The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“Some Say the Kingdom of God Was Not Set upon Earth,” A Sermon Delivered on 22 January 1843
(from Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols.,
[Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983-85], 2:213-17)
[p.168]President Joseph Smith deliverd an interesting discourse at the Temple to a large congregation. Among other things he treated upon the kingdom of God & the baptism of John. He remarked some say the kingdom of God was not set up on earth untill the day of pentecost & that John did not preach the Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. But I say in the name of the Lord that the kingdom of God was set upon earth from the days of Adam to the present time whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed his word & gave power & authority to administer in his name:
And whare their is a Priest of God, A minister who has power & Authority from God to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel & officiate in the Priesthood of God, theire is the kingdom of God & in consequence of rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ & the Prophets whom God hath sent, the judgments of God hath rested upon people, cities & nations in various ages of the world, which was the case with the cities of Sodom & gomoroah who were destroyed for rejecting the Prophets.
Now I will give my testimony. I care not for man. I speak boldly & faithfully & with authority. How is it with the kingdom of God? Whare did the kingdom of God begin? Whare their is no kingdom of God their is no salvation. What constitutes the kingdom of God? Whare there is a prophet, a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives his oracles there is the kingdom of God, & whare the oracles of God are not there the kingdom of God is not.
In these remarks I have no allusion to the kingdoms of the earth. We will keep the Laws of the Land. We do not speak against them. We never have & we can hardly make mention of the state of Missouri of our persecutions there &c but what the cry goes forth that [p.169]we are guilty of larceny, Burglary, arson treason & murder &c &c which is fals. We speak of the kingdom of God on the earth not the kingdoms of men.
The plea of many in this day is that we have no right to receive revelations. But if we do not get revelations we do not have the oracles of God & if they have not the oracles of God they are not the people of God. But say you what will become of the world or the various professors of religion who do not believe in revelation & the oracles of God as continued to his Church in all ages of the world when he has a people on earth? I Tell you in the name of Jesus Christ they will be damned & when you get into the eternal world you will find it to be so. They cannot escape the damnation of hell.
As touching the gospel & Baptism that John preached I would say that John came preaching the gospel for the remission of Sins. He had his authority from God & the oricles of God were with him & the kingdom of [God] for a season seemed to be with John alone. The Lord promised Zecheriah that he should have a son, which was a desendant of Aaron & the Lord promised that the priesthood should continue with Aaron & his seed throughout their generations.
Let No man take this honour upon himself except he be Called of God as was Aaron, & Aaron received his Call by Revelation. An angel of God Also appeared unto Zecheriah while in the Temple [and said] that he should have a son whose name should be John & he should be filled with the Holy Ghost. Zechariah was a priest of God & officiating in the Temple & John was a priest after his father & held the keys of the aronic priesthood & was Called of God to preache the Gospel & the kingdom of God[,] & the Jews as a nation having departed from the Law of God & the gospel[,] the Lord prepared the way for transfering it to the gentiles.
But says one the kingdom of God Could not be set up in the days of John for John said the Kingdom was at hand. But I would ask if it could be any nearer to them than to be in the hands of John. The people need not wait for the days of Pentecost to find the kingdom of God for John had it with him, & he came forth from the wilderness crying out repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand as much as to bawl out[,] here[,] I have got the kingdom of God & I am coming after you. Ive got the kingdom of God & you can get it & I am Coming after you & if you dont receive it you will be damned & the Scriptures represent that all Jerrusalem went out unto Johns Baptism. Here was a legal administrator, & those that were baptized were [p.170]subjects for a king & also the laws & oracles of God were there. Therefore the kingdom of God was there, for no man could have better authority to Administer than John & our Savior submitted to that authority himself by being Baptized By John. Therefore the kingdom of God was set up upon the earth even in the days of John. Their is a difference between the kingdom of God & the fruits & blessings that flow from that kingdom becaus their was more miracles, gifts, visions healings, tongues &c in the days of Jesus Christ & the Apostles & on the day of pentecost than under Johns Administration. It does not prove by any means that John had not the kingdom of God; any more than it would that a woman had not a milk pan because she had not a pan of milk. For while the pan might be Compared to the kingdom the milk might be Compared to the blessings of the kingdom.
John was a priest after the order of Aaron & had the keys of that priesthood & came forth preaching repentance & Baptism for the remission of sins but at the same time crys out there cometh one after me more mighter than I the latches of whose shoes I am not worthy to unlose, & christ came according to the words of John, & he was greater than John because he held the keys of Melchisedic Priesthood & the kingdom of God & had before revealed the priesthood to Moses. Yet christ was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness & Jesus in his teaching says upon this rock I will build my Church & the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. What rock? Revelation.
Again he says except ye are born of the water & the spirit ye cannot inter into the kingdom of God, And though the heavens & earth should pass away my words shall not pass away. If a man is born of the water & the spirit he can get into the kingdom of God. It is evident the kingdom of God was on the earth & John prepared subject for kingdom by preaching the gospel to them & Baptising them & he prepared the way before the savior or came as a fore runner & prepared subject[s] for the preaching of Christ, & Christ preached through Jerrusalem on the same ground whare John had preached & when the Apostles were raised up they worked in Jerrusalem & Jesus commanded them to tarry there untill they were endowed with power from on high. Had they not work to do in Jerrusalem? They did work & prepared a people for the pentecost. The kingdom of God was with them before the day of pentecost as well as afterwords & it was also with John & he preached the same gospel & Baptism that Jesus & the Apostles preached after him.
[p.171]The endowment was to prepare the desiples for their mission into the world. Whenever men can find out the will of God & find an Administrator legally authorized from God there is the kingdom of God. But whare these are not, the kingdom of God is not. All the ordinances Systems, & Administrations on the earth is of no use to the Children of men unless they are ordained & authorized of God for nothing will save a man but a legal Administrator for none others will be acknowledge[d] either by God or Angels.
I know what I say. I understand my mishion & business. God Almighty is my shield & what Can man do if God is my friend? I shall not be sacrafised untill my time comes. Then I shall be offered freely. All flesh is as grass & a governor is no better than other men. When he dies he is but a bag of dung.
I thank God for preserving me from my enemies. I have no enmity. I have no desire but to do all men good. I feel to pray for all men. We dont ask any people to throw away any good they have got. We ownly ask them to Come & get more. What if all the world should embrace this gospel? They would then see eye to eye & the blessings of God would Be poured out upon the people which is my whol[e] Soul[‘s desire] Amen.