Gen. 4:9 Restoration Edition

One question has been asked about a change to the Restoration Edition of the scriptures more often than any other. It involves Genesis 4:9, which reads in relevant part as follows: “Therefore, it is given to abide in you: the Record of Heaven, the Comforter, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, the truth of all things, that which quickens all things — which makes alive all things, that which knows all things, and has all power according to Wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.” This language deletes a phrase (“peaceable things of immortal glory”) and adds in its place “keys of the kingdom of Heaven.” Many ask why this change was made.

There were two working manuscript copies of the Old Testament for the JST. These are referred to as “OT1” and “OT2.” OT1 was presumably the original dictation which went from Gen. 1-24. Then John Whitmer made a copy of OT1 onto OT2 which then became the working copy. OT2 bears marks of later editorial changes by Joseph’s scribes.

Here is how OT1 reads: “comfrorter the peacable things of immortal grory”

There was an editorial change on OT2, which was at the time the working document, and it reads: “the peaceable things of immortal glory” is crossed out and replaced with “keys of the kingdom of heaven”.

The book Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible by Scott Faulring, Kent Jackson, and Robert Matthews states that for this portion of the manuscript that “Sidney was the scribe for almost all of these changes.” They state their belief that “These changes were dictated by Joseph Smith, and they involve revising both word choices and the meaning of the text, rather than merely repairing writing errors.” The Scripture Committee representative compared the handwriting of this change with examples from Sidney’s handwriting and it seemed to match his.

This very change was brought to the attention of the Scripture Committee, and was referred to me for consideration and a decision. The many statements of Joseph Smith, and revelations received by him, make the “keys of the kingdom” a term with specific meaning. Here are some examples:

“in one sense of the word the keys of the Kingdom, which consists in the key of knowledge.” T&C 151:12

“for I have given unto you the kingdom, and the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith Jr. while he lives, inasmuch as he obeys my ordinances.” T&C 51:2

“And this greater Priesthood administers the gospel and holds the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.” T&C 82:12

Speaking of his brother, Hyrum, the Lord said: “And from this time forth I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph, that he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph, and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessings.” T&C 141:32

As explained in the RE Glossary, “Keys of the Kingdom” means: “To be able to ask and have God answer (see T&C 141:32; compare T&C 26:20; 82:12; 90:1; 131:5; and 151:12). Joseph Smith used the term keys of the kingdom to mean when a person can ask and receive an answer each time he asks. Those directed by God hold the keys of the kingdom because the kingdom belongs to God, and God must direct its affairs for it to be His.”

The change made to OT2 is consistent with the purpose of the Holy Ghost. It opens a line of communication in which a person can ask God and receive an answer; which is necessary to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. For without communication from the Heavenly King, there is no established people who are His.

This is the sense in which Joseph intended the word change meaning in Genesis 4:9. The Restoration Edition respects that change made by Joseph and included the wording as he edited it to read.