Know Your Church History
Joseph Smith opened the sixth dispensation by restoring important truths–including doctrines, principles and gifts of the spirit–that are relevant to one’s salvation and eternal life. It is important to know what was preserved from servants in previous dispensations and back to Adam and Eve and who it was restored for. This “Know Your Church History” collection serves that purpose. As always, any scriptures provided are only meant to point you in the right direction to your own personal study where the spirit can teach you truth and witness to you of God’s greatness and wisdom–no free lunch here. Those with ears to hear and eyes to see will receive it. I hope you are one of them.
The Book of Abraham
In 1835 this translated work of Joseph Smith was completed. It was first published in 1842 and was canonized as part of the Pearl of Great Price in 1880. It is the foundation for several new doctrines that are unique to one specific institution–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This same institution embraces the book of Abraham as scripture. This book is a record of the biblical prophet and patriarch Abraham. It recounts how Abraham sought the “blessings of the fathers”, rejected the idolatry of his father, covenanted with Jehovah, married Sarai, moved to Canaan and Egypt, and received knowledge about the Creation. The book of Abraham largely follows the biblical narrative but adds important information regarding Abraham’s life and teachings.
In the sixth dispensation, Joseph was commanded and therefore restored “that which was from the beginning” (D&C 22:1-4; D&C 49:8-14). Joseph Smith was a Moses of the latter days. His mission was to reveal and restore the “original, new and everlasting” covenant for those that would receive it. For more details on what he was commanded to restore see Know Your Church History: Joseph Smith, the Restoration, the Holy Order.
But suffice it to say that, the Lord, through the prophet Joseph Smith re-revealed and restored His command “from the beginning” to “seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience he may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life” (D&C 101:38) which is “a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh” or while in mortality (D&C 45:14).
Among The Pearls of Abraham: He Knew, Sought & Received
Although we generally speak of the Abrahamic covenant beginning with Abraham, he actually sought for the promised gospel covenant of his forefathers. He had knowledge of the promised gospel covenant because they were passed down and taught amongst his forefathers that originated with Adam.
I invite you to read Abraham 1:1-4 on your own first. If you have studied Christ’s doctrine you will find that there are some very real pearls of truth contained just in these few verses. Try to use your spiritual eyes and ears to both see and hear the “blessings that Abraham sought for.” Then you are welcome to read some of my comments. As always, use discernment and know for yourself the spirit of truth in any of my personal comments.
1 In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence [see verses 5-11 about the evil and corruption of righteousness that had taken place including among his own biological father];
2 And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings [light, truth and Godly experiences] of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same;
Knowing “there was greater happiness and peace and rest” for himself is the first sign that he had knowledge of something much greater for his soul than what was being offered through the evil worship of mankind and idols. This “rest” was not a break from daily labors (see also “Uncovering the Experience in Scripture” of which the term “rest” is better understood).
Everything after this semicolon at this point in verse 2 is a list, an outline, or even a summary separated by commas that describes the path of personal ascension (to the presence/face of the Lord). He’s saying he desires the same privileged experience that “the fathers” had been taught about from the beginning and that they also received.
…having been myself a follower of righteousness,
…desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge,
[knowledge of heavenly things]
…and to be a greater follower of righteousness,
[more than a learner but to be ‘a servant’ with a personal mission after coming into the presence of the Lord (second comforter)]
and to possess a greater knowledge,
[to receive that greater knowledge from the Lord]
…and to be a father of many nations,
[restart a bloodline where the truth and knowledge of the everlasting covenant could be taught]
a prince of peace [Zion],
and desiring to receive instructions [as “a servant”],
and to keep the commandments of God [obedient to personal revelation],
I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
Abraham had a desire to receive what the father’s had already received. Because of his desire, sufficient hope, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ he also personally received. He became an heir and high priest after the order of the Son of God.
(D&C 132: 29-31) “Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.”
Now, onto verse three:
3 It was conferred [exhorted; encouraged] upon me from the fathers; it came down [taught] from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth [the path of eternal growth is everlasting], down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
Since it was revealed and taught to Adam and Eve, the Lord commanded that it be taught to their posterity that they also might receive. Abraham had knowledge of the records of “the fathers” (Adam/Eve down through Noah and his righteous posterity).
4 I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood [type of relationship with the Lord God] according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed.
[Note: To “have the priesthood” may not be what you currently understand it to be. When a person “has the priesthood” they are in an ongoing Mentor-apprentice relationship with the Lord God. Each priesthood/relationship has a specific purpose to help an individual progress. To help fulfill each purpose, the Lord God offers power that is available through various gifts of the spirit. In all priesthoods/relationships a person must always seek for permission (authority) to use God’s power because the power is and always has been God’s power–never beholden by a person.]
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