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The Template of Christ

The Template of Christ

3 Nephi 9 

Scott Roderick 

1/5/24 


This is the 2nd edition of chapter 1 of “The Rise of the Davidic King” written several years ago but never published. It was updated to reflect more recent information received since the original text was written. I anticipate sharing all or a portion of other chapters from the same book in the future. The following is a quote from the foreword of the Old Covenant to the Restoration Edition of the scriptures: 

This edition of scripture stands as a witness to the whole world; it is the sign that the moment has arrived when the things that have been prophesied of in scripture will now occur in a single generation. Mankind doesn’t have to accept the witness, they don’t even have to notice the witness; it’s only required that God send the witness. If He sends the witness, God has done His part. These scriptures are a new witness of Him and a sign of His invitation to renew communication with mankind. (RE Old Covenant Forward, paragraph 3, emphasis added). 

This statement makes a definitive declaration about the current generation. It declares that this is the generation when prophecies in scripture are to be fulfilled. While we may be certain prophetically meaningful events will occur in the current generation, the statement does nothing meaningful with regard to the timing of said events.1 Speculating on timing is a fool’s errand and not something this paper will do. 

With the aid of the scriptures, it is possible to draw some correlations between what has happened with what happens in this generation. With attention to detail in scriptural accounts, it is possible to examine future events by reviewing how similar events unfolded in the past.  

The Book of Mormon is the great prophecy for our day. We should look at it as warning us, not merely as a history of a fallen people. It was intended as a warning to us based on their history and not merely as history. The “more righteous” survived then, and will likewise survive His Second Coming. The “more righteous” were not sin free. They were more righteous, because they hearkened to what the Lord told them. This did not mean they weren't a work-in-process with weaknesses and frailties. They were willing to hear His voice in the messengers He sent and to respond to Him. These were the few people spared. They were “more righteous,” because they received His message from an authorized messenger. They had faith in the word declared to them. (Snuffer Jr., Denver C.. The Teachings of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. Volume 2: 40 Years in Mormonism 2013-2014: Kindle Edition (The Teachings of Denver C. Snuffer Jr. Readers Edition Series) (p. 214). Restoration Archives. Kindle Edition, emphasis added) 

In recent papers I’ve written of a reoccurring theme that is relevant for our day. The theme points to offers of covenant with the Lord. It has been done with mixed results in the past. Few have successfully made this transition and many have fallen short. While it is unlikely we can accurately predict exactly how the current covenant offer unfolds, it is not impossible to identify how similar events transpired in the past. 


3 Nephi 9- A Type for Future Covenant Transition? 


After the crucifixion of Jesus, destruction swept through the most wicked of Nephite cities. Thereafter the Savior ministered to some who survived cataclysmic events. The Lord ministered to them and then departed with the promise He would return the following day.  

Witnesses of the Savior’s first day ministry returned to their homes with their families and then left to gather those who were absent the first day. On the following day a large multitude was assembled. For those who were not present the first day, it was necessary to instruct them in the Savior’s teachings from the prior day. This was possible because the Lord appointed twelve disciples who were present and enabled to teach what the Savior had said exactly. 

This may appear as a random set of events but there is an underlying priesthood pattern followed. The pattern is discernible if attention is paid to various roles of key participants. After the multitude was divided into twelve groups, each one instructed by a disciple of Christ. They were commanded to kneel and pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. 

. . . And behold, the multitude was so great that they did cause that they should be separated into twelve bodies, and the twelve did teach the multitude. And behold, they did cause that the multitude should kneel down upon the face of the earth and should pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus. And the disciples did pray unto the Father also in the name of Jesus . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:2, emphasis added).  

These events appear logical and not expressly noteworthy but subtle changes in the process unfold as events progress. After the multitude and disciples finish praying to the Father, the disciples arise and teach words spoken by the Lord on the previous day.  

. . . And when they had ministered them same words which Jesus had spoken, nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken, behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:2, emphasis added). 

The phrase, “nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken” is a clue to the priesthood capacity the disciples were functioning under.  

. . . Angels speak by the power of the holy ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ . . . (RE 2 Nephi 14:1, emphasis added).  

The disciples of Jesus literally spoke the words of Christ, nothing varying. They did so by the power of the holy ghost. Yet how could they speak with the power of the holy ghost when they had not as yet received it? 

. . . And when they had ministered them same words which Jesus had spoken, nothing varying from the words which Jesus had spoken, behold, they knelt again and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus; and they did pray for that which they most desired. And they desired that the holy ghost should be given unto them . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:2, emphasis added).  

Angels speak by the power of the holy ghost, speaking only the words of Christ. Yet the twelve disciples of Jesus, after reciting His exact words rose up and asked the Father in the name of Jesus to give them the holy ghost. How can that be? It appears contradictory, but it is not. To begin, mortal men are called as messengers to deliver the words of Christ.  

 

For he that receives my servants receives me (T&C 82:17). The word “servants” in this context means “angels.” Angel is derived from the Greek word ággelos [ἄγγελος] which means “messenger.” The messenger must bring a message from the Lord. It does not matter if the messenger is mortal. The word describes a category of messenger that includes not only pre-mortal and post-mortal spirits, but also living men. When anyone, man or angel, is entrusted with a message from God, the message is God’s. God makes no distinction between the messenger and Himself. (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Angel, pp.568-569, emphasis added). 

The twelve disciples act as angels when they repeat words of Christ without variation. They are endowed with the capacity to do so by the holy ghost of which the Lord said: 

. . . But the Comforter, who is the holy ghost whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance — whatever I have said unto you . . . (RE John 9:9, emphasis added). 

The influence of the holy ghost is not an all or nothing proposition, neither is its influence confined to one priesthood. When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by John the Baptist, they were told this priesthood did not include the power to give the holy ghost by the laying on of hands.  

. . . While we were thus employed praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from Heaven descended in a cloud of light, [prior to their Aaronic ordination] and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. And this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter, and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterward that he should baptize me . . . (RE Joseph Smith History 14:1, emphasis added). 

Seemingly contrary to the words of John the Baptist, when Joseph Smith baptized Oliver Cowdery the holy ghost fell upon him and Joseph Smith experienced the same when he was baptized by Oliver Cowdery. 

Immediately upon our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery than the holy ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy; when standing up I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the holy ghost and rejoiced in the God of our salvation. (RE Joseph Smith History 14:3, emphasis added). 

This may seem contradictory to the words of John the Baptist but it is not. When Jesus prepared His disciples for His imminent passing, He said the following regarding the holy ghost: 

If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever — even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it sees him not, neither knows him. But you know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you . . . (RE John 9:8, emphasis added). 

There is a distinction between the holy ghost dwelling with you and the holy ghost being in you. It is both a practical and priesthood distinction. Joseph and Oliver had the holy ghost with them, even as the Jerusalem disciples of Christ had prior to His death. The Nephite disciples had the holy ghost with them to recall all things spoken by the Savior to their remembrance. Having the holy ghost with you as opposed to in you is transitory as opposed to transformational. Mortal angels representing the Lord do so under the inspiration and authority of the Aaronic Priesthood. It does not include the gift of bestowing the holy ghost by the laying on of hands. It also doesn’t restrict the holy ghost from being granted to those on the Lord’s errand. It does restrict them from giving the gift to others. 

Under the Aaronic covenant the holy ghost may be with a person without being in them. Under those circumstances the influence of the holy ghost is situational as opposed to constant. That is why the Savior explained to His disciples they knew the holy ghost because it had been with them and He promised it would be in them. The Nephite disciples, not the multitude, asked the Father to give them the holy ghost so it could be in them. Why would the disciples pray for the holy ghost if they were enjoying its influence? 

The Nephite disciples, as they ministered to the multitude play the same role as Peter, James (Jacob), and John, the Lord’s mortal messengers sent to test Adam and Eve in the Temple endowment. This part of the process is Aaronic, or preparatory and associated with the Spirit of Elias. 


The Transformational Nature of the Holy Ghost 


The transformation taking place when the holy ghost enters a person is referred to by several terms and is often misunderstood. There is a reason the holy ghost entering into the Nephite disciples was what they most desired. The Glossary of Gospel Terms sheds light on that question. 

A sign of redemption, purification, and holiness that is included in the “gate” for entering into God’s presence. The baptism of fire and the holy ghost, as taught by Christ in the Doctrine of Christ (see 2 Nephi 13:3), is given without man’s involvement, comes from heaven, and is promised by both the Father and the Son. God is a “consuming fire,” and those who enter into His presence must be able to endure that fire (see Hebrews 1:57; Deuteronomy 2:5). Without the capacity to do so, a person would be consumed by the flames (see Leviticus 2:25). The fire and the holy ghost are given as a sign to the recipient that they may know it is safe for them to enter into God’s presence and not be consumed. The baptism of fire purges and removes sin, and its effect is to permit one to speak with the tongue of angels (2 Nephi 13:2). Nephi cautions that once this gift has been conferred, if one should deny me [Christ], it would have been better for you that ye had not known me (2 Nephi 13:3). This process comes after repentance and baptism; it comes to show all things and to teach the peaceable things of the kingdom (T&C 23:2). “To speak with the tongue of angels means you are elevated — your knowledge and your inspiration reckons from heaven itself. You have been elevated by fire, which purges sins and purifies. In effect, you receive holiness through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. This in turn makes your own spirit holy. Your spirit or your ghost is within you, connected to heaven to such a degree through this process that you are in possession of a holy spirit or a holy ghost within you.”2 Recipients of the baptism of fire and the holy ghost receive the Father’s testimony of the Son. “And thus will the Father bear record of me (3 Nephi 5:9). You cannot receive this baptism and not have a testimony given to you by the Father of the Son.” (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Baptism by Fire and the Holy Ghost, pp.585-586, emphasis added). 

The baptism by fire and the holy ghost is a significant rite of passage. It marks the required milestone whereby a person is sanctified and prepared to enter God’s presence and not be ignited by it.2 It grants the individual the privilege of speaking with the tongue of angels and conversing with those on the other side of the veil. Communications are of a higher, more enlightened content and open to the recipient greater access and understanding of the knowledge of God.  

In the Testimony of Saint John, Jesus taught His disciples about what is to be expected when one receives the holy ghost and baptism by fire. 

These words have I spoken to you while I am still present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost that the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and restore to your memory all truth I have taught to you, and the record of Heaven itself. (RE T&C 171, Testimony of Saint John 10:15, emphasis added). 

This passing through the gate between mortality and immortality establishes a pattern of initiation where the individual is introduced into the sociality of Heaven. They enter because the holy ghost transforms the individual into a person prepared to engage organically in the Heavenly society. Their nature conforms to the nature of those who entered before them. It is not a typical social order but a rite of adoption where the adoptee is introduced into the family of Jesus Christ. They are accepted because “they have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually” as did the Savior.3 

In addition to providing a contrast between what it means to have the holy ghost with you as opposed to in you, it explains why receiving the holy ghost within them was what the Nephite disciples desired most. They “hungered and thirsted after righteousness” as the Savior said,4 and received the holy ghost in accordance with their desires. 

 . . . And when they had thus prayed, they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them. And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized. And he came up out of the water and began to baptize, and he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen. And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the holy ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the holy ghost and with fire. And behold, they were encircled about as if it were fire, and it came down from Heaven, and the multitude did witness it and do bear record. And angels did come down out of Heaven and did minister unto them . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:2, emphasis added).  

The 3 Nephi 9 account explains what happened observationally, but insight into what occurred within the pillar is scant. The presence of the pillar itself is informative. Pillars of fire are signs the Spirit of Elijah is present and those encircled in the pillar cross the bridge between mortality and immorality.5 Not only a literal bridge but a spiritual and intellectual bridge. Those encircled within the conduit are sanctified, enabled to speak the language of angels and reintroduced to their record of Heaven, or their knowledge previously secured within them but restored when they are sufficiently cleansed and prepared for its restoration to their consciousness. The Glossary of Gospel Terms is helpful in explaining what occurs within the pillar.  


Three Stages of Restoring Knowledge 


There are at least three stages in the process of restoring knowledge. The first stage is to receive it [Spirit of Elias]. Receiving it is not the same thing as the second stage, which is to comprehend it [Spirit of Elijah]. It is possible that a man receive something without understanding what it was that he receivedTime and careful, solemn, and ponderous thoughts are required to untangle what has been received in order to comprehend what it is that one has been given. But it is altogether something of a different order of magnitude, completely separate from that, to teach it. One can receive it and comprehend it, but he may not be able to teach it. When it finally does get taught, undoubtedly it will be taught in the manner Joseph Smith was beginning to work on in Nauvoo but never finished — that is, by ceremony and by covenant [Spirit of Messiah]. And this, too, by something given by God. It will only be established in a House that is acceptable to Him. If anyone wants to know what Joseph Smith was doing in his efforts — in a whole new effort — he has to understand the birthright, sealing power, and organizing again on the earth the kingdom of God. He was trying to bring back the actual family. But he was taken at the incipient stage, because all that he was sent here to do was to lay the groundwork, to lay the beginning, to come as an Elias. Joseph came to call to the world and to give them, if they will pay attention to it, a basis for study to learn and potentially qualify for the Lord to resume the restoration and bring it to a completion. (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, Restoring Knowledge, pp.774-775, emphasis added). 

The Nephite disciples pass from stage one in the process of restoring knowledge to stage two, with an introduction to stage 3. This is deduced through examining scriptural precedent describing similar accounts. For example, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery following the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. No mention is made of a pillar of fire but other similarities are present. 

On the third day of April 1836, Joseph and Oliver were in the temple in Kirtland, Ohio. The veil was taken from their minds and the eyes of their understanding were opened [Record of Heaven].They saw the Lord in his glory standing above them and the breastwork of the pulpit; and under his feet appeared as it were a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the Alpha and the Omega; I am he who was slain, I am he who lives; I am your advocate with the Father. 

Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me, therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice. Let the hearts of your brethren also rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name. For behold, I have accepted this house and my name shall be here, and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house. Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house. (RE T&C 157:26-28, emphasis added). 

The early saints of the restoration sacrificed to build the Kirtland Temple but before it could function in its formal capacity, it had to be accepted by the Lord. This is why He first appeared prior to the events that followed. His endorsement of the Temple made possible the events thereafter. This may be a pattern to be applied to individuals who sanctify themselves [as personal Temples] and the Savior accepts them as sanctified, worthy of receiving revelation from Heaven. 

As this vision closed, the Heavens were again opened to their view, and they saw and beheld, and were endowed with knowledge from the beginning of this creation to the ends thereof. [Stages 1&2 Restored Knowledge] And they were shown unspeakable things from the sealed record of Heaven, [Stage 3 Restored Knowledge] which man is not capable of making known, but must be revealed by the Powers of Heaven [Angels, Patriarchal Fathers]. 

They beheld Michael [Adam, Spirit of Messiah], the archangel, Gabriel [Noah, Spirit of Elias], and Raphael [Enoch, Spirit of Elijah], and divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the end of time, showing in turns their dispensations, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the Powers of their Priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; endowing them with knowledge, even here a little and there a little; holding forth hope for the work God was yet to perform, even the revelation of all things which are to come upon the earth until the return of the Lord in glory with His holy angels — to pour out judgment upon the world, and to reward the righteous. 

And they were unable to take it in [Stage 1, Restored Knowledge]; therefore, they were commanded to pray and ask to comprehend by the power of the spirit, to bring all things to their remembrance, even the Record of Heaven which would abide in them [Stage 2, Restored Knowledge]. Amen and Amen. (RE T&C 157:30-32, emphasis added). 

The return of Adam, Noah and Enoch was more than a random selection from a list of Patriarchs. The three men mentioned represent three categories, Spirit of Messiah, or Adam in the presence of the Messiah, Enoch, or the Spirit of Elijah, those who ascend to Heaven, and Noah, or the Spirit of Elias, providing a foundation of knowledge from which to build upon]. Each represents three levels of descent which began when Adam fell in Eden. In a great chiasm, these three Spirits are present when the return ascent of man began with Joseph Smith in the capacity of Elias, a preparatory or Aaronic function. Followed by the Davidic king [Root of Jesse] who was a future mortal to be literally ministered to by the prophet Elijah, who ascended to Heaven [establishing a connection between the Heavens and Earth]. Lastly, the Spirit of Messiah who is embodied by the Savior at His return.  

As described by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, each of these prophets declared their rights and privileges “in turns,” suggesting a pattern or order to what and why they made their declarations when they did. Elias provides the foundation or preparation as the first rung on Jacob’s ladder with the Aaronic Priesthood. We know the Spirit of Messiah comes last, because the Savior represents the highest Priesthood which must be restored at the end of the world as it was previously constituted in the beginning [creation]. Having those two parameters fixed, it is reasonable to conclude the Spirit of Elijah represents the middle ground. In the afterlife there are seven rungs on Jacobs ladder. There may be sub-categories as well but the number seven is symbolic of perfection,6 which is what one achieves when they reach the top of Jacob’s ladder.  

When the pillar surrounded the Nephite disciples it marked the beginning of their association or Priesthood with the Patriarchal Fathers. The purpose behind their meeting was so the Father’s could begin mentoring those whom they ministered to in their ascent up Jacob’s ladder. In addition to declaring their rights and privileges, they provided instruction regarding where the mortals were ascending to and what was required for their continued ascent. It was an exchange of the glory of God or intelligence, light and truth. 

Likewise, in the afterlife there are different rungs on Jacob's ladder where different “Powers” [of Heaven] are fixed. Angel, archangel, principality, power, dominion, throne, cherubim, or seraphim, they may all be called “powers of heaven.”] This is not the kind of hierarchy seen among gentiles in the gentile church. These powers have no desire to control or compel others to rise on Jacob’s ladder. These are developmental stages of growth through which all must pass if they want to ascend nearer to God. Each individual on Jacob’s ladder should be moving toward perfection. Higher powers of heaven have progressed more near to, and therefore are more like, God. Their ranking is not to give authority to abuse those who are lower in station, degree, or advancement. The higher powers use persuasion, love, meekness and pure knowledge to help others advance.7 Few “called” in this life [mortality] are ever “chosen” in the next. They [mortal men] refuse to learn how these [Patriarchal] rights [of adoption and sealing] are inseparably connected with the Spirit of our Lord and His Father. They never obtain the “mind of God” or Holy Spirit, or associate themselves with the third member of the Godhead. The Powers of Heaven [Patriarchal Fathers], wherever they are on Jacob’s ladder [progressive rungs], are all appropriately called “Powers.” The real definition of priesthood is an association between mankind on the one hand, and those [Powers of Heaven] on the other side of the veil. It is a brotherhood. It is also potentially a sisterhood. It is a fellowship wherein mortals are connected [sealed]with the “Powers of Heaven.” (Snuffer, Denver. Preserving the Restoration . Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition, emphasis added). 

Jacob’s ladder is a metaphor for describing levels of ascension or steps of progression toward godliness. In effect, it is the process whereby the natural man advances from a state of nature to a state of godlike attributes in their conduct and thinking. The process is challenging to mortals because it involves a transition in the linear manner in which mortal man thinks. The mortal manner of thinking is tied to fallen man’s concept of time, which is only measured to men and not God. 

. . . Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise, it mattereth not, for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not — all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto man. . . (RE Alma 19:5, emphasis added). 

Alma gives us a first glimpse in the difference between life in mortality and Eternal Life or God’s life.8 Continuing with Alma’s assertion that “all is as one day with God,” is a response by Denver Snuffer Jr. regarding the contrast between times impact on mortals and its non-existence in God’s economy. This quote is lengthy but filled with content that stirs the mind to contemplate deep and ponderous thoughts.  

. . . There is a tremendous tendency to see things in a linear way and to impose an order into something which does not always follow the time-line pattern we live within. God has before Him information which, for us, remains yet future and hidden. Therefore we tend to want Him to conform to our time-sensitive perceptions, when in fact He does not. All the elements of the pattern will happen. But the order, time-line or sequence can be completely scrambled from our limited perspective inside of time. 

If you look at the experience of Enoch, the Lord spoke to him about gifts and power his faith was to produce some time in Enoch’s future (Moses 6: 34) as an existing fact. The events which would display these powers were, however, hundreds of years in Enoch’s future (Moses 7: 13-17). Likewise Joseph Smith beheld the Father and Son in a vision while yet in his youth (JS-H 1: 17-20). He saw the Father. Therefore Joseph had at that very moment, while still a youth, possession of the highest order of priesthood (D&C 84: 21-22). Despite this, Joseph would be later ordained by John the Baptist to Aaronic Priesthood (JS-H 1: 68-70). The Aaronic Priesthood has the keys of ministering angels (D&C 84: 26). Yet before receiving this form of priesthood, Joseph had an angel minister to him (JS-H 1: 30-41). So before Joseph received “keys” from John the Baptist he was exercising the keys belonging to the priesthood he would receive. I could go on but these illustrate the point. Events involving God do not necessarily follow the same time-line as we would expect them to follow. When, however, Joseph received angels, you can know for certain he held priesthood. When he was visited by the Son, you can know he held priesthood and keys for that. When he was visited by the Father, Joseph Smith had priesthood. It was necessarily present and was in him. Don’t ever doubt that. Even if you don’t quite understand it at present, it is nevertheless true. So also you can receive things from God which are apparently out of sequence with the time-line we live in here. 

God is not limited as we are. He lives in a place where all things, past, present and future, are before Him (D&C 130: 7). Time is not only irrelevant, it is non-existent with God. 

So if you’re trying to prepare a list, the list can include all the ingredients, but it cannot be linear and progressive in a time-confined progression. God doesn’t conform to that kind of list. He will touch all the points, but in His own way. Our difficulties in understanding this kind of matter is further complicated by limitations on language and lack of faith. Therefore Joseph wisely confined his comments to what the Lord required him to say, and left the rest for each person to discover for themselves. To a great degree these things are not explainable in our language. We are two-dimensional, attempting to explain four-dimensional material. There is always a gap. 

As a Gospel Dispensation is unfolded, the Lord will always violate rules we think exist involving timing and sequence. He will confer things which apparently belong long into the process, and will do it apparently independent of the established requirements. But His strange act is not ours. He will do as He wills. For us, once an order is established by Him, the order is followed. Joseph may have received the highest priesthood as a youth, but that still required the ministering of angels and conferral of progressive keys in the process of establishing the dispensation. It also required him to conform to ordinances, including baptism, as the order was re-established on the earth. [Jesus was tutored by angels before His baptism, as well. But He was still required to be baptized.] Through Joseph the Lord set a system in place which would teach and perpetuate the process, which then became linear and time-sensitive. Once established it respected the order of things in this dimension. But as soon as you begin to project our dimension onto God’s, you begin to make mistakes about God. He is not bound, as we are, by time or by timing. [This is a very great–meaning vast–topic. It can only be mentioned here, and not fully developed. But it is nevertheless a very real difference between “gazing into heaven for five minutes” on the one hand, and reading all that has ever been written on the subject on the other. It is only referenced in passing in the scriptures. Therefore don’t expect this to become a well developed subject by what some man writes. Look to God for understanding on this topic.] I’ve dealt with some of this in Beloved Enos. You might want to revisit that book with the question in mind because there’s information in there that helps. But it only “helps” and cannot say all on the topic. 

Joseph Smith made a comment about a relationship between the Second Comforter and Calling and Election. I quote it early in The Second Comforter, and I think you can read it on the bottom of page 3. (It is a quote taken from TPJS p. 150.) Joseph’s description is linear. He talks about proving you’re determined to follow God at any cost, and then you have your Calling and Election made sure, and then the Second Comforter comes to you. It is a nice quote. It covers the topic. But any implication in Joseph’s statement about a linear progression is belied by Joseph’s own experience. For him the events did not take place in a linear way. He started at the top and worked backwards. But his quote suggests an order based upon this estate and our need for orientation here. So it’s a good quote and altogether accurate (from our perspective here). 

Right now we are all in need of a new dispensation of the Gospel. Some lost (or never completed) components of the work need to be dispensed to us either anew or for the first time. Joseph promised more, and the scriptures predict more, will be given before the Lord’s return in glory. An obvious example is the establishment of the New Jerusalem and Zion. It hasn’t happened yet. Joseph wanted to see the Lord bring it again, but it didn’t happen in his day. When he crossed the river on June 23, 1844 he was headed west to the Rocky Mountains to try and find the remnant and the site of the New Jerusalem. Instead because of criticism about abandoning the flock when it was threatened (accusing him of being a “false shepherd”) he returned and surrendered and was killed. Now we all think the New Jerusalem is to be located in Jackson County Missouri. I suppose that’s a good thing we all think that. But it may not necessarily be true. There’s still some missing information on that topic, I believe. 

Well, you proceed just as Joseph did. Inquire of God, who gives to all men liberally and does not upbraid. And if you ask in faith, nothing wavering, He will make the truth known to you. That is what this generation needs to hear. That is where it begins. Once it begins, all things get added thereto. God is patient and understanding of His children’s needs. He will never abandon the earnest seeker. So become one of those. Follow what He directs and you will find yourself in possession of life and light and hope and covenants. Not between you and another man, but between you and God. The full answer to your question should be given to you by angels, or the Lord or the Father, and not a man. When men interject themselves into that process they generally create distance between you and your God. They hinder, rather than help. 

Having said that, here are the events: Angels minister to you and confer power, light and truth. They prepare you to receive the Lord. He ministers to you and confers promises, administers covenants, takes away your awful shame, and gives you promises. He prepares you to be introduced to the Father. The Father makes you a son by accepting you through His Only Begotten Son. Along the way you will know for yourself the things which occur on the other side of the veil, where God and Christ dwell in glory. (A Follow-up Question, Blogpost, January 3, 2012, emphasis added). 

Early this morning I was excited to receive insight and some understanding regarding this subject. When my wife awoke I tried to explain that a voice spoke to my mind and it was met with a blank stare. After a few attempts at conveying to her the profundity I felt about what was spoken to my mind I realized my attempts were futile. Later in the day I found the above quote by Denver and was impressed by the content of the blogpost and decided to share it. That said, I concluded that what Denver said in two parts of his blogpost pertained to my effort to share thoughts on this subject. First, I have a two dimensional mind attempting to explain four dimensional concepts. Secondly, “When men interject themselves into that process they generally create distance between you and your God. They hinder, rather than help.” I prefer not being a hindrance and not be the cause of distancing you from God. 

Suffice it to say, one of the great traditions of our father’s impeding our ability to comprehend God is our linear thought process. We project on God time constraints that do not exist in His economy. The Lectures On Faith equate receiving the holy ghost with receiving “the mind of the Father.”9 Not only does this include a transition from being a natural man to a spiritual being, it also reflects a transition in thought from two dimensional thinking to four dimensional thinking. Imagine going from time constrained thoughts in mortality to multi-dimensional thinking where the past, present and future blend together to form one great now. If that thought alone doesn’t lead us into deep and ponderous thoughts, we are too busy seeking Cliff Notes on God and His wondrous ways. 

In the course of contemplating this subject I came across the topic of One Eternal Round from A Glossary of Gospel Topics. Read and contemplate it carefully and see where it takes you.  

There is no beginning, and there is no end; it is one eternal round.1 “This round of creation is only part of the cycle. We are part of endless cycles. Now. Today matters a great deal. Therefore, what you do here matters, infinitely and eternally. Set aside doubts, and have faith. It is the only way to change your eternal destiny. We should all want to be baptized and to be cleansed from sin. But, the prototype of the saved man requires more. We may only receive limited grace in this life, but we must hold fast. We cannot receive more if we will not receive all that is offered us now. If we will receive what is offered now, we will be added upon for ever and ever (Abraham 6:2). In other words, we move up the ladder by our heed and diligence in this cycle of creation. As we do, we will have so much the advantage in the next cycle.”2 Men and women can choose to move upward and be added upon, or they can choose to remain as they are, worlds without end. Now is part of eternity. Though mortal, all live in eternity and ought to take this opportunity seriously. The scriptures speak of things that happened “before the foundation of the world” or “in the first place” or “from the foundation of the world.” These statements make it clear that what went on prior to this creation matters and affects mankind now. In the same way, what one accepts in this life, by his heed and diligence, affects what comes after. The course all are on has been ordained by God and is one eternal round (Alma 5:5; 17:8; JSH 10:2; T&C 18:1). Even if someone has proven himself before, he must prove himself again, now. 

God has been at this a long time. Christ has been involved in many repeated cycles of creation. Moses was told: And by the word of my power have I created them, who is my Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created, and I also created them for my own purpose; and by the same I created them, who is my Only Begotten [It is endless, and it is cyclical.] For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power, and there are many that now stand, and numberless are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them (Genesis 1:6). This is God’s great work. It has been going through cycles of creation, fall, redemption, judgment, and re-creation for ever. It is endless. Many unnumbered worlds have been, now are, and will yet be. The Lord told Moses just how vast this process is: These are many and they cannot be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come. And there is no end to my works, neither to my words (Genesis 1: 7). This is a continual, endless cycle, worlds without end. Man falls into the cold realm of the temporal but is returned again to the spiritual. The process allows incremental development based on choices. When any cycle begins, man is spirit. When it is underway, man is temporal and physical. But when a cycle ends, man is spirit again. Humanity is nearing another turn of the wheel when wickedness ends. As modern revelation describes it, For the hour is nigh and the day is soon at hand when the earth will be ripe, and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble, and I will burn them up, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth…. For I will reveal myself from Heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand (T&C 9:3). Then, when the thousand years are ended and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season, and the end shall come, and the Heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new Heaven and a new earth (T&C 9:7). The cycle repeats, but nothing is lost. The old passes away, but everything is kept to be used again, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air and the fishes of the sea, and not one hair neither mote shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of my hand(T&C 9:7).3  (A Glossary of Gospel Terms, One Eternal Round, pp.739-741, emphasis added). 


Without Compulsory Means 

There is a subtle point in the quote about Jacob’s ladder that should not be overlooked. It directs us to a divine attribute at the higher rungs on Jacob’s ladder. 

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. (Smith Jr., Joseph. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (p. 397), emphasis added. Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition). 

God’s eventual objective for all mankind is to progress from one small degree to another, from a small capacity to a great capacity, from grace to grace as did Jesus.10 It is noteworthy those who advance on Jacob’s ladder grow less inclined to compel others to move up the ladder, resorting only to patient encouragement. The concept of compulsion becomes abhorrent to them. This suggests the higher our ascent on the ladder, the more godly we become until we reach Godhood. At the apex of our ascent we conform to His image and possess His attributes. Reflective of His crowning attributes is the following revelation to Joseph Smith: 

. . . your dominion [kingdom] shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto you for ever and ever. (RE T&C 139:6, emphasis added). 

When a person ascends to the level of Godhood, they receive a dominion or kingdom flowing to them organically, naturally, without being compelled by external forces. The higher they ascend the greater care is given not to compel others in their ascension. That does not mean they are unwilling to assist, only that they will not resort to compulsion as a form of assistance. The ends do not justify the means, in fact, the end may impair or destroy them. The agency of man must remain inviolate because any compulsion is a threat to both of the beneficiary and the benefactor. 

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise, there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning [pre-mortality] is plainly manifest unto them [mankind], and they receive not the light, and every man whose spirit receives not the light is under condemnation. (RE T&C 93:10, emphasis added). 

Light of truth or intelligence is co-eternal with God and is not created. It is placed within a “sphere” by God and given its agency to act independently within the sphere God has placed it. As it advances, the sphere expands as does their agency according to additional light and knowledge the intelligence receives. This is how God began and all mankind follows this pattern. Their progression is based on their agency and their choice of good over evil tied to their willingness to receive greater light and knowledge. Those who proceed willingly, progress more rapidly. Those who lack the will to seek sufficient intelligence or greater knowledge remain in their present state.11 The Patriarchal Fathers, including God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ all desire eternal progression up Jacob’s ladder for all. But it is incumbent upon us to gain light and truth. They lead us to water but cannot compel us to drink. Doing so by compulsion is a threat to their very existence because without agency, there is no existence. If we or They attempt compulsion the Heavens withdraw their association and the Priesthood or association withdraws and is lost.  

Mankind, being left to their own choices, accountability, and responsibility progress according to their obedience to God and His messengers. Their prior recollections of pre-mortal life are gradually restored and they choose to accept or not accept light restored to their consciousness. When restored, Satan seeks to persuade them not to believe the restored light and their rejection of truth subjects them to Satan and his lies. Like the mists of darkness Lehi and Nephi witnessed, they wander aimlessly until they turn to God seeking greater light and knowledge. Here is the agency of man and their condemnation. God sends light and knowledge through whisperings, chosen vessels and angels to restore knowledge of their prior existence. At Satan’s urgings they reject the restored light. When they reject what is offered, they fight against those who do believe the added light and persecute and kill those sent by the Lord to instruct and redeem them. 

Rather than resort to compulsion, the godly resort to “persuasion, love, meekness and pure knowledge to help others advance.” Why do godly men prefer to patiently teach others gently, lovingly, and meekly with pure knowledge rather than compulsion? The obvious answer is compulsion is Satanic and contrary to the nature of God. And while that statement is accurate, it is not the primary reason the gentle, loving approach is not only preferred but required. The righteous who adopt God’s work and glory are in the process of advancing themselves and any departure from God’s pattern results in destroying both those sent to save as well as those they desire to save. Agency for all must never be compromised. 


Further Evidence of Self-Selection 


The reason the Father gave those who exercised great faith to Jesus for adoption was because He became their means for salvation and they discerned between good and evil, choosing good. They recognized and received God’s messengers. 

The lesson drawn from these observations should not be overlooked as we approach the advent of Elijah and the Holy Order. A few points are material. First, disciples of Christ are rewarded for being proactive in their faith in Christ. So much was accomplished in the early days of the Savior’s ministry to the Nephites. It is embarrassing to approach my seventieth year and only now come to understand so much. It has been a lifetime. The only obstacle between us and these sacred rites are our own choices and priorities. Humility, love and devotion to God is required. 

We stand in jeopardy of forfeiting the privilege we hope God may soon offer. He expects us to make significant progress in learning the one lesson required to claim the rights of the Priesthood Elijah is sent to usher in.  

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen, and why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson — that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven and that the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the Heavens withdraw themselves, the spirit of the Lord is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. (RE T&C 139:5, emphasis added). 

When we exercise control, dominion or compulsion in any degree of unrighteousness upon those around us, the Heavens withdraw themselves. The Patriarchal Fathers want nothing to do with those acts because exerting compulsion towards one another robs us of the ability to learn how to discern good from evil. We cannot be compelled to make right choices. A Godly person knows this intuitively, independent of others. The only difference between a righteous man and a wicked are their choices. Compelling a person to make right choices may get them over a self-conceived finish line only to find out paying tithing, serving others, serving a mission, marrying in the temple does little to transform us from natural men to God’s image if those acts are not acts of devotion to God.12 We climb a ladder other than Jacob’s only to find it falls short when the top is reached. Especially if we lack the fruits of learning by interacting with the Patriarchal Powers of Heaven, accepting what they have to share if we are willing. 

The presence of the pillar of fire and ministry of angels to the Nephite disciples marked the beginning of the Nephite disciples fellowship and Priesthood with those Fathers at various stages of progression on Jacob’s ladder. This was the Nephite disciples introduction to the Holy Order of Priesthood and a sign to the multitude. The Powers of Heaven ministered to the disciples and later, others in the multitude who rise up to receive instruction from them. This is how we gain the understanding to proceed up Jacob’s ladder toward God and perfection. The Fathers learn how to be Gods by ministering to the noble and great among us and the noble and great in turn learn how to ascend by ministering to the multitude.13 The success of this process is only possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When God offers this opportunity it is Him extending to us the offer of being instructed by the Powers of Heaven in our ascent up the rungs of Jacob’s ladder. It is our privilege to learn the one lesson associated with the rights of the Priesthood or Holy Order and apply it.  

If one were to summarize what is being offered, the Lord invited the disciples of Jesus to have their spirits sanctified and made holy so they could become part of the Holy Order or fellowship with the Patriarchal Fathers in a higher Priesthood order. If the opportunity is withdrawn they “ . . . return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.”14 

The removal of Moses and the greater Priesthood withdrew from Israel the ability to see God. The presence of the Aaronic Priesthood, including the ministry of angels was sufficient to assist mortal men in their ascent up Jacob’s ladder and their eventual return to God’s presence, assuming they pursue the opportunity. 

When Moses was taken, Israel still retained a limited form of priesthood, but it did not permit them to see the face of God. They had access to angels, but not God. Even so, their priesthood was still enough. Angels can teach men everything needed for repentance. Angels can confer keys, power, authority, rights, dominions, and priesthood. It was through the ministry of angels Joseph Smith learned all he needed to establish a new dispensation of the Gospel. Therefore, possession of the lesser priesthood is enough, if it is actually used to receive angels. It can lead to the higher priesthood. It was not institutionally available to the ancient Israelites once Moses was taken, but it was still possible to receive. Although the priesthood in general was limited, there were still those who received a fullness during the Dispensation of Moses. Joseph explained: Answer to the question, Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself. (TPJS, p. 180.) This means despite a general limitation, there were those who obtained higher priesthood. They obtained it from contact with “God himself.When they came into contact with “God himself,” they needed and obtained the same priesthood which permitted “Moses to speak with God face to face.” For those who sought this higher priesthood, the refusal by their peers to receive what God offered had no effect. They received everything God offers to Zion. They received it individually, from God. It did not come from the priests who conducted temple rites, collected tithes, exercised authority, held offices, or presided over Israel. Those priests couldn’t give it to them. God could and did. (Snuffer, Denver. Passing the Heavenly Gift (pp. 290-291), emphasis added. Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition). 

While the absence of Priesthood authority or a Temple seemed major impediments to rising up on Jacob’s ladder, it need not be. Historically there have been and likely be some individuals who rise up above their circumstances to find God and His Priesthood, returning men to God’s presence. Abraham being one of the more notable. In most dispensations, the head of the dispensation achieved a connection with God without the benefit of an institution or Temple. There was a Temple structure in the Nephite example, but events being discussed occurred at the water’s edge in open air for all to witness. 

A Temple is required to fulfill prophecy, but it need not be an impediment for those who give diligent heed to the Lord and His servants.  

When Moses came into God’s presence, was redeemed from the fall, and obtained His promise of eternal life, he became the Lord’s temple. When we read the Lord’s admonition to Moses to “[put] the shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,” we tend to put the emphasis on “the place.” We should instead put the emphasis on “thou.” That is, no matter where Moses stood, having been redeemed from the fall, he always stood on holy ground. The true temple of God is therefore the redeemed individual. A revelation to Joseph explained: For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple. (D&C 93: 33-35.) The Apostle Paul put it more simply: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3: 16.) Joseph’s work in restoring temple worship was not intended as an end. It was merely a ceremonial message to point the way for man to return to God’s presence and receive redemption. Men are supposed to become the Temple of God. (Snuffer, Denver. Passing the Heavenly Gift (pp. 280-281), emphasis added. Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition). 

The Temple ordinances are instructions to us on how to become sanctified and approach God individually. The ordinances in the Temple are metaphorical and teach what should be going on within us, the real Temples of God. 

You become the “House of God” with His Spirit dwelling within you. The Apostle Paul was not just using a useful analogy, he was rather describing a profound truth when he wrote: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor. 3: 16–17.) You become a holy place He can and will visit from time to time. He will take up His abode with you. Use the Temple to cleanse yourself. Use the Temple’s rites to separate yourself from the world. Make yourself “sacred space” which is set apart from the world, behind a veil, where the Spirit of the Lord is unrestrained. These rites apply the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to cleanse, purify, wash, anoint, clothe and endow you with power. (Jr. Snuffer, Denver C.. The Second Comforter: Conversing With the Lord Through the Veil (p. 381), emphasis added. Mill Creek Press. Kindle Edition). 

This should be of interest to us because of the prospect of receiving the Spirit of Elijah, and the Holy Order of the Priesthood. It begins an association with Patriarchal Fathers and the beginning of a Priesthood fellowship between those on Earth with those in Heaven. It is the precursor to our joyful reunion with them when they form the Savior’s entourage upon His return. 

 . . . And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out my own elect from the four quarters of the earth unto a place which I shall prepare, a holy city, that my people may gird up their loins and be looking forth for the time of my coming. For there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Then shall you and all your 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; and there shall be my abode. And it shall be Zion which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made, and for the space of a thousand years shall the earth rest. (RE Genesis 4:22, emphasis added). 

This joyous event is not a meeting between random individuals, unfamiliar with one another. It will be a reunion of peers and associates, brethren and sisters. The mortal branch of the Holy Order joined with the Heavenly branch. They are not strangers, but fellow citizens in the household of God.15 We weep and fall on their necks because they play a critical role in our ability to establish Zion, a New Jerusalem. Without their aid, it would be impossible. We mutually rejoice in the victory of our God and give all glory to He who gave His all for us. 


The Faith of the Nephite Disciples 


Joy, redemption and eternal life is promised to those whose eyes were opened, and chose good over evil. This pattern was present as Jesus ministered to the Nephites. When Jesus explained why the Nephite experience was greater than His old world ministry He attributed the greater depth of their experience to one thing.  

 . . . Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified these whom I have chosen because of their faith; and I pray for them [faithful Nephite disciples], and also for them who shall believe on their words [believers among the multitude], that they may be purified in me through faith on their [Nephite disciples]words, even as they [Nephite disciples] are purified in me. Father, I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given unto me out of the world because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:4, emphasis added). 

 . . . And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying, he came again to the disciples and said unto them, So great faith as yours have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore, I could not show unto them so great miracles because of their unbelief. Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen, neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:5, emphasis added). 

There is a pattern in what the Lord is saying and doing. Like pre-mortality,16 the Lord is present, as the one like unto God. His disciples are present, like the noble and great, and the multitude is present, like those for whom they created this earth. The disciples were sanctified and purified by Jesus, the multitude believers who accept His disciples and their words are in turn sanctified by their teachings and example. In this process all are edified and lifted upon Jacobs ladder. All advanced and all are benefitted. It is a supremely efficient system God instituted. 

Those of whom the Savior prayed for were limited to believers. Believers in Christ and believers who would give heed to the teachings of the disciples of Jesus. The extraordinary events the Nephites and especially the Lord’s disciples experienced had a direct correlation to their faith and willingness to receive those whom the Lord sends. Out of all who were present for the Savior’s ministry, it was those who believed and had faith the Savior prayed for. 

The extraordinary events during the Savior’s Nephite ministry were a consequence of the extraordinary faith of the Nephite disciples. It is worthwhile to contemplate the sanctification and purification they experienced in a compressed period of time. Their ascension up Jacob’s ladder was advanced significantly in days if not hours. Their extraordinary display of faith may be understood by examining the faith and works of the chief disciples, Nephi, the son of Nephi and Peter from the New Testament Church. Of Nephi it was written: 

And it came to pass that Nephi, having been visited by angels, and also by the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eyewitness, and having had power given unto him, that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eyewitness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations, therefore being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds, went forth among them in that same year and began to testify boldly repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. And he did minister many things unto them, and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice; therefore, they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority. 

And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words. For so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily, and in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people. And the people saw it and did witness of it and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles in the sight of the people in the name of Jesus. (RE 3 Nephi 3:9-10, emphasis added). 

At the same time Nephi experienced the ministry of angels daily and preached with power that was undeniable to those who heard him, while performing miracles rivaling those of Jesus. In contrast, Peter was denying Jesus three times and disputing with other disciples. That is not a criticism of Peter because where he began was not where he ended. Any man willing to suffer death in the same manner as the Savior, only upside down is a person God would never criticize or deny. Peter deserves praise and admiration. Any criticism of him in our day should be muted because our sacrifices pale in comparison to the saints of Peter’s day. Simply, the righteous among the Nephites displayed a greater level of faith than their Jerusalem brethren at that time. 

As angels ministered to the disciples of Christ, the Savior appeared among the multitude and His disciples and commanded them to kneel. When everyone knelt, the Lord commanded His disciples to pray, but their prayer was different from those uttered prior to their baptism by fire and the holy ghost. The record states: 

And behold, they began to pray, and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God. (RE 3 Nephi 9:2, emphasis added). 

This was a departure from the form their earlier prayers followed. In previous prayers the disciples and multitude prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus. In this prayer, because of the spiritual rebirth of the disciples they were born anew and adopted into the family of Christ as sons. 

The definition of Eternal life was given by the Savior and recorded by John, who wrote: Jesus spoke these words, and lifted up his eyes to Heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son also may glorify you, as you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. And this is life eternal: that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 9:19) . . . (A Glossary of  Gospel Terms, Eternal Life, p.639, emphasis added). 

Separating Himself from His disciples and the multitude, Jesus called upon the Father, thanking Him for giving the holy ghost to His disciples. The Savior then prayed for the multitude saying: 

Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the holy ghost unto all them [the believers in the multitude of the disciples] that shall believe in their words [the disciples]. Father, thou hast given them [Nephite disciples] the holy ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them [Nephite disciples], and also for all those [multitude believers] who shall believe on their [Nephite disciples] words, that they [multitude believers] may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one [Family]. (RE 3 Nephi 9:3, emphasis added). 

When Jesus finished His prayer to the Father He returned to His disciples who continued praying to Jesus. 

  . . . they did still continue without ceasing to pray unto him. And they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire. And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him, and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them. And behold, they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus. And behold, the whiteness thereof did exceed all whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.17 And Jesus said unto them, Pray on. Nevertheless, they did not cease to pray . . . (RE 3 Nephi 9:4, emphasis added).  

The Savior saw His countenance reflect upon the Nephite disciples and their robes were whitened like His. When His whiteness was manifest in them, the Lord retreated again and resumed praying to the Father. 

Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified these whom I have chosen because of their faith; and I pray for them [Nephite disciples], and also for them who shall believe on their words [multitude believers], that they may be purified in me through faith on their [Nephite disciples]words, even as they [Nephite disciples]are purified in me. Father, I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given unto me out of the world because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them [Nephite disciples and multitude believers] as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them. (RE 3 Nephi 9:4, emphasis added). 

Jesus returned to His disciples and they were praying “steadfastly without ceasing.” He smiled upon them and saw they were as white as He is. This is not the cleansing, sanctification and purification portrayed in ritualized ordinances. The Nephite disciples experienced a literal purification process and were transformed into the image of Christ and the Father. The disciples and multitude were led through the three stages for restoring knowledge, and the three stages of Priesthood advancement, (Spirit of Elias, Spirit of Elijah and now, the Spirit of Messiah). 

And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father, and tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed. And the multitude did hear, and do bear record, and their hearts were open, and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed. Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man. (RE 3 Nephi 9:5, emphasis added).  

The collective experience of the Nephite disciples and the multitude was granted because of the faith of the Nephite disciples. The Savior said the Jews in His earthly ministry were not privileged to see and experience what the multitude in Bountiful witnessed that day. In the space of a few hours they were able to pass through three stages of restoring knowledge, although one might safely conclude they, like Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were likely left to sort out with the holy ghost the meaning of all they heard and witnessed.18 


Sacrament- The Crowning Event 


And it came to pass that he commanded the multitude that they should cease to pray, and also his disciples. And he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts. And he commanded them that they should arise and stand up upon their feet, and they arose up and stood upon their feet. And it came to pass that he broke bread again, and blessed it, and gave to the disciples to eat. And when they had eaten, he commanded them that they should break bread and give unto the multitude. And when they had given unto the multitude, he also gave them wine to drink, and commanded them that they should give unto the multitude. Now there had been no bread, neither wine, brought by the disciples, neither by the multitude; but he truly gave unto them bread to eat, and also wine to drink. And he said unto them, He that eateth this bread, eateth of my body to their soul, and he that drinketh of this wine, drinketh of my blood to their soul; and their soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled. Now when the multitude had all eat and drank, behold, they were filled with the spirit, and they did cry out with one voice and gave glory to Jesus, whom they both saw and heard. (RE 3 Nephi 9:6, emphasis added). 

Rather than embark on an in-depth explanation on the meaning of the sacrament, it is appropriate to let the Savior’s words to the Jews in the old world speak. 

Jesus responded to them, Do not dispute my teaching between yourselves. No man can come unto me except he follows the path of my Father, who has sent me as His messenger of salvation. And this is what my Father expects of you, that you heed his Son. For the Father testifies he sent me, and anyone who accepts the Father’s testimony, and has the faith in him to heed his testimony, I will raise upward in the resurrection of the just. For it is written in the prophets, And these shall all be taught by God. Every person who has hearkened and has learned the will of the Father, accepts me as his messenger. None of you have seen the Father unless you first descended from God’s presence, as I have come; and all who have seen the Father can testify of him. In the name of Father Ahman I declare to you, He that has faith on me has endless lives, worlds without end. I am that bread of life. This is the bread that descended from Heaven, that a man may eat of me and his life never end. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they perished. But I am the living bread sent from Heaven to rescue you. If any man takes into themselves this bread, he will gain light and truth and the power for endless life. The staff of life I provide is to sacrifice my flesh, which I will surrender to rescue the world. 

The Jews argued among themselves, demanding, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, In the name of Father Ahman I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you will never have endless life in you. Those who eat my flesh, and drink my blood, will obtain endless life. I will raise him up in the resurrection of the just at the last day. Just as the Father provided this life for me, I will provide it for you if you have faith in me. For my flesh will fill you with light, and my blood will quench you with truth. If you receive these, I will fill you with light and truth and we will be brothers, sons of God. My sacrifice is the bread I descended from Heaven to provide, not like the manna eaten by your deceased ancestors who rejected greater light and truth in their day. The light and truth I offer leads to endless lives, worlds without end. (RE T&C 171, Testimony of Saint John 5:18-19, emphasis added). 

  . . . Jesus was a messenger sent from the Heavenly Council to declare the truth, and Jesus had limitless access to the record of Heaven, the truth of all things, the light that quickens every thing. He is the one Moses prophesied would come and all Israel must give him heed or be cut off. God the Father loves and acknowledges Jesus as His Son, and has made him the steward over all creation. We are required to acknowledge God’s Son to be rescued by him, for only the Son can rescue us from the Fall of Adam. Jesus lived as the example, proving the pattern for redemption from the Fall as he progressed from grace to grace, until he received a fullness, or in other words, grew in light and truth until he was filled with truth and stands as the light of the world. (RE T&C 171, Testimony of Saint John 3:4, emphasis added 



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