The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel is subtitled, A warning to all people on the second coming of Jesus Christ, revelations on the building of the temple, and instructions to the Church of Christ: The Lord has spoken and revealed his purpose by the mouth of his servant John the Baptist.
It is a collection of messages brought to "scribes" who attribute it to the angel John the Baptist, who Mormons claim originally ordained Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery with priesthood authority in 1829.
Otto Fetting of Port Huron, Michigan, in the United States was an apostle in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). He declared that on February 4, 1927, John the Baptist appeared as an angel to him, bringing a message to begin work on the temple which the church long believed would be built, according to a prophesy dating back about a hundred years. Details of the angelic visit were first published in the church newsletter, Zion's Advocate. Fetting reported that the angel visited him on numerous subsequent occasions, delivering messages each time, and these messages began to be collected into a book form. Fetting wrote 30 messages before his death in 1933. Four years later, a young member of the church, W. A. Draves of Nucla, Colorado declared that the angel had visited him also. Draves gave detailed descriptions of the angel, and messages similar in many respects to the messages written by Fetting. According to Draves, John the Baptist continued to deliver messages on ninety subsequent visits, until the death of W. A. Draves in 1994. The Word of the Lord currently contains 120 messages, and more are promised.
Several witnesses testified that John the Baptist could be seen and touched, and some in the church have expressed the belief that this means the messages in the Word of the Lord are not revelations, since for a revelation, the author is unseen (Perhaps that view confuses the word 'revelation' with other terminology describing interaction with the supernatural: Normally, a 'revelation' isn't defined as such by whether its author or source is seen or unseen.) In addition to the testimonies of the two scribes, the book contains the additional testimony of four witnesses who saw the angel during his final visit to Fetting in 1933. This latter testimony is signed and notarized.
When Fetting first announced the angel's visits, he was an apostle in the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), but the church later divided over the issue of rebaptism (baptised Christians who had joined the church were asked to be rebaptised), and the church which currently publishes the Word of the Lord is known as the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, a name given by the angel. The two churches hold to the same Articles of Faith and Practice, which determine the core beliefs of the church.
Within the messages, John the Baptist speaks in first person, and claims to be preparing people for the return of Jesus, which he clarifies is fulfilling the prophecy given in Malachi 3:1 and Nephi 24:1, as well as Malachi 4:5,6 where "Elijah the prophet" is promised before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. This latter verse is also referred to by Jesus Christ in Matthew 17, where the relationship between Elijah and John the Baptist is clarified.
The reader will find in these messages that the Messenger—as he is called by the scribes—also claims to be fulfilling Deuteronomy 18's prophecy of a prophet like Moses, and to be the angel "flying in the midst of heaven" which is mentioned in Revelation 14. He claims to be purifying the Levites in preparation for the Lord's return.
The Word of the Lord covers a wide array of topics, from encouraging words, warnings of dark events but also of a bright future ultimately, appointments to church office, visions, and several prophecies, including a description of the course and end of World War II, written in 1939. For example, describing the end of the war: "I saw that Germany was no more; she had become divided, part of her going to America and part joining with the armies of the man at Rome. Great Britain was also broken up never again to be united as an empire." (However, the war was supposed to last seven years, and although it ended as described here, it only lasted six; The 'man at Rome' is a cryptic character.). Another message first published in 1968 contains the prophecy: "The great powers, not of God's will, will find their failing and end. This will consummate in 1989." Church members believe this alludes to the end of the Cold War. The same 1968 message states that 'Armageddon' would begin in "the nineties" (1990's). Some believe this may refer to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, and the ensuing chain of events.
The early portion of the Word of the Lord contains detailed descriptions of architecture for the temple which is prophesied to be built on the Temple Lot in Independence, Missouri. This temple is described in the Articles of Faith and Practice for the church, which quotes the original prophesy made by Joseph Smith, Jr.