“The Davidic Servant” Error


The erroneous doctrine of “the Davidic Servant”

There is a false, speculative doctrine—which is found among certain latter-day saints who are at the fringe, as well as among former members who have been excommunicated or who have resigned from the church, and also among the many break-away sects—which I call “the Davidic Servant” error, which takes

1) the scriptures that mention the Branch,

2) and the ones that mention an end-time servant named David,

3) and all the scriptures that speak of the Elias who restores all things (who is, in actuality, Joseph-Nephi),

4) and a few more scriptures that speak of Jesus Christ,

5) as well as Avraham Gileadi’s translation of Isaiah and his interpretations of the scriptures,

6) and then combines all of that with a teaching Joseph Smith gave on 10 March 1844,

7) along with three speculating paragraphs published in the Times and Seasons on 15 February 1842 (which is when “the Davidic Servant” error appears to have begun),

8) and also a sentence uttered by Orson Hyde on 22 November 1841 during his Prayer of Dedication on the Mount of Olives,

and from all of that it creates a fictional, end-time personage called, “the Davidic Servant” (who is an amalgamation of the real person, Jesus Christ, and the real person, Joseph-Nephi), and who is supposed to be a mortal man named David (who is descended from the ancient David) that will build the throne of David/Israel, and rebuild and restore Jerusalem and the temple, and gather and restore Israel and also the kingdom of Israel, and who will rule over the mortal population of Israel on the throne of David as its mortal king.

Additionally, according to “the Davidic Servant” error, when Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming, He will rule over the immortal, resurrected population (which will not be present much, but which will come and go to and from other planets as they choose, thus being mostly absent from Earth), and Christ will rule over the mortal population only virtually, through this mortal Davidic king, who himself will continue to rule over the mortal population of Israel forever.  Thus, the error has two end-time kings, an immortal One (who is Christ) to reign over immortals and a mortal one (who is “the Davidic Servant”) to reign over mortals, and it dictates that the two populations (mortals and immortals) won’t mix much.

Now, those who accept this error take all of that as a starting point, swallowing it whole, and then begin to further speculate as to the identity of this fictional character, some ascribing John the apostle to “the DS” and adding in whatever scriptures speak of John, while others go even farther and assign the Holy Ghost as “the DS,” throwing in even more scriptures to shore up their theory. Others speculate that one of the top leaders of the church will be the man. Still others think there will be a “DS” over the Jews, Jerusalem and the Old World, while there will be a different end-time servant over the New World (America). Some believe that “the DS” will be Joseph Smith, returned from the dead. And so on and so forth, with endless speculations from all sorts of quarters of the disaffected and fringe elements of the latter-day saints.

Regardless of what version of “the Davidic Servant” error is subscribed to, all the followers use “Davidic Servant” or “DS” as an identifier of the doctrine. They don’t put “Davidic Servant” in quotations as I do because they believe it’s a real person, whereas I teach that it’s all a fiction. Thus, I state that it’s a quote unquote “Davidic Servant.” When I use quotation marks on this term, it is with the understanding that I am referring to this false doctrine, which assigns a non-Jesus Christ personage to an end-time servant named David. Regardless of who the adherent believes that “the DS” is, they all think it is not Jesus Christ. Thus, the words, “the Davidic Servant,” or merely, “the DS,” identify the error, as an encoded term, so that those who mention “the Davidic Servant” or “the DS”, trying to discuss what the man will do, or where he will be from, or what he will be like, or who his identity is, have already revealed themselves as having fallen into the error.

I teach that “the Davidic Servant,” as described by the different versions of this false doctrine, is non-existent. It’s entirely made-up by uninspired people who have allowed foolish and unfounded speculations to filter and replace the actual word of God, so that they imagine and believe a fantasy, and then teach that fable they’ve created to others, all the while scoffing and spurning at any attempt to correct the error and dislodge them from it. Like a drug, this particular delusion has proven to be addictive and those who have drunk of its poison become members of a sort of “DS” cult, who all believe they possess “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” what they consider is “the secret or hidden knowledge,” which in reality is just a falsehood built up from a misunderstanding of the scriptures.

Those who have read my words on this blog, published in my various posts and also in the comment sections, know that I have never once mentioned any “Davidic Servant.” Anyone can perform a search for this term on this blog and will discover that only One Who Is Watching (OWIW) mentioned the term in two of his own posts, and there have also been 7 comments left in the comment sections of various posts (as of today’s date) which mention it, none of which were authored by me. Why have I never mentioned “the Davidic Servant”? Because there is no such person.

Again, when speaking of the end-time servants who will be performing ministries among us, I have never used the incorrect term, “the Davidic Servant,” but have ever used the correct terms when referring to Christ:

the Stem of Jesse, the Branch, the Messiah, etc.,

and I have ever used the correct terms when referring to Christ’s forerunner, the Elias who restores all things:

the rod, the root of Jesse, Elias, the restoring Elias, the Elias who restores all things, the Elias restorer, the Elias destroyer, the Josephite, the Josephite restorer, the Josephite destroyer, Joseph-Nephi, the destroyer, the destroying angel, king Abaddon, king Apollyon, etc.

Thus the whole “Davidic Servant” error, from top to bottom, goes against what I teach and also contradicts what the LDS church officially teaches. In this post, then, I will correct the error by exposing its fallacies and refuting its foundation, put forth the correct doctrine and I will also publicly release some new teachings (’cause I might as well, right?) I will begin this task with the official teaching.

The official teaching: the end-time David is Christ

The official LDS church teaching is that the end-time Personage known in the scriptures as “my servant David”/”David my servant” is Jesus Christ. In Chapter 13 “The Establishment of Zion (Isaiah 1—12)” of the Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi, published in 1982, we read:

(13-58) Isaiah 11:1. Who Is the “Branch”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote the following analysis of the meaning of the Branch:

“Since it takes a first and a second coming to fulfill many Messianic prophecies, we of necessity must consider them here, and in the case of the Davidic-Messianic utterances show also how they apply to our Lord’s Second Coming. Christ is the Son of David, the Seed of David, the inheritor, through Mary his mother, of the blood of the great king. He is also called the Stem of Jesse and the Branch, meaning Branch of David. Messianic prophecies under these headings deal with the power and dominion he shall wield as he sits on David’s throne, and have reference almost exclusively to his second sojourn on planet earth.

“Jesse was the father of David. Isaiah speaks of the Stem of Jesse, whom he also designates as a branch growing out of the root of that ancient worthy. He recites how the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; how he shall be mighty in judgment; how he shall smite the earth and slay the wicked; and how the lamb and the lion shall lie down together in that day—all of which has reference to the Second Coming and the millennial era thereby ushered in. (Isa. 11.) As to the identity of the Stem of Jesse, the revealed words says: ‘Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.’ (D&C 113:1–2.) This also means that the Branch is Christ, as we shall now see from other related scriptures.

“By the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord foretells the ancient scattering and the latter-day gathering of his chosen Israel. After they have been gathered ‘out of all countries whither I have driven them,’ after the kingdom has been restored to Israel as desired by the ancient apostles in Acts 1:6, then this eventuality, yet future and millennial in nature, shall be fulfilled: ‘Behold the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ (Jer. 23:3–6.) That is to say, the King who shall reign personally upon the earth during the Millennium shall be the Branch who grew out of the house of David. He shall execute judgment and justice in all the earth because he is the Lord Jehovah, even him whom we call Christ.

“Through Zechariah the Lord spoke similarly: ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts: … I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. … I will remove the iniquity of the land in one day [meaning that the wicked shall be destroyed and the millennial era of peace and righteousness commence]. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.’ (Zech. 3:7–10.) Of that glorious millennial day the Lord says also: ‘Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne.’ (Zech. 6:12–13.)

“That the Branch of David is Christ is perfectly clear. We shall now see that he is also called David, that he is a new David, an Eternal David, who shall reign forever on the throne of his ancient ancestor. ‘It shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, ‘that is, in the great millennial day of gathering, that ‘they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.’ (Jer. 30:8–9.)

“‘In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness,’ which is to say that because the Great King himself reigns in her midst, even the city shall be called after him. ‘For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. … If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne.’ (Jer. 33:15–21.) David’s temporal throne fell long centuries before our Lord was born, and that portion of Israel which had not been scattered to the ends of the earth was in bondage to the iron yoke of Rome. But the promises remain. The eternal throne shall be restored in due course with a new David sitting thereon, and he shall reign forever and ever. …

“Through Ezekiel, the Lord speaks of this One Shepherd in this way: ‘I will save my flock. … And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them.’ When that day comes, ‘I will make with them a covenant of peace,’ the Lord says, meaning they shall have again the fulness of the everlasting gospel. Then ‘there shall be showers of blessing’; all Israel shall dwell safely and know that the Lord is their God. (Ezek. 34:22–31.)

“Through Ezekiel, the Lord also tells of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, which becomes the instrument in his hands to bring to pass the gathering of Israel. Of that day of gathering he says, ‘I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all.’ In that day he promises to ‘cleanse them,’ by baptism, ‘so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.’

“Then the Lord restates that his gathered people shall have his everlasting gospel with all its blessings; that he will set his sanctuary, meaning his temple, in their midst forevermore (as Zechariah recorded); and all Israel shall know that the Lord is their God. (Ezek. 37:15–28.)

“How glorious shall be the coming day when the second David, who is Christ, reigns on the throne of the first David; when all men shall dwell safely; when the earth shall be dotted with temples; and when the gospel covenant shall have full force and validity in all the earth!” (The Promised Messiah, pp. 192–95).

Notice, in particular, that the apostle refers to the Branch as a “Branch of David.” He does this because the scripture says that the Lord will “cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David” (Jer. 33:15.) In other words, the Branch will both be a descendant of David of old, as well as a new David.  Thus, the end times David and the Branch are one and the same and so when the apostle begins to teach about the Branch, he must, of necessity, explain about the end times David. We see from this lengthy quotation that this is the teaching that is given to church students in an officially approved manual; namely, that Jesus Christ is the very end times David spoken of in the scriptures. This teaching, given in the above quotation by elder Bruce R. McConkie, wasn’t just put into the church student manual, but also into the chapter headings of the official LDS edition of the Bible, for all the chapters that deal with the end times David. For example, for the chapters that elder McConkie quoted from, these are the pertinent chapter headings:

The Branch, who is the King (the Messiah), will reign in righteousness (Jeremiah 23); Zechariah speaks about the Messiah—The Branch will come (Zechariah 3); Zechariah crowns Joshua, the high priest, in similitude of Christ, the Branch, who will come—Christ will be a priest upon His throne forever (Zechariah 6); David, their king (the Messiah), will reign over them (Jeremiah 30); The Branch of Righteousness (the Messiah) is promised—The Seed of David (the Messiah) will reign forever (Jeremiah 33); The Messiah will be their Shepherd (Ezekiel 34); David (the Messiah) will reign over them (Ezekiel 37).

Some of the chapter headings of the chapters that the Topical Guide entry of Jesus Christ, Davidic Descent of mentions also give this same teaching:

Psalms 89
A messianic psalm—A song setting forth the mercy, greatness, justice, and righteousness of the Holy One of Israel—The Lord will establish David’s seed and throne forever—God’s Firstborn will be made higher than the kings of the earth.

Psalms 132
A messianic psalm—Of the fruit of David’s loins will the Lord set One upon His throne—The Lord will bless Zion, and her Saints will shout for joy.

Isaiah 9
Isaiah speaks about the Messiah—The people in darkness will see a great Light—Unto us a Child is born—He will be the Prince of Peace and reign on David’s throne

Isaiah 11
The stem of Jesse (Christ) will judge in righteousness—The knowledge about God will cover the earth in the Millennium—The Lord will raise an ensign and gather Israel

Acts 13
Saul and Barnabas are called to missionary service—Saul, now called Paul, curses a sorcerer—Christ is a descendant of David—Paul offers the gospel to Israel, then to the Gentiles.

This shows that the Brethren themselves believe that the end times “my servant David” and “David my servant” personage mentioned in the scriptures, who will reign as king and prince over the house of Israel, is none other than Jesus Christ, the King Messiah.

Now, in another part of that same Chapter 13 of that same manual, it says this:

(13-63) Isaiah 11:13–14. “Ephraim Shall Not Envy Judah, and Judah Shall Not Vex Ephraim”

Anciently, during the days of the divided kingdoms, Judah (the leading tribe of the Southern Kingdom) and Ephraim (the leading tribe of the Northern Kingdom) were often in competition. Sometimes they were even at war with each other. Isaiah prophesied that in the last days that conflict would come to an end. Ezekiel, in a similar prophecy, promised that the house of Israel would no longer be divided, but under their true king, the New David (see Notes and Commentary on Isaiah 11:1) there would be one united nation again. (See Ezekiel 37:15–25.) Jeremiah and Zechariah also spoke of the future reuniting of the house of Israel (see Jeremiah 3:18; Zechariah 10:6–7).

Emphasis mine. Notice that the manual points the student to the section that I quoted at the start, which talks about the New David and which identifies that Personage as Christ. Notice also that there is no equivocation in the teaching. It is made unmistakably crystal clear and plain as day in its meaning. And this is the official LDS teaching on the matter.

Understanding the official teaching: the name of God is Jehovah

Three connected, omnipotent, omniscient and perfect Persons are, when taken together as a group, called “the Godhead” (Col. 2:9), or just, “one God” (D&C 20:28): even the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Father and the Son are Personages of Spirit who also have bodies “of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22) and both Their spirit bodies and Their physical bodies have “the form of man” (Mosiah 13:34; Ether 3:15-16; 1 Nephi 11:11.) The Holy Ghost, however, is a Personage of Spirit who does not have a body “of flesh and bones” (D&C 130:22.)

When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to, for He is the Supreme Governor of the Universe, the Father of all mankind and the One to whom the Son and the Holy Ghost submit and from whom They derive Their power and authority. Nevertheless, because the Son and the Holy Ghost are connected to the Father in perfection, and partake of all His attributes and powers in fullness, thus forming the Godhead, or becoming “one God,” this oneness between Them in which they share all things, allows even the title of “God” to be shared and applied to the Son and the Holy Ghost. Thus each Person is called God: the Son is God and also the Holy Ghost is God, and not just the Father.

In Hebrew, the tetragrammaton (a specific 4-letter combination) identifies the covenant or proper name of the God of Israel. In English this name is written out as Jehovah, Yahweh or some other variation. (It is actually pronounced: EEAAOOAAEE.) In the King James Version, the Jewish custom of never speaking the name of God has been followed, and the name is generally denoted by LORD or GOD, printed in small capitals.  Following the pattern of oneness, in which They all share everything, so it goes with the name of Jehovah. Jehovah is the name of the Father and the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Ghost. Given that all three members of the Godhead have the same covenant name of Jehovah, we are commanded to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”:

Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (D&C 20:73)

We don’t baptize in three names, but only in one name, which all three bear: Jehovah.

So, for example, in D&C 110:1-10 we find Jesus Christ referring to Himself as Jehovah. Yet in Luke 20:41-44 and in Mark 12:35-37 Jesus cites Psalms 110:1 and identifies Himself as “my Lord” and not as “The LORD” (Jehovah.) This implies that “The LORD” (Jehovah) in that verse refers to the Father and not to the Son.

In 3 Nephi chapters 20 and 21, Jesus applies the name of Jehovah to both Himself (the Son) and to the Father. Here Jesus mentions Micah 4:12, referring to Himself as Jehovah (the LORD) :

And I [Jesus] will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor. (3 Nephi 20:18)

But they know not the thoughts of the LORD [Jehovah the Son], neither understand they his counsel: for he [Jehovah the Son] shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. (Micah 4:12)

And here He mentions Micah 4:13, which is the very next verse, but this time Jesus refers to Jehovah (the LORD) as the Father:

For I [Jesus] will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I [Jesus] will make thy horn iron, and I [Jesus] will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I [Jesus] will consecrate their gain unto the Lord [Jehovah the Father], and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I [Jesus] am he who doeth it. (3 Nephi 20:19)

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I [Jehovah the Son] will make thine horn iron, and I [Jehovah the Son] will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I [Jehovah the Son] will consecrate their gain unto the LORD [Jehovah the Father], and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Micah 4:13)

Here Jesus says that it was Jehovah the Father who covenanted and spoke to Abraham:

And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. (3 Nephi 20:25)

Now the LORD [Jehovah the Father] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Here Jesus mentions Isaiah 52:9-10 and refers to Jehovah as the Father:

Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father; and the Father and I are one. (3 Nephi 20:34-35)

Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:9-10)

Here Jesus mentions Micah 5:8-15 and refers to Jehovah as the Father:

And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; and I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel; and I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. (3 Nephi 21:12-21)

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. (Micah 5:8-15)

Again, we find Jesus saying to the Nephites (in 3 Nephi 24:1), “Thus said the Father unto Malachi:” and then He quotes Malachi 3:1, which reads:

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

This means that  “the LORD of hosts” (Jehovah) in this verse is the Father.

Or, when we turn to Numbers 27:16, we find Jehovah being called the God of the spirits of all flesh, which is a reference to the Father, not to the Son.

And Jesus said to the Jews, “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:43.) And what is that name? It is the name of Jehovah. Thus, both the Father and the Son bear the name of Jehovah.

It is Jehovah who covenanted with Israel, yet Jesus taught the Nephites in 3 Nephi 21:4 that the Father covenanted with His people Israel, but in 3 Nephi 15:5 Jesus says that He Himself covenanted with His people Israel. Who, then, is Jehovah: the Father or the Son? Again, it is both, for They both bear the same name. And so on for the rest of the scriptures.

The name Jehovah distinguishes

Now, all of a group having the same name so that they are distinguished from all others is a custom that is found among men:

And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished. (Alma 23:16)

The name may be a given name, such as what George Foreman did, in which he named all five of his sons, “George,” and also named one of his daughters, “Georgetta.” It is even customary to give the same name both to men and women, and thus you might have a man named Jose whose first child is a son and so he names him, “Jose,” and then his wife gives birth to another son and he names him, “Jose Maria,” and then his wife gives birth to a girl and he names her, “Maria Jose.” In this case, all four individuals bear the same given name of Jose: the father and two sons bearing it as their first given name, whereas the daughter bears the name as her second (middle) given name.

Or, the name may be a surname, such as how all the Nephites were surnamed Nephi, and all the Jacobites were surnamed Jacob, and all the Josephites were surnamed Joseph, and all the Zoramites were surnamed Zoram, and all the Lamanites were surnamed Laman, and all the Lemuelites were surnamed Lemuel, and all the Ishmaelites were surnamed Ishmael and so on and so forth. The Gentiles also distinguish their families by a common surname which all the members of that particular family bear.

Regardless of what the name Jehovah is, whether it is a given name or a surname, its purpose is to identify the group, which is the Godhead. All those who pertain to that particular group bear this particular name of Jehovah, which distinguishes Them from all others and from every other group.

Elohim is not the covenant or proper name of the Father

Elohim just means “God.” However, in the temple rites, Elohim is used as the Father’s name, to differentiate between the Personages of the Father and the Son, the latter being called Jehovah in the temple. The temple rites use symbolism and representations to teach principles, the principle here being that the Trinity doctrine is false and that the Father and the Son are two distinct Personages and not one nebulous mass of nothingness. The use of the name Elohim in the temple is not meant to be taken as the literal, personal name of God, but latter-day saints routinely make the mistake, anyway.

Jehovah is first the Father, then the Son

Latter-day saints, when they see the tetragrammaton written out in the King James Version of the Bible as LORD or GOD in small capitals, or as Jehovah or Yahweh, etc., in other versions, assume the name is referring to the Son unless the context of the passage indicates that the Father is the One who is being referred to, in which case they assume that the passage must be an instance of Jesus speaking as the Father with “divine investiture of authority.” But the proper way to read these passages is to first assume that the name refers to the Father, unless the context indicates that it refers to one of the other members of the Godhead. If the Father fits into the passage, then you interpret the name as referring to the Father. If the Father doesn’t fit, then you plug in the Son, or, lastly, the Holy Ghost, if the Son doesn’t fit.

This confusion on the part of the latter-day saints about the name of Jehovah is one of the reasons why there is conflict between us and the Christians and Jews, who all read the tetragrammaton as referring to the Father and are utterly confused as to why the latter-day saints insist that the pre-mortal Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and not the Father. In our rush to distance ourselves from the Trinity doctrine, which indeed is false, we have mistakenly tossed away an actual truth: that the Godhead is all named Jehovah.

It is the Father’s servant David

Returning with this knowledge of the name of God to all the passages that mention the end-time servant David, we now are able to clearly see that the one who is speaking in the passages is the LORD, who is Jehovah the Father. So, let’s review the scriptures cited by the apostle.

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father], that I [Jehovah the Father] will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS [Jehovah Our Righteous]. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

In the above passage the Father says He will raise unto David a righteous Branch, a King that shall reign and prosper, in whose days Judah shall be saved and Israel dwell safely, and the name of this Branch King David will be Jehovah Our Righteousness.


Thus saith the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father]; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I [Jehovah the Father] will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I [Jehovah the Father] will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. (Zechariah 3:7-8)

In the above passage the Father says He will bring forth His servant the Branch.


And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father], saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD [Jehovah]: even he shall build the temple of the LORD [Jehovah]; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zechariah 6:12-13)

In the above passage the Father says to behold the man whose name is the Branch, who shall bear the glory and sit and rule upon His throne, and who shall be a priest upon His throne. He also mentions the one who will grow up out of the Branch’s place and who will build the temple of Jehovah. Before continuing, I will take the time to expound the above scripture by explaining about prophetic switches.

Prophetic switches

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” (Isa. 11:1)

Jesse was the father of David; the Stem of Jesse and the Branch are one and the same person: Jesus Christ; and the rod that comes of the Stem of Jesse is Elias (Joseph-Nephi). So, in the following scripture:

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:12-13)

it begins by speaking of the Branch (Jesus Christ) : “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH;”

then it switches to speaking of Elias (Joseph-Nephi) : “and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: even he shall build the temple of the LORD;”

then it switches back to speaking of the Branch (Jesus Christ) : “and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne:”

finally it ends by speaking of the covenant of peace that will exist between the Branch (Jesus Christ) and Elias (Joseph-Nephi) : “and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

An alternate translation from the Hebrew (found in the footnote of Zech. 6:12) of the first part reads:

“Behold the man: Branch is his name and from beneath him one shall branch forth and he shall build the temple of Jehovah.”

The one who builds the temple of Jehovah, who branches forth from beneath the Branch (Jesus Christ), is Elias (Joseph-Nephi), who is the rod that comes forth out of the Stem of Jesse (Jesus Christ):

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,” (Isa. 11:1)

and who is the rod of Christ’s strength:

“The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: ” (Ps. 110:2)

and who is “a servant in the hands of Christ…on whom there is laid much power” (D&C 113:4.)

Thus, there are two main end-time personages spoken of in the scriptures, one being Jesus Christ (the Stem of Jesse/the Branch) and the other being His forerunner, Elias (the rod/root of Jesse, who is Joseph-Nephi.) The prophetic switch between these two servants happens often in the scriptures. For example, in Isa. 11, Isaiah begins in verse 1 to speak of Elias (the rod), then switches to Jesus Christ (the Stem of Jesse/the Branch) and continues to speak of the Branch in verses 2-5, but then in verse 10 he switches back to speaking of Elias (the root of Jesse):

1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

10 ¶ And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1-5,10)

Zechariah does the same prophetic switch. In chapter 3 of his prophecy he speaks of the Branch (Jesus Christ), using Joshua the high priest as a type of the Branch. But in chapter 4 of his prophecy, he speaks of Elias (Joseph-Nephi), using Zerubbabel as the type of Elias. This shows that these two (the Son of God and His forerunner) are prophetically linked.

It is the Father’s servant David, continued

For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts [Jehovah the Father]that I [Jehovah the Father] will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD [Jehovah the Father] their God, and David their king, whom I [Jehovah the Father] will raise up unto them. (Jeremiah 30:8-9)

In the above passage the Father says that the people will serve Him and also will serve David their King, whom the Father will raise up to them.


Behold, the days come, saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father], that I [Jehovah the Father] will perform that good thing which I [Jehovah the Father] have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.

In those days, and at that time, will I [Jehovah the Father] cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness [Jehovah Our Righteous].

For thus saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father]; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me [Jehovah the Father] to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.

And the word of the LORD [Jehovah the Father] came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah the Father]; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. (Jeremiah 33:14-21)

In the above passage the Father says that He will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David and this Branch will execute judgment and righteousness, and in His days Judah shall be saved, Jerusalem will dwell safely, and Jerusalem will have the same name as the Branch King: Jehovah Our Righteousness. (See Jeremiah 23:5-6 where the Branch is also called Jehovah Our Righteousness.) The Father also affirms that the covenant He made with David of old about his throne always being occupied by one of his seed will be fulfilled.


Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD [Jehovah the Father] unto them; … And I [Jehovah the Father] will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD [Jehovah the Father] will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD [Jehovah the Father] have spoken it. (Ezekiel 34:20,23-24)

In the above passage the Father says He will set up one Shepherd over them and this one Shepherd is the Father’s servant David, who shall feed them and be their Shepherd. The Father will be their God and the Father’s servant David will be a Prince among them.


And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD [Jehovah the Father]; … And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I [Jehovah the Father] have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (Ezekiel 37:21,24-25)

In the above passage the Father says that His servant David will be King over Israel and Israel will all have one Shepherd and the Father’s servant David shall be their Prince forever.

We see from this review that the apostle’s words are true, in which he wrote, “That the Branch of David is Christ is perfectly clear.” It is perfectly clear. Once a person understands that Jehovah in these passages is the Father, then it becomes self-evident that Jesus Christ “is also called David, that He is a new David, an Eternal David, who shall reign forever on the throne of His ancient ancestor,” just as the apostle and LDS church have taught.

The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith quotation

There is a saying of Joseph Smith that people often quote regarding the end times David, which I will cite here in its original context. The bold type is the part people recite:

This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the Apostles in delivering certain ones to the buffitings of Satan that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, they were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnaton of Hell untill the day of the Lord or revealtion of Jesus Christ [23] Here is the doctrin of Election that the world have quarreled so much about, but they do not know any thing about it, The doctrin that the Prysbeterians & Methodist have quarreled so much about once in grace always in grace, or falling away from grace I will say a word about, they are both wrong, truth takes a road between them both. for while the Presbyterian says once in grace you cannot fall the Methodist says you can have grace to day, fall from it to morrow, next day have grace again & so follow it, but the doctrin of the scriptures & the spirit of Elijah would show them both fals & take a road between them both for according to the scriptures if a man has receive the good word of God & tasted of the powers of the world to come if they shall fall away it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have Crucified the son of God afresh & put him to an open frame shame [24], so their is a possibility of falling away you could not be renewed again, & the power of Elijah Cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals & power of the priesthood, [25] I will make evry doctrin plain that I present & it shall stand upon a firm bases And I am at the defiance of the world for I will take shelter under the broad sheler cover of the wings of the work in which I am ingaged, it matters not to me if aIl hell boils over I regard it ownly as I would the crackling of thorns under a pot A murderer; for instance one that sheds innocent Blood Cannot have forgiveness, David sought repentance at the hand of God Carefully with tears, but he could ownly get it through Hell, he got a promise that his soul should not be left in Hell, [26] Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, [27] & the priesthood that he received [28] & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage [29] Peter refered to the same subject on the day of pentecost, [30] but the multitude did not get the endowment that Peter had but several days after the people asked what shall we do, Peter says I would ye had done it ignorantly speaking of crucifying the Lord &c He did not say to them repent & be baptized for the remission of your sins but he said repent therefore & be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, Acts iii, 19 this is the case with murderers they could not be baptized for the remission of sins for they had shed innocent Blood. (10 March 1844 (Sunday). At Temple. See History of the Church, 6:249-54, and Teachings, pp. 335-41.)

Of these words, the apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote:

‘Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the priesthood; and the priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.’ (Teachings, p. 339.) Thus, even though a man’s calling and election has been made sure, if he then commits murder, all of the promises are of no effect, and he goes to a telestial kingdom (Rev. 21:8; D. & C. 76:103), because when he was sealed up unto eternal life, it was with a reservation. The sealing was not to apply in the case of murder.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:347.)

Joseph Smith’s words were spoken in the context of the doctrine of falling from grace. “The doctrin that the Prysbeterians & Methodist have quarreled so much about once in grace always in grace, or falling away from grace I will say a word about,” he said, and then he went on to say that the idea that “once in grace you cannot fall” is false, and also the idea that “you can have grace to day, fall from it to morrow, next day have grace again & so follow it” is also false. The real doctrine is that there are certain sins that you can commit and afterward repent from and still obtain the top reward (exaltation), but there are also sins that, once committed, prohibit you from obtaining the top reward (exaltation), even if you are truly sorry for having done them. The shedding of innocent blood (murder) is one such sin that stops a person from receiving exaltation, and thus, a person who commits murder falls from the exaltation they might have had. Such people do not receive forgiveness, but must suffer for their sins in hell. Only after such suffering, in which they themselves (and not just Christ) has paid the penalty for their sins, if they are sorry for their sins and have turned from them, they can inherit a telestial kingdom. So Joseph Smith said, “A murderer; for instance one that sheds innocent Blood Cannot have forgiveness, David sought repentance at the hand of God Carefully with tears, but he could ownly get it through Hell, he got a promise that his soul should not be left in Hell”. David, then, having fallen from grace by shedding the innocent blood of Uriah, had to go through, and suffer in, hell in order to obtain his full repentance and be accepted back into the kingdom of God, but the kingdom glory he could receive was telestial only, not any glory higher than that.

Joseph Smith also stated that “although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood.” This means that David didn’t obtain what latter-day saints obtain in the temple, whereby they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, by the Melchizedek priesthood, unto their exaltation. He received a priesthood, yes, but it wasn’t the fullness of the priesthood which latter-day saints receive, it wasn’t the fullness of the spirit and power of Elijah, therefore his shedding of innocent blood didn’t cause him to become a son of perdition, to be cast out into outer darkness at the last day, but was accounted as if a non-temple endowed and sealed member of the church committed murder. Such a person, who has never been through the temple rites, falls from their exaltation, being unable to gain it in any way, falling entirely from the grace that accompanies that reward, but they may suffer in hell for their sins and at the last day come forth, having repented and suffered the penalty, and still obtain a kingdom of glory, even in the telestial kingdom. David, then, was in this same situation.

All saints are promised eternal life on condition of enduring to the end, even those who have never gone through the temple:

But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved. Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save. Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:14-20)

Had David endured in faith to the end, despite not receiving what latter-day saints who go through the temple rites receive, he still would have inherited his exaltation. But he blew it and lost all that was promised to him.

The covenant God made with David

Everything started with Saul, who would have had his kingdom established forever, if he hadn’t disobeyed God’s commandments and offered burnt offerings without actually possessing the authority to do so.

And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

But he blew it before he got that promise from God, so God put David in Saul’s place and David also ended up blowing it, but not before God made the above mentioned covenant with him, in which his throne would be established forever and his seed would occupy his throne forever. So, according to the foreknowledge of God, He had already planned that the Seed of David (Christ) would be raised up out of David’s lineage, into a new David, and all things that pertained to the first David, who was now fallen from grace, would be given to the last David, who would never fall from grace, and that last David would occupy the first David’s throne forever, as an immortal King Messiah, the King who was the Branch of David, and thus David’s throne and kingdom would be established forever. Thus, Joseph Smith taught:

“the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage”

The throne and kingdom of David is the throne and kingdom of Israel, and in the last days, that is, during the end times, another by the name of David, who would be a descendant of the ancient David, would receive David’s throne and kingdom. But David hasn’t yet lost his throne and kingdom. It’s still his and it’s still called his.  The throne and kingdom of the first David gets transferred to the last David only when the last David comes down from heaven and occupies it. And once occupied by the immortal King Messiah, who is the Branch of David, nothing and no one can ever dethrone Him, thus fulfilling the covenant.

Christ got and gets everything that pertained to David’s eternal reward

In addition to the throne and kingdom of David, which have not yet been given to Christ, David’s wives that were given to him by the hand of Nathan the prophet and other prophets, which pertained to the promise of exaltation (for only exalted people are married in the afterlife), have already been given to Christ:

David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord. (D&C 132:39)

This another is the same another that Joseph Smith mentioned:

“the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage”

When the Lord removes the blessings He bestowed upon one man, He takes everything He removes and gives them to another servant. He doesn’t divvy up the loot among several servants. Thus, in both the parable of the talents and the parable of the pounds, everything that the unwise and foolish servant possessed was taken and the whole of it was given to only one other servant. Also, in the following scripture we see that when Saul transgressed, the Lord took from him the kingdom of Israel and his house and his wives and gave the whole lot to David:

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; and I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. (2 Samuel 12:7-8)

Although David fell from his exaltation, his wives did not, and so Nathan or some other servant of God performed whatever ordinance was necessary to seal them to Christ, as His eternal brides. When Christ came to earth, then, He was already married and sealed to these women, who were at that time disembodied spirits dwelling in paradise. When He died, Christ went to paradise, where He met the righteous saints and prophets and also His wives.

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:30)

A woman cannot be resurrected and then afterward be given to a husband, nor can a man marry a woman after his resurrection. As there is a finality to the resurrection, all gospel ordinances have to be done before it occurs. This means that the brides of Christ had to be sealed to Him before He, and they, were resurrected, and so this is what must have happened.

Upon His resurrection, then, these wives of His were also resurrected, and thus He was reunited with His brides, and the lot of them entered into their exaltation. When Christ returns, then, with ten thousand of His saints, among those saints will be His wives, and the people will wonder, “From whence did these women come? When did you marry them?” They were the wives of David, the first David, and also the wives of Saul who were given to David, all of which David lost through his transgression, whereby they were then given to the last David, who would never lose them, because He is Christ.

Orson Hyde’s Prayer of Dedication

On 22 November 1841, Orson Hyde, the latter-day saint apostle, dedicated the Holy Land for the gathering of Israel. The prayer he uttered on the Mount of Olives was, apparently, given to him by revelation. In one part of the prayer, he said the following:

Thou, O Lord, did once move upon the heart of Cyrus to show favor unto Jerusalem and her children. Do Thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto. Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel — raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David Thy servant, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David to be their king.

Some have taken this statement as meaning a mortal end times servant named David, but they are mistaken. It refers to the Branch King David, who is King Messiah, the immortal, resurrected Christ.

The Times and Seasons article

Three months after elder Hyde’s prayer, there were three paragraphs of a Times and Seasons article published on 15 February 1842 that took up the topic of an end-time David. Here are the three paragraphs; and notice that I’ve put parts of the third paragraph in bold type to show that the ideas espoused are mere speculations put forth by the writer(s):

Ezekiel after giving a description of the resurrection of the House of Israel, and the coming forth of the stick of Joseph (Book of Mormon,) and its being united with the stick of Judah (the bible;) and also the restoration of the House of Israel, that are in a state of mortality, back upon their own lands, says: “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherin our fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children, and their children’s children, forever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabe[r]nacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, and the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the mid[s]t of them for evermore.”—Ezek. xxxvii. 23–28. The above quotation has a particular allusion to that portion of the righteous that will remain in the flesh, and dwell on the earth, and eat the fruit of it. But the difference that will be, satan will be cast out of the earth, and he will have no power to tempt or deceive them: they will a[l]l be righteous, and not defile themselves any more. The Lord will set his sanctuary in the midst of them, and they shall multiply and be increased in number,—which they will continue to do, during the Millennium. The fact that they will multiply and increase, shows that they will be in a state of mortality.

The immortal saints will be made kings and priests, and they shall reign with Christ; but is is not said that the mortal ones shall be made kings and priests, to hold authority with Christ like the immortal ones, while in a state of mortality; only they shall have a king, priests, and all other necessary officers, to administer all ordinances, and perform all necessary ceremonies. We mean a king that shall be chosen or proceed out of their midst. Isaiah speaking of this day says, the Lord will restore their judges as at first, and their counsellors as at the beginning. This will be the time that God will restore their kingdom unto them which the apostles alluded to when they inquired of Jesus, if he would then restore the kingdom to Israel. (See Acts, i. 6)

According to the prophets the name of this king shall be David; not the patriarch David who was the son of Jesse; but a literal descendant of his. Some suppose that the Psalmist David will be raised from his tomb, and again reign over Israel; but we consider this one of the most unreasonable ideas that could be advanced. He no doubt will be in the Lord’s own due time raised from the dead, but not to act the part of a prince in the midst of Israel who remain in the flesh. Neither will any of the patriarchs act the part of an earthly king; although they will reign with Christ. Indeed, we have no reason to believe that Christ himself will act the part of an earthly king, or priest, to any great extent. It is inconsistent for us to suppose that the immortal saints, who are glorified, will be perpetually confined in the midst of the mortal ones. Because it is said, they shall reign on the earth, is no reason why we should say they shall be constantly among the mortal saints. The idea is that the earth will be under the control of Christ and the glorified saints, and Christ will virtually reign over the whole earth, and this David will be subject to him. The redeemed saints will reign on earth, and perhaps have in many respects, authority over the mortal ones. We do not wish to be understood, that there will be a total or entire separation between [p. 690] the mortal, and immortal; but the object of the foregoing remarks is to show the distinction of privilege. The prophet says, that the Lord shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously; hence, when the redeemed saints dwell on earth, they will dwell in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, which places the Lord will fully prepare for them. We might dilate upon this part of the subject, that is, the reign, and dominion of the redeemed saints, till we fill a volume; but brevity admonishes us to hasten. Those who are anxious to learn more concerning this reign of the saints, can search the scriptures for themselves.

So these are speculations. In Mormonism we are free to speculate but these speculations aren’t correct. They are based upon the (incorrect) belief that resurrected and mortal beings will exist but not intermingle during the Millennium, and thus the (erroneously supposed) necessity for a mortal king David, along with an immortal resurrected King Messiah. Here’s a full breakdown of these three paragraphs:

Correcting the Times and Seasons: first paragraph

I will quote again parts of these three paragraphs, to make the correction. The parts in bold are incorrect:

Ezekiel after giving a description of the resurrection of the House of Israel, and the coming forth of the stick of Joseph (Book of Mormon,) and its being united with the stick of Judah (the bible;) and also the restoration of the House of Israel, that are in a state of mortality, back upon their own lands, says:

First, the Book of Mormon functions as a type or as a shadow fulfillment of the stick of Joseph, while the Bible functions as a type or shadow of the stick of Judah. The literal fulfillment of these prophecies will occur when the plates of brass (the real or literal stick of Joseph) and the Book of the Lamb of God (the real or literal stick of Judah) comes forth and are translated by the Josephite.

Secondly, the text of Ezekiel says nothing about them being mortal. That’s just an assumption. A false assumption. Will they be mortal when their King (and it’s King with a capital K, for this will be King Messiah) reigns over them? Nope. How do we know that they will not be mortal? Well, for starters, because of what happened to Moses:

And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. (Moses 1:9-11)

The Son of God will be returning at the Second Coming in His full glory. Nothing mortal can survive the Advent of the Son of God. All things mortal will be destroyed. This is why Elijah the prophet must come back to deliver the Priesthood to the Josephite before Jesus returns, because the Priesthood that will be delivered to him will be the same that causes transfiguration, or translation, for unless all things are transfigured or translated, the Earth and all things upon it will be destroyed in God’s presence. This is why Moroni stated:

Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. (D&C 2:1-3)

“Utterly wasted” means destroyed. So, the Josephite will have to use this Priesthood of transfiguration and transfigure all things that will be saved and redeemed, before Jesus gets back, which will, in part, fulfill this scripture:

Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.

Q. When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the 9th chapter of Revelation?

A. They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ. (D&C 77:12-13)

So, the notion that these gathered people of the house of Israel will be mortal is patently false.The Josephite will gather all things and then redeem all things, saving them from the destruction which happens at the Second Coming, because all the things he has transfigured through this Priesthood (which will be delivered to him by Elijah the Tishbite, who himself was translated or transfigured) cannot be destroyed by the Lord’s glory. Thus they are protected from, or prepared for, His Coming. This is why the Lord told Joseph Smith the following:

Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come; when the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received. (D&C 63:20-21)

The day of transfiguration is the day of the Josephite, when all that will be saved with be transfigured or translated, prior to the Second Coming of the Lord. Thus, the writers of this article in the Times and Seasons didn’t have a clue of what they were talking about. The speculation about the house of Israel being mortal at the gathering and installment of their King is pure bunk. The house of Israel will be composed of resurrected personages, even those spoken of in Ezekiel 37, verses 1 through 14, while the rest will be translated personages, even those spoken of in verses 20 to 22 of the same chapter.

After citing Ezekiel 37:23-28, the Times and Seasons article says:

The above quotation has a particular allusion to that portion of the righteous that will remain in the flesh, and dwell on the earth, and eat the fruit of it. But the difference that will be, satan will be cast out of the earth, and he will have no power to tempt or deceive them: they will all be righteous, and not defile themselves any more. The Lord will set his sanctuary in the midst of them, and they shall multiply and be increased in number,—which they will continue to do, during the Millennium. The fact that they will multiply and increase, shows that they will be in a state of mortality.

Here we see that the writer or writers of this piece have continued their faulty reasoning, thinking that only mortal people can multiply and increase. No, not only mortal people can multiply and increase. Resurrected, translated and mortal people can all multiply and increase. Their is no evidence to back up the claim about “multiply and increase” meaning that they must be mortal. It is just thrown out there and assumed to be true. But it’s patently false.

God is a resurrected Personage. Does He have children? Does His seed multiply and increase? How about all the people who receive the promise of exaltation? Do they multiply and increase after their resurrection?

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my lawye cannot attain to this glory. For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.

Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them. (D&C 132:19-22,30)

Correcting the Times and Seasons: second paragraph

In this next part the article continues to insist that the scripture means that in the Millennium there will be mortal people:

The immortal saints will be made kings and priests, and they shall reign with Christ; but is is not said that the mortal ones shall be made kings and priests, to hold authority with Christ like the immortal ones, while in a state of mortality;

Actually, nothing is said about anyone being mortal. That is merely a false supposition made by the article’s writer(s). All who survive the Second Coming will be the ones who are saved and redeemed and sealed, per D&C 77:12, which I quoted above. Does anyone really think these saved people won’t be made kings and priests?

Once we make one error in understanding, like this “mortal” supposition, everything that builds upon that error will diverge further and further from the path of truth. You must correct the initial mistake first, as I have done, and then the rest can be seen to be fully wrong, and can then be tossed into the trash, because you must start over again upon the proper and true foundation, which will take you to a different and more correct conclusion: namely, that the king and shepherd mentioned in these scriptures is none other than the resurrected Christ, King Messiah.

Correcting the Times and Seasons: third paragraph

According to the prophets the name of this king shall be David; not the patriarch David who was the son of Jesse; but a literal descendant of his.

This is correct. But there are only two people in the scriptures who are spoken of as “the son of David.” One is Joseph, the step-father of Jesus. The other is Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, the New Testament stresses over and over again that Jesus Christ is a descendant of David, calling Him the Root of David twice. Thus, Jesus Christ is a literal descendant of David, and is also the King Messiah that was prophesied to reign over Israel one day. Jesus Christ matches all the prophecies perfectly. But if you have this error about the man needing to be mortal in your head, then you go awry and enter into “the Davidic Servant” error.

Some suppose that the Psalmist David will be raised from his tomb, and again reign over Israel; but we consider this one of the most unreasonable ideas that could be advanced.

This is true. It is unreasonable because David fell from his exaltation. His priesthood, throne and kingdom are to be given to a descendant of his in the last days, per Joseph Smith, therefore it cannot be the old David, but must be a new David:

Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, & the priesthood that he received & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage

Just as there was a first Adam and then a last Adam, so there was a first David and also will be a last David. Jesus Christ will fulfill both roles.

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:45-48)

Okay, continuing on with this article:

He [the Psalmist David] no doubt will be in the Lord’s own due time raised from the dead, but not to act the part of a prince in the midst of Israel who remain in the flesh. Neither will any of the patriarchs act the part of an earthly king; although they will reign with Christ.

True enough, so far.

Indeed, we have no reason to believe that Christ himself will act the part of an earthly king, or priest, to any great extent.

This is not correct. We have plenty of reasons why Christ Himself will be a King over all Israel, namely: because this is what all the scriptures teach and preach.

It is inconsistent for us to suppose that the immortal saints, who are glorified, will be perpetually confined in the midst of the mortal ones.

Here again we see the persistent error of a division between mortal and immortal, which won’t exist, for all will be either translated (transfigured) people, or resurrected people, and no one will be mortal. Last I checked translated people fit in quite well among resurrected people, which is why Elijah was translated and went to heaven, as well as all the other people who have been translated. Resurrected people and translated people have no problem dwelling with each other.

Because it is said, they shall reign on the earth, is no reason why we should say they shall be constantly among the mortal saints.

Here again is mentioned the false division between mortal and immortal. Resurrected beings can come and go as they please, but this planet is where they will have their inheritance, so they will make their abode here, on planet Earth, as they were promised by God. The writers of the article are setting up this idea of traveling resurrected people who will be nominally present, so that they can put forth their false idea of a mortal king reigning over mortal Israel.

The idea is that the earth will be under the control of Christ and the glorified saints, and Christ will virtually reign over the whole earth, and this David will be subject to him.

Here we have the first mention of virtual reality! And we Mormons have the honor of having put forth the idea! No, Christ won’t “virtually reign” over Israel, He will literally and personally reign over the entire people. And David won’t be subject to Him, because Christ and the end-time David are one and the same Being, He being the new, or second, or last David. So, this idea of theirs might make for a good fictional movie, but it is not based upon the scriptures, nor upon truth, but upon an erroneous and speculative idea about mortals and immortals not mixing, and upon a mortal population needing a mortal king, while an immortal population needs an immortal King.

In truth, we have always had an immortal, or resurrected, King over us, even God the Father. God was our King in the heavens and He had a body of flesh and bones while we were mere spirits. That shouldn’t mix, right? But there we were, under our King who looked and was so vastly different from us. Down here on earth, we get clothed in mortal flesh. Who was our King? Still God the Father, who was an immortal or resurrected personage. Yet He still told us what to do. Or, if you want to say that the Son was our King, then before His First Advent, He was a Spirit. How’s that for incompatibility? We were mortals of flesh and blood, and our King was an immortal Spirit! Then He came down and partook of flesh and blood, but alas!, He didn’t reign over Israel! (Not yet, anyway.) Later He died and was resurrected, and now we had the same problem, for our King was a resurrected Personage of flesh and bone, like His Father, and we were still mortal beings. Next he’ll return in His resurrected body to reign over Israel and Israel will be both resurrected and translated. Is there a problem with any of this? The writers of the Times and Seasons article saw a problem, but the problem was in their own minds, for they were obsessed with privilege (as we will soon see) and they felt a need that that privilege remain intact:

The redeemed saints will reign on earth, and perhaps have in many respects, authority over the mortal ones. We do not wish to be understood, that there will be a total or entire separation between [p. 690] the mortal, and immortal; but the object of the foregoing remarks is to show the distinction of privilege. The prophet says, that the Lord shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously; hence, when the redeemed saints dwell on earth, they will dwell in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, which places the Lord will fully prepare for them. We might dilate upon this part of the subject, that is, the reign, and dominion of the redeemed saints, till we fill a volume; but brevity admonishes us to hasten. Those who are anxious to learn more concerning this reign of the saints, can search the scriptures for themselves.

Thank goodness for brevity! So, they were obsessed with the distinction of privilege and so erroneously divided the population into mortal and immortal, with a mortal king David and an immortal King Messiah, the one to be over the mortal population, and the other to be over the immortal one, but with the resurrected ones exercising authority (privilege) over the lowly mortal ones, etc. But despite all these errors, they give one good bit of advice: “search the scriptures for themselves.” That advice should have been the only words put into this article.

The name David (Beloved) identifies Christ

The name David means Beloved, and so when the Father says in the scriptures, “my servant David,” it is the same as if He were saying, “my servant Beloved,” or “my beloved servant.” The Beloved Servant of God the Father is Jesus Christ, who is also His Beloved Son, or, to put it another way, God’s Son David (Beloved.) Jesus Christ, then, is both the Beloved Son of God and also the Beloved Servant of God:

Yet it pleased the LORD [Jehovah the Father] to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD [Jehovah the Father] shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I [Jehovah the Father] divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10-12)

The above passage is speaking of Jesus Christ, yet the Father calls Him “my righteous servant.” The prophetic use of the word “Beloved” or “David” in connection with a servant of God or a Son of God identifies Jesus Christ as the One in question. And so we get:

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: (Isaiah 5:1)

and

Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him. (3 Nephi 11:7)

An analysis of the biblical name David

An excerpt from Abarim Publications’ Biblical Name Vault: David

The name David in the Bible
David is the youngest of eight (1 Samuel 16:10-13) or seven (1 Chronicles 2:15) sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite, and the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel. He was not the first king of Israel because that was Saul (1 Samuel 10:1). Saul, however, never managed to make peace in Israel.

Popular as this name is nowadays, in the Bible there is only one person named this way. Many names occur more than once, but David’s name was never repeated. Perhaps it was for venerative reasons that nobody named their child after the great king David of Israel. The Bible also only lists one Adam, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the list goes on.

The name David (Δαβιδ; Dabid) appears frequently in the New testament, but solely in constructions: Both Joseph and Jesus are called “son of David” (Matthew 1:20, 9:27, Mark 10:47), and Jesus is additionally called the “root of David” (Revelation 5:5, 22:16). The Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) and the “throne of David” (Luke 1:32), and His reign would rebuild the “tent of David” (Acts 15:16). He who is holy can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David” (Revelation 3:7). And once Paul refers to a statement occurring in Psalm 95:7, as being “in David,” meaning the work of David (Hebrews 4:7).

The name David occurs 59 times in the New Testament; SEE FULL CONCORDANCE.

Etymology and meaning of the name David
Most Bible translators and commentator will render the name David as Beloved, but as always with important names, the etymology of the name David is disputed. But we can’t help noticing the distinct similarity of this name with the Hebrew root דוד (dwd) that yields דוד (dod), generally meaning beloved. This word is also the Hebrew word for uncle — 1 Chronicles 27:32, for instance, speaks of דוד־דויד, or “David’s uncle”:

The entire web page on David can be read by clicking here.

Of particular note are these words:

The Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) and the “throne of David” (Luke 1:32), and His reign would rebuild the “tent of David” (Acts 15:16). He who is holy can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David” (Revelation 3:7).

I will quote those referenced scriptures. First Mark:

And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:7-10)

Next, Luke:

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)

Notice the similarities of the above passage to this passage in Ezekiel:

And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. (Ezekiel 37:24-25)

and also to this passage in Isaiah:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Next, Acts:

And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:13-17)

Finally, Revelation:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (Rev. 3:7)

These scriptures do, in fact, support the Abarim Publications’ view that: King Messiah’s reign is referred to as the “kingdom of David” and the “throne of David,” and His reign would rebuild the “tent (tabernacle) of David,” and that King Messiah is the Holy One who can open and no one will shut and vice versa, using the “key of David.”

From these scriptures it appears that Jesus Christ, “the son of David” and “the Root of David,” even the King Messiah, will get all things that were given to David, doesn’t it? Here’s that Joseph Smith quotation again, for comparison:

Although David was a King he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, & the priesthood that he received & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his linage

More on the key of David

I taught the following in the King Abaddon post:

Now, the angel (Elias) Gabriel possessed keys, and keys are only obtained during a mortal probation. Notice again what Joseph Smith said:

While speaking in 1839 to members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and some Seventies prior to their leaving for missionary service, the Prophet Joseph Smith said: Noah, who is Gabriel, … stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven.” (Quoted from History of the Church, 3:386. Cited in Noah, The Great Preacher of Righteousness by Joseph B. Romney, Ensign, February 1998.)

So, when we read that Elias (the angel Gabriel) possessed “the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things,” this means that Gabriel must have already had a mortal probation. The same principle applies to each and every angel that holds keys:

And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope! (D&C 128:21)

Therefore, given that Moroni, Michael, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John the Beloved, Gabriel, Raphael, Moses, Elijah and Elias all came to Joseph Smith as angels possessing keys, all of these men had already had mortal probations. They obtained their keys in mortality, and then retained them when they died or were translated. Joseph Smith also obtained the keys of the mysteries and sealed things during his mortal ministry, and he retains those keys still, even after his death.

Jesus Christ, then, received the special key of David during His earthly ministry. Now, notice what Isaiah prophesied about the key of David:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 22:20-25)

The above words were spoken to Shebna, a government official. In the prophecy, Eliakim is made into a type of Christ, who will replace Shebna. Eliakim means “God shall cause to arise.” The prophecy points forward to the literal fulfillment, in which Christ receives the robe of Shebna, the girdle of Shebna and the government of Shebna is committed into His hand. Additionally, He will have the key of the house of David (the key of David), but will be fastened as a nail in a sure place, a reference to the crucifixion of Christ. Notice, in particular, that Christ will be “for a glorious throne to his father’s house.” Thus it is Jesus that inherits David’s throne. He has a right to that throne not just because He is a descendant of David through Mary, but specifically because He, and He alone, possesses “the key to the house of David.”

There can be no other “Davidic Servant” coming forth in the end times, to reign upon David’s throne, because no other person, except Christ, possesses the key of David necessary to establish that throne forever. The key of David is given to one repository only. So, either there is a mortal “Davidic Servant” who reigns upon the end-time throne of David, or there is an immortal Branch King David who reigns upon the end-time throne of David. There cannot be two Davids reigning upon two thrones of David, nor can there be two Davids reigning upon the same throne, for to reign on that throne requires the key of David, which only one person possesses.

To determine, then, which personage reigns, the fictitious “Davidic Servant,” or the real King Messiah, we just need to answer this question: Which one has the key of David? And that’s easy to answer because the Revelation of Saint John the Divine reveals that Christ has the key of David, therefore He has the right to rule on that throne and He is the one who will “be for a glorious throne” to both His father David, and His Father Jehovah, for He will establish that throne forever.

Now, the only way for “the DS” cult to get around this fact is to make the claim that Jesus Christ Himself will come to earth, before the Second Coming, and commit the key of David into the hand of a mortal descendant of David, whose name is also David, so that the mortal servant can reign upon the throne of David. But there is no prophecy or scripture of any king that supports such a claim. Should someone come forth making that claim, it will be readily seen as baseless. The only evidence of a pre-Second Coming appearance of Christ is the meeting to take place at Adam-ondi-Ahman. But in that meeting, Jesus won’t be delivering keys into the hands of others, but all the repositories of the various keys, even all the servants of God who were given unique keys, such as this unique key of David that Jesus possesses, will deliver those keys back to Christ. So, He will be the one receiving keys, not committing them to others.

This fact alone, then, that Jesus Christ holds the key of David, invalidates the whole “Davidic Servant” error.

Abaddon’s key

Now, one last thing about keys before moving on. The fact that “keys are only obtained during a mortal probation” proves that king Abaddon is a servant of God.

The idea among latter-day saints that king Abaddon is the devil (which idea is put forth in the Bible Dictionary entry of Abaddon) is unsupported in the scriptures because king Abaddon is the angel who possesses the key of the bottomless pit:

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. (Revelation 9:1,11)

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:1-3)

All keys are obtained during the mortal probation, therefore this angel cannot be the devil, for the devil will never have a mortal probation. Therefore, this must be a divine angel (as I have taught on this blog) who has already been born into mortality. Okay, back to the topic at hand.

The ancient David as a type

The boy David, who later became king David, was given the name David (Beloved) because he functioned as a type of King Messiah, as a Beloved King type. Even after David’s transgression, he still performed the kingly functions in righteousness, so that he continued being the Beloved King type. The end times is not when types are brought forth, but when the literal things the types are patterned after finally appear. Thus, the prophecies of the end times David, are not of another David type, but of the literal David, the one that the king David type was patterned after, even the One who would not fall into transgression.

The Davidic Servant is real; “the Davidic Servant” is not

The word “Davidic” means “of David.” In the scriptures, there is an end times Personage that is prophesied to come forth who is “of David,” meaning that He will be a descendant of the ancient David. This Personage is the Branch:

In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15)

The Branch, then, is a Branch “of David,” or, to put it another way, a Davidic Branch. This Branch is the same as the end-time Personage called in the scriptures “my servant David” or “David my servant.” Therefore, the name of this Personage is Beloved (David.) Thus, there is, indeed, a Davidic Branch Servant named David, and this Beloved Davidic Branch Servant is Jesus Christ.

In addition to the Branch (Jesus Christ) being Davidic, so is everything that He is associated with. The kingdom of David, the throne of David, the tent or tabernacle of David, the key of David, the house of David, etc., all these terms can be re-termed as: the Davidic kingdom, the Davidic throne, the Davidic tent or tabernacle, the Davidic key, the Davidic house, etc. All of these Davidic properties belong to Jesus alone.

There is no mortal branch of ancient David, whose name is also David, who reigns upon David’s throne in the last days, as king of mortal Israel. Such a personage is that figment of speculating Mormons’s imagination which is known as “the Davidic Servant.” I put this imaginary personage in quotation marks as “the Davidic Servant” to indicate that I am speaking of the fictional entity, and not of the real Davidic Servant, who is Jesus Christ.

“The Davidic Servant” is a misnomer

By taking the scriptures that speak of the end-time Branch of David (Christ) and the ones that speak of the end-time “my servant David”/”David my servant” (also Christ) and combining them with the scriptures that speak of the end-time Elias and his ministry, “the DS” cult has invented a fantastical figure which resembles aspects of both Christ and Elias, yet isn’t exactly like either one. Almost all of the scriptures used to bolster this professed, but fictional entity come from the ones that speak of Elias. But Elias isn’t like Christ, at all, and any attempt to make him appear to be and act like the Savior shows that “the DS” cult has no idea, whatsoever, about this end times servant.

For starters, Elias is not even said to be Davidic! His lineage is only spoken of as coming from Jesse, not David, and there is no place in the scriptures, anywhere, that indicates this man will be a descendant of David. Thus, the labeling of him as “the Davidic Servant” is a misnomer. There isn’t a shred of evidence that Elias is descended of David. In fact, as the rod/root of Jesse, Elias’s lineage is given as of Jesse and of the house of Joseph, which includes two tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh), but nothing is ever said of David.

I teach that Elias is the same Josephite mentioned in 2 Nephi chapter 3, who will be the one mighty that is raised up from among the posterity of Joseph the son of Lehi, and therefore Elias will be a Nephite of the same lineages had among that ancient people, namely: Judah, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Elias, as I teach him, is the destroying angel, even the king Destroyer (Abaddon), and as a descendant of Jesse, we can assume that Jesse named his eight sons prophetically and that the destroyer is prophetically linked to the name of one of those sons. This isn’t so unusual, for I, myself, named my own sons prophetically, according to the spirit of prophecy which was upon me, and so the meaning of their names will be manifest in their lives, and we also have evidence that Jesse named at least one son prophetically, because David, which means Beloved, was so named because through him would come God’s Beloved Son, King Messiah, thus making David a type. If Jesse, then, named David prophetically, then we might assume that he did the same with all his sons (as I did my own).

Is there any son of Jesse whose name points prophetically to the destroyer? Yes, in fact, there is. Jesse’s third son was named Shammah. And what does Shammah mean? It means “Waste; Appalling Desolation.” Why would a father name his son, “Desolation?” Well, if the king Destroyer would be coming through that child’s loins, it makes perfect prophetic sense to call him that.

The Nephites came from the Lehi (Manasseh)/Ishmael (Ephraim) group, but later they also combined with the Mulek (Judah) group. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and thus a direct descendant of David. So, we know that the lineage of David was had among the Nephites, but what about Shammah? Was his lineage also found among the Nephites? Perhaps:

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing. And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food. And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Alma 22:30-32)

We typically think that the land Desolation—which was far to the north, strangely enough (for king Abaddon’s kingdom will likewise be in a far country to the north)—was named because of the destruction of the Jaredites, and perhaps that is the case, or perhaps that’s not the case:

Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah. (Alma 8:7)

Shammah the son of Jesse may have had descendants among the Mulek party, and perhaps when they made their first landing, the descendant of Shammah put Shammah’s name (Desolation) upon the land. And where is the land Desolation in modern times? At least part of the land of the United States of America enters into the land Desolation. And where does Elias the destroyer come from? From Zion, which is found in the USA:

The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion (Psalms 110:2)

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; (AoF 1:10)

Which part of the USA will Elias come from? Likely that part which resides within the borders of the ancient land Desolation.

Now, the Lord hasn’t revealed these mysteries, as yet. But suffice it to say that there is no scriptural evidence that the end-time Elias is a descendant of David, therefore it is incorrect to refer to the end-time Elias servant as “the Davidic Servant.”

Addressing Gileadi

Avraham Gileadi is a part of the group that believes in “the Davidic Servant” error. Given that he is widely considered an authority on the writings of Isaiah, those who also believe in “the Davidic Servant” error feel that they are now in good company. Unfortunately for them, even if the whole world believed in “the Davidic Servant” error, that still wouldn’t make it any less wrong than it already is.

From Gileadi’s FAQ page on his Isaiah Institute web site, it states:

Do other prophets besides Isaiah prophesy of God’s endtime servant?

Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and others prophesy of God’s endtime servant who gathers Israel’s twelve tribes from dispersion and restores them to lands of inheritance on a parallel with the prophecies of Isaiah. As a descendant of David named David, God’s servant reunites Israel and Judah, builds the temple in Jerusalem, and establishes the political kingdom of God on the earth in preparation for Jehovah’s coming to reign among his elect people as King of Zion.

If Gileadi had left out the phrase “As a descendant of David named David” from the second sentence, the above would have been perfectly true and it would have been an apt description of part of Joseph-Nephi’s mission. But Gileadi shows himself as mixed up as the others by conflating the actual Davidic Servant (who is Jesus Christ) with the non-Davidic Servant forerunner (who is Joseph-Nephi) and by creating a non-existent entity named David who is a descendant of David of old, who does all the things Joseph-Nephi will do and who is not Jesus Christ.

Now, before I proceed, let me just say that Avraham Gileadi gets a lot right. I am actually quite impressed by how much he gets right. But in a sea of white, the single, solitary black spot gets all the attention, and so it is with me. I cannot help but hone in on the errors.

It is my belief that the correct things that Gileadi has come to are a result of diligent study and the use of the Jewish scriptural interpretation techniques. In other words, his writings and interpretations don’t come from the Holy Ghost. His teachings or interpretations aren’t manifested understandings, and so errors creep in, for no man-made interpretation technique is perfect.

Nevertheless, perhaps if he had had some of the keys I have given in this post, these errors would have been kept more or less at bay. For example, if only he had understood that special keys are obtained in mortality (as stated by Joseph Smith), then he would have known that Jesus Christ is the only One who could possibly be the Davidic Servant to reign upon the throne of David, because He is the only One who possesses the key of David. Thus, in the following passage of scripture, which speaks of a son reigning upon the throne of David forever, Gileadi would have instantly known that the passage speaks of Christ; but instead, he mistakes it as speaking of the fictional “Davidic Servant.”

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7, KJV)

For to us a child is born, a son appointed,
who will shoulder the burden of government.
He will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, One Mighty in Valor,
a Father for Ever, a Prince of Peace—
that sovereignty may be extended
and peace have no end;
that, on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
his rule may be established and upheld
by justice and righteousness
from this time forth and forever.
The zeal of Jehovah of Hosts will accomplish it. (Isaiah 9:6-7, Gileadi’s translation)

Additionally, Gileadi believes that the KJV mistranslates the above verses, as he explains here:

Although Handel’s Messiah cites this prophecy of Isaiah in reference to Jesus—perhaps based in part on its mistranslation in the King James Version of the Bible—no scriptural writers do so because that would entirely remove it from its literary-scriptural context in the Book of Isaiah. As the exemplar of his people, Jehovah nevertheless embodies the divine attributes of counsel (Isaiah 25:1; 28:29); valor (1:24; 49:26); fatherhood (45:10; 63:16); and kingship (Isaiah 33:22; 43:15). Jehovah’s servant and his associates, too, therefore, evidence these same attributes (Isaiah 11:2; 13:3; 22:21; 46:11; 49:23).

It is strange that Gileadi would call this passage mistranslated by the KJV given that the same passage of Isaiah was found on the plates of Mormon and translated by Joseph Smith in a virtually identical manner as the KJV:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of government and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this. (2 Nephi 19:6-7)

If we are to pick a translation, surely the KJV wins over the Gileadi one in this passage, given that the Book of Mormon translation is word-for-word the same as the KJV, and because we know that Joseph Smith’s translation is both correct and divinely given.

Again, if Gileadi had understood that the name Jehovah could refer to each of the three members of the Godhead, he would not force every single scripture that speaks of Jehovah to refer to Jesus Christ alone. To illustrate my point, Gileadi goes on to say the following in the same commentary on this chapter of Isaiah:

Other Hebrew prophets, too, predict the millennial rule of a descendant of David named David who is not identical with Jehovah, Israel’s divine King (Isaiah 33:17, 22; 43:15), but who prepares the way for Jehovah’s coming (cf. Isaiah 40:3-5; 52:7): “They shall serve Jehovah their God and David their king, whom I will raise up to them” (Jeremiah 30:9); “I Jehovah will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them” (Ezekiel 34:24); “David my servant shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd. . . . and my servant David shall be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:24-25).

Here we see Gileadi’s inability to see that the name Jehovah in the passages refers to the Father, and not to the Son. The name David in the passages in fact refer to God’s Beloved, who is Christ.

A final example is from Isaiah 11: 1-5, which reads as follows in the KJV:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Gileadi translates this passage as follows:

A shoot will spring up from the stock of Jesse
and a branch from its graft bear fruit.
The Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon him—
the spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the spirit of counsel and of valor,
the spirit of knowledge
and of the fear of Jehovah.
His intuition will be guided
by the fear of Jehovah;
he will not judge by what his eyes see,
nor establish proof by what his ears hear.
He will judge the poor with righteousness,
and with equity arbitrate for the lowly in the land;
he will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth
and with the breath of his lips slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be as a band about his waist,
faithfulness a girdle round his loins.

Joseph Smith said the following about this passage:

Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?

Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ. (D&C 113:1-2)

So, to be clearer, according to the Lord, as revealed to Joseph Smith, Christ is the one spoken of in verses two, three, four and five, as well as in verse one. But Gileadi sets this revelation completely aside, because he is stuck in his own interpretation, which he believes is correct. And so after citing verse two, he says:

Although all three messianic individuals in Isaiah’s olive tree allegory evidence the divine attributes here listed, grammatically they apply to the last one mentioned—the branchJehovah’s end-time servant. Word links confirm that identity: “My servant whom I sustain, my chosen one in whom I delight, him I have endowed with my Spirit; he will dispense justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1); “He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, One Mighty in Valor” (Isaiah 9:6); “Because of his knowledge, and by bearing their iniquities, shall my servant, the righteous one, vindicate many” (Isaiah 53:11).

Now, Gileadi is correct when he says, “grammatically they apply to the last one mentioned—the branch.” In other words, verse one mentions three individuals: the rod, the Stem and the Branch, but the last one mentioned is the Branch, and therefore the next verses (two to five) apply to the Branch. Yet Joseph Smith said that verses two to five apply to the Stem. Nevertheless, both Joseph Smith and Avraham Gileadi are correct because the Stem of Jesse and the Branch of David are one and the same individual: Christ.

Where Gileadi goes wrong is in his assumption that the Branch of David is “Jehovah’s end-time servant.” In other words, he assumes that the Branch is the end-time servant who prepares and restores all things. He says that “word links confirm that identity” and then cites Isaiah 42:1, which speaks of Joseph-Nephi; and he cites Isaiah 9:6, which speaks of Jesus Christ; and he cites Isaiah 53:11, which speaks of Jesus Christ. This shows how messed up one can get by falling into this “Davidic Servant” error, in which two distinct servants of God are conflated into a single, fictional entity.

And thus we see that it doesn’t matter how much scholarly knowledge you obtain, or how much diligence you apply in study, unless you are in possession of certain revealed keys, you will still fall into many errors, including this “Davidic Servant” error.

The gift of the word of knowledge is what is needed

The apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, who I quoted at the beginning of this post, has been shown to have been in actual possession of the gift of the word of knowledge, for his knowledge of these things far surpassed all the others. I myself also possess this same gift, and going back and reviewing what McConkie wrote I find myself amazed at just how much knowledge he was able to obtain using that gift. It is that gift that allows the scriptures to be understood and to have the things of God revealed, for God keeps His stuff in an unsearchable format:

Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God. (Jacob 4:8)

Through the use of this gift, then, all errors can be corrected, so that we may all end up having a correct understanding:

To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge. (D&C 46:18)

McConkie obviously made an attempt at a correction, or at least he gave the correct knowledge, but his correction didn’t stick. People persisted in “the Davidic Servant” just the same. He’s now dead and gone and nobody is attempting a correction. So with this post I will add knowledge to his correction, using my own gift, and who knows?, perhaps this time it will stick.

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Who is supposed to take the lead of meetings?


The day after general conference, I began looking over the scriptures that speak of priesthood offices and duties and new thoughts came to mind, some of which I am publishing here.

D&C 20:38-45 describes the calling and duties of an elder:

The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ—An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize; and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons; and to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ—and to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures; and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church; and to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost; and to take the lead of all meetings.

The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.

So, “an elder” is “to take the lead of all meetings.”

Which elder takes the lead?

The presiding elder.

And which elder is the presiding elder?

The elders’ quorum president is the presiding elder.

Deacons

A congregation has a quorum of elders and deacons, with presidencies for both, all present in a meeting.

Who takes the lead?

The elders’ quorum president, per D&C 20:44.

And to take the lead of all meetings.  (D&C 20:44)

Teachers

A congregation has a quorum of elders, deacons and teachers, with presidencies for each, all present in a meeting.

Who takes the lead?

The elders’ quorum president, per D&C 20:44.

If all the elders go missing, who then takes the lead?

The teachers’ quorum president, per D&C 20:56.

And he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the elder or priest—  (D&C 20:56)

Priests

A congregation has a quorum of elders, deacons, teachers and priests, with presidencies for each, all present in a meeting.

Who takes the lead?

The elders’ quorum president, per D&C 20:44.

If all the elders go missing, who then takes the lead?

The priests’ quorum president, per D&C 20:49.

And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no elder present;  (D&C 20:49)

If all the elders and priests go missing, who then takes the lead?

The teachers’ quorum president, per D&C 20:56.

Priests’ quorum president!? What’s that?

That’s a presidency formed of three priests, one priest presiding and two priests as his counselors, just as the elders’, teachers’ and deacons’ quorums are all set up:

Verily, I say unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts, there must needs be presiding elders to preside over those who are of the office of an elder; and also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest; and also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner, and also the deacons—wherefore, from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.  (D&C 107:60-63)

Continuing on…

The bishopric

A congregation has a quorum of elders, deacons, teachers and priests, with presidencies for each, all present in a meeting. Additionally, the bishopric also attends.

Who takes the lead?

The elders’ quorum president, per D&C 20:44.

If all the elders go missing, who then takes the lead?

The priests’ quorum president, per D&C 20:49.

If all the elders and priests go missing, who then takes the lead?

The teachers’ quorum president, per D&C 20:56.

Wait! Isn’t the bishop supposed to take the lead?

Nope. All bishops in the church are high priests who have been called, ordained and set apart as bishops. They function in the capacity of a bishop, not as a high priest. Their jurisdiction, while holding this calling, is that of a bishop. A bishop’s jurisdiction is over the Priesthood of Aaron in a ward, which includes presiding over the priests:

Also the duty of the president over the Priesthood of Aaron is to preside over forty-eight priests, and sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office, as is given in the covenants—this president is to be a bishop; for this is one of the duties of this priesthood. (D&C 107:87-88)

The office of a bishop pertains to both the higher or Melchizedek priesthood, being an appendage of it, and also to the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, presiding over it:

And again, the offices of elder and bishop are necessary appendages belonging unto the high priesthood.

And again, the offices of teacher and deacon are necessary appendages belonging to the lesser priesthood, which priesthood was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons. (D&C 84:29-30)

If we were to show this vertically, we could more clearly see that the office an elder always takes precedence over the office a bishop.

Lesser Priesthood

Teacher (1st listed appendage)

Deacon (2nd listed appendage)

High Priesthood

Elder (1st listed appendage)

Bishop (2nd listed appendage)

So, it does not matter whether a bishop is a high priest or a literal descendant of Aaron, once he has been set apart as a bishop, he is locked into it for the duration of the calling, meaning he cannot take the lead of any meeting in which an elder is present, for taking the lead of all meetings pertains to the office of an elder.

Now, in the case of a meeting in which members, priests and the bishopric are all present, but no elders are present, the president of the priests’ quorum*** takes the lead of the meeting, not the bishop.  This is because the scripture specifically gives this as the duty of a priest.  A bishop is given no such duty anywhere in the scriptures.

***

Keep in mind that the priests’ quorum presidency, which is made up of three priests, and the bishopric, which is made up of a high priest and two (elders or high priests) counselors, might be interpreted as two separate presidencies.  For example:

And again, I say unto you, I give unto you Vinson Knight, Samuel H. Smith, and Shadrach Roundy, if he will receive it, to preside over the bishopric; a knowledge of said bishopric is given unto you in the book of Doctrine and Covenants.

And again, I say unto you, Samuel Rolfe and his counselors for priests, and the president of the teachers and his counselors, and also the president of the deacons and his counselors, and also the president of the stake and his counselors.  (D&C 124:141-142)

Historically, these scriptures have been interpreted as meaning that the priests’ quorum is different than the teachers’ and deacons’ quorums, in that those quorums have quorum members (teachers and deacons) composing their presidencies, while the priests’ quorum has the bishopric as its presidency.  So, in the above, Vinson and counselors would have become a presiding bishopric, while Rolfe and counselors would have become a normal bishopric.  That is, indeed, one way of reading these verses.

But the wording also permits presidencies of deacons, teachers and priests, and also a separate bishopric which presides over the entire Aaronic Priesthood and has some special connection, in particular, to the quorum of priests.

In fact, taking this alternate view, we can also see that president of a stake and the president over the high priests’ quorum, which historically have been combined together into one president, can also be interpreted as two separate presidencies.  For example:

And again, I give unto you Don C. Smith to be a president over a quorum of high priests; which ordinance is instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing presidents or servants over different stakes scattered abroad; and they may travel also if they choose, but rather be ordained for standing presidents; this is the office of their calling, saith the Lord your God.

I give unto him Amasa Lyman and Noah Packard for counselors, that they may preside over the quorum of high priests of my church, saith the Lord.  (D&C 124:133-136)

So, the presidencies of the quorum of high priests are instituted for the purpose of qualifying men for the presidencies of the stakes.  The one is for the other, but they are not the same.  And so, after we read the Lord appointing who will be the presidency of the quorum of the high priests, we read that they were to also appoint a president of the stake and counselors:

And again, I say unto you, Samuel Rolfe and his counselors for priests, and the president of the teachers and his counselors, and also the president of the deacons and his counselors, and also the president of the stake and his counselors.  (D&C 124:141-142)

In like manner, the presidency of the quorum of priests, which presidency is made up of three priests of the quorum, may have been instituted for the purpose of qualifying men for the bishopric, hence the link between the bishopric and the priests.

In other words, the Aaronic priesthood priests’ quorum was to have two presidents: one an ordained bishop and the other an ordained priest.  This was to correspond to how the Melchizedek priesthood was originally set up: with two presidents; a first elder, apostle or president (Joseph Smith) and a second elder, apostle or president (Oliver Cowdery and later Hyrum Smith.)  The locally organized Melchizedek priesthood would also have two presidents: a president of the stake and a high priest president over the high priests’ quorum.

I suppose I could take this further, but I think what I have written will suffice.

High priests

A congregation has a bishopric as well as quorums of elders, deacons, teachers and priests, with presidencies for each, all present in a meeting. Additionally, there are high priests present.

Who takes the lead?

The elders’ quorum president, per D&C 20:44.

Why doesn’t the high priest take the lead?

High priests may only officiate as high priests when they are called to do so by the stake presidency.

High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member. (D&C 107:10)

They may officiate in the office of an elder, priest, teacher, deacon and member, without permission from the stake presidency, but in any of these capacities, they still are subject to the leadership of the elders’ quorum president, who is to take the lead of all meetings.

What if the high priest officiates in his own standing?

Okay, in that case the high priest is given an assignment by the stake president and is sent out, (essentially as a local apostle). A high priest’s main duty is to teach:

And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. (Alma 13:1)

therefore, the high priest will be sent to his own ward or to some other ward of the stake, to deliver some message or teaching. We get these all the time in the form of high counselors delivering their talks on assignment from the stake presidency. In such a case, the high priest still doesn’t take the lead of the meeting.

The reason is because they are acting in their capacity as, or exercising their right to officiate as, high priests, not as elders. Elders have the right to take the lead of all meetings, therefore, a high priest on assignment, sent by the stake presidency, must still defer meeting conducting and leadership to the elders’ quorum president. Although the high priest is there on his own authority, once an elders’ quorum is established with an elders’ quorum presidency, the elders’ quorum president is the man in charge of all the meetings. So, although he may get up and speak to the congregation, he must do so with the permission or consent of the elders’ quorum president. If he tries to take the lead of any meeting, while a presiding elder is there, he will be trampling upon the elder’s rights and the priesthood order set up by God in the scriptures.

Now, if there are no presiding elders present in the congregation, then the high priest who is officiating in his standing, defers to the priests’ quorum president.  If there are no priests, then he defers to the teachers’ quorum president.  This is because these quorums have been given the jurisdiction of leading meetings in the absence of elders or priests.  High priests have no such right of leading meetings.

Also, if there is a high priest in the congregation, but he is not officiating in his own standing, not currently being under assignment, and if the congregation is missing all its elders, then the high priest can officiate in the office of an elder (without anyone’s permission) and he has the right to take the lead of that meeting, even with priests and teachers present, because they cannot take the lead when an elder is present.

However, the moment an elders’ quorum member enters the meeting, that man is the elder who takes the lead of the meeting. This is because his membership in the established quorum of elders takes precedence over any high priest officiating in the office of an elder, for although the high priest can be considered an elder while he’s officiating as such, he does not pertain to the elders’ quorum established in that ward, from which presiding elders are to be chosen. So the quorum member elder becomes the de facto presiding elder (and thus the leader of the meeting) the moment he walks into the room.

What about apostles and seventies?

Apostles and seventies are all elders that travel. As such, they have all the duties of the normal elders, but because they do not pertain to the elders’ quorums of the wards they attend, they must submit to the leadership of the established elders’ quorum president, so they cannot take the lead of any meeting that is attended by a quorum member elder.

What about the stake presidency? Surely they can take the lead!

Not on a ward level. The name of the game is jurisdiction. The elders’ quorum president has complete jurisdiction over taking the lead of all meetings of his ward. Only if there is a stake meeting, of several wards and branches, only then does the stake presidency take the lead of the meetings. So, the reunion of a stake brings everyone under his jurisdiction, while the reunion of a ward brings everyone under the jurisdiction of an elders’ quorum president. When the stake president enters a ward to speak, he does so as a visiting high priest (an apostle), and not as a president of anything in the ward, and so everything that pertains to a high priest officiating in his own standing pertains to him, including having to submit to the leadership of the elders’ quorum president.

What about the president of the church?!

It doesn’t matter what title a person holds. There are only a limited number of priesthood offices and a president of the church is a high priest, so everything that applies to a high priest applies to him. If the president of the church comes to a ward, he must submit to the leadership of the elders’ quorum presidency:

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile— (D&C 121:41-42)

The principle is this: When you enter the jurisdiction of someone else’s priesthood quorum, you essentially enter without priesthood. You may influence them, or attempt to influence them, but cannot do so by virtue of your priesthood office, nor can you remove the rights that pertain to their office, calling and quorum.

I will close with a final scripture:

But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings… (D&C 46:2)

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“Every elder, priest, teacher or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts…of God unto him.”


My text for this post is the part of D&C 20: 60 that says,

Every elder, priest, teacher or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him;

First callings, then ordination, then gifts

We are taught by our leaders that “whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.” This means that the gifts come with, or belong to, the calling. In other words, that once a man is called to an office and ordained, the Lord gives him the gifts necessary to fulfill the duties of that office as long as he magnifies his calling. I have also heard people testify that once released from their callings, these gifts leave them and they are once again just every day members.

In all honesty, I can see how such an interpretation can fit the scripture. All that is required is to read the scripture as if it said, “Every [priesthood office] is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God [which will come] unto him [through this ordination].”

First gifts, then callings, then ordination

Another way of reading the scripture is as if it said, “Every [priesthood office] is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God [which have already come] unto him.” In this view, God (and man) sees that the priesthood candidate already has all the necessary gifts for one or more offices of the priesthood, so He calls the man to one of those offices and has him ordained.

For the purpose of this post, I am going to take this latter interpretation as my guide and see what picture it paints. I’m not doing this just as a useless exercise, but one based upon historical fact and precedent. For example, if we look at the life of Joseph Smith, we find that his life followed the gifts-callings-ordination order precisely.

Joseph was a prophet, seer and revelator before he was ordained to any priesthood office In fact, he was using a seer stone before he was even called by the Lord to be a seer. So, his gifts came to him first, then he received a calling from the Lord and finally he was ordained to the offices of the priesthood. This same pattern can be found elsewhere in the scriptures.

One gift, church; many gifts, priesthood

And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. (D&C 46: 10-11)

The Lord has said that “every man is given a [singular] gift.” But He doesn’t expect us to stop at just one. In fact, He has commanded the church to “seek ye earnestly the best gifts [plural]” (D&C 46: 8.) And He has even opened up the possibility of getting every gift.

And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit; that unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby. He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh. (D&C 46: 28-30)

All of the offices of the priesthood require multiple gifts. It takes a lot more faith to obtain many gifts than to obtain just one, therefore the priesthood is designed to be a body of men who have exercised exceedingly great faith. They are “called…on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling” (Alma 13: 3). The “good works” of these men is the use of their multiple gifts of the Spirit, for “if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God” (Moro. 10: 25).

After having obtained several gifts, the Lord calls these men into His priesthood and has them ordained to one of its offices, according to the gifts they have, so that they can more widely use them “for salvation” (D&C 84: 73) and “for the benefit of those who love [Him] and keep all [His] commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited” (D&C 46: 9), and “in order that every member may be profited thereby” (D&C 46: 29).

A man is ordained in this manner—exceedingly great faith and repentance, good works (working by the power and gifts of God), called by God to an office of the priesthood according to the various gifts he has, and then ordination to the office he’s been called to—”that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to [the] Son for redemption” (Alma 13: 2). This manner of ordination also virtually guarantees that “the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” because no one would be ordained who did not have access to a variety of the gifts of the Spirit and thus to the powers of heaven.

New Testament and D&C 4 qualifications

Before going into an enumeration of the gifts that pertain to each office, let me back up a bit because the New Testament has requirements for priesthood office that precede the gifts.

1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1 give some qualifications for the offices of elder, bishop and deacon. The description is of a righteous, God-fearing, charitable man who has a good reputation in the church and in the community and a well-behaved family. Of particular note is that the elders, bishops and deacons all had to be married men with children.

We typically think of the office of a deacon as the “entry level” position, therefore, the New Testament requirements for a deacon can be extrapolated to all other offices of the priesthood.

D&C section 4 also has a list of qualification for those called to the priesthood, namely that the man should possess faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God.

The list of best gifts

#1.   Personal knowledge of Christ, having seen Him in person.

#2.   Belief in Christ without having seen Him.

#3.   Differences of administration.

#4.   Diversities of operations.

#5.   Word of wisdom.

#6.   Word of knowledge.

#7.   Faith to be healed.

#8.   Faith to heal.

#9.   Working of miracles.

#10. Prophesying.

#11. Discerning of spirits.

#12. Speaking in tongues.

#13. Interpretation of tongues.

#14. Discerning of gifts.

Qualifications of the office of a deacon

1)  Must be a married man with children (per New Testament)

2)  Must pass other New Testament qualifications

3)  Must pass D&C 4 qualifications

4)  Must have best gift #2 (belief in Christ without having seen Him)

5)  Must have best gift #5 (word of wisdom)

6)  Must have best gift #6 (word of knowledge)

7)  Must have best gift #7 (faith to be healed)

8 ) Must have best gift #8 (faith to heal)

The duties of a deacon are listed in D&C 20: 59; 84: 111.

He must have gift #2 because he must be a believer in Christ in order for him to “invite all to come unto Christ.” (It is not necessary that he has seen Christ personally.) He must have gifts #5 and #6 because it is his duty to teach all to be wise and to have knowledge (see D&C 46: 17-18.) He must have gifts #7 and #8 because as a believer in Christ, certain signs will follow him, which include surviving poisonous snake bites and deadly drinks, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, and causing the tongue of the dumb to speak (see D&C 84: 65-72.)

Teachers are to be assisted in all their duties by deacons, if occasion requires. Deacons can only assist teachers in their duties if they possess the gifts required for the fulfillment of those duties. So, the above list of gifts is the minimum for a deacon.

For example, if a teacher needs assistance in a duty that requires gift #11 and there are two deacons available, one that possesses gift #11 and one that does not, only the one with the required gift can assist.

This creates the need for a deacon to apply himself and seek out the additional gift required to assist teachers in all their duties (gift #11.)

Qualifications of the office of a teacher

1)  Must be a married man with children (per New Testament)

2)  Must pass other New Testament qualifications

3)  Must pass D&C 4 qualifications

4)  Must have best gift #2 (belief in Christ without having seen Him)

5)  Must have best gift #5 (word of wisdom)

6)  Must have best gift #6 (word of knowledge)

7)  Must have best gift #7 (faith to be healed)

8 ) Must have best gift #8 (faith to heal)

9)  Must have best gift #11 (discerning of spirits)

The duties of a teacher are listed in D&C 20: 53-57, 59; 84: 111.

He must have gifts #2, #5, #6, #7 and #8 for the same reasons as a deacon (see above.)

He must have gift #11 because it is his duty to “see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking” (D&C 20: 54). This requires that he be able to discern between lying, evil spirits and contrite spirits.

Qualifications of the office of a priest

1)   Must be a married man with children (per New Testament)

2)   Must pass other New Testament qualifications

3)   Must pass D&C 4 qualifications

4)   Must have best gift #2 (belief in Christ without having seen Him)

5)   Must have best gift #5 (word of wisdom)

6)   Must have best gift #6 (word of knowledge)

7)   Must have best gift #7 (faith to be healed)

8 )  Must have best gift #8 (faith to heal)

9)   Must have best gift #9 (working of miracles)

10) Must have best gift #10 (prophesying)

11) Must have best gift #11 (discerning of spirits)

12) Must have best gift #12 (speaking in tongues)

13) Must have best gift #13 (interpretation of tongues)

14) Must have the Nephite gift of beholding angels and ministering spirits (Moro. 10: 14)

The duties of a priest are listed in D&C 20: 46-52.

He must have gifts #2, #5, #6, #7 and #8 for the same reasons as a deacon (see above.)

Miracles He must have gift #9 in order to perform miracles. Now some may say that a priest does not need to possess this gift to fulfill the duties of his office. But a priest is the first priesthood office that actually performs ordinances of the gospel. Neither a deacon nor a teacher can do that (see D&C 20: 58). A priest, then, represents Jesus Christ Himself when he ordains other priests, teachers and deacons; or when he baptizes; or when he breaks bread, blesses the sacrament and passes it out. And he is to follow the example of the Savior in administering it. Sometimes the Lord used bread and wine that was already available, but other times He miraculously provided these things (see 3 Ne. 20: 3-7.) In the New Testament, He turned water into wine and performed the miracles of the loaves of bread and fishes. The sacrament being a meal, it is not a stretch to see how these miracles can apply to it. Jesus also said that His followers would do the works He did, and greater works also. (See John 14: 12.) So, it seems to me that priests (and all other offices that perform ordinances) need to possess the gift of the working of miracles in order to properly represent the Lord, who is a God of miracles. In this way, the miraculous powers of godliness may be manifest in the ordinances of the priesthood (see D&C 84: 20-21.) Additionally, the priesthood (office of priest) of Aaron “holds the keys of the ministering of angels,” according to John the Baptist (as recorded in D&C 13.) The beholding of angels is linked to, or goes hand in hand with, the gift of miracles (per Moro. 7: 29-37.)

A priest also must have gift #10 because it is his duty to preach the gospel, which is supposed to be preached according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation (see Alma 43: 2), necessitating the gift to prophesy. He must have gift #11 for the same reasons as a teacher and also because it is his duty to baptize only those who have a contrite spirit (see Moro. 6: 2 and D&C 20: 37), therefore he needs the discerning of spirits.

Unlike deacons and teachers, who are standing ministers, meaning that they do not and are not supposed to travel, priests (and all other offices of the priesthood except deacons and teachers) are to travel and preach the gospel, as the Holy Ghost directs them. This means that they may find themselves among people who speak an unknown language. For this reason alone, every priest must have gifts #12 and #13. But even if preaching among a people of a known language, these gifts are needed as a sign to unbelievers (see 1 Cor. 14: 22.)

Like deacons, priests are also given a command to assist, “if occasion requires.” However, unlike deacons, who are to assist teachers in the duties of the teachers, a priest is to assist an elder in the duties of the priest. For this reason, it is not necessary that a priest obtain any more gifts of the Spirit to assist an elder.

Qualifications of the office of an elder

1)   Must be a married man with children (per New Testament)

2)   Must pass other New Testament qualifications

3)   Must pass D&C 4 qualifications

4)   Must have best gift #2 (belief in Christ without having seen Him)

5)   Must have best gift #5 (word of wisdom)

6)   Must have best gift #6 (word of knowledge)

7)   Must have best gift #7 (faith to be healed)

8 )  Must have best gift #8 (faith to heal)

9)   Must have best gift #9 (working of miracles)

10) Must have best gift #10 (prophesying)

11) Must have best gift #11 (discerning of spirits)

12) Must have best gift #12 (speaking in tongues)

13) Must have best gift #13 (interpretation of tongues)

14) Must have best gift #14 (discerning of gifts)

The duties of an elder are listed in D&C 20: 38-45. He must have gifts #2, #5, #6, #7 and #8 for the same reasons as a deacon (see above.) He must have gifts #9, #10, #11, #12 and #13 for the same reasons as a priest (see above.)

An elder must also have gift #14 because “unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God” (D&C 46: 27).

Qualifications of the office of a seventy

A seventy is an elder (see D&C 124: 138-139), therefore, all the qualifications of an elder also apply to a seventy. The seventy are a group of constantly traveling elders, and are under the direction of the twelve apostles, whereas the normal group of elders are standing ministers that may travel (see D&C 124: 137) as they desire and as the Spirit dictates to them.

During the time of Moses, seventy elders of Israel saw the Lord (see Ex. 24: 9-11.) During the time of Christ, seventy men who were with the Lord in His ministry (in other words, they saw the Lord) were sent out by Him and performed the same work of miracles as the twelve (see Luke 10: 1-20.) So, following the same pattern, a seventy can be required to have gift #1, so as to be an eyewitness.

Qualifications of the office of an apostle

An apostle is an elder (see D&C 20: 38), therefore, all the qualifications of an elder also apply to an apostle. Like the seventy, the apostles are a group of constantly traveling elders.

Also like the seventy, apostles must have gift #1 so that they are eyewitnesses of Christ. (Seventies and apostles are called to be special/especial witnesses of Christ. The only thing that makes their witness “special” or “especial” is that they have personally seen Christ.)

Qualifications of the office of a high priest

High priests have “authority to officiate in all the lesser offices,” therefore a high priest must possess “all the gifts of God which he bestows” (D&C 107: 92) upon the church (all 14 best gifts.) Additionally, the way he receives his calling is different. Whereas all other offices of the priesthood may receive a calling via either angelic ministration or the voice of God to prophets (see Moro. 7: 22-23), a high priest must receive his calling “by [God’s] own voice out of the heavens” (D&C 84: 42).

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: 29)

Qualifications of the office of a bishop

Bishops typically are high priests who are ordained as bishops, so all the same qualifications of a high priest apply to a bishop. They must possess every gift.

Ordained patriarchs (evangelical ministers) and gifts #3 and #4

Obviously, based upon what a patriarch does, he would need to have the gift to prophesy (gift #10), the gift of the word of wisdom (gift #5) and the gift of the word of knowledge (gift #6). Beyond those three gifts, I leave it to the reader to figure out the rest of the qualifications of a patriarch and also whether the 3rd and 4th gifts fit into any of the duties of the non-high priest offices. (A high priest and bishop who is an ordained high priest must have every gift, therefore, they must have gifts #3 and #4.)

What’s the point?

Obviously, the priesthood isn’t currently ordained this way. It could be, but I doubt that the present church will ever require such qualifications. Finding anyone with even one gift is hard enough, let alone many gifts. It is much easier to call unmarried men and boys according to their age and some standard of “worthiness” than according to the gifts of the Spirit that they possess. Otherwise, we’d have hardly any priesthood holders.

Nevertheless, tribes can ordain as they see fit, regardless of how the church is currently doing it. There may be some gospel-based tribes out there that will require that all candidates possess the necessary gifts prior to being called and ordained to their tribal priesthood. If and when that day comes, “the rights of the priesthood [will again] be inseparably connected with the powers of heaven.”

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Priesthood Offices in a Tribal Setting


Church ordinations

During the time of Christ, one of the qualifications for priesthood was that men had to be married.  (See 1 Tim. 3: 2, 12 and Titus 1: 6.)  During the time of Joseph Smith, adult men were ordained to both Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods.  Later, during brother Brigham’s time the Aaronic priesthood began to be conferred upon young men.

Currently, in the modern church, if men and boys are worthy and are sustained by the congregation, they are ordained to these offices in the following way: deacons are ordained when 12 years old, teachers when 14, priests when 16 and boys become eligible for the office of an elder when they turn 18 (prospective elders.)  The Aaronic priesthood is now, essentially, a youth program, to prepare boys to receive the Melchizedek priesthood.

Grown men entering the priesthood may be given the office of a priest, becoming a prospective elder and then later ordained an elder, or may merely be ordained an elder from the start.

The following are the duties of an elder, priest, teacher and deacon in the church.  (E=Elder; P=Priest; T=Teacher; and D=Deacon.)

Duties of the Priesthood (for the church)

.P..          Preach
EP..         Baptize
E…          Confirm baptized church members by the laying on of hands
E…          Administer the sacrament
.P..          Administer the sacrament (when no elder is present)
E…          Take the lead in all church meetings
.P..         Take the lead in church meetings (when no elder is present)
..T.         Take the lead in church meetings (in the absence of the elder or priest)
E…          Conduct church meetings as led by the Holy Ghost
.P..          Assist elder (if occasion requires)
E…          Ordain elders
EP..        Ordain priests
EP..        Ordain teachers
EP..        Ordain deacons
EPTD      Teach
EPTD      Expound
EPTD      Exhort
E.TD       Watch over the church
.P..         Visit the house of each church member (exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties)
..T.         Be with and strengthen church
..T.        See that there is no iniquity in the church
..T.        See that there is no hardness in the church with each other
..T.        See that there is no lying in the church
..T.        See that there is backbiting in the church
..T.        See that there is no evil speaking in the church
..T.        See that all the church members do their duty
..T.        See that the church meet together often
..TD      Warn
..TD      Invite all to come to Christ
..TD      Be a standing minister to the church
…D       Assist teachers in their duties (if occasion requires)

Now let’s look at these same duties and offices of the priesthood in a tribal setting.

Duties of the Priesthood (for the tribe)

.P..          Preach
EP..         Baptize
E…          Confirm baptized tribal members by the laying on of hands
E…          Administer the sacrament
.P..          Administer the sacrament (when no elder is present)
E…          Take the lead in all tribal gatherings
.P..         Take the lead in tribal gatherings (when no elder is present)
..T.         Take the lead in tribal gatherings (in the absence of the elder or priest)
E…          Conduct tribal gatherings as led by the Holy Ghost
.P..          Assist elder (if occasion requires)
E…          Ordain elders
EP..        Ordain priests
EP..        Ordain teachers
EP..        Ordain deacons
EPTD      Teach
EPTD      Expound
EPTD      Exhort
E.TD       Watch over the tribe
.P..         Visit the house of each tribal member (exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties)
..T.         Be with and strengthen tribe
..T.        See that there is no iniquity in the tribe
..T.        See that there is no hardness in the tribe with each other
..T.        See that there is no lying in the tribe
..T.        See that there is backbiting in the tribe
..T.        See that there is no evil speaking in the tribe
..T.        See that all the tribal members do their duty
..T.        See that the tribe gather together often
..TD      Warn
..TD      Invite all to come to Christ
..TD      Be a standing minister to the tribe
…D       Assist teachers in their duties (if occasion requires)

Tribal ordinations

Obviously, a tribe can do what it wants, meaning it can organize itself using the priesthood however it wants.  So, a tribe can opt to duplicate the modern church model and ordain boys to the Aaronic priesthood.  But it can also follow the New Testament/Early Mormonism models and ordain only married men to either priesthood.

Let me give an example of how a tribe can develop its own “priesthood qualifications” for ordination to its tribal priesthoods.

According to how connected one is to the tribe, by the number of covenants

Ordaining to the offices of the priesthood in a tribal setting can depend upon the man’s connectedness to the tribe.  Connectedness can be determined by the number of wives he has and the combined number of husbands his wives have.  Once the required number of wives/husbands is reached, he can be eligible for ordination if the tribe consents to it.  Here is one way to do it:

  • Deacon – Monogamy (1 wife and 1 husband)
  • Teacher – Multi-spouse System (husband has 2 wives and his wives have a combined total of 2 distinct husbands)
  • Priest – Multi-spouse System (husband has 4 wives and his wives have a combined total of 4 distinct husbands)
  • Elder – Multi-spouse System (husband has 8 wives and his wives have a combined total of 8 distinct husbands)

These numbers are, of course, arbitrary.  A tribe can decide how many covenantal connections a man and his wives must have for the man to be ordained to an office of the priesthood.  The principle, though, is that with more connections a man has to the tribe, he has that much more vested interest in it.  Also, as men take on more wives (and their wives covenant with more husbands), they enter into more marriage/family/clan/tribal responsibilities, therefore, their priesthood office should reflect a corresponding increase in duties and responsibility.

Another reason to link the priesthood to marriage is because the Lord has set the husband at the head of the wife, regardless of whether he has the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthoods.  Because of this relationship, priesthood is useful to keep a husband in his proper place, for entrance into the priesthood is designed to be entrance into lifelong service.  All husbands, therefore, should be priesthood servants.

For the other priesthood offices, such as high priest, bishop, seventy, apostle, etc., inter-husband covenants—meaning that two or more husbands enter into a united order for the establishment of Zion by covenanting with each other—can be added as eligibility requirements to the qualifications of an elder.  For the office of high priest, it can follow the scriptural pattern of having it confirmed by the voice of God out of the heavens, etc.

Manner of tribal ordinations

There are three valid methods of priesthood ordination.  The first method comes from the Book of Mormon:

In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest, (or, if he be a teacher) I ordain you to be a teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.  (Moroni 3: 3)

The second one is the method used during the time of Joseph Smith:

By authority of the Holy Priesthood and by the laying on of hands, I ordain you an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers, keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The final method is that used from 1919 onward, including today:

To perform a priesthood ordination, one or more authorized priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head. Then the priesthood holder who performs the ordination:

1. Calls the person by his full name.

2. States the authority by which the ordination is performed (Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood).

3. Confers the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood unless it has already been conferred.

4. Ordains the person to an office in the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood and bestows the rights, powers and authority of that office. (Priesthood keys are not bestowed in conferring the priesthood or ordaining to one of these offices.)

5. Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs.

6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

Of the three methods, I would recommend that a tribe use only the first two because the third method creates the perception that priesthood keys are not passed on, even though they are.  This, of course, is a control mechanism to center power in priesthood “leaders” who “hold keys.”  Also, when using the second method, one would not ordain to an office in the church, but to an office in the tribe.

Priesthood re-ordinations

A man that comes into a tribe who has already been ordained an elder in the church may be ordained to an office of the tribal priesthood according to the tribe’s eligibility requirements.  So, let’s say the man is in a monogamous marriage when he enters the tribe and the tribe allows monogamous men to be only ordained tribal deacons.  In this case, the man would be ordained a tribal deacon, despite being an elder of the church.  The tribe then recognizes his priesthood office as that of a deacon, whereas the church recognizes his priesthood office as that of an elder.  The tribe can continue to utilize and recognize validly ordained church elders until such time when the tribe has ordained tribal elders according to its eligibility requirements.  Then it may use the tribal elders (and priests) exclusively to ordain all other tribal offices.

For example, in cases of taking the lead in tribal gatherings, if there are four men in the tribe who are ordained elders in the church but three are tribal deacons and one is a tribal teacher, the tribal teacher would take the lead in the tribal gatherings, for in a tribal setting, tribal priesthood takes precedence over church priesthood.  Nevertheless, if someone needs to be baptized (requiring the office of a priest or elder), any of these four men could do it using church priesthood authorized by the tribe.  At some point, one of these tribal men will hold the tribal office of elder, at which point church priesthood no longer need be relied upon. 

Tribal records

While a tribe is still in its infancy and consists of but few persons, ordinances can be performed without witnesses or record-keeping.  However, when there is finally a sufficient number of tribal members, the tribe may gather and formally establish itself according to the gospel laws.  The gathered tribe, using its tribal keys and the law of common consent, can then authorize the performing of all the tribal ordinances once more for each of the tribal members, but this time with two or three tribal witnesses (the law of witnesses) and with a tribal recorder appointed among their number to record all the names, dates, ordinances, convenants entered into (including marriage covenants) and ordinations performed, as well as recording the names and certifications of the witnesses, etc., all on a tribal record or book.  Doing this utilizes the priesthood sealing power so that the tribal record becomes “a law on earth and in heaven, [that can] not be annulled”.  This tribal record is all important so that when the time comes for the tribe to be assimilated into the larger tribes of Israel, these tribal ordinances will be accepted as valid and binding both on earth and in heaven.

Working in this way, using the priesthood sealing power to formally establish a tribe, sets the tribe up for permanency both here and in the afterlife.

A mere example

Please don’t take these words as being the only way to organize a tribal priesthood.  I merely write this to get people thinking tribally, to help them conceive of the options available to them and to provide an example of one way to organize a tribal priesthood in righteousness so that Lord will be pleased and pour down His blessings and the tribe’s actions will be justified.  But there are undoubtedly other, valid ways to go about this.

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“It has always been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and always shall be, to conduct all meetings.”


Note: This post is meant for what4anarchy, but I thought to share it with others who may have interest.

Background information

Recently what4anarchy and I were talking and I happened to mention to him that one day, as I was researching Joseph Smith’s visit to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1839, in conjunction with research on possible daguerreotypists present in that city at that time, I Ixquicked a search term and came across the following document written by Stephen J. Fleming:

Discord in the City of Brotherly Love: The Story of Early Mormonism in Philadelphia

(Btw, the above PDF document is taken from this web site.)

what4anarchy asked me to send the document to him but I opted instead to just post it on this blog.

Who presides/conducts? The elders of the church or the bishopric?

The title of this post is taken from D&C 46: 2. I’ve always been fascinated by the phrase “elders of my church” or “elders of the church.” Currently, it is the members of the bishopric that conduct all meetings they are present at (unless a higher authority is attending.) I suppose “the elders of the church” can refer to them, but not every scriptural reference seems to imply the bishopric. For example, from the law of the church (D&C 42), it is written:

And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. (D&C 42: 44)

For most people, this is interpreted as any member of the elder’s quorum. No one believes that this only refers to the bishopric, yet in the same revelation, we read the following:

And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better. (D&C 42: 80)

Here, probably most would think that the phrase “elders of the church” applies only to the bishopric or the stake presidency/high council, not to just two members of the elder’s quorum. Yet, two verses later, the Lord makes it plain that the “two elders of the church” before which the trial takes place does not include the bishop:

And if it can be, it is necessary that the bishop be present also. (D&C 42: 82)

Enter Fleming’s Article

Now, the document I linked to above, about the Philadelphia church, is interesting for several reasons:

The law of common consent had more power back then

According to the article, Benjamin Winchester, a LDS missionary, started proselyting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1839, after preaching in New Jersey. He finally was able to baptize several people and when Joseph Smith, Jr. visited in the winter of 1839-40, he established a branch of the church there, with Brother Winchester as the presiding elder. “Presiding elders,” states Fleming, “are what are called branch presidents today, and in the early days of the church, they were usually chosen by the branch.Emphasis mine. (See scenario #5 in the article, Power of the Law of Common Consent, to understand why I find this so remarkable.)

Brother Winchester, apparently, was quite the proponent of Mormonism. He wrote to church headquarters for help with the missionary work prior to the arrival of Joseph Smith, debated publicly with a Presbyterian preacher, baptized, edited and wrote most of the Gospel Reflector, a Mormon periodical started to present a different picture of Mormonism than what was being published in the newspapers of the area. It is understandable that when the Philadelphia Branch was organized by Joseph Smith in December of 1839, Brother Winchester became the presiding elder.

Six men leading: a bishopric and a branch presidency

When the Philadelphia branch had financial trouble, they decided to call a financial committee, but Hyrum Smith, who was visiting, directed them to call a bishopric, instead. He taught them to call a branch presidency for spiritual affairs and a bishopric for temporal affairs, which they did, naming Bro. Winchester as presiding elder, with Bros. Whipple and Wharton as his two counselors and Bro. Syfritt as bishop with Bros. Price and Nicholson as his two counselors.

Can you imagine the elder’s quorum presidency of a ward or branch being the actual leaders of the congregation, with the bishopric being subordinate to the presiding elders and being responsible chiefly for the Aaronic priesthood and finances, as it was designed to function? No? Well, apparently the bishopric back then couldn’t either, because once a bishop and a presiding elder found themselves in the same branch, a power struggle ensued!

The Aaronic priesthood did home teaching, and not once a month

Fleming then states:

The branch also appointed the priests, teachers and deacons of the branch to “visit each member of the Church to inquire as to their faith and standing.” At a conference in December of 1840, the Aaronic Priesthood reported that “all the Saints (with but few exceptions) are diligently striving to keep the commandments of God, and their faith in the work of the Lord in the Last Days, is unshaken.”

And then there was all the discord…

Problems soon arose, though, between Bro. Winchester and a traveling elder named Almon Babbitt, which was resolved by the two with forgiveness and reconciliation. However, a junior apostle, John E. Page, who visited the branch 1841 for an extended period of time, began to make trouble for Bro. Winchester and exert influence over the branch, especially when Winchester was gone on a mission to Salem, Massachusetts during the summer. In September of that same year, Elder Babbitt wrote to church headquarters, essentially suggesting that Winchester ought to be released, as he wasn’t doing a good enough job and potential converts had stated they wouldn’t be baptized while Winchester presided.

That October, Bro. Winchester wrote a letter to church headquarters, refuting what Babbitt had written and also traveled to Nauvoo to set the record straight. Joseph Smith attended the meeting and felt Bro. Winchester had a contentious spirit and reproved him. Then, in January of 1842, the Twelve “suspended” Bro. Winchester until he made “satisfaction” for disobeying the First Presidency. Elder Page wrote another letter to church HQ, saying that Bro. Winchester was his enemy. That winter, Bro. Winchester traveled back to Philadelphia.

Now, here is where it gets even more interesting…

Apparently, the branch became divided, with the lesser portion siding with Elder Page (the apostle) and the majority siding with Bro. Winchester (the presiding elder.) Those that were with Winchester leased another building in which to attend church. The northern branch (the lesser part of the people) chose William Wharton (former counselor of the branch presidency) to be their new presiding elder, while the southern branch (the majority) kept Bro. Winchester as presiding elder.

According to Fleming, though, the real controversy was between the bishopric and the presiding elder (Winchester.) Bishop Jacob Syfritt, his first counselor James Nicholson, and his mother Eliza Nicholson all had a bone to pick with Winchester. A special conference was called in April of 1842 to mend the strife between the northern and southern branches and to investigate the causes of it. Winchester brought charges against both Syfritt and Nicholson and the conference determined that they were true. Both men were rendered “satisfaction.” Then the conference investigated Bro. Winchester. He defended himself, putting the blame of the problems squarely on the shoulders of both Almon Babbitt and Elder John E. Page. The conference ended up exonerating Bro. Winchester of any wrongdoing.

The conference also placed the entire branch in the southern location and firmly into the hands of Bro. Winchester. It also wrote a letter to Hyrum Smith, explaining the proceedings so that he would understand what the voice of the people had decided, and printed the minutes of the meeting. Apparently, the pesky bishopric was also dissolved at this time.

The northern branch struck back by writing to Joseph Smith, with petition signatures, requesting that they separate from the southern branch and become a genuine separate branch of the church, with Bro. Wharton as the presiding elder, meeting in the original location. The Twelve apostles granted their request in May of 1842 and also disapproved of the southern conference. They also “silenced” Winchester from preaching until he made satisfaction for disobeying the First Presidency while at Nauvoo.

No more spoilers

Now, I won’t spoil the rest of the story, only to say that it is very engaging. It is almost on the same level as daytime soap operas, except that the people mentioned in the article were real and as many were holders of the priesthood of God, their actions might be considered even more shocking. I, personally, found it a fascinating read.

But more than that, I think it may be a good read for our times. The time period covered by Fleming, 1839 to after the martyrdom of the Prophet and Hyrum, was one of a lot of change, and not everyone responded to those changes in the same way. Not everyone understood or knew who was supposed to be in charge, meaning who was supposed to be the leaders. Not all the doctrine or new revelations given were received with gladness. Although we modern LDS are not currently faced with the rapid changes these earlier saints were exposed to, that is not to say that things will remain the same as always. It may be beneficial to review the responses of these early saints and leaders and put ourselves in their places, to prepare ourselves, at least mentally, for the things which are prophesied to come to pass in our day and age, prior to the Lord’s second coming.

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Poll: Who is the most prophetic?


We all know that President Thomas S. Monson will become the new President of the High Priesthood now that President Gordon B. Hinckley has passed on to the other side. The apostles will all unanimously vote for him and then the body of the LDS will all unanimously raise their hands to sustain that vote. If there are any dissenters, it will not be among the apostles, but among the body and it will be a small minority, nowhere near the 51% needed to stop the appointment. So, Monson is going to have this office. This is a no-brainer.

What I wonder, though, is who the average LDS would really choose if they could choose the “most prophetic person” for this position. By most prophetic, I mean the person most filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.

So, first, some background facts, and then the poll.

  • The 12 apostles must unanimously choose the same person to fill the office of President of the High Priesthood. If there is one dissenting vote, the appointment does not go through. (See D&C 107: 25-29 below.)
  • They may choose any male church member to fill that office. They need not choose the senior apostle. In fact, they need not choose an apostle, at all. Any male member of the church can be chosen, regardless of whether he has the priesthood or not. If he doesn’t have the priesthood, or holds the priesthood of Aaron, he can have the Melchizedek priesthood conferred upon him and qualify for the office. If he has the priesthood, but is an ordained elder, seventy or patriarch, he can be ordained a high priest and qualify for the office. Even a non-member can be selected, baptized, have the priesthood conferred upon him and then be ordained a high priest to qualify for the office, so in theory (if not in practice) the entire male population of the world is a potential candidate for this (or any other priesthood) office.
  • The only ones who are barred from this office are women.
  • Although the quorum of the twelve vote for the new President of the High Priesthood, the majority of the body of the saints (51%) must sustain the calling by vote, using the law of common consent. If 51% or more raise their hands in approval, the appointment goes through. If, however, 51% or more raise their hands in disapproval, the appointment does not go through and the apostles need to choose another man for the office, which then requires another sustaining vote from the members.
  • Traditionally, the apostles always choose the senior apostle of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the President of the Quorum) and then the members all vote unanimously to sustain that vote. No one ever breaks from this tradition, ever.

Now for the poll. Of all the people you know, who would make the most prophetic President of the High Priesthood? Again, I’m defining most prophetic as “most filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.” You can name anyone you want, whether an apostle, seventy, patriarch, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, deacon, un-ordained male or even a non-member who, in your opinion, is filled with the Spirit, as all of these people are potential candidates.

I am curious as to whether the body of members, if they could vote for the most prophetic person, would inevitably pick President Monson, or if they would choose someone else. To help, I will list the 14 apostles here, in case the person you would choose is among them, but you can list anyone you want.

Lastly, keep in mind that you should not give your opinion as to whom you think the Lord would pick, but only as to whom you personally consider the “most prophetic” person.

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Boyd K. Packer

L. Tom Perry

Russell M. Nelson

Dallin H. Oaks

M. Russell Ballard

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Richard G. Scott

Robert D. Hales

Jeffrey R. Holland

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

David A. Bednar

Quentin L. Cook

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named. And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other—a majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise—unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men. (D&C 107: 25-29, emphasis mine.)

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