True messengers who are sent from the presence of God preach repentance, pronounce warnings, and declare judgments. They are special and sure witnesses of Christ because they know Him personally. He has ministered to them and shown unto them many great works Ether 3:18.
Pure servants of God, without hypocrisy and without guile D&C 121:42, have heard a voice from Heaven saying, “Thy sins are forgiven thee and thou shalt be blessed” Enos 1:5. They have been declared clean by God, received a remission of their sins, and experienced redemption first hand in the holy presence of Jesus Christ, the only One who can redeem Mosiah 3:17. They have been redeemed from the fall, and therefore brought back into His presence Ether 3:13. They are found without fault before the throne of God Revelation 14:4-5.
The veil has been taken from off their eyes Ether 3:6. These witnesses of God have seen His face and been shown His works from the beginning of creation to the winding up scenes of this earth. Prophets are eyewitnesses of Christ’s birth, mortal life, ministry, rejection, mock trial, judgment, suffering, sacrifice, forgiveness, atonement, crucifixion, death, and ascension to Heaven. They hear and see and know these things independent of anybody else or the testimony of another person, and thereby become witnesses of Christ. They receive the testimony of Jesus where He bears record to them D&C 76:101, Revelation 19:10.
Prophets we are talking about here are not only voted in or sustained by men, churches, or any other institutions of this world. The title, calling, or rightful position of “prophets, seers, and revelators” in any organization of this world is one thing, but when God personally ordains prophets, seers, and revelators, who are commissioned of Jesus Christ and called by the voice of God, we will discover it is quite another matter.
Those who have come unto Christ, been covered by Him, and entered into the Father's presence have a fulness, but all those who have not experienced such a connection with heaven, no matter what keys, positions or power they claim to hold, cannot and do not possess the fulness because only the Father has the role to confer it. The prophets who have communed with heaven, like Nephi, are given the higher priesthood of God, which includes the sealing power Helaman 10:4-7. Neither the church nor men can confer it, only God. Alma also taught this doctrine. Alma 13:1-2
Joseph Smith, a latter day prophet of God and the head of this dispensation, received the fulness following the same heavenly pattern. He made sufficient sacrifice unto God in obedience to that which God required of him, obtained forgiveness of his sins, and received a promise of exaltation. God identified Himself and declared with His own voice, “For verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father” D&C 132:49-50.
In addition, God gave Joseph the sealing power as He did Nephi, the son of Helaman, referred to above. “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven” D&C 132:46.
In the Joseph Smith translation of Genesis, this same doctrine of heaven came to light. “And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name” JST Genesis 14:27-29.
Nephi, the son of Lehi, is another great example of a true prophet, who is commissioned of God and speaks with power and authority received from God Himself. He did not receive the fulness of the priesthood from a man who claimed the right and power to confer it. Nephi communed with God, received power from heaven, and reached the “servant of God” status. He was speaking divine words as directed by heaven. God always honors and fulfills His words. He commissions prophets to relay His message. God then fulfills the prophecies every whit 3 Nephi 1:20.
The Lord stands firmly behind His prophecies and promises. He guarantees and assures the fulfillment of His words spoken by the voice of His prophets. “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” D&C 1:38.
The words of Nephi fall into this same category. His words are God’s words and spoken by the power of the Holy Ghost. We are his audience to whom he directs words of warning, counsel, and condemnation. Some are familiar with his words; others are not and fail to fully understand. Either way we are held accountable for and judged by His words. If we, the latter day gentiles, fail to read, heed, and obey the words of God delivered through Nephi, the words shall condemn us at the last day 2 Nephi 33:11-15.
What did Nephi see in our day? What did he say to us? How did he describe us? How do his words pertain to us? What are his cautions and warnings directed to us? Beware of what? Why? What did he view as our weaknesses? Did he mention any of our strengths? What was his general perception of the gentiles? 1 Nephi 13-14, 2 Nephi 26-33
Why is Nephi so pessimistic concerning us gentiles? I think it would be easier on our conscience if we could convince ourselves that he’s really talking about some of those other gentiles. If it is not us, then to whom can we defer this harsh judgment? Non-members? Heathens? Atheists? Agnostics? Apostates? My weird neighbor down the street, who just doesn’t seem to believe what is being taught? Others? It can’t be us, can it? It’s gotta be somebody else.
I’ve been told my whole life that we can’t be led astray. Is Nephi trying to change my paradigm? This is a very inconvenient time in my life to make such changes. I’ve invested a lot of time into my sincere but false beliefs. Is Nephi accurately telling us about our true condition? Are the words of God spoken by Nephi something worth trusting? Nephi glories in plainness and truth, doesn’t he? 2 Nephi 33:6 Hmmmm? What do you think?
Are we going to be like Noah and his wicked priests? Saying, “Abinadi . . . thou shalt be put to death unless thou wilt recall all the words which thou hast spoken evil concerning me and my people.” Or are we going to be like Alma who heard the rebuke of a true prophet, recognized his sins and iniquities, defended the truth at the peril of his life, repented, and taught the doctrine of Christ? Mosiah 17:1-15
Do you think Mormon just accidentally included these stories in the Book of Mormon? Or were they carefully selected? Do these stories prophesy and foretell our errors? Do we have ears to hear and eyes to see? Matthew 13:15
To be continued . . .