Posts Tagged 'Light'

Conference Questions – Our Potential Part 9

(To view the previous posts for this question, start here: Our Potential Part 1)

One of the all-encompassing attributes of God for us to strive towards, is perfection. God is a perfect being. His plan for us is perfect. 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” Likewise, in Proverbs 30:5 we read, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” There is purity in everything He has ever spoken. As we learn in Deutornomy 32:4, God is right and true to perfection. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” We can fully depend on what He has said, to protect us. In 1 John 1:5 it reads, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” God is the creator of light and the source of all light. In his perfect light, he is the dispeller of all darkness. He is perfectly good and perfectly whole. We have been given a charge by the Savior in Matthew 5:48 which says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” While to some this verse may seem daunting, to me, this verse gives me great hope in the person that I can become. I can be perfect, otherwise why would the Savior have said this. The key is remembering that our perfection will come over time and through eternity. In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 we are taught, “Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.” This life is just a life of preparation, we cannot become perfect now. We can however, strive towards perfection, by working on our shortcomings with patience in ourselves and with God. We have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards and we have been given the laws to follow, which help us to perfection. Christ’s love, charity, is pure. Colossians 3:14 reads, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” We need to have the love of Christ in our hearts, in order to become more perfect. Just as God’s words are pure and we can trust in Him, we should strive for all that we say to be pure, right and completely true. We can strive to live in the light each day and do our best to dispel the darkness of our lives. This means, that we need to put ourselves in the best situations to have light, and avoid those things that we know are evil and wrong. As imperfect beings in mortality, God knows we are going to make mistakes, so in order for us to reach the potential of perfection, we have been given repentance through the power of the atonement. Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 teaches us about those who are a part of the first resurrection, when it says, “These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.” If we want to strive to be like God, we need to make use of repentance and the atonement every day of our lives.

God is a worker. We cannot number the works of God because they are so many. In Job 37:14 we read, “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” He started the work of our earthly existence, with the creation of our world. I am amazed every time I ponder on one of the amazing creations and works of God. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;”. His work is beautiful and leaves me with feelings of great reverence and awe. His work has continued throughout time and goes on today. We are a part of his work. The purpose of His work for us is learned in Moses 1:39, which reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” We live in an amazing era in the work of God. The prophecies of old are being fulfilled, such as that said in Isaiah 29:14. “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” Likewise, in 3 Nephi 21:9 we read, “For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.” The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is God’s marvelous work. God’s work is without end. God is not a being of idleness. If we are to work towards our potential to be like Him, we cannot be idle. Instead, we need to be an active part of the work of God. We need to be looking for ways to serve others. We need to be creating things of value in our lives. We need to further the work of God through building our testimonies, sharing the gospel, and doing work in the temple, so that all people can have the opportunity to choose eternal life.

These recent posts about our potential, are just a sprinkling of all that God is and all that we can become as His spirit children. I am grateful to have the opportunity to improve upon the person that I am and to become more like Him. It is so important for us to spend time learning the attributes of God and reflecting on our own lives to see where we are. We have been given the great opportunity to make the most of our time on earth. God did not send us here to idle away our days, or to wander aimlessly. He has shown us the way. He has given us the gospel and most especially His Son, Jesus the Christ, so that we might learn how we could live to be the best we can be. God as given us a glimpse of our eternal potential and just how amazing we can be. There are so many times in life, when I get down on myself for who I am or how I am behaving. I am so glad for the gospel and the ability to study the scriptures, which gives me a greater hope of who I will become someday if I am willing to try a little harder. I truly hope that more people will see their potential and turn to God where they can find hope, peace, love and joy.

To view other questions in this series, go here: Conference Questions

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Abraham Chapter 4

One of the many things revealed to the prophet Abraham, was the plan of salvation. In this chapter, Abraham wrote down what he knew of the creation. This chapter begins:

1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

This is one of three writings which tell about the creation. The Lord has said that two to three witnesses will establish his gospel. I have a testimony that the scriptural accounts of the creation is true. Our Father in Heaven, as the ultimate creator, directed His Son, Jesus Christ, to create the heavens and the earth. We learn earlier in the Book of Abraham, that other righteous foreordained leaders assisted Him in the physical creation. I believe that when it says “the Gods”, it is referring to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The creation of the heavens and the earth, were from matter that already existed. It would not make sense to organize them from nothing. I think that you can only organize things which already exist. In this sense, I don’t believe that their was some “big-bang” that made them exist.

2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.

The spirit of God brooding over the world. The word brooding is the word used for the work of a mother bird. My understanding of this is that the spirit watches over the creations of God, just like a mother bird broods over her eggs or babies after they are hatched. The spirit continues to watch over God’s creations, and we can feel this watchful eye when we feel the guidance and comfort of the spirit. God cannot physically be with us or we would never learn the gospel for ourselves. Instead, the spirit is there to watch over us and to help us to find our way.

God created the light and called it day. It was separated from the darkness, or the night. The footnotes in verse four, say that God saw the light and it was good. I can picture God as an artist who created the light and then stood back to view His work, making sure that it was exactly the way he wanted it. Then He decided that it was good, gave it a name and then moved on to the next step. These verses teach us about the origin of what we know as days and nights. God established that the time from morning until evening was day, and that the time from evening until morning was night. This idea is not a man-made idea. I think it is important for us to recognize this, because there are many references to day and night throughout the scriptures. With this understanding, we may comprehend what is meant and be able to live the gospel more fully.

6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.
7 And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.
8 And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.
9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.

The waters of heaven were divided from the waters of the earth. I believe that this is referring to the atmosphere being separate from the water on the earth. Then the waters of the earth were gathered together, and the land was gathered as the earth. I believe that it was at this time that the cycles of water began to work on the earth.

11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
12 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time.

Once the earth was prepared to receive seeds of plants, God created the grass, herbs, and fruit which grow from the ground. This is noted here as the third time, instead of the third day as in other versions of the creation. I think that this is a reminder that our version of time is not the same as God’s. This was probably more like a period of time marked by the light. We don’t know how long the days were at that time, and it is likely that they were a lot longer than we know them to be now.

14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years;
15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;
17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.
18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.
19 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.

God created the sun, moon, and stars which were set to distinguish the day from the night. It was at this time, that they were organized into their times and seasons as well. There is no coincidence to how the stars come and go. They were placed specifically to serve their own purposes. They truly are a beautiful site to see. Another note here, is that Abraham calls the sun the greater light, which rules the day. In the previous chapters, we have learned that the use of the word greater can mean closer to God. I think that this is true. The sun is the greater light, because it is closer to God, or closer to being a celestial body. It’s power is therefore greater, which is why it can more fully dispel the darkness of the night.

20 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.
21 And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.
22 And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth.
23 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time.
24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.
25 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.

The water and earth were then prepared for the animals of every kind. All things were created to reproduce “after their kind”, meaning that the fish have been fish, and that the monkey did not come from the waters. I don’t know everything about the beliefs of evolution and such, but I do believe that animals were created to be what they are and that one did not come from another. I do understand that within our own species, there are changes to adapt to our environments, but that is as far as it goes for me.

26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
28 And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.
31 And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.

In the sixth creation period, man was created. Here is another account, that teaches us that we are created in the image of God. This belief has always made perfect sense to me. I am created like God, and I am able to become like God as well. Mankind was given dominion over all living things on the earth. I know there was great wisdom in man being created last on this earth. It makes logical sense that man was after animals, which would provide food and clothing among other things. Animals and man came after the sun and moon, because they needed to be able to have light to survive. Plants came before the animals, because that is how the animals would have food. The water and earth were separated and prepared in order for the plants to grow and animals to have the proper place to live. The waters were separated so that the cycle – water in the atmosphere giving water to the earth, and the earth giving back its water to the atmosphere – would sustain everything living, and so on. This is just another example that God is a being of order.

I am so grateful to have all the beautiful creations of God around me. I know that all things serve a purpose in the plan of salvation, and that I can be blessed because of the perfection in that plan. I am so grateful to be created after the image of my Father in Heaven. I have a great hope and faith in being able to become like Him someday.

D&C Section 67

Historical Background

During one of several special conferences that were held by the Saints late in 1831, this revelation was received. It was given through the prophet, Joseph Smith, after the decision to publish the Book of Commandments had been made. The Book of Commandments was to be a book of the revelations to the early saints. (Before they were able to be finished, a mob destroyed the printing press and eventually the finished publication would be known as the Doctrine and Covenants.) Along with many testimonies of the saints about the truth in these revelations, there was a question from some of the elders that the wording that was used. This revelation was given in response.

What Blessing Was Not Received?

“Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me (v. 1). Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give (v. 2). Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive (v. 3). . . . Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen (v. 14).”

We do not know what blessing had been specifically promised that the Lord was referring to here, but whatever it was, they did not receive it as they had been expecting. The reason they did not receive it, was because they had fear and not faith. I believe that the fear they had was that these revelations were not true, because they thought they were plainly written by the prophet, Joseph Smith. I have learned through scripture study and lesson at church that fear and faith cannot coexist. You either have one or the other. The saints of God try to be a faithful people, but when we allow fear to creep into our hearts, we begin to doubt the Lord in some way. When we have faith, we receive promised blessings through our worthiness.

Challenge from the Lord

“And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you (v. 4). Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know (v. 5). Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you (v. 6); Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true (v. 7); But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true (v. 8 ).”

The Lord extended a challenge that one of these elders attempt to write one of these revelations or commandments better than what was already there. The challenge was accepted and one of the elders, William E. McLellin, who had doubted the writings, made an attempt to rewrite the commandment or revelation. The manual I am studying says that the attempt was a failure, even though he was a very learned man. His failure came because he did not have the spirit’s inspiration in his writing. I find it very interesting that the Lord allowed these men to test their doubt in this way. He tells them that if they failed, they had to know that these revelations were truly inspired by God and bear witness to that, or they would be under condemnation.

What Is the Significance of the Term Father of Lights?

“For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights (v. 9).” In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Our Father in Heaven is the source of all that is good and light. There is nothing of darkness that can be found in God. Because he is the source of all that is good, he is known as the Father of all that is good and therefore the Father of lights.

“You Shall See Me and Know That I Am”

“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual (v. 10). For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God (v. 11). Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind (v. 12). Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected (v. 13).”

We are capable and promised that if we work to become more righteous and humble ourselves in all things, we can be a witness of God in our spirits. As we humbly exercise our faith in the Lord, we will be blessed to know many things. This is a wonderful promise and it is not strictly for those who are called to lead the church, it is for all the saints who have been obedient in making covenants and are worthy of the spirit continually.

What Is the Natural, or Carnal, Mind?

The natural or carnal mind is the mind that is natural to us in this world we live in. The natural mind is part of the natural man, who is susceptible to all the temptations and errors of men. It is contrary to the spiritual mind, which is in harmony with God. Mosiah 3:19 reads, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” We all have the ability to put off the natural man and become more spiritual, through repentance and striving to become more like the Savior.

D&C Section 12

Historical Background

This revelation was given through the prophet Joseph Smith, to Joseph Knight, Sen.. He was a good friend to Joseph, and had been very helpful to he and Oliver Cowdery. His support helped Joseph to do the work of translation. Joseph said, “Being very anxious to know his duty as to this work, I inquired of the Lord for him, and obtained the following: [D&C 12].” (History of the Church, 1:47-48.)

Repetition in the Doctrine and Covenants

The first several verses are another repetition of the verses found before. (See previous post on Section 6.)

“Except He Shall Be Humble”

“And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care (v. 8 ).” To be humble, we have to constantly realized God’s hand in our lives. We have to realize that we are dependent on the Lord and not ourselves. The more we realize this, the more grateful we will be to the Lord and the more we will trust in Him rather than man.

“Full of Love”

If we are full of love we will do all that we can to help others. We will serve them as they are in need, and we will share our testimonies with them. We should have hearts full of love; so much that we feel we cannot share it enough. This will bring us closer to others and so much closer to our Father in Heaven.

Who is the Light and Life of the World?

“Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words, therefore give heed with your might, and then you are called. Amen (v. 9).” The Light and Life of the World is the Lord, Jesus Christ. We read in John 1:4, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” We find eternal life through Christ and His gospel is the light in the darkness of this world. In John 12:46 we read, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” We cannot have joy without following the Savior. He truly is the light in my life and I don’t know what I would do without Him.

Ether, Chapter 6

Who is the rock?

“And now I, Moroni, proceed to give the record of Jared and his brother (v. 1).  For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the stones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels (v. 2).  And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness (v. 3).”  The stones gave necessary light to the Jaredites.

In 2 Samuel 22:2 we read, “And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer”.  Also in Helaman 5:12 we read, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”

Christ is our stone (rock).  The verses in this chapter could read, “Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth [Jesus Christ] into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels (v. 2).  And thus the Lord caused [Jesus Christ] to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness (v. 3).” Jesus Christ is our light.  He is the shining example to all of us.  His gospel brings happiness to our lives.  When we are in darkness, the light of Christ will help us to find our way.

What would you bring on the journey?

“And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of food, that thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God (v. 4).” All they took was themselves, animals and food.  I imagine that they trusted they would not be on the waters for so long that they would run out of what they needed.   This was a great amount of faith that they had in the Lord.

Faith is a Sunrise

Faith is the moving cause of all action

The Lord calls on us to do many difficult things.  He does this, so that we can learn and progress towards becoming like Him.  These things will take great amounts of faith on our part.  Without faith that what we are doing will be the best for us, or the faith that we will be blessed after this life for these things, we would have nothing to keep us striving to do these things.

The journey for the Jaredites was difficult.  They dealt with “furious wind” and being “tossed upon the waves” before it (v. 5).  They were “buried in the depths of the sea” many times because of waves and tempests (v. 6).  They were on the water for 344 days (v. 11)  It was almost a whole year of being stuck in a barge.  I am sure that this was not the easiest thing to go through.

The Jaredites had great faith.  Whenever they were buried in the waters, they would “cry unto the Lord” to bring them back up (v. 5).  I am sure that if they had lost faith, they would have struggled at times, but they were consistently pushed by the wind and they “did have light continually “(v. 8, 10).

The Jaredites saw the importance of constant gratitude to the Lord.  “And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord (v. 9).”  Then when the journey was finally over, they showed more gratitude.  “And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them (v. 12).”

The Jaredites were a great example of faith in difficult times.  They were also a great example for being grateful in difficult times.  I am glad that my difficulties do not include being tossed about on the waters of the sea for almost a year.  I have my own challenges and they are perfect for me to learn how to have greater faith and gratitude.  I hope that I can continue to learn and grow, so that I can have the promised blessings that come at the end of my challenges.

What does it mean to be “taught from on high”?

If I imagine moving to a new world where no one had been before, I think I would be overwhelmed by where to go and what should be done.  Without any roads, cities, or stores, I would feel a bit lost and out of place.  I would definitely need some help to get things done.

“And it came to pass that they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth (v. 13).  And Jared had four sons; and they were called Jacom, and Gilgah, and Mahah, and Orihah (v. 14).  And the brother of Jared also begat sons and daughters (v. 15).  And the friends of Jared and his brother were in number about twenty and two souls; and they also begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land; and therefore they began to be many (v. 16).  And they were taught to walk humbly before the Lord; and they were also taught from on high (v. 17).”

I think that the Lord continued to speak with the brother of Jared as he had done before the journey they took.  There may have been others who were able to hear the teachings of the Lord as well.  I think that this direct divine teaching is why it says that they were “taught from on high”.  I think that since they were utterly alone in a new land-the promise land-they needed the constant help of the Lord to get started.  They were a righteous group of people and deserved to have revelations to guide them.  We can have our own personal revelations in our own lives, if we are striving to live righteously and we are seeking the guidance of the Lord and the Holy Ghost.

Why did the Jaredites prosper?

The Jaredites began to spread and prosper (v. 18 ).  When the brother of Jared was getting old, he and Jared asked the people what they wanted to happen before they died (v. 19, 21).  The people wanted a king, and after several refusals, Orihah, one of the sons of Jared, became the king (v. 22, 25-27).  Pagag, the firstborn son of the brother of Jared, was the first to be asked, but he refused (v. 25).  I think he refused because he knew that having a king would lead to something bad.  His father had said, “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity (v. 23).”  When kings rule in righteousness it is a wonderful thing, but when they are unrighteous it is the worst.  An unrighteous king, seeks power and will no doubt take away all the freedom of his people.  This freedom is one of the greatest blessings that is given to us by our Father in Heaven.

In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel told the people that a king would take away all of the good things that the people have and use them for himself and his servants.  Also in Mosiah 29, Mosiah told his people that a wicked king will bring them into bondage and pervert righteousness.  He also told them the only way to stop a wicked king is through a lot of bloodshed.

As Orihah began his reign over the people of Jared, they began to prosper, because he was a righteous leader.  “And it came to pass that Orihah did walk humbly before the Lord, and did remember how great things the Lord had done for his father, and also taught his people how great things the Lord had done for their fathers (v. 30).”

Mosiah, Chapter 16

Who will be excluded from the redemption?

It’s hard to truly imagine what it will be like when the Savior comes again.  I think that the only way to come close is to think about the things that happened before that we read about in the scriptures.  How was it for the Nephites when the Savior appeared to them?  I pray that if it should happen in my lifetime, that I will be prepared and that my family will also.  If the Savior came tomorrow, I think I’m doing pretty well in my life, but there are always areas that I may be falling a little short, and I would hope that I would be in the process of becoming better.  I’m looking forward to His coming with hope and excitement.

“And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgments are just (v. 1).”  Everyone in every nation will see the salvation of the Lord.

“And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not (v. 2).”  All the wicked will realize how they have lived and will be in torment as they are cast out.  They will be punished for not listening to the voice of the Lord and they will be really upset by this.

“For they are carnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil (v. 3).”  If they have refused to obey, it is because have allowed Satan to have power over them.

“Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state (v. 4).”  Had it not been for the Savior’s redemption, we all should have been lost.  If we do not use His redemption in our lives, we will be lost.

“But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God (v. 5).”  Those who choose this path, cannot be redeemed because they are an enemy to God along with Satan.  In order to be redeemed, we must deny the natural man and hearken to the voice of the Lord.  We hearken to the Lord by listening to the Holy Ghost, by reading the scriptures, by listening to the prophets and general authorities, and by listening to our parents who should be living righteously and guiding us in that path as well.  If we choose not to hearken to the voice of the Lord through these things, we choose to follow Satan and give Him our agency.

I am so grateful for the promptings of the spirit.  They are truly a blessing in my life.  I love the scriptures and I know that they are the words of the Lord.  I love the general authorities and I feel the spirit when they speak.  They have been called of the Lord to guide us today.  I love my parents and I know that they have always tried to help me to live a good life.  I know that if I follow these things I will not fear the coming of the Lord.  I will continue to be excited because those who are prepared, need not fear.

How can we see in the dark?

When I am in the dark, I feel a bit lost.  I look forward to the time when I can find a light switch so that I can find my way.  Sometimes darkness gives me an uneasiness and anxiety.  I could not imagine a world without the sun.  It gives me hope to know that the sun will rise in the morning each day.

“He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death (v. 9).”  Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  When the light of Christ is there, darkness fails.

Darkness is the wicked (v. 2), the devilish and carnal (v. 3), being lost (v. 4), being an enemy to God (v. 5), having no redemption (v. 6), and having death without the resurrection (v. 7).

People today are living in darkness as they give in to the natural man-by calling evil, good and good, evil.  Some are living in darkness because they have not yet heard of the gospel, while others are willing choosing to deny it.  Many deny that their is a God or Christ.

The Savior and His gospel bring light to the darkened world.  Their is a hope in the gospel through the sacrifice that the Savior gave for mankind.  When I have allowed Christ into my life, I have felt a safety and security that comes with nothing else.  Knowing why we are living this life, gives me direction and happiness.  Using the atonement in my life gives me peace and comfort when I am forgiven.  Christ is willing to give His light to all mankind.  All we have to do is receive it.  And when we have it, we need to share it with others so that they can find their way out of the darkness as well.

What if Christ had not come?

If Christ had not come, I think that the world would be a sad place.  Without Christ their is no hope for salvation after this life.  One sin would mean eternal misery, so everyone would live this life for the immediate pleasures that can be found here.  There would be so much more sin.  There would be no reason to be good, kind, and loving people.  Everyone would be a bit more selfish.  Satan would be in control of all of us.

According to Abinadi, if Christ had not come, there would be no redemption (v. 6) and no resurrection (v. 7).  Redemption is “the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ and our deliverance from sin (Bible Dictionary).”  Resurrection is “the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided… to become immortal, without blood, yet with a body of flesh and bone (Bible Dictionary).”

If their was no redemption, we would all live forever in our sins.  And if their was no resurrection than no one could ever live again, but we would remain in death.  Without these things, there would be no joy to have in a life after this one on Earth.  In 2 Nephi, chapter 9 we read, “O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more (v. 8 ).  And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness (v. 9).”  Without the Savior, we would all become subject to Satan and be his angels.  We would never be allowed to see our Father in Heaven again.

Jesus made joy in the eternities possible for us all.  “But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ (v. 8 ).”  Jesus sacrifice for our sins and died for us so that we could be forgiven of all our wrongs.  Then he was resurrected so that we could all live again.  We owe all that we have to Him and all He asks of us is that we try our best to live worthy of this gift.  We will always fall just short of perfect, but He will make up the differences for us if we are truly trying to do what is right.

Why do we need to be saved from our sins?

Being lost is not an enjoyable experience for me.  It gives me a feeling of fear, because I don’t know what to do next.  In the past several years I’ve gotten lost a few times as I have driven somewhere new by myself.  Thankfully, I’ve had a cellphone and with a prayer in my heart, I’ve called my husband who could look up where I was and lead me to my destination safely.

“Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state (v.4).”  We would be lost spiritually and endlessly if it weren’t for the Savior and the atonement. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.  No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon mankind.”  According to President Benson, we cannot fully appreciate Christ and the salvation he brings if we don’t understand the effects of the Fall.  When we understand that because Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Eden because they were no longer perfect.  They could no longer be in the presence of our Father in Heaven, because no unclean thing can dwell with him.  Without the salvation that Christ has given to man through His atonement, no man could be forgiven of his sins.  No one could be saved without Christ.

“And now, ought ye not to tremble and repent of your sins, and remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved (v. 13)?  Therefore, if ye teach the law of Moses, also teach that it is a shadow of those things which are to come (v. 14)—Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen (v. 15).”  Abinadi has told King Noah and his priests that they should fear unless they teach the people that the law of Moses is only to prepare them for the coming of Christ and that it is only through Christ that man can be saved.  I feel blessed to live now, when Christ has already come and we are preparing for His second coming.  I am so grateful to have the scriptures in my life to teach me how to live and what has happened in the past that I should learn from.  I am grateful for the testimony of people like Abinadi.  I pray that I can be as strong in the face of adversity and that the knowledge of the purpose of life continues to get clearer for me.  I know that Jesus Christ has provided the only way for us to be saved.  I have felt the sense of peace and comfort that comes from using His atonement in my life to be forgiven of my sins.  I am forever grateful for what He has done for me as an individual.  I am so glad that I have the opportunity to live with my family forever if I can live righteously.

And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the asalvation of the Lord; when bevery nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye and shall cconfess before God that his djudgments are just.
2 And then shall the awicked be bcast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and cweep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not dhearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not.
3 For they are acarnal and devilish, and the devil has power over them; yea, even that old serpent that did bbeguile our first parents, which was the ccause of their fall; which was the cause of dall mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, eknowing evil from good, fsubjecting themselves to the devil.
4 Thus all mankind were alost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.
5 But remember that he that persists in his own acarnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the bdevil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no credemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the ddevil an enemy to God.

2 Nephi, Chapter 7

God has not moved

In verse 1, Isaiah uses words we use in family relationships to describe the relationship between the Children of Israel and the Lord.  The Lord had not “divorced” them and He did not cut them off.  The Lord does not cut us off.  The natural man blames God for divorcing Himself from us in times of need, but in fact, we do it by our actions.  The children of Israel had divorced themselves from the Lord, they sold themselves to others by their sins.

If we are further from the Lord today,we moved.  The Lord is immovable.  He will always be there.

We separate ourselves from the Lord as we commit sins and do not repent.  The Lord cannot dwell with sinners.  We learn in  1 Ne. 10: 21, “Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.”

In order to move closer to the Lord, we need to repent of our sins and make an effort to keep the spirit with us all day, every day.

Jesus-Portrait

Christ’s willing gift for us

In this chapter, Isaiah is speaking messianically, meaning he is speaking the words of the messiah, Jesus Christ (speaking of the Savior).

The Lord has power to redeem us, deliver us, and dry up waters (v. 2 ); make the sky black (v 3 ); speak with a learned tongue and hear with learned ears (v. 4 ); smite with his mouth (v. 8 ); and has power of God to age those who condemn him (v. 9 ).

When He, the Savior, was born on the earth, He dealt with all the smiting that others inflicted upon Him, but he had God with Him and was not ashamed to do the work He was called to do.  He endured it, even though He had the power to not go through it.  The Savior had more power than any man and could perform miracles, but He endured it for my salvation.  He gave, undoubtedly, the best gift ever given.

Who walks in darkness and sorrow?

In verse 10 He asks, “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light?”  If we obey God’s prophets, the Savior, and His commandments, we will have the light of God to guide us.  In John 8:12 we learn that Jesus is the light of the world and if we follow Him, we will not walk in darkness.

In verse 11 we see that the wicked use the light that they kindle.  When you walk in your own light, instead of His, you shall lie down in sorrow.

I love light.  When I am home and it is dark, I feel the need to turn on the lights.  I’m not scared of the dark, but I do not like the feeling of the dark.  Darkness cannot exist where there is light and that is a comforting thought.  When I’ve sinned and go down the wrong path, I realize that I get lost, and I feel that same lost feeling when I am in darkness.  I would never want to willing choose darkness over light.


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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