Seven Shepherds and an Angel
By OneWhoIsWatching www.threewatches.blogspot.com
There are numerous channels by which personal revelation comes to each of us.
When studying and searching the scriptures, my wife provides one of these conduits for me.
She brings many things to my attention that I don’t catch… possibly this is because of her simple childlike faith and unassuming nature. It is probably also because she doesn’t allow preconceived notions to color her view of the scriptures. Of course the main reason is that she has been blessed with a spiritual gift in this area.
I will sometimes share a principle or some knowledge with her and then she will turn around at a later time and show me how to use that knowledge as a key to unlock additional knowledge. I sometimes refer to her as a Sibyl. (“…women of antiquity reputed to posses powers of prophecy or divination… a female prophet…”)
While studying prophecy years ago I showed her Rev 12:14 and told her that some prophecy scholars believed that the word “time” = “one year”, the word “times” = “two years” and the phrase “half a time” = ½ year” hence, the Church would be nourished for 3 ½ years at some point in time:
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
She quietly cataloged that information. It would come up many years later in a scripture study.
Fast forward several years later…. we were studying Micah and noticing how he refers to the Seven Shepherds that are upon the earth at the time that invading armies come into the latter day land of Israel. This is also the general time period when the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles and among many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest to tread them down.
We wondered if these seven shepherds were the same seven servants of God mentioned in the 3rd and 4th chapter of Zechariah which are referred to as the seven eyes of the Lord who run to and fro in the whole earth.
We also wondered if these seven Shepherds that acted as the eyes of the Lord running to and fro in all the world could be the seven angels which had the seven trumpets and prepared themselves to sound in Rev 8 and/or the seven thunders that uttered their voices in Rev 10 or the seven angels having the seven last plagues that bring judgment upon the whore in Rev 15, 16 & 17 etc.
We could not help but wonder if these seven angelic beings lived on this earth in mortality prior to their missions in the last generation… in the 3rd Watch….And if so, is it possible that they had been part of the LDS restoration movement?
Possibly they were the first laborers in the last kingdom that lived during the Kirtland, Jackson County and Nauvoo eras of the Church.
We were aware of the LDS fundamentalist beliefs that there had been a secret quorum of six Apostles/High Priests functioning under the direction of Joseph Smith which makes a quorum of 7 Apostles. This cryptic Quorum was also known as the Friends of God.
This tradition, as with many corrupted legends and traditions, appears to originate from a true principle/event. It appears to come from the revelation known as section 84 of the D&C which states in the first verse:
“A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high” (D&C 84:1)
We found it very strange that the entry of this revelation into the history of the Church and the Doctrine and Covenants did not document who the six other elders were yet it did document how many elders were present… very curious.
It seemed odd to us that such an important revelation containing very specific promises to and about these six elders who had the higher priesthood confirmed upon them by the voice of God out of heaven would not bother to document who these elders were.
We perused various historical documents attempting to verify exactly who these six elders were but it is not an easy task to get an identity of these six players.
In section 88 these six elders are referred to as the “first elders” of the Church and the “first laborers in the last kingdom”.
In section 88 the Lord commands those who are not the first elders of the Church to continue laboring in the vineyard but he promises the first elders that he will send them into the vineyard again at a later time to bind up the law, seal up the testimony and prepare the Saints for the hour of judgment which is to come.
We thought that it would be fun to search section 84 to see if this quorum of Apostles will have a role in the 3rd Watch when the dispensation of the fullness of times and the Marvelous Work are ushered in.
It is worth noting that section 88 was given several years before the quorum of the 12 Apostles were called, Joseph Smith and these six elders were referred to as apostles by the Lord. He even calls them his friends. A favored status that few people other than Abraham ever achieved in the scriptures:
“And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends.”
The thought that these brethren might return as a quorum to play an important role in the winding up scenes was intriguing to us.
As we poured over section 84 searching for hidden treasures of knowledge pertaining to the events of the very last days we were ecstatic when we read the incredible unconditional promise that Bishop Newel K. Whitney will return to warn the inhabitants of New York, Albany and Boston of the desolation and utter abolishment that await them if they reject the gospel.
Every time I hear of reports about nuclear suitcase bombs that have been strategically hidden in major cities like these and orchestrated terrorist attacks that are going to be taking place, I can’t help but think of this incredible promise and associated prophecy given to Bishop Whitney. He will come back and warn the people in these cities.
I think this warning must take place before major desolation takes place.
The Lord then gives an unconditional prophecy that the rest of the first Elders being spoken to in this revelation will also “go to the great and notable cities and villages reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds setting forth clearly and understandably the desolation of abomination in the last days”
And then the Lord reveals this most remarkable promise to these First Elders who are the First Laborers of the Last Kingdom:
“For with YOU saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble..”
The Lord who knows all things and cannot lie… the Lord who has infinite foreknowledge because all time, past, present and future is continually before his eyes, promised these specific brethren that they would be the ones to return to the vineyard at the time of the last generation to shake the earth and bring down the kingdoms of the world!
While we were pondering these amazing promises and studying this section my wife and I began pondering the following verses:
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief and because you have treated lightly the things you have received. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.”
We were aware of the several statements President Benson had made concerning the above verses and that he had inferred that the church was still under condemnation.
Dallin H. Oaks had given a talk at the Church Educational system Satellite fireside on June 1993 and had quoted President Benson regarding these verses. He claimed that President Benson had declared that the Saints had brought the whole Church under condemnation and that it was still under condemnation:
” President Benson had been stressing the reading of the Book of Mormon. Repeatedly he had quoted these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants, including the Lord’s statement that the Saints’ conduct had “brought the whole church under condemnation” (D&C 84:55). In that temple meeting, President Benson reread those statements and declared, “This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent.”
As we pondered the verses in section 84, it occurred to me that a the word of God was not saying that the conduct of all of the Saints in the Church had brought the whole church under condemnation, but rather God was saying it was the unbelief and vanity of those specific Apostles that had brought the whole church under condemnation! This revelation was being directed specifically to the first elders to whom the revelation was being given: “And YOUR minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief and because you have treated lightly the things you have received. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.”
As I was making this observation, my wife was making an additional one. She said something to the effect of:
“Yes, I agree. Those specific Elders brought the Church under condemnation… And it appears that the Lord gave these specific apostles’ another revelation two years before he had given them this one. In that revelation he must have told them some things they took lightly… perhaps it was difficult for them to believe some of the things he had told them.”
I was really taken back by her observation. “How did you divine that deduction from those verses?” I asked. “What makes you think the Lord had given Joseph Smith and these six Apostles a revelation two years prior to section 84?”
“That’s what it says” she replied. “Remember how the prophetic definition of the word “times” = two years?”
I looked at the verses again in context of how the word “times” was used in Rev 12:14 and then I realized what she was seeing:
“And your minds in times past [two years ago] have been darkened because of unbelief and because you have treated lightly the things you have received. Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.”
I was shocked at her interpretation and began chiding her: “What have you been smoking? That is a HUGE stretch… Just because the word “times” had a prophetic interpretation in the vision of St John 2,000 years ago, in the New Testament, that does not mean that the same word would have the same definition in modern revelation!”
Finally, after brow-beating her for a while I decided to really drive my point home by showing her how easy it would be to prove that there was no revelation directed through Joseph Smith to six elders two years prior to section 84.
I said to her:
“If your interpretation is correct, it would be easy to prove because such a revelation would be important enough to canonize in the Doctrine and Covenants. Such a revelation would clearly be directed to Joseph Smith and six elders just as section 84 was, and it would undoubtedly contain prophetic information about their ministry”
I then went to the beginning of section 84 to verify what month and year the revelation was given. It was given in September of 1832. I then turned to the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants to view the “Chronological Order of the Contents” section. I noticed that four revelations had been given two years prior to section 84. Section 28, 29, 30, and 31 were all given in September of 1830.
I then turned to section 28 to see if it was addressed to six elders… Just as I thought, it was given directly to Oliver Cowdery… no other elders were involved in receiving the revelation.
I then turned to section 29 and looked at the section heading. What I saw sent chills up my spine…
“Revelation through Joseph Smith Jr. in the presence of six elders”
Again, the identity of these six elders is withheld… why? Why did Joseph Smith choose to withhold the identity of these chosen servants yet document the number of them that God was talking to?
I didn’t have much time for ingesting much humble pie at that moment as my wife and I were both quite anxious to devour section 29 to see what the Lord had revealed to Joseph Smith and these six elders! We were hoping that this section would reveal additional information regarding the role of these seven apostles during the 3rd Watch.
When we got to verses 7 & 8 we could hardly believe our eyes:
“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect: for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of the this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.”
These first laborers of the last kingdom will return to the earth as ministering angels to gather the elect to prepare them against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the earth!
Could it possibly be that Joseph Smith and these six elders that will give the final warning, gather the elect and bring about the fall of the kingdoms of the world are the ones being referred to in Zechariah, Micah and the Book of Revelation?
Are these the ones that run to and fro in all the world as the eyes of the Lord?
Are these the Seven Shepherds that are the “peace” when God’s Promised Land is invaded by foreign armies and the remnants of the land tread down the unrepentant gentiles as a lion among sheep?
What an incredible thought, that Joseph Smith and the first elders of the Church would return to the earth to gather the elect.
Notice the promise given in Matthew 24 that before Christ returns in his glory he will send his angles to gather the elect:
“For the Son of Man shall come and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather together the remainder of the his elect from the four winds and from one end of heaven to the other…” (JST Matt 1:37)
Just as Gabriel returned to the earth as a ministering angel to minister to the father of John the Baptist, just as Moses and Elijah returned to the earth to minister to Christ at the Mount of Transfiguration and just as John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John returned to the earth as ministering angels to minister to Joseph and Oliver, priesthood keys were given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. These keys enable them and the other first laborers of the last kingdom to return to this earth to minister unto all those who are found waiting, watching and willing.
Do you believe in angels?
I am married to one.
[Editorial note: It is not uncommon for the Lord to use the key words within differing sections of the four standard works to point to each other and help those who are searching to connect the dots, particularly when both sections of scripture are speaking about the same topic. Therefore it is possible if not likely that the 3 ½ year period of time spoken of in Revelation 12 is literally or typologically related to the last gathering that is to be done by the first laborers of the last kingdom.
I want to clarify that section 84 is actually a composite of two separate revelations given on consecutive days, the 22nd and 23rd of September. On the first day there were six elders present, on the following day, it is not clear if there were additional elders that were invited to participate in the promises the Lord was making to the leading elders of the Church.
The first laborers of the last kingdom more than likely consisted of more than just those seven elders being addressed during the revelation given on the first day. Interestingly enough, it appears according to the “Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants by Woodford that in the original manuscript of the second part of the revelation given on the 23rd, the following phrase was included and has since been taken out:
“The 23rd day of September AD 1832 Eleven High Priests save one”.
It is not clear what this statement is referring to. It could be referring to the fact that Judas would be missing when the 12 Apostle from New Testament times return to judge Israel. Another possibility is the implication that four additional Elders were present on the 23rd bringing the total count to 11 and one member of the quorum of the 12 was not present.
There is evidence to suggest that the quorum of seven was part of a quorum of 12 Apostles that had been chosen by the Lord by 1832. This quorum appears to have more power and authority than the quorum chosen by the three witnesses. In fact at least two of the three witnesses were very likely part of the first, mystical quorum of the 12.
From historical sources it appears that there was some type of quorum of special witnesses long before the three witnesses was commanded to choose another quorum of the twelve:
“It was also announced that “twelve chosen witnesses, had been allowed to see the gold plates” (The life of David Marks, pg.340). Also, there were newspaper references from 1829-1831 to twelve apostles in Mormonism. September 1829 a Palmyra newspaper noted: “the number of the gold bible apostles is said to be complete.” (Palmyra Reflector, 23 September 1829. The issues of 19 April and 1, 22 June 1830 also make reference to Mormon apostles.)” Mormon Hierachy: Origins of Power by Quinn]
One last thing on note pertaining to section 84, in the original manuscripts of the revelation it states that John the Baptist had been baptized from the womb, not at the age of eight days. This is consistent with the various scriptures stating that he was the transmigration of Elijah the Prophet and had previously been baptized before being born into the world as John the Baptist.]