When we celebrate the Christmas season we tend to recite various names of our Savior. As Handel made the words of Isaiah famous, the term Prince of Peace has, justifiably, become synonymous with Jesus Christ. However, he is not the only Prince of Peace that we learn about throughout the whole of scripture. Even as Jesus commonly commanded us to exemplify Him in various similitudes, we are also to become princesses and princes of peace, or, more aptly, queens and kings.
The first reference we get to one who was a prince of peace, or king of peace, was the prophet Melchizedek. We learn that he was king of Salem. He is spoken of in much length in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, the New Testament writings of Paul, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants. and the Pearl of Great Price. Much of these teachings are similar and do not give us vast context. Melchizedek was given the title of king of Salem. The Prophet Joseph Smith gives us some deeper context by showing us that Salem was not a place.
“It is understood by many, by reading this chapter [Hebrews 7], that Melchizedek was a king of some country or nation on the earth, but it was not so. In the original it reads King of Shiloam, which signifies king of peace or righteousness and not [as a secular ruler] of any country or nation.” Joseph Smith
How can we respond to these teachings? If Melchizedek was never a civic political leader and neither was Christ then what ought we learn from their examples? We learn a little about how to answer this question from Abraham. He recorded:
“I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.” – Abr 1:2
Along with all of his desires, Abraham states that he sought to be a prince of peace. He longed for the blessings of the fathers. it is rationale to propose that he desired both what he had read in the Book of Remembrance that was kept as well as the righteous example of his mentor, Melchizedek.
As we analyze these three we see some patterns. Yes, it is true that Christ is greater than all but He has counseled us to be even as He is. Perfection is a long way away for the vast majority of us but it is not unattainable. We have been commanded to “be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Ne 12:48) None of us will leave this world sinless but, because of the Atonement of Christ, we can repent and we can find strength through His grace to grow unto perfection. We can be like Abraham and desire to be “a prince of peace” and then become like Melchizedek and become king of Shiloam.
Men within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood but it is through the ordinances within the temples of the Church that women and men both partake of, and receive, the rights to glories and powers of this Priesthood. As partakers of such a gift, there are associated covenants and actions required of those who receive. Many are stated but some are given through other scripture and revelation. I would propose that we are to pursue the gift and power of being kings and queens of peace and righteousness.
The world is wrought with contention and disdain. It is easy to get caught up in the Twitter battles, harsh politicking, feelings to need to aggressively defend our faith, the power to anonymously hide behind digital avatars, or any other slew of contentious actions. I am sorry to say that I have not been perfect. I am a passionate individual and desire to defend my position but have let it become contentious at times. I chose to continue to repent. These moments of contention go against the counsels of Jesus. We do not need to let go of our morals or appeal to the other’s views but we do need to approach each conversation and interaction in love, mercy, empathy, and as peacemakers. This is what is meant by being one who publishes peace.
The great patriarch Enoch lived at a time of such evil and contention. He felt weak in his ability to go out and publish peace. God commanded him to do it just as He has commanded us. Like Enoch, we can bring peace to the world and become a Zion people. It is not easy to be of one heart and one mind but it is something that we all need to do a better job at striving for. There is no step-by-step guide but we do have a lot of clues on how we can obtain the glorious days that Enoch saw.
“Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other” (Moses 7:63)
How beautiful this vision is. If we are not one with those around us then how can we see such a beautiful day? As Saints in the latter days, it is up to us to keep our covenants. For those who have not learned of these things or have turned away from them then I invite you to come and see.
I am grateful for the brief lessons of Enoch, Melchizedek, and Abraham on how we can be more like the Messiah and fulfill our covenant duties by becoming Queens and kings of Shiloam. We have a sacred responsibility to turn away from contention and bring a greater degree of peace to the world.