This is the third part of a special series on Abraham.
Today, Denver continues addressing the questions: What do we need to understand about Abraham in order to understand our place in the last days events? What is God’s view of The Book of Abraham and what ought we to take from it as we look towards a continuation of the restoration?
The last-days Zion is connected with the rights of the Fathers. And I talked about covenants, and I talked about the preliminaries, and in Centerville there was some material that is relevant to this topic.
From Adam to Noah and then to Melchizedek, there was an unbroken chain of both priesthood, on the one hand, and father to son descent, on the other hand. There was literally “a family of God” that began with Adam as the son of God, and it descended, then, generation after generation until Melchizedek in an unbroken chain. But then there was an apostasy from that order. As a result of the apostasy from that order, the chain got broken. And because the chain got broken, like we looked at in Centerville, it was the hope of Abraham to reconnect that chain.
I sought for the blessings of the Fathers and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same [that is, the rights of the Fathers]. Having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge…and to possess a greater knowledge [and to be a greater follower] and to be a…
And this doesn’t make much sense unless you comprehend what it was that he was looking at and you are convinced that what he was looking at is exactly that order that began with Adam. He was desiring to be
…a Father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a high priest, holding the right belonging to the Fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers: it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning or before the foundation of the earth, [down] to the present time, even the right of the first born, or the first man, who is Adam, or first Father, through the Fathers unto me (Abraham 1:1 RE).
This is what Abraham sought. And the reason Abraham sought that was because he understood that once that connection had been broken, that he needed to turn his heart to the Fathers so that he, Abraham, would not be smitten with the curse of apostasy. Therefore, he sought for the “blessings of the Fathers.”
Now, in this late moment in time, in this late period of the generations of humanity, I don’t think we can much aspire to being one of the Fathers, because, well, they were established long ago. But we ought to be turning our hearts to the Fathers, and we ought to be seeking also for what it was Abraham was seeking for—not to become ourselves but to become connected, not as a father but as a descendent, as a son or daughter.
When Abraham reconnected into the Fathers, Abraham was again able to perpetuate an unbroken chain from himself to Isaac, and Isaac in turn to Jacob, and Jacob in turn to Joseph, and Joseph in turn to Ephraim, to whom passed the right of the Fathers, or the right of the Firstborn—even though Isaac wasn’t first born, Jacob wasn’t first born, Joseph wasn’t first born, and Ephraim wasn’t first born—and yet they were all the “Firstborn” because they received the inheritance by right, and it was conferred upon them by right. Therefore, they were the Firstborn. Five generations in which the ancient pattern through the faith of Father Abraham returned and took; it actually endured for five more generations.
Disapproval from God feels terrible. When we were looking at the reaction that people have in the last day of judgement to standing in the presence of a just and holy being and feeling awful, I pointed out to you that in that passage, God was doing nothing other than existing. But the disappointment in the mind of man is so exquisite that it is likened by Joseph Smith to a lake of fire and brimstone. Therefore, God in His wrath has simply withdrawn. He’s taken a step back because we are not suited to be in His presence. Therefore, having God withdraw is a matter of feeling keenly that absence, that rejection.
This incident is being described in modern revelation in [D&C] 84, but the incident itself occurred back in the book of Exodus. This is Exodus chapter 20, beginning at verse 18:
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:18-21; see also Exodus 12:14 RE)
They did not want to encounter Him—not because the presence of God is so terrible that it drives men from Him, because Moses approached Him; but because the evidence of His presence makes us internally evaluate who and what we are. And although we can lie to ourselves about how good we really are, when the measuring stick against which you compare yourself is God, all of us come short. Even when the Lord Himself testifies to you that your sins are forgiven, you still recognize that you fall short. To the extent that you have confidence in the presence of the Lord, it is wholly derivative from Him. He has to strengthen you, because if He does not, all of us would retire in shame.
Sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will (D&C 88:68; see also T&C 86:12). He is in charge. We don’t dictate this. We prepare, and then we wait. We prepare, and we do everything we know to get ready for it. But He surely will come; and when He comes, He comes suddenly to His temple, which temple ye are. He will come to you. Have faith! Be believing! Seek for Him! This is that day in which these things need to happen.
Go to the book of John, chapter 14. Two verses—chapter 14:18, the Lord says: I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (see also John 9:8 RE). This is Christ talking to the Apostles about what He intends to do on the other side of His death, burial, and resurrection. He’s saying, “I’m not going to leave you comfortless, I will come to you!”
And then verse 23: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (John 9:8 RE). Christ is saying that’s the intention.
And so that we can have the definition given through Joseph, go to Doctrine and Covenants section 130 discussing this verse. D&C 130:3: John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false. The promise was designed to have this actually happen. This is why Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 says what it says. This is what the fullness of the Gospel consists of.
You can take all your rights and ordinances, you can take all your abidingly deep mysteries—Adam-God and the topography of Kolob…. And by the way, that whole thing about Kolob is so mangled. Kolob was a star. Kolob was a star within sight. From the vantage point of the earth, which is the entire astronomy revealed to Father Abraham, it’s entirely earth-based, looking upward. From the vantage point of the earth, looking up at that day—because the precession of the equinoxes changes the alignment of the stars, okay?—Kolob was a star. Abraham knew the name of the star. God said to Abraham, “You see that star? From where you sit looking there….” It’s like saying, “Okay, from where my thumb is looking that way, Shay is sitting by my thumb.” That doesn’t mean Shay is on my thumb; he’s some considerable distance from my thumb, okay? “Tim is in the direction of my index finger.” He’s not on my index finger; he’s some considerable distance there away from— That’s the direction. So if you know the topography of Kolob, you still don’t know where God resides. Because where He resides is in a place hidden in the north. If I were telling you where the throne of God is today, I could tell you that, but I would use a different star because in our day it has a different name, and in our day it has a slightly different alignment because of the precession of the equinoxes. He is out there, but He’s in a place that is hidden in the north. And it will require the heavens to be rolled to like a scroll before you finally see past the veils that prevent us from seeing it. But by that time, if you’re unprepared, it’s too late because the glory will be such that you cannot abide it. And when the Lord appears, preliminary to the rolling together of the scrolls, He will appear in a hole that is unveiled in which the glory of God, in His return, is behind Him, along with concourses of angels.
(I hate this because I’m just getting ready to change subjects, and so now here we are.)
Now, if you can discover what that alignment is and you can figure out where the throne of God is, that’s up to you. I’ve been given no such either obligation or permission. But I can tell you there is a location. God exists. And Abraham walked through the geography of heaven, reckoned from the vantage point or viewpoint of the earth. And when you leave here, one of the obligations that you have is to find your way back. And in finding your way back, you need to be able to avoid those who seek to bring you back into captivity. Because if you’re brought back into captivity, you may find yourself in a telestial kingdom (or the world in which you presently reside, as the temple endowment puts it). And that’s a rather unpleasant thing to think about. You may find yourself in a casino in Las Vegas.
In Romans chapter 4, he’s talking about Father Abraham, and in verse 3 he talks about Abraham believed God; it was counted unto him for righteousness. Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. Verse 13—the promise that he should be an heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law but through the righteousness of faith. Because Abraham believed in God; he trusted in Him; therefore, he inherited it all—the world. He’s the Father of the righteous. Beginning with verse 17:
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Romans 4:17-21; see also Romans 1:20 RE)
There was no proof that an aged, “dead” (that is, now impotent), old man, could sire a child with a barren, post-menopausal Sarah. But Abraham doubted not; and you have before you promises spoken by the voice of an angel concerning the things God has in store for your day, and you doubt? And you question? And you think God not able to bring about what He has said He intends to do?
The very day that they have looked forward to from the beginning of the days of Adam down till now (as we looked at in Centerville)— You doubt that God can bring this to pass? You doubt that what I have been talking about since we began in Boise and have now arrived here— If God can send someone to declare these things to you, in the confidence and the faith and the knowledge that I’m speaking to you on His errand, and I can do it in this room, in this building, in this city—salvation comes to you today by the word of God. And you doubt that God cannot make a holy place somewhere that has not been trodden under the foot of the gentiles? You doubt that God cannot bring to pass His work in culminating the ages? Have the faith of a grain of mustard seed, because it is coming; it is going to happen; and if you lack the faith, you will not be invited.
This required Abraham to endure the test of his faith. It is not easy.
I’m talking about priesthood because I want to remind you of a few things about priesthood conceptually. The priesthood was restored by John the Baptist before there was any organized church. Therefore, it is before, and it is independent and has never required a church in order for priesthood to exist.
If you go to Doctrine and Covenants 84:6: And the sons of Moses, according to the Holy Priesthood which he received under the hand of his father–in–law, Jethro (see also T&C 82:3)—now just to remind you about this, Jethro was a Midianite. He was a descendent of Midian. Midian was the son of Keturah. Keturah was the wife of Abraham after Sarah. After Sarah died, Keturah bore him children, one of whom was Midian. The birthright had already been given to Isaac.
See, there is so much about the priesthood that has yet to be clarified (and I think that is a good thing, and I’m not going to clarify enough for mischief to ensue.) But the fact of the matter is that that priesthood which Abraham handed to Midian—which then descended down and came to Moses—did not possess the birthright. Didn’t possess that. Therefore, it was not the same thing as the priesthood that had belonged previously to the Patriarchs. It was something less, and it was something different.
But Moses obtained that priesthood through Jethro, a Midianite (not even an Israelite, because Midian was named at the same time genealogically as Isaac; and it would be Isaac’s son, Jacob, who would be named Israel; and it was Israel who possessed the birthright that descended down). And so Moses inherited a form of priesthood that was, by its very nature, lesser. It’s one of the reasons why the prophets of the Old Testament all had to be ordained directly by heaven in order to obtain what they obtained.
In any event, this point is only this: Priesthood exists independent of Israel. It exists independent of a church; and while a church may be dependent upon priesthood, priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church—Period. I hope you understand that. Priesthood is not and never has been dependent upon a church! These are two entirely different topics.
Now we get to the point in the history of the world in which, after the days of Shem (who was renamed Melchizedek), people fell into iniquity. They fell into iniquity, and they lost the birthright. There was no continuation of this. It was broken by an apostasy, and it had to be restored again—which ought to give all of us great hope, because Abraham sought for this. He sought for a restoration of the kingdom of God. He sought for a restoration of this, which only one man on the earth can hold at a time. Abraham 1:2:
And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. (see also Abraham 1:1 RE)
When you are in possession of that, you have no problem asking God and getting an answer. It is the right belonging to the Fathers.
After a period of apostasy and the break of this line, Abraham received it by adoption. Therefore, this power has the ability to cure the break. This covenant-making-through-God has the ability to restore the family of God, even when wicked men kill in order to destroy it; even when a substitute needs to be made; even when the fathers turn from their righteousness. Yet God is able to cause it to persist. And Joseph Smith was doing something which no one else either understood or had the right to perpetuate.
This continued through ten generations from Adam to Melchizedek, but through Abraham it continued five generations. And it appeared again, once on the earth, in a single generation that included Joseph and his brother, Hyrum.
Now even the mockery of it has come to an end, because there is no such thing as a perpetuation “in honorable mention” of the descendants of Hyrum Smith in the office of Patriarch in the Church. There have been many signs that have been given by God that He was about to do something new from the time of the death of Joseph Smith till today. All that was left at the end was for a witness to be appointed to come and to say, “It now has come to an end.”
In the last talk that I gave in the 10 lecture series, I said a witness has now come, and I am him. It has come to an end. One of the signs of it having come to an end was the passing of Eldred Smith. There are many other signs that have been given if you are looking for them. You can see them all along the line.
Emma Smith once said that without Joseph Smith, there is no church. And you know what? Emma Smith was right. Because as soon as you remove Joseph Smith out of the picture, what you had, essentially, was a complete overthrow of the church by the Quorum of the Twelve. The Quorum of the Twelve substituted themselves in the place.
The First Presidency under Joseph Smith was a quorum that the Quorum of the Twelve may be equal in authority to, but there was never a single apostle taken out of the Quorum of the Twelve moved into the First Presidency by Joseph Smith. These were two independently existing bodies. The Quorum of the Twelve did not occupy the First Presidency, and the First Presidency filled itself without regard to the Twelve. Similarly, the Quorum of the Seventy formed a quorum equal in authority with the Quorum of the Twelve and, therefore, with the First Presidency, also.
None of this survived Brigham Young! None of this survived Brigham Young! The high councils of Zion, the standing high councils formed a quorum equal in authority with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. All the “keys” to rule in Israel—100% First Presidency, 100% Quorum of the Twelve, 100% Quorum of the Seventy, 100% in the High Councils—after Brigham Young took over, that was destroyed, and it became an oligarchy in which the Quorum of the Twelve runs everything, even through today.
But they don’t run this; and they can’t run this. And for this, God alone is in charge.
There is more to this than you can even begin to imagine. In the last revelation I received on this subject I recorded:
It has puzzled me how the Lord could go to visit the dead, the dead could greet the Son of God in the Spirit World where He, declared their redemption from the bands of death. Their sleeping dust was to be restored unto its perfect frame, bone to his bone, and the sinews and the flesh upon them, the spirit and the body to be united never again to be divided, that they might receive a fulness of joy (D&C 138:16-17), on the one hand; but Christ did not go to preach to the wicked, instead, from among the righteous he organized his forces and appointed messengers clothed with power and authority and commission[ed] them to go forth. Therefore, the very SAME spirits who rejoice at the deliverance from the grave were left in the grave and it was by them was the Gospel preached to those who had died (D&C 138: 30-32). I had wondered how they could be raised from the dead and remain yet to preach to the dead.
After inquiring about this matter diligently, I have learned that when the Lord declared the resurrection, He did not resurrect them. He assured them it would come, but comparatively few were resurrected with the Lord at the time He came forth from the grave.
This then puzzled me to know who, then, was taken from the grave, as recorded in Matthew 27:52 (Many of the bodies of the Saints which slept, arose) and prophesied by Samuel and confirmed by Christ (3 Nephi 23:9-13). Who arose that were called “many Saints” by both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon?
I was shown that the spirits that rose were limited to a direct line back to Adam, requiring the hearts of the fathers and the hearts of the children to be bound together by sealing, confirmed by covenant and the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is the reason Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have entered into their exaltation according to the promises and sit upon thrones and are not angels but are gods (D&C 132:37).
The coming of the Lord in the future will not bring an immediate resurrection—just as the resurrection of Christ did not empty the world of spirits of even the righteous dead. Those who will be prepared at His coming will remain comparatively few still. Hence, the great need to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children—and this too by covenant and sealing through the Holy Spirit of Promise. (Journal of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., Vol. 8, pp. 93-95)
It was abundantly clear, according to Joseph, that the only way in which this kind of a welding link could be accomplished required a temple to be built—and not the temple that was built in Kirkland that was accepted by the Lord; but something different.
Only the organization through a temple and associated rites results in finishing the family of God in the house of order, following the results achieved—or allowing the results achieved by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which are described in D&C 132:37: Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation according to the promises. And they sit upon thrones and are not angels, but are Gods.
In D&C 138:41, Abraham (the father of the faithful), Isaac, and Jacob were also there. In verses 41 and 42 of 138, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were there. But in the revelation given in 1843, they’re sitting on thrones. They’re not in the spirit world proselytizing. They’re sitting on thrones. The difference between these two categories are the differences between individual salvation—which can come—and reorganizing the family of God—which must occur by an ordinance in a temple to be acceptable to God.
This was why the command was given to build the temple in Nauvoo and why God offered to restore to them the fullness that they did not achieve. We need to let God take the lead, and then we need to patiently await each step along the way.
This is the stuff of which the prophecies speak. And it is the stuff that will be fulfilled. But the rites and the ordinances necessary to accomplish that— People in this generation don’t even have a clue how that necessarily has to roll forth. But rest assured, it will. It will.
Zion will be God’s work. And in the end, it will be His and His alone. He will own it; He will bring it; He will be the author of it; and He is the one who says that He will take credit for it. When it happens, however, it will conform to a pattern.
This is a verse that gets attributed to Enoch who is, in turn, quoting a prophecy that was given by Adam. And so this is the original prophecy, given at the beginning of the world through Father Adam, who established in the beginning the covenant that God, Himself, intends to vindicate: Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also (Genesis 3:14 RE).
Well, that authority gets explained a little more fully when Abraham sought for the blessing that began in the beginning. He describes what it was that he wanted:
I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me. (Abraham 1:1 RE)
There’s some very bright, well-studied Latter-day Saints who think they know what the gospel and priesthood of Abraham was. I’m here today to declare to you the truth, whether you accept it or not, whether you understand it or not, whether you think you can parse the scriptures otherwise or not. I’m telling you what the truth is today: Abraham sought for the right that came down through the Fathers, from Adam, which was the right of the Firstborn, which is that priesthood which must be restored in order to bring about the purposes of God in the last days. Abraham 2:11—the Lord says that through him:
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. (see also Abraham 3:1)
Abraham’s fatherhood reckons from priesthood. Although the right will continue through the literal seed, it reckons through priesthood. He sought for the right to be one of the Fathers. We’re talking about a time in the last days, prophesied and repeated by Jacob as his testimony in the Book of Mormon, when the natural fruit is going to reappear upon the earth. “Natural fruit” is always genealogical. It is always familial. There’s going to come a time in the last days when the family of God will return again to the earth. That same priesthood includes a function that is not well understood. Abraham knew what this was when he said he desired to be a “father of many nations.” He’s identifying one of the attributes and one of the roles that necessarily must return.
If you go to Moses chapter 5 there’s an incident that takes place in which Mother Eve celebrated—because after the apostasy of son after son after son—she rejoiced because, well, I’ll read it to you. This is Moses 5:16:
And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God. And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare Cain, and said [now this is her; she conceived; she bare Cain; and she said concerning this son]: I have gotten a man from the Lord; wherefore he may not reject his words. But behold, Cain hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him? (see also Genesis 3:6 RE)
That is to say, Mother Eve looked at Cain—in contrast to those that had rejected the gospel message that had been born by her previously—and Cain, apparently in answer to her supplication to the Lord, came as what she anticipated would be the son upon whom the birthright would be conferred, the one through whom the lineage would continue, the one through whom the government of God would continue upon the earth, the replacement for Adam.
But Cain, when he arrived at the age of accountability and beyond, hearkened not, saying: Who is the Lord that I should know him? And she again conceived and bare his brother Abel. And Abel hearkened unto the voice of the Lord. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground (Genesis 3:6 RE).
Now mind you, there is no attempt to set out the chronology here other than by milestones. But Cain had determined to reject the Lord and not hearken to Him by the time the replacement, Abel, was born. And when Cain, who thought it his birthright, found that he could be displaced by his younger brother— As an act of overthrowing the government of God, Cain slew Abel in order to prevent the birthright, in order to prevent the promised Messiah, in order to prevent the work of God progressing through any lineage other than his own. This was an act of treason. This was an act of overthrowing the government of God. This was an attempt to force God to place the Messiah that should redeem all mankind into a position inferior to Cain, his father. But God replaced the slain Abel with Seth. And Seth was the one through whom, then, the promise would be realized.
As you go through the account in Moses chapter 6, at 10 and 11: Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image, and called his name Seth. So in his own likeness, after his own image—when Adam was created in God’s own likeness after God’s own image—makes Seth, like Adam, a godly man.
And the days of Adam, after he had begotten Seth, were eight hundred years, and he [that is Seth] begat many sons and daughters. There is no indication that any of them were as rebellious as were the descendents of Cain. He begat many sons and daughters. And yet, in the next verses, there is only one son who is identified.
Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos, and prophesied in all his days, and taught his son Enos in the ways of God; wherefore Enos prophesied also”(Genesis 3:15-16 RE). So although there are many sons and many daughters, there is only one named, and you can follow it through.
Seth—many sons, all of whom are unnamed other than one—and that one that is named is Enos. Enos has many sons, all of whom are also unnamed other than one: Cainan. And Cainan has many sons, all of whom are unnamed other than one; the one that’s named is Mahalaleel. And although all of his predecessors had had many sons, Mahalaleel had sons. So the fertility rate is collapsing as we get closer to the Flood. There is only one named son of Mahalaleel, and that is Jared. And there is only one named son out of all the sons of Jared, and that is Enoch. And there is only one named son out of all of the sons of Enoch, and that’s Methuselah.
This is not a genealogy. This is a description of the government of God as it descended down through each generation, so that upon the death of one, you then knew who stood next in line in order to be “the father of all, the father of many nations,” the role that is occupied by the head of the human family, okay? It is a priesthood line in which only one in each generation stands at the head as the Father.
This one stands as “the father of all,” and hence, Abraham’s desire to become “a father of many nations,” because if he stepped into the line, he necessarily stepped into the role of providing the government of God. Christ is the one to whom all generations belong. He is the Redeemer of all mankind, and as the Savior of mankind, He becomes the Father of all.
Christ was born a King. In fact, wise men from the East came inquiring saying: Where is he that was born King of the Jews? Because that was His status; that was what the prophecies said of Him; that was the role He occupied. And the person they approached to find out where they might identify the newborn king was the king of the land, who knew nothing about the matter and had to go to the scriptorians to ask them, who after some fumbling came up with Bethlehem. Bethlehem of Judea, thou art not the least.
Well, Christ was born as a King, but He explained how He discharged His Kingship. In John chapter 18 beginning at verse 36: Jesus answered [this is when He was on trial for His life]—
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (See also John 10:7 RE)
That’s the King. And He suffered Himself to be surrendered into the hands of wicked men who despitefully used, abused, beat, and humiliated Him, and then killed Him publicly on a thoroughfare where the notoriety of His death would be on public display. And no one entering or leaving, on that day, the city of Jerusalem, could do so without noticing the humiliation of our Lord. That’s our King.
He explained Himself further in contrasting who He, the King, the Almighty Father, the Wonderful, Counselor, of the end of His government there shall not be a failure of increase—He explained Himself and how He rules to his disciples. And he saith unto them [this is in Luke chapter 22 beginning at verse 25],
And he saith unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doeth service. (See also Luke 13:6 RE)
The great King came, above all else, to serve.
Zion will come. It will come not because of the worthiness of any of us; it will come because of the repentance of us and the worthiness of those with whom God covenanted to bring it to pass, including Adam and Enoch and Abraham and Melchizedek. It will come as a consequence of the righteousness of those that went before and with whom God, who cannot lie in a covenant, made a covenant to cause it to happen in the last days. It will surely come.
Joseph’s original instruction about sealing dealt with connecting the living faithful to the Fathers in heaven: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The connection was to be accomplished through adoption sealings, not genealogy. Joseph was connected to the Fathers through his priesthood. He and his brother Hyrum were to become Fathers of all who would live after them. (Just read Abraham 1:2). Families were originally organized under Joseph as the Father of the righteous in this dispensation. Accordingly, men were sealed to Joseph Smith as their Father, and they as his sons. This was referred to as “adoption” because the family organization was not biological but priestly, according to the law of God. As soon as Joseph died, the doctrine began to erode, ultimately replaced by the substitute practice of sealing genealogical lines together. In between the original adoptive sealing to Joseph and the current practice of tracking genealogical or biological lines, there was an intermediate step when families were tracked back as far as research permitted, then the line was sealed to Joseph Smith. That practice is now forgotten and is certainly no longer practiced by any denomination within Mormonism.
When Joseph died, any understanding of the practice of “adoption” was quickly lost. Confusion over this subject once again confirms both the ever-changing nature of Mormonism and its failure to become complete during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.
If the original Mormonism needed to recover the fullness that was lost, then to revive an original, it will require a recovery of what was lost and more. If recovered, believers will be able to receive a holy spot, accepted and defended by God. In that place, the religion of Adam will be taught. The promised original religion includes the revelation of everything; nothing shall be withheld. Today’s Mormonism has a great deal withheld, but the religion of Abraham (and, therefore, the religion of Adam) included a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers. The original Mormonism must grow in ancient knowledge and understanding until their understanding reaches into heaven—not just spiritual understanding, but also physical understanding of the layout of the universe. The placement of the lights in the firmament was for “signs” to man, and therefore, were deliberately placed and contain information originally understood by Adam.
Because of prophecies made to the patriarchal Fathers, the right to found this future city of peace descends from a specific ancient line. There will be an heir descended from both Jesse and Joseph who will accomplish it. Occupants of the community will likewise have lineal qualification. The last-day’s Zion is an accomplishment promised earlier to the patriarchal Fathers, and it is through their descendants God intends to vindicate the promises. The result of this alignment will be a priestly city of Zion that will “return to that power which she has lost.”
Today’s comments were taken from the following talks:
- Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #6 entitled “Zion” given in Grand Junction, CO on April 12th, 2014
- Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #8 entitled “A Broken Heart” given in Las Vegas, NV on July 25th, 2014
- Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #10 entitled “Preserving the Restoration” given in Mesa, AZ on September 9th, 2014
- A fireside talk on “Plural Marriage”, given in Sandy, UT on March 22, 2015
- A Q&A session entitled “A Visit with Denver Snuffer” held on May 13, 2015
- His talk entitled “Zion Will Come” given near Moab, UT on April 10th, 2016
- The presentation of Denver’s paper entitled “Was There an Original”, given at the Sunstone Symposium on July 29, 2016
In addition to the foregoing, Denver has addressed this topic extensively in multiple blog posts that are worth your time and review. Including and among many others: