Recorded in scripture is a pattern to seeing God. When a person has traveled the high road of righteousness, obtained the right to fully claim the blessings of the Atonement, and has been purified by fire, then this pattern will be repeated again in our behalf. Each account of a mortal speaking with God is a little different, but there are also these similarities.
First, we are show a vision of the workmanship of Jesus Christ’s hands. Moses saw this vision and penned the book of Genesis. Every prophet who records his personal experience with the Lord in any detail includes seeing a sweeping vision of his future ministry, and quite often, of the entire history of the world, sometimes of the whole workmanship of God’s hands. The list is too long to mention them all. All of the Old Testament prophets saw this grand vision: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Abraham and Enoch, to name a few. John the Beloved recorded a portion of his vision in the book of Revelation. Lehi saw and mentioned his vision. Nephi, inspired by his father’s account, saw and recorded parts of his vision in First Nephi. The Brother of Jared saw the vision and wrote what is now the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, purportedly the greatest literary work ever written. Mormon saw our day. Moroni wrote to us with prophetic vision because he saw and knew us intimately. Joseph Smith recorded parts of his vision in Section 76.
This vision is typified in today’s temple experience. Since the actual endowment event in the presence of the Lord begins with a vision of all, including the creation of the earth, the temple ordinance prefiguring that same event also begins in this way.
Another consistent element of this divine interview is that we are taught and spiritually edified, given knowledge that always eclipses what can be known by common man. Such knowledge was given to many notables such as Adam, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Elijah, John the Baptist. In fact, since there is only one gospel—we may safely surmise that it was given to all of the great patriarchs who entered the divine presence.
This grand vision is prefigured in this promise:
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man. (D&C 76:8-10)
At some point we will be offered the chance to request some divine gift, which will be our actual endowment. Even though the temple ordinance is called the “endowment”, it would be more correct to say, it is a temple ordinance that teaches of, instructs in the laws governing, and prefigures the actual endowment, which is a celestial gift we personally request of the Lord while in His presence.
© June 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.