2 Nephi 16:1-13 (Isaiah 6) — LeGrand Baker — sode experiences
Isaiah’s description of his sode experience is unique, not because he is the only one who records it, but because his is one of the most complete in the Bible. In Isaiah’s account one finds almost all of the basic elements, so I would like to walk through his account and point out those elements. They are, a pillar of fire, being in the presence of God, or before his throne. Acknowledging the presence of cherubim and/or seraphim. Recognizing the presence of other members of the Council. Receiving an assignment which is often symbolized by an ordinance which places the words of the Lord in the mouth of the prophet.
First, though, let us look at the context in which those elements are found.
As a code word in a sacral context, the word “beginning” usually refers to a specific time, event, and place. The simplest definition for “beginning” is the one in D&C 93, “..in the beginning before the world was.” I take it that means just what it says, “before the world was.” That would be before the creation of either the spirit earth or the physical earth. But the word “before” is also important. If one says, I tried to call before I left the house, he creates a time relationship between the two events which suggests one happened almost at the same time, but immediately before the other. I take it that our “before” is used the same way. So “in the beginning before the world was.” probably means that the “beginning” immediately precedes the creation.
Perhaps our best description of the proximity of those two events is in Abraham 3 where we read of the intelligences who are organized as the noble and great spirits, met in Council, and were given assignments by God, who “stood in the midst of them [they were standing in a circle around him ] and said, these I will make my rulers.” The head of the Council of the gods, Jehovah, then said, “we will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell.” That proposition was fraught with danger, for Satan, who was a liar from the beginning (93), and apparently realized the plan was intended to bless those who were righteous and weed out those who were not, rebelled and was expelled from the Council. Thereafter the “gods” created the heavens and the earth (Abraham 3:22 to ch. 5).
That is an extremely important passage of scripture. No where else do we get the story in complete sequence. That is, no where else do we learn that the Council met, the assignments were made, the decision to create the worlds was made, then Satan rebelled and was expelled, and then the earth was created. If that simple sequence were in the Bible it would save scholars untold frustrations and speculations. They know the elements of the story, but they do not know the correct sequence of the events.
A parallel account is given in Alma 13 where the word “forward” in the first verse has the same connotation as “beginning.” [Oxford English Dictionary: Forward, first meaning: “The front part of (any thing material); the first or earliest part of (a period of time. etc.).”] Only in Alma 13 the story is different because its focus is different. Its scene also takes place at the Council, where “the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.” The difference is that while the Abraham 3 story begins at the Council and moves on to the war in heaven and the creation; the Alma 13 story begins at the Council and then leads us into an account of how those who were ordained to teach, helped prepare those who would inhabit the earth which was being created. (That’s my opinion, so take it for only what its worth.)
The Prophet Joseph also left us his own version of those events. In February, 1843, the Times and Seasons published the Prophet’s poetic version of Section 76. At first reading it just seems like Section 76 but worded differently, then one begins to notice the differences. The most striking difference is that section 76 is written in first person plural — “we.” It is an account of an experience shared by Joseph and Sidney Rigdon. But the poem is written in first person singular — “I”. It is about Joseph’s experiences and contains bits of information which elaborate on the D&C version. One could account for those differences by saying that Joseph included things in the poem which he didn’t include in the D&C. Or one might account for the expansions in the poem by asserting that they are a record of a composite of Joseph’s personal experiences, which included, but was not limited to, the vision he shared with Sidney. It appears to me that the latter option is the most probable. If it is, then what we have in this poem is an account of the Prophet Joseph’s sode experience. I will quote only a few stanzas here, but send the entire poem to Beck so he can send it out with this.
For thus saith the Lord, in the spirit of truth,
I am merciful, gracious, and good unto those
That fear me, and live for the life that’s to come:
My delight is to honour the Saints with repose,
That serve me in righteousness true to the end;
Eternal’s their glory and great their reward.
I’ll surely reveal all my myst’ries to them —
The great hidden myst’ries in my kingdom stor’d;
From the council in Kolob, to time on the earth,
And for ages to come unto them I will show
My pleasure and will, what the kingdom will do
Eternity’s wonders they truly shall know.
Here we learn something which is not known from any other source. That is, that the Council took place on Kolob. Kolob, explains Abraham, is nearest the throne of God (3:9-16). That description may be a geographic statement, or it may simply be defining Kolob as the temple of this our universal system or “age.” In either case, one of the fundamental characteristics of a sode experience is that the person has returned to the heavenly temple where he is in the proximity of God’s throne. Isaiah 6:1 is a splendid example of this. It reads,
“ In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” (The Tanakh, the official Jewish English translation, reads, “I beheld my Lord seated on a high and lofty throne; and the skirts of His robe filled the Temple.”)
Another portion of Joseph’s poem reads,
And now after all of the proofs made of him,
By witnesses truly, by whom he was known,
This is mine, last of all, that he lives; yea, he lives!
And sits at the right hand of God on his throne.
And I heard a great voice bearing record from heav’n,
He’s the Saviour and only begotten of God;
By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,
Even all that career in the heavens so broad.
Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,
Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours;
And, of course, are begotten God’s daughters and sons
By the very same truths and the very same powers.
That statement ought to end all discussion about whether the decisions of the Council applied to only this earth or to the entire system, just as it ends any discussion about whether Christ is the Saviour of this world only, or of all the worlds which “career in the heavens so broad.”
Again we return to Isaiah 6:2,
2 Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.” (The Tanakh reads, “Seraphs stood in attendance on him.”)
Cherubim and seraphim are depictions of heavenly creatures who attend God at his throne, and whose characteristics are marked symbolically as having the ultimate powers known to mankind. We learn in Ezekiel 1 and D&C 77 that the wings are probably more symbolic of their ability to move than they are an actual physical description. The Cherubim in Ezekiel have four faces which look in the four cardinal directions (i.e. understanding heaven and earth in all directions) Those faces are of a lion (king of wild beasts), and ox (strongest of domestic animals), an eagle (king of the birds), and man (the intellectual among the group). These cherubim and seraphim are attendants to God on his throne. They are his messengers as well as symbols of his power, and as such, may be considered as guards of the throne. When Moses built a small prototype of God’s throne on the top of the Ark of the Covenant, he showed two Cherubim whose wings stretched over the Mercy Seat. When Solomon built a much larger version of the same throne in the holy of holies of the temple, he had two huge cherubim whose wings stretched up 16 feet and covered the seat of the throne. The Psalms often refer to God as he who sits between the cherubim.
3 And one cried unto another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
It is likely that this statement by Isaiah is a very short version of what Isaiah experienced. There are two other ancient statements which tell the same story in much greater detail. The are quoted below. The first is from the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. The second from the Testament of Levi.
THE BOOK OF THE SECRETS OF ENOCH
And the cherubim and seraphim standing about the throne, the six-winged and many-eyed ones do not depart, standing before the Lord’s face doing his will, and cover his whole throne, singing with gentle voice before the Lord’s face: Holy, holy, holy, Lord Ruler of Sabaoth, heavens and earth are full of Thy glory.’ When I saw all these things, those men said to me: Enoch, thus far is it commanded us to journey with thee,’ and those men went away from me, and thereupon I saw them not. And I remained alone at the end of the seventh heaven and became afraid, and fell on my face and said to myself: ‘Woe is me, what has befallen me?’ And the Lord sent one of his glorious ones, the archangel Gabriel, and he said to me: ‘ Have courage, Enoch, do not fear, arise before the Lord’s face into eternity, arise, come with me,’ and I answered him, and said in myself: ‘My Lord, my soul is departed from me. from terror and trembling’ and I called to the men who led me up to this place, on them I relied, and it is with them I go before the Lord’s face. And Gabriel caught me up, as a leaf caught up by the wind, and placed me before the Lord’s face.
On the tenth Heaven, Aravoth, I saw the appearance of the Lord’s face, like iron made to glow in fire, and brought out, emitting sparks, and it burns. Thus I saw the Lord’s face, but the Lord’s face is ineffable, marvellous and very awful, and very, very terrible. And who am I to tell of the Lord’s unspeakable being, and of his very wonderful face? and I cannot tell the quantity of his many instructions, and various voices, the Lord’s throne very great and not made with hands, nor the quantity of those standing rout’ d him troops of cherubim and seraphim, nor their incessant singing, nor his immutable beauty, and who shall tell of the ineffable greatness of his glory?
And I fell prone and bowed down to the Lord, and the Lord with his lips said to me: ‘Have courage, Enoch, do not fear, arise and ‘stand before my face into eternity.’ And the archistratege Michael lifted me up,. and led me to before the Lord’s face. And the Lord said to his servants tempting them: ‘Let Enoch stand before my face into eternity,’ and the glorious ones bowed down to the Lord, and said: ‘Let Enoch go according to Thy word.’ And the Lord said to Michael: ‘Go and take Enoch from out his earthly garments, and anoint him with my sweet ointment, and put him into the garments of My glory.’
And Michael did thus, as the Lord told him. He anointed me, and dressed me, and the appear- ance of that ointment is more than the great light, and his ointment is like sweet dew, and its smell mild, shining like the sun’s ray.. and I looked at myself, and was like one of his glorious ones.
And the Lord summoned one of his archangels by name Pravuil, whose knowledge was quicker in wisdom than the other archangels, who wrote all the deeds of the Lord ; and the Lord said to Pravuil: ‘Bring out the books from my store-houses, and a reed of quick-writing, and give it to Enoch, and deliver to him the choice and comforting books out of thy hand.’….
And he was telling me all the works of heaven, earth and sea, and all the elements, their passages and goings, and the thunderings of the thunders. the sun and moon, the goings and changes of the’ stars, the seasons, years, days, and hours. the risings of the wind. the numbers of the angels, and the formation of their songs, and all human things, the tongue of every human song and life, the commandments, instructions, and sweet-voiced singings, and all things that it is fitting to learn. And Pravuil told me: ‘All the things that I have told thee, we have written. Sit and write all the souls of mankind, however many of them are born, and the places prepared for them to eternity for all souls are prepared to eternity, before the formation of the world.’ And all double thirty days and thirty nights, and I wrote out all things exactly, and wrote three hundred and sixty-six books…..
And the Lord summoned me, and said to me: Enoch, sit down on my left with Gabriel.’ And I bowed down to the Lord, and the Lord spoke to me Enoch, beloved, all thou seest, all things that are standing finished I tell to thee even before the very beginning, all that I created from non- being, and visible things from invisible. Hear, Enoch, and take in these my words, for not to My angels have I told my secret, and I have not told them their rise, nor my endless realm, nor have they understood my creating, which I tell thee to-day. For before all things were visible, I alone used to go about in the invisible things, like the sun from east to west, and from we~t to east. But even the sun has peace in itself, while I found no peace, because I was creating all things, and I conceived the thought of placing foundations, and of creating visible creation…..
I commanded in the very lowest parts, that visible things should come down from invisible, and Adoil came down very great, and I beheld him, and lo! he had a belly of great light. And I said to him: ‘Become undone, Adoil, and let the visible come out of thee.’ And he came undone, and a great light came out. And I was in the midst of the great light, and as there is born light from light, came forth a great age, and showed all creation, which I had thought to create. And I saw that it was good. And I placed for myself a throne, and took my seat on it, and said to the light: ‘Go thou up higher and fix thyself high above the throne, and be a foundation to the highest things.’ And above the light there is nothing else, and then I bent up and looked up from my throne. (The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, 21-25, in R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, vol. II, [Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1976], 2:442-445.)
Another example is from The Testament of Levi, 5:1-3, 8:1-17
And thereupon the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy temple, and upon a throne of glory the Most High. And He said to me: Levi, I have given thee the blessings of the priesthood until I come and sojourn in the midst of Israel. (5:1-3)
And I saw seven men in white raiment saying unto me: Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood, and the crown of righteousness, and the breastplate of understanding, and the garment of truth, and the plate of faith, and the turban of the head, and the ephod of prophecy. And they severally carried (these things) and put (them) on me, and said unto me: From henceforth become a priest of the Lord, thou and thy seed for ever. And the first anointed me with holy oil, and gave to me the staff of judgement. The second washed me with pure water, and fed me with bread and wine (even) the most holy things, and clad me with a holy and glorious robe. The third clothed me with a linen vestment like an ephod. The fourth put round me a girdle like unto purple. The fifth gave me a branch of rich olive [[ Elsewhere that is a royal scepter, and is a symbol of kingship. llb ]] The sixth io placed a crown on my head. The seventh placed on my head a diadem of priesthood, and filled my hands with incense, that I might serve as priest to the Lord God. And they said to me: Levi, thy seed shall be divided into three offices, for a sign of the glory of the Lord who is to come. And the first portion shall be great; yea, greater than it shall none be. The second shall be in the priesthood. And the third shall be called by a new name, because a king shall arise in Judah, and shall establish a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles [to all the Gentiles]. And His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High, of the seed of Abraham our father. Therefore, every desirable thing in Israel shall be for thee and for thy seed, And ye shall eat everything fair to look upon, And the table of the food shall thy seed apportion. And some of them shall be high priests, and judges, and scribes; For by their mouth shall the holy place be guarded.” (The Testament of Levi, in R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2:307-309).
Now let us return to Isaiah’s account. There is a quality of homespun honesty about Isaiah which is simply loveable. Others who tell this same story, such as Daniel, Enoch, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, they tell how they fell on their faces in reverence. (They use the word ‘fear.’) But Isaiah tells us how he felt, rather than what he did:
5 Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar;
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged(Isaiah 6:5-7).
From the accounts of others, one would gather that Isaiah’s experience with the spot of light this was a two-part ordinance. The first part was a ceremonial cleansing of the lips. The second was the placing of the Lord’s words in Isaiah’s mouth, thus making Isaiah’s words also the words of the Lord. Other accounts which are different in detail, but apparently symbolically the same are:
Enoch in the Pearl of Great Price:
And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heaven open, and I was clothed upon with glory. And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; … And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; and I prophesied… And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them … and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.” (Moses 7:3-4, 7, 10, 13.)
9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth, And the Lord said unto me,
10 Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations….” (Jeremiah 1:9-10)
The Lord said “And thou, son of man, be not afraid of the, neither be afraid of their words….And thou shalt speak my words unto them …. open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them (Ezekiel 2:6 to 3:4).
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings“ (Revelation 10:7-11).
We learn from the Prophet Joseph that John’s receiving and eating this book was “a mission, and an ordinance.” Presumably the ordinance was a reaffirmation of the mission Isaiah received in Council. The Prophet Joseph wrote,
14 Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation? A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things (D&C 77:14).
and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. And he read saying….” (1 Ne. 1:11-13)
Given the above versions of the story, it is apparent that the light which touched Isaiah lips was typical in its symbolism to the finger, the books, and the scroll, and that the light which touched Isaiah’s lips was also a representation of an ordinance associated with Isaiah assigned mission.
In the next verse, Isaiah brings us to the deliberations of the Council itself. One imagines the conversation at the Council goes something like this: “In about 720 BC, we are going to have a lot of trouble with the king of Assyria and we need someone who will take care of that.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? [ The “us” is plural. It is probably a reference to God and also to the other members of the Council who were present during these deliberations. Isaiah then volunteers for that assignment. He reports,] Then I said: Here am I; send me.
9 And he [ the Lord ] said: Go and tell this people–Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed, but they perceived not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes–lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed.
Isaiah’s assignment seems to be a heavy one. Not only is he going to stand off the Assyrian army, but he is also going to have to watch as the religion of the Jewish state which he has saved turns away from Jehovah and back to Baal.
In the “Martyrdom of Isaiah” one reads how, after Isaiah’s friend king Hezekiah died, Hezekiah’s son Manasseh became king and made the national religion the worship of Baal, persecuting all who insisted of worshiping Jehovah. The story concludes,
And they seized and sawed in sunder Isaiah, the son of Amoz, with a wood-saw. And Manasseh and Balchira [priest of Baal ] and the false prophets and princes and the people and all stood looking on. And to the prophets who were with him [fellow worshipers of Jehovah] he [Isaiah ] said before he had been sawn in sunder: ‘Go ye to the region of Tyre and Sidon; for for me only hath God mingled the cup.’ And when Isaiah was being sawn in sunder, he neither cried aloud nor wept, but his lips spake with the Holy Spirit until he was sawn in twain. (The Martyrdom of Isaiah, 3:11-14, in R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2:162.)
Given Isaiah’s assignment, and the sorrow associated with it, it is little wonder that he replied to the Lord,
11 Then said I: Lord, how long? [ That simple question: How long do I have to do this? may be the most honest and straight forward question reported in the scriptures. The Lord then explained: ] And he said: Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate;
12 And the Lord have removed men far away, for there shall be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
13 But yet there shall be a tenth, and they shall return, and shall be eaten, as a teil-tree, and as an oak whose substance is in them when they cast their leaves; so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
These last three verses might be read in two different ways. One way is to say that Isaiah’s assignment is to continue until the Assyrians wasted the cities of the Jews (except for Jerusalem itself). But that understanding leaves questions about whether Isaiah mission did not last longer than that.
The other way to read those three verses is to believe that the Lord told Isaiah his mission was to continue until the end of the world. If that is so, then his mission and responsibility is to work with those same wayward people — the ones who lived in Judea about 620 BC — throughout his lifetime here, then to continue after his and their deaths, into the spirit world. There they would wait until the Saviour came to institute missionary work among the dead. When that time arrived, Isaiah was among those present at that great meeting waiting for the Lord, after his death, to come and bring the keys for the salvation of the dead to the world of spirits. (Isaiah 61 and D&C 138, note v. 42). I would suppose that after that meeting in the spirit world was ended, and the Saviour had given authority to the righteous to preach to the spirits in prison, I suppose that Isaiah went back to those who had once rejected him, who were still under his stewardship, and preached the gospel to them again. That, at least, is the way I read the assignment given in the last 3 verses of Isaiah 6.
The following is a partial catalog of characteristics of the sode experience as reported by various prophets. A table of contents of this catalog is as follows:
ADAM and others, D&C 107:53-56 They saw the Lord
They understood Adams role in the Council The Lord defines Adam’s mission
ENOCH, Moses 7:2-69
Enoch is on a mountain
Enoch is clothed
Enoch saw the Lord
The Lord explains Enoch’s assignment Enoch receives the Lord’s words Enoch testifies of the Saviour
ABRAHAM, Abraham 3:22-4:1
Abraham identifies the members of the Council
God makes assignments to the members of the Council Proposal for the creation
Implementation of the Plan
Satan expelled from the Council
The Council creates the earth
MOSES’ account of the creation, Genesis 1:1-3:12
MOSES, Exodus 3:1-15 (see Moses ch. 1 also) Moses experiences the tree of life (?) Moses hears the voice of the Lord Moses’ mountain is a temple
Moses hears the voice of the Saviour
Moses’ expression of reverence
The Lord explains the reason for Moses’ assignment Moses receives the name of the Lord
Moses receives his assignment
Moses receives the Lord’s words
Moses receives symbol of priesthood powers and keys
ISAIAH, Isaiah 6:1-13
Isaiah saw the Lord upon his throne, in the temple Isaiah saw seraphims
Isaiah’s expression of reverence
Isaiah receives the Lord’s words
The Lord gives the assignment and Isaiah accepts The Lord explains Isaiah’s assignment
JEREMIAH, Jeremiah 1:1-2:37 Jeremiah saw the Lord
Jeremiah told of his call in Council Jeremiah’s expression of reverence Jeremiah receives the Lord’s words The Lord explains Jeremiah’s call
LEHI, 1 Nephi 1:6-12
Lehi sees the pillar of fire
Lehi visits the heavens
Lehi sees God on his throne
Lehi sees members of the Council
Lehi’s testimony of Christ
Lehi receives the words of God, and with it Lehi receives his assignment.
EZEKIEL, Ezekiel 1:1-3:24
The Lord’s hand is upon Ezekiel Ezekiel’s description of the pillar of fire Ezekiel’s description of the cherubim Ezekiel’s description of the Throne Ezekiel’s description of reverence
The Lord gives Ezekiel his assignment Ezekiel receives God’s words
Ezekiel receives his assignment
JOHN — John 1:1-14)
John testifies of the Saviour’s role in the
Council, the creation, and as the source of life.
JOHN, John 1:29-34
John testifies of the Saviour
John describes their respective places in the Council John describes his instructions
THE SAVIOUR’S INTRODUCTION TO JOHN’S TESTIMONY AS RECORDED IN D&C 93:1-17
All may have a sode experience
JOHN’S TESTIMONY, D&C 93
John saw the Saviour in Council John testifies of the Saviour
JOSEPH SMITH — Joseph Smith-History 1:15-20 Joseph saw the pillar of light
Joseph saw the Father and the Son
Joseph receives his assignment
Joseph’s expression of reverence
Joseph’s only indication of seeing the Council
as a part of the First Vision.
JOSEPH F. SMITH — D&C 138:55-56)
Joseph F. Smith “observed” the members of the Council.
ADAM AND OTHERS, in D&C 107:53-56
THEY SAW THE LORD — ” the Lord appeared unto them,”
THEY UNDERSTOOD ADAM’S ROLE IN THE COUNCIL — “and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel. [They acknowledged, perhaps because they had seen, his role as Michael at the Council. ]”
THE LORD DEFINES ADAM’S MISSION — “And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.”
ENOCH, Moses 7:2-69
ENOCH IS ON A MOUNTAIN — And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the
mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, ENOCH IS CLOTHED — and I was clothed upon with glory;
ENOCH SAW THE LORD — And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face;
THE LORD EXPLAINS ENOCH’S MISSION — and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations. And the Lord said unto me: Prophesy; … And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them–Repent, …
ENOCH RECEIVES THE LORD’S WORDS — And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him. …
ENOCH TESTIFIES OF THE SAVIOUR — And again Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the earth rest? And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying: Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? Forasmuch as thou art God, and I know thee, and thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of thine Only Begotten; thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to thy throne, and not of myself, but through thine own grace; wherefore, I ask thee if thou wilt not come again on the earth….
ABRAHAM, Abraham 3:22-4:1
ABRAHAM IDENTIFIES THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL — Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
GOD MAKES ASSIGNMENTS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL — And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
PROPOSAL FOR THE CREATION — And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same
kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN — And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
SATAN EXPELLED FROM THE COUNCIL — And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.
THE COUNCIL CREATES THE EARTH — And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.
MOSES’ ACCOUNT OF CREATION, Genesis 1:1-3:12)
In the beginning God [ elohim, the gods, that is the Council ] created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God [the Council ] said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God [ the Council ] saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. …
MOSES, Exodus 3:1-15 (See also the first chapter of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.)
MOSES EXPERIENCES THE TREE OF LIFE (?) — And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
MOSES HEARS THE VOICE OF THE LORD — And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
MOSES’ MOUNTAIN IS A TEMPLE — And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
MOSES HEARS THE VOICE OF THE SAVIOUR — Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
MOSES’ EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE — And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
THE LORD EXPLAINS THE REASON FOR MOSES’ ASSIGNMENT — And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; …
MOSES RECEIVES THE NAME OF THE LORD — And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
MOSES RECEIVES HIS ASSIGNMENT — And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
MOSES RECEIVES WORDS FROM THE LORD — And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. [ This may not mean that Moses can’t speak well, it may only mean that Moses, who was reared and educated in the house of the Pharaoh, cannot speak the language of the slaves. ] And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
MOSES RECEIVES PRIESTHOOD POWERS AND KEYS — And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs. …
ISAIAH, Isaiah 6:1-13)
ISAIAH SAW THE LORD, UPON HIS THRONE, IN THE TEMPLE — In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
ISAIAH SAW SERAPHIMS — Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that
cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
ISAIAH’S EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE — Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
ISAIAH RECEIVES THE WORDS OF GOD BY ORDINANCE — Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
THE LORD GIVES THE ASSIGNMENT AND ISAIAH ACCEPTS — Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
THE LORD EXPLAINS ISAIAH’S ASSIGNMENT — And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
JEREMIAH — Jeremiah 1:1-2:37
JEREMIAH SAW THE LORD — The words of Jeremiah … To whom the word of the LORD came…
JEREMIAH TOLD OF HIS CALL IN COUNCIL — Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
JEREMIAH’S EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE — Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
JEREMIAH RECEIVES THE LORD’S WORDS — But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
THE LORD EXPLAINS JEREMIAH’S CALL — See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to
throw down, to build, and to plant. LEHI — 1 Nephi 1:6-12
PILLAR OF FIRE — And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much;
LEHI’S REVERENCE — and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly. … being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen.
LEHI VISITS THE HEAVENS — And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open,
LEHI SEES GOD ON HIS THRONE — and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne,
LEHI SEES THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL — surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.
LEHI’S TESTIMONY OF CHRIST — 9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth;
LEHI RECEIVES THE WORDS OF GOD, AND WITH IT, HIS OWN ASSIGNMENT — and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. And it came to pass that as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord. And he read, saying …
EZEKIEL — Ezekiel 1:1-3:24
THE LORD’S HAND UPON EZEKIEL — The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
EZEKIEL’S DESCRIPTION OF THE PILLAR OF FIRE — And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
EZEKIEL’S DESCRIPTION OF THE CHERIBUM — Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and
they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.
EZEKIEL’S DESCRIPTION OF THE THRONE — And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone:
EZEKIEL’S DESCRIPTION OF GOD ON THE THRONE — and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.
EZEKIEL’S EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE — And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
THE LORD GIVES EZEKIEL HIS ASSIGNMENT — And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. … And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
EZEKIEL RECEIVES GOD’S WORDS — And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
EZEKIEL RECEIVES HIS ASSIGNMENT — And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. …
JOHN — John 1:1-14)
JOHN TESTIFIES OF THE SAVIOUR’S ROLE IN THE COUNCIL, THE CREATION, AND AS THE SOURCE OF LIFE — In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. … That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
JOHN — John 1:29-34
JOHN TESTIFIES OF THE SAVIOUR — The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
JOHN DESCRIBES THEIR RESPECTIVE PLACES IN THE COUNCIL — This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
JOHN DESCRIBES HIS INSTRUCTIONS (‘HE THAT SENT ME…THE SAME SAID UNTO ME…’ ) And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
THE SAVIOUR’S INTRODUCTION TO JOHN’S TESTIMONY AS RECORDED IN D&C 93:1-17
ALL MAY HAVE A SODE EXPERIENCE — Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one— The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.
JOHN’S TESTIMONY — And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed.
JOHN SAW THE SAVIOUR IN COUNCIL — And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was; Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation— The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
JOHN TESTIFIES OF THE SAVIOUR — And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son. And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father; And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
JOSEPH SMITH — Joseph Smith-History 1:15-20
JOSEPH SAW THE PILAR OF LIGHT — …just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
JOSEPH SAW THE FATHER AND THE SON — It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
JOSEPH RECEIVES HIS ASSIGNMENT — My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)–and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
JOSEPH’S EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE — When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.
JOSEPH’ ONLY INDICATION OF SEEING THE COUNCIL AT THAT TIME — “Another personage soon appeared like unto the first: he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee. He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I saw many angels in this vision.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” BUY Studies, Spring, 1969, p. 284.)
JOSEPH F. SMITH — D&C 138:55-56)
JOSEPH F. SMITH “OBSERVED” THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL — I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God. Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.