I have decided to divide this topic into different parts for the wimps that can’t read a 50 page rant in one sitting… LOL
After the Saints transgressed the laws and changed the ordinances and were forced to flee from Jackson, and Kirtland, he gave them yet another chance to consecrate and build a temple in the Far West portion of his vineyard.
After failing to successfully consecrate and build the temple in Far West, they were forced to flee from that holy place as well.
They finally settled in Nauvoo, the cornerstone of Zion, where the Lord, in his infinite mercy gave them another chance to repent, build the Nauvoo Temple and usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times.
Unfortunately the Saints failed to consecrate, finish the Nauvoo temple and redeem Zion and eventually had to flee from Nauvoo as well.
This is why the book of Mormon refers to the 2nd watch generation of gentiles as those who “SEEK” to bring forth Zion, not as those that would bring forth Zion in that generation.
37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. 1 Ne. 13: 37
The Lord knew that the righteous saints of the 2nd watch would not be successful in consecrating and establishing Zion during that particular gospel generation when the wheat and the tares would be mingled together, and yet the promise was that if they endured to the end, they would be lifted up and saved in the everlasting kingdom of God.
In the third watch they would finally “PUBLISH PEACE“, a clear reference to the publishing of the Bible in its pure form along with the remainder of the ancient records that need to come forth.
We have discussed in a previous blog how it appears that the Lord acknowledged the atonement OFFERING that Joseph Smith had made in the opening verse of section 124.
“I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments”
From time to time Joseph made a few interesting comments that implied that he understood that he was making an atonement and acting as a intercessor.
One such time was when he told the Saints in 1840 that they could no longer attempt consecration. The high council was so shocked and concerned about that statement, given the unconditional commandments and warnings from the Lord in modern revelation that they said they would only accept that council based on Joseph’s acknowledgement that the counsel had come from God and that Joseph was personally willing to take responsibility for it.
“This council will coincide with President Joseph Smith, Jun’s decision concerning the consecration law, on the principle of it’s being the will of the Lord, and of President Smith’s taking the responsibility on him self”
“Joseph agree that “he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it until proposed by himself” (HC 4:93-4)
After referring to the offering that Joseph had made in section 124 the revelation continued and the Lord then acknowledged that he had raised Joseph Smith up for the eventual purpose of showing forth his wisdom through the “weak things of the earth“. Clearly Joseph Smith and his associates were typical of weak mortal souls whom God was continually chastising but preparing to work a miracle through them .
God then said to Joseph Smith “…you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a cornerstone of Zion, which shall be polished with the refinement which is after the similitude of a palace.”
That commandment to write the solemn proclamation appears to have been something Joseph was to do at that time or at least the calling to do so was immediately made at that time.
Nevertheless, the Lord, in his infinite foreknowledge could foresee that the Saints would not be prepared to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times and send the proclamation to the kings of the earth at the “set time” in the 2nd watch.
It would need to take place at the “set time” in the third watch-
“This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad.”
“Let it be written in the spirit of meekness and by the power of the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same;
For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come.
For, behold, I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her.”
The Testimony that shall go Forth
It is the next commandment mentioned in section 124 that is the focus of this particular blog post.
“Call ye, therefore, upon them with loud proclamation, and WITH YOUR TESTIMONY, fearing them not, for they are as grass, and all their glory as the flower thereof which soon falleth, that they may be left also without excuse—
And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject my servants and my TESTIMONY which I have revealed unto them.”
In a future time, Joseph and Sidney and their brethren will call upon the kings and authorities of the world with LOUD PROCLAMATION and with what?
“WITH THEIR TESTIMONY”
What testimony is the Lord speaking about?
It is the testimony that was received during the vision that is now recorded in part, in section 76!!!!!
“and now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the TESTIMONY last of all which we give of him that he lives, for was saw him even on the right hand of God and heard the voice bearing witness that he is the only begotten of the Father“
Embedded within the above declaration is the definition of what a true and complete testimony is. A full and complete testimony is to have the heavens opened and to SEE and to HEAR for ones self. One must see God and hear his voice bearing witness.
That testimony given in section 76 and mentioned in section 124 is also mentioned in section 58-
“And that the testimony might go forth from Zion, yea, from the mouth of the city of the heritage of God— “(Section 58)
Again, that was speaking of the same testimony… the testimony that the Seer and the Spokesman gave to the world in section 76.
A few posts ago I provided a primer for this post. In it we reviewed how God used Joseph and Oliver to bring to light the exiting, preparatory ministry of Sidney Rigdon.
Once they received section 35 and 36 identifying who Rigdon was and the preparatory ministry he had been involved it, the Lord proclaimed that he had prepared Sidney for a GREATER WORK.
“..I have heard thy prayers and prepared thee for a greater work”
The Lord then commanded Sidney to baptize people with water AND the holy Ghost by the laying on of hands just like the apostles of old.
This GREATER WORK that Sidney had been prepared to do was to take also take place in the third watch when the folly of the gentiles would finally be manifest in the eyes of all people-
“And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people.”
The revelation goes on to observe that during this future work that Sidney would be involved in, the Lord would show forth miracles, signs and wonders unto all those who believe on Gods name.
As mentioned in the primer that I published a few posts ago, one of the amazing things that I only recently picked up on in section 6 was the prophecy that the bringing to light of Rigdon’s existing ministry would result in a TESTIMONY.
This was obviously prophesying about the TESTIMONY contained in the VISION that Joseph and Sidney would have after Sidney was identified.
Joseph and Sidney were to be valiant in seeking the face of God and in gaining the TESTIMONY they would bear to the world.
I am going to suggest that modern Mormonism has lost sight of what THE testimony of Jesus Christ really is.
According to section 76 and the Book of Revelation, it is to be filled with the spirit of prophecy and to see God with your eyes and hear his voice with your ears.
In our apostate LDS culture we confuse a faith in Christ and a belief in Christ with a TESTIMONY OF CHRIST.
We are taught that if we feel the “promptings of the spirit” regarding the divinity of Christ, then we have a testimony of Christ… Sometimes we even think that believing on some one else’s words is a testimony of Christ… but is that definition really scriptural?
I believe it is not.
We often see parents whispering the words of a testimony in the ears of their JR Sunday School toddlers in fast and testimony meeting to the effect of “I know that Jesus lives and the church is true” so that the kids will parrot the testimony to the audience and grow up thinking they have a testimony.
Missionaries are told that when they come upon evangelical Christians who challenge the credibility of the doctrines and history of the church that instead of entering into an honorable and intelligent debate of the issues, they should simply bear their testimony that they know the gospel and the church is true.
Usually the testimony they provide is the exact same one their parents began whispering in their ears before the age of accountability.
I have come to believe, after studying section 76 and doing key word searches on the word TESTIMONY, that belief and faith in God does not constitute a full and complete testimony of Jesus according to the holy word of God in the scriptures… furthermore I believe God does not smile upon the practice of bearing testimony when a valid testimony does not in fact exist.
I believe that practice ranks somewhere between highly disrespectful and inappropriate, to downright blasphemous, in the eyes of God.
I believe that God is not pleased or amused by it.
On an even more sobering note, It is not uncommon to hear general authorities state something to the effect of “If Christ were to come and stand before me in the flesh, I would not know more then, than I know now that Jesus is the Christ and that he lives”
Frankly, that statement is simply false in my opinion.
Being filled with the spirit and transformed before God to behold his face and hear the Father bear witness of the Son produces a significantly greater knowledge and testimony of him than the warmth of the spirit testifying to us, even though the whisperings of the spirit may strengthen our belief.
Sidney Rigdon was the main speaker in the last general conference that he and Joseph Smith attended just two months before the martyrdom on the 6, 7, 8 and 9th of April in 1844
Wanting to emphasis the importance and power of being an eye and hear witness of Jesus Christ he said,
“there is men in your midst who have learned there is a great God who can do as He pleases-
He can take up the hills as a little things, and such men do not fear death…
they know about heaven.
They have seen it and know all about it.
There is men in your midst which you must sustain or go to Hell.
Save them and you save yourselves.
Reject them and you go to Hell..
You have just men in your midst…”.
Three of the men Sidney was obviously speaking about were Joseph, Sidney and Lyman. These three had received the holy Melchizedek Priesthood and had had the heavens opened and seen the Father bearing witness of the Son.
The testimony those three men gave to the world compares with the words of Brigham Young who claimed he had never seen God and didn’t expect to until after he died.
The importance of having the heavens opened obviously represents a greater witness than the testimony from another man, angel or the subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit, otherwise the Lord would not put so much emphasis on the importance of seeking to see his face.
“And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” (section 101)
Indeed the very definition of eternal life is in the literal, first hand knowing of the Father and Son-
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Please notice in the following prophecy in the Book of Mormon how the vision and testimony of the Brother of Jared (which contained a similar testimony of God as the visions of John the Revelator and the vision of Joseph and Sidney) would not go forth unto the gentiles until the day when they repent.
However notice the subtle distinction between those written words about the vision that will go forth vs. the actual unfolding of those same revelations that will be revealed to the elect of God once they repent of their iniquity and become clean before the Lord, when they finally EXCERCIZE THE SAME FAITH as the Brother of Jared.
Anyone that exercises the same faith as the Brother of Jared, will receive the exact same results.
The 144,000 Saviors on Mt. Zion will all have personally seen what Joseph, Sidney, Lyman, John and the Brother of Jared saw and will be able to bear the same record because of the MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT, that enable them to be transfigured before God and to see him and hear his voice.
4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.
5 Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.
6 For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
7 And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.
11 But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
Additionally, one must remember the admonition given to the quorum of the 12 after they were called in this dispensation which we have addressed in previous posts.
Joseph warned them that their calling would not be complete until Christ appeared to them and ordained them apostles himself.
“He then read the revelation, (regarding the calling of 12 apostles by Oliver and David) and said: Have you desired this ministry with all your hearts? If you have desired it you are called of God, not of man, to go into the world.
He then read again, from the revelation, what the Lord said unto the Twelve. Brethren, you have had your duty presented in this revelation. You have been ordained to this holy Priesthood, you have received it from those who have the power and authority from an angel; you are to preach the Gospel to every nation. Should you in the least degree come short of your duty, great will be your condemnation; for the greater the calling the greater the transgression. I therefore warn yon to cultivat great humility; for I know the pride of the human heart. Beware, lest the flatterers of the world lift you up; beware, lest your affections be captivated by worldly objects. Let your ministry be first. Remember, the souls of men are committed to your charge; and if you mind your calling, you shall always prosper.
You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.
Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands on His disciples, why not in latter days?
Clearly there are levels of knowing, and therefore levels of testimony, however, a testimony in the ultimate sense, as virtually always used in scripture, is the testimony of having the heavens opened and of seeing and hearing for one’s self, not just to believe on the testimony of others.
It is perhaps the mother of all apologetic statements for general authorities to imply that seeing God and hearing his voice is not a greater gnosis and a greater witness than to feel the subtle warmth of the spirit witness to the soul that God lives..
Whenever the church no longer has people who can bear witness that they have seen God and heard the Father bearing witness of the Son, it is a major red flag.
The commandment to seek the face of God is a very real and sobering one that is to be taken seriously and the calling of apostle requires one to see the face of God before that calling is complete and final.
Once a person has been valiant in getting a true testimony, they are required to be valiant in testifying of seeing Christ, just as Lyman, Sidney, Joseph, John and the Brother of Jared all did.
End of Part One