Enoch, the sixth from Adam, was most certainly one of the great prophets of all time, for he walked and talked with the Lord for three hundred years, according to the scriptures. Imagine the understanding that entered his mind, the enlargement of his soul, and the eternal truths that were revealed to him by the Creator of the earth and the heavens.
In the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, we read:
“And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.” (Moses 7:4.)
The Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth, and he told him all the doings of the children of men. He saw the wickedness of the people, the flood which covered the earth in the days of Noah. He saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man in the flesh in the meridian of time; he beheld him lifted upon the cross; he saw the mourning of the creations of God and heard the earth groan; and in answer to Enoch’s inquiry and pleading, the Lord said to Enoch:
“As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance. … the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve.” (Moses 7:60–61.)
Our Father and his Beloved Son knew before man was placed upon the earth, and before this world was created, the story of man’s existence upon this earth—the plan of life here and salvation and exaltation in the life to come. The dispensations of time were understood, the purpose of earth life was known, and the development of that plan was fully charted. Otherwise, how could the Lord show unto Enoch, as he did to other prophets also, the history of this world, including the families that should dwell upon the earth throughout the centuries of its existence?
In the Book of Abraham we read:
“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, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.” (Abr. 3:22–23.)
In the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah in the Bible, the Lord, in speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, said: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:5.)
Not only did the Lord know who were to be his rulers, but undoubtedly there was a chart or outline prepared showing the times of the various dispensations of the gospel, the things that would happen in those dispensations, and the conditions that would precede those periods of time.
The scriptures record the prophecies of God’s servants relative to these things. And from the time of Adam, the Lord through his prophets has foretold the events that would precede his second coming, the time when the gospel of our Lord should be restored to earth and proclaimed to all mankind.
When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Israel, he arranged to have brought to Babylon some of the princes of Israel; the record says: “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science. …” (Dan. 1:4.) Among these princes who were brought into Babylon was the Hebrew prophet, Daniel.
In the book of Daniel in the Bible, we read of a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had, which dream gave him great concern. The account says that upon awakening he was unable to recall the dream. He called upon the wise men of Babylon, the magicians, the sorcerers and Chaldeans, to tell him the dream and to give him the interpretation thereof. This, of course, was an unusual request, and these wise men were greatly agitated; they were unable to comply with the king’s demand.
The king had told them that if they did not make these things known to him, they would be destroyed. Daniel, recognizing the predicament, inquired of the Lord and was inspired by him to make known to Nebuchadnezzar the information he requested. He recalled to the king the dream and gave him the interpretation thereof.
In his dream Nebuchadnezzar had seen a great image like unto a man. The head of the image was of gold and represented the Babylonian kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. The other various parts of the image represented the kingdoms that would follow. The account relates that, among other things, Daniel reminded the king: “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” (Dan. 2:34.) He further said that “in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. …” (Dan. 2:44.)
The Lord knew in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the kingdoms that would come forth upon the earth. He knew the time when his kingdom, God’s kingdom, would be set up. He knew those choice souls, his prophets in this dispensation, Joseph Smith and those who have succeeded him. He knew and knows today the destiny of his church and kingdom, that it will roll forth and accomplish the purposes indicated in that remarkable dream.
How is it possible that in our day through his patriarchs and prophets the Lord can and does make known conditions pertaining to the future? How can they foretell that certain persons will be apostles and prophets in his church, even when such individuals are merely small children or young men at the time of the foretelling?
As an illustration, it was made known to Presidents Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant, David O. McKay, and others that they would one day be in the leading councils of the Church, that they would be apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they would become presidents of the Church in this dispensation. And to many others it has been made known that they would be appointed to positions of eminence, which predictions have been fulfilled.
“… both Presidents Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow had prophesied that Joseph F. Smith [the father of President Joseph Fielding Smith] would sometime become president of the Church. Thirty-seven years earlier in the Hawaiian Islands when President Snow, then a member of the Council of Twelve, nearly lost his life by drowning, he declared that the Lord made known to him ‘that this young man, Joseph F. Smith … would some day be the Prophet of God on the earth.’ President Woodruff was once relating to a group of children some incidents in the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. ‘He turned to Elder Joseph F. Smith and asked him to arise to his feet. Elder Smith complied. “Look at him, children,” Wilford Woodruff said, “… He will become the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I want everyone of you to remember what I have told you this morning.”’” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., and John J Stewart, The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith [Deseret Book Co., 1972], p. 124.)
When Heber J. Grant, who became the seventh president of the Church, was a child playing on the floor in a Relief Society meeting, Eliza R. Snow, who was truly a prophetess, gave him a blessing in tongues, which was interpreted by Sister Zina Y. Card, to the effect that that little boy would someday be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On another occasion Heber C. Kimball, one of the counselors to President Brigham Young in the First Presidency of the Church, stood that same boy on a table and prophesied that someday he would be a greater man in the Church than his father, and his father, Jedediah M. Grant, was a counselor to President Brigham Young.
Again, when Brother Grant, at the age of 24 years, was president of the Tooele Stake, Patriarch John Rowberry gave him a patriarchal blessing in which he was told that he would someday be in the leading councils of the Church; and after the blessing was given, he told Brother Grant: “Heber, I dare not tell you what I saw when I had my hands upon your head.”
Brother Grant later, after becoming president of the Church, said that when Brother Rowberry made that statement it went through his mind just as if a voice said it, “You will someday be the president of the Church.” Brother Grant thought it was such a presumption on his part to even think such a thought that he never mentioned it to anyone until after he did become president of the Church.
On one occasion, when President David O. McKay was in his youth serving as a missionary in the land of Scotland, a very spiritual missionary meeting was held under the direction of Elder James McMurrin, a counselor in the mission presidency. As testimonies were borne and spiritual experiences mentioned, President McMurrin turned to President McKay and said: “Elder McKay, I’ll say to you as the Savior said to Peter, ‘Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’” He then said, “If you are faithful you will yet stand in the leading councils of the Church.”
Other similar experiences could be related.
As was the case with Abraham and Jeremiah and others of the ancient prophets, these men, leaders of God’s kingdom in this dispensation, were chosen before they were born to represent him in this last dispensation.
It is interesting to read the history of the past wherein are related conditions leading up to the ushering in of this dispensation of the gospel: the work that was done by the reformers, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and others; the manner in which the way was opened for the printing of the Bible so that the people generally could have the privilege of reading God’s word; the miraculous development of the art of printing; how the spirit of freedom came into the hearts of people who wanted to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience; the coming of the Pilgrim fathers to this land in search of freedom and liberty; the war for independence; the establishment of the Constitution—all looking forward to the time and preparing the way for the restoration of the gospel, the opening of this dispensation.
The dispensation of the fulness of times was introduced upon the earth by the visit to the boy Joseph Smith of the Father and the Son and other heavenly beings. Darkness was dissipated and there came an outpouring of light and intelligence. The kingdom of God, as indicated in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, has been established upon the earth and is rolling forth as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it will continue to do so, looking forward to the time of the coming of the Lord.
Through his experience and his omniscience, our Heavenly Father knows the end from the beginning. Through his prophets he has revealed and does reveal the history of mankind, the timetable of life upon this planet.
This is the dispensation of the fulness of times, when the keys of all former dispensations have been given to the prophets of the restoration, a time when God has spoken from the heavens and angels have appeared to man, a time when men and women have the Holy Ghost conferred upon them, and by the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things. There is need for this great power in the earth today.
The history of this world is in fulfillment of the plan prepared in the heavens before this earth was created. That which the world calls Mormonism is based upon the rock of revelation. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the eternal truth, the plan of life and salvation. I testify to these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.