“God Sitting Upon His Throne Surrounded with Numberless Concourses of Angels”

Alan C. Miner

John W. Welch explains that Lehi’s vision of “God, sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels” (1 Nephi 1:8) compares closely with the so-called “council visions” of Old Testament prophets… . Such visions of God seated in the midst of his host assembled in heaven appear to have been particularly meaningful for people in Lehi’s day. If the prevailing understanding is correct, it was by such a vision that the prophet received his commission, his authorization, his perspective, his knowledge of God, and his information about God’s judgments and decrees… . For example, 1 Kings 22:19-23 records the experience of the prophet Micaiah, who saw God and his council, heard its deliberation and resolution, and was sent forth with the decree of God… . Likewise, Jeremiah 23:18 [Jeremiah was a contemporary of Lehi] asks rhetorically about those who are true prophets: “For who hath stood in Yahweh’s council, and seen and heard his word? Who has carefully marked [obeyed] his word?” … To so report and do was certification in that day that the prophet was a true messenger of God. Joseph Smith explained how this authority was conferred: “All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181). [John W. Welch, “The Calling of a Prophet” in First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, p. 36]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary