Posts Tagged 'Organization'

1 Chronicles Chapter 24

The book of Chronicles continues to list the men of Israel. In this chapter, the record relating to the tribe of Levi, continues as follows:

1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.
3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.
4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.
5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.

The sons of Aaron, and men of the priesthood, were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died without having any children, leaving Eleazar and Ithamar to perform the priesthood duties. (We learn from Leviticus 10, that they had offered “strange fire”, or fire not taken from the altar, and were destroyed by the Lord for going against his commandments regarding their service in the temple.) Eleazar was the patriarch of almost all the high priests that followed him. David set apart the men of their families in their specific responsibilities. Zadok, who was of the line of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, who was of the line of Ithamar, were made the priests. They were already the high priests of the tabernacle, so this was just a continuation of their duties. Zadok had served at the tabernacle in Gibeon while Ahimelech had served in the camp of David. The sons of Eleazar were many, so they were divided into 16 groups, while the sons of Ithamar were divided into 8 groups, which served in the sanctuary and the house of God. Shemaiah, a Levite, who was the son of Nethaneel the scribe, recorded these things in the presence of the king and leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech and so on. One of the families of Eleazar was established as the leaders of their groups, and one of the families of Ithamar as the leaders of their groups.

7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the Lord, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.

The lots of these families fell to Jehoiarib first, followed by Jedaiah, Harim, Seorim, Malchijah, Mijamin, Hakkoz, Abijah (Abia), Jeshua, Shecaniah, Eliashib, Jakim, Huppah, Jeshebeab, Bilgah, Immer, Hezir, Aphses, Pethahiah, Jehezekel, Jachin, Gamul, Delaiah, and Maaziah. They were assigned their service in the temple by these lots. This was how they were grouped for their service, and these were their called leaders. These groups were needed to give order to the time when each priest was expected to give their service in the temple. They took turns serving according to the commandments given to Aaron when the tabernacle was established. The Lord had established order in the organization of his priesthood on the earth, which continued to be followed at this time. In our day, the organization of the priesthood, continues to be done in order.

20 And the rest of the sons of Levi were these: Of the sons of Amram; Shubael: of the sons of Shubael; Jehdeiah.
21 Concerning Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah.
22 Of the Izharites; Shelomoth: of the sons of Shelomoth; Jahath.
23 And the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth.
24 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah: of the sons of Michah; Shamir.
25 The brother of Michah was Isshiah: of the sons of Isshiah; Zechariah.
26 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi: the sons of Jaaziah; Beno.

The remainder of the tribes of Levi were Jehediah, of the sons of Shubael of the sons of Amram, the patriarch of Moses and Aaron; Isshiah of the sons of Rehabiah; Jahath of the sons of Shelomoth of the Izharites; Jeriah (Jeriah), Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam of the sons of Hebron; Shamir of the sons of Michah of the sons of Uzziel; Zechariah of the sons of Isshiah, the brother of Michah; Mahli and Mushi of the sons of Merari; and Beno of the sons of Jaaziah.

27 The sons of Merari by Jaaziah; Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri.
28 Of Mahli came Eleazar, who had no sons.
29 Concerning Kish: the son of Kish was Jerahmeel.
30 The sons also of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after the house of their fathers.
31 These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.

Continuing, there was Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri of the sons of Merari through Jaaziah. Mahli had a son named Eleazar, who had no sons. Jerahmeel was the son of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. All these sons of Levi, cast lots in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the leaders of the priests and Levites. Casting lots was a way to choose who would do something without any preferential treatment. These things were witnessed and recorded, and therefore there would be no contentions or confusion about their responsibilities.

One reason these lists and records may be in the scriptures for us today, is to see that the things of the Lord are to be done in wisdom and order. Records should be kept, witnesses should be present when needed, and so on. The scriptures teach us that things recorded on earth, may be recorded in heaven. Therefore, these records may eternal in nature. It is no different for our own family history records. It is a blessing to be able to be involved in gathering information about families for the purposes of eternity.

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Numbers Chapter 11

03990_000_bible-map-2b (Click here for the original Bible map 2 without emphasis)

At this point in the narrative of the Israelite journey to the promised land, they left the wilderness of Sinai for the wilderness of Paran. They are being led by the Lord, according to his time and way. I imagine that there were those who were not willing to understand that the Lord had reasons for leading them the way He did. Like a child who cries, “Are we there yet?” from the back seat on a long drive, there had to be some who would murmur among the Israelites. We learn in this chapter, what the Lord did to deal with it, or in other words, to teach the Israelites.

1 And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
2 And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.
3 And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the Lord burnt among them.

When the Lord heard the complaints of the people, He did not accept it. He was leading them and providing for them, in a way that they should have been grateful for, but they would not see the larger picture in this. I think that the Lord had to deal with these individuals, so they would not cause an uprising rebellion and major apostasy within the camp. The fire of the Lord went through the camp and consumed those who complained. The people begged for Moses to help them, and when he prayed to the Lord, the fire was taken away. Taberah became the name of this area where they camped.

4 And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
7 And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium.
8 And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.
9 And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.

It talks here about a mixed multitude among them, which may have been others who were not of Israelite blood, or those who were both of Israelite and Egyptian blood. This mixed multitude began to turn to the worldly ways of lusting, which I think means that they began to have strong desires to please themselves. Then the Israelites, being affected by this lusting, began to murmur about the desire for something other than manna to eat. They cried to have the kinds of food they had eaten in Egypt, rather than the same thing day after day. In this complaint, they had forgotten that the Lord was giving them a miracle from heaven, that would give them all that was necessary to sustain their lives. I am one who doesn’t need a lot of variety in my food, but I understand the desire for a change every once in a while. My kids often complain of the food in front of them, or that they want for more. It is a trait of the natural man in us, to want for foods that will bring us greater satisfaction. The miracle of manna would have been a difficult trial for them to experience, even with the amazing blessing that it was. In 1 Nephi 17, Nephi speaks to his brothers when they murmur about him building a boat, which he had been commanded by God to build. He reminds them of the Israelite journey.

30 And notwithstanding they being led, the Lord their God, their Redeemer, going before them, leading them by day and giving light unto them by night, and doing all things for them which were expedient for man to receive, they hardened their hearts and blinded their minds, and reviled against Moses and against the true and living God.
31 And it came to pass that according to his word he did destroy them; and according to his word he did lead them; and according to his word he did do all things for them; and there was not any thing done save it were by his word.

The Lord was watching over them, and blessing them daily. As they hardened their hearts, they were punished and others were reminded of who was leading them. We are imperfect ourselves and I am sure that each of us falls into murmuring at one time or another. Doctrine and Covenants 59:7 teaches us, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” We would do well to find ways to remember the blessings of the Lord in our lives.

10 Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased.
11 And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
12 Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.

Moses heard the cries of the people, and was not happy with it. The Lord was angered by the complaints. Moses complained also, that he had to carry the burden of the people. He felt like a father which was expected to care for his own children, but with all the people of Israel. He was not enough to handle this alone. He prayed basically, that he would rather be killed in that moment, then see his own failure in leading the people on his own. He felt incapable of doing the thing that he had been called to do. I know that many feel inadequate to bear their callings, as Moses was feeling. If we become overburdened with our responsibilities, we too can turn to the Lord for help. The Lord will be there to help us with our burdens.

16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
17 And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.
18 And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
19 Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
20 But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the Lord which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
21 And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month.
22 Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?
23 And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.

Moses was commanded to gather seventy elders, to help him with the work. Some would need to be called to lead them. Together the seventy would share the burden of leadership with Moses. They would receive a portion of the Lord’s spirit, which had been given to Moses. This is a part of the true organization of the Lord’s church, and it continues in His order of the priesthood even today.

Next, Moses was commanded to prepare the people, because the Lord would provide meat for them for a whole month and it would become disgusting to them. This came because they had murmured and complained against the Lord. Moses questioned how it would be possible to provide that much meat, and if it would require all the flocks they had, to be killed. The Lord responded by telling Moses if he wondered if the Lord was unable to do this thing, Moses would see if he could. This is a reminder to Moses, that all things are possible by God. It is a reminder to us, that the promises of the Lord will be fulfilled because He has the power to do all things.

24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.
25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
30 And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel.

Moses gathered the seventy from the people, as he had been commanded. The Lord came to him, as he had promised, and gave the spirit to the elders. When this was done, they prophesied with the spirit of God. Two of the men, Eldad and Medad, who had received the spirit but instead of going to the tabernacle, they went about in the camp. Moses was told of them by a young man, and Joshua, one who was in the service of Moses, told Moses he should stop them from doing this. Moses told him that He would like it if God would have all people be prophets, and would give them His spirit. If God wanted to impart the power to prophesy on others, He had a reason for it. Who was Moses, or Joshua, to question the workings of the Lord.

31 And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.
34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.
35 And the people journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.

The Lord brought a wind from the sea, which carried quail to the camp. There were so many that they were covering the ground for a day’s journey on either side. They gathered the quail from that day through the following day and divided them in the camp. As they ate, the Lord sent a plague among them. Many died who had lusted for the meat, and the place was called Kibroth-hattaavah for them. Israel then moved from this place, to Hazeroth.

This is a good example of our need to pray and plead for things according to the will of God. When we have been provided for, and yet, we still beg for those things that we do not have, we are deserving of a lesson on gratitude for what we have already. In Alma 29:4 we read, “I ought not to harrow up in my desires the firm decree of a just God, for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life”. The Lord has the power to give and take. If our best learning may come from an experience such as this one, the Lord will give us the opportunity to learn. God is good to those who are righteous and faithful. We do not need to have all the things that others have, or that we have even had before, if He has provided enough to sustain us. I am very grateful for the Lord’s hand in my life, and I hope to remember this lesson at those times when I may want for other things I do not need.

Numbers Chapter 2

The children of Israel were, at this point, being prepared for the journey in the wilderness. They had been given the commandments and statutes of God, they had made covenants and had the blessing of the tabernacle being raised in their midst. They had a prophet and leader to guide all of the hose of Israel, as well as men of the priesthood and patriarchs to lead each of their tribes. The organization of the people continues in this chapter as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
3 And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah.
4 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.
5 And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of Issachar: and Nethaneel the son of Zuar shall be captain of the children of Issachar.
6 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.
7 Then the tribe of Zebulun: and Eliab the son of Helon shall be captain of the children of Zebulun.
8 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.
9 All that were numbered in the camp of Judah were an hundred thousand and fourscore thousand and six thousand and four hundred, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth.

Each tent or family was to have a banner or something like a flag of their tribe. They were to dwell as a family, where there own banner was raised. I believe that they were to live with their tents facing towards the ‘tent of meetings’ or towards the tabernacle. The locations for each tribe was given by the Lord. The armies of Judah were to be located on the east side of the tabernacle, with Nahshon at the head of their army. Those numbered in the army with Nahshon were 74,600. Next to the tribe of Judah, was the tribe of Issachar, with Nethaneel at their head. His host was of 54,400. Next was the tribe of Zebulun, with Eliab at the head of his 57,400. This was to be the camp of Judah, on the east side of the tabernacle, which totaled 186,400 men. They would lead the Israelites as they journeyed.

10 On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies: and the captain of the children of Reuben shall be Elizur the son of Shedeur.
11 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.
12 And those which pitch by him shall be the tribe of Simeon: and the captain of the children of Simeon shall be Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
13 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.
14 Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel.
15 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and five thousand and six hundred and fifty.
16 All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben were an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank.

The next group, who would move second, were those to the south of the tabernacle. This was the camp of Reuben, which included the tribe of Reuben with Elizur at the head of 46,500. Also in this camp was the tribe Simeon with Shelumiel as the captain of their 59,300 and the tribe of Gad with Eliasaph in the lead of their 45,650. In total, 151,450 men would move in the camp of Reuben.

17 Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards.

The next group to move, was the camp of the Levites. They would move the tabernacle of the congregation, and were not numbered with the armies of the Israelites.

18 On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud.
19 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty thousand and five hundred.
20 And by him shall be the tribe of Manasseh: and the captain of the children of Manasseh shall be Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
21 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.
22 Then the tribe of Benjamin: and the captain of the sons of Benjamin shall be Abidan the son of Gideoni.
23 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.
24 All that were numbered of the camp of Ephraim were an hundred thousand and eight thousand and an hundred, throughout their armies. And they shall go forward in the third rank.

The third rank of soldiers in the army of Israel, were the camp of Ephraim. They were to camp on the west side of the tabernacle. The tribe of Ephraim would be lead by Elishama and numbered 40,500. Along with their tribe was the tribe of Manasseh, led by Gamaliel and numbered 32,200. Finally, the camp would include the tribe of Benjamin, with Abidan leading their 35,400 soldiers. The camp of Ephraim included a total of 108,100.

25 The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies: and the captain of the children of Dan shall be Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
26 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.
27 And those that encamp by him shall be the tribe of Asher: and the captain of the children of Asher shall be Pagiel the son of Ocran.
28 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.
29 Then the tribe of Naphtali: and the captain of the children of Naphtali shall be Ahira the son of Enan.
30 And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
31 All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan were an hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go hindmost with their standards.

To the north of the tabernacle, was the camp of Dan. In this camp, was the tribe of Dan led by Ahiezer and with 62,700 soldiers in the army. Also, there was the tribe of Asher, with Pagiel as the captain of their 41,500 men. Finally, this camp included the tribe of Naphtali, with Ahira as captain and 53,400 in the army of men. The total number of soldiers in the camp of Dan, was 157,600. This camp would bring up the rear of the host of Israel.

32 These are those which were numbered of the children of Israel by the house of their fathers: all those that were numbered of the camps throughout their hosts were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.
33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses.
34 And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.

In total, the host of the armies of Israel, was 603,550. The Levites were not numbered, just as the Lord commanded (see the previous post on Numbers Chapter 1). This is how the host of Israel moved about the wilderness on their way to the promised land.

I think one of the things to note from this chapter, is that God is a being of order. Here he had a prophet leader, with priesthood leaders as well as an army broken down into four camps, each of three tribes with their own patriarchal leaders and captains. This reminds me of when the early saints of this dispensation were also called to make their own exodus to a promised land. When the pioneers were instructed to leave to head to the Salt Lake Valley, the Lord commanded the prophet to organize them into groups. In Doctrine and Covenants 136 we read:

2 Let all the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and those who journey with them, be organized into companies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God.
3 Let the companies be organized with captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, and captains of tens, with a president and his two counselors at their head, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles.

I believe that there is safety in order and organization under the direction of the priesthood. This is why we are organized into family units, who are then organized into wards, branches, stakes, and areas throughout the world.

I wonder if there is significance to the placement of certain tribes, and our general location in the world today. I find it interesting that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were on the west side of the camp. Today, many saints have been adopted into the tribes of Israel, through baptism and making sacred covenants. I am a part of the tribe of Ephraim, as are a great majority of saints in this part of the world, meaning North America. I have heard that those in the area of South America tend to be part of the tribe of Manasseh. The tribe of Judah, however, was located on the East side of the camp of Israel, just as many of the descendants of the Jews are still located in the Eastern parts of the world. This is something that I will probably remain curious about until the coming of the Lord and the literal gathering of Israel and restoration of the tribes.

Also, something I noticed, was that the marching forth of Israel was to start with the camp on the East, where the sun would rise. I think there is also an order to this. Those who rose according to the sun, would wake up earlier on the east side of the camp of Israel. Something interesting, but not of any huge significance probably, it just seems to make sense to me.

It also seems to make perfect sense that the Levites would move in the center of the ranks, with protection all around, for the tabernacle and other very sacred things. There is righteousness in protecting those things that are sacred to us. Satan will come at us from every direction, and we need to be sure that those things will not be destroyed, but remain strong and firm both physically and spiritually. There is strength in numbers and strength in doing all we can to fortify ourselves.

The most common theme I have heard learned from the organization of the encampment of Israel, is that the temple should be the center of our lives, just as the tabernacle was the center of their camp. Our homes and families should be facing the temple in order to make it the priority in our lives. When we do this, our hearts and minds will be reminded often of the covenants we have made, and the spirit will be able to dwell with us always. All of this order and organization provided strength, safety and great blessings to the Israelites. If we can apply these things to our lives today, we will also receive great strength, safety and blessings of the Lord.

Exodus Chapter 24

The Lord gave the Israelites the commandments and judgements they were to live by, through His prophet, Moses. They had been encamped around the base of Mount Sinai and had received a witness of the Lord. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

The Lord called Moses, Aaron, and two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, near to Him, out from among the people, to worship, along with seventy elders. Then Moses was called directly to the Lord, while the others were left behind. No one else was to come with these men.

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.

Moses took all the commandments and judgements or ordinances to the people, and the people agreed, by a unanimous voice (or what we call common consent) to follow the word of the Lord. Moses recorded all that had been told to him and then he built and altar at the base of the mountain, to the Lord. The altar also had twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel, who were going to make sacrifice and covenants with the Lord. They offered their sacrifice to the Lord and then made a covenant at the altar, that they would obey the law. I think about the idea that they sent young men to make the offering for the people. When I read this, I think about our young men today, who are just ordained to the priesthood and then pass the sacrament to each of us. I don’t think that the church was organized too different in ancient times from what it is now. And again, this was a type for the Christ to come, just as the sacrament we take from the altar in our churches today, is a way to look to Christ as well.

Once again, we can learn from this that we are to keep a record of sacred things. Records lead to remembrance of things that would otherwise be forgotten by men. I had an experience with this just this weekend. I had an impression during church and intended to share it with my family. I know it was something that I felt strong in my heart, but I did not write it down as I usually do. Because of this, I had forgotten what the thoughts and feelings had been once I arrived home. I was sad when I realized I couldn’t recall it to share it with them. It is easy to forget because we are mortal and at the mercy of our minds with all that is going on in our lives. I believe that we should always record our personal revelation, just as Moses recorded revelation received for the people of the Lord.

9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

The elders that had been called of the Lord, went with Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and witnessed God and worshiped him. This sounds a lot like a quorum of The Seventy going with the First Presidency of the church today, to a meeting of worship. A description is given of what he was standing upon, which was a paving of sapphire, which was clear as the heavens. The Lord did not touch them, but was seen as God, by these men.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

The Lord commanded Moses to come to Him, to receive the law on tables of stone, so that he could teach the people. Often times, the prophets have received greater instruction from the Lord and other messengers, so that they are capable of teaching great things to the people of God. Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the people, while he went to see the Lord. The glory of the Lord remained on the mountain and was covered by cloud for six days, where Moses was. Then Moses was called out of the cloud and the children of Israel witnessed the glory of the Lord. It was like a great fire on the mountain. Moses went into the cloud and up the mountain, where he was gone from the Israelites for forty days and nights.

In this chapter we learn of the covenant or testament made between the children of Israel and God. The Israelites covenanted that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them through his prophet Moses, which we learn in the last 3 chapters studied. We have the privilege of making covenants with God as well. When we make the covenants of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and those made in the holy temple, we are in a sense adopted into the tribes of Israel. When we sanctify ourselves and become worthy, we are capable of attending the temple and experiencing sacred things, just as these men of old experienced. We need to keep these experiences in our remembrance, so that we will remain true and faithful. I believe that in the coming chapters, we will see that the Israelites struggled to remember their own covenants with God and failed to receive the blessings because of that. I am so grateful for my covenants and I know that if we strive to live up to them each day, we will be greatly blessed and our testimonies and knowledge will grow.

Exodus Chapter 18

The children of Israel are near the beginning of the 40-year journey in the wilderness. They have already been greatly blessed by the hand of the Lord as they have traveled. Moses is their prophet and chosen leader by the Lord. The story of their wanderings continues as follows:

1 When Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father in law, heard of all that God had done for Moses, and for Israel his people, and that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt;
2 Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back,
3 And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land:
4 And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:
5 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God:
6 And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.

Jethro heard of the miracles that had been had for Moses and the Israelites. When he heard these things, he took his own journey to meet up with Moses. He brought with him, his daughter, Zipporah, and grandsons, Gershom and Eliezer, who were the family of Moses.

7 And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent.
8 And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them.
9 And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.
12 And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.

Moses and Jethro told one another all that had happened while they were apart. Jethro was grateful to the Lord, for the ways in which the Lord had delivered Moses and his people. This seems to have been a testimony building story for Jethro. Jethro made a sacrifice to the Lord. Then the leaders of the people were gathered together to eat with Jethro.

13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
14 And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15 And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
17 And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
18 Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.
19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.
23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
24 So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
25 And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
26 And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.

This was a huge group of people, numbering around 600,000 men alone. Moses, as their leader, assumed the judgment seat for the people. All day long, Moses would listen to people. Jethro noticed that Moses did this alone all day. When he asked Moses why he did this, Moses told him that the people came to him to inquire, or ask, of the Lord. Mostly these things had to do with issues that came up between different people, but I imagine they took many more things to him as well. This was probably how the laws of God were established for the Israelites at this time. Jethro taught Moses a lesson here, that he was going to burn out. I can’t even imagine dealing with that many people, knowing how hard it can be to just deal with my own family. I am sure the weight was immense. The task of being a judge for the people was too difficult for one man alone. Jethro, who understood the role of priesthood leadership because he was a high priest himself, told Moses to call able men to be leaders over smaller groups of his people. This way, the smaller issues were handled in smaller number, and Moses only had to take care of those issues that applied to much larger issues. This pattern is the way that the Lord has always established his church, and I know there is great wisdom in it. Today in the church, we have the prophet and president, who presides over the whole church, but could not handle all the issues of all the members of the church. Instead, we have bishops and branch presidents over our smaller areas and each of them have priesthood leaders over them, such as stake presidents and area leaders. This is the patter and design of God. I believe that this is an eternal principle, which we will find in place in the kingdom of God.

This makes me think of one of the many blessings that we have now, to know of personal revelation. Throughout the history of the gospel, many have gone to their priesthood leaders for communication with God. We know now that we do not have to take all of our questions or problems to our leaders, but we can ask God ourselves and receive personal revelation for many of the things that we face in our lives, even when they have to do with others or our sins. There are issues that if we cannot handle them on our own, we then turn to our bishops, branch presidents, or stake presidents. Because of the established lines of communication with God, and these worthy and capable men of the priesthood, the prophet and other general authorities can handle the important issues that encompass the church as a whole.

27 And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.

Once he had helped Moses to establish the way judgement would work with the Israelites, Jethro left to return to his own land and his own people. This, to me, is a great example of following the counsel of our parents and priesthood leaders. When our priesthood leaders or our parents are living righteously, they are entitled to receive inspiration to help us. Moses wasn’t particularly looking for help with his situation, but his father-in-law saw that he and his people would suffer if he continued to do things that way, and so he gave wise counsel which I believe was inspired by God. I am grateful for the wise counsel that I have received in my own life and very glad that when others have lived in a way that they have been able to gain inspiration on my behalf.

The Sixth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

In Ephesians 4:11 we read the following:

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We believe that at the time when the Savior established his church, there were callings put into place. These included apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so on. In Luke 6:13 we read, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles”. There are twelve who were called, or chosen by Christ, to be special witnesses of Him and to lead his church. Likewise, there are twelve apostles called today, to lead the church and to stand as special witnesses of the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the organization of the church in modern times was occurring, revelation was received and in Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 we read, “The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.”

There have been prophets since the time of Adam. In Exodus 7:1 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” When Christ was living, he was the head of his church on the earth. All the apostles were called to prophesy to the people, and therefore were prophets who spoke to the people with the spirit of revelation. After the death of Christ, the prophets continued to lead His church by the authority of the priesthood and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, the twelve apostles are called as prophets of the Lord as well. In particular, one is called to be the head of the church and to act as the mouthpiece of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:45 we read, “And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.” It is our duty to listen to the prophets and heed their words. They are there to guide and direct us in the path that will lead us back to God and Jesus Christ.

We believe in pastors who are the shepherds or ministers of the church. In Jeremiah 3:15 we read, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Those who minister directly to the membership of Christ’s church, are the bishops, who are called to teach the gospel and lead the individual members of the church. They are also called as judges in Israel. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:17 we read, “And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children”. Bishops come to know the flock of the Savior’s church, on a very personal level, because they care for them individually, the same way a shepherd comes to know his flock.

We also believe in teachers just as existed in the church of ancient times. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” There are those who are called by the authority of the priesthood, to be teachers to the people. In Mosiah 23:17 we read, “And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.” Verse 18 tells us what the teachers were called to do. “Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” Those who were called to be teachers, did just that. They taught all things related to righteousness. In Exodus 18:20 it says, “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Today, we have teachers called to share the joy of the gospel with all people. Those who are called by the priesthood, are teachers of all the things that we keep us safe from temptations, the those things that we must follow in order to receive salvation.

Evangelists is commonly consider to be one who preaches the gospel. In 1 Timothy 4:5 we read, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” There were those who traveled on missions to proclaim the gospel, such as Timothy. We do believe in having traveling preachers of the gospel, more commonly referred to as missionaries, but that is not the only understanding of what an evangelist is. In modern revelation we read that an evangelical minister is a patriarch. (See the footnote for ‘evangelical minister’ for D&C 107:39) According to the Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith said, “Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints”. Patriarch today are called to give blessings to the saints, which tell them what is in store for them if they will live righteously. These blessings are much like the patriarchal blessings of fathers given to their children in ancient times. To bring the two understandings of this office together. A patriarch is responsible for giving blessings which apply the gospel directly to the lives of the members of the church, therefore taking the gospel to the people.

We believe that there are other offices in the church, that were established by Christ, such as seventies, elders, priests and so on. These offices have been restored in the church today. They are offices of the priesthood, and these individuals are called and directed by the power of the priesthood in order to organize and unify the church. We believe that there must be order in the kingdom of God. Likewise, there must be order in the church of Christ on this earth. Christ knew best how the design of His church should be, and therefore we believe that we should follow this design within the church today. I am so grateful for the general authorities of the church, the prophets and apostles, because they guide the entire church in its progress as a whole. We have the opportunity this weekend to listen to the prophet, apostles and other church leaders. I am so excited for their loving words because they help me to grow so much as a person. I am also extremely grateful that we have local leaders, such as bishops, teachers, and patriarchs, who are called to give us more personal and direct attention. Because of these local leaders, the individual members of the church are watched over, guided, taught, and directed in the ways that are right.

D&C Section 136

In 1846, after Joseph Smith, was martyred, the saints began leaving Nauvoo, Illinois. This move was under the direction of the Apostles and specifically, Brigham Young, who at the time was the senior apostle and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. In 1847, many of the saints were in Winter Quarters, Iowa. This section is the word of the Lord, given to the saints in Winter Quarters, through President Young.

1 The Word and Will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journeyings to the West:
2 Let all the people of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and those who journey with them, be organized into companies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord our God.
3 Let the companies be organized with captains of hundreds, captains of fifties, and captains of tens, with a president and his two counselors at their head, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles.
4 And this shall be our covenant—that we will walk in all the ordinances of the Lord.
5 Let each company provide themselves with all the teams, wagons, provisions, clothing, and other necessaries for the journey, that they can.
6 When the companies are organized let them go to with their might, to prepare for those who are to tarry.
7 Let each company, with their captains and presidents, decide how many can go next spring; then choose out a sufficient number of able-bodied and expert men, to take teams, seeds, and farming utensils, to go as pioneers to prepare for putting in spring crops.
8 Let each company bear an equal proportion, according to the dividend of their property, in taking the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the families of those who have gone into the army, that the cries of the widow and the fatherless come not up into the ears of the Lord against this people.
9 Let each company prepare houses, and fields for raising grain, for those who are to remain behind this season; and this is the will of the Lord concerning his people.
10 Let every man use all his influence and property to remove this people to the place where the Lord shall locate a stake of Zion.
11 And if ye do this with a pure heart, in all faithfulness, ye shall be blessed; you shall be blessed in your flocks, and in your herds, and in your fields, and in your houses, and in your families.
12 Let my servants Ezra T. Benson and Erastus Snow organize a company.
13 And let my servants Orson Pratt and Wilford Woodruff organize a company.
14 Also, let my servants Amasa Lyman and George A. Smith organize a company.
15 And appoint presidents, and captains of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens.
16 And let my servants that have been appointed go and teach this, my will, to the saints, that they may be ready to go to a land of peace.

This revelation would tell the saints how they should be organized for traveling to the west. I think that the wisdom in having groups of tens, fifties, and so on, is that every individual would be accounted for. In larger groups, people can go unseen and can be lost physically or spiritually along the way. Plus, within smaller groups people will be more likely to be held accountable for what they do. The saints as a whole, needed to be living worthy of the guidance of the Lord, so that they could make it safely to the west. As a church, they were dependent on the safety provided by the Lord.

In their organization, they needed to covenant to help others. Those who were going to leave first, needed to be ready to prepare the way for those who would follow. And all who were unable to provide for themselves, were to be helped among the different companies, so that they all could have the opportunity to go with the saints. Those who organized the companies were to consider all the saints and when it would be best for each to travel. The saints were to covenant to use all that they could (time, money/property, and energy) to make this possible for all of them to go. I think that this was probably part of the reason they had been asked to give so much in all the places they had lived before, because they needed to be prepared to give all they could at this time, when the saints as a whole, would need it most. This was going to be a very difficult journey, and their obedience and sacrifice would determine if they would make it or not.

This revelation is very interesting to me, because some of my family traveled with the saints. I have some family members who traveled in the summer of 1847. They were in Captain Samuel Turnbow’s company of ten, who was under Captain George B. Wallace, who was under Captain Abraham Owen Smoot. Most of their company arrived safely in Utah, and their legacy has been a great example for me to follow. I had other members of my family who traveled a few years later, to join the saints when it was the right time for them. I am so grateful for their sacrifice and the blessings that I have in my life because of the choices they made to follow.

James Allen (1807-1886), one of my ancestors who was a pioneer to Utah.

17 Go thy way and do as I have told you, and fear not thine enemies; for they shall not have power to stop my work.
18 Zion shall be redeemed in mine own due time.
19 And if any man shall seek to build up himself, and seeketh not my counsel, he shall have no power, and his folly shall be made manifest.
20 Seek ye; and keep all your pledges one with another; and covet not that which is thy brother’s.
21 Keep yourselves from evil to take the name of the Lord in vain, for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.
22 I am he who led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; and my arm is stretched out in the last days, to save my people Israel.
23 Cease to contend one with another; cease to speak evil one of another.
24 Cease drunkenness; and let your words tend to edifying one another.
25 If thou borrowest of thy neighbor, thou shalt restore that which thou hast borrowed; and if thou canst not repay then go straightway and tell thy neighbor, lest he condemn thee.
26 If thou shalt find that which thy neighbor has lost, thou shalt make diligent search till thou shalt deliver it to him again.
27 Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward.

The saints have been told many times, how they should live, just as we are told time and time again. This instruction is as good for us to live by today, as it was for the saints. The Lord tells us to follow His commandments and counsel, do not covet, do not take the name of the Lord in vain, keep our promises and agreements with one another (be trustworthy), do not be contentious, do not bare false witness or gossip about others, follow the word of wisdom, edify and uplift others, do not steal and be honest with one another, and take care of the things which the Lord has given us. If we live by these commandments and principles, we will have Zion with us in our hearts. The Lord is the same forever, he saved the ancient people of Israel, and he saved the saints of modern day. The Lord will protect and lead the righteous who choose to follow Him.

28 If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
29 If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.
30 Fear not thine enemies, for they are in mine hands and I will do my pleasure with them.
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.

The saints were going to have a very hard road ahead of them and the Lord knew how they could find happiness to continue on, through praising the Lord with music, singing, and dancing. I love this counsel from the Lord. If you are happy, then show it in your actions. If you are sad, then do what you need to do to be happy. Don’t fear, because the Lord will handle your enemies. It will be difficult, but these things will teach you and prepare you for your eternal future. Be humble and trust the Lord to teach you to be wise. The spirit of the Lord will be with you if you are humble, grateful, and have the desire to repent and be better. We would all benefit from following this.

34 Thy brethren have rejected you and your testimony, even the nation that has driven you out;
35 And now cometh the day of their calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily.
36 For they killed the prophets, and them that were sent unto them; and they have shed innocent blood, which crieth from the ground against them.
37 Therefore, marvel not at these things, for ye are not yet pure; ye can not yet bear my glory; but ye shall behold it if ye are faithful in keeping all my words that I have given you, from the days of Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Jesus and his apostles, and from Jesus and his apostles to Joseph Smith, whom I did call upon by mine angels, my ministering servants, and by mine own voice out of the heavens, to bring forth my work;
38 Which foundation he did lay, and was faithful; and I took him to myself.
39 Many have marveled because of his death; but it was needful that he should seal his testimony with his blood, that he might be honored and the wicked might be condemned.
40 Have I not delivered you from your enemies, only in that I have left a witness of my name?
41 Now, therefore, hearken, O ye people of my church; and ye elders listen together; you have received my kingdom.
42 Be diligent in keeping all my commandments, lest judgments come upon you, and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you. So no more at present. Amen and Amen.

The Lord had already promised that if they did their part in teaching the gospel, the Lord would bring justice for the wrongs done against them. The majority of the people around them, had rejected them, killed the prophets (Joseph and Hyrum) and many others, and driven them to this point where they had to travel west in order to survive. The Lord knew all the people, and now the time had come to remove the faithful, so that justice would come to their enemies.

Joseph Smith had been called to bring the work of the Lord forward. He was a faithful servant, and was rewarded by being received by the Lord into heaven. Because of his death, a testimony was left so that his name would be honored, while those who were his enemies, would be condemned. There was a purpose in allowing the prophet to die at the hands of the wicked. He was blessed for his faith and service. It is our responsibility to be faithful to the commandments and counsels given here, so that we will not bring condemnation upon ourselves. I hope and pray that I will live worthy enough to be received into the Lord’s presence also.

D&C Section 118

This revelation was given through the prophet, Joseph Smith, regarding the Twelve Apostles. It was received while he was in Far West, Missouri in the summer of 1838.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: Let a conference be held immediately; let the Twelve be organized; and let men be appointed to supply the place of those who are fallen.
2 Let my servant Thomas remain for a season in the land of Zion, to publish my word.
3 Let the residue continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth.

There were several who had fallen away from the church at this time. It was necessary for the Twelve to be organized again, to replace those who had left the church. A conference was called right away. I learn again from this, that the Lord has great value in a complete quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It is necessary to have a full quorum, in order for the work of the Twelve to function properly. I am glad that there is this kind of order to the church of the Lord.

Thomas B. Marsh, was told to stay in Zion (Missouri), to continue to publish the word of the Lord. The Lord then promised that if the Twelve would serve and preach as commanded, then their families would be provided for and the opportunities that they needed would be opened for them. The Lord will always bless those who faithfully serve in their callings.

4 And next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name.
5 Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the building-spot of my house, saith the Lord.
6 Let my servant John Taylor, and also my servant John E. Page, and also my servant Wilford Woodruff, and also my servant Willard Richards, be appointed to fill the places of those who have fallen, and be officially notified of their appointment.

New apostles were called to fill the vacancies left and all the apostles were told to plan on leaving Far West and serving in other places in April of the following year. I guess that the people of Missouri found out about the date they were supposed to leave from there, and they forced the saints out of the Land before April. However, the faith of the apostles was strong and they secretly went to the site, held a small conference, rolled a stone in place as the cornerstone of the foundation, and did all that the Lord had commanded them to do. Then they were able to leave on their missions. I was so touched as I read about this and realized that even though the people of Missouri were sure that they had stopped the work of God, the apostles faithfully fulfilled the revelation and the work of the Lord was not stopped.

I am so grateful for modern revelations, and for those who faithfully serve as our church leaders. I know that the Lord will guide the faithful and use them to accomplish great and seemingly impossible things. I hope that I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and that I will continue to witness the amazing work of the Lord.

D&C Section 107 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of a previous post (Section 107 Part 1)

In the first part of this section, the prophet received revelation about the organization of the priesthood. There are two offices of the priesthood, the Melchizedek and the Aaronic, but both are necessary to the fullness of the priesthood and both have specific important duties to fulfill. There are quorums in the priesthood organization, such as the First Presidency, the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies. Each quorum is given specific duties as well as far as duties in leading the church and bringing the gospel to all the world.

The section continues:

39 It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation—
40 The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.
41 This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:
42 From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of sixty-nine years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam’s) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth;
43 Because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age.
44 Enos was ordained at the age of one hundred and thirty-four years and four months, by the hand of Adam.
45 God called upon Cainan in the wilderness in the fortieth year of his age; and he met Adam in journeying to the place Shedolamak. He was eighty-seven years old when he received his ordination.
46 Mahalaleel was four hundred and ninety-six years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
47 Jared was two hundred years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
48 Enoch was twenty-five years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam; and he was sixty-five and Adam blessed him.
49 And he saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually; and he walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years, making him four hundred and thirty years old when he was translated.
50 Methuselah was one hundred years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam.
51 Lamech was thirty-two years old when he was ordained under the hand of Seth.
52 Noah was ten years old when he was ordained under the hand of Methuselah.

In verse 39, we learn that the twelve that are called to a certain area, meaning the stake high priests today, are to call an evangelical minister. The footnote for this, references Doctrine and Covenants 124:91, which is the calling of Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch. A patriarch is called to give patriarchal blessings to the saints. The rest of this bit of the section is a record of the patriarchal order, which started when Adam was ordained by the Lord. The right of the priesthood is passed down to worthy males from their fathers. This patriarchal line went from Adam to Noah. In the old testament we have a record of this lineage, but I believe that the verses, in Genesis 4, only tell that it is the lineage, not that it is also the patriarchal order of the priesthood. According to the manual I am studying, it said that when we will live in the celestial kingdom, the patriarchal order will be the order of the government. I think that this means that the patriarchs will rule in order the kingdom.

53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.
54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
55 And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.
56 And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.
57 These things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time.

Adam gathered the high priests of his lineage and those who were living righteously, to bless them. I imagine that he knew he was getting close to leaving his life on this earth, and that he wanted to give a parting blessing to his family. Then the Lord appeared to them, blessed Adam and through the gift of the Holy Ghost, they all were blessed by revelations from Adam. I am sure that this was an amazing experience for these men, which gave them the strength and knowledge to lead generations after Adam had died.

58 It is the duty of the Twelve, also, to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the church, agreeable to the revelation which says:
59 To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws respecting church business—
60 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;
61 And also priests to preside over those who are of the office of a priest;
62 And also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner, and also the deacons—
63 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.
64 Then comes the High Priesthood, which is the greatest of all.
65 Wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed of the High Priesthood to preside over the priesthood, and he shall be called President of the High Priesthood of the Church;
66 Or, in other words, the Presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood of the Church.
67 From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.

The Twelve were instructed here, to set all other officers of the Church in order. They were to assign members of each office and quorum of the priesthood, to preside over that office or quorum, so that the church would have order. All of this was to be done by revelation from the Holy Ghost. I am really glad that the Lord has set an order to the leaders of His church. I am an organized and ordered person by nature and it gives me a sense of security to know that things of God are set in order as well, so that there will be no confusion about how His church should be organized. I feel that these revelations are such a blessing to the world.

This section will be continued.

D&C Section 107 (Part 1)

This entire revelation was received over several years, through the prophet, Joseph Smith. The recording of this revelation was done on March 28, 1835, when the prophet met with the council of twelve as they prepared to go on missions.

1 There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical Priesthood.
2 Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest.
3 Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.
4 But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood.
5 All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood.
6 But there are two divisions or grand heads—one is the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood.

This revelation is regarding the priesthood. This first part is a review on the branches of the priesthood. First there is the Melchizedek Priesthood and second is the Aaronic Priesthood. As I have studied about the priesthood, I have learned that neither office of the priesthood holds greater power, but rather, they each have their specific duties. Each division of the priesthood is given different keys that allow the the authority to fulfill their responsibilities. Both divisions are important and required for the entire priesthood to bring salvation to the children of God.

7 The office of an elder comes under the priesthood of Melchizedek.
8 The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.
9 The Presidency of the High Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.
10 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.
11 An elder has a right to officiate in his stead when the high priest is not present.
12 The high priest and elder are to administer in spiritual things, agreeable to the covenants and commandments of the church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.

The Melchizedek Priesthood is the presiding priesthood of the church. This priesthood can officiate in all the offices of the church, and directs those of the Aaronic Priesthood and the rest of the members of the church. The presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood, is the presidency of the church. They have all the keys needed to receive revelation for the church as a whole, and I am pretty sure that this revelation is for all of the world as well.

13 The second priesthood is called the Priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations.
14 Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.
15 The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same.
16 No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron.
17 But as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The Aaronic priesthood administers outward ordinances, such as blessing and passing the sacrament. The bishopric presides over this priesthood and directs it, under the direction of the Melchizedek Priesthood. A literal descendant of Aaron has the right to be the presiding officer of the Aaronic priesthood, but since this is typically not the case, the bishop may be called if he holds the Melchizedek Priesthood.

18 The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
19 To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
20 The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

Those of the Melchizedek Priesthood, hold the priesthood keys for “all the spiritual blessings of the church”. We learn here that those include receiving the mysteries of heaven, to be able to intimately come to know the Savior through sacred covenants with God. All the work that is now done in the temples is possible because of the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood hold the keys of the ministering of angels. I think that this means they have the keys to act for the Lord in teaching the gospel of repentance and baptism. The first steps to the salvation of all the souls of the children of God, are repentance and baptism. This is why the keys of the Aaronic priesthood are vital to our salvation.

21 Of necessity there are presidents, or presiding officers growing out of, or appointed of or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods.
22 Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.
23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
24 And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.
25 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.
26 And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.
27 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—
28 A majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise—
29 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.
30 The decisions of these quorums, or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity;
31 Because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord.
32 And in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness, it may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums, which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church; otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision.
33 The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.
34 The Seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews—
35 The Twelve being sent out, holding the keys, to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews.
36 The standing high councils, at the stakes of Zion, form a quorum equal in authority in the affairs of the church, in all their decisions, to the quorum of the presidency, or to the traveling high council.
37 The high council in Zion form a quorum equal in authority in the affairs of the church, in all their decisions, to the councils of the Twelve at the stakes of Zion.
38 It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others.

We learn here that within the offices of the priesthood, there are quorums. Each quorum has members called to preside over those in that office. The First Presidency presides over the church. The quorum of the twelve apostles are called to be special witnesses and travel as far as the church is found on the earth. The quorums of the Seventies are called to be witnesses to the gentiles of the world. Then their are high councils in the stakes all over the world who preside over their individual stakes and areas. These officers of the priesthood hold the authority to govern the church on the earth. As long as they do all things with righteousness, they will be blessed, and the the church as a whole will be blessed and progress. I learned from my study, that the first presidencies of the seventies were not created in the church until the 1970’s. It is a testimony to me of the foresight and wisdom of the Lord in these revelations. The organization was already in place many years earlier, but the need and ability to organize it was not seen until that time. Since their creation, the seventies have served and blessed the lives of countless saints around the world.

I love that it says they must be in unity. I think that having the spirit with us, brings us unity one with another. If they are living righteously, the priesthood will be united in purpose, heart and mind. This unity is what makes the church the same where ever you go across the globe. It is such a blessing to know that the spirit will not lead the church differently in other areas. There may be different ways that we accomplish the will of the Lord, because we live in different places and circumstances, but the gospel is still the same and the priesthood is also the same.

This section will be continued.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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