3 Nephi 20: 24

“Verily I say unto you, yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have testified of me.”
The Lord chose and established Israel. He would remain committed to them, although they went whoring after other gods.
Moses held the fullness of the priesthood. He conferred blessings upon others. Although Moses was taken from Israel, the blessings of the priesthood remained. Moses blessed Joshua, and Joshua held the blessings of the priesthood for so long as he lived. But the fullness of the priesthood, that portion which permitted a man to see God face to face, was taken with Moses. (D&C 84: 20-25.)
When Joshua died, both the priesthood that left with Moses, and the blessings from that priesthood were lost. What remained thereafter was a lesser form of priesthood called the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood.  This continued to be ministered from Moses until Jesus Christ.
The prophets, however, were something different.  They came through diverse families and from unexpected places. They were not part of the leading Levitical families and not even from that tribe on occasion. Their priesthood was not reckoned by what was then on the earth, but was given to them directly from heaven itself. Joseph Smith taught: “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, pp. 180-81).
The men who held the higher form of priesthood, the fullness that made it possible for them to behold God face to face, were “all the prophets from Samuel and those that followed after.” Having this form of priesthood they could behold God face to face and live. (D&C 84: 22-23.)
The power to see God face to face is not real if the man does not actually behold God face to face. It is powerless. It is theory. It is a notion and not a reality. This priesthood the revelation speaks about is not a theoretical idea, but an actual, real power which allows the person holding it to behold God and live. Therefore, when Christ states that “all the prophets from Samuel and those that followed after” had “testified of [Christ]” this is more than rhetoric. They became prophets by reason of the Lord having appeared and spoken to them; having testified of Himself to them. Therefore their status as prophets and their witness of Him were coequal. They sprang from the very same thing – the same event. This, then, formed the basis for their service as the Lord’s prophets. They knew Him. They could testify of what they knew, heard and saw, rather than what they believed to be true from what others had said. God had made Himself known to them.
Christ was confirming that these prophets had testified of Him because He was the one who had called them. He was the one who qualified them. He was the one whose witness and message they bore to others. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy! (Rev. 19: 10.) Here He confirms again that those prophets sent by Him have testified they know Him. They do not testify of themselves, but of Him. They do not point to themselves, but they point to Him. They do not promise salvation through themselves, but invite others to come to Christ and be saved. They will understate rather than overstate their calling and standing before God.

20 thoughts on “3 Nephi 20: 24

  1. About 15 years ago Apostle Russell Nelson was assigned to reorganize our stake. In an open forum he quoted this passage. I raised my hand and asked, “Why did the Savior begin with Samuel and not earlier Prophets?” Elder Nelson, (I believe to his credit) shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know!” I always admired him for that.

    In addition to Denver’s explanation I have wondered if there are additional implications as to why the Savior referred specifically to Samuel. Historically, Samuel was the Prophet who instituted the first king in Israel. While this office is of little use to us now, I do believe it will play a role in the gathering of Israel in the last days. Particularly if one considers the idea that Israel will begin with the Aaronic covenant before it can move to the Melchizedek covenant.

  2. Moses tried, Joseph tried, but they failed in bringing their congregations to the face of God. Denver’s been trying to convince us that we can also behold. Why do all these men think we all can behold? Enoch’s people seemed to get it as well as Melchizedek’s people. They rest have failed, from Samuel to those who followed after. They claim to be ordinary men, therefore all ordinary men can come to Him. Is this understanding of theirs by reasoning the scriptures, that clearly point to this; or is it by personal revelation to them? The congregations have failed as far as I can tell (though all individuals have not). Is it because

    1: The messenger doesn’t realize how special they actually are; that the gift they received is really not meant for very many others, who must live by faith (Huey Nibley said this in one of his lectures found in the book “Approaching Zion”, not that he has to be right)
    2: The Lord is following His own time table, not the wishes of the prophets.
    3: The congregations are to blame?

    I seriously wonder for the answer.
    I realize Denver’s books and blogs deal with this question and we already know that men’s hearts our set so much on the things of this world and aspire to the honors of men, that they become disconnected them from the powers of heaven. We could go on with answers but I’m mostly intrigued as to why these men and prophets are so personally intent that their hearers can behold His face but it doesn’t materialize to their vision. Will Denver’s Books and Blog be the catalyst for many of us to follow the path required to behold? I love the thought, and have faith this is this case

  3. In addition to inviting us to have this experience the scriptures testify some of us will. Think about Ether 4 where the Lord foretells a time when both Gentiles and Jews will receive additional scripture when they become “sanctified like unto the brother of Jared”. We don’t know how many but undoubtedly some will and before the end many will. That is why the brethren remain optimistic in the face of so many negative prophecies. In the end many will. With the introduction of more light, maybe many will. “There were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.”
    So the real question is, will we self select and choose to do so?

  4. Since I’ve started reading this blog and re-reading Denver’s books I’m getting that “fire” to do and be more spiritually. My teaching in elders quorum is more filled with the Spirit and less of my own knowledge and wisdom. I am trying to live my life to be worthy of the Second Comforter. Thanks for this blog and for those comments that encourage and motivate.

  5. Think of the scripture that always gets used to try and get people to read the scriptures:

    Search the scriptures. . . .

    But few pay much attention to the rest of the passage.

    “Search the scriptures for in them ye THINK ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me. AND YE WILL NOT COME TO ME that ye may have life!!! (John 5:39-40)

    He is speaking here to the Pharisees, and it’s significant to note that the greek version says “YE search the scriptures . . .” The Pharisees weren’t guilty of NOT searching the scriptures, they were guilty of not coming to the author of the scriptures; and in fact, using the scriptures against Him.

  6. What if… This is my own pondering, but what if DS is really trying to explain that the same thing that happened with Moses and Joshua, also happened to Joseph and Brigham? But we don’t want to hear it. Could it be? It has happened before. That which has been, definately can be today. I ponder wether or not the Fullness in it’s most extreme sense slowly went away from the church and the leaders, especially after Taylor… and we were left with an aaronic form (and maybe some lessor form or allowance of the Mel -but even with confirmations, we can’t command the HG to go into a person, the person will receive it from on high when they are ready), but even the fullness of aaronic allows the beholding of angels face to face. In order to know our true standing personally and as a group, we have to get our true bearings. We have to know the truth of our situation in order to have that greater faith that the Lord needs more true prophets coming from anywhere he can get and make them. You and me and anyone else willing to sacrifice themselves for Him. Just as the prophets did after Samuel… they had to do it on their own, as the priesthood that was good enough (fullness of Mlchzdk) to stand in the actual presence of God was taken from the congregation. The congregation broke their covenants and were left to do the best they can on their own and with what they already had. They where left with AN order, but a lesser order… even if they still thought or claimed to have kept the fullness or higher priesthood. Assuming or supposing their leaders(or ours) had something doesn’t make it true.

    It’s simple when you think about it. If our leaders had the “fullness” we all claim, would they be allowing and even establishing some of the iniquities and falsehoods that go on among us? Wouldn’t they be standing before us, explain that God has spoken again, here is what he said? Wouldn’t revelations to the church be handed out to the people to pray on and seek the truth of that new word from God themselves? Wouldn’t they be teaching and calling us to repentance to be a more Zion ready people and teaching us the same things that must be lived that Joseph established… things that must be lived and allowed to even have a zion ready people? These truths and orders were given to Joseph in the early days of the church… even before the temple ordinances were publicly done. If some don’t want that… well let them go and do as they choose, at least we teach true exalting principles… come what may.

    The scriptures explain how to know a true prophet. They woke me up about 3 yrs ago. I searched all over the place looking for “true prophets” no matter where they were (at least in other large groups). Sad to report, though there be many many awesome people in groups with good desires and much truth, some having more than we have maintained, some having some good spiritual gifts and fruits, I found alot of claims to holding a “fullness of priesthood”, I found none that hold it as Moses or Joseph Smith did. Worse than that, I found more rejection when I tried to invite them to get it from on high or when I told them I believed there has to be more connection with heaven to make such claims. Looks like we all need more. We should unite and seek it together, or at least stop the apostate name calling and finger pointing and truly love one another… wether we like it or not, we are all still in the same sinking boat.

  7. What if we are giving out ordinances (knowledge of future heavenly events each must obtain on their own) in the temple that we are not allowed to really give? What if we seem to be sharing the most holy and sacred knowledge on how to open the heavens with people who are truly not worthy or ready or have enough knowledge and faith and desire to receive it, let alone use it? Now we even claim that temple marriage is the highest ordinance. A simple examination of church archives or books by those who have already researched this will prove us wrong. There are other higher ordinances that we no longer prepare people for, that were had in the church before. Things that prepare you to seek greater things from heaven. You’ll see them in the scriptures once you understand them. But then again, if we wouldn’t have kept up on our rituals we still do re-enact… the faith and understanding to open the heavens would really be lost among us.

    Were do we go from here? How do we still support the priesthoood that still does exist in the church, but independently seek from heaven the true fullness like those after Samuel? Can it be had individually as DS has already commented? Are not all things possible with the Lord? Does not He still hold his arms out all the day long? Where ever we are, what ever ecclesiastical calling we hold, does it really matter who makes their connection with heaven? Isn’t God no respector of persons? Will He not visit and speak with the lay member or someone totally outside of our “group”, just as he would with a leader? Everyday I pray for our leaders to receive more revelation and visitation. But no matter how much I pray for that, it won’t happen unless they are truly seeking themselves. If they believe like many in the congregation that we are just fine the way we are and need no more, or are just too busy running a corporate structure that is lacking much spiritual power from the bottom to the top to even have the time to really worry about it… I don’t know. But I want to find solutions. I want to know how to at least do my part individually to help all to receive more, including myself. But prepare for a wild ride if you seek more. Prepare for all hell to break loose against you. Prepare for testing and trials that will bring you to the bitterest depths. Obviously the Lord can only use those he has fully tested. Will they be loyal no matter what type of stuff. One has to be truly ready. Truly seeking with all their heart.

  8. A connection with the Lord can be done. And in our day… be careful of what group or what people or what nation or tribe we want to put limits upon. The Lord will use who ever he needs to to get wayward Israel operating the way it should be… and establishing a Zion however big or small to herald in the millenium. Sometimes an entire different people are used as I think DS is trying to point out here and in his books. It has been done in history. There are group covenants and individual ones. If the groups fail to hold their promises… then we are responsible to find another way, even if individually. But if you think your church or group has enough… will you have the faith to obtain more? If you don’t first understand our actual standing before God individually and collectively… do you think he’ll be able to give you knowledge or blessings you are not ready for?

    I don’t know if DS will let this post thru… but I do know it’s hard to hear these words… even from my own mind. I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to believe that if the church had lost the fullness, that the Lord would have called another group to keep it alive. Our early leaders stated it often, that if we don’t hold up to what has been given… the Lord will choose another people. I think the BOM and Isaiah are right, and most of us don’t want to accept it… that the gentiles were given the fullness, and we are in the stage after the loss of it. Thats why there is so much loss of spiritual gifts and celestial truths among us. Why we focus more on claimed passed on authority thru men more than our spiritual gifts, greater light and knowledge, visions and visitations (true heavenly connection). Thats why there is so much fighting over who holds whatever authority to do ordinances. Thats why there are fundy groups all over, and many there stating only they hold the keys to the fullness. So many are finding out the true standing of the gentile church and want to serve God better by living things we have given up on. So many go from group to group, then wind up seeing that things are not right anywhere. And we mock them, say don’t associate with them. I’d say I’ve never seen more dedication and love (for us and truth) among any other people than some of those groups I’ve visited. Many are doing the best they can. Their hearts are right in many cases. Confusion. Contention. Mistrust. Name calling. Finger pointing. Passing blame on others, not ourselves. Just as hell would have it. Just as we have heard the adversary state in our temple rituals for over 150 yrs… you want religion do you… false priests to oppress, truths mingled with our false traditions, etc. BOM condemns us to this day for our pride. It’s all right in front of us. Do we want the truth? Do we want to know how to help the Lord in His work of exalting mankind? Will more wake up and be willing to pay the price, even the sacrifice of all things if necessary, to get us all closer to heaven? To be savior types? Do we want it as I know heaven wants us to? Or do we want to assume and pretend and make fantastic claims and call it good? Something is not right. There are disconnects we must understand and overcome.

    Do we understand the seriousness of this issue? Do we know what the Lord wants of us? Am I off my rocker or not? Do I believe in too much gospel?

    God’s speed.

  9. The things Denver has written in this post are much like the apostolic charge which Oliver Cowdery gave to the original quorum of the Twelve (a charge to work to see the Lord face-to-face so they would have a perfect witness of His divine reality) and the “charge” was continued for a short time thereafter. It is said that it is no longer necessary for the “apostles” to receive such a witness which deeply troubles me. Over a 20+ year study course where I read every biography and history written about the modern apostles, and every souce of doctrine, I only found a handful of these men who have testified of meeting the Savior. A surprising number testified they have NOT met Him, have NOT seen angels, have NOT had revelatory visions or dreams, nor have they experiences most of the gifts of the spirit.

    Yet we have all grown up in the church believing that these things still occur because the brethren have “inferred” that these things still happen. An intelligent human being would finally have to be honest with themselves and ask why? If common everyday people are still having these experiences (and I know a few people who have met the Lord and who have experienced the ministering of angels) then why is it that the “brethren” are NOT having these experiences today. Don’t try to tell me otherwise because I have sat with a member of our highest council who admitted to me these things are not occurring.

    A day or two ago someone “anonymous” posted comments that they challenged us to watch General Conference and see if any invalid doctrine was being taught. This person was put-out by the comments to the contrary. To this good person and any others who might not realize “things as they really are,” you have to recognize as Mike Jensen so beautifully posted in his tripartite post, that the only reason the doctrines which are still being taught “seem” to be valid, is because you are unaware of the myriad of doctrines formerly espoused and taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor and many others.

    Those most beautiful parts of the restoration gospel have been expunged from the corpus of our modern doctrines and manuals. And unless you went to the effort to go back to the beginning of the restoration and read all of the original source materials (a 20 year effort for me) you would have no idea whatsoever of the doctrines, ordinances, and covenants which have been changed and broken. You don’t think this is going to be admitted in Sunday Scholl or General Conference do you? See Isaiah 24:5.

    Friends, I reluctantly add my witness to Denver’s because I too have seen with my own eyes, heard with my own ears, and embraced with my own arms, that which matters most to us and He to whom we pay the utmost adoration and worship with our whole souls. Like all of you, I too love the “fullness” of the gospel with my entire being, and I want nothing more than to see Zion established and for the many good people like Mike to receive the deepest desires of their heart.

    We are living in a most troubling time, yet a most wonderful time in that all of the restoration doctrines are available to us if we are willing to search them out. Thankfully the data is readily available.

  10. My humble thanks to the honest in heart who have posted such deeply moving things in the past few weeks. It is so good to know that there are others on this same seemingly lonely journey which is filled with significant personal trials, and the most grand rewards.

    With all my love and appreciation!

  11. Wow, I’m a bit blown away. Strong words and testimonies. A lot to try and get your head around. I haven’t not seen the Savior, (though I once passed on an opportunity to do so) but I have felt the love of God in a deep, profound, life changing way. For the last 35 years I have primarily studied the scriptures topically and have come away with a testimony that God will give us what we need when we need it. I also have faith there is much more to come. I share everyone’s ambivalence when considering the magnitude of apocalyptic events we are about to face. On the same token, I also believe God is merciful and He opens doors to all who diligently seek. We can either be the guy on the beach in the chair watching the tidal wave come in, or we can grab our surf board and try to ride the wave. I prefer the later. Christ is hope! God is love! The result of all this mayhem will be Israel gathering and the Lord coming down to dwell amongst His people. I think there is a lot more knowledge we are about to be given but we need to prep ourselves to receive it. Keep asking questions and praying for inspiration and guidance. Maybe you will like Lehi and be led away or Jeremiah where you sit out the chaos in jail. Anyway try not to be so overwhelmed with all the different (and conflicting) sources. Stay focused on Christ and maybe we will gain eternal life either in mortality or out. Don’t focus on what’s wrong about the Church but what you can do to improve and how we can bless the lives of others. Isn’t that true discipleship?


  12. D&C 124:28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood.

    Does D&C ever say if the “fullness of the priesthood” was restored? Was it restored when the Navoo temple was dedicated? Do the scriptures indicate that the “appointment” was kept with the completion of the Navoo temple?

  13. frode mentioned in his first comment above that Moroni states in Ether 4:6,7 that “they (the sealed portion of the gold plates) shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity and become clean before the Lord and… manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw.”

    When will be the “until the day they shall repent” occur? Is it before or after the remnant have been established and Zion returns?; From what we’ve been learning, it seems it must be at least after the main body of Gentiles have been swept away and the remnant established. It’s amazing, but holds true from what Denver has been telling us, that even after the New Jerusalem is established, and a righteous people inhabits it, there will be a group within its walls that are still called “gentiles”. I’ve become consigned, comfortable and perhaps even excited to being called a gentile. This is our time. But it’s not worth being a gentile (or a remnant for that matter) if we actually aren’t counted among Lehi’s, Jacob’s and Abraham’s seed. So my Gentile brothers and sisters, those whom call themselves readers of this latter day blog, awake and arise (I just had to say that; it sounded cool, sorta like Isaiah, but he didn’t have a blog) and let’s be those gentiles who choose ourselves to receive the Fullness Of The Gospel. …Just gotta love this site. Thanks for all the comments.

    And CS, I have the same question. Denver’s asked the question to us before, as though hinting that it has not been restored, but Denver also quoted Wilford Woodruff as saying that when the Nauvoo temple was completed it was “by the skin of our teeth”. Denver’s book “Beloved Enos” has chapters about the sealing power which may be worth re-reading to see if gives the answer; can’t recall it did.

  14. The Ordaining of our Current prophet of the Church, Thomas S Monson. (from the timeshrine, whoops, timeline display at Deseret Book)
    On February 3, 2008, The Quorum of the Twelve- of which Thomas S Monson as the senior Apostle was president-met in the Salt Lake Temple. He recorded: “We began our meeting with prayer, a hymn, and then the sacrament. Knowing of our procedure, our daughter Ann has asked if she could make the bread for the sacrament. I told her, ‘Certainly.” President Boyd K Packer was voice in formally ordaining and setting apart Thomas S. Monson as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and conferring upon him “all the authority pertaining thereto.”

    So TSM was ordained a prophet by Boyd K Packer. Much different than Samuel and others that Denver discusses in this post.

    Carry on Denver. :)

  15. John,
    In my opinion the time you ask about is what the Book of Mormon calls the “own due time of the Lord” and I believe it is prior to the establishment of Zion and actually acts as the “ensign” to which Israel will gather. 2 Nephi 27:10 “But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation the world unto the end thereof.” And verse 21, “Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.”
    I also believe this to be the test mentioned in 1 Nephi 14:7 for the Gentiles and to wrap up a rather long post, the prophecy of Nephi in 1 Nephi 13:38-42 with particular attention to verse 39, “And after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.” The key word is “convincing”. The D&C or Pearl of Great Price have not “convinced” these parties but the “other books” will. This does not of course mean they will be converted, only convinced. Maybe then “kings will shut their mouths” when that which they had not considered be told them.


  16. David C

    Your post was so simple yet such a good point.

    Thanks for that. It’s something I was well aware of, but it escaped me until you pointed it out.

  17. …the Son of man said that the Saints shall judge the world and Angels. God has revealed himself. When they (the Saints) come up before God they will be asked did this Angel perform this or that, that he was sent to do. If not they will be judged. The Son of God will do as he ever has done from the beginning. Send forth his Angels. If the reapers do not come, the wheat cannot be saved…the Angels have begun to be revealed…it is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation. (Joseph Smith; Words of Joseph, p. 13.)

  18. In response to Anonymous, earlier in this blog. You state, “the “charge” was continued for a short time thereafter”. I think by this you mean to imply that that charge is no longer given to our modern apostles. Denver in a much earlier post implied the same.

    I have second-hand knowledge that apostles are still given this charge today. I could tell the story if your interested but feel uncomfortable doing so on this blog.

    McKay ([email protected])

  19. Joseph Smith explained how prophets between Moses and Christ received the Melchizedek Priesthood when only the lesser priesthood was on the earth.

    David C. points out that Thomas S. Monson was ordained by Boyd K. Packer in contrast to the prophets between the time of Moses and Christ, such as Samuel, who were ordained by the Lord himself.

    Yet the Melchizedek Priesthood is on the earth today. [Unless Denver is telling us that it isn’t, and I must admit to missing that fact in his books–all of which I have read–if he is,] then why would we assume Boyd K. Packer is not a legal administrator, holding the Melchizedek Priesthood along with sufficient keys such that he can perform the ordination?

    It is recorded in STPJS 109 that on March 27, 1836 Joseph “then called up on the quorums and congregation of Saints to acknowledge the Twelve Apostles, who were present, as Prophets, Seers, Revelators, and special witnesses to all the nations of the earth, holding the keys of the kingdom, to unlock it, or cause it to be done, among them, and uphold them by their prayers, which they assented to by rising.

    We know that Oliver Cowdrey’s charge to the Twelve in 1835 told them to never cease to striving for the 2nd Comforter until they had obtained it.

    Clearly, however, the majority of them (if not all twelve?) had not accomplished that task by 1836–some never did–yet Joseph called upon the members to already acknowledge them as “Prophets, Seers and Revelators”.

  20. Shouldn’t we acknowledge that anyone God chooses to speak with, even me and you, can be prophets, seers and revelators? Regardless… no matter how we vote or how much we claim someone has these gifts from on high, doesn’t make it so. We all have the access to do these things for our own jurisdictions… it just makes it “in order” when our leaders have them so we can be led right. God wants us all to be these things. He wanted leaders to show all how to do so. But if they think to keep these things to themselves unjustly, then amen to any authority they or we think they have. Just as Denver and many here are trying to teach that the Lord is the one we should seek, a true messenger or prophet will always teach to look to Christ and not downplay themselves and would want all to have these gifts. The church and priesthood order was a good a way to get these things accomplished, to make of every mand and woman a prophet/prophetess. But we also know the general nature of man and how we corrupt ourselves.

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