“I Will Give unto Thee the Keys of the
Jesus heals the daughter of a Gentile and feeds more than 4,000 people.
Peter is promised the keys of the kingdom.
Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, and John.
A study of this lesson will help strengthen our testimonies that Jesus is the
Christ and that the priesthood keys bestowed on the Mount of Transfiguration
have been restored.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 13 Handout (PDF
Lost Sheep Among the Heathen
A Day of Deepening Opposition
"Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts
of Tyre and Sidon." (Matthew 15:21)
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would
not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him." (John 7:1)
As he began to more clearly declare himself, there was increasing opposition to
Jesus. As a consequence, the Master and his disciples decided it was best
to leave Judea and Galilee.
He goes to Tyre and Sidon:
Ancient cities of abominations.
Heathen and pagan cities.
It was not the practice of the Lord to seek out the Gentiles, but there
were probably many Jews in those cities.
Ministering Among the Heathen
MATTHEW 15:22-28. Healing of the Canaanite woman's
"The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she
besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter."
WHAT IMPRESSES YOU ABOUT THIS STORY?
The disciples saw in our Lord's act a reaffirmation of his compassion
for all men, not for the house of Israel only.
The faith and love of this woman was great. She persisted even though the
Master seemed to ignore her.
WHY DOES IT APPEAR THAT THE LORD WAS RELUCTANT TO ADMINISTER TO THIS WOMAN WHO
WAS NOT AN ISRAELITE?
Bruce R. McConkie: "...the house of Israel is composed of the spirits
from preexistence who there developed a talent for spirituality, and who
are therefore entitled to the blessings of heaven in this life on a preferential
basis. All men, in due course, either in his life or in the spirit world,
will be offered the blessings of salvation. But there is an eternal system
of priorities; there is a law of election, a doctrine of foreordination;
and Israel is entitled to the blessing of the holy word ahead of their
Gentile fellows. During his lifetime Jesus took the gospel and its blessings,
with isolated exceptions, to his kinsmen in Israel; after his resurrection
he will send his apostolic witnesses to all men, irrespective of creed
or race or ancestry. The Lord Jehovah--Jesus in the flesh--is simply conforming
to the eternal law of gospel priorities that he and his Father ordained
from before the foundations of the world, and such a limited exception
to the eternal provision of the eternal law as may properly be made is
about to be shown forth." (Mortal Messiah, 3:11-12)
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS WOMAN?
Those who have not received the fulness of the gospel may still be persons of great faith.
We should not lose faith when blessings are not granted as quickly as we
Miracles in Decapolis
Jesus traveled to Decapolis (a region to the southeast of Galilee).
MATTHEW 15:30-31. Healings performed.
There was a second feeding of a multitude, this time about 4000 ( see
"Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have
compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days,
and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they
faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence
should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?"
As we observe the Lord's closest disciples, I find it interesting that after
all the miracles they have witnessed (including the feeding of the 5,000)
that they would wonder where such were such a meal would come from?
The miracle of feeding the 4,000 was different from the earlier feeding
of the 5,000.
At the first feeding he was laying the foundation for his sermon on the Bread of
The second feeding: "he is prefiguring the future presentation of the
living bread to the Gentile nations." (see DNTC, 1:375)
After this event Jesus returns to Galilee.
The Leaven Of The Pharisees And Sadducees
MATTHEW 16:1-4. Pharisees
and Sadducees seek
These men were wily. Their reasoning:
If he did not give a sign, then his other miracles must have been of Satan.
If he gave a sign, they could also attribute it to Satan since his teachings
did not conform with the rabbinical interpretation of the law handed down
Indeed, this was a trap. There were probably many that were led to believe
what the Pharisees and Sadducees were trying to accomplish.
The Lord's response: It is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh
after a sign.
Bruce R. McConkie: "Actually, sign-seeking -- a favorite pastime and
enterprise of evilly disposed persons -- is an evidence of supreme and
gross wickedness on their part." (Mormon Doctrine, p714)
Joseph Smith: "When I was preaching in Philadelphia, a Quaker called
out for a sign. I told him to be still. After the sermon, he again asked
for a sign. I told the congregation the man was an adulterer; that a wicked
and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and that the Lord had said
to me in a revelation, that any man who wanted a sign was an adulterous
person. `It is true,' cried one, `for I caught him in the very act, which
the man afterwards confessed when he was baptized." (TPJS, p278.)
What more do the pure in heart need than the teachings of the
Lord, for the true gospel reaches into the soul.
MATTHEW 16:5-12. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees
We see that the Master often uses the analogy of bread.
He recently had spoken of the bread of life.
He said that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven.
Now he speaks of the leaven of evil men.
This is the evil leaven that can spoil the loaf.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Literally, leaven is a
substance that produces fermentation, as for instance yeast which causes bread
to rise. Figuratively, leaven is any element which, by its fermenting, spreading
influence, affects groups of people so that they believe and act in particular
ways. Thus to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is to shun
their false doctrines, their concept that the Messiah must prove his claim to
divinity by signs, for instance. Similarly, today, the warning is to beware of
the leaven of any group whose false doctrines and antichrist philosophies work
to keep men from accepting the truths of the restored gospel." (DNTC,
DO WE SEE THE LEAVEN OF EVIL MEN TODAY?
The philosophies of men are spoken daily.
- These philosophies (leaven of evil men) are affecting the operation of
our government and nation which is based on Heavenly principles. Consider
these modern philosophies:
- Abortion - the women's right.
- Justice - protection of a guilty man's rights.
- Judgment - it is wrong to call evil evil.
- The degradation of moral values as seen in the media.
The Keys Of The Kingdom
The Lord gathers his disciples together for a testimony meeting and announces
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?"
Jesus was the first to bear testimony when he asked "Whom do men say
that I the Son of Man am?"
Son of Man is a term synonymous with Son of God.
MATTHEW 16:14-17. Simon
Peter bears witness of the
divinity of Jesus.
FROM WHAT SOURCE DID PETER'S TESTIMONY COME?
From the Father through the Holy Ghost.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "He had learned it
by personal revelation from the Father who had sent the Holy Ghost to Peter to
testify of the Son. The Holy Ghost is a Revelator; one of his chief assigned
missions is to bear testimony to receptive mortals that Jesus is the Christ.
Peter had received such a revelation on previous occasions (John 6:69), and here
we find the Holy Ghost speaking to him again, certifying a new of the divinity
of his Lord.
"It is a false notion to suppose that the apostles and
other righteous men did not receive revelation from the Holy Ghost while Christ
was with them in the flesh. It is true that (with the apparent exception of John
the Baptist) they did not enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost, meaning the constant
companionship of that member of the Godhead, until after the day of Pentecost.
But they did receive flashes of revelation from time to time from the Holy
Ghost, as Peter did in this instance." (DNTC, 1:384)
Earlier the Pharisees and Sadducees had sought a sign of who Jesus was.
Now the apostles are having a testimony meeting regarding the true identity
of the Master.
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon
this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it." (Matthew 16:18)
WHAT IS THE ROCK UPON WHICH THE LORD BUILDS HIS CHURCH?
Joseph Smith: "Jesus in His teachings says, 'Upon this
rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it.' What rock? Revelation." (TPJS, p274)
WHY MUST THE LORD'S CHURCH BE BUILT ON REVELATION?
Consider the evolving history of Christianity.
- President Thomas S. Monson: "Still others
searched for Jesus in councils of debate. Such was the historic Council of Nicea
in 325 AD. There, with the help of the Roman Emperor, the delegates did away in
Christendom with the concept of a personal God and a personal Son—the two
separate and distinct Glorified Beings of the scriptures. The Creed of Nicea,
the 'incomprehensible mystery' of which its originators seemed so proud
precisely because it could not be understood, substituted for the personal God
of love and for Jesus of the New Testament an immaterial abstraction. The result
was a maze of confusion and a compoundment of error. Jesus will not be found in
councils of debate. Men of the world have modified his miracles, doubted his
divinity and rejected his resurrection." (CR, October 1965,
The gospel is not the doctrine of a man or a council of men, or a pope.
The church is built upon revelations from God through his prophet.
MATTHEW 16:19. The keys of the kingdom promised
to the Twelve.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS' PROMISE TO PETER?
Peter and the Twelve will one day carry forth the Lord's work and he will
empower them to do so.
Many years ago President Spencer W. Kimball and Elder Boyd K. Packer visited
the small church in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Thorvaldsen's famed statues
of the Christus and of the Twelve Apostles stand. Speaking of this experience,
Elder Packer said: "I stood with President Kimball . . . before the
statue of Peter. In his hand, depicted in marble, is a set of heavy keys.
President Kimball pointed to them and explained what they symbolized. Then,
in an act I shall never forget, he turned to [Stake] President Bentine
and with unaccustomed sterness pointed his finger and said with firm, impressive
words, 'I want you to tell every Lutheran in Denmark that they do not hold
the keys! I hold the keys! We hold the real keys and we use them every
day'." (The Holy Temple, p83)
President Joseph F. Smith: "The Priesthood in general is the authority
given to man to act for God.... The power of directing these labors constitutes
the keys of the Priesthood. In their fulness, the keys are held by only
one person at a time, the prophet and president of the Church. He may delegate
any portion of this power to another, in which case that person holds the
keys of that particular labor." (Gospel Doctrine, p136)
Losing One's Life to Save It.
MATTHEW 16:24-27. We gain life by helping others.
What an interesting concept: we gain life and happiness when we help someone
else do the same. Without losing our life in helping others towards eternal
life, we lose eternal life.
Was not the Savior the perfect example.
Every man will be rewarded according to his works (v27).
- Faith and belief is not enough. What is faith without works?
MATTHEW 17:1-13. The transfiguration of Jesus.
WHAT DOES TRANSFIGURATION MEAN?
"It is a temporary change in a person's appearance and nature, from
a lower to a higher state, brought about by the power of God. A mortal
must be transfigured to behold God's power." (1995 Gospel Doctrine
Given this definition, it would appear that Peter, James, and John might
also have to be transfigured to behold this experience.
WHAT DID MOSES AND ELIAS (Elijah, see Mortal Messiah 1:281) DO WHEN THEY
APPEARED ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION?
Joseph Smith: "The Priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and
Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James and John, on the mount when they were
transfigured before him." (TPJS, p158)
Elder Bruce R.
McConkie: "There may have been other messengers besides Moses and Elijah
who also came to the Mount of Transfiguration, as for instance a translated
person from Enoch's day, who also gave keys and authorities to the chosen
heads of the dispensation of the meridian of time. We know so little--for
want of spiritual preparation on our part--of what transpired on the holy
mount." (Mortal Messiah, 3:68)
President Joseph Fielding Smith suggests that Peter, James, and John received
their endowments from Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Doctrines
of Salvation, 2:165.)
Elder David B. Haight comments on this experience: "Perhaps
Jesus felt not only a sense of the heavenly calm which that solitary opportunity
for communion with His Father would bring, but even more, a sense that
He would be supported in the coming hour by ministrations not of this earth....
He went up to prepare for His coming death. He took His three apostles
with Him in the belief that they, after having seen his glory,...might
be fortified." (Ensign, May 1977)
This, then was a significant event in the Lord's ministry:
Testimony was born of the Savior by the Father.
Vital keys were transmitted to the future heads of the Lord's church.
The Lord was probably comforted in having this experience and being able
to share it with His closest friends.
It was an experience that moved the Lord a step closer to the fulfillment
of His mission.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
The Lord revealed more of himself during the events reviewed in
this lesson. Important priesthood keys have been promised and transmitted
to the future leaders of his church. Peter bore his witness of the Master
which he had received by revelation. Like Peter, we can know through the
Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God and that
his servants, the prophets, hold the same keys given anciently to Peter,
James, and John.
Record your thoughts on the events described in this lesson. How can you
avoid the "leaven of the Pharisees"? How do the "keys" of the kingdom make a
difference in your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Holy Temple by Boyd K. Packer.
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume
3, by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
20 February 2015