D&C 84:1-30

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Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 84 > Verses 84:1-30
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Relationship to Section 84 The relationship of Verses 84:1-30 to the rest of Section 84 is discussed at D&C 84.


Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 84:1-30 include:


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  • D&C 84:4-5: This generation. The phrase "this generation" as used here is generally interpreted to be equivalent to the phrase "this dispensation" and covers the time period from the restoration to some time around second coming. This interpretation is also used in D&C 5:10.
  • D&C 84:6ff: Genealogy. What is the purpose of including a long genealogy of priesthood authority?
  • D&C 84:17ff: The introduction of two priesthoods. Beginning with verse 17 and running through about verse 30 is the passage in which the two-tiered structure of the priesthood is introduced to the Latter-day Saints. A number of interesting details here deserve attention. It should be noted that the two prieshtoods are never described as the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods: those "titles" would not be introduced into the Church as a whole until 1834-1835. The several offices of the Church are tied to the separate priesthoods for the first time as well (the Church seems to have understood all offices to belong to a kind of general priesthood until the revelation of the office of high priest in 1831; even after that and until this generation, the office of elder, for example, was understood to be an office of the lesser priesthood). The relationship between the two priesthoods, in this first introduction, is very clearly rooted in the Old Testament temple experience: the keys and powers of the priests and high priests are understood as connected with the duties and responsibilities of priests and high priests as outlined in the Pentateuch. The two priesthoods are introduced as at once permanently interconnected and yet founded by a particular ancient event. The two priesthoods are presented in skeleton form (priests and high priests) to which other "appendages" are attached. And all of this is rooted in an at once rather traditional and marvelously radical understanding of the Moses-to-John-the-Baptist story.
What all of these interesting details suggest, when brought together, is that the introduction of the two priesthoods as such is profoundly rooted in the Bible, in a kind of return to the Biblical way of being, though it offers up an undeniably unique hermeneutic on that scripture as a whole. In other words, this passage can be taken as a kind of reinterpretation of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, one that is uniquely Mormon. The story it presents, of course, is quite familiar: it breaks ancient history up into three parts, namely, the pre-Mosaic era of the Melchizedek priesthood, the Mosaic era of the Aaronic priesthood, and the Christian era of restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood. And yet, the picture as it is presented is not quite so simple as this: though this picture is a good place to start, there is inevitably a great deal more happening here. For example, and just by way of introduction, it is important to note that the high priesthood—understood here as tied to the office of high priest—is not done away with or completely removed with the historical institution of the Aaronic priesthood; rather, it is limited in that high priests are far fewer in number and the office is no longer open to just anyone (though one should well ask whether it was so open before Moses either). The story, in a word, is obviously more complex than it might first appear.
  • D&C 84:19: Mysteries. It appears the phrase "mysteries of the kingdom" is equivalent to "knowledge of God" in this verse.

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 84:16. How was the priesthood passed from Abel to Enoch? Does this imply that Abel had and ordained his posterity before he was killed? Why is Abel listed here, rather than Seth?
  • D&C 84:17. What does it mean that the priesthood is "without beginning of days or end of years?"
  • D&C 84:19. What does it mean that the Melchizedek priesthood holds the key of the mysteries of the kingdom?
  • D&C 84:20. Why does the verse begin with the word "therefore"?
  • D&C 84:20. What does it mean that the power of godliness is present in the ordinances?
  • D&C 84:20. What does "the power of godliness" mean?
  • D&C 84:22. To what does the word "this" refer? To the priesthood? To the ordinances? To the power of godliness?
  • D&C 84:24-25. How does removing the priesthood from the children of Israel remove them from the Lord's rest, the fullness of his glory?
  • D&C 84:24-25. What does "the Lord's rest" or "the fulness of his glory" mean?


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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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