And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying, Look. And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people, yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. And after he was slain, I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb, for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord. And the multitude of the earth was gathered together, and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying, Behold, the world and the wisdom thereof; yea, behold, the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And it came to pass that I saw and bear record that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and the fall thereof was exceeding great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying, Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim, 1 Nefi 3 par. 14
And it came to pass that the angel spoke unto me again, saying, Look. And I looked and beheld the Lamb of Elohim, that he was taken by the people, yes, the Son of the El Olam was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. And I, Nefi, saw that he was lifted up upon the Tz’lav and slain for the sins of the world. And after he was slain, I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the emissaries of the Lamb, for thus were the twelve called by the angel of yhwh. And the multitude of the earth was gathered together, and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of yhwh spoke unto me again, saying, Behold, the world and the wisdom thereof; yes, behold, the house of Isra’el has gathered together to fight against the twelve emissaries of the Lamb. And it came to pass that I saw and bear record that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of yhwh spoke unto me, saying, Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve emissaries of the Lamb.
At this point I am hoping to look at the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Shouldn't it be striking to us that Lehi, at the very beginning of the Book of Mormon, and now Nephi have both seen these twelve individuals more than 600 years before their advent into the world?
What is so important about these twelve "emissaries" as the Stick of Joseph states?
Were they selected before they were born?
Lehi saw something important on this matter.
...And it came to pass that he saw one descending out of the midst of Heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noonday. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth... (1 Nephi 1:5 - 15, NC 1 Nephi 1 par. 3)
Why is it that Lehi describes them coming to mortality, already with a brightness that exceeds the stars in the firmament?
What kingdom is the glory of the stars associated with?
If one comes to this kingdom already possessing a greater glory, where are they coming from?
Are these twelve individuals who are identified in the group Alma talked about?
And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children. And I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests after his Holy Order, which was after the Order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. And those priests were ordained after the Order of his Son in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption. And this is the manner after which they were ordained: being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works in the first place, being left to choose good or evil; therefore they, having chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling — yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such. And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds (while, if it had not been for this, they might had as great privilege as their brethren — or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren — thus, this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son who was prepared), and thus, being called by this holy calling and ordained unto the High Priesthood of the Holy Order of God to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest — this High Priesthood being after the Order of his Son, which Order was from the foundation of the world, or in other words, being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity according to his foreknowledge of all things. Now they were ordained after this manner, being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the High Priesthood of the Holy Order — which calling, and ordinance, and High Priesthood is without beginning or end; thus, they become high priests for ever after the Order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen. (Alma 13:1 - 9, NC Alma 9 par. 10)
If the twelve were part of this group then several things are true about them, in my opinion.
1) They were called and prepared from the foundation of the world.
Haven't we established in earlier posts that the "world" is a term used to signify the human family?
When was the foundation of the human family established?
Do we have any record of the events that founded the human family?
What about the book of Abraham?
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was, and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones. And God saw these souls, that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them and he said, These I will make my rulers. For he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good. And he said unto me, Abraham, you are one of them; you were chosen before you were born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him, We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell. And we will prove them herewith to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them. And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon, and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever. (Abraham 3:22 - 26, Teachings and Commandments, Section 145, The Book of Abraham 6 pars. 1 - 2)
Here in Abraham we have a picture of the events that established the human family don't we?
Here is the planning to create the earth "whereon these may dwell".
Isn't that a reference to the beginnings of the human family, the planning stages?
Would it be unreasonable to consider the planning stages of the human family the foundation of the human family?
Do you notice here that there is a group of "souls" who are noble and great who are called to be the rulers and teachers over the human family?
Isn't it interesting that this group of "souls", which "souls" is defined by the prophet Joseph as as spirit and a body inseparably connected, is distinctly different than the other group "these"?
Both Lehi and Abraham describe Christ as having glory exceeding even the "noble and great ones".
If the above is applicable to the twelve that both Nephi and Lehi witnessed in vision, could that be why Lehi sees the twelve as coming here to a lower kingdom already having glory?
Would that mean that they also condescended to come down just not to the same degree as Christ?
If so, why were they willing to put themselves in jeopardy of falling by descending into mortality?
Was this also a sacrifice on their part to accept the call to come and save others by delivering the message of Christ crucified?
2) They were chosen to come because they had already demonstrated to God in a previous probation that they choose good over evil and have already in that previous probation exercised exceeding great faith. What they did before constitutes God's foreknowledge of what they will do here, in other words.
Even here on earth as imperfect parents, isn't it true that an observant and loving parent over time is able to come to a proper appraisal by their child's actions; what that child is capable of?
If, as imperfect but loving parents, we are able to in some measure make a proper appraisal of our children over time, how much more correct an appraisal can and do perfect, infinitely knowledgeable, and wise Parents with an infinite amount of time of observation make?
Even though their agency is totally in play here and they have the opportunity to fail and lose what they had previously attained to, would it be reasonable to assume that God would send an individual who has not previously proven that they are capable of completing the task at hand to complete the task at hand?
If this is true then at what point were these priests of the Holy Order or in other words the noble and great souls on the same plane or standing as their brethren? And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds (while, if it had not been for this, they might had as great privilege as their brethren — or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren —
When was this probation?
3) The reason for their ordination is to teach the commandments of God unto the children of men that they might also enter into the rest of God.
What is the rest of God?
My present understanding is that God's rest is His glory so to enter into His rest is to enter into His glory.
What things would allow an individual to enter into the "rest" of God?
If it is just the ten commandments then why haven't the majority of the Christians in the world entered back into the "rest" of God?
Would that mean that their calling has nothing to do with telling others what to do or with being in authority over others?
Would that mean that they are teachers?
Was Nephi a teacher?
Was Lehi a teacher?
Can women and children be teachers?
Is it important then to focus on what an individual teaches and not who the individual is that is teaching?
4) Because of those who would reject the spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds (while, if it had not been for this, they might had as great privilege as their brethren, these teachers of righteousness always find themselves in conflict with the leaders, rulers, institutions, and traditions of the day.
Did Christ come into conflict with the institutions, leaders, and rulers of His day while performing the will of the Father here?
If these individuals, these teachers of righteousness, these priests after the Holy Order of the Son of God, these noble and great souls from the foundation of the earth who come here already possessing glory in an act of condescension, are called in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption, can we expect that like Christ they too would encounter direct opposition from earthly leaders, institutions, and rulers of their days?
Wouldn't their lives and their works be types and shadows of Christ's life and work?
Do the scriptures manifest this?
What are the commandments of God that they teach that put them in conflict with the earthly power structures?
Below is an account in the newly revealed scripture witness of the Testimony of St. John concerning the last Passover meal with the Savior and the eleven faithful who remained with Him after Judas had left.
In the account we see that the Savior verifies the above four things concerning the eleven who were with Him.
The world will hate you, but you know that it hated me before it hates you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its property. But because you are not a captive of the world, and I have freed you from the world, the world hates you. Remember that I told you before that no servant is greater than his Lord. If many have persecuted me, many will also persecute you, but if some few have followed my teachings, some few will follow yours also. The world’s response to you will be because you will act in my name and on my behalf. Those who fight against you are strangers to my Father. If I had not come and testified of the truth to them, they would not be accountable for rebellion, but now they have no excuse for their rebellion. If they hate me, they hate my Father also. If I had not shown to them an example no other man has shown before, they would not be accountable. But they have rebelled after seeing with their own eyes and hearing with their ears the one sent by Father Ahman to them, and have rebelled against us both. Proving men in this way fulfills the prophecy, They hated me without a cause. As for you, when the Comforter comes (or in other words the Spirit of truth emanating from my Father), that spirit will testify of me. Then you have the ability to also testify of me. This is because you have followed me from the beginning or before the world was organized. Now I tell you beforehand what to expect to come upon you so you are not surprised, nor will you stumble and fall. They will excommunicate you. The time will even come that the self-righteous who kill you will think that they speak for God. And they will do these things because they cannot do what the Father and I have done. I warn you beforehand that you will face this opposition so that when it happens you will remember and be strengthened. When I first taught, the anger and opposition was directed at me, and because of that, you were not their focus. But now I will return to the one who sent me and they will turn their anger at you. (Teachings and Commandments, Section 171, The Testimony of St. John 10 pars. 20 - 23)
The Savior declared that they followed Him from before the world was organized. This is why they were chosen. They were called to testify of Him. And the world would hate them for their witness of Christ, or in other words for teaching the commandments of God to the children of men.
Now, the scriptures state that these men have a future mission to perform concerning the House of Israel.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all and followed you. What shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Truly I say unto you that you who have followed me shall, in the resurrection, when the Son of Man shall come sitting on the throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life. But many of the first shall be last, and the last, first. (Matthew 19:27 - 30, NC Matthew 9 par. 24)
I have heard it taught and I believe it that their judging of the House of Israel means that they will have the privilege of declaring what Christ's judgment is. The judgment will be with Christ and they will declare what that judgment is.
The question arises then, What about Judas?
Judas Iscariot fell so who will replace him?
Consider the following.
I engage in a process that precedes what I consider having possession of any kind of reliable information. Speculation and casual comments I have made are not particularly reliable. Research I’ve done to try to understand a subject is not reliable. Conversations in emails about some topic may be nothing more than guess work or casual conversation. When information, light and truth come from God, I consider that reliable information worth writing about, talking about or teaching.
Years ago I was contemplating the subject of Christ’s original apostles. As I looked into the scriptures, the promise Christ made to the twelve was that in the resurrection they would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Judas was among the twelve when the promise was made. Judas fell away, betrayed the Lord and committed suicide. Whatever promise Judas may have had would have required his continued faithfulness. He was not faithful. Therefore, his throne and position as a judge in the resurrection over a tribe of Israel was forfeited. This led to the question of who would fill that vacancy.
I studied the scriptures looking exclusively for an answer to that question. Matthias was chosen to fill the vacancy left by Judas. He was chosen “by lot” which was the agreed method of discovering who the Lord wanted. Assuming that process was inspired, then Matthias would be one candidate.
Christ called Paul to be an apostle and messenger. Paul wrote 2/3 of the New Testament books (letters). He was clearly chosen by God and would be another candidate to replace Judas in the resurrected role given to the twelve. I saw no other likely contender apart from these two. After considering the almost complete absence of Matthias from the New Testament record, and Paul’s great contribution, I concluded that the vacancy was filled by Paul.
Having reached a conclusion, I took it to God in prayer. Despite all my effort to study the matter out and reach a conclusion, I learned that I was wrong. I had not found the truth. My efforts did nothing more than qualify me to receive the right answer. It did not make me right.
I learned that of the original tribal leaders, eleven of the twelve fell from their positions as patriarchs. But one of the sons of Jacob never forfeited the right to be the head of his family. Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, remained worthy, chosen and fixed in his position over his posterity. There were always only eleven vacancies to be filled. Eleven of the twelve apostles, along with Joseph of Egypt, will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel in the resurrection. ("Reliable Information, Denversnuffer.com, February 21, 2018)
I have touched on so very little of the subject of the twelve seen by both Nephi and Lehi as following the Lord here in mortality.
It is a subject worth looking into.