Kingdom of God
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 6:33) The gospel is the gate into the kingdom of God. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) The key to the gospel is the Melchisedec Priesthood. Jesus was first ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood before He could preach the gospel. He then ordained others with this divine authority. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mark. 16:19) As an Elder with a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood, I send this special invitation to you.
Life, Death, and the Resurrection
Walk Even As He Walked
Chosen Before This Mortal Life
Fullness of the Gospel—Word and Power
Power of the Gospel—Divine Authority
Officers of the Kingdom have Divine Authority
Restoration of Melchisedec Priesthood and Kingdom of God
Time of Great Tribulation
Power of the Gospel Remains
A Special Invitation
Life, Death, and the Resurrection
The greatest duty we owe to ourselves and our families in this mortal life is to know God, understand His will, and secure our salvation in eternity. We all lived together as spirits before living in this mortal flesh. Our works during this first estate determined spiritual opportunities now.
This life is like a snap of the fingers when compared with eternity. Jesus is actually the savior of all men. “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10) All men will receive an immortal physical body in either the resurrection of the just, or the resurrection of the unjust.
Not all men will inherit the same rewards after death and in eternity. After death, our spirit is taken back to God, judged, and placed either with the bosom of Abraham (in the kingdom of God ), or with the spirits in prison (hell). “And in hell he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23, 24) The torment the rich man suffered was not from fire, as that would have no effect on a spirit, but was mental anxiety. He realized what wonders could have been his in eternity, if he had cared first for his eternal life while in the flesh, “seek ye first the kingdom of God .”
The resurrection of the just is at the beginning of the Millennium; and the resurrection of the unjust at the end of the Millennium. “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)
If we fail to know God and obey His will in this life, we can expect to await our resurrection with the spirits in prison (hell) for a thousand years. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” (Rev. 21:7, 8)
Only A Few
“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:23, 24) “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7: 13, 14) “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The goal of this tract is to bring an awareness of the importance of knowing God and obeying His will TODAY.
Mortal man has only been given seven thousand years. The resurrection of the just is at the beginning of the Millennium (seventh thousand years). After the Millennium, and the short season, mortal man will be no more. Then comes the resurrection of the unjust; and their judgment. Man now enters the realm of eternity. John saw a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars [telestial]: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15:40-42)
The earth then enters its celestial glory. John describes the earth as being the inheritance of the saints of God—the celestial glory or heaven that many imagine. Read Revelation 21 and 22. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:21, 22)
Only those who know and worship the living God of Israel, and live faithfully according to His will, have hope of inheriting the celestial glory. How important is your life in eternity? You can leave this life and be taken to the kingdom of God, or be taken to the spirits in prison. You have the choice between a glory like the sun and one like a star. Those who inherit the Celestial glory will have the wonders of the whole universe at their call. Men in the Celestial glory will be able to travel by faith, knowledge, and thought. Knowledge and wisdom will be unlimited. Those in the Telestial will not inherit that mobility and all of the other wonders of the Celestial glory. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
Saved By Faith?
Have you ever wondered how thousands of different Christian religions, with as many different doctrines and organizations, can ALL promise their followers eternal life? When there are different spiritual beliefs, both can be wrong; but, only one can be right. There is only one path to eternal life. “Enter ye in at the strait gate… few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13, 14) There is only “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5)
Many professional preachers of today would have us believe that all we have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus as our Savior. This doctrine originated in the sixteenth century. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)
If there is one other requirement to inherit eternal life, this doctrine is false and can never lead you into the kingdom of God. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17) “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5) “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53) “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1 John 3:24) Here are five other things that must be realized to enter the kingdom of God. You cannot be a member of the kingdom of God without obeying each of these laws.
Jesus could not enter the kingdom in the flesh without being born of water and the Spirit. The saints who followed Jesus had to be baptized. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God … I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, 5)
When the disciples gathered on the day of Pentecost, they were asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37 ) Did Peter tell them to accept Jesus as their Savior? No. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptizedevery one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38 , 39)
There is not a single account of a person in the Bible that was saved in the kingdom of God through faith alone. Not one of the Apostles ever taught such a doctrine. Many fall into error because they do not understand the epistles of the New Testament were written to those who already obeyed the gospel, “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 10:22)
Cornelius is believed to have been the first Gentile to enter the kingdom of God. He was a devout man who worshipped God and accepted Jesus. His righteousness brought an angel of the Lord to him. Did he tell Cornelius all he had to do was accept Jesus? No. He told him to call for Peter. Peter held the Melchisedec Priesthood. What did Peter tell him to do? “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48)
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth.” (2 Thess. 2:11, 12) “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?… For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:19, 20, 26)
How can a man be saved while he is still in the flesh? The great Gentile Apostle Paul did not consider himself saved. “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:11-14)
Walk Even As He Walked
God requires more than belief in the kingdom. We are all born alien to the kingdom of God. Not even Jesus could enter the kingdom in the flesh without obeying the gospel. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
Saints of God have only a HOPE of a better resurrection, living in the flesh with Jesus during the Sabbath of Creation, and inheriting the earth with the Father and the Son for eternity. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Rom. 8:24 , 25)
Strait Gate—The Gospel of Christ
“Enter ye in at the strait gate.” (Matt. 7:13) What is this straight gate? It is the gospel of Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” ( Rom. 1:16)
Unfortunately, most people are content with the idea of being saved by faith alone; and never understand the gospel of Christ. Contentment is a snare of Satan. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)
Chosen Before This Mortal Life
Are you willing to open your mind like a little child, pray, study, and become involved in being the master of your own destiny after this life? The gospel is easy to understand. Few, though, are given gospel faith in the flesh and an understanding of the fullness of the gospel; because they were not honorable in their first estate as spirits. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13) “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated [for-ordained] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:4, 5)
If you are able to understand the truths in this tract, you were a very special person when we all lived together as spirits. But, only a few are ever called of God to enter the kingdom in the flesh. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The rest are preached the gospel after death. “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3:19) You could be among the few that will be found acceptable when Jesus returns in this generation. Let us discover how.
Fullness of the Gospel—Word and Power
The fullness of the gospel includes both the word of the gospel and the power of the gospel. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 1:5)
What is the word of the gospel? Those acts required to enter the kingdom of God. Before any person can enter the kingdom of God he must submit his will to the will of God—just like an alien entering the U. S.must submit to the laws of that country. The word is simple; but the commitment embraces the whole soul. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12: 30 ) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10)
We must have faith in God, Jesus, the gospel, the ministry, and the laws of God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) “And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.” (Rom. 4:11 )
No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God. We must commit ourselves to a life without sin; and repent of all previous sin. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [among you].” (Matt. 4:17) We are cleansed of sin through the regeneration—being born again through the waters of baptism. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) Finally, we must be confirmed into the kingdom by the laying on of hands, being born of the Spirit, and receiving a gift of the Holy Ghost. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17 )
Here is the word of the gospel: faith, repentance, baptism of water, and baptism of the Spirit. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38 , 39)
After obeying the word of the gospel, it is necessary to share in the sacrifice made by Jesus. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
Abraham and Melchisedec partook of the sacrament. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Gen. 14:18)
The people of God in the days of Moses had to obey the gospel; and they partook of the sacrament. “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:2-4)
Jesus will soon return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 18, 9)
Power of the Gospel—Divine Authority
The power of the gospel is divine authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel. The Jews could not understand that Jesus brought the gospel not in word alone; but, in power—divine authority. He was not of the tribe of Levi; and had no claim to the Levitical Priesthood. “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power [authority].” (Luke 4:32)
This power is the key to the gospel. What is this power? Before Jesus began His ministry, He went to John the Baptist to be born of water. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11) After being tempted of Satan, “angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt. 4:11) What did they minister? Jesus was ordained under the hands of the Father to the Melchisedec Priesthood; as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3:22 )
He also held all lower offices; including that of High Priest. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:4-6)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he [the Father] hath anointed me [ordained me] to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus could not take the power or authority of the priesthood upon Himself like modern divines presume to do. “Thou shalt not take the name [authority] of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) The Apostle Paul reminded his son that only those called by the spirit of prophecy and ordained under the hands of one holding that priesthood are recognized by God. “14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery .” (1 Tim. 4) Aaron was called through a revelation given to Moses. Moses held a higher office; and therefore held authority to ordain him.
Officers of the Kingdom have Divine Authority
Why did Jesus go to John? John was a Priest of the Levitical Priesthood; and held divine authority to baptize with water. Jesus said of John, “For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet [preacher] than John the Baptist.” (Luke 7:28) John, though, did not hold divine authority to baptize Jesus with the Holy Spirit; as many so-called ministers of today presume to take upon themselves.
The kingdom of God has specific officers that are given power to be administrators of the gospel and kingdom. These possess the power of the gospel. Ordinances performed by anyone who has not been properly called of God by the spirit of prophecy and ordained under the hands of one holding that priesthood are void.
John the Baptist understood that only an officer of the Melchisedec Priesthood holds divine authority to baptize with the Spirit. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11) After Jesus was born of water and the Spirit, the Father ordained Him to the Melchisedec Priesthood. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God , as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5)
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent [ordained]? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel.” (Rom 10:14-16)
Let us say there was a certain man who desired to be Sheriff of a certain area. Although he was not properly elected and sworn into office, he presumed to hold that office. How do you think the properly established authorities would treat him? Jesus will treat those who take the name (authority) of God in vain the same way. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:22, 23) There is a place called the spirits in prison for these.
Jesus called and ordained other officers of the kingdom with divine authority to preach the gospel and administer its saving ordinances. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [Patriarchs]; and some, pastors [High Priests and Elders] and teachers; FOR the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 411-13)
These divinely called officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood are required “for the perfecting of the saints” and “for the work of the ministry.” Without officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood, none can enter the kingdom of God. “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:22 )
Divine Authority—Keys of the Kingdom
Jesus gave this power of the kingdom to those whom He ordained. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) Only these officers have their ordinances recorded in heaven. If you were not born of water and the Spirit through one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood, you are not a member of the kingdom.
Jesus stood at the head as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. He then ordained twelve Apostles to a lower order. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14 ) The Apostle Paul wrote, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle.” (1 Tim. 2:7) He told his son Timothy to meditate upon the truth of his calling and ordination. “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery [those holding that office].” (1 Tim. 4:14)
The power of the gospel or keys of the kingdom were held by divinely called and ordained officers from Adam to Abraham. These were all officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. The name of this priesthood was changed in honor of Melchisedec—who some believe was Shem, the righteous son of Noah.
Melchisedec lived about 2,000 years before Jesus. “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, [high] priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him… Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” (Heb. 7:1, 4)
There are only two orders of the priesthood called of God: (1) the lower Levitical or Aaronic, and (2) the higher Melchisedec. The Levitical Priesthood was first introduced by Moses. Its officers include Priests, Teachers, and Deacons. Their priesthood is for life.
Officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood include Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, High Priests, and Elders. This is the priesthood of an endless life. This authority remains for eternity (unless lost by apostasy). “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Heb. 7:3)
All of these officers existed in the days of Jesus and the Apostles. Seven fourth degree apostles: Evangelists or Patriarchs form a quorum. “8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.” (Acts 21:8)
“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.” (Heb. 5:1)
“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23 )
How does a person become a citizen of the U. S.? Does he not have to be naturalized by an officer of the government having authority to perform that act? Could he become a citizen simply by reading of its wonders, by desiring to be a citizen, and accepting the President? Only properly called officers in the kingdom of God have divine authority to have their ordinances recorded in heaven.
Ministers of God never receive payment for their work. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price… Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live.” (Isa. 55:1, 3)
Paid ministers are not working for the Lord. “11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.” (Micah 3)
Some modern diviners have thought to take upon themselves authority to preach the gospel on the basis of the commission given to eleven Apostles. They call it the Great Commission; as they vainly apply it to everyone. “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye [the eleven] into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:14 , 15)
No man can claim authority based on that held by another. Each calling and ordination is individual and specific. The ordination of Moses did not affect the ordination of Jesus. The ordination of Jesus did not affect that of the twelve Apostles. The ordination of the Twelve did not affect the ordination of Elders in every church.
Other powers were given to officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matt. 10:1) “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14, 15)
Such power was to continue with all those who believed and obeyed the gospel. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17 , 18) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12, 13)
Each person born of the Spirit, if he cherishes it, is inspired with blessings of faith, intelligence, and understanding. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)
Everyone born of the Spirit is given a very special spiritual gift. “1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant…. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man [member of the kingdom] to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Cor. 12:1, 4-11)
Through faith all things that are good and proper are possible in their season. “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matt. 17:20)
“1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report…6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faithAbraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went… 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.” (Heb. 11; read whole chapter)
Look about you the next time you attend your church. Are there any that claim to hold the Melchisedec Priesthood? Have there been, or there now, any Apostles, Prophets, Patriarchs, High Priests, or Elders? Were they called of God as was Aaron, by the spirit of prophecy? Do you see the signs that are to follow them that believe? How many of the spiritual gifts have you seen? Who among your members has prophesied? “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14:1)
What went wrong? God does not change. Yet, He no longer spoke to the Christians after John. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1, 2) “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works [repentance and baptism]; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5)
The Bible, ecclesiastical historians, and church leaders are all witnesses that the Gentiles reverted to their former pagan traditions and apostatized soon after the Apostles. The first evidence is that God no longer spoke to the Gentiles. Then the officers of the kingdom were lost. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11, 12)
“O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” (Jer. 16:19)
In 325 AD, an un-baptized, pagan Roman Emperor— Constantine —established himself as God on earth and head of the Christian church. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [return of Jesus] shall not come, except there come a falling away [apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:43, 4)
He changed the identity of God and Jesus into pagan doctrines of the Trinity and Virgin Birth. Knowledge of the true and living God of Israel was lost. The Melchisedec Priesthood was gone. He changed the Sabbath—the blessed and sanctified day of the Lord—to “the venerable day of the sun.”
The Sabbath is the second law found in the Bible (Gen. 2:3). The Sabbath was given as a sign and as a perpetual covenant between God and His people. “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” (Ex. 31:13)
You say you are not of the “children of Israel”? “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ… 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:27, 29)
John saw the apostasy of the Gentiles, told of the Church of Christ being taken from the earth, and Satan being given total power over all the souls of man for 1260 years. Rome fell in 476 AD; but rose again as the Papacy in 570 AD.
“1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars… 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1260 years].” (Rev. 12:1, 6)
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1260 years]… And it was given unto him [Satan] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13:5, 7)
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains [ seven hills of Rome ], on which the woman sitteth [church of Satan, Mystery, Babylon the Great]. And there are seven kings: five are fallen [ Egypt , Assyria , Babylon , Persia , and Greece ], and one is [Pagan Rome], and the other is not yet come [Pagan Christian Rome under Constantine ]; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space [325 – 476 AD]. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth [Papal Rome], and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Rev. 17:9-12)
John also spoke of an image of the beast. He referenced the “image of the beast” after he saw the dragon, “having seven heads and ten horns,” (12:3) the beast (13:1), and “another beast” ( 13:11 ). John wrote the second beast (Papal Rome), “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” ( 13:14 )
There has only been one image of the beast: the other churches that derived their doctrines, rites, and festivals from the Catholic Church. “And the beast [the Papacy] was taken, and with him the false prophet [Mohammed] that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19:20)
Ecclesiastical historians have recorded this great apostasy. Mosheim wrote a century by century account of the apostasy of the Gentile Christian church. Of the fourth century, when Constantine amalgamated pagan doctrines into Christianity, he wrote, “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God.” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4)
John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist Church, commented on this decay of the Christian faith. Among his writings about the gifts of the Holy Ghost we find, “The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church—because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left.” (John Wesley’s Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)
Restoration of Melchisedec Priesthood and Kingdom of God
A restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood was to come after the 1260 year complete apostasy. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6)
The Papacy was established in 570 AD. When we add the 1260 year complete apostasy, the result is 1830. Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ, according to the law of the land, on April 6, 1830. He claimed to have been ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses and Jesus. He established the same organization in the church; as Jesus before him. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers.” (Eph. 4:11) If Joseph Smith did not restore the Melchisedec Priesthood, not one person has entered the kingdom of God since the time the Melchisedec Priesthood was lost and baptism was changed to sprinkling.
At the same hour Joseph was murdered on June 27, 1844, James J. Strang (some 400 miles away) claimed to have been ordained the same as Joseph, under the hands of angels, to the office of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver.
Second Gentile Apostasy
There was to be a second Gentile apostasy. Unfortunately, the Gentiles were again to turn from the will of God. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24:5, 6)“And they [the Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled… Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24, 32)
This prophesy of the end of the last Gentile dispensation of the gospel was fulfilled after the six day war in 1967. The times of the Gentiles is over. We are now in the last generation that is to continue until the return of Jesus. Only a very few are to enter the kingdom during this time. “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) He will return before the end of this last generation, possibly near 2007. Many parts of Scripture indicate this last generation will be forty years; but, we cannot say with absolute certainty. No man knows the day and the hour.
Time of Great Tribulation
Our generation will soon inherit the very worst of times. Read Revelation Chapters 8-11, and 15-17. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24:21, 22)
An overflowing scourge that will put an end to all nations has been promised for this generation. “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.” (Isa. 28:18, 19) But, all is not lost.
A third of God’s chosen people are to survive. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” (Zech. 13:9)
When Jesus returns, it will be to his elect people, the House of Israel, and not to the Gentiles. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land… And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezek. 36:24, 28)
A very small remnant of the Gentiles is to survive. “And the daughter of Zion [Gentile church in America] is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1:8, 9)
In 70 AD, the Gentile army of Rome destroyed over ninety percent of the Jews. The rest were taken as captives around the world. “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [“goi,” also translated Gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1:15, 16)
Power of the Gospel Remains
James J. Strang was ordained under the hands of angels as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver—like Moses, Jesus, and Joseph Smith before him. He ordained Apostle L. D. Hickey, who ordained Samuel Martin a High Priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a High Priest, who ordained Samuel E. West an Elder.
Here is the good news. The Melchisedec Priesthood remains on the earth. The word of the gospel is preached in truth. The power and keys of the kingdom keep the gate into the kingdom of God open. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”
A Special Invitation
You are invited to become a member of the Church of the First Born and a member of the kingdom of God. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16 )
You to walk on the path of light and know the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Discover the truth about the real Jesus and His sacrifice. Obey the gospel of Christ; and become a member of the kingdom ofGod. If you are able to understand this special invitation, you have been given the greatest opportunity ever given to man in the flesh—an opportunity to inherit the earth with the Father and the Son; and enter eternal life in the celestial glory. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27) “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:7, 8)
Here is a special invitation from the throne of grace. The kingdom of heaven is at hand (within your reach). “38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent , and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2)
Apostle W. W. Phelps wrote Joseph Smith in January, 1843:
Go with me, will you go to the saints that have died,-
To the next, better world, where the righteous reside;
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be
In the joys of a vast paradise? Go with me.
Go with me where the truth and the virtues prevail;
Where the union is one, and the years never fail;
Not a heart can conceive, nor a nat’ral eye see
What the Lord has prepar’d for the just. Go with me.
Go with me where there is no destruction or war;
Neither tyrants, or sland’rers, or nations ajar;
Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,
the life is eternal with God. Go with me.
Go with me, will you go to the mansions above,
Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love,
And the glory of God do eternally be?-
Death, the wages of sin, is not there. Go with me.
Your invited to go with us.
Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion