And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Keys of the Kingdom: Priesthood Keys

What are keys? We often talk about them but what are they?

D&C 128:21 says the following.
21 And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of diversangels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!
Joseph saw it fit to distinguish between everyone of these different terms. Dispensations, rights, honors, majesty and glory and power. If these men are declaring what theirs are than shouldn't we also be able to or hear what the prophets are today? Should we be able to declare ours? Are keys given to us when we fulfill an assignment by the Lord? (and only him for he is the gate keeper, the one that bestows keys)

The word priesthood keys does not appear once in the entire book of Mormon. Yet the book of mormon contains the fulness of hte gospel, that which is required for salvation.

Joseph said the following about keys.
The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac, shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things. When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law. (History of the Church, (5:554-556), or here)
This is the same sacrifice by covenant that is required of all that wish to be gathered in the last days (LOF, Lecture 2). So if a man can attain to the keys of the kingdom than is this why they cannot be passed? For they can only be attained in one way? Perhaps its a certain type of knowledge?

Section 90 reads about the keys of the kingdom.
2 Therefore, thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.
3 Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come;
4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.
5 And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.
Is this why we are under condemnation? The oracles or covenants or rules we have held lightly? (D&C 84). The consequence of one under condemnation is that it will fall when the storms descend if they do not remove it. This is why we must build upon the rock instead of the sand.

Why is it that the oracles can be past on but NOT the keys of the kingdom?

Keys for Salvation
Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52)
The pharisees were chastised for taking away the key of knowledge, that which is required for salvation. They taught dead works (law of moses) instead of that which saves us. They dumbed down the doctrine of Christ and taught only milk.
Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living. (D&C 128:11)
When one gains this fulness of the priesthood, they are gaining the keys, the keys in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of men.

I will put two quotes side by side for further thought here.

"Consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood" and "in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men". How does this previous scripture relate to this quote?
1 May 1842 (Sunday Morning). Grove.Manuscript History of the Churchpages 119 - 120  
I preached in the grove on the keys of the Kingdom, Charity &c The keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed —The rich can only get them in the Temple—the poor may get them on the Mountain top as did Moses. The rich cannot be saved without Charity, giving to feed the poor when and how God requires as well as building. There are signs in heaven, earth, and hell, the Elders must know them all to be endowed with power, to finish their work and prevent imposition. The devil knows many signs but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus. No one can truly say he knows God {7} until he has handled something, and this can only be in the Holiest of Holies.
You see how that scripture and this quote are related?

One more quote about the "signs in heaven, earth, and hell"...
Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 160
What are Keys?
A good friend related the following to me and I use these words as my own testimony, what matters I guess does God vouch for this or not? That is a question between you and Him.
What if the Keys of the Kingdom have nothing to do with priestly authority?  What if the Keys of the Kingdom have little or nothing to do with church government?  What if, rather, the Keys of the Kingdom literally are THE KEYS to the Kingdom of God?
In D&C 19:19 we learn that Jesus Christ has finished His “preparations unto the children of men.”  It’s been done.  Our Lord has made it possible for man, in his mortal, fallen, and sinful condition to put off the natural man, to become a new creature in Christ, to progress and advance from here to there, into the literal Kingdom of God, into the literal presence of God the Father.  What if the Keys of the Kingdom of God are simply those keys of knowledge, understanding and experience which are given to teach us how to advance from our mortal condition into the very presence of the Lord? 
The Keys of the Kingdom are apostolic keys, given to those who are (or are to be) special witnesses of the resurrected Christ.  These individuals are not given the keys because they are apostles; rather, they are apostles because they have received the keys.  They have walked the path, they have learned for themselves, one step at a time, how it is done.  They have submitted themselves to the care and guidance of the Lord and have thus received directly from Him, by revelation, the keys of knowledge and understanding necessary to traverse the path and enter in through the gates which lead into the presence of the Lord.  They have received from Him, though the veil, that greater light and knowledge, as predicated upon their being true and faithful in all things, which leads the repentant soul back into the presence of the Lord.  They have been filled with His light, His mind, and His power, to such an extent that they are able to overcome all obstacles, all bounds, all stumbling blocks, and all things which separate us from Him.  Hence, the duty of an apostle is to testify of Christ, to baptize in His name, and to utilize those keys in teaching others how they can receive these same blessings for themselves.
Now there are other keys besides the Keys of the Kingdom, or the Keys of the Knowledge of God.  These other keys invariably represent specific assignments, covenants, or dispensations from the Lord to specific individuals; but this is apples and oranges.  The point I want to make here is that the Keys of the Kingdom are not ecclesiastical or theocratic.  They are not given as leverage to rule over others—this would be priestcraft.  No.  The Keys of the Kingdom are authoritatively benign.  They are not to be used to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion upon the souls of men. Rather, the Keys of the Kingdom simply constitute the path which leads the humble follower of Christ back into the presence of the Lord.

Are we not meant to become kings and priests? Of what? Of a kingdom? And when we receive one we will work it out and present it to the Father (Joseph Smith, King Follet discourse)
And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. (D&C 84:19)
Keys are associated with two things here, mysteries of the kingdom and the knowledge of God. Thus you have this knowledge, or these mysteries you have these keys. This greater priesthood, holdeth the key of these things. Why is that? Because no man can gain this knowledge without this priesthood. Or better stated if anyone gains this priesthood they have these keys because they have now gained the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom. We will discuss this in a moment.

Joseph has used the word key for many things. I will give you a key to unlock this mystery, the lord uses it in D&C 19 when defining a scripture. Joseph used it when expounding upon the doctrine of 2 Peter 1 and the calling and election made sure. I have quoted both these quotes, in the Doctrine and Election post and the Key to Understanding Scriptures post.

Phrases used.

"Now, there is some grand secret here, and keys to unlock the subject"
"Now for the secret and grand key"
"Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven"
"I have Key by which I understand the scripture"


  1. Thank you for insightful post. Yes, there are those that hold these keys right now on the earth.

    D&C 86
    9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—

    Also another important thing to understand is there are only 12 apostles, and they follow Christ. When God condescends and works in his vineyard (Jacob 5) they come with him. This pattern was set before the foundation of the world. It is the Holy Order.

    1 Nephi 12:7
    7 And I also saw and bear record that the Holy Ghost fell upon twelve others; and they were ordained of God, and chosen.

    1 Nephi 1:10
    10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.

    Revelation 14:4
    4 ...These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

    Alma 13
    6 And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest—

    7 This high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things—

  2. Great comment. Thank you. I absolutely agree. Its interesting you bring up the twelve apostles comment. I have had my eyes opened recently to something I have never considered. Its too new to formulate any thoughts on it but which 12 are we talking about? The twelve in Jerusalem? The twelve in the book of mormon? The ones of other tribes?

    The idea that has recently sparked interest to me was the idea that the 12 apostles of the lamb of God (1 nephi 14) are not those of the new testament but ones that cover the entire period of our creation called "time". These twelve connect from the Beginning to the End in one unbroken "true and living church" (the ancient holy order you speak of). The same ancient religion that we must connect to.

    I won't say more as I don't know what I am even talking about :D.