If you do a cursory reading of Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants, you might think this is just a revelation of priesthood quorums and councils, more like a manual or a handbook. Don’t be deceived! There are hidden gems and mysteries throughout this amazing section and we will explore some of those together today.
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If you do a cursory reading of Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants, you might think this is just a revelation of priesthood quorums and councils, more like a manual or a handbook. Don’t be deceived! Yes, there are tremendous organizing aids and guidance for all the quorums and councils of the Church, but there are hidden gems and mysteries throughout this amazing section and we will explore some of those together today.
Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast. We are Scot and Maurine Proctor and we are delighted to be with you again this week. We mentioned last week we are going to be hosting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise between Moscow and St. Petersburg beginning next August 20, 2022 and we will have Mikhail Gorbechev for one evening on the ship with us. This is a dream come true for us and we want to share this amazing experience with as many of you as can come. Check out the itinerary and cruise at heartofrussiacruises.com/meridian that’s heartofrussiacruises.com/meridian. Or you can call directly and talk to our agents at 801-669-1777. That’s 801-669-1777.
You know, we were in Russia with President Hinckley back in the fall of 2002 and fell in love with the Russian Latter-day Saints. Our son, Eliot, also served a mission in Ukraine and so this culture is something we really love and want you to have the opportunity to experience. This cruise is different than any other as we will have a number of Russian Latter-day Saints with us the entire cruise to be our teachers, hosts, guides, and, to become our friends. This will be an amazing intercultural exchange. Please join us this next summer. Cabins are going fast, so book yours today at heartofrussiacruises.com/meridian
Now, let’s turn right to the first few verses of Section 107 and we will immediately see one of those beautiful gems we referred to at the beginning of the podcast.
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.
What do we know about this man or prophet Melchizedek?
We know from these verses that he was a great high priest. (D&C 107:2) We know that he is the one who conferred the holy priesthood upon Abraham. (D&C 84:14) We know that he was of a royal family, was a prince and then Melchizedek became king over the land of Salem. (Alma 13: 17) We know that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. (Alma 13:15; Gen. 14:18-20) We know that his people “had waxed strong in “iniquity and abomination;” and that “they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness.” (Alma 13:17) We know that one of his main attributes was his powerful faith, that when he was a child “he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire.” (JST Gen. 14:26) Doesn’t this all make you want to know Melchizedek more?! He truly was a man of extraordinary faith. We know that Melchizedek “exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace.” (Alma 13:18)
Maurine, I have always admired Melchizedek so much. I don’t know exactly how it works on the other side of the veil, but Melchizedek is certainly on my top ten people to meet in the next world outside my immediate family. And Melchizedek served under his father (see Alma 13:18) and not only did he get his people to repent and humble themselves before God, they all obtained heaven—which in our vernacular means they were like unto the City of Enoch and were taken up and translated. (JST Gen. 14:34) There is so much more we could say about this great and holy man. Even his people called him not only the prince of peace (Alma 13:18) but also the king of heaven. (JST Gen. 14:36)
He was a type of Christ.
Now, let’s explore what his name means. I often would be talking about Melchizedek to my institute classes and I would just say, “What does the name Melchizedek mean in Hebrew?” I would often get shy stares and people looking away so that we would not make eye contact. That’s okay. We don’t study Hebrew very often in the Church, but we do need to know what his name means since we use his name very often.
That’s right. We certainly do use his name all the time. The name Melchizedek derives from juxtaposing two Hebrew words, king (melek) and righteousness (ṣedeq). The form of the juxtaposition, malkî-ṣedeq, allows for two different interpretations of the name, “My King is Righteousness” or “King of Righteousness.” That first one, “My King is Righteousness” can infer or point to the King of Kings and that we carry this title or bear this priesthood which clearly point to Him—the King of Righteousness. This is the most obvious interpretation of the name Melchizedek, but there is much more. And Scot, you learned this approach of language interpretation and translation from studying Turkish in your growing up years in Ankara, Turkey.
Yes, a standard greeting in Turkish, for example, is Gün Aydin, which, in the simplest interpretation, means Good Morning. But these near eastern languages are very fluid in their translations and the deeper meaning of this greeting, looking at the roots of the words, means, “May the light of the sun shine upon you and fill your soul with light throughout the day.” It’s like translating the Sermon on the Mount from the Aramaic, a simple phrase like: Blessed are they that mourn” can be translated as “healed are those weak and overextended for their purpose; they shall feel their inner flow of strength return.” (Maurine Jensen Proctor and Scot Facer Proctor, Source of the Light, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1992, p. 85) So, let’s look at the root word Melek or Malak again in the Hebrew and the Aramaic. The Aramaic cognate verb, malak means to consult or counsel, which suggests that the concept of royalty came from wisdom and spiritual prowess rather than a king who used brute force or political strength. This certainly goes along with the righteous use of priesthood power we will discuss when we get to section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
And from that same verb in Aramaic malak we learn it means to become a king and the similar Aramaic nouns malka and meleket to become a queen—both of which denote royalty, sovereignty or kinghood and queenhood! Now, there is much more. It’s interesting to know that there is a striking similarity with the noun mal’ak, which is the Hebrew word for angel. In scripture, an angel’s primary mission is to protect and to shield. And even though the noun mal’ak, angel, may not be etymologically related to the noun melek, king, and malak, to be king, there is certainly a strong association between the Hebrew view of angels and kings. And by the way, just as a reminder, you can see all of these things in our podcast manuscripts each week at latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast
And there is more: Please note that the noun melach or melah means salt. Salt, in the ancient world, was the primary means of preserving food. Salt was also used as a cleaning agent and disinfectant, a purifier, and in some lore, it was even applied to newborn babies. (Ezekiel 16:4) So, taking license from the fluidity of translation from the Near Eastern tongues, Melchizedek could be translated as “a righteous king who takes counsel and gives council, who acts to protect and to shield like an angel and is a preserver of the world.” It also may be that Melchizedek means not only King of Righteousness or My King is Righteousness, and has the duel reference to Queen of Righteousness but the inference is that with this name, the title holder is to become a righteous king or a king of righteousness, to master the law and to live the commandments of the great King of all righteousness. Now, that gives us something to think about, doesn’t it?
I do love these Hebrew word studies. They always yield rich treasures. Now, knowing a little deeper meaning of the name Melchizedek, is it any wonder that this higher priesthood has 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”? (D&C 107: 19)
This covenant that God extends to us is everything in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we will talk a great deal about that in next week’s podcast.
Now we come to a most unique and fascinating treasure of knowledge, seemingly out of the blue, in the middle of Section 107. As readers of this revelation we come to verses 41-52 and the Lord lays out the order of the priesthood as it was instituted in the beginning of time and who ordained whom and when, documenting ten very long generations of priesthood lineage outlined from Adam to Noah.
Then, beginning in verse 53, we have a fascinating run of five verses giving us an account that we have nowhere else in holy writ. This is an account of the great meeting in the earliest of times, with at least 8 generations present, at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Now, being from Missouri, I have been going to Adam-ondi-Ahman for more than 50 years. I know and love this holy place. Let’s read these verses together and try to glean some of the treasures here:
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.
We learn from the Prophet Joseph that Adam lived to be a few days shy of 1,000 years old. That means that at this great gathering he was about 997 years old. He called for his righteous posterity to gather to the great valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. His son Seth was 867 years old. His grandson, Enos, was 762 years old at this meeting. Adam’s great grandson, Cainan, was 672. His 2nd great grandson, Mahalaleel, was 602 years old. Adam’s 3rd great grandson, Jared, was 537 years old at this meeting. This was a venerable gathering. Adam’s 4th great grandson, Enoch (and yes, this is THE Enoch), was 375—he was certainly one of the younger patriarchs in attendance. And finally, according to the records we have, Adam’s 5th great grandson, who was Enoch’s son, Methuselah, was 310 years old. Now, we don’t know why Lamech (who was by this time 123 years old) was not listed as in attendance. Noah would not be born for another 59 years.
It’s interesting to note, Scot, that Enoch probably had the longest journey to get to this great meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, if the records we have as to chronology and age, are accurate, he, Enoch, and his city, were translated and taken up into heaven just 10 years before this meeting. But, of course, we know that people from the City of Enoch, certainly have had and do have much interaction with this earth long after their translation. (see Genesis 18 and 19, for example)
Now, where is Adam-ondi-Ahman and how many people gathered there for this great meeting—and why did they gather?
First, this sacred and holy place, Adam-ondi-Ahman is located about 80 miles north, northeast of Independence, Missouri. It is in Davies County, Missouri, just a few miles north of the little town of Gallatin. You can type the name Adam-ondi-Ahman right into your Google Maps and it pops right up as in the Grand River Township in Missouri, zip code 64647. We are talking about a very real place.
Now, let’s read together what Elder Bruce R. McConkie had to say about this great meeting in Adam’s day:
“We now come to the least known and least understood thing connected with the Second Coming. It might well be termed the best-kept secret set forth in the revealed word. It is something about which the world knows nothing; it is a doctrine that has scarcely dawned on most of the Latter-day Saints themselves; and yet it is set forth in holy writ and in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith with substantially the same clarity as any of the doctrines of the kingdom. It behooves us to make a needed brief commentary about it.
“Adam-ondi-Ahman, of eternal fame, first comes to our attention because of a great conference held there by Father Adam in his day. “Three years previous to the death of Adam [as we have mentioned above] 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.”
Elder McConkie continues:
“Nearly a thousand years had then passed since the first man and the first woman had stepped from Eden’s garden into the lone and dreary world, there to begin the procreative processes that peopled a planet. We do not know how many million mortals made this earth their home in that day, or how many of them were true and faithful to that Lord whom Adam served. Disease and plagues were not then as common and horrendous as they are now. The physical bodies of earth’s inhabitants had not yet degenerated to the disease-ridden, germ-governed shells of their former glory that is now the norm. We can suppose the population of the earth far exceeded that of later ages when the ills of the flesh and a rising infant mortality set a sin-inflicted limit on the numbers of men. And it is not unreasonable to suppose that many righteous spirits were born in that blessed day and that the numbers of the righteous were exceedingly great. We may not be amiss in supposing that many millions responded to the call to come to a general conference in Adam-ondi-Ahman.” End of quote. (McConkie, Bruce R., Millennial Messiah, pp. 578-579, emphasis added) So, we have talked about where this place is and how many people gathered for that meeting, but why did they gather?
Let’s go back to the scriptural account, to verse 54 of Section 107:
54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
So, Adam had called all the righteous to gather in this sacred and holy place that they might see and be with the great Jehovah, Jesus Christ, who appeared to them. We have not yet discovered the records of the preparations for this great meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman, but surely the people were told to prepare themselves spiritually, to repent of their sins and that all the pure in heart would see God, just as the people were told in our day to prepare for the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. (See D&C 97:16) They were surely told that He would come, and then He came!
Back to verse 55:
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.
Remember, the name Michael or Micha-el’ means, “one who is like unto God.” So, this first man, Adam, or Michael, was, the archetype of Christ from the beginning. He was, with his wife Eve, one who had walked and talked with God and knew Him and had been personally taught and tutored by both the Father and the Son and by holy angels. He was the first witness of the existence and reality of God. He kept a record of his interactions with God and this became the source to faith for all of his posterity. (See Moses 6:5-6) And now, as if a gift to all of his righteous posterity, they were all graced with the presence of our God and all were given their own personal witness, their own First Vision, of the Redeemer of the world.
Let’s go to verse 56:
56 And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age [remember, he is 997 years old] being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.
Can you imagine? Wouldn’t you like to know all those prophecies spoken by the mouth of our father Adam there at that great meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman? This was the greatest meeting in the history of the world to that point and it was also a type of things to come. Now, here’s one consolation and promise from verse 57:
57 These things were all written in the book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time.
That does give me such satisfaction to know that someday we will have all these records and we will be able to read of the great visitation of Jesus Christ to the millions who were gathered there at Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Now, in order to understand the significance of this sacred place, Adam-ondi-Ahman, in our day, we have to turn to the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is a sacred record that begins with a prophecy about the coming of one Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world—and this prophecy was given 600 years before His birth. (See 1 Nephi 1:19; 1 Nephi 10:4) The Nephites and the Lamanites knew about the predicted coming of the Savior of the world and those who were righteous prepared for it. The whole sacred record rings with continual prophecies of the coming of the Lamb of God, the Messiah, the Redeemer of the world. The people were preparing for His coming.
By about 80 B.C., in Alma’s day, the people were even more curious about the coming of the Messiah. Look in Alma chapter 16 verse 20:
20 And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection; and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness. (Alma 16:20)
Now, wait, Maurine, you just read that verse and it sounded like the people asked where the Savior would come and they were apparently told when.
That’s right, but clearly, we don’t have all the record, because the people at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ absolutely knew where He would come.
Let’s talk about a pattern here.
They built a temple in Bountiful. They knew that Jesus would come. They knew exactly where He would come. They prepared for Him to come and they gathered there and He came!
Now, Scot, how many people came for this meeting at this ancient Bountiful Temple?
We know from the record that there were 2,500 men, women and children who were there and become eyewitnesses of the Risen Lord at Bountiful on the first day when He came. (See 3 Nephi 17:25) The very next day, there could have been twelve times that number—30,000 or more. (See 3 Nephi 19: 2-6.)
Maurine, you and I have been to a lot of temple dedications all over the world, have we ever seen 30,000 people gathered to one of these sacred events?
No, we certainly haven’t.
Do we have a temple today where we have enough room to put 30,000 in one room or special area? No. And neither did the Nephites and Lamanites. This special temple in Bountiful was an ‘outdoor temple.’
We said we were going to talk about a pattern. Here it is. This same thing is happening today at Adam-ondi-Ahman. We know He will come. We know the place He will come. We know the approximate season He will come (as we watch the signs of the times and see prophecies fulfilled). The temple is being prepared. It’s an outdoor temple. And He will meet His people there just like He did His people at the temple at the Nephite Bountiful—and just like He did in the days of Adam and the Patriarchs. Will there be more than 30,000 people there? Yes! There will be untold millions who gather at this sacred meeting.
The whole of the Book of Mormon is about a people who were told Jesus was coming, they prepared to meet Him, and then He came! That’s our precedent. That’s the pattern. And the place of preparation begins in our hearts and lives—being worthy to greet Him again.
Oh Scot, can you imagine such a gathering? All of us invited by the Spirit and by holy prophets to prepare ourselves and to actually see and meet with the Savior Jesus Christ. There is hardly a prophecy or coming event that is more thrilling. And yet, the Prophets invite us every six months to gather together, by the millions, in a great General Conference of the Church. As we prepare ourselves, and ask in all humility and sincerity for personal revelation to be given to us, we can receive this each and every conference. It is one of the most glorious things about the Kingdom of God upon the earth. We have a Righteous King who is extremely generous in giving His subjects, or His servants, or better yet, His friends, the knowledge, understanding and power that they need to navigate these turbulent and treacherous waters of mortality. Oh, how we love and trust our great King of Righteousness, the King of Kings, and His trusted servants the prophets!
I just want to read one last reference to Adam-ondi-Ahman, and, of course, you dear listeners know that we are just scratching the surface of these great things. This is from Elder McConkie again:
“This,” the grand council of Adam-ondi-Ahman, “may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, [Adam] and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.” This explanation is descriptive of the priesthood order of things. Every man is honored in his position; every man is accountable for the manner in which he performs under his divine commission. Adam is at the head, and he supervises all others.
“The Father called all spirits before Him at the creation of man, and organized them.” This was the grand council in heaven of which we so often speak. “He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply.” He, under Christ, was at the head in preexistence; and he, under Christ, is at the head so far as all things pertaining to this earth are concerned. “The keys were first given to him, and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him.” And as all the spirits of men attended the grand council in preexistence, so all the righteous shall attend a like council at Adam-ondi-Ahman before the winding-up scenes.” (Millennial Messiah, p. 583)
It’s certainly worth all of us reading and studying the ten pages of material that Elder McConkie talks specifically about the gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman. You can find them in his book, The Millennial Messiah, pages 578-588. If you carefully study those ten pages and follow all the scripture references and quotes throughout, well, this could take you many days of your scripture studies.
Now, let’s take a breath and turn to the last two verses of Section 107 and read them together:
99 Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
100 He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.
President Thomas S. Monson used to love to quote these two verses and encourage us to do our duty in the Church and he especially emphasized this to the holders of the priesthood.
Let’s look at verse 100 more closely.
In order to understand this verse I have to tell a story. I have spent a lot of time in Switzerland in my life and have been especially moved by the ancient frescoes that have been uncovered in some of the very old churches, some of them dating to over a thousand years old—but most from the 13th through the 16th centuries. Y0u know that the heads of these parishes or priests used to teach the people, who were mostly illiterate, the various stories of the Bible by means to these paintings, frescoes or stained glass. One of the most interesting frescoes, dating to the 14th or 15th century was one depicting the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempting Eve and Adam. The thing that was different about this fresco was the serpent had two legs and he was standing as he talked to Eve. Since I first saw this one, I have seen this same depiction in Flemish master’s paintings and in other centuries-old art. With that in mind, let’s revisit a very familiar scripture to all of us from Genesis, documenting the curse upon the serpent:
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: (Genesis 3:14)
We have heard this so much, I think sometimes we don’t really think about that curse and what it really meant. Our goal as latter-day covenant Israel is to one day be counted worthy to stand in the presence of God, whether at Adam-ondi-Ahman or before the Judgment Bar of God. In the book of Revelation we read:
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12, emphasis added)
And again in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants we read:
24 Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who can abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth? (D&C 128:24, emphasis added)
Even in section 4, the great missionary revelation, we are admonished:
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. (D&C 4:2, emphasis added)
And President Nelson has said:
“Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Creator, the great Jehovah, the promised Immanuel, our atoning Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father, our great Exemplar. And one day we will stand before Him as our just and merciful Judge.” (Jesus Christ, the Master Healer, October 2009, emphasis added)
The curse upon Lucifer, Satan, the serpent was symbolically and literally to take away his ability to stand, he would no longer be able to stand in the presence of God.
And back to our verse 100 in section 107:
100 He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.
As from ancient times, we are warned that we will have the same curse as the serpent in the Garden of Eden if we do not remain faithful and true to that God who gave us life.
And this brings us to our last thought for this podcast from Section 108. I was so impressed with this as we studied these verses. Remember that the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants are both very specific and very personal and they are universal. “What I say unto one I say unto all,” (D&C 92:1) and “I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all.” (D&C 25:16) So, with that in mind, let’s look at section 108, verses 1 and 2. Remember, this was given at the request of Lyman Sherman, but the Lord’s voice is to each one of us:
1 Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: [You can insert your name right there] Your sins are forgiven you, [and why?] because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed.
This sounds like a very powerful and personal blessing as we “come up hither” to listen to the voices of and give heed to the counsel of the prophet of God. In our day, and at this podcast, this is listening to the voice of President Russell M. Nelson, and of course, to the other fourteen that we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. What a promise!
And look at verse 2:
2 Therefore, let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing, and resist no more my voice.
What great counsel from the Lord: Resist no more my voice! Do we resist His voice? Do we resist promptings from the Holy Spirit? Do we find ourselves in any way resisting the voices of His chosen servants? “Whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38) And we are taught:
4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:4,5)
I personally want to overcome any resistance in my soul whatsoever to hearing and heeding the word of the Lord, however it comes to me. I want someday, with all my heart, to be counted worthy to stand before the Lord.
That’s all for today. We have loved being with you. These podcasts are short but we feel it a sacred privilege that you would invite us into your families, your homes, your study groups and your hearts. Thank you so much, dear friends. Next week’s lesson is an exciting one as we will be studying Doctrine and Covenants Sections 109 and 110, “It Is Thy House, a Place of Thy Holiness.” Thanks, as always to Paul Cardall for the music that opens and closes this podcast and a special thanks to our daughter and producer, Michaela Proctor Hutchins. Have a wonderful week and see you next time.