Section 14: Revelation to David Whitmer
Sections 14, 15, ane 16 all consists of counsel to members of the Whitmer family.
D&C 14, 15, and 16 Counsel to the Whitmers
D&C 14:7 Eternal life . . . is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
verses 1-6 For a discussion of these verses, see the commentary on sections 6:1-9 and 11:1-9.
1 A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.
3 Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.
4 Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God.
5 Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.
6 Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my commandments in all things.
7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
verse 7 “eternal life” It is, of course, fundamental that the phrase “eternal life” means life in God’s celestial presence while the related word, immortality, means simply living forever. The former must be earned, while the latter is a free gift to all of God’s creatures.
“eternal life . . . is the greatest of all the gifts of God” If, through our obedience to gospel law, we earn our celestial resurrection, why is it a gift? It is very much a gift for two reasons. First, no one fully qualifies for the celestial heaven completely on their own merits, though we do participate in the process to the degree we are able. In spite of our best efforts, every human being falls short. It is only available to us through the Savior’s atoning sacrifice. Second, the gift of eternal life far exceeds in magnificence our paltry efforts exerted in obeying the commandments; so much so that exaltation is indeed a gift—“the greatest of all the gifts of God.”
8 And it shall come to pass, that if you shall ask the Father in my name, in faith believing, you shall receive the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance, that you may stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see, and also that you may declare repentance unto this generation.
verse 8 “that you may stand as a witness” Note the foreshadowing of David Whitmer’s role as one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. To function in this role, he would first need to be worthy of the Holy Ghost by whose promptings all spiritual impressions come.
9 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which cannot be hid in darkness;
verse 9 “I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God” The phrase “living God” in the scriptures may be applied to both the Father, as here, and the Son. The term “living” means “truly and eternally living” or “resurrected,” in an immortal state.
10 Wherefore, I must bring forth the fulness of my gospel from the Gentiles unto the house of Israel.
verse 10 To initiate the gathering of the house of Israel in the latter days, the Lord will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles—the United States of America. Missionaries will go out from this great gentile nation to Israel—to the Lamanites, to the Jews, and to Israelites in all the world. Thus, this nation will become an ensign to the world and to all Israel. These missionaries may be referred to in the scripture as “Gentiles” even though many of them are, by descent, of the house of Israel. They are “Gentiles” by virtue of the fact that culturally they belong to the “mighty nation among the gentiles” (1 Nephi 22:7).
We thus see a reversal of the order of gathering compared to that which took place in the meridian of time. Then, the gospel was taken to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Thus, in our dispensation “the last [the Gentiles] shall be first, and the first [the Jews] shall be last” (1 Nephi 13:42; see also Luke 13:30).
We now live in the “times of the Gentiles” when the gospel is being taken to every Gentile nation, kindred, tongue, and people (D&C 45:25-30). See the commentary for 1 Nephi 14:32.
11 And behold, thou art David, and thou art called to assist; which thing if ye do, and are faithful, ye shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally, and great shall be your reward. Amen.
verse 11 “thou art David” Again, we see the expression we have come to recognize as suggesting that David Whitmer was foreordained to his callings in the Church. Though we have come to admire and respect him for never having denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon—which he acquired as one of the three special witnesses of the Book of Mormon—he did leave the Church which was an unfortunate development for both him and the Church.
- Michael J. Preece