Posts Tagged 'Glory of God'

2 Chronicles Chapter 7

The temple of the Lord, which Solomon built, had been completed and dedicated. Many sacrifices and offerings had been prepared on the altars of the temple. The elders and priests of Israel were all gathered together in Jerusalem for this event, and the glory of the Lord was among them in a thick cloud that filled the temple. Chapter 7 begins as follows:

1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

At the conclusion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings and sacrifices that had been prepared. The glory of the Lord continued to fill the temple, so much so, that the priests were unable to enter. The Israelites that witnessed these things, bowed down and worshipped the Lord for his goodness and never-ending mercy. (see also 1 Kings 8)

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.

Sacrifices were offered, including 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. The temple was thus dedicated, and the service of the priests began to be there. Everyone stood at the sound of the trumpets played by the musicians. Solomon dedicated the middle of the court, just in front of the temple, where sacrifices were offered by him. He had offered them there because the altar had not been sufficient to hold the offerings which had been given and prepared.

8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

The feast associated with the dedication went on for seven days, in which a large number of the Israelites participated. On the eighth day, they held a solemn assembly. Then, the people were sent to their tents. They were happy and grateful for the goodness of the Lord shown toward King David, King Solomon, and the Israelite people. With that, the dedication and celebration were complete. Everything Solomon did for the temple and his own palace, prospered. (see also 1 Kings 9)

12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?
22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.

Solomon was visited by the Lord in the night. The Lord told Solomon personally, that the temple was chosen by the Lord as a house of sacrifice. The Lord, who had power to bring drought, locusts or pestilences, promised Solomon that he would forgive those who humbly repented and sought him, and heal the land. He promised to hear the prayers of the faithful made in the temple. Additionally, he promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established in Israel continually, so long as Solomon remained faithful and obedient to commandments of the Lord. If, however, this was not the case, and Solomon turned away from the Lord, and was disobedient and forsook the instruction and commandments of the Lord, in effect seeking after other gods for worship, the Lord would remove them from the land of promise and cast the temple out as an example to all the world. The people would have a reminder from the temple, of the suffering brought to them by the Lord because they turned away from their God to worship other gods.

God will not continue to help and bless the life of anyone who forsakes him. I don’t believe this is simply because he does not like to be forsaken. God is a merciful Father, who honors our individual agency with perfection. He removes his blessing upon the people who do not remember Him and His commandments, because they would be held to a higher standard, in the day of judgment, if he continued to give them blessings that are reserved for the faithful. In Luke 12:48, Jesus taught, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”. Therefore, He allows men to suffer by the gods they choose to follow, in other words He allows them to suffer (or experience) from all that the world has to offer them, which is not eternally damning to their soul to the same degree. God does not want to punish us, He wants to bless us. He does not look for ways to help us fail even more. He does not want to put any of us in the position to be condemned further, but gives us the opportunities to choose to return to Him on our own. His love and mercy for His children, no matter if they choose to follow Him or not, is amazing beyond our understanding, and is the love and mercy of a perfect Father.

On the other hand, God gladly blesses men for faithfulness. We are blessed in many ways, including a happiness and peace in our lives. The people in Israel, who had gathered for the dedication and feast, left happy. They had experienced amazing things during the dedication. These experiences brought a response from the people, of gratitude to the Lord. In my own experience at temple dedications, there hasn’t been a visible cloud of the glory of the Lord, but I have felt full of the spirit. It is a feeling which is hard to describe other than to say it is like a burning in my heart and a feeling of joy and peace I wanted to last. Solomon must have felt true joy to have done this thing for the Lord. His experience did not end there, but he was then visited by the Lord, just as his father had been. This was a personal confirmation to Solomon, that he had followed the will of the Lord. He had done the things that were necessary to allow more of God’s children the blessings of the temple, because they could more fully keep the covenants they had made.

2 Chronicles Chapter 5

Solomon had been given the instruction to build a temple, before he had become the king of Israel. As far as the scriptures have recorded, this was the commandment that occupied the mind of his father, King David, for the last several years of his life. Once his reign had been established, Solomon had started the work of constructing the temple and made it a priority for his kingdom. This chapter continues the record of this, and begins with the following:

1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.

The temple was completed. Solomon took all the things that King David had dedicated for the temple during the last part of his life, and placed them along with the valuable things he had made for the house of the Lord. (see also 1 Kings 8)

2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.
4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
6 Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:
8 For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
9 And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

The elders of Israel and tribe leaders were gathered to Jerusalem, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple on mount Zion. They had their traditional feast, the Feast of Tabernacles known to be held in the seventh month, and the Levites and priests brought the ark and the tabernacle, along with all that was a part of it, into Jerusalem. The people gathered there, worshiped the Lord with a great number of sacrifices. The ark was placed in the holy of holies, under the cherubim wings within the temple, which was its intended resting place. Within the ark, was the two tablets containing the ten commandments Moses had received at Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai). This verse says that was the only thing in the ark, however, Hebrews 9:4 teaches the ark also contained the “pot of manna” and “Aaron’s rod that budded,”. These items had also been included in the things the children of Israel were commanded to keep “before the Testimony” along with the tablets.

11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:
12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;
14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

Once all had been properly placed within the temple by the priests, the temple musicians, which were all gathered at the end of the altar, dressed in white and ready with their instruments, began to play in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. They sang in praise of the Lord, of his eternal goodness and mercy. Then the glory of the Lord was manifested in the temple, by a cloud, which filled the space and caused the priests to be unable to stand to minister. Music is not something created by men for our enjoyment. Music is of God. The temple was complete and all was placed within it, but the glory of the Lord came when the people praised God with music. Music is seen by God as a prayer, as indicated in Doctrine and Covenants 25:12. “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” If one song could invite the glory of the Lord to abide in the temple in the days of Solomon, then a single song has a lot of power spiritually. This should cause us to consider what songs we sing, the power they have, and what we might invite into our lives and our personal temples or “tabernacles of clay”, as we sing and dance. What kinds of prayers are we singing to God in our everyday lives?

I cannot begin to imagine the excitement and joy that must have been there among the elders of Israel and the Levites. After so many years in the land of promise, the ark of the covenant had finally found its resting place. So much effort had gone into the building of this glorious temple. Then, as they worshiped the Lord, his acceptance was made known to them as the cloud filled the temple. I do not know how often, if much at all, the cloud had been present with the tabernacle in the promised land. I am sure that they all knew the stories of the cloud that covered the tabernacle as their ancestors had traveled in the wilderness. In any case, this must have been a glorious time of celebration for the Israelites, and especially for Solomon. The Lord had accepted their sacrifices, both those in building the temple and those they made when it was completed, and they were able to witness his presence among them.

Numbers Chapter 14

In the previous chapter, the Lord commanded that Israelite spies be sent out to assess the land of promise and the people there. It was learned that there were mighty men with strong fortifications. Considering they were told by the Lord, that they would take the land, some concerns arose over the possibility to do it. This chapter continues the story as follows:

1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
3 And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

The people cried and murmured against the prophet, Moses, and his brother Aaron, the high priest. Some began to feel that they would have had better chances or a better life, if they had remained in Egypt rather then in the wilderness. Some wanted to leave and go back. Moses and Aaron fell down before the assembly. I wonder, if the Israelites had believed that God would deliver them, would they have entered the promised land then with the Lord going before them to open the land? They did not have that faith. Instead, they looked back to Egypt, forgetting all that the Lord had done to free them from bondage. How often are we freed from our own bondage of sin, and then when we realize that life is hard when we try to do what is right, we look back longingly at what life was before? Satan is so good at convincing us that being in bondage to him is the kind of life we want.

6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.
10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

Joshua, the servant of Moses, and Caleb, the man who had suggested they go forward and take the land, rent their clothes. I think this was usually done when someone spoke against God, or were going through times of mourning. These two men knew that the people had turned against the Lord. They spoke to the people, telling them that the land of Canaan was a good land. They reminded the Israelites that God would help them, if He was pleased with them. They also reminded them that they should not rebel against the Lord. They did not need to fear those that were inhabiting the land of promise, because the Lord would protect the Israelites. The people did not want to listen to this chastisement, and decided to stone Joshua and Caleb. At that moment, the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle and all were able to witness it.

11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

The Lord asked Moses how long it would be before the people would finally believe and have faith in Him, when He had given them so many signs already. He threatened a plague of pestilence upon them, and to take away their promised blessings of inheritance. The Lord said he would make Moses a greater and mightier nation than them.

13 And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)
14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

Moses responded, that the Egyptians would come to know of this, and they would spread the word across the land of what had happened, probably using it against the Lord. The Israelites were not unknown to other nations in the area. The Egyptians would not hesitate to bring them down in any way they could, even if it meant that they spread rumors of the God of Israel to stop others from believing.

15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,
16 Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.
17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
20 And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

Moses said that if the Lord destroyed the Israelites, the other nations would say that the Lord did not have power to do as He promised His people. Moses pleaded in behalf of the Israelites. He asked the Lord to show his mercy, longsuffering, and forgiveness to his people. Not to clear those who were guilty of rebellion, but be forgiving as He had been up to this point. The Lord responds to Moses, that he had forgiven as Moses had asked of Him. The Lord turned away his wrath, in which He was prepared to destroy the host of Israel.

The Lord also said that the His glory would fill the earth because of the miracles He had done for the Israelites. This is happening today. The stories of the bible are read by people all over the world. They are believed by many, and the glory of the Lord is spread, because of the things that happened to the Israelites in ancient times. The Lord said they still would not hearken to Him, and that those who would not, the older generation and any others who rebelled, would not see the land of promise. Caleb was promised, that since he followed the Lord and was committed to His purposes, he would possess the land. Moses was told by the Lord, to take the people into the wilderness by the Red Sea.

26 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
35 I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.
39 And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.

The Lord was angered over the rebellious portion of the Israelites. Moses and Aaron were told to tell the people that the Lord would do as He says. And what he said was that all who were over the age of twenty, which were the adults who had murmured against him, would die in the wilderness. The only exceptions would be Caleb and Joshua, and they would receive the land of promise along with the children of the Israelite families. Their children would come to know the land that they, the adults, did not have the faith to earn. The adults were promised that their families would wander and suffer in the wilderness for forty years because of the sins and faithlessness of their generations. Then they would know the promise of the Lord. I know it is true that we are more teachable when we are children. The children of the Israelites would witness the fulfillment of this promise to their fathers, and they would learn to have greater faith in the Lord.

Those who started the rebellion against the Lord, were then killed by a plague. The Lord does not allow men to destroy his work. I think that in order to preserve the younger generations, the rebellious leaders were removed from them. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who were left of those who went to spy in the land of Canaan. The Israelites mourned over these promised words of the Lord. I think of the sadness that came to the early saints of the latter-days, when they were removed from the inheritance they had been promised in Missouri. The prophet Joseph Smith was told that this happened because of their disobedience to His word. In Doctrine and Covenants 101 we read of what the Lord said to them.

1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
… 4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
6 Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
7 They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
8 In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
9 Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.

The saints did not continue to live in the land of Zion, and suffered through a lot of hardships because they did not keep the faith. This causes me to reflect on the promises of the Lord in my own life, and how they will be taken from me if I am not faithful to Him. Being faithful is to place greater trust in Him and in His promises.

40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned.
41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper.
42 Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.
44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

Some tried to go against this promise. They woke and prepared to go into the land of promise. Moses told them that they would not prosper in doing this against the Lord. The Lord would not be with them, and they would be killed by the Amalekites and Canaanites. I am imagining these rebels saying, “what else have we got to lose?” They went ahead anyway, without Moses or those who went with the ark of the covenant (which I am assuming began to go the way the Lord had instructed), and they were killed just as Moses had said. In choosing to continue in rebellion against the Lord, they gave up the opportunity to repent and receive the greater reward in heaven. Sometimes we are made to suffer the consequences of our bad choices. It is often painful and incredibly hard at times, but in suffering we can learn life lessons. One of the greatest lessons from suffering is repentance. When we repent we can be forgiven. It doesn’t take away the choices we made, but it can make us right in the sight of God. No blessings come from trying to avoid the consequences of our wrong choices. If there was no hope of anything greater for these generations of Israelites, the Lord would not have caused them to wander for forty years, but would have destroyed them all at that time. I am glad that we have stories like this, to teach us the patience and mercy of the Lord with His children.

Challenge: Thinking of your own life, how can you show greater faith and trust in the Lord today? Is there a fear you can put aside? Is there some sin that you can give up? Is there a duty you can fulfill? Trust in the Lord. If He has asked something of you, He will help you to accomplish it.

Leviticus Chapter 9

At this point in the book of Leviticus, the priests of the Israelites have just been set-apart, washed, and sanctified for the sacred work they were to do in the tabernacle of the Lord. Moses gave sacrifice and anointed each of them as well. Then he commanded them to stay at the door of the tabernacle for eight days of consecration. The book of Leviticus continues:

1 And it came to pass on the eighth day, that Moses called Aaron and his sons, and the elders of Israel;
2 And he said unto Aaron, Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the Lord.
3 And unto the children of Israel thou shalt speak, saying, Take ye a kid of the goats for a sin offering; and a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish, for a burnt offering;
4 Also a bullock and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord; and a meat offering mingled with oil: for to day the Lord will appear unto you.

After eight days of consecration, the priests and elders (church leaders) of Israel were called together by Moses. Aaron was told to make a sin offering and a burnt offering. Then he was to tell the Israelites that they were to make offerings to the Lord, because the Lord would appear there that day.

5 And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord.
6 And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you.
7 And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the Lord commanded.

All the people came together at the tabernacle, and Aaron made the sacrifice for himself and all the host of Israel. This he did according to the commandment given to him by the Lord, through the prophet, Moses. I think that there is significance in the congregation gathering together there. I am sure that the Lord could have revealed his glory so that the host of Israel could have seen it throughout their entire encampment, but it was not that way. The people needed to show their faith in action. They had to set-apart their time, away from everyday living, and focus on the offerings. They needed to watch sacrifices being made on their behalf, which would prepare them to experience the presence of the Lord. Likewise, we cannot benefit from the blessings of the sacrament, which is the promise of the spirit to be with us always, without being able to see or hear the blessing of it. Faithfully watching the priests, prepare the sacrament, is part of our own preparation to receive it. The knowledge that they were set-apart and ordained to have the authority to prepare the sacrament, helps me to know that the Lord will accept my own offerings to Him and allow His Spirit to be with me.

8 Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.
9 And the sons of Aaron brought the blood unto him: and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom of the altar:
10 But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar; as the Lord commanded Moses.
11 And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp.
12 And he slew the burnt offering; and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar.
13 And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar.
14 And he did wash the inwards and the legs, and burnt them upon the burnt offering on the altar.

Aaron made the offering as he had been instructed, which was as the Lord had commanded.

15 And he brought the people’s offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first.
16 And he brought the burnt offering, and offered it according to the manner.
17 And he brought the meat offering, and took an handful thereof, and burnt it upon the altar, beside the burnt sacrifice of the morning.
18 He slew also the bullock and the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings, which was for the people: and Aaron’s sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon the altar round about,
19 And the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the rump, and that which covereth the inwards, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver:
20 And they put the fat upon the breasts, and he burnt the fat upon the altar:
21 And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord; as Moses commanded.
22 And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings.
23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people.
24 And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

Then the Israelites gave their offerings to Aaron and the priests. They gave sin offerings, burnt offerings, meat offerings, and peace offerings, including the wave offering. Then Aaron blessed the people. Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle and then returned and blessed the people. Then, just as Moses has promised, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites who were there. A fire from the Lord came and consumed the offerings on the altar. The people shouted and fell on their faces, I think this means they fell to the knees to worship the Lord.

A theme of this chapter is that we need to act in faithful obedience to the commandments of the Lord in order to receive the promised blessings. They were promised the blessing of having the glory of the Lord in the presence, but first they needed to fulfill the Lord’s commandments which were given to them through Moses. They acted in the faith that Moses was acting as the mouthpiece of God. They continued in the faith that they would witness the glory of the Lord. In our last conference, our modern prophet, Thomas S. Monson, spoke on this topic. In his talk he quoted scripture which illustrates obedience to receive. He said, “He that keepeth [God’s] commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.” (Doctrine and Covenents 93:28) In his own words, he said, “The knowledge we seek, the answers for which we yearn, and the strength which we desire today to meet the challenges of a complex and changing world can be ours when we willingly obey the Lord’s commandments.” (See Obedience Brings Blessings) We should test his promise by keeping the commandments, and then, we will see the blessings of knowledge, answers and strength in our lives. It is amazing to live in a time, when we can be led by a prophet of God, and then be blessed by our faithful obedience. We can feel the presence of the Lord in our own lives, if we will be obedient to His commandments. I am so grateful for this knowledge and the hope that it brings to my life.

Exodus Chapter 40

The Israelites have crafted all the pieces to the tabernacle, as they were instructed by the Lord through the prophet Moses. The tabernacle was the sanctuary to the Lord, where they were to give offerings and sacrifices to the Lord. Aaron and his sons had been called to the priesthood and were to serve in the tabernacle. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
3 And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the veil.
4 And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof.
5 And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle.
6 And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
7 And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein.
8 And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate.
9 And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.
10 And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.
11 And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it.
12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.

At the beginning of the month, as their calendar recognized it, Moses was to set up the tabernacle as instructed by the Lord. Moses was to place the ark of the covenant within the holy of holies of the tabernacle and cover it with the veil made for that purpose. In thinking of all the veils mentioned with the tabernacle, I think of the sacred nature of them. When the Lord commands a veil or a covering for something, that thing is very sacred in nature. When the sacrament is prepared, it is covered because it is sacred. I think that when I see veils related to sacred things of the Lord today, I will look at the thing they are covering as more sacred and holy then I have before.

Moses was to set up the table for the shewbread, the incense altar, the burnt offering altar, and the water basin for washings. He was to set up the outer court as well. Then he was to anoint the tabernacle and all those things within it, to sanctify it as holy to the Lord. Next, he was to perform washings and anointings for Aaron and his sons, to sanctify them for their service there. They were to be clothed in the holy garments made for this purpose. The sons of Aaron, were to be set apart with an eternal holy calling, for all the sons of Aaron through all eternity. I believe that there is now a birthright, of those who are descendants of Aaron, to hold the Aaronic priesthood, because of this holy anointing. Moses did all these things as the Lord commanded him. I am again, so glad that the scriptures teach us the commandments of the Lord. I am more grateful that they also show us that faithful followers of the Lord, do what He has commanded. We can look to Moses as an example of exact obedience and faithfulness to the Lord.

17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.
18 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars.
19 And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses.

The tabernacle was raised and covered as Moses was commanded by the Lord.

20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark:
21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the Lord commanded Moses.
22 And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil.
23 And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.
24 And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward.
25 And he lighted the lamps before the Lord; as the Lord commanded Moses.
26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil:
27 And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the Lord commanded Moses.
28 And he set up the hanging at the door of the tabernacle.
29 And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Moses put the ark of the testimony together with the mercy seat, placing the commandments of the Lord within it. Then he placed it within the tabernacle with its coverings, as he had been commanded by the Lord. He placed the table for the shewbread outside the veil in the placement the Lord had commanded him. Moses placed the candlestick and the lamps, the golden altar for incense, the door of the tabernacle, and the altar for burnt and meat offerings just as the Lord had commanded him.

30 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal.
31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat:
32 When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses.
33 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.

The washing basin was placed where he had been instructed, and then Moses, Aaron and his sons washed. The outer court was raised also, as commanded.

34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38 For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

When the tabernacle was complete, a cloud covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord was there. What a blessing it would have been to have completed this commandment from the Lord. To add to the feelings they must have felt, they were blessed to know the Lord accepted their offering, because his glory rested there in a cloud. I can only imagine how great that would have felt to those who had worked so hard to make it happen. The cloud was the way the Israelites would receive direction from the Lord, just as they had been guided in the past. When the cloud was with the tabernacle, they did not travel. They were only to move, when the cloud was no longer covering the tabernacle. Just as before, it was a cloud by day and a fire by night. It was a constant reminder to the Israelites that the Lord was there.

Temples are amazingly beautiful houses of the Lord. In 2010, my family made the decision to move based on inspiration of the spirit. We planned to move in mid-2011 to a small town just outside of Boise, Idaho. In the April conference of 2011, the prophet announced that a temple would be built in Meridian, which was another town just outside of Boise. Even though we knew we would be moving to a different town at first, the spirit told me then that we would live near that temple. I was filled with an amazing feeling in my entire body, that is hard to describe. Since that time, we did follow that inspiration, and now we are living in a home just about 10 minutes away from the proposed location of that temple. The temple is still in the early planning phases 2 years later, but I am so excited to see it built and to be able to serve there someday. So far, it has been announced and designed, but has yet to have its groundbreaking, building, inspection, open house and dedication. In the meantime, I have been able to experience the rededication of the temple in Boise, which is still very close to home. That experience was also amazing for our family. I know that the Israelites must have felt wonderful to have the tabernacle raised near them. I am sure they felt blessed to know that the presence of the Lord would be among them, to lead and guide them. We can look to the temple today, for guidance in our own lives. I am so grateful for this blessing which I have available to me and my family.

Exodus Chapter 34

Moses and the children of Israel were encamped at the base of Mount Sinai. Moses had received the law of God while speaking with the Lord in the mount. Meanwhile, the Israelites had taken to idolatry since they did not know if and when Moses would return to lead them. When he was commanded to go down to them, he found them and broke the first tablets of stone which the Lord had written His law upon. Moses purged the Israelites of the rebellious, and raised the tabernacle outside of the camp. There, Moses spoke again with the Lord and the people witnessed it. Moses was commanded to lead the people, and so he asked the Lord to show him the way. The book of Exodus continues:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.

The Joseph Smith Translation of verses 1 and 2 read as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two other tables of stone, like unto the first, and I will write upon them also, the words of the law, according as they were written at the first on the tables which thou brakest; but it shall not be according to the first, for I will take away the priesthood out of their midst; therefore my holy order, and the ordinances thereof, shall not go before them; for my presence shall not go up in their midst, lest I destroy them.
2 But I will give unto them the law as at the first, but it shall be after the law of a carnal commandment; for I have sworn in my wrath, that they shall not enter into my presence, into my rest, in the days of their pilgrimage. Therefore do as I have commanded thee, and be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me, in the top of the mount.

Moses was commanded to make two new tablets for the law of God to be written upon. From the Joseph Smith Translation, we learn that the Lord told Moses he would not allow his priesthood to stay with them. I believe that we read eventually, that the Melchizedek priesthood did not remain with the Israelites once Moses was no longer with them. The Lord also told Moses that the law given to the Israelites, would be one of carnal commandment. He could not remain in their presence because of their iniquities, so they would not be able to perform higher ordinances with the Lord. Moses was also told to return alone into the mount.

4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Moses did as he was commanded and the Lord was there with him. I’m not sure what the significance is of the Lord proclaiming the name of the Lord, but is sounds like it was of great significance. It mentions some of the great and godly attributes of the Lord. The Lord is merciful, gracious, long-suffering, full of goodness, perfect in truth, forgiving, and just. It is so good that we are told here, that the Lord is forgiving, but will not clear the “guilty”. The Joseph Smith Translation, says that the word is not guilty, but rebellious. I think this makes more sense according to the gospel as I understand it. We can all be guilty of those things we do wrong, but the Lord will only clear those who know that what they do is wrong. We can be guilty and yet not understand that we are doing wrong. Those who unknowingly do wrong, will be shown mercy for their lack of knowledge. It is those who openly rebel against the truth they know, who will not be cleared from that iniquity.

Moses quickly bowed and worshipped the Lord. He asked the Lord to be forgiving of the sin of the Israelites and to be with them. Moses asked the Lord to make these people an inheritance of the Lord. I wonder if I would live my life differently if I thought of myself as belonging to the Lord, more often. Those who covenant with Him and live faithful, are His inheritance. He desires to have us return to Him, all of us. I hope to be sanctified and purified through His atonement, so that I can be a part of His inheritance.

10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
17 Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

The Lord promises to do many marvels or miracles, among the Israelites. These miracles included the driving out of other nations from the land of their inheritance, the they would obey the commandments. He commanded Moses that they were not to make any covenants with others who lived in the land, so they would not become trapped by those nations. Instead, they were to destroy those things of idolatry that others had placed in the land. The land had been sanctified by the Lord for His people. Moses was reminded of the commandment not to worship idols and false gods as the Israelites had recently done. In verse 14, it says the Lord’s name is Jealous, but the Joseph Smith Translation of this says Jehovah. He is a jealous God. Not in the sense that we think of jealous today, but rather, He is a sensitive God and putting false gods above Him, is offensive. To covenant with other nations, was to separate themselves from the Lord. In no doubt, it would lead them away from their covenants with God and they would loose truth and light.

18 The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

Moses is reminded again, of the law to participate in the feast of unleavened bread and to make holy sacrifices and offerings to the Lord. Also, the firstling and firstborn were to be sanctified and consecrated to the Lord.

21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

Again, they are told to work for six days and take a day of rest on the seventh day, the sabbath day. They were told to rest, even in harvest. I am sure that the idea of letting a day go by, when the fields are ready to harvest, would be difficult for a farmer, but the Lord would bless those who kept this commandment at all times of the year.

22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

They were commanded to have the feast of weeks, when the harvest was to be gathered and to feast at the end of harvest.

23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
24 For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the year.
25 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning.
26 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
27 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
28 And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Once again, they are commanded to have the men dedicated themselves to the Lord, three times in the year. For the Lord’s side of this covenant, he would removed all other nations from before the Israelites. The Lord blesses those who keep His commandments. We can be blessed with peace from our enemies, if we follow the commandments as well. In Proverbs 16:7 we read, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” I think the key to this, is that we will be blessed with a perspective, that all will be right when we do what is right and leave those things that are out of our control, up to God. Moses is told again of how to participate in the passover feast. And all these things were to be written as a record of the covenant of the Israelites with the Lord. We are told here, that Moses was there with the Lord in fasting, for forty days and forty nights. I have heard recently, that when this phrase was said (forty days or forty days and forty nights), it meant a long while, not specifically forty days. I think that this makes sense and that Moses was gone to receive instruction for many days and nights, it doesn’t matter if it was actually for forty days and nights. The new tablets contained the law of Moses and the ten commandments.

29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Moses returned to the people with the two new tablets of the Lord’s law and covenant. Moses’ face was shining, but he did not know that it was. We read and hear of this happening as part of being transfigured before the Lord. It seems like, those who are transfigured, take upon themselves a certain portion of the glory of the Lord, so that they can live through the experience. Because of this radiance, the people were afraid to get near Moses. Moses called the leaders to him and after he spoke to them, all the Israelites came closer. Moses told them the commandments of the Lord and while he delivered this message from the Lord, he veiled his face since his face was shining. When he spoke with the Lord, Moses unveiled his face.

This chapter teaches me just how important it was for the children of Israel to have the law of Moses and the commandments. There were not committed to memory, for Moses to teach and pass down in hopes that the generations would know them. They were recorded in stone. They were written by the hand of the Lord, to be kept sacred by the priests. On these second plates, the Lord removed those things that were sacred regarding the priesthood and certain covenants they had been given. Instead they were left with the carnal commandments or what we sometimes call, the lesser law. They would only have the strict laws regarding their mortal desires and appetites, which needed to be controlled or stopped. The Israelites needed these statutes, to keep them in line with what God wanted for them. They still had their agency, which I believe would lead them to a level of apostasy and eventually the sacrifice of the Savior. The Savior brought with him a higher law, which we have today. We have been given commandments and direction to follow, so that we can safely return to our Father in Heaven as well. We hear them often, because they are so sacred and important to the salvation of mankind. I am glad that we have the commandments to follow today. I know that if we follow them to the best of our ability and understanding, repenting when necessary, we will be blessed to find ourselves with all the blessings that God has promised to the faithful.

Exodus Chapter 24

The Lord gave the Israelites the commandments and judgements they were to live by, through His prophet, Moses. They had been encamped around the base of Mount Sinai and had received a witness of the Lord. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.

The Lord called Moses, Aaron, and two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, near to Him, out from among the people, to worship, along with seventy elders. Then Moses was called directly to the Lord, while the others were left behind. No one else was to come with these men.

3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the Lord.
6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.
8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.

Moses took all the commandments and judgements or ordinances to the people, and the people agreed, by a unanimous voice (or what we call common consent) to follow the word of the Lord. Moses recorded all that had been told to him and then he built and altar at the base of the mountain, to the Lord. The altar also had twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel, who were going to make sacrifice and covenants with the Lord. They offered their sacrifice to the Lord and then made a covenant at the altar, that they would obey the law. I think about the idea that they sent young men to make the offering for the people. When I read this, I think about our young men today, who are just ordained to the priesthood and then pass the sacrament to each of us. I don’t think that the church was organized too different in ancient times from what it is now. And again, this was a type for the Christ to come, just as the sacrament we take from the altar in our churches today, is a way to look to Christ as well.

Once again, we can learn from this that we are to keep a record of sacred things. Records lead to remembrance of things that would otherwise be forgotten by men. I had an experience with this just this weekend. I had an impression during church and intended to share it with my family. I know it was something that I felt strong in my heart, but I did not write it down as I usually do. Because of this, I had forgotten what the thoughts and feelings had been once I arrived home. I was sad when I realized I couldn’t recall it to share it with them. It is easy to forget because we are mortal and at the mercy of our minds with all that is going on in our lives. I believe that we should always record our personal revelation, just as Moses recorded revelation received for the people of the Lord.

9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

The elders that had been called of the Lord, went with Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and witnessed God and worshiped him. This sounds a lot like a quorum of The Seventy going with the First Presidency of the church today, to a meeting of worship. A description is given of what he was standing upon, which was a paving of sapphire, which was clear as the heavens. The Lord did not touch them, but was seen as God, by these men.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

The Lord commanded Moses to come to Him, to receive the law on tables of stone, so that he could teach the people. Often times, the prophets have received greater instruction from the Lord and other messengers, so that they are capable of teaching great things to the people of God. Moses left Aaron and Hur in charge of the people, while he went to see the Lord. The glory of the Lord remained on the mountain and was covered by cloud for six days, where Moses was. Then Moses was called out of the cloud and the children of Israel witnessed the glory of the Lord. It was like a great fire on the mountain. Moses went into the cloud and up the mountain, where he was gone from the Israelites for forty days and nights.

In this chapter we learn of the covenant or testament made between the children of Israel and God. The Israelites covenanted that they would do all that the Lord had commanded them through his prophet Moses, which we learn in the last 3 chapters studied. We have the privilege of making covenants with God as well. When we make the covenants of baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and those made in the holy temple, we are in a sense adopted into the tribes of Israel. When we sanctify ourselves and become worthy, we are capable of attending the temple and experiencing sacred things, just as these men of old experienced. We need to keep these experiences in our remembrance, so that we will remain true and faithful. I believe that in the coming chapters, we will see that the Israelites struggled to remember their own covenants with God and failed to receive the blessings because of that. I am so grateful for my covenants and I know that if we strive to live up to them each day, we will be greatly blessed and our testimonies and knowledge will grow.


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.

Moses Chapter 1 (part 1)

This chapter is not very lengthy, but it has so much information about the things that happened “in the beginning”. You can see this, just by reading the heading at the beginning of the chapter. It begins with the following:

1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?
4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

We learn here, that the prophet Moses, was placed by the Lord on a high mountain, where he talked with God. The student manual I am studying, points out that this was not the first occasion when God spoke to Moses. Moses had his first experience with this when he saw the burning bush (see Exodus 3). It is interesting to look at the footnotes on verse one, and to see that often times it is recorded that people are brought by the Lord to a high mountain and then have great things revealed to them. When I think about this, I think about how peaceful being separated from the normal world can be. I know that when I have hiked in mountains, I take more time to ponder and clear my mind of the everyday things that can often times get in the way of receiving revelations. I think that removing ourselves from our normal distractions is the key to receiving revelations for our own lives.

Moses had the amazing experience of conversing with the Lord, because he had been changed by the glory of God. This change is called transfiguration. No one can see God, unless they have had this change, because our mortal eyes are not prepared to see Him. Moses spoke with the Lord as we speak to one another, face to face. The Lord told him directly that he was His son. I believe that I am a daughter of God, because of the testimony I have gained of this, but to have the Lord tell me directly, face to face, that I am a daughter of God, would be incredible. To know the Lord in this way, would be so amazing to me. I understand that this kind of personal knowledge of the Lord is not common, but I hope to draw close enough to Him, to recognize Him when I get that chance to meet Him.

Moses learned here that as a son of God, he had been created in God’s image. I believe that all people are created in the image of God. Moses was told that Jesus Christ is in fact, the Only Begotten of the Father and the Savior of all men. He also was told that God is all-knowing. As I study this, I can’t help but think about how these verses and the record we have of the first vision, teach us so much about the nature of God. Both of these records are available to us today, because of the restoration through the prophet, Joseph Smith. I love knowing that I am created in God’s image. I love knowing that I am physically similar to the Savior, Jesus Christ. I love knowing that God has a knowledge and understanding of all things, in particular, of all things that I am going through in my life. I don’t understand all there is to understand about the nature of God, but these simple key truths give me greater faith and hope in the gospel and in my role in the plan of God. Because of this, I am so grateful for the restoration and for the prophet, Joseph Smith.

7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.
8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

The Lord showed Moses the world and people He had created. The world was created for us. I love the moments in my life, when I can really look at the things that God created, such as the things found in nature, the stars, and our bodies. When we take the time to think about this things, we can see just how amazing they are. I know that all these things were created by God.

9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.
10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

After seeing the marvels of God’s creations, Moses was left to ponder and regain his strength again. He learned then, that man and the power of man is nothing compared to God and His power. He learned that in his own mortal and sinful state, he could not have seen the things he did. This experience for Moses came after leaving his childhood home. Even though he had realized that he was not an egyptian by birth, all the memories and lessons of his youth were still somewhere in his mind. He had been raised as a prince of a Egypt, and with the lessons that his family had great power and dominion over other people. I am sure that this time of revelation was a completely humbling experience. It is so humbling to think that I am just one of all the many children of God, and yet I have felt His love for me as an individual. Sometimes the natural man in us wants to feel like we are everything and that we have great power, but this is not true. We are nothing without the influence and power, or glory of God in us. This glory and power is what we are striving to prepare ourselves for, and what we should hope to gain after this life.

12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
14 For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.
16 Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.
17 And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.
18 And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.
19 And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
20 And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
21 And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.
22 And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.
23 And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.

Moses was tempted as soon as he had a great moment of spiritual growth. This is exactly how Satan has worked in my own life. As soon as I learn some deep spiritual truth, Satan tries does all that he can to get me to doubt what I have learned to be true. If he can get us to deny these truths before the are set in our hearts, he can lead us away and we will be held accountable for what we have been taught by the spirit, but chosen to deny.

Satan tried to deceive Moses into following him, by calling him a son of Man, not a son of God. Moses, had just experienced the Glory of God, but Satan did not have that glory. Moses had seen that as a man, he had to be changed to see the Lord, but he did not experience this change in order to see Satan. Like Moses, we all have the right to be called sons and daughters of God, because we are and we have chosen to follow His plan by coming to this earth. Satan wants us all to believe that God does not exist, that He is not our Father in Heaven, and that we should not have hopes of anything greater than this life. He truly is the father of lies. We can learn from this example that we can question those things that don’t feel right and true to us.

This record of Satan tempting Moses, has similarities of the time when Satan tempted Jesus Christ. In Matthew 4:10 we read, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” In both cases, the commandments of God were used to deny Satan. God had told Moses that there were no other Gods, and Moses had been told before that he was to worship God. After being raised in a land where many Gods were worshipped regularly, this could have been a weakness for Moses, but he had been told truth by God and he used that against Satan’s attacks. When we are tempted, we can find strength in the scriptures and the commandments in particular.

After failing to get Moses to follow Him the first time, Satan claimed that he was the Only Begotten. Since the beginning of time, there have been many who claim that they are the Savior in order to lead the children of God away. But Moses stood strong in the face of temptation, and denied him again. He did this through prayer. He prayed and was able to command Satan to leave, with the support of God. When we are tempted, prayer can be our strongest defense. When we are frightened, prayer can help us to endure. Prayer can lead us to have faith, and with faith there cannot be fear. When it seems like all else fails, our prayers will help us to continue on and we will also be able to be safe from temptations.

This record of Moses being tempted by Satan is not included in the other scriptures. It had been left out of the bible and became unknown to the people of the world, even though Moses had told his people about this experience. I am so glad that we have the record now, because it teaches us important things about relying on God, about the power and glory of God, and about the tactics of Satan to tempt us. These verses can help us to understand more and to find the strength to endure, through the help that we can receive from the Lord.

(This chapter will be continued.)

D&C Section 93

It feels like forever since I posted on a section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I guess that is what happens when kids are out of school for the holidays. I am glad to be back.

This section was received through the Prophet, Joseph Smith, while in Kirtland, Ohio in 1833. At this time, the saints were hopeful for Zion to be established, but also suffering from persecution both outside of the church and within it. It was a difficult time, and this revelation came as a source of strength to the saints.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;
3 And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—
4 The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men.
5 I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.

There is hope in living righteously, no matter what we may be facing in our lives. This hope comes from the mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All those who are faithfully, are promised to see the face of our Lord and to know that He is the Christ.

6 And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed.
7 And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was;
8 Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—
9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men.
10 The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him.
11 And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;
13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;
14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.
15 And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.
16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;
17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.
18 And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.

Here there is reference to a John, an apostle of Jesus Christ during his ministry on the earth. When the Savior came to them as the resurrected Lord, John said that there were many things that the Savior did, which were not recorded at that time (see John 20:30). Our record in the New Testament, is the testimony of John, the apostle. He gives us a record of seeing the glory of the Lord, which we have so that we can have faith on his testimony and be blessed for believing it. It is my understanding that John, the apostle, promises the faithful will have the fullness of the record of John, the Baptist, revealed to them. As far as I know, these have still not been revealed to us, but I am sure that the prophesy will come to pass, and with his testimony we will find a greater faith and knowledge of the Savior.

This witness from John, teaches or reminds us of some of the things the Savior has done. First, I think it is important to see that as a resurrected Lord, the Savior was in the fullness of His glory. At the time of our own resurrections, we will receive our own glory and it will be a fullness according to our own works of righteousness. John tells us that the glory showed him that the Lord was there in the beginning and that he had created the world under the direction of God, the Father. It is interesting to read that Jesus Christ was not immediately given all the glory of God, the Father. He was given His glory over time, until he had received the fullness. We progress in the same fashion, one step at a time, and we have the promise that if we are faithful and live as the Savior lived, we too can receive the fullness of Glory. This comes a little at a time, as we do good works and are obedient to the will of God.

19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.

We should know from this, that we are to worship the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His example and to live as He lived. We should be striving each day to do one more thing that will bring us closer to Him. When we do this, we will receive the grace of God a little at a time, and we will become more like the Savior.

21 And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn;
22 And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.

I think that this means that those who are baptized in the name of Christ are of His church, but I am a little unsure on this. If anyone reading this has further insight, I would love to read it.

23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

Here is a basic truth of the plan of salvation. All of us were there, in the beginning. We do not know exactly when the beginning was, but we can know from this that our spirits were with God before we came to this earth. The spirits of the pre-existence, are spirits of truth. I believe that we all had true knowledge and we knowingly chose to come to the earth and follow Jesus Christ. I believe that as we seek for truth in this life, that the veil which covers our mind is lifted little by little. I think that when the spirit testifies to us of truth, we are just having a reminder of what we already know to be truth. This knowledge is what is truly going to be or what really has happened. The power that comes from learning the truth of things, is uplifting and gives us strength to endure. The spirit is the only one who can give us these reminders of what is true, by touching our hearts and minds. We can only have the influence of the spirit, if we are being obedient to the commandments of God. Therefore, our obedience to the commandments will bring us truth and knowledge of things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. Eventually, we will have the ability to know all things, just as the Lord knows all things.

29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.

Man was with God, as I said above. Intelligence is eternal. This concept is hard for the understanding of mortal minds. I think we can have a very basic idea or what that means, but I don’t think anyone will truly understand and know the concept of an eternal intelligence until we have passed on from our mortal state. I think that I understand these verses to mean that all of us have truth, or knowledge of what is true, available to us. We have the ability to choose to search for it and recognize it as part of our agency. If we choose not to search for it, and therefore do not receive it, we will be judged for it. The manual I am studying, gives a great quote that basically points out that we choose what things in this life to being knowledgable about by studying and testing the laws and principles of that thing. It stands to reason then, that we must study and test the laws and principles of God and religion, in order to gain a true knowledge of it. We do this by trying to be obedient to the commandments of God. (see “Absolute Truth”, Ensign Sept. 1978.)

33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
35 The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

Our eternal nature is spiritual. We were spirits before we came to this earth. When we came to the earth, we gained our mortal bodies. Our spirits and bodies are only separated by death. If they are separated we cannot inherit all that God wants to give us, or we cannot have a fulness of joy. Through Jesus Christ, the resurrection has been made available to us so that we may receive that fulness. If we choose to destroy the temple that God has given us, or our bodies, by living a life of sin which abuses our bodies in many ways, we will be held accountable to the destruction from God.

36 The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
37 Light and truth forsake that evil one.

This intelligence is more than just being smart or having knowledge. Those who are truly intelligent have knowledge and use it to do the will of the Lord. Intelligence is being able to apply knowledge to the eternal perspective that is according to the plan of salvation. This is what we all should be striving for, because the glory of God is intelligence, and we are trying to become like Him.

38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.
40 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

There are many out in the world, who do not understand that we are not to be held accountable for the fall of Adam. The Savior has paid the price for that sin through the atonement. The Lord has freed us from paying the price for the sins of those who come before us. We are therefore, only responsible for the sins which we commit. When we come to the world, as little children, we are innocent, because of the atonement. Our innocence is only lost through disobedience to God’s laws once we are accountable. It is the responsibility of parents, to teach children the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The modern prophets have counseled us time and time again, that the way to keep families together and to keep our children on the straight and narrow path, is to teach them in the home. I believe that this is truth. I know that the more effort I make to teach my children the gospel, and to show them how to live it by my word and example, I will help them to have a stronger foundation and to be able to withstand the temptations that will come their way.

41 But verily I say unto you, my servant Frederick G. Williams, you have continued under this condemnation;
42 You have not taught your children light and truth, according to the commandments; and that wicked one hath power, as yet, over you, and this is the cause of your affliction.
43 And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house.
44 Verily, I say unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, that in some things he hath not kept the commandments concerning his children; therefore, first set in order thy house.
45 Verily, I say unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., or in other words, I will call you friends, for you are my friends, and ye shall have an inheritance with me—
46 I called you servants for the world’s sake, and ye are their servants for my sake—
47 And now, verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.—You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord;
48 Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place.
49 What I say unto one I say unto all; pray always lest that wicked one have power in you, and remove you out of your place.
50 My servant Newel K. Whitney also, a bishop of my church, hath need to be chastened, and set in order his family, and see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always, or they shall be removed out of their place.
51 Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him.
52 And let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Frederick G. Williams make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

Even the prophet and his counselors are not perfect in all things. The Lord chastened the prophet, Joseph Smith, and other prominent men of the early church, because they were not teaching their families all that they should. The gospel is centered around families. It is of the most importance that we do what is needed to keep our families strong and free from the temptations and traps of Satan. If we do this in our homes, our influence in other areas of our lives will be for good. In verse 49, we are given a key to doing what is right, and that is to pray. We need to pray privately as well as with our families. We need to learn to have more sincere and honest prayers. We must always have a prayer in our heart. It is important to remember that as parents, we cannot make our children choose the right. They have their agency and must be allowed to choose for themselves, but if they are not taught at home, we will be held accountable for the wrongs which they do.

I am so grateful for the hope that can be found in the gospel. I am grateful for the impressions of the spirit which teach me what is true. The Savior has paid the price for my sins and has given me an example of how I should be living. I love to learn of these things in the scriptures. I understand the importance of teaching my children the gospel. I hope and pray that my teaching and my example will help them to choose the right when they are faced with temptations. I know that if more parents understood the weight of their own responsibility to teach what is good, the world would be a better place. I know that prayer is vital to the success of parents and families.

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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Current Study

Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

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