27 June 2012

The Church and Kingdom: Becoming Priests and Kings

In previous articles, we have examined the significance of each of the phrases of D&C 84:34, a key verse in the passage describing the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood:
They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
The ordinance of the endowment portrays the process of the Saints becoming “the sons of Moses and of Aaron,” and the sealing ordinance of celestial marriage symbolizes their becoming “the seed of Abraham.” Continuing with this description of the required sequence of temple blessings, the phrase “the church and kingdom” refers to the blessings of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood, belonging to one who is made a “king and a priest unto God, bearing rule, authority, and dominion under the Father.” Correspondingly, worthy women may receive the blessings of becoming queens and priestesses.

It is fitting for these blessings to be associated with the name of Melchizedek, because he was the great “king of Salem” and “the priest of the most high God,” who gave the priesthood to Abraham. Later kings of Israel, as well as Jesus Christ Himself, were declared to be part of the “order of Melchizedek,” which was originally called “the Order of the Son of God.”

Because of the sacred nature of the ordinance that confers the fulness of the priesthood, very little detail about it has been given in official church publications. For example, Elder McConkie described this ordinance, along with those ordinances leading up to it, only in very general terms:
In setting forth as much as can, with propriety, be spoken outside of the temple, the Lord says that “the fulness of the priesthood” is received only in the temple itself. This fulness is received through washings, anointings, solemn assemblies, oracles in holy places, conversations, ordinances, endowments, and sealings…
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