Today we started with having the students identify what section 84 is all about. This section is a revelation on priesthood, according to the last three words of the section heading. I asked the students, “what does God want you to do with the priesthood?”
We had several responses come from the youth to get the discussion going. Some said to baptize, others said the priesthood is given to serve mankind, a myriad of responses were given. If we had just two minutes to teach what the priesthood is to do we would read D&C 84:23: “…Moses… sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God.” That’s it – the purpose of the priesthood is to diligently strive to sanctify the children of Heavenly Father that they might behold the face of God.
Now how do we do this? We first need some people to sanctify. This requires missionary work – we need to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. Once they have come unto Christ, repented of their sins, and are living the gospel, these people need to come to the temple. By coming to the temple we symbolically approach the Lord.
The temple is a representation of the presence of the Lord. This is what is taught in verses 23-25, Moses sought to take the Israelites into the presence of the Lord on Mount Sinai. The Lord told Moses, “…go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” (Exodus 19:10-11) Later the people tell Moses that they do not want to come into the presence of the Lord, “…speak with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” (Exodus 20:19) Even though the people resisted knowing the Lord and beholding His face, Moses worked every day towards this goal.
So this is what the priesthood is all about. This mission applies at every level. As a father, what do I want to do with my children? I want to seek diligently to sanctify my people (children) so that they can behold the face of God, enter His presence, and receive a fulness of His glory. (D&C 84:23-24 summarized)
What is a bishop’s job? A bishop is seek diligently to sanctify his ward members so that they can behold the face of God, enter His presence, and receive a fulness of His glory. This applies to hometeachers, missionaries, etc. – every priesthood responsibility is directed to this end.
How do we do this as a church? Well, we cannot do this without a temple. So in this section the Lord tells the Saints to get up and start building a temple. Verses 1-5 teach this idea. The major mission is to sanctify the people and to do this we need a temple. Our role is to bring the people to the temple and the Lord will take over from there. As a hometeacher I am successful if my families are sealed in the temple and return often to be in the presence of the Lord in His house.
Section 84 talks of an offering offered to the Lord (verse 31) – this offering is described in D&C 128:24 as “a book containing the records of our dead which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” In other words, we are not finished here until we have performed every saving ordinance for every single child of our Heavenly Father. Once we have performed these ordinances and recorded them, we will present this to the Lord. We cannot do this work without a temple. The more people we gather to Zion, the more temples we build, the faster we can perform this work. This is the second theme in section 84: proclaim the gospel.
D&C 84:43-57 instructs the Saints to give diligent heed to the scriptures in preparation to taking the gospel message to the entire world.
D&C 84:62- go into all the world
D&C 84:75-76 – Where I am to go preach? Wherever they have not yet received the gospel
D&C 84:80 – The Lord promises to take care of His missionaries
D&C 84:85 – Treasure up the word and you will know exactly what to say at the right time
D&C 84:106 – Let the strong take the weak, we don’t put new missionaries in the field without a seasoned missionary to train them.
In conclusion, the practical application of section 84 lies in our desire to join the Lord’s kingdom. When we do, He promises “all that my Father hath” (D&C 84:38). We stop working when “all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest…” (D&C 84:98) Until that time, may we be striving to sanctify the people in preparation for beholding the face of God.