“Doctrine and Covenants 27,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 27,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Harmony Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, [ca. Aug.] 1830. Featured version, titled “28th. Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 35–36; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
This revelation announced guidelines for what members of the Church of Christ should use in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to represent the blood of Christ. JS’s history explained that he dictated the revelation during a visit from Newel and Sally Knight to his home in Harmony in August 1830: “As neither his wife nor mine had been as yet confirmed, it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the sacrament, before he and his wife should leave us.— In order to prepare for this; I set out to go to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone only a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the following revelation.”1 The revelation told JS to use only new wine made by members of the church.2
Both the dating and the text of this revelation present challenges. The earliest extant copy, in Revelation Book 1 (the version featured here), dated it broadly to the year 1830, and John Whitmer placed it between revelations dated July and September 1830.3 Despite Whitmer’s placement, however, the versions published in 1833 in The Evening and the Morning Star and the Book of Commandments specified 4 September 1830 as the date.4 The versions published in the 1835 Evening and Morning Star reprint and in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants included two additional paragraphs and dated the entire revelation to September 1830, removing the precise date mentioned in the earlier publications.5 In his later history, however, JS said that the first paragraph of the 1835 text “was written at this time [early August 1830], and the remainder in the September following.”6 JS, then, affirmed that the first part should be dated August 1830 and the remainder September 1830, in which case the date of 4 September 1830 found in the earlier printed versions may have reflected the date of dictation of the second portion.
Early manuscripts, including the copy featured here, contain only the first portion of the combined revelation as published in 1835. Although an earlier manuscript may have existed for the September portion, the earliest extant text for the expanded version of the revelation is the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. For the annotated treatment of the expanded version, see the volume of the Documents series that covers 1835.
28th. Commandment AD 1830
A Revelation to the Church given at Harmony susquehannh County State of Pennsylvania given to Joseph the Seer at a time that he went to purchase wine
it for Sacrament & he was stoped by an Angel & he he spok to him as follows Saying7
Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ your Lord your God & your Redeemer whose word is quick & powerful for Behold I say unto you it mattereth not what ye <shall> eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory Remembering unto the father my Body which [was] laid down for you & my blood which was shed for
you the Remission of your sins8 Wherefore a commandment I give unto you that ye shall not Purchase Wine neither strong drink of your enemies Wherefore ye shall partake none except it is made new among you yea in this my Fathers Kingdom which shall be built up on the earth Behold this is wisdom in me [p. 35] Wherefore marvel not for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the Vine with you on the Earth9 & with you all those whom my father hath given me out of the world Wherefore lift up your hearts & rejoice & Gird up your loins & be faitful faithful untill I come even so amen
Revelation, Harmony Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, Sept. 1830; substantial revisions, Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH, ca. Aug. 1835. Featured version typeset ca. Aug. 1835; in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., 179–181. For more information see the source note for the Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 edition, on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
In August and September 1830, JS dictated a revelation providing guidelines about the food and drink that were to be used in the administration of the sacrament.10 The revelation was recorded in Revelation Book 1, likely in 1831,11 and published, with minor edits, in the March 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star and the 1833 Book of Commandments.12 The revelation was published again in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. The 1835 version, featured here, contains information not present in the earlier versions; in fact, less than one third of the 1835 text appears in the 1831 or 1833 texts. The additional information contains considerable detail about Jesus Christ one day partaking of sacramental wine with JS and various prophets and apostles from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Also included is material emphasizing the transmission of priesthood keys—or the authority to govern and lead the church—to JS by biblical prophets, apostles, and patriarchs. In particular, the revelation outlines specific keys held by Elias and Elijah and references a visit by Peter, James, and John to ordain JS and Oliver Cowdery as apostles. This is the first clear documentary reference to angelic visitations by Peter, James, and John and the first clear reference to their conferral of priesthood keys.13
The historical record is silent as to when or how the additional information in the 1835 version was originally recorded, though JS was undoubtedly involved. The absence of the content in the extant 1831 or 1833 versions suggests the extra information may have originated sometime thereafter. In addition, the 1835 version of the revelation identifies the archangel Michael as Adam and equates Adam with the ancient of days referred to in the Book of Daniel. Not until at least 1833 did church members appear to have identified Adam with Michael and the ancient of days.14 However, it is possible that JS dictated all of this information in 1830. JS’s history indicates that the “first paragraph” of the revelation, which represents most of the original revelation, was written down immediately in early August 1830 and the “remainder in the September following.”15 But if all of what appears in the 1835 version was originally dictated in 1830, it is unclear why the additional material was not included in the extant 1831 and 1833 versions.16
As published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the revelation contains much information about the conferral of keys, or authority, upon JS. Although some 1829 and 1830 revelations spoke of JS holding keys, they referred specifically to the keys to bring forth the Book of Mormon and other ancient records.17 In 1831 and 1832, revelations referred frequently to JS and others holding keys that allowed them to administer the church. For example, revelations indicated that JS held “the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom”18 and “the keys of the kingdom of God,” similar to “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” held by Peter in the New Testament.19 This 1835 version of the revelation expands on these concepts, specifying what keys had been given to JS and others, who had provided those keys, and, by inference, why the keys were necessary.
The additions published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants consist of three intertextual insertions to the second paragraph of the original text. The locations of the insertions are indicated herein.20
Revelation given September, 1830.21
1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful. For [p. 179] behold I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins:22 wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies: wherefore you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you,23 yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
2 Behold this is wisdom in me: wherefore marvel not for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth,24 25and with Moroni,26 whom I have sent unto you to reveal the book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel; to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim;27 and also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things, or the restorer of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days: and also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias; which John I have sent unto you, my servants, Joseph Smith, jr. and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto this first priesthood which you have received,28 that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron:29 and also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse:30 and also, with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham your fathers; by whom the promises remain;31 and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days:
3 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name,32 and bear the keys of your ministry:33 and of the same things which I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things both which are in heaven and which are on earth: and also34 with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world: wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, 35and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all ye may be able to stand. Stand, therefore, having [p. 180] your loins girt about with truth; having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit,36 which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, 37and ye shall be caught up that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.