Can you tell me what is meant by “seven times seventy” in Doctrine & Covenants 107:96?
In order to explain that phrase we need to look on both sides of verse 96. Here are the scriptures from D&C 107:93-97:
93 And it is according to the vision showing the order of the Seventy, that they should have seven presidents to preside over them, chosen out of the number of the seventy;
94 And the seventh president of these presidents is to preside over the six;
95 And these seven presidents are to choose other seventy besides the first seventy to whom they belong, and are to preside over them;
96 And also other seventy, until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it.
97 And these seventy are to be traveling ministers, unto the Gentiles first and also unto the Jews.
In verse 93 the phrase the order of the Seventy, refers to Seventies Quorums of the Church, and indicates that this priesthood order should be presided over by seven presidents chosen from among their number. One of the seven presidents, as stated in verse 94, is to preside over the other six. Verse 95 states that other quorums of Seventy may be organized in addition to the First Quorum, as needs arise. And now, verse 96– the words other seventy mean “other Seventies quorums,” until there may be seven quorums of Seventy. Those who hold the priesthood office of Seventy, as members of these quorums, as indicated in verse 97, are to be traveling ministers to the Gentiles and to the Jews–in other words, they have a major responsibility for the missionary work of the Church. We learn in verse 34 of Section 107 that the Seventy act under the direction of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
As the Mormon Church grows and expands, with increasing numbers of Stakes and Missions, the administrative burden of this increasing number of ecclesiastical units is satisfied by increasing the number of Seventies quorums, as specified in Doctrine & Covenants, section 107. Presently, 8 quorums of Seventy with 7 presidents are operating in the Mormon Church.