There is a way prepared that all men might be partakers of the heavenly gift, or the opening of the heavens. The heavenly gift is received directly from God. It does not come from man. What one man receives from God can’t be passed on to another man. My visions are not your visions. Angels that taught me are not the same angels that will teach you. Each gift is individualized.
Opportunity to Exercise Faith
One of the greatest and perhaps unrecognized blessings of this earth life is the opportunity to exercise faith. I don’t mean the kind of faith that says, “I believe,” although this too is faith. The kind of faith I would like to bring out in this post is the kind that opens the heavens and allows us to become “partakers of the heavenly gift.” But first let’s see if we can define the heavenly gift.
By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled
After Moroni introduces us to Ether, he refers to the heavenly gift in the quote below. We don’t find this particular phrase used anywhere else in scripture (Correction: See 4 Ne 1:3 & Heb 6:4). Ether was a prophet who taught “…by faith all things are fulfilled,” which Moroni coupled with hope as the only way to be “sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works.” He then writes about faith as the way to see God.
Partakers of the Heavenly Gift
“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.” (Ether 12:8) It seems obvious the heavenly gift includes prophecy, revelation, visions, visitors, angels, the Holy Ghost and more.
The Way Has Been Prepared
What is this “way” the Lord has prepared that we may also be partakers of the heavenly gift as were Ether, Moroni and so many other prophets? It’s more than faith, although that is part of it. It’s more than righteousness or holiness, although those are also part of the way. I had thought the “way” referred to in Ether 12:8 was priesthood, specifically, the fullness of the priesthood.
Looking for a Short, Concise Definition
But I’ll leave it open for your comments, because frankly, I am no longer certain what Moroni was trying to say and what he intended for us to learn from this verse. Does anyone care to add to my knowledge? What is “the way” to obtain the Heavenly Gift? I have received portions of that Heavenly Gift – inspiration, prophecy, revelation, visions, dreams and perhaps even angels.
Another Obscure Phrase That Needs Defining
And since I brought it up, I could use some help with the other phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It also is referred to in only one place in scripture. It’s found in D&C 124:28 with a different spelling: “For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.”
Fullness of Priesthood Received from Christ
So I’d appreciate if you could help me define that phrase – the fullness of the priesthood. It’s not the same as the fullness of the gospel. As I understand it, the objective of the fullness of the gospel is to bring people back to the presence of Christ. Once we obtain the presence of Christ, literally, we can, and should, receive the fullness of the priesthood. I hope that’s not confusing.
Consensus on Two Scriptural Phrases
I had a lot more planned for this post but I think I’d rather stop and see if we have a consensus on those two phrases: 1) The Heavenly Gift and 2) The Fullness of the Priesthood. I know those are more than enough to fill pages and pages of comments. And don’t tell me I should “look to no man to be my teacher.” Even though I’ve read and researched this for years, I’m asking for help.
More than Invitational Authority
I believe the Fullness of the Priesthood means more than simply everything God has because we are specifically taught in D&C 124:28 we can receive it or be taught how to receive it in the temple in this life. That was the whole reason Joseph was admonished by the Lord to get the temple done and the reason he urged the people to finish it. What was it that was lost – the sealing power?
A Dialog Based on Modern Scriptures
Note: This is part one of an intended discussion of some basic doctrine of receiving Christ in this life in a literal and physical way. That is my goal as I’m sure it’s yours. If we can agree on these two phrases, I’d like to continue in the next post with a few thoughts about Passing the Heavenly Gift, especially if we come to an agreement on the definition of the Fullness of the Priesthood.
Power Can’t be Passed From Man to Man
Food for thought: D&C 121:36 – “…the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven … the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled [except] upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us it is true …” I assume we are all in agreement we can have authority in the priesthood without any real priesthood power.