Friday, November 9, 2012

144,000, part 3

One final passage of scripture seems connected to this process. A question was posed by Elias Higbee. Joseph took this question to the Lord. The question and answer is in D&C 113: 7-8:

"Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to? He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost."

Although the number 144,000 is not mentioned here, this is also clearly a last-days event. The individuals involved are those who "God should call in the last days." The verses describing the 144,000 make it clear they will be called of God, and will receive sealing from the angels; as Revelation 7: 3, D&C 77: 11 and D&C 84: 42 all reference.

The "power" of the angels "over the nations of the earth" (D&C 77: 11) is needed to prevent Zion from being overrun or destroyed by the nations of the earth. These other nations, if they oppose Zion, will be destroyed. (See Daniel 2: 31-45; D&C 87: 6.) The "powers of heaven" which will hover over Zion will discourage any army from battling her. (D&C 45: 70.)

I put the term "powers of heaven" in quotes because this refers to the hosts of heaven. This is why the term "powers" and not "power" is used in D&C 121: 36. Priesthood is always a relationship between man on earth and the "powers" or hosts of heaven. These angelic or heavenly beings were those who escorted men to the first heavenly Zion (Moses 7: 27), and will do so again. 

It will be the relationship between those who have been "sealed ...of our God in their foreheads" (Rev. 7: 3) and the heavenly powers or angels which grants "the power of the priesthood to bring again Zion." (D&C 113: 8.)

Notice the return of Zion is connected also with "lineage" in the answer above. Or, in other words, the bloodlines of Israel are required to be found in those who will be gathered. This has always been true of Zion. In the first Zion, the gathering of individuals was carefully assembled to bring together "a mixture of all the seed of Adam" so all the families were included. (Moses 7: 22.) There was one exception, however that bloodline was likewise preserved through Noah's son's wife. (Abr. 1: 21-23.) The Lord, therefore, took measures to keep either in Zion or on the earth a representative descendant of "all the seed of Adam."

As the revelation explains, to "put on the authority [notice here authority is singular] of the priesthood" is necessary to "bring again Zion." This is why the Lord says HE will "bring again Zion" and not men. (See Isa. 52: 8; 3 Ne. 16: 19; see also the description in Moses 7: 62 of the Lord's role in the final Zion.)

Zion is the Lord's and His name is "the King of Zion." (Moses 7: 53.)

In the answer found in D&C 113: 8 the priesthood power has been "lost" and needs to be returned. This raises the interesting question of whether this is referring to the final calling of the 144,000, or if it means the restoration with Joseph Smith. Have/will we successfully perpetuate the authority from Joseph's time until the return of Zion? (Look at D&C 86: 11.) Or will it require a new connection between man and the "powers of heaven" and a new "sealing" of men in their foreheads by the angels? Revelation 7: 3 implies this authority will be returned immediately prior to the plagues described in the next chapter. But it is up to the Holy Ghost to provide a correct interpretation of these verses. I leave that to you to receive.

The Lord appears in prophecy to claim a direct or immediate role in establishing Zion. And the verses we have considered appear to make it a project which will involve not only the Lord, but also angels and the Father. Indeed, the "powers of heaven" appear to all have some hand in bringing again Zion, do they not?

The most interesting thing to me is the symbolic nature of the number 144,000. If the Lord intends to preserve the blood of all Twelve Tribes, and there are perhaps as many as a thousand different families connected together in your own ancestors, could one man account for a thousand of these 144,000? Could his wife account for another thousand? How few individuals could be able to preserve the bloodlines of the twelve thousand families from each of the Twelve Tribes?

For those who are not included, they will nevertheless have part in the resurrection. The scriptures promise it will be "tolerable" for them. (D&C 45: 54.)

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