One Sunday evening I was discussing some principles contained in the Book of Mormon with a young friend. She had several concerns and wanted to discuss them with me. Her questions were both in depth and well thought out.
In 1 Nephi, chapter 12, Nephi relates what he sees in vision regarding the Twelve Apostles:
12: 8 And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the Twelve Disciples of the Lamb, who are chosen to minister unto thy seed.
9 And he said unto me: Thou rememberest the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb? Behold they are they who shall judge the twelve tribes of
10 And these twelve ministers whom thou beholdest shall judge thy seed. And, behold, they are righteous forever; for because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood.
Her question was, “I thought Jesus Christ would be our judge?”
Mormon 3: 20 And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Instantly it was revealed to my mind and heart, with perfect clarity, how both could be possible. I used the analogy of a High Council.
In a High Council there are twelve High Councilmen who sit in judgment to “settle important difficulties which might arise in the church”. Although the twelve members are there to act both in behalf of the accused, and in behalf of the Church, to “prevent insult and injustice”, ultimately the judgment call, or decision on the outcome of this proceeding is made by the President alone. At once I better understood how the councils on earth were patterned after the councils in Heaven.
In application to this example, if the House of Israel was to be considered as a whole or individual body, they would be judged by the Twelve “Councilors” but the ultimate decision would rest with the President, or Jesus Christ. Both would play a part in this “courtroom” scene of judgment.
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Doctrine and Covenants 29:12 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else.
The very next day after our conversation, I went to look at the topic I would be discussing in my upcoming Institute class ... it was Section 102...or what might be known as the “Constitution of a High Council”.
FYI I think the best information to be found, in one place, on the history of the High Council can be found at this link.
I know... Don’t judge!