Blessing [Vision] [of Joseph Smith] from Oliver Cowdery, 22 September 1835

Tomorrow the Gospel Doctrine lesson is on “Priesthood.” While reading through search results in the Joseph Smith Papers on “priesthood,” this blessing given by Oliver Cowdery to Joseph Smith came up. I’ve never heard this before. It is pretty amazing and worth a read.

This relates to Joseph and Oliver receiving priesthood authority.

These blessings shall come upon him according to the blessings of the prophecy of Joseph, in ancient days, which he said should come upon the Seer of the last days and the Scribe that should sit with him, and that should be Ordained with him, by the hand of the angel in the bush, unto the lesser priesthood, and after receive the holy priesthood under the hands of they who had been held in reserve for a long season, even those who received it under the hand of the Messiah, while he should dwell in the flesh, upon the earth, and should receive the blessings with him, even the Seer of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saith he, even Joseph of old, by his hand, even God. And he shall inherit a  crown of eternal life, at the end; and while in the flesh shall stand up in Zion and assist to crown the  tribes of Jacob; even so. Amen.

If I am reading this correctly, Joseph of Egypt prophesied that Joseph (seer) and Oliver (scribe) would:

  1. Receive the lesser priesthood (presumed Aaronic) from an angel in a bush (presumably John the Baptist). Not exactly how artists envision….
  2. Receive the holy priesthood (presumed Melchizedek) from those (presumed Peter, James, and John) who received it from the Savior (presumed mortal).

So many questions. First, about the presumptions. Then, about what they actually received. Was it like other ordinances, not the actual blessing, but the promise of fulfillment of the blessing at some future time dependent upon their faithfulness? Is that what is meant by “receive the blessings… by His hand, even God?” What does “held in reserve for a long season” mean? Like John and the disciples staying here upon the earth (but, the three disciples didn’t receive the priesthood from Christ while He dwelt upon the earth)?

Here are a couple of additional excerpts.

  • Thus closes the vision, and thus it shall be; even so.  Amen.
  • Like Jacob of old he shall wrestle with the angel, and as a prince shall he have power with God, and shall prevail.
  • In due time shall he go forth toward the north, and by the power of his word shall the deep begin to give way and the ice melt before the sun. By the keys of the Kingdom shall he lead Israel into the land of Zion while the house of Jacob  shouts in the danse and in the song— Joy, O my soul, in that day, for thou shalt be with him and bear  thy part in the keys which are confirmed <upon> thee for an everlasting priesthood, forever and ever— Joy, O  my heart, in that day, with thanks giving and with praise, for thou shalt stand with him before the  hosts of Israel— the lame shall leap as a hart, the old shall renew his strength, and the virgin of Israel,  with the youth, shall exalt the name of our God upon harps and instruments of tens[e] strings.
  • He shall be a lawgiver to Israel and shall teach the house of  Jacob the statutes of the Most High.
  • In his hands shall the Urim and Thummim remain and the holy ministry, and the  keys of the evangelical priesthood, also, for an everlasting priesthood forever, even the patriarchal; for, behold, he is the first patriarch in the last days. He shall sit in the great assembly and general council of patriarchs, and execute the will and commandment of God under the direction of the Ancient of Days;
  • He shall also be filled withe abundance of the fat of the earth…
  • He shall possess a mansion on high and have an inheritance in that city which is like pure gold, even like transparent glass. His rest shall be glorious and his name remain forever.

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