:3 Jesus teaches, “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” By combining this with D&C 84:19, we may conclude that one meaning of “the key of the knowledge of God” (to know God) is to gain “life eternal,” or eternal life in God’s presence. Surely the Melchizedek Priesthood and its ordinances prepare us for such an eventuality.
- The ordinances of the greater priesthood manifest “the power of godliness” (verse 20; see also verse 21). This is confirmed over and over through the Spirit of God which we so often feel as we participate in and witness others participating in the ordinances of the higher priesthood, including those bestowed in the temple.
- The greater priesthood and its ordinances are necessary for being able to “see the face of God” (verse 22). Indeed, the ordinances of the temple prepare us to enter into His presence.
- The prophet Moses “sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God” (verse 23), as Moses had done. In other words, Moses and the Lord sought to help the children of Israel to pierce the veil and find themselves in God’s presence.
- Unfortunately, the children of Israel “hardened their hearts” and did not receive the blessing of seeing God, which is also called to “enter into his rest … which rest is the fulness of his glory” (verse 24). We see the unfolding of this story in the Old Testament, in Exodus 19:1-11; 20:18-19; and JST, Exodus 34:1-2. In essence, the people of Moses withdrew themselves from the opportunity and blessing of making higher covenants with the Lord and receiving the attendant blessings.
- Because the children of Israel rejected the higher ordinances and the accompanying blessings, the Lord “took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also” (verse 25). The people were left with the lesser priesthood, also known as the Aaronic Priesthood (or “Levitical priesthood,” for only certain men of the tribe of Levi were allowed to be ordained).
- All this left the children of Israel with the “preparatory gospel” (the law of Moses; verses 26-27), which endured for some 1,400 years until it was “fulfilled” by Jesus Christ.
D&C 84:33-40 “The Oath and Covenant”
Read these verses carefully and identify: (1) the things the Lord calls upon men in the Church to do; and (2) the many results or blessings the Lord promises those who “obtain” the two priesthoods and “magnify” their “calling.” What does it mean to you for a priesthood holder to “magnify” his calling?
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Twelve taught, “The greatest blessings from the use of the priesthood flow from humble service to others without thought of self. By following His [Jesus’s] example as a faithful, obedient priesthood bearer, we can access great power” (Ensign, Nov. 2008, p. 45).
D&C 84:43-53 Light versus Darkness
In verses 43-47 the Lord describes His influence upon those who “give diligent heed” to Him, using words such as life, truth, light, Spirit, enlightenment. In verses 49-53 He uses these words to describe the effects of sin:
groaning, darkness, bondage (used three times). He concludes, “And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked” (verse 53).
D&C 84:54-58 Condemnation
According to these verses, why may we be “under condemnation”? What must we do to avoid or escape the Lord’s condemnation? Let us avoid having our minds darkened by our unbelief, vanity, and treating lightly the things the Lord has given us, including the Book of Mormon.
D&C 84:61-90, 105-106 Blessings for Missionaries
Find the specific instructions the Lord gave to those who were going forth to share His gospel (in verses 61-62, 73, 80-84, 105-106). Note also the many powerful blessings the Lord promises those who share His gospel:
- “I will forgive you of your sins” (verse 61).
- They can be the Lord’s “friends” (verse 63).
- They will do “many wonderful works” (verses 66-72).
- They “shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint…. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst” (verse 80).
- “It shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted [measured; given] unto every man” (verse 85; see also D&C 100:5-6).
- “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (verse 88).
- “Whoso receiveth you … will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money” (verse 89).
D&C 84:96-102, 118-119 “Forever and Ever”
In verses 96-97, 118, the Lord prophesies significant world-wide developments to take place before His Second Coming, including scourges, plagues, rending [tearing apart], and shaking; all targeting the wicked. Meanwhile, in verses 98-102, the righteous who survive the destruction and “remain” (faithful and alive) “shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord … and shall lift up their voice” to sing. The Lord even provided the words of the “new song” of the righteous (see verses 99-102). If you were to add your own verse to this “new song,” what would you write?
In verse 119 the Lord promises His faithful followers, “I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven … and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.” This we believe in. Let us prepare.