In part 1, we used the scriptures to uncover the identity of the fathers. In Part 2, we will dive deeper in into the promise that was made to the fathers.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
D&C 2 gives us the words that the angel spoke to Joseph in 1823. In Joseph Smith History 1:36,38-39, Joseph calls out that the angel quoted these verses differently. That should be our first clue that there’s something important here.
That’s an odd phrase: “he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers”. Why plant in the hearts? Is that phrase used anywhere else in scripture? Yes!
2 My brethren, I think that it is impossible that ye should be ignorant of the things which have been spoken concerning the coming of Christ, who is taught by us to be the Son of God; yea, I know that these things were taught unto you bountifully before your dissension from among us.
3 And as ye have desired of my beloved brother that he should make known unto you what ye should do, because of your afflictions; and he hath spoken somewhat unto you to prepare your minds; yea, and he hath exhorted you unto faith and to patience—
4 Yea, even that ye would have so much faith as even to plant the word in your hearts, that ye may try the experiment of its goodness.
Think of the context here. Alma and Amulek are preaching the Gospel to the Zoramites. They’ve been calling them to repentance and trying to get them to come unto Christ. They are engaged in the same ministry that Abraham, Noah, Enoch, Adam, and all the other fathers were engaged in. Amulek tells the Zoramites that Alma’s goal in preaching to them was that they would have enough faith to plant the word in their hearts.
What’s the word that needs to be planted?
5 And we have beheld that the great question which is in your minds is whether the word be in the Son of God, or whether there shall be no Christ.
Christ is the word. Does he exist? Will he come to redeem his people? The anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon taught that there would be no Christ. Prophets like Nephi and Alma taught that Christ would come. Whom to believe? How can one know for sure?
Alma had just taught the people about Christ. Alma 32 is all about Christ.
1 Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith.
14 Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?
15 For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things—
16 For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.
17 And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death.
18 But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God.
19 Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.
22 If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.
23 And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.
This is the same message that Adam taught.
Moses 6:52, 57, 62
52 And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
23 And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words;
24 Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if ye do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not.
45 And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?
46 And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.
47 And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.
John in the New Testament identifies the same promise, and warns of anti-Christs who will attempt to direct people away from the promise.
1 John 2:22-25
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
The promise given to the fathers is the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
The blessing of Abraham, to preach to Gospel of Jesus Christ, came upon the Gentiles after Christ’s resurrection, because the Jews rejected their birthright. The promises of the fathers, the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ and the privilege of declaring that to the world, is the promise that Elijah was foreordained to plant in the hearts of the children in the latter days.
Moroni’s writings support this interpretation. When talking about angels, he wrote:
31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfil 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.
32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth 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.
Angels declare the words of Christ unto prophets and other chosen vessels, who then bear testimony to the rest of the children of men. Notice how the covenants of the Lord are fulfilled. It isn’t by procreation or sealing children to parents. It’s by calling men to repentance, helping people have faith in Christ and receive the Holy Ghost. It’s after that manner the covenants are brought to pass.
Paul in the New Testament taught that Christ and his Gospel was the promise made to the fathers.
Acts 26:6-8, 22-23
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Nephi taught the the promises and covenants made with the fathers were all about Christ and salvation through him.
2 Nephi 11:4-7
4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
5 And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.
6 And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.
7 For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.
Lastly, Christ himself supported this.
3 Nephi 11:10-11
10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
Christ is the promise. Faith in him is what needs to be planted in every person’s heart. His undefiled Gospel is what needs to be preached to the world. Elijah was prophesied to come to the world in a time when the undefiled Gospel was not to be found, and through his instrumentality the true Gospel would be planted in the hearts of the children. When it is planted in their hearts, the children will turn to the promises made to the fathers and (correctly) believe in Christ.
In Part 3, we will identify who the children are.