The following are the various accounts of this very important sermon given by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
History of the Church, (5:554-556) Version
Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; consequently they never could save any one, and would all be damned together. There was an Episcopal priest who said he had the priesthood of Aaron, but had not the priesthood of Melchizedek and I bear testimony that I never have found the man who claimed the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The power of the Melchizedek priesthood is to have the power of "endless lives;" for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken.
The law was given under Aaron for the purpose of pouring out judgments and destructions.
The sectarian world are going to hell by hundreds, by thousands and by millions.
There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here. 1st. The King of Shiloam. (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life. Angels desire to look into it, but they have set up too many stakes. God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses.
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.
What was the power of Melchizedek? 'Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.
Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood.
Salvation could not come to the world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.
How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.
Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.
The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure.
"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." The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.
The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinance, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.
The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.
Jesus Christ is the heir of this Kingdom--the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, and holds the keys over all this world.
Men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens.
Franklin D. Richards' Version (Words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 245; spelling is original)
A sermon of Josephs Heb 7 chap Salem is Shiloam
Those who limit the designs of God as concerted by the grand council of H cannot obtain the Knowledge of God & I do not know but I may say they will drink in the Damnation of their souls--
I Prophecy that all the powers of Earth & Hell shall never be able to overthrow this Boy for I have obtained it by promise--
There are 3 grand principles or orders of Priesthood portrayed in this chapter
1st Levitical which was never able to administer a Blessing but only to bind heavy burdens which neither they nor their father able to bear.
2 Abrahams Patriarchal power which is the greatest yet experienced in this church
James Burgess' Version (The Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 245-246; spelling is original)
Hebrewes 7 chap. Paul is here treating of three different preisthoods, namely the preisthood of Aron, Abraham, and Melchizedeck, Abraham's preisthood was of greater power than Levi's and Melchizedeck's was of greater power than that of Abraham. The preisthood of Levi consisted of cursings and blessings carnal commandments and not of blessings and if the preisthood of this generation has no more power than that of Levi or Aron or of a bishhoprick it administers no blessings but cursings for it was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I ask was there any sealing power attending this preisthood. Oh no that would admit a man into the presence of God. Oh no, but Abraham's was a more exalted power or preisthood he could talk and walk with God and yet consider how great this man was when even this patriarch Abraham gave a tenth part of all his spoils and then received a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life Now if Abraham had been like the sectarian world and would not have received any more revelation, what would have been the consequence it would have damned him. Book of Covenants. The levitical preisthood was an appendage to the Melchesideck preisthood or the whole law of God when in full face or power in all its parts and bearings on the earth. It is understood by many by reading this chapter that Melchesedeck was king of some country or nation on the earth, but it was not so, In the original it reads king of Shaloam which signifies king of peace or righteousness and not of any country or nation.
Malachi says that the sons of Levi shall in the last days offer an offering in rightousness.
Men will set up stakes and say thus far
will we go and no farther, did
Abraham when called upon to offer his son, did the Saviour, no, view
fulfiling all rightousness again on the banks of jordon, also on the
transfigured before Peter and John there receiving the fulness of
or the law of God, setting up no stake but coming right up to the mark
in all things here him after he returned from the Mount, did ever
of such magnitude fall from the lips of any man, hearken him. All power
is given is given unto me both in heaven and the earth. Offering's
and carnal commandments, was added in consequence of transgression and
they that did them should live by them. View him the Son of God at
it behoveth me to fulfil all rightousness also in a garden saying if it
be possible let this cup pass from me nevertheless thy will be done.
was the design of the Almighty in making man, it was to exalt him to be
as God, the scripture says yet are Gods and it cannot be broken, heirs
of God and joint heirs I with Jesus Christ equal with him possesing all
power &c. The mystery power and glory of the preisthood is so great
and glorious that the angels desired to understand it and cannot: why,
because of the tradition of them and their fathers in setting up stakes
and not coming up to the mark in their probationary state.