The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“Their Is a Differance Between the Spirit & Office of Elias & Eligah,” A Sermon Delivered on 10 March 1844 (from Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols.
[Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983-85], 2:359-66)
[p.226]Their is a differance between the spirit & office of Elias & Eligah. It is the spirit of Elias I wish first to speak of. And in order to Come at the subject I will bring some of the testimony from the scripture & give my own. In the first place suffice it to say I went into the woods to inquire of the Lord by prayer his will concerning me, & I saw an angel & he laid his hands upon my head & ordained me to be a priest after the order of Aaron & to hold the keys of this priesthood which office was to preach repentance & Baptism for the remission of sins & also to baptise. But [I] was informed that this office did not extend to the laying on of hands for the giving of the Holy Ghost that that office was a greater work & was to be given afterwards. But that my ordination was a preparetory work or a going before which was the spirit of Elias for the spirit of Elias was a going before to prepare the way for the greater, which was the case with John the Baptist.
He came bawling through the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord & make his paths strait & they were informed if they could receive it it was the spirit of Elias & John was vary particular to tell the people He was not that light but was sent to bear witness of that light. He told the people that his mission was to preach repentance & baptize with water, but it was he that Should Come after him that should baptise with fire & the Holy Ghost. If he had been an imposture he might have gone to work beyound his bounds & undertook to have performed ordinances that did not belong to that office & calling under the spirit of Elias.
The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God which is the priesthood of Elias or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work [he] holds the keys of the power of [p.227]Elias. It was called the doctrin of Elias even from the early ages of the world. John’s mission was limited to preaching & Baptizing but what he done was legal & when Jesus Christ Came to any of John’s deciples He baptized them with fire & the Holy Ghost.
We find the Apostles endowed with greater power than John. Their office was more under the spirit & power of Elijah than Elias. In the Case of Philip when he went down to Samaria [he] was under the spirit of Elias. He baptised both men & women. When Peter & John herd of it they went down & lade hands on them & they received the Holy Ghost. This shows the distinction between the two powers. When Paul came to certain deciples He asked if they had received the Holy Ghost. They said no. Who baptized you then? We were Baptized unto Johns Baptism. No John did not baptized you for he did his work right, & so Paul went & baptized them for He knew what the true doctrin was & he knew that John Had not Baptised them & these [are] principles and [it] is strange to me that men who have red the scriptures of the New Testament are so far from it.
What I want to impress upon your minds is the difference of power in the different parts of the Priesthood, so that when any man comes among you saying I have the spirit of Elias you can know whether he be true or fals. For any man that comes having the spirit & power of Elias he will not transend his bounds. John did not transend his bound but faithfully performed that part belonging to his office, and evry portion of the great building should be prepared right & assigned to its proper place, & it is necessary to know who holds the keys of power & who dont or we may be likely to be decieved. That person who holds the keys of Elias hath a preparitory work.
But if I spend much more time in conversing about the spirit of Elias I shall not have time to do justice to the spirit & power of Elijah. This is the Elias spoken of in the last days & here is the rock upon which many split thinking the time was past in the days of John & Christ & no more to be. But the spirit of Elias was revealed to me & I know it is true. Therefore I speak with boldness for I know varily my doctrin is true. Now for Elijah, the spirit power & Calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, oricles powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood & of the kingdom of God on the Earth & to recieve, obtain & perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God even unto the sealing of the hearts of the fathers unto the Children & [p.228]the hearts of the Children unto the fathers even those who are in heaven. Malachi says I will send Elijah befor the great and dredful day of the Lord come & He shall turn the hearts of the Fathers to the Children and the hearts of the Children to the Fathers lest I come & smite the earth with a curse.
Now what I am after is the knowledge of God & I take my own Course to obtain it. What are we to understand by this in the last days? In the days of Noah God destroyed the world by a flood & has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days. But before it took place Elijah should first Come & turn the hearts of the Fathers to the Children &c.
Now comes the point. What is this office & work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest & most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the Children to the fathers & fathers to the Children. Now was this merely confined to the living to settle difficulties with families on earth? By no means. It was a far greater work. Elijah what would you do if you was here? Would you confine your work to the living alone? No. I would refer you to the scriptures whare the subject is manifest. Ie without us they could not be made perfect nor we without them, the fathers without the Children nor the Children without the fathers. I wish you to understand this subject for it is important & if you will recieve it this is the spirit of Elijah that we redeem our dead & connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven & seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection & here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those which dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah & the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah.
Let us suppose a case. Suppose the great God who dwells in heaven should reveal himself to Father Cutler here by the opening heavens and tell him I offer up a decree that whatsoever you seal on earth with your decree I will seal it in heaven. You have power then. Can it be taken of[f]? No. Then what you seal on earth by the keys of Elijah is sealed in heaven & this is the power of Elijah, & this is the difference between the spirit & power of Elias and Elijah. For while the spirit of Elias is a fore runner the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our Calling & Election sure & the same doctrin whare we are exhorted to go on to perfection not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works but of laying on of hands resurrection of the dead &c. We cannot be perfect without the fathers, &c.
[p.229]We must have revelations then & we can see that the doctrin of revelation as far transcends the doctrin of no revelation as knowledge is above ignorance. For one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in exhistance.
This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the Apostles in delivering certain ones to the buffitings of Satan that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. They were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnation of Hell untill the day of the Lord or revelation of Jesus Christ.
Here is the doctrin of Election that the world have quarreled so much about but they do not know any thing about it. The doctrin that the Prysbeterians & Methodist[s] have quarreled so much about once in grace always in grace, or falling away from Grace I will say a word about. They are both wrong. Truth takes a road between them both. For while the Presbyterian Says once in grace you cannot fall the Methodist says you can have grace to day, fall from it to morrow, next day have grace again & so follow it. But the doctrin of the scriptures & the spirit of Elijah would show them both fals & take a road between them both. For according to the scriptures if a man has receive the good word of God & tasted of the powers of the world to come if they shall fall away it is impossible to renew them again seeing they have Crucified the son of God afresh & put him to an open shame. So their is a possibility of falling away. Y[ou] could not be renewed again, & the power of Elijah Cannot seal against this sin for this is a reserve made in the seals & power of the priesthood.
I will make evry doctrin plain that I present & it shall stand upon a firm bases. And I am at the defiance of the world for I will take shelter under the broad cover of the wings of the work in which I am ingaged. It matters not to me if all hell boils over. I regard it ownly as I would the Crackling of thorns under a pot.
A murderer, for instance one that sheds innocent Blood cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God Carefully with tears but he could ownly get it through Hell. He got a promise that his soul should not be left in Hell. Although David was a king he never did obtain the spirit & power of Elijah & the fulness of the Priesthood, and the priesthood that he received & the throne & kingdom of David is to be taken from him & given to another by the name of David in the last days raised up out of his linage.
Peter refered to the same subject on the day of pentecost, but the [p.230]multitude did not get the endowment that Peter had. But several days after the people asked what shall we do? Peter says I would ye had done it ignorantly speaking of crucifying the Lord &c. He did not say to them repent & be baptized for the remission of your sins but he said repent therefore & be converted that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts III 19. This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins for they had shed innocent Blood.
Again the doctrin or sealing power of Elijah is as follows: If you have power to seal on earth & in heaven then we should be crafty. The first thing you do go & seal on earth your sons & daughters unto yourself & yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory & go ahead and not go back but use a little Craftiness & seal all you can & when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven. I will walk through the gate of heaven and Claim what I seal & those that follow me & my Council.
The Lord once told me that what I asked for I should have. I have been afraid to ask God to kill my enemies lest some of them should peradventure repent. I asked a short time since for the Lord to deliver me out of the hands of the govornor of Missouri & if it must needs be to accomplish it to take him away & the next news that came pouring down from their was Govornor Reynolds had shot himself. And I would now say beware O earth how you fight against the saints of God & shed innocent Blood, for in the days of Elijah his enemies came upon him & fire was called down from heaven & destroyed them.
The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, & Mesiah last. Elias is a fore runner to prepare the way, & the spirit & power of Elijah is to come after holding the keys of power building the Temple to the cap stone placing the seals of the Melchezedeck priesthood up on the house of Israel & making all things ready. Then Mesiah comes to his Temple which is last of all. Mesiah is above the spirit & power of Elijah for he made the world & was that spiritual rock unto Moses in the wilderness. Elijah was to come & prepare the way & build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord.
Although the spirit of Elias might begin it, I have asked of the Lord concerning his Coming & while asking, the Lord gave me a sign & said in the days of Noah I set a bow in the heavens as a sign & token that in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come, but their should be seed time—harvest during that year. But [p.231]whenever you see the bow withdraw it shall be a token that their shall be famin pestilence & great distress among the nations.
But I take the responsibility upon myself to prophesy in the name of the Lord, that Christ will not come this year as Miller has prophecyed, for we have seen the bow. And I also Prophecy in the name of the Lord that Christ will not Come in forty years & if God ever spake by my mouth he will not come in that length of time, & Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that he would Come. Go & read the scriptures & you cannot find any thing that specifies the exact [time] he would come & all that say so are fals teachers.
Their are some important things concerning the office of the Mesiah in the organization of the world which I will speak of hereafter. May God Almighty bless you & pour out his spirit upon you is the prayer of your unworthy servant Amen.