D&C 107:1-20

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Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 107 > Verses 107:1-20
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Section 107. The relationship of Verses 107:1-20 to the rest of Section 107 is discussed at D&C 107.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 107:1-20 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 107:1: Melchizedek. The historical twists and turns surrounding the usage of the name Melchizedek in pre-1835 Mormonism are rather complex. It did not appear at all in the 1833 Book of Commandments, and its place in D&C 68:15, 19 was the consequence of the editing of the revelations for the 1835 publication of the Doctrine and Covenants (that is, subsequent to the reception of section 107). Hence, only a few textual precedents can be cited for the sudden apperance here of Melchizedek, at least one of which was not widely disseminated: the Book of Mormon discussion of Melchizedek in Alma 13, the JST expansion on the Melchizedek story in Gen 14 (closely related, in many ways, to Alma's discourse on Melchizedek), and the reference in D&C 76:57. Of course, there had been discussion since the June 1831 "endowment of power" about both "the high priesthood" and "the order of Melchizedek," but there was not, until this revelation, any talk of "the Melchizedek Priesthood" as such. What all of this would seem to suggest is that any historically responsible interpretation of this passage would have to draw on a hermeneutic of all pre-Melchizedek-Priesthood passages discussing Melchizedek to get a clear sense of how this figure was understood in Mormonism.
  • D&C 107:3: Order of the Son of God. This, much like the reference to Melchizedek, would have called the Vision to mind in 1835: "They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son: (D&C 76:56-57).
  • D&C 107:5: Appendages. The word "appendages" had already been used three years previous in terms of the priesthood: cf. D&C 84:29-30. This earlier usage suggests the profoundly "Old Testament"—if not "Old Testament temple"—understanding of the priesthood that undergirds the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • D&C 107:1. Should we regard this division of priesthood as indicative of inherent and eternal differences or divisions? Or do the modifiers (Melchizedek, Aaronic and Levitical--and Patriarchal) serve some purpose other than that of classifying or subdividing priesthood?
  • D&C 107:1. Why does the Lord describe "two" priesthoods when using three descriptive modifiers?
  • D&C 107:1. How is a Latter-day Saint to understand this priesthood framework in light of the rituals of the ancient and modern temples? How did the Lord intend for Joseph and the Elders to receive it in the nineteenth century? How does that voice to nineteenth century members resonate today?
  • D&C 107:1. Given the introductory language of the heading to the Section, when was this early portion of the Section received?
  • D&C 107:1. Is the Lord saying that the Levitical priesthood is included in the Aaronic? Or in the combination of Aaronic and Melchizedek? Does the temple answer this question fully?
  • D&C 107:2. Is addition to providing Latter-day Saints seeking for cursory answers with an explanation, is the Lord attempting to incorporate by reference the typology of Melchizedek's ministry? Not to mention the "King of Righteousness" element...
  • D&C 107:3. "Holy" raises many implications and potential avenues for intertwining the Priesthood with the temple, the law of sacrifice, and the atonement, to name a few...
  • D&C 107:3. What "Order" is being referenced? (Patriarchal? United? ...)
  • D&C 107:4. Which name was being respected or reverenced? Calling it the Melchizedek Priesthood omits the phrase "after the Order of the Son of God." Was the concern for "Son?" Or "God?" Both of which are frequently used by Latter-day Saints...
  • D&C 107:4. How does referring to the Priesthood as "Melchizedek" respect the Supreme Being's name? How does it reverence the name? How does it avoid too frequent repetition (given the other contexts in which both "Son" and "God" are used)?
  • D&C 107:5. What other authorities exist in the church? Aaronic priesthood? Other priesthoods? Other authority? What other offices?
  • D&C 107:5. What is an appendage to the priesthood? What has been identified as such? How do they append the Priesthood? Is the Lord seeking to turn our minds to Paul's teachings on members individually and collectively?
  • D&C 107:6. To what does the Lord refer in calling the divisions "grand heads?" What sort of imagery is being used?
  • D&C 107:6. The Lord apparently equates the Aaronic and Levitical Priesthoods. Yet why use different names? Is/should one be preferred over another as Melchizedek is preferred to its prior name referenced in verse 2? Do the modifiers "Aaronic" and "Levitical" describe the same authority, but refer to the differing ways of receiving that authority?
  • D&C 107:6. What about priesthood lends itself to this division among a "greater" and "lesser/prepatory"?
  • D&C 107:6. What do we learn from priesthood lineage? Is it just about tracing our authority to God? Or does knowing one's priesthood "genealogy" create a new identity to reorient us toward an eternal (kingdom of priests)?
  • D&C 107:6. What does the right or privilege of ordination to the priesthood reveal to us about the way that the Lord administers his kingdom?
  • D&C 107:6. Textually, the introductory "But" seems to suggest that this passage is meant to appear contradictory to the prior verses, suggesting a line of understanding that initial passage toward reading verses one through five as suggesting a unity of priesthood, whereas verse six acknowledges that despite the unity, subdivisions may also exist.
  • D&C 107:7. Continuing the theme of subdivisions, the Lord indicates that the office that had initially been the highest office in the Church (with Joseph and Oliver acting as First and Second Elders, respectively), pertains to the subdivision of the Melchizedek priesthood.
  • D&C 107:7. Why would the Lord use the word "office" to describe the priesthood? Is the word intended to evoke secular themes of political offices? Can that trajectory direct a careful student toward oaths of office in understanding the "Oath and Covenant" of the priesthood?
  • D&C 107:7. Why phrase it "the office of an elder" rather than merely "the office of elder?" Should the phrasing change our understanding or preconceived notions of what an office means?
  • D&C 107:7. This verse, in its entirety, seems to underpin the teaching (in D&C 84:29) that elders are an appendage to the Melchizedek priesthood.
  • D&C 107:8. What context informs our understanding of what "the right of presidency" means?
  • D&C 107:9. Again, an understanding of the temple seems essential for an informed discussion of "officiating in all the offices." Likewise, the phrase "Presidency of the High Priesthood" raises questions such as "what makes the 'High Priesthood' unique?" "How does it differ from the Aaronic and Melchizedek?"
  • D&C 107:10. The history of "high priests" seems to parallel the history of this section, with some parts revealed earlier than others and a fragmentary understanding informing prior iterations. How does the office of high priest differ from other offices? (Consider quorum size restrictions, presiding authority, etc., and compare the context of the early church with more contemporary times.)
  • D&C 107:10. The list of "elder, priest ... teacher, deacon, and member seems intended to incorporate by reference Section 20. How do the two sections intersect?
  • D&C 107:10. By specifying "priest (of the Levitical order)" does the Lord intend to draw a distinction between Levitical priests and Aaronic priests? Or is the phrase from verse 6 equating the two intended to blur that distinction? Given the theme of a unified priesthood with subdivisions, this parenthetical reference may prove instructive in providing insight to the Lord's teachings on priesthood...
  • D&C 107:16. What significance can we as readers attribute to the phrase "legal right" in verse 16?
  • D&C 107:16. Why would the Lord introduce the concepts of "legal rights" to Priesthood offices and of literal descendants having such rights in the context of the bishopric instead of connecting them to the Patriarchal Priesthood?
  • D&C 107:16. In what other circumstances is the verb "officiate" used?
  • D&C 107:17. Does verse 17 suggest that the First Presidency (the Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood) has the responsibility to call and set apart and ordain all bishops? Or just the Presiding Bishop? And is the phrasing of verse 17 intended to suggest that a literal descendant with a legal right to the office need not be called, set apart nor ordained?
  • D&C 107:18. How should we understand holding keys, specifically keys of all spiritual blessings, as constituting "[t]he power and authority" of the Priesthood?
  • D&C 107:19. What significance should be given to the allusion to Revelation and the New Testament concept of "mysteries" in connection with a description or elaboration of the privileges, power and authority of the Priesthood?
  • D&C 107:20. What principled distinctions can be drawn from the keys held by the two (greater and lesser) priesthoods? Does the "temporal versus spiritual" distinction break down when actually examining the keys held? If so, is one difference that of temporality: pre- versus post-salvation?

Resources[edit]

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  • See here for the "original" revelation that is verses 1-58 of this section. See here for the "original" sources for the remainder of the section.
  • See here for a series of posts on this section at boap.org.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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