The Establishment of Zion and the 144,000

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.

Brother John

Next Un-Blog: Zion Must be Built

© January 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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37 Responses to The Establishment of Zion and the 144,000

  1. Gordon says:

    Interesting thread. . . I anticipate that being translated is like a “double edged sword.” A dose of godhood, if you will. On one hand there would be the joy of administering for Christ, and on the other hand seeing wickedness, suffering, and heartbreak. . . knowing that one is limited to what on can do relative to the agency of those with whom one interacts.

    Our translated brothers and sisters will be Destroyers in the same sense that Christ has been a Destroyer. That is to say that the best way (and God’s favorite method of “destruction”) is to have souls converted to righteousness. I cannot fathom the anguish the Savior experiences when He has to physically end the life of one of His and our Father in Heaven’s children. And even worse than that, the spiritual ramifications. . . I suspect our translated brothers and sisters feel that as they administer.

    I trust translated beings will be keenly sensitive to the conditions that will surround them. I guess I am not certain that I would want to be translated. I suspect that I need to study and pray to come to an understanding as to why there would be those who would desire that state. There will certainly be plenty of opportunity for missionary work in the spirit world as a deceased individual, and I will have the opportunity of being there with my loved ones, friends, and pets.


  2. KP says:

    I am so glad that someone else thinks that Alma did receive the wish of his heart to proclaim the gospel to all the Earth! I Know we are given according to our desires and often He gives us a desire so that He can give us the blessing He wants us to have. When we align our will to His isn’t all of it His will? Wouldn’t Alma at this point be close to always having the will of God in his heart? Yeah, that just makes sense to me. Love it! If not that calling as one of the 4 angels then he would be given the ability to preach the gospel to all the earth and be translated and be doing that now. There are more than 4 translated beings on the Earth right now I am sure, or would they all be in the City of Enoch until their time of calling comes to them?


    • Very good observation. I don’t have the quote in my hands, but I recall Elder McConkie counting how many people he thought were translated and presently ministering in that capacity. Counting the four large cities, there are probably over 1/2 million. I’ll try to find the quote.


  3. Genevieve says:

    Correction about my previous comment:
    I DID serve a full time mission in French Polynesia… I am not serving right now. Sorry for the mistake.



  4. ken h says:

    Pearl and you, John, have inspried me to start thinking about possible translated beings. From Alma 45 we read:

    18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.

    19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.

    Could these 4 “translated” men Alma, Nephi, Timothy and Jonas be the four angles that Revelations speak about that Elias, John the Beloved, tells them they need to seal up unto eternal life those who are the righteous 144,000 on the earth before the plagues and woes go forth? food for thought.


    • I suppose it is possible, but without a prophetic utterance, we will never know.


    • James says:

      Ken h,
      A friend and I came to the same conclusion about a year or more ago. He had been immersing himself in audio scriptures while at work when it came to him that Alma and the 3 Nephites were the 4 angels spoken of (DC 77:8). He cited Alma 29:1-3, which moved me with the likelihood that the Lord would grant his desires, as they were expressed with similar sentiment as those others who desired the same gift. The loving Father, who knows how to give good gifts, will surprise his faithful children by and by with the gift they most desire, even when they durst not ask for it. I had parents like that and I remember one Christmas receiving the gift I most desired, yet would not ask for, as our means were slim. Yet they made it happen. I’d bet that Alma received his desires.

      I also believe that many of the People of Ammon were translated. I speculate that their ministry is among the Remnant of Jacob.


  5. Pearl says:

    You’re asking me for logic? Good one. Unfortunately, you’ll have to get with my husband for logic and he’s at work right now.

    As was mentioned, Nephi had already raised Timothy from the dead. Timothy was permitted to return and continue his mission. I imagine, like Spencer, Timothy no longer was concerned with death so much. Jonas was also surely close to the situation, being Nephi’s son and Timothy’s nephew. I believe they were all close, both family wise and also “kindred spirits” wise. They were on the same page spiritually… they desired the same things. I believe they spoke much about Timothy’s experience in the afterworld… in a family setting.

    When Christ asked the three what their desire was, “…they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto Him the thing which they desired.” I think they were all in cahoots. They’d discussed it. They’d pondered it. They knew what each other wanted, because they all wanted it together. But do they dare ask such a thing?

    They didn’t need to ask. “Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death..” I think at this time, their hearts leaped within them, at least that’s how I feel, miles and centuries from the experience, when I read about it. Someone else, this “John” had the same desire! We are not kooks! Praise be to God!

    Having already discussed these things with family, I can just imagine as they came home and told the wives and mothers and grandmothers and whoever else… “Our desire is granted!” … and discussed what was to be from then on out…

    Not logic, really… just how it’s always come to me as I read it.


  6. jimmy tetuanui says:

    Many places (zions) of gathering around the world

    In your book TTOZ on page 12 you quoted Joseph Smith who said that the only way to escape the destructions of the last days is to be gathered to Zion and ‘the places God has appointed’ and that only the pure in hearts will be gathered to these ‘places.’
    I used to believe that Missouri and the New Jerusalem that will be built there will be the only place of gathering for the pure in heart for their safety (until I read your book which convinces me that this will not be the case).

    Here is a thought, just a thought: According to Elder McConkie only the power of the priesthood (translation?) and of faith will allow us to survive future atomic holocaust. When we had the big tsunami last year followed by the nuclear plant crisis, people everywhere were in a state of ‘great’ fear and many panicked and fled the area including the country, Japan. Somehow, thanks to your book and teachings, I had almost a year to practice those teachings which led me to live more ‘by the spirit of revelation.’ During this time of crisis, I felt a feeling of total peace and calm. I knew we didn’t need to flee (my family in French Polynesia urged us to leave the country and offered to pay for our fair tickets and to lend us money to start up our new life back there). I turned down the offer saying that ‘I knew that the Lord wanted us to stay and be still and not fear.’ Luckily things settled down and went back to normal. Now, this experience led me to imagine a scenario: Imagine a day when there will be a real catastrophic atomic in Tokyo or all over the country. I can see how the entire area will left desolated. People fleeing as far as they can from the area leaving the whole place ‘empty.’ Then imagine the Lord calling on the ‘pure in heart’ to gathered to the temple Tokyo and tell them to rebuild the area and build a city. First, no one would ever dare to come back to a contaminated are by radiation, two no ‘regular members’ of the church would get the call to gather there nor will they if they did since it would require a huge amount of faith to do it. With what happened here last year and seeing first hand what fear of atomic radiation on large scale can do, I can imagine some good scenarios on how the Lord might build those ‘places’ of gathering for safety around the world. Just a thought. Sorry, I’ll keep my comments short next time.

    Bruce R. McConkie: Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead….There will be plagues and pestilence and disease and death. An overflowing scourge shall cover the earth and a desolating sickness shall sweep the land. Flies shall take hold of the inhabitants of the earth, and maggots shall come in upon them (D&C 29: 14-20). Their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets (29:19)…We need not dwell more upon these things. We are commanded to search the scriptures where they are recounted with force and fervor, and they shall surely come to pass. Nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the Priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the Atomic Holocaust that surely shall be’ (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, April 1979).


  7. ken h says:

    Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (April 6 and October 22, 1845)

    To this city [Zion or New Jerusalem], and to its several branches or stakes, shall the Gentiles seek, as to a standard of light and knowledge; yea, the nations, and their kings and nobles shall say–Come, and let us go up to the Mount Zion, and to the temple of the Lord, where his holy priesthood stand to minister continually before the Lord; and where we may be instructed more fully, and receive the ordinances of remission, and of sanctification, and redemption, and thus be adopted into the family of Israel, and identified in the same covenants of promise. . . .

    The city of Zion, with its sanctuary and priesthood, and the glorious fulness of the gospel, will constitute a standard which will put an end to jarring creeds and political wranglings, by uniting the republics, states, provinces, territories, nations, tribes, kindred, tongues, people, and sects of North and South America in one great and common bond of brotherhood; while truth and knowledge shall make them free, and love cement their union.

    I know of the 250 word maximum but I love this quote. One by one the nations of the western hemisphere bow the knee and become part with us, become under Christ glorious reign until all of the western hemisphere, the land of Zion, beomes one, no more borders and then the Lamanites truly “blossom as a rose.”


  8. ken h says:

    Along those same lines as Pearl’s comments. Nephi raised Timothy, his brother, from the dead before Christ came to them with the 2,500 others at the temple at Bountiful. Hmmm interesting idea. Could Timothy be one of the three Nephites who became translated beings?


  9. Mike says:

    Brother John: My wife and I were pondering the number 72 years that was given as the time when the 9 Nephite disciples would die and come into the Lord’s kingdom. We wondered about that particular number and in our ponderings found that 72 x2 =144! If husband and wife who have received the “fullness the priesthood” are translated together, perhaps this interesting number is an indicator that those two would serve together in the ministry of the 144,000. What are your thoughts.


  10. Mike says:

    In “Words” of Joseph Smith, Joseph stated that he had sealed up 17 men to the 144,000. This was in August of 1843 when he said this. He does not identify who these men were. If all of the 144,000 are translated beings, then there must have been a way of them becoming so after having died, or else they are now ministering on the earth along with John and the three beloved disciples, and have been doing so since the 1800s.


  11. Steve says:

    In Revelation 7, it looks like the tribe of Dan is left out, but no one has ever been able to explain why this is. Care to take the challenge Brother John? What is your take on this?


    • Sorry, I don’t know. There is only speculation that the old scholars left that name out because it was believed that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan. But, no proof.


      • Steve says:

        Well, my life-long search for an answer continues! I hadn’t heard the bit about the antichrist and the tribe of Dan, though. That’s intriguing.

        Who doesn’t enjoy a good game of “stump Brother John?” Brother John, I suppose 😉 Thanks for all you do!


        • Haha. You better pick a challenge that is actually a challenge. Stumping Brother John is mostly avoided by the fact that I get to pick the topics and not publish comments that actually stump me! Nice try though.


  12. Mike says:

    Brother John:
    When a person experiences physical death, is it then not possible for him to be translated?


    • That’s a very good question, actually. I used to think that death ended the oportunity to be translated. However, I now believe that death, or the appearance of death, often preceeds translation. God has all power and can raise someone from the dead and then translate them as easily as any other method. It makes sense to me that if God wanted some living person to be translated without alerting the whole world to it, that something like the apparent end of mortal life must proceed that translation. I don’t know that this is happening, but it certainly makes sense that it could.

      In my book “The Triumph of Zion” I record dozens of patriarchal blessings in Joseph Smith’s era that promised translation. As far as we know, every person died. Since the Gospel is true, and since God fulfills His promises, either they were translated after death, or some other means was used to fulfill the promises.



      • Pearl says:

        Interesting. There’s an idea (sorry I don’t have a reference for this off the top of my head) that says Lazarus might have actually been John the Beloved/John the Revelator. The story of Lazarus is only found in the book of John, and he wanted to hide his name…. 🙂 I feel like a psychotic bloodhound – I can’t get enough!


  13. I also believe the 144,000 will be like Nephi, son of Nephi, in 3 Nephi 7:17-18. Nephi could not be disbelieved. Even so, the wicked “were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words.”

    Everyone will either believe and accept the words of the 144,000, or believe and reject them. This kind of witness is necessary for those about to be destroyed at the Second Coming. Those that reject the words will be sent to spirit prison with no other opportunity to hear the gospel and repent before the first resurrection. The witness they receive before their demise must be irrefutable and binding.


  14. FJC says:

    I have read where some scholars have noted that the 144,000 represent not an exact number, rather a fullness of priesthood holders, who will fill those callings as missionaries to gather the elect. Others say it is an exact number. What is your opinion on this discussion? Thank you for the article. It is so exciting to know the great adventures to come!!


    • Good question. Actually, I was just editing on Spencer’s book today. He said very plainly that the number varied dramatically, and never actually hit exactly 144,000 but by the Second Coming was far more than that. Spencer isn’t a prophet or writer of scripture, but it is an interesting parallel to your question.


  15. Pearl says:

    “. . . they are they who ARE ORDAINED out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, BY THE ANGELS…”



  16. Darren says:

    Brother John–

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I have a question that I’ve pondered for some time now but have yet to fully comprehend. I was hoping you or someone from the unblog might shed some light.

    Can you comment on what you understand the “stakes of Zion” means and how it will play into all of this. What does it mean that they will flee to the stakes of zion for safety as it says in D&C 45:68. Is the only true place of safety the center stake of zion in the New Jerusalem or will the stakes scattered throughout the world also be temporary places of refuge and preparation.

    Thank you


    • Good question, and once again, I was just editing this in Spencer’s book, so forgive the additional reference, but I am writing a book, and it’s in my head. There will be many “Cities of Zion” before the Second Coming. They will be scattered all across the globe, and will be built where ever the “Stakes” are presently located. There will be a dramatic sifting and purification of the people before this, but these new cities will be built by the saints in those areas. I suspect that many stakes will be combined into these cities. The term “stakes” comes from Isaiah’s (chapter 54) analogy of Zion being a tent (like Lehi used) and the tent pegs are “stakes” that anchor the “center place” to the ground. These cities will not be temporary, but a permanent part of Zion through the millennium.


  17. Nick says:

    I’m sure others have asked, but in relation to Elijah, what’s your take on Denver Snuffer’s write-up on Elijah, with his argument that Elijah’s return is still to come:


    • Sorry, I haven’t read it. I was speaking to Denver just today, ironically enough. He’s very knowledgable and I would have to say that if he believes it, there is some truth to it. But, I will reserve actual judgment until I do get a chance to read it.


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