Posts Tagged 'Resurrection'

Ponderizing – Week 1 Thoughts

Moses 1:39

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I chose this scripture this week, because my family has been focusing a talk given by Elder Rafael E. Pino during the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His talk is entitled “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel“, and it references the verse I chose.

I have been looking at the bigger picture this week. This is not something new to me. In fact I do it quite frequently. But I have had some specific thoughts about it. First of all, I believe that part of the purpose of life, is to align my will with the will of God, so that I might become more like Him. If my will is to become aligned with God’s will, then my work needs to be a part of His work, the work “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.

First, I need an understanding of what this means. What is immortality? We live in mortal bodies, in a mortal world. This means that we all will some day die. This physical death became a part of the life of mankind, when Adam and Eve fell from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. God’s work was to create a way for mankind to become immortal beings, in order to physically live forever. The atonement of His Son provided the way back. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the Fall of Adam. Hence, all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies.” (Bible Dictionary:Atonement) Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all people are unconditionally provided with resurrection after this life, and therefore, all mankind will overcome physical death and become immortal beings, with bodies of flesh and bone. (Bible Dictionary:Resurrection)

How can I be a part of this work of bringing to pass the immortality of man, when the Savior has already made this possible? I can be grateful for this blessing, because it gives me hope of life after death. I can share my testimony of this with others, and most especially, I can teach this gospel truth to my children. In doing this, I can bring greater hope to others.

What is eternal life? In the Guide to the Scriptures, it is defined as, “To live forever as families in God’s presence. Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.” Jesus Christ made Eternal life possible through his infinite atonement. In the Bible Dictionary, we read, “his grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” (Bible Dictionary:Grace) Eternal life is a gift, that unlike immortality, must be gained. We use our agency in this life, to choose if we will accept this gift. All are blessed to live after this mortal life, but it is up to us to choose how we will live.

How do I make this work a part of my work? First, I must choose to accept His gift of the atonement in my life. How do I do that? Eternal life is accepted when I live my life according to the commandments of God. The Savior has told men to come unto Him and to follow Him. He has shown me the importance of making covenants, such as baptism and temple covenants. The covenants of baptism are the gateway to eternal life and the temple covenants provide the blessings of eternal life, through the sealing power. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered.” (Bible Dictionary: Temple) I have made these covenants for myself, and have taken the necessary steps to claim the blessings. Jesus taught many, the importance of renewing covenants by partaking of the sacrament, which I have the opportunity to do each week. The scriptures also teach me that I need to believe that He is the Christ, and live according to that belief. I do this most, when I live a life of charity towards others. When I do these things, I will come to know Him. In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Second, I make this work my own, when I share this knowledge with others. I need to teach my children that they can have the ability to return and live with God again. I know these things to be true for myself, but if others are not taught, how will they know? I send my children off to school, so that they can become prepared for the rest of their lives. I want them to be successful, happy and have all the blessing that life has to offer them. God sends all people here, to the earth, to become prepared for the rest of their eternal lives. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to help others to know what amazing blessings await them. I will continue to make this my work, by helping others to know of Christ, to know the importance of baptism and temple covenants, and to know the blessings of repentance and partaking of the sacrament. Also, I have the opportunity to be a source of strength to others as they strive to endure to the end.

I hope that as part of this work, my testimony and thoughts shared on this blog, can help others to learn of these things.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

This life is so much more that our current situations. It is so much more than even birth to death. We have so much to live for. I am so grateful for this understanding and I hope that I can have the courage and strength to do my part in the work of the Lord, that I might partake in His glory.

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A Beautiful New Day

Jesus-Portrait

Happy Easter! This is such a beautiful day. I love to celebrate what the Lord has done for me. He is risen and lives, so that each of us can rise and live again also.

Mark 16:

1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Luke 24:

1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8 And they remembered his words,
9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

John 20:

1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

What a marvelous witness of one of the greatest events in the history of the Earth! I am so grateful for the words of the scriptures and the hope and peace they bring to my soul.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

The lessons from the Gospel Principles manual finished in my ward, but sadly we did not go through the entire book. I’m not one for letting it go without completing the book, so I’m going to continue posting my thoughts on the rest of the book. To view the entire lesson go here: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Note: I do not include the entire lesson, just my take on the questions it poses and thoughts on the general topics.

There are several verses in the scriptures, which teach us of the coming of Christ in the latter-days. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a firm believer in this principle of the gospel. The Savior came to the earth over 2000 years ago, and he lived and died for all mankind. But that was not the end of his works on the earth. The Savior will return again, to rule and reign on this earth. It is that time, that I look forward to with hope and purpose.

What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?

At his coming, all the wicked will be destroyed. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we read the following:

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

No one who desires to do wickedness will be able to withstand the brightness and power of the Lord’s glory and will therefore be destroyed at his coming. His glory will separate the righteous from the wicked and will judge all people. That same glory will be used to refine those who remain. In Malachi 3 we read the following:

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Those who hold the priesthood, will be purified in order to make a righteous offering in the temple, which is where the Lord will be. In addition, Jesus will make himself known to all people when he comes again. In Isaiah 40:5 we read, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Everyone will witness the glory of Christ because He will reveal himself to all people. He will reign over the earth as well. In Doctrine and Covenants 76:63 we read, “These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.”

Jesus Christ will be the spiritual and political leader of the world, with all governments beneath him. This will mark the beginning of His Millennial reign on the earth. At this time, he will continue dwell on earth with his people. In Doctrine and Covenants 104:59 we read, “For the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth, and to prepare my people for the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.” The Savior will remain on the earth and work along side those who choose to follow Him.

Also, Jesus Christ will reveal all the hidden truths to those who are willing. In Doctrine and Covenants 101 we read the following:

32 Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—
33 Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—
34 Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.

This will be an amazing time of knowledge and understanding, which has never been before. This is something that I really am anxious for. I have a thirst for gospel knowledge. To believe that there will be a time on this earth, when all the revelations of the ancient and modern prophets, will be known by those on the earth, is amazing.

When the Savior comes again, he will bring the work of the first resurrection with him. All those who died willing to serve Him, will rise again and work alongside the living and Christ, during the time of the Millennium. In Doctrine and Covenants 133:56 we read, “And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.” There will be so much work to accomplish and it will be able to be done with the help of those who have faithfully gone before.

What are your thoughts and feelings as you contemplate the events of the Second Coming?

I am overwhelmed by the amount of excitement I feel inside when I reflect on the future coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to be with the saints at that day, so that I can rejoice in the blessings of His coming. I strive each day to live a good life, so that I can be numbered with His followers. His coming will bring blessings beyond my wildest imaginations and I know in my heart that this is true. I want to have no doubt in my soul, and peace at the time of His coming. I hope to say, as the prophet Joseph said near his own death, “I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.”

How Will We Know When the Savior’s Coming Is Near?

In His great mercy and wisdom, God has given us many signs to know when the Savior’s coming is getting near. Many of these signs have already come to pass. We are living in the last days and His coming is not far away. (To read more about these signs, see Signs of the Second Coming from the last Gospel Principles lesson.

How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?

Mostly, I think that living today as if He were here right now, is the best way to be ready. We cannot procrastinate our preparation. We have been promised that he will come as a thief in the night. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2 we read, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” No one will know and it will most likely be at a time when most people least expect it. We show that we are people who live by faith, when we live each day in preparation for Him. How do we do this? We prepare when we read the scriptures and follow the commandments that are found in them. We should be striving to strengthen our personal testimonies and also helping our family to be stronger in their faith. We prepare by listening to the words of the Prophet, who is His holy mouthpiece today. We prepare by removing the things from our lives that would prevent us from being worthy to stand in His presence. We prepare by being watchful of the harmful things to our spirits, bodies and minds. We prepare by becoming accustomed to doing the work of the Lord now, because when He is here, that is exactly what we will be doing. Instead of fearing the gloom and doom of His coming, we should be changing our lives to find the happiness that He will bring. If we can find the joy He offers now, we will not fear the destruction that will come.

Why should we be concerned about our preparedness rather than the exact timing of the Second Coming?

Matthew 24:42 reads, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” If we focus on being prepared, it doesn’t matter when He comes. If he comes today, we are saved. If he comes many years from now, we are saved. Preparation will bring us the most joy. If the Savior never comes in your lifetime, living a life in preparation of His coming, means a life worthy of the promised blessings of joy in eternity. I think the question should instead be, why not? What is lost in this life by living it righteously? Nothing of any lasting value would be lost. Everything of value is to be gained when we choose to live righteously now. I am so excited for the coming of the Savior. I hope that my testimony of this will grow even stronger and more firm, so that as the trials I face in life (which we all have to face), I will not falter. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I look forward to the day when I will be counted worthy to stand with His people and do His work at His side.

The Second Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.

When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he made the choice to transgress against the commandment of God. In Moses 3, we read the following:

15 And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.
16 And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (emphasis added)

And then in Moses 4, the account continues,

6 And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world.
7 And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said—Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.)
8 And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
9 But of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said—Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
10 And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die;
11 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat. (emphasis added)

This transgression brought mortality and death into the immortal world. It was both a physical death and a spiritual death. The physical death would eventually separate our bodies and spirits and the spiritual death would separate our spirits from our Father in Heaven. We are all subject to the consequences of Adam’s transgression. However, there are some who believe that we are all held accountable for this transgression. There are two pieces of doctrine that we believe about this.

First all, it is my understanding that God forgave Adam for his transgression against the law. The consequences had to remain in place until the law could be satisfied, which meant until the Savior broke the bands of physical death through his resurrection and brought the possibility of our immortality and eternal life (being reunited with our Father in Heaven again) through his atonement. In Moses 6:53 we read, “. . . And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden.” If all people were to have this transgression held against us, it has been forgiven.

However, the important thing to realize, which is a core belief in the lds theology and my second piece of doctrine I wanted to mention, is that we believe that all mankind is accountable for their own transgressions and not for those of others. In Moses 6:54 we read, “Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.” What others do to sin against God, is never held against us personally. If this were the case, justice would not be balanced. If each of us were to be held accountable for the sins of our own parents, we might as well not try to live worthy of salvation, because there is no way for us to make restitution for someone else’s errors and therefore, we all would be lost.

Instead of placing the focus on Adam’s transgression and punishment for it, we can therefore focus on how we repent for our own sins and transgressions. With this frame of mind, we can come to the understanding that we should be grateful to Adam and Eve for their choice in the Garden of Eden. At the time, Adam and Eve were not in a state of mortality. They did not have the ability to die, and they did not have the ability to procreate. They were in a state which halted not only their own progression, but the progression of all the spirits (meaning us) who waited for their opportunity to come to earth and gain a body of flesh and blood. Because of their choice, we all have the opportunity to be here so that we can learn, grow, and progress in this life and after it. Our salvation depended on the fall of Adam. I am very grateful to Eve for making her choice and for Adam’s decision as well. I am sure that the weight of that decision was enormous and I would not have wanted it for myself, but because they made it I am living and breathing today.

We believe that we are going to be held accountable for those things that we do. There is no one else on this earth who can suffer the consequences for our sins, save Jesus Christ. He has done the work of the atonement and has paid for each and every soul who will have ever lived on this earth. It is our individual responsibility to allow that atonement to work in our lives, through complete repentance. In Doctrine and Covenants 20:29 we read, “And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.”

I am grateful that I do not have to focus on the sins of others in order to gain my salvation after this life. I don’t think I could live with the weight of the sins of my ancestors on my mind. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the temple, because it is there that I have gained a testimony of this. It is through temple work that I have learned to have great admiration and love for our first parents, Adam and Eve. I honor them for their purposes in the plan of salvation and what they have done for all mankind. I am grateful so much for my Savior and his loving sacrifice which allow me freedom from death after the resurrection and the chance to be free from my sins as well.

D&C Section 133 (Part 2)

This post is a continuation of the previous post on this section (D&C Section 133 Part 1).

The previous post of the section included information about the second coming of the Savior, preparing ourselves for that day, and teaching the gospel to the world. This section represents the main points of the entire Doctrine and Covenants, and serves as a kind of appendix for this book of scripture. The section continues:

36 And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth.
37 And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
38 And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come;
39 And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters—
40 Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.

The gospel has been restored and the saints have been called to bring the gospel to the world. The restoration came through the prophet, Joseph Smith, and by the authority of God, which is the priesthood. There have been many scriptures and prophets who have said that the gospel would go to all the world. It is the duty of the church to help others to prepare for the coming of the Lord, and for the judgement of all.

41 And it shall be answered upon their heads; for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil.
42 O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—
43 When thou doest terrible things, things they look not for;
44 Yea, when thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at thy presence, thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth thee in thy ways.
45 For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.
46 And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
49 And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
50 And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;
51 And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.

For the wicked, the coming of the Lord will be destruction and fire. Those who are not prepared, will be found fearful in that day, because they will realize the truth. Those who are prepared will not be among those who question who He is, because they will know Him. The glory of the Lord will be greater than any light we have ever known. He will be dressed in a red garment, because he alone suffered the atonement and I think that his clothing will be a reminder of the suffering he went through for us, especially for those who will be destroyed for their wickedness. The judgement He will bring with Him, will crush those who have lived a wicked life, like the grapes are crushed in a wine-press. It will not be good for anyone who is among the wicked.

52 And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.
53 In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old;
54 Yea, and Enoch also, and they who were with him; the prophets who were before him; and Noah also, and they who were before him; and Moses also, and they who were before him;
55 And from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to John, who were with Christ in his resurrection, and the holy apostles, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall be in the presence of the Lamb.
56 And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.

At this point of time, it will be the “year of my redeemed”. Like we consider time as before Christ and after his death, I think that we will start to record time in this sense. Meaning that fifty years later, people will say that it is 50 years of the redeemed Lord. The Savior will be our ruler and all will have the opportunity to recognize his perfect goodness. All those who have served faithfully as his prophets and apostles, since the beginning of the Earth, will bear witness again of Him. At this point, the resurrection of the saints will also occur, and those righteous saints will stand with the Savior and live again to do His work. It is my understanding that some of the most faithful have already been resurrected, such as John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, who passed on the priesthood authorities to Joseph Smith. I can imagine, in only a small part, the glorious time that this will be for all there.

57 And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity—
58 To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord’s errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight.
59 And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit.
60 And for this cause these commandments were given; they were commanded to be kept from the world in the day that they were given, but now are to go forth unto all flesh—
61 And this according to the mind and will of the Lord, who ruleth over all flesh.
62 And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord shall be given eternal life.
63 And upon them that hearken not to the voice of the Lord shall be fulfilled that which was written by the prophet Moses, that they should be cut off from among the people.
64 And also that which was written by the prophet Malachi: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
65 Wherefore, this shall be the answer of the Lord unto them:
66 In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out.
67 When I called again there was none of you to answer; yet my arm was not shortened at all that I could not redeem, neither my power to deliver.
68 Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink, and die for thirst.
69 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.
70 And this shall ye have of my hand—ye shall lie down in sorrow.
71 Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you; for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not.
72 Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness.
73 These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
74 Behold the Lord your God hath spoken it. Amen.

The gospel will continue to go to the righteous. I love the words here, that the weak will confound the wise. God will use those who are simple and weak in the eyes of the world, to teach those who are seen as great. The Saints will be saved, but those who have not and will not accept it, will be cast into outer darkness. Those gospel and how we live it, can either save us or destroy us.

My understanding is that ultimately all things will be done in fairness. Not the kind of fairness that the world sees today. Everyone will not receive the same reward, but they will receive the same judgement for their works. Because God is just, we all will receive exactly what we deserve. Those who wanted to ignore the spirit and the testimony of the prophets, choosing to live wicked lives, will be cast into outer darkness. Their reward of glory will be something other then that of the celestial kingdom, because they refused to recognize and obey the laws of God and His witnesses.

This section, really does review the whole of the Doctrine and Covenants. The reason for all of the sections that cover bits of the restoration and callings to serve, is to further prepare the saints for the coming of the Savior. I am so grateful for the scriptures. I am filled with happiness to know that we have modern revelation from God and that He still calls holy prophets to lead and guide us today.

D&C Section 129

This section includes instructions that were given to the saints by the prophet, Joseph Smith. I can imagine that the topic of angels and other heavenly beings was discussed quite a bit at the time of the early saints, because there had been several witnessed accounts of appearances to the prophet and other leading men of the church. This section is regarding heavenly messengers.

1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

Not every messenger from heaven is literally an angel. In the scriptures, the word angel is often used to speak of any heavenly messenger. This section teaches us that they are either angels or spirits. Angels are those that can physically minister to the living, because they have a body. We learn from the scriptures that the resurrection did not begin until after the resurrection of the Savior, who made it possible. This means that all “angels” who came before His resurrection, were angels of spirit not body. Even the savior himself, appeared in spirit to men before His own life. Spirits have not yet been resurrected and therefore do not have a body of flesh and bones. Those messengers who are spirits, have lived good righteous lives, they know how to make full use of the atonement in their lives, and they are worthy of being made perfected through Jesus Christ.

4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.
5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.
6 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—
7 Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.
8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.
9 These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.

This is the pattern that we may use to determine if any messenger is either of God or of the devil. And if it is of God, we will know whether they are a spirit messenger, or an angel. I don’t imagine myself being one of the few who actually get to have this kind of amazing experience, but it is always best to be prepared and to know if a message should be accepted as truly from God or not. I think it interesting that a spirit of the devil would think so much of themselves, to offer their hand even when they know they cannot be felt. It sounds like a very prideful act to me and it seems like it is intended to deceive the person. No being on the Lord’s errand would be either prideful or deceitful.

D&C Section 128

As with the previous section, this is one of the letters from the prophet, Joseph Smith, to the saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. He also wrote it in September of 1842, while he was in hiding due to threats against his life. The previous letter (section 127) told that more information would come to them regarding baptisms for the dead.

Baptism

First let me start off on this, by saying that I fully believe in performing sacred ordinances, such as baptisms, for those who have died. This ordinance is not new to the world in this dispensation, it was around anciently. It is my understanding, however, that the LDS church is the only church to believe and practice it today. We are the one church, which has the proper authority to do so. This church offers the opportunity for us to save all the souls who have come before us and did not know of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This section begins as follows:

1 As I stated to you in my letter before I left my place, that I would write to you from time to time and give you information in relation to many subjects, I now resume the subject of the baptism for the dead, as that subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest, since I have been pursued by my enemies.
2 I wrote a few words of revelation to you concerning a recorder. I have had a few additional views in relation to this matter, which I now certify. That is, it was declared in my former letter that there should be a recorder, who should be eye-witness, and also to hear with his ears, that he might make a record of a truth before the Lord.
3 Now, in relation to this matter, it would be very difficult for one recorder to be present at all times, and to do all the business. To obviate this difficulty, there can be a recorder appointed in each ward of the city, who is well qualified for taking accurate minutes; and let him be very particular and precise in taking the whole proceedings, certifying in his record that he saw with his eyes, and heard with his ears, giving the date, and names, and so forth, and the history of the whole transaction; naming also some three individuals that are present, if there be any present, who can at any time when called upon certify to the same, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
4 Then, let there be a general recorder, to whom these other records can be handed, being attended with certificates over their own signatures, certifying that the record they have made is true. Then the general church recorder can enter the record on the general church book, with the certificates and all the attending witnesses, with his own statement that he verily believes the above statement and records to be true, from his knowledge of the general character and appointment of those men by the church. And when this is done on the general church book, the record shall be just as holy, and shall answer the ordinance just the same as if he had seen with his eyes and heard with his ears, and made a record of the same on the general church book.
5 You may think this order of things to be very particular; but let me tell you that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.

It makes sense to me, that we have important, eternal ordinances recorded. We should record them personally, as well as having them recorded in the church. I think that currently, the ward clerks are some of the recorders of these things. They are not always present for ordinances, but they have the witnesses who have certified that they saw and verified these things being doing in their proper order, so they can then record that they were done. There are many temples now, so there are recorders in the temple for the ordinances that are performed there as well. Many of the ordinances that were performed with the early saints, had to be performed again because they were not recorded properly. Our records are part of what makes our ordinances acceptable to the Lord. This is a great responsibility that I know is in line with the will of God.

6 And further, I want you to remember that John the Revelator was contemplating this very subject in relation to the dead, when he declared, as you will find recorded in Revelation 20:12—And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
7 You will discover in this quotation that the books were opened; and another book was opened, which was the book of life; but the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; consequently, the books spoken of must be the books which contained the record of their works, and refer to the records which are kept on the earth. And the book which was the book of life is the record which is kept in heaven; the principle agreeing precisely with the doctrine which is commanded you in the revelation contained in the letter which I wrote to you previous to my leaving my place—that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven.
8 Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.
9 It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

Here, the prophet gives an explanation of what is meant by the words of John. There is a record to be kept on earth, which we will be judged by. There is also a record in heaven. The records of the things we do on earth is very important to our reward in heaven. The prophet clarifies here that if it is not recorded on earth, it will not be recorded in heaven. The act of recording our ordinances, binds them so that they will be known for eternity. This gives me a greater sense of the value of family history work and all the records that the church has gathered together. These records that tell the ordinances of our loved ones who have died, will be part of what will be used to judge them. If they would have accepted these ordinances in their own life, had they had the opportunity, they will have the opportunity once we have done the physical ordinances for them. Our service in this is very important to the salvation of all the souls who have ever lived.

10 And again, for the precedent, Matthew 16:18, 19: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
11 Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living.
12 Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life—The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.
13 Consequently, the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble, to show forth the living and the dead, and that all things may have their likeness, and that they may accord one with another—that which is earthly conforming to that which is heavenly, as Paul hath declared, 1 Corinthians 15:46, 47, and 48:
14 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as are the records on the earth in relation to your dead, which are truly made out, so also are the records in heaven. This, therefore, is the sealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the keys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of knowledge.

The principle that things can be bound both on earth and in heaven through the priesthood power, is repeated throughout the scriptures. I know that this is a true principle of the gospel and I have hope in the eternal blessings of the sealing power. I was interested in the phrase he uses here, “summum bonum of the whole subject” and what he meant by it. The phrase is defined as, “the supreme good in which all moral values are included or from which they are derived.” If I understand it correctly, the prophet was saying that all values are created from the priesthood power, which allows men to have a knowledge of the plan of salvation and the works for the dead. With the priesthood we learn the facts of the gospel principles. I think that this pertains mainly to the overwhelming amount of knowledge that can be gained in the temple of the Lord, which is only available to us because of the priesthood. I know that the priesthood is the power that will save us all. Without it, the sealing ordinances cannot be performed and none of us will be able to to escape from the suffering of hell, no matter how good we lived our lives.

The baptism is likened to the resurrection, and the font of baptism is likened to the grave that the dead will rise from at the time of the second coming. In my study, I read that the baptismal fonts in the temples are purposely placed below ground level to represent the grave and those who are dead, being raised from the grave. I think that with this in mind, the next time I perform baptisms for those who have died, I will imagine them being resurrected and rising out of the grave to eternal life. This is a very powerful image in my mind of a wondrous miracle that I look forward to witnessing. Our own baptisms should also remind us of being buried and rising into a new life committed to the work of the Lord. Such a beautiful ordinance that was established by God, for us to make sacred covenants with Him.

15 And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.
16 And now, in relation to the baptism for the dead, I will give you another quotation of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:29: Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?
17 And again, in connection with this quotation I will give you a quotation from one of the prophets, who had his eye fixed on the restoration of the priesthood, the glories to be revealed in the last days, and in an especial manner this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel, namely, the baptism for the dead; for Malachi says, last chapter, verses 5th and 6th: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

A Family Tree

The prophet teaches us here, that our eternal destiny depends upon the salvation of our ancestors. I’m not sure that I have a real understanding of why that is, but I know that without our work here, they cannot be saved, so I understand that there is a literal and eternal connection needed between us and our ancestors. Joseph also teaches us that the work for the dead is the “most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel”. In particular baptism for the dead, allows the atonement to save those who choose to accept Christ after they have died. Without this, these souls would be lost in hell for eternity. The prophet also reminds us that Malachi said that unless the power to do this work was restored, the earth would be smitten with a curse. I believe that this is to say that the whole purpose of the earth in its mortal state, would have been wasted and the eternal bonds of families would never have been made. The earth is meant to be renewed into the state where those who inherit the celestial kingdom would gain their inheritance. If no one was able to be sealed to spouses, children, parents and so on, than we would not obtain the celestial glory and therefore the earth would be wasted.

18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
19 Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!
20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light! The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!
21 And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!

If the keys of the sealing power, which make the ordinances in the temple possible, had not been restored, then the prophesies regarding this final dispensation would not come to pass. This great restoration, is the culmination of all that the previous times of the earth and all the former prophets have worked towards. This should bring gladness and joy to the hearts of all mankind who learn of it. I know that I have a great sense of joy in this knowledge. The prophet showed his joy in these verses. I know that the priesthood keys were restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, in this dispensation, and for the purpose of saving all mankind. The prophets and apostles of all the dispensations before, came and passed on all that was needed for us to participate in this saving work. It truly is a time of great joy.

22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
23 Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!
24 Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand; and who can abide the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.
25 Brethren, I have many things to say to you on the subject; but shall now close for the present, and continue the subject another time. I am, as ever, your humble servant and never deviating friend,

Joseph Smith.

The sons of Levi are referring to all those who are ordained to do work in the temples. The Lord will give them the opportunities to grow and be purified so that they can be worthy to do the work in His holy house. Those of us who are worthy and able to do work in the temples, will be the ones to make the offering that was prophesied. We will offer the records from the temple, which will show the work for the dead has been finished and is worthy of acceptance from God.

The prophet had given all the amazing reasons to do the work that they had been called to do. The work of saving others is the duty of all those who have received the gospel and have made their own covenants with God. We are able to be partners with the Savior, Jesus Christ, who endured the greatest sacrifice that will ever be known to man. I hope that I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and also work along with him to help save the worthy and righteous people who are waiting for their chance to receive their rewards.

The Sabbath Day

To view the entire lesson go here: The Sabbath Day

The Meaning of the Sabbath Day

What is the Sabbath day?

The Sabbath day is the day set aside to worship and devote ourselves to the Lord and his purposes. It is the day of rest just as God had a day of rest during the creation. We learn of this in the ten commandments given to the Lord’s people, in Exodus 20.

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The Purpose of the Sabbath Day

How would you explain the purpose of the Sabbath day to someone who does not know about the Sabbath?

God gives us six days of the week to work, create, play, and do the everyday things that are necessary to get by. He expects in return that we will use the seventh day to focus on His plan, His work, and His Son, Jesus Christ. This gives us an opportunity to draw closer to God and to help to teach and save other souls. Modern revelation to the prophet, Joseph Smith, has taught us the purposes for the Sabbath. In Doctrine and Covenants 59 we read the following:

9 And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;
10 For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;
11 Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;
12 But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.
13 And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

The Sabbath is designed for us to rest from our work, pray, partake of the sacrament, confess our sins, and fast, so that we will be clean of the sins of the world.

The Lord’s Day

Why was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first day?

Before the death of the Savior, Jesus Christ, the Sabbath was observed on the seventh day. This was a likeness to God resting on the seventh day. Then the Savior died and was risen on the first day of the week. To keep the remembrance of the resurrection of the Savior, the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week for the Christian world. In Acts 20:7 we read the following:

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

How can the remembrance of the Resurrection influence our worship on the Sabbath?

I think if we recognize that this change was made to stand as a reminder of the Lord’s resurrection, we may be more inclined to focus on Him. We should realize that we need to remember the saving power of the resurrection and how Jesus Christ has freed every person who has lived or will ever live, from the bonds of death. Because of His resurrection, we all will be resurrected.

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

What does it mean to keep the Sabbath day holy?

To keep the Sabbath day holy, we need to refrain from our typical daily work and play. The Sabbath is kept holy when we go to church, worship and focus our thoughts on the Lord, serve others through teaching and visiting them, study scriptures and words of the prophets and other church leaders, spend time strengthening our family relationships, and so on. Even though it is the day of rest, this does not mean that we should literally rest all day. It means that we rest from the typical and work on the spiritual. When we have to work to provide for our families, we need to continue to keep it holy, by remaining in the spirit of worship and reverence for the Lord.

Blessings for Observing the Sabbath

What are some blessings we receive when we keep the Sabbath day holy?

As mentioned above, one of the blessings is that we will be kept clean from the ways of the world. The Sabbath offers us the blessings of the spirit, which come from partaking of the sacrament worthily. We are blessed with stronger relationships with our families and friends. I often feel the blessing of renewed strength from going to church on the sabbath day. It feels like taking a deep breath so that I can face the challenges of the week with a renewed spirit. I am so grateful to have a day to focus an even greater attention on the Lord and to put my life into the eternal perspective. I am so glad that our family has been fortunate enough to never have to work on Sundays and that we have been able to truly set aside that day. I am grateful for my Savior, His life and ministry, the atonement, and His death and resurrection.

D&C Section 88 (Part 4)

This is a continuation of a previous post (D&C Section 88 Part 3).

In previous posts for this section, we have been given a message of peace from the Lord. We have learned about the blessings that Christ gives us through His light and resurrection. We have learned about the eternal purpose of the earth and the glories that we may gain after this life depending out our worthiness. We have also learned that all of God’s creations have been given laws to follow. When we follow the laws that have been given to us, we can become pure and have the promise of seeing the Lord and having great peace brought to our souls.

This revelation continues:

74 And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean;
75 That I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God, that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last promise, which I have made unto you, when I will.
76 Also, I give unto you a commandment that ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth.

This commandment is for us today, because we are part of the last kingdom that the Lord is talking about. When we do all of these things, we have the promise of being prepared to meet the Lord and have the blessings of eternal life and exaltation. We are commanded to continue in prayer and fasting. This means that we need to pray vocally often and that we should continue with a prayer in our hearts. We should also fast regularly, and with the purpose of humbling ourselves and allowing the spirit to influence our hearts and minds. When we pray and fast continuously, we are protected from Satan and his temptations.

77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—
80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.

As it has been said before, He is a God of knowledge. We should be continuously striving to learn. It is good to learn the doctrine of His gospel, as well as things about the temporal things around us. The Lord tells us here, that we need to learn as much as we can, so that we can be prepared for our callings. All things have been given to us by God, and therefore the more we learn of them, the more we can become like Him.

81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
82 Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.
83 He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.
84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;
85 That their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come. . . .

It is our duty to spread the gospel to others where ever we are. These verses teach us that if we choose to keep this warning to ourselves, the blame will be ours for not sharing what we know. If however, we teach and warn all those we can, they will be held accountable for there own choice of whether or not to follow that warning.

86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.
87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.
88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.

There will come a time, when the signs of the earth and heavens, will give the testimony of the Lord. We have been given a warning that we must repent and live righteously now, before that time. These terrible things happen because God allows them to happen. If we were more righteous, we would be blessed with the promise of peace and life protected from these things. However, the prophecies have said that the world would become more and more wicked, which it is. And the calamities will continue to come until the day when the Lord comes again. The question is whether or not we will learn from these things and come unto Christ. Otherwise, will our hearts fail us because of fear?

92 And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
93 And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.
94 And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.

The angels will be the final warning of the coming of the Lord. At that time, all that is wicked will be ready for the destruction that has been promised. All people on the earth will witness the signs of His coming. Verse 93 teaches us that there will be one great sign that all will see and the prophet Joseph Smith that this sign will be mistaken as a planet, comet or something like that. People of the world, will see it and will not know it for what it is, but they will fear their doom. Those who choose fear over faith, will realize their fears. For some, these scriptures would bring worry and fear of that destruction. I hope that I will continue to be in the frame of mind to have faith and hope. I hope that in that day, I will be able to stand firm and be excited for the coming of the Lord. There was a time in my life when I would have said that I hoped I was not living at this time, but now, I am so excited for the second coming and the amazing blessings that will come to those who are living righteously. I think it is good to remind ourselves that this revelation is meant to be a message of peace to us.

95 And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;
96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—
98 They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

This is the message of peace that we all need to hear. Once the wickedness is destroyed from the earth, there will be silence. There is no way for us to know exactly how long this half an hour is to the Lord, because we only understand time as man as defined it. Whether it is short or long, it will be a time when things in the heavens will not move. Then, the time of the first resurrection will come to those righteous on the earth. Men will be made ready to live on the earth and with the Lord, during the time of the Millennium.

99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.

After those righteous, who have made sacred covenants with the Lord, have been resurrected, those who tried to live righteously without the covenants will be resurrected. They will be able to receive the gospel during the Millennium. This is second part of what we call the first resurrection.

100 And again, another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation;
101 And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.
102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.

The third trump is for those who will not have the privilege of living during the Millennium, because of their choices in this life. These are they who will be suffer in hell until there time has come. Their time is part of what we call the second resurrection, which will happen after the time of the Millennium. After the third, there will be a fourth trump. This is for those who are the sons of perdition and will gain no degree of glory, but will have a resurrection and then return to the state of hell to suffer torment for eternity.

I have a hope in these parts of the plan of salvation, that allows me the strength to faithfully live my life. I feel that this things are true and good. I look forward to the second coming and the wonderful blessings of the Millennium. I am sure that it will be an exciting time for those who are ready and willing to do the work of the Lord.

This section will be continued.

D&C Section 88 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (D&C Section 88 Part 1).

In the previous post, we learned that this revelation was given as a message of peace to the saints. We have learned that progression and growth come from the light of Christ, which is given to all men. We have also learned that all men will be resurrected because of the redemption, through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

The section continues:

17 And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.
18 Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

The earth will be the inheritance of the righteous, so it must be sanctified. It was created for the souls of the righteous and it will be the possession of those worthy of the celestial kingdom. I love imagining my own little piece of paradise on this beautiful world that the Lord created for us.

21 And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
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.

I’ve written about this a few times before. My understanding of this, is that we will not live where we would be unworthy because we are among others who are more righteous. We will gain the degree of glory that will fit who we are – meaning our behaviors, attitudes, and the way we live this life. Those who are worthy of the celestial glory, because they lived a life of righteousness, will feel at home in the celestial kingdom. Others who lived an unrighteous life, would not feel at home there and so they will be where they fit best. God knows us. He knows our hearts and minds and he will judge us righteously and we will gain the glory that is perfect for us. This is why it is so important to change our hearts and minds today. I want to be worthy of the celestial glory, so I must work on my own faults and have a change of heart where it is needed. This separation into kingdoms of glory, is the reason we have come to learn and grow on this earth.

25 And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—
26 Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.

The end of the world is not as destructive as movies and books make it out to be. I learn from this scripture, that the earth will die and in a sense come to an end. This ending only means that it will no longer be what we know it as today. It will be resurrected as a perfected celestial body. This scripture says that the earth follows the celestial law because it does what it was created for. If we do what we have been created for, then we too will gain a celestial glory.

27 For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.
28 They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.

The righteous will die and be resurrected as a spiritual body. This modern revelation, through the prophet Joseph Smith, teaches us that when we are resurrected we will not be a body of spirit, meaning that our spirits alone will come back from the dead. It teaches us that we will be spiritual bodies. We will be resurrected as souls with both a body and a spirit. The difference in our resurrected bodies and the ones we have now, is that our bodies will become immortal. We will never die again. Our bodies will be the same as we have now, in their perfected state.

29 Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
30 And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
31 And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

If we have the desire and ability to live the celestial laws now, we will be resurrected and receive a celestial glory, a celestial spirit, a celestial body, and a celestial reward. If however, we only have the desire and ability to live a terrestrial or telestial law, that is what we will be blessed with when we are resurrected.

32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.

After all who are worthy of one of the degrees of glory (celestial, terrestrial, or telestial) has gained their reward, those who were not worthy of any of them will still be resurrected. However, they will not receive any reward and instead will remain as they were before. These that are left, are also known as the sons of perdition.

36 All kingdoms have a law given;
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.

Every kingdom that exists has laws given by God and those souls who are there must follow those laws. To me this is just fitting for my understanding of God as a just and true God. If this were not the case, then it would not be necessary for us to follow a certain set of laws on this earth today.

38 And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
39 All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.

For every law there must be consequences for either following it or not. Some of the laws we have are for all people everywhere, such as the ten commandments. Other laws, like those of each nation or land, are specific to those people. There must be laws in all the kingdoms of God, so that everything will be in order.

40 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

God is the ruler of all kingdoms that exist and he knows and understands all things. This idea is way beyond my ability to understand, but I feel in my heart that it is true. I know that my Father in Heaven, knows all things including the thoughts and desires of my heart. I know that I am personally known and loved by my Father in Heaven. I also know that he loves all His children this way. I have the smallest glimpse of this as I have more than one child and I can still manage to have great love for all of them.

I think that the Lord wanted the early saints to know that even though times would be tough and following his laws would be difficult, He knew them all. He wanted them to know that all the laws they were being told to follow, were His laws. He wanted them to understand that if they chose to follow those laws, they would inherit the glory they deserved after this life. I know that these scriptures are for our understanding of these things as well. I look forward to the promised blessings that will come if I can stay faithful to the laws that my Father in Heaven has created for us all.

This section will be continued.


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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