Christ reveals a mystery to us in the scriptures. He has identified to us what exactly His church is. What He declares matters, how or what we as a people define as a Church also matters. While a church may be called after His name, it may not be His church at all. Christ gives us the definition of a church and what His church looks like.
Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery; behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. (D&C 10:64, 67-68)
…Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)
It makes sense why He calls it a living Church because YOU are living (D&C 1:30). It also makes sense why His church should be called after His name, because you take upon yourself the name of Christ when you repent and are baptized, it should not be called anything else and there is no other nam by which you will be called. In this revelation, He is describing His church as YOU, those who are repentant and come unto Him through the waters of baptism YOU are His literal Church. His church is not a brick, mortar, or a 501 (c)3 non-profit building or institution. It can only be established and found inside of you.
And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can bebsaved; Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day; Wherefore, if they know not the name (new name) by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father. (D&C 18:22-25)
For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.” (Mosiah 26:22)
Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)
Further, to add more clarification to the meaning of what the Lord's church is so that you will not be deceived. And becuase His church is vastly different from men's learning and teaching's today or centuries ago. We must remember and consider that there are only two churches. So that which is not His church no matter their claims of legitimacy, no matter how much good as they may seem to do, there is but ONE church.
It is in the physical bodies of each believer, collectively, if two or more are gathered together in His name or individually (Matt :18:20; Luke 17:21; D&C 1:30). It is not an organization, a non-profit, or well-defined group or even loosely defined group whether they follow someone they call a priest or prophet if even that person themselves has their own connection to heaven. It does not make you His church. It is found in each person, who repents of their sins, forsaking them and coming unto Christ and enters in at the strait gate which is "repentance and baptism." These are His church, and these are the qualifications for admittance into His church. You are counted as one of His sheep. It cannot be controlled, lawbreakers who do not keep His commandments cannot join it, you cannot fake it or in otherwords acting with hypocrsiy. It cannot be taxed or levied, and there is no prestige to it, no fancy buildings, no glass windows, no organization of men but of God and of you in your physical bodies where your holy spirits dwell; it is there in your bodies that He is speaking of which is His church for the His Holy Spirit to dwell, a temple, and from whence the kingdom of God comes forth formed within the womb and without hands. It is called a living church because His church, you are each a physical living body, who are believers in Christ and have come unto Him. These are they who have repented of their sins and are baptized by one who Christ, not man has ordained and given His authority to minister in His kingdom in these last days. And you become a living breathing body of His church and a member of His kingdom which no man or men or God can undo - but you by either your faithfullnes or tretcchery may forfeit and then you cease to be of His church.
All other orgnizations, legal or otherwise as recognized by men, the state or that of by any Governments are not His church but the church of the devil (Isaiah 28:8). As Luke taught in 17:21 many would say here is His true church, here, but that those would not be His church and that instead it would be found in you who are reptenant and this is His gospel and if any come teaching more or less than what He has established are not of Him and are of the devil.
Please take into consideration that the Kingdom of God is a specific reference to something as Daniel saw and prophesied – it is not one and the same as, “The Church” an organization, or a “church” a body of believers, any time we conflate the meanings of the Kingdom of God and the Church, and identify them as being one in the same, we lose knowledge and the mysteries of God become hidden to us. This is done else where in the scriptures with other terms and phrases used interchangeably when they ought not, such as the Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit, sometimes these are one in the same how they are used but they are different, but of the same power and we should take note when they are used as different meanings.
The Kingdom of God and the Church of God are different, uniquely different – both have separate and independent roles here on Earth, both are governed by the priesthood but neither controls or governs the other. They are both independent of one another, but not independent of the priesthood, both are dependent on the priesthood.
“…the phrases Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven, the Church of Christ, Church of God, the Church, etc., are often used interchangeably and indiscriminately to represent in a general way that divine institution which God in whole or in part from time to time establishes to help man in the matter of his salvation. But it is proper for the reader to know that Joseph Smith when speaking strictly recognized a distinction between “The Church of Jesus Christ” and the “Kingdom of God” And not only a distinction but a separation of one from the other. The Kingdom of God … is to be a political institution… On the other hand the Church of Christ is purely an ecclesiastical organization … ” (The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo, 1965 ed., pp. 180-1)
When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established on the face of the earth, and takes the pre−eminence over all other nations and kingdoms, it will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship. If they wish to worship a god of their own workmanship, instead of the true and living God, all right, if they will mind their own business and let other people alone.
As was observed by brother Pratt, that Kingdom is actually organized, and the inhabitants of the earth do not know it. If this people know anything about it, all right; it is organized preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord, and in the manner that shall please Him. As observed by one of the speakers this morning, that Kingdom grows out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter−day Saints, but it is not the Church, for a man may be a legislator in that body which will issue laws to sustain the inhabitants of the earth in their individual rights, and still not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ at all.” (JD 2:310, Brigham Young, July 8, 1855)
“The Kingdom of God is a separate organization from the Church of God. There may be men acting as officers in the Kingdom of God who will not be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On this point the Prophet Joseph gave particular instructions before his death, and gave an example, which he asked the younger elders who were present to always remember. It was to the effect that men might be chosen to officiate as members of the Kingdom of God who had no standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Kingdom of God when established will not be for the protection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alone, but for the protection of all men, whatever their religious views or opinions may be. Under its rule, no one will be permitted to overstep the proper bounds or to interfere with the rights of others.” (President George Q. Cannon, HC 7:382)
When reading the scriptures try and identify that the Church and the Kingdom of God being referenced are sometimes two different things, they indeed have different roles and responsibilities, thus with this you may understand better what it is that is being revealed.
The word “messenger” (mal·äk’) in the Hebrew Bible refers to Angels. It wasn’t until the New Testament era that this was sometimes used in referring to the Prophets. It is something to ponder, so when you read in the Bible, just change the word messenger to Angel and see how this transforms the scriptures. It is neat to ponder and may help your understanding. It is also something to consider, depending on the content or context of what is being said and to whom whether He says servants and or messengers is referring to a person or an angelic being.
Take for example this passage of scripture in D&C 1:14, it mentions both servants (angels), prophets, and aposles; as an aside, notice all three are plural and not possive, meaning more than one angel, or in this case more than one prophet, but many.
14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the bday cometh that they who will not chear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
Whether it is The “New” and Everlasting Covenant of Baptism, or The “New” and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage. The New and Everlasting Covenant – yeah – even the BOOK OF MORMON. It’s not a new covenant vs. old covenant, but a covenant of renewal, newness, born again, every day with the Lord is new, and everlasting- it never gets old, or worn. You are made new in Him, and this is an everlasting covenant unto you.
Basically God is extending His covenants again to the people so while its new to that generation it is an eternal and everlasting covenant.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently addressed a long time misconception of the Saints regarding the restoration of Priesthood Keys at the Kirtland temple, wherein many have been accustom to saying that Joseph received all the keys of the priesthood there at the Kirtland Temple, Elder Oaks clarifies this and also reminds us that there are other priesthood keys that have NOT been given to men on Earth. You can read his entire talk here: April 2014 Priesthood Session of General Conference: “The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood”.
An excerpt from his talk:
“Ultimately, all keys of the priesthood are held by the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood it is. He is the one who determines what keys are delegated to mortals and how those keys will be used. We are accustomed to thinking that all keys of the priesthood were conferred on Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, but the scripture states that all that was conferred there were “the keys of this dispensation” (D&C 110:16). At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection.”