Posts Tagged 'Exaltation'

Exodus Chapter 15

The Israelites were led by God from Egypt where they had been in bondage for over 400 years. In the previous chapter, Moses had used his priesthood power to part the Red Sea. The children of Israel had crossed the dry land and when the Egyptians had tried to pursue them, they were destroyed by the Lord. The story of the Israelite journey to the promised land continues as follows:

1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
6 Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
18 The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.
19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.

The Israelites praised the Lord for their deliverance and protection from the Egyptians. The heading for this chapter refers to their praises as the song of Moses. Their song spoke of the enemy that had sought to take them and the Lord who was their deliverer. At this time, the Israelites recognized God as their strength and salvation. The footnote for the word strength references the priesthood, which is the power of God. The Lord allows men to use the priesthood and truly is the source of great power and strength for man. He is also the Savior of the world. He redeems all of us and makes our salvation possible. The children of Israel also recognized that God is powerful, great in excellence, holy, and merciful. They said the people of the world would hear and fear God. Others would learn what God had done for His people, and they would fear their coming. They sang also, of how they would retake the promised land, with the hand of God on their side.

I am drawn to the word exalt in these song of Moses. I have always felt the word exalted was dependent on the one being exalted, and I did not see the relationship it had to others. Now as I read these words, I realize that the Savior’s exaltation comes from his followers lifting Him up to a place that is higher then they. We exalt the Savior, by following Him and doing as He asks of us. We exalt him with our praises to Him. A king without any subjects cannot be exalted, because there is no one for him to rule over. We are the subjects of the King of Kings, and as such, we add to His perfect exaltation. Our own exaltation will depend on the power which He holds to lift us up to a higher state then we can reach on our own. We work together with the Savior, our spiritual elder brother, to both reach our deserved exaltation in the kingdom of God.

I also have pondered over the phrase “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power”. We often talk about being on the right hand of God and the power of His right hand. I think I have not put much thought into the significance of the right hand before. I usually relate it to the phrase “Choose the Right” with the understanding that we want to do what is right versus what is wrong. Today, this has taken on a different meaning for myself. The ordinances of the priesthood, use the right hand. If we think about the ordinances of baptism, partaking of the sacrament, and all other ordinances of even greater significance, they are correctly done with the use of the right hand. In other words, we use the right hand to properly use the priesthood. The right hand is truly the power of God with exactness. The right hand of the Lord, is the priesthood power of God and it does become glorious when used properly to bring blessings. Moreover, we want to be on the right hand of God, because that is where the promises of eternal life and exaltation are made sure through His eternal and holy priesthood.

I love music and especially love to sing good songs. There is something spiritual about the sounds of music that seems to reach into the hearts of people with greater power than much of what is said. I love that there is so much that refers to singing in the scriptures. The Israelites sang praise to the Lord I think, because it can bring such joy and happy feelings. I wonder what my song of praise would be to the Lord. In 2 Nephi chapter 22 we read the following:

1 And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
3 Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (see also Isaiah 12)

This is the song of praise that will be heard at the time of the millennium, when the Lord will come to rule and reign on this earth. I want to be among the saints who sing in that day, to praise my Lord and Savior, so that I may show my love and devotion to Him in song.

20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

The women are mentioned here, as they rejoiced with dancing. Men are not the only ones to lead in righteousness in the scriptures. Miriam is called a prophetess, which seems to mean that she was also inspired of God and I imagine that she acted as maybe a Relief Society president (a leader of our modern-day women’s organization in the LDS church) would today. The Israelites began their journey on the other side of the Red Sea, in Shur. They traveled for three days without any water to drink.

23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

They came to a place called Marah, where the waters were bitter and they could not drink them. (Side note: I wonder if this word has the same origin as the name Mary, my name, which also means bitter.) The Israelites asked Moses, their leader, what they should drink. He prayed and received the answer to his prayer. He was to cut down a specific tree and throw it into the waters of Marah. When he did this, the water was made sweet and they could drink. The Lord made a promise to the children of Israel, that he would not allow the diseases to come upon them, which the Egyptians had had, if they would hearken to His voice and follow His commandments. Their next stop was in a place called Elim, which had twelve wells of water that could provide for the people of Israel.

Their are many examples of murmuring in the scriptures. It seems that this is a natural response to difficulty, even for those who have recently be greatly blessed by the hand of God. This is one of Satan’s most used tactics. He would have us be ungrateful and forgetful of our God. I wonder how often I murmur in my own life, instead of recognizing the blessings I have received, or having faith that greater blessings will come through my trials.

I wonder what the difference was in the hearts of the Israelites from this time and later when they had to deal with the many serpents. Here they were told to cast a tree in the water to make it drinkable and then they were told to look at a brass serpent to be saved from death. Here they followed the instruction and were blessed for it, but later they would not hearken to Moses and many would die for it. I believe it has to do with their hearts being more willing and open, in spite of their murmuring, which provided them with an enormous amount of faith. I think that later, we see that they lacked the faith because their hearts had become hardened to the miracles of God.

I know that we must keep the things of God close to our hearts. We need to always remember the Lord and his blessings for us. I am so grateful for the weekly reminder that I have each week as I partake of the Sacrament. If I have let life keep me distracted and busy during the week, the Sacrament calls me back to a remembrance of Him and I can realign myself to the person He wants me to be. I am glad that I can repent of my errors and sins. I know that if I am faced with challenges and find myself murmuring over the hard path that the Lord expects me to follow, I need to repent and return in faith and hope for things to come. I know that if we keep a song of gratitude in our hearts and are mindful of the tender mercies of the Lord, then we will find life more rewarding and will feel the love of God in greater abundance.

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Are We Striving for Exaltation?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple,understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

This series of posts has been a lot of fun for me to go through. It’s been great to focus on the Relief Society declaration and all that it means to me in my life. I’m a little sad to see it coming to an end. The last question of this series is are we striving for exaltation? It goes right along with the previous posts and is a perfect final thought for this series.

What is exaltation? Every person will receive the blessings of immortality that comes with the resurrection, because the Savior has fulfilled the requirements for that and it doesn’t matter what we do. However, there are additional blessings to be received after this life, and they come from the choices we make in this life. Exaltation is what happens when God raises us to a level or glory above where we can reach for ourselves. In Matthew 25:34 we read, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”. Exaltation is receiving our inheritance of the kingdom of God, which has been prepared for us. It is there that we have a fullness of joy. In Psalms 16:11 we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Exaltation is the reward which allows us to live in the presence of God and at His right hand. It is often described in the scriptures as receiving the crown prepared for us. In 2 Timothy 4:8 it says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day. . .”. Also in Doctrine and Covenants 59:2 it says, “For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them.” Exaltation is the ultimate reward of the rest that the Savior has promised to us in John 14:27. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Exaltation is the companionship of the Godhead as we live in their glory forever more.

With this understanding of what exaltation is, what are we doing to strive for it? Striving for something, is not simply allowing it to come to us, but making a great effort to obtain it. To strive for exaltation, we must be actively working to do what the scriptures teach us we need to do in order to obtain it.

I think that first, we need to believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. When we come to know Christ, we come to know God. We cannot hope to achieve our potential if we do not understand what that potential is by having faith in Jesus the Christ. In John 17:3, the Savior teaches us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Once we come to have a belief and faith in Christ, we need to live as He did and follow His perfect example. In that example, the Savior showed us that we need to be baptized in His name. In 3 Nephi 11:33 we read the words of the Savior to those on the American continent. He said, “And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

One of the things I found in my study of this, is the reward of salvation from honoring the priesthood of God. This makes perfect sense to me, but probably wouldn’t have come to my mind immediately as a way to strive for exaltation. In Doctrine and Covenants 84 we read the following:

35 And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
36 For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
37 And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
38 And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

To receive the priesthood, means to allow the power of God to act in our lives. It means to honor it by honoring the men who hold it, by following our modern prophets and apostles, by living according to the covenants we make through it, by allowing the atonement to be a part of our everyday lives, and more. Part of honoring the priesthood, is making sacred covenants with God and taking upon us the ordinances that must be performed with the priesthood authority given to us by God. One mentioned above, was baptism. Others include receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our temple covenants in the endowments and sealings. In Doctrine and Covenants 132, great rewards of exaltation are promised to those who enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, or the new and everlasting covenant.

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

Continually striving to honor the Lord by living according to the priesthood power he has allowed us to have or by making and keeping these sacred covenants with him, will push us towards that reward of exaltation. It will give us the opportunity to be as God and have forever families and rule in glory with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.

There are two things that we need to do, which are often found hand in hand: keep the commandments and endure to the end. In Doctrine and Covenants 25:15 we read, “Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.” I love that it has the word continually in there. We cannot just keep the commandment once and receive that great reward. Rather, we must continually return to Christ through repentance and strive each day to do our best to keep the commandments, for the remainder of our days. That is endurance. Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 says, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” We need to endure through the everyday temptations of Satan as we are instructed in James 1:12 which reads, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” When we endure these temptations, we choose which side we would rather be on. Through our endurance, we can overcome evil and love that which is good. In Revelation 3:21 it says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

This continual path of striving to keep the commandments and endure, will not be easy. In fact, it will probably be harder than any other path we could choose to take in this life. There are many more trials in life, then just those that Satan puts before us. Yet, even with these difficulties, we learn and grow so much more from trials than if we did not have them. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:4 we read, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.” These promised blessings are for the faithful, who are truly striving each day to do what is right. Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 teaches us, “And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.” Again in section 81, verse 6 of the Doctrine and Covenants we learn, “And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father.”

Our efforts in striving for exaltation, really come down to the little decisions of every day. The gospel in this is simple. We either choose to do the things that God has asked us to do, or we choose to follow the path that Satan has made easily accessible to all of us. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we learn this gospel truth. “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Then again we are reminded of the consequences of our choices in 2 Nephi 9:39 which reads, “O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.” Our eternal reward is dependent upon the thoughts, words and deeds which we choose to have while here in mortality.

Faith is a Sunrise

I hope and have great faith in the promises of exaltation. I cannot imagine anything better then being allowed to live in the presence of God and have my own eternal family. I know that in order to receive this, I have to believe in God and Jesus Christ, honor all that is truly sacred which is all connected to the amazing power of the priesthood, keep the covenants which I have made with God, keep the laws and commandments that He has given to us, and endure to the end of my days. I know that I cannot allow things to act upon me, but that I must choose these things for myself and be striving for the blessings of exaltation each and every day. I know that I am not expected to be perfect right at this moment, but that if I am willing to make my best effort and rely upon the Lord and the atonement in repenting and returning to the Lord always, that the blessings will come. It is after I put forth the effort to live righteously each day, that my Savior will take me from the imperfect state that I will be in, and raise me to that state of glory and reward that I will deserve. We, as disciples of the Lord, can receive exaltation through our Savior, Jesus Christ, if we will do our best to strive for it each day.

The Fall of Adam and Eve

This is the sixth chapter of the Gospel Principles manual for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To view the entire lesson, go here: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve Were the First to Come to Earth – What evidence helps us know that Adam and Eve were valiant spirits?

The plan laid out in heaven, included the first man and woman who would come to earth, being Adam and Eve. In the sixth period of the creation, man was created and given dominion over the earth. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden and given commandments. The evidence to me that they were valiant spirits before coming to the earth, is found in the knowledge that Adam was Michael before he came to the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 107:54 we read, “And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.” Michael was the leader of the armies of heaven, which fought against Satan when the rebellion against the plan of God began. In Revelation 12 we read the following:

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

They were chosen to be the father and mother of all the people on Earth. In Doctrine and Covenants we read of them in the spirit world at the time when the Savior returned and the valiant spirits they are. In section 138 we read the following:

36 Thus was it made known that our Redeemer spent his time during his sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of him in the flesh;
37 That they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom he could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression, that they through the ministration of his servants might also hear his words.
38 Among the great and mighty ones who were assembled in this vast congregation of the righteous were Father Adam, the Ancient of Days and father of all,
39 And our glorious Mother Eve, with many of her faithful daughters who had lived through the ages and worshiped the true and living God.

In life, they continued to be valiant, in spite of their transgression in the garden. They transgressed the law and then had to experience the fall from God’s presence. The way they chose to live their pre-mortal and mortal lives is a great example to me.

What can we learn from the examples of Adam and Eve?

In the garden state, Adam and Eve remembered the commandments of God, but Eve transgressed because of the temptations of Satan. Their experience teaches me that Satan will use deceit and half-truths to try to stop the purposes of God and that we are all vulnerable to his tactics.

In Moses 5 we read the following:

4 And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
5 And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.

Adam and Eve were faithful and devoted to God in their mortal lives. They did not question his commandments, even though they did not know why they were to do them. Later, Satan began to lead their children astray, but Moses 5:16 starts, “And Adam and Eve, his wife, ceased not to call upon God.” They continued with devotion to God.

The Garden of Eden – Under what conditions did Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden?

The garden was a pre-mortal paradise. In Genesis 2 we read the following:

9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden . . .
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
. . . 19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air . . .
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

The garden was full of beautiful plants, a river to water the earth, and animals of all kinds. Adam was given dominion over all of these. Adam worked to keep the garden beautiful, but this work was not the difficult work of keeping gardens in mortality, because there were not any weeds and pests to destroy them there, plus there was plenty of those things that are needed to sustain the garden and all that was in it. They lived with commandments, because it is an eternal principle that there should be laws to govern us. Adam and Eve were married in the Garden and in their innocent state, they did not know of things such as shame or modesty.

In Isaiah 51:3 we read, “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” This teaches us that Zion was a place of joy, gladness, thanksgiving and harmony. Adam and Eve lived in perfect peace while in the garden. The interesting thing about this is, that they did not recognize that they were living in this state, because they knew of nothing else. In 2 Nephi 2 we read the following:

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

They lived in an immortal state while in the garden, and although it was a place of joy, they could not have eternal joy because they did not know what joy was. We can only truly know what something is when we understand what it is not. We cannot understand joy without understanding misery. They lived in a sinless state where they could not progress any further.

Adam and Eve’s Separation from God – What physical and spiritual changes occurred in Adam and Eve as a result of their transgression?

Physically, Adam and Eve became mortal bodies. They would experience pain, suffering and eventually death. They would likewise experience joy, growth and learning. Spiritually, they became separated from God and could no longer dwell in his presence. The scriptures say that they could hear him, but could not see him any longer. These changes are known as physical and spiritual death. In Moses 6:48 we read, “And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.” Also in Doctrine and Covenants 29:41 we read, “Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death . . .”. From spiritual death, they inherited the qualities of the natural man. In Alma 42:10 we read, “Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.” Sin had been introduced to the world.

Great Blessings Resulted from the Transgression – How does the Fall provide opportunities for us to become like our Heavenly Father?

Because we have the opportunity to learn the opposition in all things, we can choose for ourselves if we would like to become like our Heavenly Father or not. In 2 Nephi 2:11 we read, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” The ability to grow and progress further was not available before the fall of Adam and Eve, but now it is available to all of mankind. In 2 Nephi 2:27 we read “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” We have the power to choose if we will believe and follow His Son, to become like Him. In 3 Nephi 9:17, the Savior taught the people, “And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.”

Why do you think it is important to know about the Fall and how it influences us?

When we understand what the fall is, we can see that there is a purpose to our living this life. Eve teaches us of this in Moses 5:11 which reads, “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” The purpose is to choose for ourselves what our eternal outcome will be. When we understand that we could not have gone any further in the eternities if we did not have the opportunity to live in mortality, we can be more grateful for the trials and suffering we experience in this life. Knowing that there is a greater future for myself and my family, gives me a greater faith and hope as I endure through my life. Understanding the fall, brings greater meaning to the redemption provided by the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The point is that we are in a fallen state, but that there is the miracle of the atonement which can save us if we choose it.

I know that we should all be grateful for Adam and Eve and the outcome of their choice. It was a transgression that was necessary in order for each of us to have this mortal opportunity. While they introduced a lot of unpleasant mortal things to us, they also introduced countless others of so much greater importance. If not for the fall, the Savior would not have had the opportunity to fulfill his purpose. If not for the fall, none of us would have had the opportunity to fulfill our own purposes either, but we would have remained as we were forever. Because of them, we have the ability to experience eternal joy and exaltation. Adam and Eve are valiant souls, and the parents of us all, to whom we should have gratitude for our lives.

Exaltation

To view the entire Gospel Principles chapter, go here: Exaltation

What is exaltation?

Exaltation is the reward given to mankind by God, for following his commandments, and making and keeping sacred covenants in this life. It is the ability to live with God again, in his presence. This is part of God’s plan of salvation. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), we believe in a spiritual life before this earth life, and a life after we die. We will be rewarded and receive a glory based on how we choose to live our lives. In Doctrine and Covenants 132 we read the following:

3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

Obedience to what we know to be true gospel is the key. We can only live in the presence of God again, if we receive his glory, which is the glory of the Celestial kingdom. This is the goal that we had before this life and is the hope of our Father in Heaven for each of us. There are two other degrees of glory which one can receive, the terrestrial and telestial. Only those who are the worst sinners of mankind, will not receive one of these degrees of glory, but will be cast into outer darkness with Satan and his spiritual followers. We should be striving for the glory of the Celestial kingdom, the highest of the degrees of glory.

Exaltation is our divine inheritance as children of God. In Romans chapter 8, we read the following:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

We are promised that we will receive His kingdom and all that He has, if we are obedient and faithful followers of Christ. In obedience we must make the required covenants. These include baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination for men, endowments, and celestial marriage. All of these must be performed after the patter God has commanded and through the proper priesthood authority. Then our obedience continues by faithfully living up to those covenants to the end of our days in this life. For those who do not have the opportunity to know of the gospel in this life, these blessings will be available to them through proxy after they have died.

What are some blessings that will be given to those who are exalted?

In addition to receiving the glory of God, we will be able to be like Him and have all that He has. In Psalms 16:11, we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” With exaltation comes a fulness of joy. I have felt some intense moments of joy in my life, such as the moment I held my third baby who I felt I had to fight for before she came. I was so overcome that I could not hold back the tears of joy. A fulness of joy is a feeling that I look forward to with great anticipation. Also from this verse we learn that we will have pleasures forever. There are plenty of things in this life that bring us pleasure, but these things are fleeting. Earthly pleasures do not last forever and they will not bring us full joy. We have the promise of pleasure for eternity, which is amazing.

In Revelation 3:21 we read, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” If we receive exaltation, we will be able to be with God and Jesus Christ. We will be able to speak to them face-to-face. This blessing is hard to imagine, knowing that they are perfect beings and can only be with those who are also perfected. A blessing of exaltation is the condition of being perfected through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 reads, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” Those who receive exaltation, will become Gods without end and with all the power of God. When it says they have no end, I don’t think this just means they live forever, because I think that all resurrected beings live forever in their degree of glory. I think that this means, they have the ability to increase forever. That means that they can have an eternity of spiritual offspring, creating spiritual bodies just like our Father in Heaven created us. To support this, we read the following in Doctrine and Covenants 131:

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

Celestial marriage, which cannot be accomplished without all other ordinances and covenants being made prior to it, is the key to receiving all that God has promised us. There are amazing blessings that await the faithful, including all power, all knowledge, and the power to rule over all things they create. (To read more about the blessings of those who receive a Celestial glory, read Doctrine and Covenants 76:59-70.)

How do ordinances and covenants prepare us for exaltation?

If we can learn to follow the commandments in this life, we will be able to live the law of the Celestial Kingdom. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read the following:

22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

We cannot hope to abide in the presence of God, if we do not know how to listen and follow his commandments. Some may think that this will halt progression, but it is truly the opposite. With obedience to laws, we become free to act as we choose without the fear of loosing all that we have been given.

How does faith in Jesus Christ help us obey the commandments?

If we gain a faith in Jesus Christ, then we know what we are living for. Faith in Jesus Christ, brings a peace of mind that cannot be forfeited by anything else. That peace is comforting and pushes us to give strict obedience to the commandments. I believe that faith is a word of action. You cannot have faith without doing something with that faith. Having faith in Jesus Christ, means having a willingness in our hearts to live as he lived, and to follow his teachings. In 1 Nephi 7:12 we read, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” If we show our faith in God, we allow Him to work in our lives. He can give us a strength, peace, and happiness that we cannot get in any other way. With the gift of strength, we can find the will to obey the commandments.

Why must we learn to follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to become exalted?

I think that part of the reason is that we must learn to rely on Him for guidance, just as we need to learn to rely on our Savior for the atonement and on God for his love, justice and mercy. The godhead is one in purpose. In Mormon 7:7 we read, “And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.” Each of the three personages that make up the godhead, follow the same plan. What the spirit teaches us, is what the Savior would teach us. Everything the Savior said, were the words of God to us. We must follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to put our desires and will in line with God. With all things in line, order and peace will remain in the eternities.

What happens when we have endured to the end in faithful discipleship to Christ?

When we have endured and done our very best to be faithful to the Savior, we will be welcomed with open arms into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our spiritual Father, will extend his arms to us with a complete and perfect love. He will then offer to us a place in His mansion. We will again learn at His feet and will continue to progress to our perfection in all things. In Matthew 25:23 we read, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In this life, we are given a few things to improve upon and learn self-mastery over. When we endure in faith, we can say to the Lord that we did all that we could with his gifts, then he can say these words to us. I know that I fall short each day, but this is a life to learn. It takes mistakes and trials to overcome and improve ourselves. I will be so grateful to hear these words from the Lord after this life, and so I want to try my best and be a little better each day.

Eternal Marriage

View the entire chapter here: Eternal Marriage

The scriptures teach us of the plan of salvation, which includes what we did before life on this earth as well as what we will do after this life. Marriage plays a huge part in the outcome of the plan of salvation, specifically eternal marriage. I believe that marriage is ordained by God and that we have the opportunity to be married for eternity, not just in this life (see The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

Why is it important to know that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God?

This knowledge gives greater value to marriage. In the world today, there are many who treat marriage lightly. A lot of people think that marriage is something that we is meant to be temporary. Knowing that marriage is ordained of God, is an indication that God approves of it and therefore it should mean more to us. I believe that it is not only ordained by God, but that it was created by God for us. I believe that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were married by God. In Moses 4:18 we read, “And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.” Under its creation, marriage is a commitment entered into by a man and a woman. Nothing else fits within the definition of marriage that God has given us. Marriage will only be ordained by God, when the participants are a man and a woman. Marriage will only have the opportunity to be eternal when it is between a man and a woman.

What is the Lord’s doctrine of marriage, and how does it differ from the views of the world?

To the Lord, marriage is much more than a piece of paper or contract that allows us privileges in this life. Marriage gives a man and a woman the opportunity to work together as one. In Matthew 19:4-9 we read the following:

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

God said that a man and a woman should cleave together as one and should not be separated by any man. It is only because of the wickedness of man, that divorce became something that was done. The world would have us believe that marriage is not meant to last and that divorce is a completely normal outcome.

In the Lord’s doctrine, marriage is something that we can only do before our resurrection. In Matthew 22:30 we read, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” After we are resurrected, we are either blessed for making this sacred covenant with God by the proper authority, or we are allowed the opportunity to be angels. God’s doctrine is that it is better to have the blessings of an eternal marriage because that is how we can have the ability to progress and be like God. In Doctrine and Covenants 131 we read the following:

1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

The world would have us put marriage off until all other things are in order, but this is giving it the least priority. Because our eternal progression depends upon us being married it should be on the top of our priority lists. We may not all be able to married physically during this life, but I believe that the opportunity will be made available to all who have the desire to be married and who make it their priority now.

Why must a marriage be performed by proper authority in the temple to be eternal?

Marriage is a covenant. The specific covenants we make with God, such as our baptismal covenants, must be done as he has commanded. The only way that this covenant of marriage can be eternal, is if it is performed by one who has the priesthood authority and power to seal on earth and in heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:7 we read, “And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power …, are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.” This eternal covenant is only available to those who are worthy to enter the temple, because this is how the Lord commanded it to be. This covenant is the most sacred covenant that we can make, and the promises made by God in this ordinance are the greatest that we can receive from this life.

What are the blessings of an eternal marriage in this life and in eternity?

One of the blessings from eternal marriage in this life, is the companionship of God in your married life. Knowing that my Father in Heaven will be there to help us at all times, is a huge comfort to me. As with all other covenants and promises we make with God, he will bless us according to our faithfulness. If we our faithful to our covenants, our relationship with our spouse will be watched over and guided by God. It is a blessing as well to know that our marriages can last after this life and that death will not separate us.

The blessings of eternal marriage extend by definition into eternity. They are revealed to us in Doctrine and Covenants 132:19.

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, … and if ye abide in my covenant, … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

These blessings include eternal life and exaltation, in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. Those who righteously remain true to their eternal marriage covenants will have the opportunity to raise spirit children forever, and truly become like God.

How can an eternal perspective influence the way we feel about marriage and families?

Not only is this perspective a great source of strength and security, but it helps us to have the drive and determination to choose the right. I want to live a better life because I am the only one in control of whether or not I will be with my husband and children forever. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 we read, “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” Because the relationships formed in our family can last forever, I want to strive harder to make them as strong as they can be. When we see the bigger picture, we should have a greater desire to live so that our spouse and children will want to live with us forever.

What can we do to help youth prepare for eternal marriage? What can we do to encourage young people to set a goal to be married in the temple? How can we help them prepare for this?

I think that the greatest thing we can do to help them to prepare is to teach them by word and by example. We need to live in a way that shows that an eternal marriage is the greatest relationship we can have in this life. We also need to spend the little time we have with our youth, teaching them of the blessings and responsibilities that come with an eternal marriage. A huge thing today, is the need to teach our children the proper priorities they should have in this life. Too many youth are making their careers and education the most important things, and they are setting their minds on putting off marriage until they have these things accomplished and settled. These goals are good, but our youth need to have the goal of eternal marriage and starting a family as the priority. This does not mean that it has to happen first, or that it is a guarantee that it will ever happen, but our frame of mind truly is everything. If our youth continue to put off marriage until their other goals are met, they may miss the opportunities that the Lord has in store for them.

“And now I would that ye might know, that after my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise (1 Nephi 7:1).” There is nothing in the scriptures that teach us to value career or education over marriage and family. There are however, many examples of the prophets of God teaching us that it is very important to do these things. From the beginning, this was given as a commandment from God. In Genesis 1 we read the following:

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …

We need to teach as the prophets taught their own children. We also need to encourage that they seek the guidance of the spirit. No one should make quick, unwise decisions about who or when they should get married. We should teach them to live so that they are worthy to meet the right person and to be able to marry them in the way that God intended for all of His children. If they are on the right path because they are living righteously, the spirit will guide them to know when it is right for them.

I am so grateful for being sealed to my husband in the temple. My life has been so blessed from this decision. I know that there is no greater joy than that which comes from this choice. I hope that I can live as a good example to my children and that they will learn from me in a way that encourages them to make this same choice.

D&C Section 132 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (D&C Section 132 – Part 1).

So far in this section we have learned about the new and everlasting covenant, which is made when one is married in the temple through the proper priesthood authority. There are blessings that will come to those who make this eternal covenant and then keep it for the rest of their lives. All others, will be halted in their progression at the time of the resurrection. Only those who abide this law perfectly (this means with the grace of Christ that comes from proper repentance for our mistakes), will be able to progress and have families forever. (As a note, for any who may read this who are not of the LDS faith, we do not practice plural marriages today. This practice was done away with a long time ago, because of the laws of the land. There are no faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who participate in plural marriages.) This section continues:

28 I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me and my Father before the world was.
29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.
31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.
32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.
33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.
34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises.
35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.
36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.
37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.
38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
39 David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.

Culturally, the idea of plural marriage is not an acceptable thing, and has been legally done away. Personally, I cannot even begin to imagine living as one of many wives. But there was a time, when this was culturally acceptable, and as we learn from these scriptures, it was commanded of God. In following this commandment, the promises given to Abraham were being fulfilled. We can know, that these ancient prophets were still held in favor with God and were blessed, because having many wives was acceptable, as long as they were given in marriage by the proper authority. Abraham was a righteous man, who did all that the Lord commanded of him. We are not commanded to have plural marriage now, but we are still commanded to marry through proper authority, and to bring children up in righteousness. We should follow Abraham’s righteous example and follow the commandments that have been given to us.

40 I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee, my servant Joseph, an appointment, and restore all things. Ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you according to my word.
41 And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.
42 If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.
43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.
44 And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.
45 For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time.
46 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven.
47 And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless I will bless, and whomsoever you curse I will curse, saith the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God.

We learn hear, that as far as sins go, plural marriage done with the proper authority is not a sin. If however, there are plural relationships outside of the proper authority, or rather the authority of God, those involved are committing the sin of adultery. The prophet was instructed here, on the proper way to deal with these situations.

Joseph Smith, the prophet, was given the sealing power. This means that all things that he sealed in life would be sealed for eternity. He also holds the power to cancel sealings, when appropriate. This sealing power is given to each prophet and he has the authority to delegate certain responsibilities to others, such as those who are able to seal couples in the temples. These priesthood keys are part of the restoration of the gospel in its fullness.

48 And again, verily I say unto you, my servant Joseph, that whatsoever you give on earth, and to whomsoever you give any one on earth, by my word and according to my law, it shall be visited with blessings and not cursings, and with my power, saith the Lord, and shall be without condemnation on earth and in heaven.
49 For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father.
50 Behold, I have seen your sacrifices, and will forgive all your sins; I have seen your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you. Go, therefore, and I make a way for your escape, as I accepted the offering of Abraham of his son Isaac.

The Lord revealed to Joseph that his exaltation was sealed, meaning that his exaltation would be eternal. It must have been a touching experience to be told that the Lord would prepare a throne for the prophet, near father Abraham and in the kingdom of God. The prophet was truly blessed for his righteousness and was forgiven of his sins because he was obedient and faithful. I know that if I live worthy and faithful, I too will be able to receive great promised blessings in eternity.

51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.
52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.
53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.
54 And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.
55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an hundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.
56 And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her, and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.
57 And again, I say, let not my servant Joseph put his property out of his hands, lest an enemy come and destroy him; for Satan seeketh to destroy; for I am the Lord thy God, and he is my servant; and behold, and lo, I am with him, as I was with Abraham, thy father, even unto his exaltation and glory.

We don’t know what commandment had been given to Emma Smith prior to this, but the Lord reveals that it was given to test her or to prove her. We are given this life as a testing ground, to prove our faithfulness to God. Sometimes we are given commandments that we do not understand, but if we are going to prove ourselves, we must be obedient with faith in God. Emma was not told to follow that commandment any longer, but instead, she was to follow the commandments that had been given to the prophet. Emma was commanded to be loyal, true and faithful to her husband alone. She was also commanded to forgive him. We are told through out the scriptures that we must forgive others, in order to be forgiven ourselves. This is a pattern that we should all follow, especially with our spouses. Forgiveness from the Lord, will only come when we are forgiving. The degree of the judgement of our own personal righteousness, will depend on how we judge others. We need to pay more attention to our own faults and the corrections we need to make, and not so much on the corrections that others need to make, especially our loved ones.

58 Now, as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.
59 Verily, if a man be called of my Father, as was Aaron, by mine own voice, and by the voice of him that sent me, and I have endowed him with the keys of the power of this priesthood, if he do anything in my name, and according to my law and by my word, he will not commit sin, and I will justify him.
60 Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.
61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.
64 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, if any man have a wife, who holds the keys of this power, and he teaches unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.
65 Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not believe and administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.
66 And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.

The law of God, is that a man may be given in marriage to multiple wives, as long as first, it is allowed by the first wife, second, it is with a worthy woman who does not belong to another, and third, it is done through the proper authority. This law is eternal and supersedes any laws of the land. Those who lived with plural marriage, may not have been accepted by the land, but they were accepted by God. I think that it is good for the modern saints to understand this, so that we do not look down upon any who practiced worthy plural marriage in the early church, because it is now considered to be against the law. I believe that when the laws of the land are once again the laws of Christ, that marriages of the righteous will once again follow these same patterns. I am not sure personally, if I could be open enough to practice it in my own family, but I understand better now the reasons for it and why it was done then. I understand the eternal significance of faithful and worthy women being able to marry faithful and worthy men, so that all can enjoy the blessings of eternal families.

D&C Section 19 (Part 1)

Historical Background

Martin Harris felt badly for the wrong he had done. He had been told already that if he was faithful from then on, that he would be one of the three witnesses. He had already seen the vision of the plates. However, he still came to the prophet, seeking to know where he stood with the Lord. This revelation was given in response to his concerns.

The Names of the Lord

“I AM Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world (v. 1).” The Lord is the Alpha and Omega. These are the first and last letter of the greek alphabet, which represent the beginning and the ending. His course is eternal. He is the creator of all that we know and he will be the one who restores all things in the end. The Lord is the Christ. He is the anointed Messiah. When he says “I am he”, He is the Jehovah known in the Old Testament. The Lord is also the Redeemer of the world. He is the only way that anything can have redemption. It is through His atonement and sacrifice, that we can be saved.

What is Meant by the Phrase “End of the World”?

“I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself (v. 2)—Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done (v. 3).” According to Bruce R. McConkie, this expression means “the end of unrighteousness or of worldliness as we know it, and this willbe brought about by ‘the destruction of the wicked’ (JS-M 1:4).” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 848.)

If we rephrase it the verse reads, “Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at then end of [worldliness and unrighteousness], and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.” It gives this verse a meaning that says that the Lord will have all the power until all wickedness and unrighteous works will be done away with, and all will be judged.

Great Additional Truths Concerning God’s Punishments

“And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless (v. 4). Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand (v. 5). Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment (v. 6). Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory (v. 7). Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles (v. 8 ). I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest (v. 9). For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore (v. 10)—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment (v. 11). Endless punishment is God’s punishment (v. 12).”

We will all be judged and receive the reward worthy of the acts we did on this earth. For some, this will mean what we refer to as hell. In this revelation, we are taught that although there will be endless torment found in hell, but also that there can be an end. The manual I am using explains that for those who find themselves confined to hell, there is still the opportunity to learn and become better. Once they become better, they will deserve a greater reward and will be able to leave the state of eternal damnation and torment. Because God is eternal, we will always have the opportunity to progress. If however, those souls choose to stay the same, they will experience that torment for eternity.

Is There a Difference between Eternal Punishment and Eternal Damnation?

Verse 7 uses the phrase “eternal damnation” rather than “eternal punishment”. Is there a difference? Yes. Eternal punishment is what I discussed above. Eternal damnation is the opposite of eternal life. Anyone who does not gain eternal life, gains eternal damnation. Only those who gain the glory of the Celestial Kingdom and the highest degree of that kingdom, gain eternal life. It is a state that has a limit to its progression. One cannot be exalted if they are in a state of eternal damnation. In D&C 132:17 we read, “For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.”

D&C 131:2-4 says, “And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage] (v. 2); And if he does not, he cannot obtain it (v. 3). He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.” Without sealing ordinances, one is unable to progress to exaltation in the eternities (v. 4).” This is part of the reason why temple work is so important. One who died without the knowledge of the gospel, can still learn of it on the other side of the veil. They can progress from any state of eternal punishment for the sins they committed in their life. However, without the sealing ordinance of marriage, they cannot progress into exaltation and therefore they must remain in a state of eternal damnation.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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