1 Nephi 14: 1-2

“And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks— And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” 

I’ve referred to these verses before. When Elder Mark E. Peterson claimed the Lord would not visit with “gentiles” but only with the house of Israel relying upon 3 Nephi 15: 23, it was my view that the 3rd Nephi statement of Christ was as to His immediate post-resurrection appearances to the various scattered lost tribes. He had no commission from the Father to appear to the gentiles in that time frame. These verses are about a different, much later time. These are speaking of the time when the Book of Mormon (record of the Nephties) would come into the possession of the gentiles. The gentiles will, if they hearken to the “Lamb of God IN THAT DAY,” have the Lamb manifest Himself to them. Today is THAT DAY. It is now when the gentiles are promised He will manifest Himself to us, in “word” and in “power” and “in very deed.” 

His assignment immediately post-resurrection was to visit with each of the still organized, prophet-led, but scattered children of Israel. They had been put into the “nethermost” parts of the earth. He went to and visited with each of them serially. He did not visit with gentiles during that ministry.
But in the time following the publication of the Book of Mormon, and as part of removing the stumbling blocks of the gentiles, He is to visit the gentiles “in word” and “in power” and “in deed” so that it will “take away their stumbling blocks.”

What does it mean to stumble? What is a “stumbling block?”  What kinds of things would impede you from walking back to the presence of God? How will Christ’s ministry in “word, power and deed” to gentiles remove these things?

It is AFTER the ministry of “word, power and deed” when the stumbling blocks are removed, that the gentiles are then “numbered among the seed of thy father.” Note that they are not numbered among other branches of Israel. Note that they are not sealed to their fathers and made Ephriamites descended from other branches. They are to be “numbered among the seed of thy father” or counted as part of Lehi’s seed. They are, in short, to be sealed to Lehi as their Patriarch and father. It is necessary to understand the doctrine discussed in this post.
This was always a part of the Gospel. Joseph Smith understood it and practiced it. Today we think it was an oddity that got corrected at the time of Wilford Woodruff.  However, if you read the Book of Abraham you realize that the adoption of people into an inheritance was always the manner the Celestial Kingdom was to be organized here. Look at the Lord’s discussion/explanation to Abraham found in Abraham 2: 8-11:

“My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations; And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.”
Those who receive the same priesthood (Patriarchal) from the time of Abraham forward become his (Abraham’s) seed. Therefore they become his (Abraham’s) inheritance and posterity, sealed to him as a part of his family.

This was the priesthood that was bestowed upon Joseph Smith, as a result of which he received the promises of Abraham. While looking for references to Abraham throughout Section 132 is interesting, I’ll just take an excerpt. [PLEASE forget about plural wives while you read this. Think only about Patriarchal Priesthood and the authority which was with Abraham and renewed in Joseph. It is that issue that I want to focus, and not to become side-tracked on plural marriage. At some point I’ll spend a few weeks on that side issue. NOT NOW.] So here is Section 132: 28-32:

“I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was. Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne. Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself. Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.”
Exaltation came through this priesthood, which linked together the fathers and the children of promise.The priestly sealing together of Patriarchs into a family that will endure as the government in heaven was the object of the Gospel in every generation. We are returning, at the end, to what it was at the beginning. However, the way in which it was to occur was “by my word” and “by revelation and commandment” so that the person knows he is to have a part in the Father’s kingdom. It was not to be merely a distant expectation, uncertain in origin and doubtful in authority. It was to be certain, not doubtful: “The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood.” (D&C 131: 5.) It is directly connected with this Patriarchal Priesthood, the same authority which belonged to Abraham, the possession of which by any man makes him the seed of Abraham.
Returning to the subject of “remnant” and “gentiles,” the Book of Mormon prophecies still do not refer to the latter-day gentiles as anything other than “gentiles” even when they are “numbered among the seed of Lehi.” Gentiles retain in prophecy their identification with “gentiles” although they are adopted as Lehi’s seed. Hence Joseph Smith’s reference in the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer to the Latter-day Saints as “gentiles” by identity. (D&C 109: 60.)  Whenever a gentile manages to acquire this adoption, they do not become identified as the “remnant” as a result. Instead, they become heirs to share in the promised blessings, but as “gentiles.” They will get to assist the “remnant” but as “gentiles” not as the “remnant.” Still, those who are adopted as Lehi’s seed inherit with the “remnant” the Lord’s promises. But they are nevertheless called in prophecy “gentiles” throughout.

25 thoughts on “1 Nephi 14: 1-2

  1. Denver said: What does it mean to stumble? What is a “stumbling block?” What kinds of things would impede you from walking back to the presence of God? How will Christ’s ministry in “word, power and deed” to gentiles remove these things?

    In looking at occurrences of “stumble” or “stumbling,” there are some interesting observations.

    1. For the most part, the word is used in reference to the Jews and the Gentiles.
    2. The Lord caused the Jews to stumble because they were “looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14)
    3. The stumbling came from God taking away His plainness and delivering things they cannot understand.(Ibid.)
    4. It was this stumbling that caused the Jews to “reject the stone.” (Jacob 4:15)
    5. Here’s an interesting one. The Gentiles, which would be US, are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled that they have built MANY CHURCHES. They have put down the POWER and miracles of God (where have we heard that?) and preach their own wisdom and learning to get gain. (2 Ne 26:20)
    6. Satan has great power over those who stumble. (1 Ne 13:29)

    So my questions are thus:
    * Is the stumbling of the Jews a type for the Gentiles (us), in that we “reject the stone,” or in other words, the invitation to come unto Christ directly?
    * If stumbling means we reject the Stone, and the plainness of the Book of Mormon; if we accept the Savior and come unto Him, does that mean our stumbling blocks are removed?
    * If stumbling means that Satan has great power over us, if our stumbling blocks are removed, would that mean that Satan is cast out of our presence?

    One last observation. Moroni laments that they (writers of the B of M) stumble because of the “placing of [their] words,” then says “I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words” (Ether 12:25) My question is, how do Gentiles (who are us), mock at the words of Moroni? Surely he, and the other Book of Mormon prophets are revered in our church.


  2. How does a Gentile manage to acquire this adoption today? Is it the same for women as it is for men? Does it only come from heavenly messengers, or are there still those authorized to perform it? Will they perform it? Again, how do they apply for it and to whom? Only in prayer? Are all these questions strictly subjects for prayer as well, and not to be asked of God’s messengers?

  3. How wonderful, this makes sense of D&C 84:34. We become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham by being adopted into their heavenly lineage, and we become members thereby of the church and kingdom of God.

    This makes the oath and covenant of the priesthood CLEARLY about recieving the second comforter and the attendent blessings.

    It does require a paradigm shift, however. The Patriarchal priesthood instead of being an archaic, obsolete, appendage to the Melchizedek now appears as a the ultimate, glorious flowering of the Melchizedek priesthood.

    But I am confused about D&C 84:6. It seems to say that Moses has sons which are his as a result of having received the Holy priesthood. If this refers to one of the Holy Orders of the Priesthood, then how can he have recieved it from Jethro, a mortal man. If vs. 6 refers only to the Melchizedek Priesthoood, then how has it given him sons?

  4. I don’t know how to ask this question…. I hope it is not irreverent…. I will try…. I have an opinion but do not know.

    Is it possible the Savior was married and was a father? Is there hidden among us a royal bloodline? Was the prophet Joseph Smith a product of that royal bloodline? If so, are there patriarchal implications?

    I’m sorry if my questions are indelicate or inappropriate (or maybe too far off topic?). I don’t know how else to ask…but to ask. My questions here are often left unanswered….I hope that does not mean they are inappropriate. If so, please forgive me.

  5. If a ‘Gentile’ accepts the ‘fullness’ of the Gospel that is offered – and receives his calling and election unto eternal life,— he is then the seed of Jesus Christ – correct?
    In your June 30 blog you mentioned that Joseph Smith is head of this last dispensation and those in this dispensation – are they not part of his ‘family’ rather than Lehi’s?
    Those who accepted the gospel under Abraham became his seed by adoption – are you saying that all ‘Gentiles’ who are faithful become ‘adopted’ as Lehi’s ‘sons’ rather than to Joseph, who is head of this dispensation holding the keys of the Patriarchal Order, even as did Abraham as head of the patriarchal order of HIS dispensation.
    Abraham & Joseph are both dispensation heads – where does Lehi fit into this picture?
    Does Joseph still stand at the head of this dispensation? This has been my understanding.

  6. The priesthood held by Melchizedek was Patriarchal. The “City” was a family, sealed to him. They came into the order through the authority given to him to seal on earth and in heaven.

    We have two divisions of priesthood in the Church, one which we call Melchizedek and one which we call Aaronic. These are not the same as what Melchizedek held, because in the Melchizedek order sealing authority is not generally granted.

    Moses had authority from Jethro, but also visited with the Lord face to face, at which time the Lord gave him a work to do. The work was greater than the authority given by Jethro, and of necessity included all keys to accomplish it (as I have explained earlier in a post about keys accompanying assignments).

    Lehi was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph; as was Joseph Smith. There is no conflict with Joseph as Dispensation head being the Patriarch of all who came after him, and Lehi being the father of all gentiles who convert in this dispensation.

    Go back and review the chart from Orson Hyde I referred to earlier and you will see that genealogical order does not control, but worthiness and capacity control. How the eternal family will be structured will be the result of what the Lord knows to be the right, joyful, best and holiest of family orders.

  7. Is all our temple work (sealing families) in vain? Should the church have not invested so heavily in New Family Search?

  8. These are really great questions and observations. Thanks all!

    I have one question; I wonder how plain and simple it seemed for the Nephites to part the veil and enter into Christ’s presence, and more specifically what was the mindset of any society that has ever lived that accepted this as a matter of course; can we somehow harness that mindset, their actions, their faith in a manner to create greater expectations with our children, in our wards and stakes, and so forth?

  9. Thank You Denver Snuffer for your explanation – and your patience with those of us who are yet ‘lacking in understanding and hence in sufficient faith unto salvation – but many do have faith to be led by the Spirit and recognize truth when it is spoken/written which will lead us to that faith unto salvation within the Kingdom – within Zion. Your keen insights are greatly appreciated and needed.

  10. Brother Snuffer,
    Do you believe that it was the Patriarchal priesthood, and not the Melchizedek priesthood that was then taken away from the Children of Israel? I have always thought this to be the case myself, but would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

  11. I believe that just as we refer to the “Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God, as Melchizedek Priesthood out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being”, the Patriarchal priesthood is one referencing the sacred nature of the priesthood which is after the Order of the Father. It only seems natural to me. In fact, as a couple is sealed in the Temple it is done by the “power of the Holy Priesthood”(the title Melchizedek is missing from this pronouncement) and is one of two covenants entered into in the name of all three members of the Godhead separately, the other being baptism.

    I believe Section 2 of the Doctrine and Covenants outlines the promise of being sealed to the Patriarchal line of Fathers, and as we are sealed in the Temple we are entering into that grand order, or Patriarchal line, so that we can receive the same blessing they did.

    My question is, if we are gentiles who are to be “adopted in” by covenant, why are we given a literal tribal pronouncement in our Patriarchal Blessings? I have always understood that unless the wording is used stating the recipient of the blessing is “adopted” into a tribe, that the blood inheritance is literal. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  12. Denver,
    I had exactly the same question as “J.” Thanks for your response. Are you saying that the inhabitants of the city of New Jerusalem will be a family sealed to Lehi, and Joseph Smith, this dispensation head will be among Lehi’s family?

    On Orson Hyde’s diagram, I assume Christ is the eternal Father, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, that is represented by the crown. He being the true vine down the center of the drawing with the eminent and distinguished prophets intersecting as the branches. Where then would Lehi and Joseph Smith fit on the diagram? Would Joseph be one of the 7 vertical lines and Lehi be the diagonal?

    When we have our calling and elections made sure, will we be sealed to Lehi or Joseph Smith, or to Christ through Abraham through Lehi through Joseph Smith?


  13. The above diagram shows the order and unity of the kingdom of God. The eternal Father sits at the head, crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. Wherever the other lines meet, there sits a king and a priest unto God, bearing rule, authority, and dominion under the Father. He is one with the Father, because his kingdom is joined to his Father’s and becomes part of it.

    The most eminent and distinguished prophets who have laid down their lives for their testimony (Jesus among the rest), will be crowned at the head of the largest kingdoms under the Father, and will be one with Christ as Christ is one with his Father; for their kingdoms are all joined together, and such as do the will of the Father, the same are his mothers, sisters, and brothers. He that has been faithful over a few things, will be made ruler over many things; he that has been faithful over ten talents, shall have dominion over ten cities, and he that has been faithful over five talents, shall have dominion over five cities, and to every man will be given a kingdom and a dominion, according to his merit, powers, and abilities to govern and control. It will be seen by the above diagram that there are kingdoms of all sizes, an infinite variety to suit all grades of merit and ability. The chosen vessels unto God are the kings and priests that are placed at the head of these kingdoms. These have received their washings and anointings in the temple of God on this earth; they have been chosen, ordained, and anointed kings and priests, to reign as such in the resurrection of the just. Such as have not received the fulness of the priesthood, (for the fulness of the priesthood includes the authority of both king and priest) and have not been anointed and ordained in the temple of the Most High, may obtain salvation in the celestial kingdom, but not a celestial crown. Many are called to enjoy a celestial glory, yet few are chosen to wear a celestial crown, or rather, to be rulers in the celestial kingdom.

    While this portion of eternity that we now live in, called time, continues, and while the other portions of eternity that we may hereafter dwell in, continue, those lines in the foregoing diagram, representing kingdoms, will continue to extend and be lengthened out; and thus, the increase of our kingdoms will increase the kingdom of our God, even as Daniel hath said: “of the increase of his kingdom and government there shall be no end.” All these kingdoms are one kingdom, and there is a King over kings, and a Lord over lords. There are Lords many, and Gods many, for they are called Gods to whom the word of God comes, and the word of God comes to all these kings and priests. But to our branch of the kingdom there is but one God, to whom we all owe the most perfect submission and loyalty; yet our God is just as subject to still higher intelligences, as we should be to him.

    …These kingdoms, which are one kingdom, are designed to extend till they not only embrace this world, but every other planet that rolls in the blue vault of heaven. Thus will all things be gathered in one during the dispensation of the fulness of times, and the Saints will not only possess the earth, but all things else, for, says Paul, “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come: all are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”

    (Orson Hyde, “A Diagram of the Kingdom of God,” Millennial Star 9 [15 January 1847]: 23-24).

  14. I’m still confused by Orson Hyde’s diagram. Is Christ represented by the crown or is that Heavenly Father?

    The explanation statement makes it sound like Christ is one of the distinguished and eminent prophets represented by a diagonal line:

    “The most eminent and distinguished prophets who have laid down their lives for their testimony (Jesus among the rest), will be crowned at the head of the largest kingdoms under the Father, and will be one with Christ as Christ is one with his Father.”


  15. DKD asked: “Is it possible the Savior was married and was a father?”

    Orson Hyde certainly thought so. See his October 16, 1854 lecture on “The Marriage Relations” (JD 2:75-87).

    He recognized that Historic Christianity would find the claim shocking: “‘Mr. Hyde, do you really wish to imply that the immaculate Savior begat children? It is a blasphemous assertion against the purity of the Savior’s life to say the least of it. The holy aspirations that ever ascended from him to his Father would never allow him to have any such fleshly and carnal connections, never, no never.’” (pages 7980).

    Personally, for as long as I can remember (ever since I was a child), I’ve always assumed that if Christ, who was perfect, needed baptism to comply with the will of the Father (2 Nephi 31:5-7) and marriage is a requirement to enter the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom (D&C 131:1-4) then it must be the case that the Savior was married.

  16. (Part 1)

    I’m a sucker for original sources. I was curious what was said back in the days of Wilford Woodruff when the change to sealings was made (from adoption to church leaders to sealing to lineal ancestors). I found a talk by Pres. Woodruff that is very interesting.

    Here’s the portion that is quoted in the Institute manual:

    “I have not felt satisfied, neither did President Taylor, neither has any man since the Prophet Joseph who has attended to the ordinance of adoption in the temples of our God. We have felt that there was more to be revealed upon this subject than we had received. Revelations were given to us in the St. George Temple, which President Young presented to the Church of God. Changes were made there, and we still have more changes to make, in order to satisfy our Heavenly Father, satisfy our dead and ourselves. I will tell you what some of them are. I have prayed over this matter, and my brethren have. We have felt, as President Taylor said, that we have got to have more revelation concerning sealing under the law of adoption. Well, what are these changes? One of them is the principle of adoption. In the commencement of adopting men and women in the Temple at Nauvoo, a great many persons were adopted to different men who were not of the lineage of their fathers. . . .

    “Now, what are the feelings of Israel? They have felt that they wanted to be adopted to somebody. . . . When I went before the Lord to know who I should be adopted to (we were then being adopted to prophets and apostles), the Spirit of God said to me, ‘Have you not a father, who begot you?’ ‘Yes, I have.’ ‘Then why not honor him? Why not be adopted [sealed] to him?’ ‘Yes,’ says I, ‘that is right.’ I was [sealed] to my father, and should have had my father sealed to his father, and so on back; and the duty that I want every man who presides over a temple to see performed from this day henceforth and forever, unless the Lord Almighty commands otherwise, is, let every man be [sealed] to his father. When a man receives the endowments, [seal] him to his father; not to Wilford Woodruff, nor to any other man outside the lineage of his fathers. That is the will of God to this people. . . .

    “In my prayers the Lord revealed to me, that it was my duty to say to all Israel to carry this principle out, and in fulfillment of that revelation I lay it before this people. I say to all men who are laboring in these temples, carry out this principle, and then we will make one step in advance of what we have had before. Myself and counselors conversed upon this and were agreed upon it, and afterwards we laid it before all the Apostles who were here . . . , and the Lord revealed to every one of these men—and they would bear testimony to it if they were to speak—that that was the word of the Lord to them. I never met with anything in my life in this Church that there was more unity upon than there was upon that principle. They all feel right about it, and that it is our duty. . . . The Spirit of God will be with us in this matter. We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it” ( Millennial Star, 337–39).

  17. (part 2)

    The original source of the talk has much more meat in it, and shows that it wasn’t necessarily Pres. Woodruff who completely did away with the kind of dispensational sealing/adoption as much as it must have been later generations.

    The pdf of the original source can be found here, this includes the whole talk (pdf):


    Here are a couple parts:

    “We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain as far as you can get it. When you get to the end, let the last man be adopted to Joseph Smith, who stands at the head of the dispensation. This is the will of the Lord to this people, and I think when you come to reflect upon it you will find it to be true.”


    “I have a great anxiety over this matter. I have had a great desire that I might live to deliver these principles to the Latter-day Saints, for they are true. They are one step forward in the work of the ministry and in the work of the endowments in these temples of our God. When you get to the last man in the lineage, as I said before, we will adopt that man to the Prophet Joseph, and then the Prophet Joseph will take care of himself with regard to where he goes. A man may say, “I am an Apostle, or I am a High Priest, or I am an Elder in Israel, and if I am adopted to my father, will it take any honor from me?” I would say not. If Joseph Smith was sealed to his father, with whom many of you were acquanted, what effect will that have upon his exaltation and glory? None at all. Joseph Smith will hold the keys of this dispensation to the endless ages of eternity.”

  18. Thank you, Ben. I’m feeling much better about the hundreds of hours I’ve spent researching my ancestors and sealing them (because I was inspired by the experience Denver shared in 2nd Comforter about doing temple work for his ancestors.)

  19. I continue to do Temple work for my ancestors; having attended the Temple twice last week. I see nothing wrong with doing work for my kindred dead. That is the program the Church has underway at present.

    That having been said, I also know that families will not be organized in eternity exclusively in the same way as we have been born into a genealogy in mortality.

    In the Family of God, Abraham will preside over the entire human family which comes after him. So, too, will Joseph Smith preside over all those who came after him, no matter their family relations. He is the head of this dispensation and will receive that position.

    There will be others who are placed into the family lines of the Eternal Family based upon where they belong in God’s eyes, which may be far different than where they were born. Some of the last will, after all, be first.

  20. If the family will be restructured, which makes sense, what will become of couples that are sealed together where one of them is on a higher plane than the other?

    Also, if all things that have a beginning have an end, what becomes of a marriage? Reading your comment has got me wondering.

  21. From what I’ve been learning on this blog and elsewhere lately, it’s evident we don’t have the fullness. The ancients did know much more than us with regard to God and His ways.

    The sad thing is, we seem to be content with this. Surely, Nephi’s words have taken on new meaning. Sadly, we (I’m including myself here) think we’ve got it all and we will be the ones who deliver God’s ways to the rest of mankind. We seem to blending right in with the rest of the world for the most part. How can we be a light unto the world in this state?

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