Growing up in the LDS church I was taught that Matthew 16:19 and Malachi 4:5-6 had to do with sealing families together forever in LDS temples. I no longer believe that either of these passages of scripture teach eternal families in any way which I will explain in just a bit.
But first I just want to point out something. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d be teaching things contrary to official doctrines of the LDS church. I honestly believed the gospel as the LDS church taught it. I enjoyed my mission I served for the LDS church, I did not want it to end. I still have very fond memories of it and still very glad that I went. I still keep my sickle I bought during my mission by my bed side. Heck I ate lunch in the seminary building for one reason because I enjoyed it there. There is a line of thought from the movie Ghost in the Shell I feel very much applies to me and my relationship with the LDS church.
Major is told to take medicine to prevent her mind from rejecting her new body and to prevent flash backs which later you find out are truths from her past. She never questioned her leaders in anything at first especially regarding her medicine. She thought it was to help and protect her as her leaders claimed. The medicine did not work completely, and she still saw glimpses here and there. But in the process of doing her job she, Major, did something that was called a deep dive. I would compare this to deep research, thought, and connection. After the deep dive the glitches happened more often, but still she was not able to connect all the dots of the past. As time went one more pieces started to come together and even confronted the authorities about the situation. One authority was trying to buy the lie that she was doing it for the greater good, she later realized that the coverup was not doing that and helped the truth come out. The one in-charge was seeking power, money and fame and hell bent on getting no matter who would get hurt.
This is a great movie and I recommending watching it. I could take up a whole post talking about the various deeper meanings I see in it and the parallels I see within it and the LDS church. The main point I’m trying to bring out is that Major never questioned things. It was only after doing a deep dive while doing her job that she started to see the problems with the narrative that she was being feed. That is happened with me. I initially started looking deeper into some things not because I was seeking it, but because I wanted to help others who I thought were going off the path. But in reality, they helped me find truth which I will be forever grateful.
Now that is out of the way, lets take a look at Malachi 4:5-6. The main thing I want to point out with these verses is how the angel repeated them to Joseph Smith is differently than how the LDS church quotes them to superimpose temple sealings. Here is the angel quoted them to Joseph Smith. One place you can find them as the angel repeated them is in LDS D&C 2.
LDS D&C 2 (Malachi 4:5-6)
1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children THE PROMISES MADE TO THE FATHERS, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. 3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Did you notice the difference how the angel quoted the verses to Joseph Smith? Just in case you didn’t I put the change all caps, THE PROMISES MADE TO THE FATHERS. The children’s hearts will be turned to the promises that God made to the Abraham, Issac, and Jacob to name a few of the fathers (1 Nephi (LDS 17:40) (RLDS 5:131-133)). This correct text is in no way saying that the children want to be sealed to mother and father as taught by the LDS church, it saying the children will seek after the same PROMISES that God gave to others in the past and will continue to do so into the future, after all God does not “vary from that which he hath said” Alma (LDS 7:20) (RLDS 5:33-34) nor are His decrees alterable Alma (LDS 41:8) (RLDS 19:71).
The Book of Mormon Title Page that Moroni gave us is loaded with truth. One such truth that is being debated online now today is whether or not the Book of Mormon is history or is just a story. If you take the Book of Mormon for it’s word, which I personally do it’s history, even the Title Page says that. But I digress, back to the subject at hand. Lets take a look at part of what Moroni is saying in the Book of Mormon Title Page that he wrote:
… Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their FATHERS; and that they may know the COVENANTS of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever …
One part of making a covenant is making a promise. The Lord God has done many things for the FATHERS, which include making PROMISES by covenants.
Here are a few other verses that says the same thing:
1 Nephi (LDS 15:14) (RLDS 4:17-19) And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.
2 Nephi (LDS 3:21) (RLDS 2:42-43) Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the REMEMBERING of my COVENANT which I made unto thy FATHERS.
2 Nephi (LDS 11:5) (RLDS 8:10-11) And also my soul delighteth in the COVENANTS of the Lord which he hath made to our FATHERS; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.
The last part of the Malachi 4 verses is telling us that unless we return to God by seeking his promises and keeping His commandments, we will be counted as the wicked, and be burned at Jesus Christ’s second coming. All through out the scriptures the holy prophets are telling us that the wicked will be burned at the second coming of Jesus Christ. By two or three witnesses shall everything be established, and this verse is no different than the others on this subject, the wicked will be burned because they are not seeking God’s righteousness, it’s not because the LDS church did not have finish the dead works (Moroni (LDS 8:23) (RLDS 8:27) of supposedly sealing families together forever, which by the way if you do the math of the time needed to do this before the second coming for the whole human family it’s not possible. Do you really think the Lord will burn someone who keeps His commandments but is not sealed to their parents for no fault of their own, for example they are a convert and the only one who is a member of the LDS church? I honestly hope not, because I honestly believe that “is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.” Moroni (LDS 8:23) (RLDS 8:27).
[Updated 2018-05-02 23:00] A reader that goes by Chris shared the following verses from the Doctrine and Covenants that defines fathers as prophets and children as Jews right after using the same language in Malachi.
D&C (LDS 98:16-17) (RLDS 96) (Kirtland 94)
16 Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the HEARTS of the CHILDREN to their FATHERS, and the hearts of the FATHERS to the CHILDREN; 17 And again, the HEARTS of the JEWS unto the PROPHETS, and the PROPHETS unto the JEWS; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.
With regards of Matthew 16:19, I think it is wise to use the BoM as a guide for our understanding. And the examples of sealing power in the BoM are not the same as what the LDS church teaches.
Here is the first example where I saw it:
Helaman (LDS 10:6-11) (RLDS 3:118-123)
6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. 7 Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people.
8 And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done. 9 And if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done. 10 And behold, if ye shall say that God shall smite this people, it shall come to pass. 11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction.
Helaman (LDS 11:4-6) (RLDS 4:4-8)
4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee. 5 And so it was done, according to the words of Nephi. And there was a great famine upon the land, among all the people of Nephi. And thus in the seventy and fourth year the famine did continue, and the work of destruction did cease by the sword but became sore by famine. 6 And this work of destruction did also continue in the seventy and fifth year. For the earth was smitten that it was dry, and did not yield forth grain in the season of grain; and the whole earth was smitten, even among the Lamanites as well as among the Nephites, so that they were smitten that they did perish by thousands in the more wicked parts of the land.
Notice how God told Nephi of a coming punishment that should be done unto the people in Helaman (LDS 10:6-11) (RLDS 3:118-123). And in Helaman (LDS 11:4-6) (RLDS 4:4-8) Nephi pronounced on to the people what God had already decreed.
Now look at this blog entry from 119 Ministries regarding bounding and loosing and what the greek grammar is actually saying, it’s the same thing that happened with Nephi in Helaman (LDS 10-11) (RLDS 3-4):
Regarding Verse 19-
The grammatical construction in the Greek manuscripts is very important to the understanding of the meaning of this instruction. “Shall be having been bound” and “shall be having been loosened”. This is very awkward English, but it accurately renders the periphrastic future perfect tense. . It essentially means, “when this judgment is ‘bound,’ it shall already have been bound in heaven,” and “when the judgment is ‘to loose’ (release), it shall already have been released in heaven.” What Messiah was actually saying was, “the judgment which you render shall have already been rendered.” Why? Because the Law of Messiah’s reign is the Law of Moses. Any loosing or binding must be done in accordance with what has already been decided by God and written in the Law. Thus, when the elders decide to “bind” in accordance to the dictates of the judgments of the Torah, then heaven has indeed already decided the case and has been “bound.”
This is the sealing power, to pronounce what heaven has already been decreed, because those who have the sealing power will do nothing with it except what the Father wants done. We know Nephi “sought [God’s] will and to keep [God’s] commandments” because God attributed this to Nephi in Helaman (LDS 10:4) (RLDS 3:115-116). In the next verse God adds more emphasis to this idea, “for thou [Nephi] shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will” Helaman (LDS 10:5) (RLDS 3:117).
While we are looking at these verses in Helaman regarding power that God gives to holy men, I also want to bring out another point, how God gave this power to Nephi.
No where in these verses does it mention anyone laying their hands upon Nephi to give him power and authority as taught in the LDS church. What we do see in the record is that God is using his VOICE to give power and authority to Nephi.
Helaman (LDS 10:3) (RLDS 3:114) … behold, a VOICE came unto him SAYING:
Helaman (LDS 10:6) (RLDS 3:118-119) Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I DECLARE it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people …
In these two verses it is made obvious to the careful observer that Nephi received this power not because some man laid their hands upon him, but because God DECLARED it aka SPOKE it with his MOUTH. This is consistent with what the Lord revealed through Joseph Smith with the two following scriptures:
JST Genesis 14
26 Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. 27 And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch,
28 It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, NOT BY MAN, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; 29 And it was delivered unto men BY THE CALLING OF HIS OWN VOICE, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
D&C (LDS 84:42) (RDLS 83) (Kirtland 4) And wo unto all those who come not unto this priesthood which ye have received, which I now confirm upon you who are present this day, BY MINE OWN VOICE OUT OF THE HEAVENS; and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.
Curiously I see the same thing with the pervious verses we analyzed.
LDS D&C 2 (Malachi 4:5-6)
1 Behold, I will REVEAL unto you the Priesthood …
That verse says REVEAL the priesthood not lay a hand upon you. Lets look at what REVEAL means in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary:
REVE’AL, verb transitive [Latin revelo; re and velo, to veil.]
1. To disclose; to discover; to show; to make known something before unknown or concealed; as, to reveal secrets.
2. To disclose, discover or make known from heaven. God has been pleased to reveal his will to man.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Romans 1:17.
REVE’AL, noun A revealing; disclosure. [Not in use.] http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/reveal
Revealing is something done by teaching aka by words or voice not by physical act of touching.
God’s highest priesthood is given to a person through God’s own mouth and voice and not by some other man giving it to another.