Nephi describes speaking with the “Tongue of Angels” in 2 Nephi 32:1-6. He teaches us that angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost and what they tell us constitutes the “words of Christ”. (v5) He further teaches that the “words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
We already hear the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us day by day. The voice of the Holy Spirit begins as our conscience. What this description adds to our understanding is where that voice comes from. It originates with Jesus Christ, is delivered by angels empowered by the Holy Ghost, and comes into the heart of mankind just as you have always experienced it: as promptings, impressions, understandings, feelings and other ways. It could be drawn this way:
Jesus Christ –> Angels / HG –> Man
Nephi terms this revelatory process the “Tongue of Angels” because they are so involved in the revelatory chain. We seldom think of how the Holy Spirit works, or that living, intelligent beings are involved. We mostly just consider that it is from Jesus Christ, which is very true, but incomplete. Angels are the superhighway of revelation. It works this way now, and has from the beginning of creation.
He also assures us that we can speak with the Tongue of Angels when we are likewise inspired by the Holy Ghost. That process would look like this:
Jesus Christ –> Angels / HG –> Man / HG –> Man
Speaking with the Tongue of Angels becomes more plain when laid out in the formula above because it is showing us that we obtain the “Words of Christ” from Christ via inspired angels, and when we let them inspire us in our words and acts, then our words become the “words of Christ” and the “Tongue of Angels”.
This is what it means to speak “In the name of Jesus Christ”, that Jesus Christ Himself inspired and delivered these words to us to say. When we obtain great faith in this process, in these “words of Christ” we obtain great power. This is how all righteous people have worked miracles in His name. This is how Peter raised the dead, how Moses divided the Red Sea, and how Enoch walked and talked with God.
Moroni described the same process nearly a thousand years later in this way:
“And the office of their (the angels) ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.” (Moroni 7:31)
A vessel is a container, in this case for the Holy Ghost and the “word of Christ”. These “vessels” are chosen through every era of mankind to “bear testimony of him.” It is of course true that this includes all of the prophets of every dispensation, but as Nephi shows us, it also includes ourselves. We are among the “chosen vessels” when we attune our spiritual ears to hear Him.
When He places words in our mouths to say, then we speak the “words of Christ” by the gift of the “Tongue of Angels” unto those people to whom we are sent. Only the prophets have a global voice. Ours is only to those specific people within our families, our stewardships, and among whom God sends us to serve. Moroni further proclaims that God does this for the purpose of fulfilling His covenants with mankind.
“And by so doing, the Lord God prepared the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:32)
Moroni is describing the same revelatory process with slightly different terms for the last two links.
Jesus Christ –> Angels / HG –> Chosen Vessels –> Residue of Man
Nephi then instruct us that:
“Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.” (2 Nephi 32:6).
This was written about 545 BC. Nephi was not speaking of Christ’s appearance in Bountiful after His resurrection or to us prior to the Millennium. He was speaking of when Christ will manifest Himself “unto you in the flesh” in a personal visitation.
Nephi’s experiences with Christ were the power behind his life and his writings. He knew that this great and last privilege was available to his people, and to any people who will yield to Christ’s voice and become His chosen vessels.
This is the greatest power of the “Tongue of Angels” that it will teach us all things which we must do to return to the presence of God, in this life, and in the next.
© March 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.