Sometime after the events at Adam-Ondi-Ahman , the Lord will begin the building of the Center Place of Zion, the New Jerusalem. The building of the latter-day Zion will necessitate Zion-worthy people actually arriving at Zion. This is the beginning of the great gathering in the earth. Prior to this time there will have been sufficient destruction in the earth (at the end of the times of the gentiles) that whomever the Lord designates to travel to Zion, that they will not be arriving in Zion by modern means, or modern transportation systems.
Zion and her stakes will be a refuge from the wrath which is poured out in full measure. (D&C 115:6) This necessitates that we actually be in Zion to be protected, hence the holy word says that the “gentiles shall flee unto Zion”. (D&C 133:12)
There will be several stages of this flight to Zion. The first will be those sent by the Lord in the first wave. They will be fully prepared and endowed with power. They will begin the construction of the Temple there, and lay the foundations of the city. Shortly thereafter, those in Zion will be empowered and called into the 144,000. These will be High Priests (and High Priestesses in my opinion) who will be sealed in their foreheads (which signifies the receipt of the fullness of Priesthood power) and who are ordained to the “Holy Order of God by his angel, and given power over the nations of the earth.
“Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe? A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the Church of the Firstborn.” (D&C 77:11)
The fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood is available to us today, and occurs through temple covenants, and bestows the full power of godliness upon a mortal when we keep and fulfill those covenants.
“Elijah restored the authority of the fulness of the priesthood (D&C 110:12-16). ” (Words of Joseph Smith, 303.)
“Now for Elijah, the spirit power & calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations ordinances, oricles powers & endowments of the fulness of the Melchezedek Priesthood.” (Words of Joseph Smith,, 305-306.)
Regarding faithful sisters receiving these same great privileges in Zion, Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
“There is no exaltation in the kingdom of God without the fulness of priesthood. How could a man be an heir in that kingdom without priesthood? While the sisters do not hold the priesthood, they share in the fulness of its blessings in the celestial kingdom with their husbands. These blessings are obtained through obedience to the ordinances and covenants of the house of the Lord….” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3: 132.)
The next wave of gathering will occur as the 144,000 gather the elect from out of the earth. This will be done by open display of the power of God.
The 144,000 will be translated persons, and will have great power to deliver and to save.
“They (the Saints) will dwell in Zion a good while, and during that time, there will be twelve thousand chosen out of each of these ten tribes, besides twelve thousand that will be chosen from Judah, Joseph, and the remaining tribes, one hundred and forty-four thousand in all [see Revelation 7:4-8; D&C 77:11]. Chosen for what? To be sealed in their foreheads. For what purpose? So that the power of death and pestilence and plague that will go forth in those days sweeping over the nations of the earth will have no power over them. These parties who are sealed in their foreheads will go forth among all people, nations and tongues, and gather up and hunt out the house of Israel, wherever they are scattered, and bring as many as they possibly can into the Church of the firstborn, preparatory to the great day of the coming of the Lord. One hundred and forty-four thousand missionaries! Quite a host. All this has got to take place.” (Orson Pratt – JD, 18:25, Parenthetical comment added)
Orson Pratt, an Apostle and friend of the Prophet Joseph, made this fascinating explanation regarding why this missionary force need to be translated beings.
” When the Temple is built [in the New Jerusalem] the sons of the two Priesthoods [Melchizedek and Aaronic] . . . will enter into that Temple . . . and all of them who are pure in heart will behold the face of the Lord and that too before he comes in his glory in the clouds of heaven, for he will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple an offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In doing this, he will purify not only the minds of the Priesthood in that Temple, but he will purify their bodies until they shall be quickened, and renewed and strengthened, and they will be partially changed, not to immortality, but changed in part that they can be filled with the power of God, and they can stand in the presence of Jesus, and behold his face in the midst of that Temple.” (Quotation continued below)
Astonishingly, Elder Pratt is describing a purification process that will make us worthy of making an unspecified offering in the temple. Since there is only one gospel, and one temple, and we have the fullness of both, all temple goers know what those offerings are. We symbolically make them by way of covenant every time we attend. The scriptures, and Elder Pratt, attest that when we at last make them in righteousness, not symbolically, or as a matter of ceremony, but it truth and righteousness, then the God of heaven will translate us!
Continuing the quote from above:
“This [being translated] will prepare them for further ministrations among the nations of the earth, it will prepare them to go forth in the days of tribulation and vengeance upon the nations of the wicked, when God will smite them with pestilence, plague and earthquake, such as former generations never knew. Then the servants of God will need to be armed with the power of God, they will need to have that sealing blessing pronounced upon their foreheads that they can stand forth in the midst of these desolations and plagues and not be overcome by them.” (Continued below)
In other words, we will need to be translated just to physically survive being sent forth to gather the elect out of the world.
Elder Pratt continues:
“When John the Revelator describes this scene he says he saw four angels sent forth, ready to hold the four winds that should blow from the four quarters of heaven. Another angel ascended from the east and cried to the four angels, and said, ‘Smite not the earth now, but wait a little while.’ ‘How long?’ ‘Until the servants of our God are sealed in their foreheads.’ What for? To prepare them to stand forth in the midst of these desolations and plagues, and not be overcome. When they are prepared, when they have received a renewal of their bodies in the Lord’s temple, and have been filled with the Holy Ghost and purified as gold and silver in a furnace of fire, then they will be prepared to stand before the nations of the earth and preach glad tidings of salvation in the midst of judgments that are to come like a whirlwind upon the wicked.” (Journal of Discourses, 15:365—66. Italics and bracketed comment added)
If Elder Pratt is right, and I deeply believe he is, then one of the grand purposes of the temple we will build in the New Jerusalem is to bestow upon us the privilege of translation, which is the same thing as saying, to make us a part of Zion. But, as he notes above, the angels are holding back from cleansing the earth until we, the people of this dispensation, are sealed in their foreheads, which Elder Pratt equates with translation. In this sealing we will become sanctified and ready to take our place in Zion and among the 144,000.
Even though the New Jerusalem temple is apparently the place where translation will take place, it is feasible that in that day our other temples, or even holy places of the Lord’s choosing, may be used for the same purpose. It is certainly the case that all of our temples perform the necessary preparatory ordinances that can bring us to these great blessings.
The angels are waiting thus until we are prepared by being renewed of our bodies in the temples to stand before the nations of the earth in the midst of swirling judgments, and gather out the Elect and bring them to Zion.
Next Un-Blog: Zion Must be Built
© January 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.