Recognizing the Unseen Hand of God

by John P. Pratt
18 Mar 2017, 1 Harim (P), 1 Capricorn (US)

©2017 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.

Index, Home

1. Become Childlike
1.1 Christ's Doctrine
1.2 Be Believing
1.3 Not Gullible
2. The Lion's Claw
2.1 Unusual Prophecy
2.2 Improbable Events
2.3 Signs
2.4 Does Chance Exist?
2.5 Organic Evolution
3. God-given Patterns
3.1 The Week
3.2 Law of Moses
3.3 Sacred Round
3.4 Constellations
4. Conclusion
God expects us to recognize His hand in all things. We can believe like a child, not dismiss miracles as due to chance, and recognize truth by the patterns He has given us.

The Lord has said that His wrath is kindled against those who fail to confess His hand in all things (D&C 59:21). Let's see ... that sounds pretty serious. How do we stack up at confessing His hand in all things? And what did He say was the penalty for failing to do that? Oh yes, His wrath will be kindled against us. That seems pretty serious and like a subject worthy of study and pondering. Being that His hand is usually not seen, let us consider how we may better recognize His hand in all things so that we may testify of Him.

1. Become Childlike

Jesus got along well with children.
When Jesus descended out of heaven to visit the Nephites after His resurrection, one of the first things He did was to declare what He called His "doctrine". It was just a short sentence or so, but He made it plain that anything more or less than that would come from evil. Thus, this use of "doctrine" has a very limited meaning, not referring to all the truths of the gospel. He said He wanted it understood and to have no disputes about it.

1.1 Christ's Doctrine

Do you know what Jesus referred to as His doctrine? I used to be a teacher and now we are going to have a "Pop Quiz". If you know what Jesus referred to as being his doctrine, please recite it now in one sentence for 10 points. . . . Okay, time's up. Please wait to score yourself because all ten points are given only if one certain phrase is included. Okay, if you didn't get that, let's try fill in the blanks for 7 points:

And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and _______ ____ ____ _______ _______, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock;
— 3 Nephi 11:38-40

Most of you guessed something, but you wouldn't have bet money on your answer, and wisely so. You recognized repenting and being baptized, but then what? So here's your last chance. For 3 points, select the answer by multiple choice.

A. receive the Holy Ghost
B. have charity towards all
C. become as a little child
D. endure to the end

The correct answer is C. Did you get any points? No? Perhaps you are thinking that this was a frivolous test because you've never heard of that requirement before. Maybe it wasn't important to know that little detail in an obviously trick question!

But wait, it is important. It is the part of the Christ's doctrine and anything less than that is what He said "cometh of evil".

Remember when the twelve disciples of Jesus were disputing over which of them would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? Jesus placed a child in their midst and said if they didn't become as that little child, they wouldn't even be in the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 9:33-34,36, Matt. 18:3). Wow, that is really serious. He was talking to the Twelve and it looks like they had totally overlooked that element of His doctrine! The penalty for missing that required attribute is not to even be allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven.

1.2 Be Believing

Just what are the required attributes of children that are requisite to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? The angel who was King Benjamin's speech writer supplied an excellent list. In the same verse where we are told that the natural man is an enemy to God (which we tend to remember), he says that is the opposite of being childlike, listing the desirable attributes of being submissive, meek, humble, and patient (Mosiah 3:19) (which we tend to forget).

Children easily believe in magic fairy godmothers.
That list is not exhaustive, so I'll add to it. Children tend to be naturally believing. They have no problem believing in magic, in fairy tales and in Jesus instantly healing people or Moses parting the Red Sea. If you first watched Walt Disney's Cinderella movie as a child, did you have any problem with her talking to mice or the birds helping her make her dress? Did you complain about the improbability of her having a fairy god mother who turned a pumpkin into a coach for her? What if you were now told about birds attending spiritual experiences and singing praises to God? Is that something you could now believe? What about ravens bringing food to Elijah? What about Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes? Oh, you say, that's different because that's a story in the Bible, so it must be true.

The scriptures tell us, "Doubt not, but be believing" (Mormon 9:27) and that is a childlike attribute. Not believing in miracles is something that children are taught by adults as they grow up to prepare for the so-called "real world".

1.3 Not Gullible

So if we are to be believing like little children, does that mean we are to be gullible and easily fooled? Are we to invest our retirement fund in some get-rich-quick scheme without checking it out with due diligence? Are we to believe the earth is flat just because we saw some videos on youtube and skipped taking Astronomy 101 in college to learn why even the ancient Greeks had excellent evidence of not only of the spherical shape but also the size of the earth?[1] No, we are not to be so open minded that our brains fall out! We are not to be "childish" which usually connotes negative attributes, but "childlike", which generally refers to the positive and desirable aspects of innocent childhood.

One attribute that many children have is the ability to "hear truth". When you are furious at your child for painting the carpet red, and you insist, "I'm not angry!", the child will hear the lie and say, "Yes, you are!" They can also hear truths in the fairy tales which are often lost on adults.

Okay, in case you are not yet fully childlike, now let's look at some ways for adults to recognize the unseen hand of God.

2. The Lion's Claw

One way that God wants to be recognized is through highly improbable events. In fact, some events are so improbable that they seem virtually impossible. Thus, they can clearly testify of the unseen hand of God.

In 1696 a challenge was made to all mathematicians to solve two problems which required calculus. That was at a time before calculus had been discovered. When Sir Isaac Newton received the challenge, he had both problems solved in one day. Leibnitz, generally considered the co-discoverer of calculus along with Newton, requested an extra entire year to solve them. Newton had his answer published anonymously, but he was immediately recognized as the author. Those who discovered his identity said that the lion is known by his claw.

And so it is with God. The Lion is known by His claw. God authors things that no one else can author, and he expects us to examine deeply enough what He gives us to recognize Him as the author. An example is the Bible codes found in the Book of Genesis. Those who believe that Genesis is a bunch of campfire stories need to explain the Bible codes found therein. They were discovered by professional statisticians and found to be far beyond what random chance would predict.[2] Let us look at few marks of the Lion's claw.

2.1 Unusual Prophecy

What if Jesus had not been in the manger when the shepherds arrived?
The scriptures are replete with examples of prophecies that seemed virtually impossible to have been fulfilled by chance alone. Almost without exception, these prophecies were made to increase faith in God after they were fulfilled, rather than to satisfy men's curiosity. Jesus telling the Centurion that his son had been healed (Matt. 8:13), the shepherds were told that they would find the Babe lying in a manger (Luke 2:12) (what if Mary had been holding Him?), the angel told Amulek that he'd meet Alma (Alma 8:20) so that wasn't by chance, Nephi prophesied that the chief judge had just been murdered, who did it, and that he would confess (Helaman 8:27, 9:35), and best of all, that there would be a night with no darkness at the birth of Christ (3 Nephi 1:15). But often, people still do not believe even after these prophecies were fulfilled. Indeed, even after this last miraculous fulfillment of prophecy of a bright night, people began to deny the unseen hand of God soon afterward (3 Nephi 2:1). This brings us to a main point: The Lord expects us to have a fundamental understanding of probability and when some unusual event really is a witness of the invisible hand of God!

2.2 Improbable Events

Another way God expects us to recognize His invisible hand is in really improbable events. They don't need to have been prophesied, but just beyond chance.

An example that truly shows that God likes increasing the odds against Him in order that people believe in Him is when Gideon was required by the Lord to decrease the size of his army from 32,000 down to 300 so that everyone on both sides would know that the Lord had to have been involved in the victory (Judges 7:2,7).

Another example is Helaman's 2,000 warrior sons. Their first battle when they joined a larger army was fierce indeed where many hundred died, yet not one of the those 2,000 even fell, much less died (Alma 56:56). Would you have concluded that they were pretty lucky? Or might it have had something to do with the fact that they did not doubt that God would preserve all of them? If one calculates the odds, it will turn out that there is virtually no chance that could have just been luck!

Would you have bet on David?
Other examples include David and Goliath where almost no one would have bet on David winning against such a giant warrior! Then think of Ammon in the Book of Mormon cutting off the arms ("disarming") of all those fighting him and killing several men with his sling. In every case, it was clear to many that God had been involved. The Lamanite king thought Ammon might be the Great Spirit and the witnesses reported that they knew Ammon could not be slain (Alma 18:2-3)!

Another example was Elijah pouring 12 barrels of water all over the sacrifice being offered by him at the contest between the prophets of Baal and his god Jehovah. Even the wood was drenched. Not only did fire come down from heaven and consume the wood and offering, but even the stones were consumed (1 Kings 18:38)!

2.3 Signs in Nature

The Sign of the Dove.
There is another set of signs that are available for us to recognize. They are unusual occurrences in nature. For example when the Savior was baptized, a dove flew down and landed on His shoulder. That was rather unusual but most would not have guessed that it was a sign of the presence of the Holy Ghost. If you had been there and witnessed it, would you have written about it in your journal? But those that had eyes to see would have understood that something very special was going on.

The sign was mostly meant for John the Baptist. He had been told that He upon whom he saw the dove land would be the Messiah (John 1:32-33). So even though it was not incredibly unusual, it was nevertheless a sign for him because it had been prophesied.

The Lord sometimes speaks through nature, whether usual or not. Many plagues were sent to Pharaoh to induce him to let Moses and the children of Israel go from bondage, but at first he did not see God in those signs. In fact, his magicians could create some of them, which has always seemed humorous to me because they created more frogs instead of getting rid of them (Exo. 8:7)! After a while they could no longer duplicate the miracles and testified to Pharaoh that Moses' latest miracle really had been caused by the "finger of God" (Exo. 8:19)! So they could see at least one finger of the unseen of hand of God! But Pharaoh refused to let them go until a really unusual sign came. It killed all of the firstborn of Egypt, both children and cattle, and it had been prophesied by Moses (Exo. 12:29). That was not only devastating, it was compelling and clearly not random bad weather and so finally Pharaoh let them go, at least for three days.

The Lord will speak again through natural disasters and it appears to have already begun. He told the Prophet Joseph that later on He would speak through the testimony of earthquakes, thundering and lightning, tempests, and the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds (D&C 88:89-90). We would do well to recognize his unseen hand in these things, lest His wrath be kindled against us!

2.4 Does Chance Exist?

An interesting question to ask is whether or not chance even exists. We are intelligences and can make choices about what path to take, at least among those offered. Agency not only exists, but one of the main reasons we are on earth is to see how we choose to act and also to react to what happens to us. But what about what happens to us? Are some of those things due to random chance, or did God do them to us, or Satan, or were they part of a life plan we made long ago?

These questions are beyond the scope of this discussion, but consider just this one thought. The opening scripture discussed declared God's anger is kindled against those who fail to confess His hand in all things. What does "all things" mean? If we decide that God is not involved in what appears to be a chance occurrence, are we not failing to recognize His hand?

The ancients used casting lots (not drawing straws, which involves agency) to determine the will of God. They took it seriously enough that when there was a terrible storm at sea when Jonah was fleeing the Lord, the captain did not attribute it to a random rogue storm, but to the hand of God showing His displeasure with someone on the ship! They cast lots which indicated Jonah and he was thrown overboard into the ocean! Immediately the tempest subsided!

Nephi cast lots to determine which brother should go get the plates from Laban. The process seemed to work and no apology is made in the scriptures for foolish people believing that they saw the hand of God in casting lots!

2.5 Organic Evolution

So what happened to us as a culture, that we have almost totally lost the idea that God does (or at least might) control "chance" occurrences, when it was so well understood anciently?

To me, the principal enemy of using simple probability and design to prove the existence of God is the so-called "theory" of organic evolution. Once people accept this unfounded speculation which is taught them by scientists since their early childhood, then people will believe that absolutely anything could have happened by chance. We can believe a watch found in the forest just created itself.

Think about Alma's proof of God to the Anti-Christ Korihor. He said that all of creation including the regular motion of the planets testified that there is a Creator (Alma 30:44). When that wasn't enough (as it would have been for a child), then a special miracle was prophesied and that did the trick. Korihor was struck dumb right on cue and that was unusual enough that he was finally convinced. Note that the miracle was not done just to satisfy his curiosity, but to squelch his nonsense.

If the theory of evolution had been in place in Alma's day, then his first proof about how the mere existence of all creations would no longer convince many people. We moderns have been duped into believing that things create themselves or just arise from random chance.[3] Such a belief destroys being able to recognize the unseen hand of God in creation.

Let us now turn to another way that God has given us to recognize His hand in all things, lest His fierce anger be kindled against us.

3. God-given Patterns

Constellation Pattern of Seven.
The Lord has said that Satan is abroad in the land deceiving the nations. How can we avoid being deceived? The Lord said that He has given us a pattern in all things to prevent deception (D&C 52:14).

Let us looks at some of those patterns, especially focusing on examples using calendars.

3.1 The Week

Suppose you were God and wished to teach Moses and the children of Israel about the sabbath day and keeping it holy. These are people who knew nothing of the concept of a week, much less the last day being holy. If you were the Lord, how would you teach them?

Of course! You would use statistics and probability to drive the lesson home, along with hunger as an incentive to pay attention. The Lord took them into the wilderness where there was no food readily available for the approximately 2,000,000 people. As you know He set up a food delivery system, which began on a Sunday, when "manna" suddenly appeared on the ground in the morning. The Lord then told Moses the rules and Who was providing it. They could each gather enough for them to eat in one day. If they tried to keep more for the next day it would spoil. The exception was that on the seventh day (Saturday) none would appear, so they could gather twice as much on Friday and it would not spoil.

That is exactly what happened! How long would it take you to start believing that this regular schedule was a proof that it came from God? Four weeks? Ten weeks? Well, it went on for forty years. I leave it as an exercise for the student to calculate the odds of that happening by random chance. There have been those researchers who have tried to explain manna as hydrocarbons which precipitated, resulting from the near passage of another planet, but they always leave out the statistically impossible story about the manna coming on that weekly schedule. There is no way to explain that without a supernatural Planner.

3.2 Law of Moses

The law of Moses contained both a set of rites and ordinances and also a calendar of days on which to perform them. Paul tells us that their purpose was to point them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). How was that supposed to happen? For example, how would sacrificing an unblemished lamb on the 14th day of the first month lead them to Christ? Well, in fact, many of them missed the point, but it turned out that the Lamb of God was sacrificed on the afternoon of the 14th day of the first month along with the Passover Lambs of Judea, and matched all of the requirements of being blemish free and no broken bones even after death, etc. Of course there were those who said Jesus just looked up all of the prophecies and made sure He fulfilled them, but it is tough to make sure your bones are not broken after death, especially when that was the usual treatment of those crucified.

3.3 Sacred Round

The Sacred Round of 260 days.
Along with the week and the lunar month used in the calendar of Moses, there are other calendars which testify of the hand of God. This has been the area of my special study.

One of the wonderful things about the week of 7 days, is that it is always the same. No extra days are ever inserted or skipped. Thus it makes sense to talk about the day of the week on which Christ was born, or the day on which Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. The week is the basis of about half of all of the sacred calendars known, such as the Hebrew Calendar, Enoch Calendar and Jubilee Calendar.

In the Americas there are two other cycles which are used to keep track of days in a continuous cycle, never adding or skipping a day, very similar to the week. One is called the trecena, a continuous count of 13 days numbered from 1 to 13, repeating over and over indefinitely. The other cycle is one of 20 days called the veintena, also never varying from 20 per cycle. Instead of numbers, each day of the twenty is associated with a picture or concept. Those pictures represent the steps of life from conception through becoming like God.

As those two cycles run independently, it can be noticed that after 260 days the combinations of the number and pictures begin to repeat. That larger cycle is called the Sacred Round.[4]

The way the Sacred Round testifies of the unseen hand of God is that once you pick one day in history which was a particular combination of number and picture, then every day in history is determined. It is like the week. Once you know what any one day is, you can calculate what every day is.

It turns out the trecena of 13 days is perfect for reckoning the orbital cycles of the planets, and the week is perfect for the sun, moon, and stars. Thus, the Mercury, Venus and Mars calendars are based on the trecena rather than the week.

Using the patterns of these calendars, precise dates can be known for many sacred events throughout history. It is a way to see the unseen hand of God making a record in the heavens.

For example, the day proposed in my work on which Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden was holy on just about every sacred calendar known. But the extreme order is shown by what each holy day is. Each is not just a random holy day, but one with significant meaning. The proposed day was Sun 9 April 4001 BC, exactly to the day 4,000 Hebrew years before the birth of Jesus Christ. That day was the following: It was Passover on the Hebrew and Jubilee calendars, the day representing passing over into the wilderness. On the Enoch Calendar it was Easter Sunday (same as this year). On the Mercury and Venus calendars and also on their Uniform versions, it was day 1 of their cycles. On the Uniform Mars Calendar, it was the day when the natural man rebels against God (the planet apparently begins to move backward in retrograde motion). On the Uniform versions of the Enoch and Hebrew and Star calendars it was the First day of Summer (a holy day). It was also a holy day on the Priest Cycle (Sunday morning) and finally, it was 13 Skull on the Sacred Round, representing when death enters the world. There is no way that all of those meaningful holy days "just happen" to line up on the day exactly 4,000 years before the birth of Christ!

3.4 Constellations

The Star Calendar.
The visible handiwork of the invisible hand of God is seen in the exact placement of the earth's orbit among the stars. One example of a pattern in the constellations is that seven constellations each contain exactly seven stars in a kite-shaped pattern.[5] That allows the stars to have an implied numbering system as illustrated above. These constellations relate to what is called the Priesthood Pattern of Seven in my articles.[6]

Recently a Star Calendar has been discovered, which literally maps stars onto each day of the year.[7] The stars are mathematically located on the day of the year where the sun is when it is at the location of the projection of the star onto the sun's path.

It turns out that on many key dates of history, the star-day corresponds exactly to what is happening. The resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred on the day of the brightest star in the Ram with the golden fleece. That fleece was said to have the power of giving immortality, which is why Jason sought it so diligently.

Adam's grandson Enos represented mortality, meaning capable of death. He was born and died on the day 1 Skull on the Sacred Round. Years after those proposed vital dates were published, after the Star Calendar was discovered it turned out that the star day of his death was exactly one of the two stars in the stinger of the constellation of the Scorpion!

Similarly, the day proposed in 2003 for the birth of King David turned out to fall on the day of the king of stars, Regulus (meaning "Young King"), the brightest star in Leo the Lion (King of Beasts). After many such meaningful alignments are found, it becomes clear that the constellations are not the fanciful musings of bored shepherds with insomnia. The Book of Enoch claims that the constellations were revealed by an angel to him, and that is the only explanation I know that could explain all of this. In this case, the Lion is literally known by his claw. By the way, the proposed date for the birth of Judah, compared to a lion in his father's blessing (Gen. 49:9), was the day of the star which is the Lion's Claw. The list goes on and on.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, the Lord tells us that He expects us to confess His hand in all things. One way to do that is to be childlike and believing, which is actually a requirement in the doctrine of Christ to inherit the Kingdom of God. Another way to see God's involvement in our lives is to recognize truly improbable coincidences as due to Him and not to chance, especially if they were prophesied. And finally, we should use the patterns which God has provided for us to see through the falsehoods of Satan and acknowledge the unseen hand of God in all things.


  1. Ancient Egyptians observed that at the summer solstice the sun cast no shadow in a well at Syene, whereas on that day a vertical obelisk cast a shadow of an angle equal to about 1/50 of a circle. They knew Alexandria was some 500 miles north of Syene, so the discrepancy could be explained if the earth's circumference were 50 x 500 miles = 25,000 miles. That is very close to modern measurements. Many years later when those observations could no longer have been made, a Greek named Eratosthenes, the librarian at Alexandria, read about the calculation and taught others, so that today he is given credit for discovering the size of the earth!
  2. Pratt, John P., "Bible Codes: A New Approach" Meridian Magazine (25 Jan 2006).
  3. For those familiar with the organic evolution theory, one distinction should be made. A century or so ago there was a huge debate between the science of genetics which claimed the offspring would be like the parents and evolution which said they would not. About when genetics was clearly going to win, evolutionists introduced new terminology and it saved their position. The true part (genetics) is now called microevolution. It is a true science and is nothing more than genetics renamed. Evolution was renamed macroevolution, meaning not just little preprogrammed adaptations to survive like big and little bills on finches, but that mice and whales are distant cousins. Proponents simply quote valid microevolution adaptation experiments and speculate that there are no limits to adaptation to sell macroevolution as plausible. There is no evidence whatsoever that it is actually possible, but, instead, what Charles Darwin found as he bred pigeons is true: when he tried to push one trait like a fan-tail too far with selective breeding, the offspring reverted to be like the original stock. His theory was based on the opposite of what he found with experiments to be true: he proposed that there is no limit to the change possible! And by the way, "natural selection" is not the name of a magic mechanism which causes evolution. Darwin used "artificial selection" to mean that he chose which pigeons to breed. "Natural selection" only means that wild animals choose their own mates!
  4. For more on the Sacred Round, see my explanation at "The Sacred Round".
  5. Pratt, John P., "Super Constellation Testifies of Unified Design" (10 Oct 2015).
  6. Pratt, John P., "Priesthood Pattern of Seven" (31 Mar 2011).
  7. Pratt, John P., "Star Calendar Testifies of Christ and His Servants" (9 Jul 2016).