“until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness” What did John the Baptist mean when he said this to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, what is the offering?
In the Doctrine and Covenants section 84, we are told: “33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. 34 They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.” In other words those that receive the priesthood and magnify their calling become the sons of Levi as was Moses and Aaron. In the Seminary manual for the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History, page 33, it states: “Today, the expression “sons of Levi” is used to characterize all those in the Church who faithfully receive the Priesthood and become “sons of Moses and of Aaron.”
In section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants it states: “24 Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who can abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” Their responsibilities anciently were in assisting in the temple. From this scripture it is apparent that one of the “offerings” is when assist our ancestors in the temple by having their temple ordinances performed and0 recorded. This record will be part of their “Book of Life” from which they will be judged.
The Prophet Joseph Smith stated the following concerning the Aaronic Priesthood and the sons of Levi: “To usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times (a dispensation incorporating the blessings, doctrine, and authority of all former dispensations and embodying the restoration of all things), it was necessary that the Aaronic Priesthood be restored. Because John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood, the literal sons of Levi—descendants of the ancient Levites and of Aaron—shall yet render priesthood service in this dispensation as the Restoration progresses and as the Lord directs through his First Presidency.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 171–72.