This is a great hymn. It has a regal tune and a great message. I hope you’ll take time to listen to it.
Every six months at the General Conference priesthood session, someone will note that this meeting likely represents the largest gathering of priesthood holders in the history of the world. This is significant, but not just for the obvious reasons.
Most simply, the growth of the priesthood parallels the growth of the Church as a whole, so a larger priesthood body implies a larger body of Latter-Day Saints as a whole. As the truths and covenants of the Gospel are necessary for all mankind, the growth of the priesthood body is a welcome indication that more of God’s children are finding the peace and understanding that the Gospel brings.
However, the growth of the priesthood is also meaningful in its own right. We are engaged in God’s work, and it is directed through his Priesthood. Our purpose is not merely to teach everyone about the restoration of the gospel—we also seek to make its accompanying ordinances and covenants available to all mankind. While in past dispensations the covenants of salvation have been available only to a few select nations, in these latter days God has made them available to all. The mission of the priesthood is to bring these ordinances and covenants to all the world.
This is no small undertaking. It involves planning for entire nations and concern for individual families. It’s no wonder that the priesthood body is often described in military terms—there’s organization and structure needed to effectively span the world.
Of course, when we talk about the spread of the gospel, we often talk about missionary work. And yes, missionary work is important. But the work of the priesthood is the duty of every ordained priesthood holder, not just those called on full-time missions. We are to spread the Kingdom of God to new lands, but also to establish it, to make it stable and secure.
So let’s look at some of the lyrics. The song opens with this phrase:
See the mighty priesthood gathered;
Firm in serried ranks they stand–
Son and father jointly serving,
Gathered in from ev’ry land.
The work of the priesthood is not just for 19-year-old missionaries, or just for bishops. It spans generations; fathers and sons serve together. In fact, fathers have a sacred duty to train their sons in this calling, to teach them the ways of the Lord.
Line on line, truth is revealed,
Till all darkness flees away
In the face of perfect knowledge,
Where celestial laws hold sway.
As we listen to our prophetic leaders, truth empowers us. We are better able to withstand the darkness of this world and the chaos it brings with it. Truth brings peace and order, and as the priesthood is strengthened throughout the world, peace and order will prevail.
Come, ye sons, and walk uprightly,
As your noble fathers trod
“Walk in the faith of your fathers.” Isn’t this same message repeated over and over throughout the scriptures? The prophets of ancient Israel taught it over and over. Nephite prophets taught the same. After all, sons and fathers can hardly serve together if the sons abandon the faith of their fathers. How great the importance, then, to teach our children, to guide them to a personal relationship with God.
Till Satan’s pow’rs are vanquished,
Bound in chains he conquered lies,
And our glorious hallelujahs
Loudly sound across the skies,
This is our goal: to vanquish Satan’s powers, and to bring praise of God throughout the world. Christ will come again, to reign personally upon the earth. Every six months as priesthood bearers throughout the world gather, we are reminded of this noble and holy purpose.
This is no small work. Let us not be easily distracted. The Kingdom of God is rolling forward, and it is our opportunity to be a part of that great work.