Seek the Face of the Lord (Part 1)


As has been noted, the process of obtaining a place in Zion is that of seeking and obtaining an audience with Christ. It is during that divine interview that we may ask for any righteous endowment, including the greater gift of being translated, and thus becoming a Zion individual. It is also worth observing that it is not necessarily the pathway of every individual to be translated—especially in days prior to the actual establishment of Zion. In these days the greater request may be many other things. But, the fact remains that to be in Christ’s presence is to become Zion, no matter what we may request of Him.

One of the great privileges of the gospel that has existed in many dispensations is the privilege of obtaining a personal visitation of the Lord. The scriptures are replete with accounts of those who have sought and obtained this great gift. A notable few of those who have obtained the privilege of conversing with the God of heaven face to face include Adam (and most of his contemporaries), Enoch and his whole city, Noah, Melchizedek and his city, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph (of Egypt), Moses, Aaron and seventy of the elders of Israel, Elijah, Elisha, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Peter, James, John, Paul, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, the brother of Jared, Alma, Moroni, Helaman, Nephi (III), the Nephite Twelve, thousands during Christ’s appearance at Bountiful, and Joseph Smith with many of his contemporaries. It is also undoubtedly true that countless others, whose names are unknown to history, also obtained this consummate gift in mortality. In our own time Apostles have the same privilege of being personal witnesses of Christ to bear testimony that they have seen Him face to face.

Joseph Smith explained it this way:

You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.

Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid His hands upon His disciples, why not in latter days? (Joseph Smith, HOTC, 2: 195.)

It is worth observing that even during times of spiritual decline and darkness, many faithful sought and obtained this grand blessing. Many of the Old Testament prophets prevailed with the Lord while all around them wickedness reigned.

So sublime is this visitation, and so vast the blessings it bestows, that it is literally impossible to overstate its attendant blessings. In the following pages we will examine these blessings, as well as the requirements laid upon those who would be so bold as to seek the face of God.

Let us begin by observing that we are literally commanded to seek His face.

And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life. (D&C 101:38)

Moses sought to bring his people out of spiritual darkness into the full light of the glory of God. He sought to prepare them that they might do as he had done, ascend the Holy Mount and see the face of God. He labored diligently to prepare them to enter within the veil.

19 And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

20 Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

21 And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

22 For without this [the power of godliness] no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. (D&C 84:19-24, comment added)

Please observe that verse 22 clearly defines “the power of godliness” as that which makes it possible to see the face of God, to be in His presence and to enter into His rest, which is the fullness of His glory (v24).

It seems no more tragic for the children of Israel to reject the invitation to enter into the fullness of God’s glory, than for us to likewise reject the same invitation through failure to realize it is being offered to us, or even worse, to fail to believe we are capable of prevailing with the Lord.

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 14:23)

It requires monumental faith to translate a promise given to all mankind, into a personal belief as seemingly audacious as “I can seek and obtain a personal audience with my Savior.” It almost seems irreverent to so believe, as if one is leapfrogging an entire paradigm of mortality—which is that God only appears to prophets, period. The internalization of a belief that you, or I, can and even must, find ourselves on the other side of the veil in this life is almost superhuman.

Mortal frailty notwithstanding, the promise has stood through time, sounding a divine invitation to awake, and behold.

Brother John

© May 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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10 Responses to Seek the Face of the Lord (Part 1)

  1. Clarice says:

    Darrell, I agree. When one arrives at having received their Lord and Savior, they will have any power needed to bless and protect their family.

    John, you are right, only 3 of the Nephite 12 wanted, translation, and only John the beloved. I must admit as I have been reading your book The Triumph of Zion, my heart has soared at the possibility of everything the book teaches. I cannot think of anything greater than helping gather the Lord’s people to the safety of Zion. To be part of something that has been seen and written of, by the Lord’s prophets for thousands of years….there really are not words to describe the thrill of it. My family is young, but I do not fear for their safety in this type of situation. In fact this seems to be the only situation where any safety is guarenteed.

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  2. Jared Eastley says:

    I have often wondered what I would say if the Savior asked me what I would receive of Him. My conclusion has often been that I am not wise enough to know what is best for me. I have to admit, though, that translation would be near the top of my list, especially if it would allow me to serve the Lord in the best way possible. However, my first concern would be receiving a promise of my own exaltation; once that is assured, I don’t suppose it would really matter what is next for me. Having first received my own calling and election, I would next, personally, prefer an assignment which would allow me to minister to and assist my family and loved ones. If translation will enable that, then great; otherwise, I would prefer not to be translated so I can be there for those I love the most.

    Brother Jared

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    • Donald Danner says:

      My wife and I have had this conversation Jared…. what would we ask of our Lord? (btw, this is not the first marriage for each of us)

      Protecting our blended family and being allowed to minister to them comes to our minds most often…. None of our 8 children have followed the path we hoped and prayed for…. it is such a heartbreak for us. I privately feel crushed inside each time I hear the phrase “by their fruits…”

      We continue in patience to bear testimony of the Savior and invite them to keep the commandments. So it would be a wonderful blessing of joy and comfort to know even one of them chose to follow Christ. I have prayed and fasted for a miracle and hope it will yet happen.

      We have remained faithful and active and have wonderful loving relationships with our children.

      So my wife and I have had similar conversations Jared… and hope we are so blessed someday and He will receive us…. and that the Spirit will guide us to know what to ask of Him.

      -kind regards

      Donald

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      • Donald Danner says:

        I’m sorry to intrude again. I should have included this verse from Alma 13 (btw, what a wonderful and profound chapter in the Book of Mormon) in my last post. I think my wife and I would like to do this (specifically for our family) if given the opportunity to request if from the Lord:

        13 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should humble yourselves before God, and bring forth fruit meet for repentance, that ye may also enter into that rest.

        -best of feelings
        Donald

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    • darrell brashear says:

      I hope to offer my own feelings and insight on this subject. It has been my feeling that by the time a person has their calling and election made sure, and beyond, they have matured spiritually to the degree that Christ’s desires are their desires. They will not ask anything contrary to His will, otherwise, they wouldn’t be given the opportunity to choose what they desire. It seems that as a person continues to grow spiritually their love and desires spread further and further out. At first, a person is concerned mainly with thier own salvation, then it goes out to thier family and loved ones, then thier people, and eventually the whole world. As this love evolves, the power to bless increases. When a person’s calling and election is made sure, they have the power to secure blessings for their family. The Book of Mormon gives many examples, like the one mentioned by brother Pontius where Alma sends an angel to arrest the spiritual decay of his son. It is my feeling that by the time a person arrives at the point of translation, their love is so advanced, and their ability to bless so profound, that it encompasses the whole world. They’ve long since been given the power to bless their family. The very reason a person chooses translation is because of thier great love for all of God’s children and thier desire to bring blessings of salvation to people of every nation. I love the story of Enos where first his concern is for his own salvation. Once he obtained forgiveness for his own sins, he prayed for his brethren the Nephites (his extended family), then his love and concern extended out to the enemies of his people the Lamanites. His concern then extends outward to future generations and so he prays for them as well, and secured blessings for them by his faith. The beautiful thing to me is that the more we grow in Christ, the more outward our love becomes; it expands until it fills the whole earth, and what’s more, the more we grow in Christ, the more we are empowered to bless the lives of others. In closing, I would like to share one of my favorite scriptures. The scripture reads, “And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father. And the Father teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you, which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, AND NOT FOR YOUR SAKES ONLY, BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE WHOLE WORLD”. (D&C 84:47-48). May God bless us all in those things we truly seek. Brother D

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  3. Clarice says:

    John, you said: “It is also worth observing that it is not necessarily the pathway of every individual to be translated—especially in days prior to the actual establishment of Zion. In these days the greater request may be many other things. But, the fact remains that to be in Christ’s presence is to become Zion, no matter what we may request of Him.” I have thought a lot about that after reading it in your book.
    I am curious as to what could possibly be a greater request than translation in Zion? Am I understanding correctly, that to become a member of Zion will require translation to live there? If so, how could anything be a priority above that?
    I would really like to hear a bit more of what you think about that? What other “calling” do you think someone could hear, other than Zion?
    Thankyou.

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    • John Pontius says:

      I believe every person has a calling and their request will be inspired to best accomplish that. From your question and your apparent desires, it is not difficult to quess what the Spirit is teaching you. I have heard many people express other desires though. Even among the Nephite twelve, nine wanted another gift.

      Good question.

      Brother John

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  4. Donald Danner says:

    Brother John,

    Have you read Denver Snuffer’s book “The Second Comforter?”

    If so, how did you feel about it? If not, it is a wonderful book worth reading that you might enjoy reading.

    -kind regards
    Donald

    Like

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