Posts Tagged 'Warnings'

2 Kings Chapter 23

Josiah was a righteous king of Judah. He had worked to repair the temple and in doing so, the book of the law had been found. He read the book and then mourned for the weakness of those who had come before and the future of his people because of their wickedness. He prayed about the book, and because of his faith, Josiah would be blessed with peace in his own life. This chapter continues to tell of how he led the people.

1 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
2 And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.

Josiah gathered the elders, the men of Judah, and the people of Jerusalem, including priests, prophets, and people of all walks of life. He read all the words of the book of the law, or the book of the covenant. This was the book that had been found in the temple, which had caused him to go to the Lord in mourning. The king could have read the words for himself and chosen to lead the people according to that, but he took it a step further when he invited the people of the land to share in coming to a knowledge of the word of the Lord. This was good, because it gave the people a chance to choose for themselves from their own understanding, whether they would want to follow the law or live as they had been living.

3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

Then, Josiah made covenants to the Lord, to be faithful, obedient to the commandments with all the heart and soul, and to perform all the rites and ordinances of the covenants in the book. The people agreed to the covenants.

4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el.
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city.

Josiah commanded for all the items in the temple and around it, that were devoted to the worship of Baal and any other gods, to be removed from the temple. They were taken outside of Jerusalem to fields where they were burned. The ashes were then carried away to Bethel. The king, destroyed (or put down) the wicked or false priests, who had been ordained to serve in the idolatrous temples around the land of Judah, including those who served Baal and other gods. He removed the idol found in the temple and had it burned and ground into powder outside of Jerusalem. The powder was cast on the graves of their children, possibly all those who were sacrificed to that very idol. He destroyed the places where the sodomites were doing wicked acts, removed all the wicked priests in the land of Judah, and defiled their places of worship.

9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
14 And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.

Those priests that were removed, did not go to the temple in Jerusalem, but returned to their own people, as was part of the law of Moses. Josiah destroyed Topheth, which was the place of burning, or where the people sacrificed their own children to false gods. This sacrificing of children with fire, was strictly forbidden in the law of Moses. He took the chariots away, that were used to worship the sun, and he burned them. He destroyed the altars in the kings house, or on the roofs of the houses, as well as those in the temple. He ground them down and tossed the dust into a brook. Then, he destroyed the places of worship around Jerusalem and destroyed the wicked men there.

15 Moreover the altar that was at Beth-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el.
18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el.
20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah continued to destroy all things related to idolatry in Bethel, which had been built by Jeroboam because Jerusalem had been too far for them to go to comfortably for their worship. He burned the place of worship and its grove. He burned the bones of the dead, found in the sepulchres, upon the altar. He saw a specific sepulchre and asked who was buried there. The men of Bethel told him it was the sepulcre of the man of God from Judah, who had prophesied of the things that Josiah had done to the altar (see 1 Kings 13). The prophecy had been fulfilled. Josiah commanded the men to leave the bones of the prophet, so none of the men touched them. The places of worship in Samaria were taken away, just as the place in Bethel. All the wicked priests were destroyed as well. Then, Josiah returned to Jerusalem.

21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
22 Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.

The king gave a commandment that the people were to observe the passover, as they were commanded in the law of Moses. There had not been one observed like this, in all the days since the first time of the judges in Israel. This passover was observed in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign (see 2 Chronicles 35 for more on this observance of the passover).

24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.
25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

Josiah continued to follow all the laws in the book of the law, by getting rid of any involved in witchcraft and sorcery that were discovered in all the land of Judah (see Deuteronomy 18). No other king in the land of Israel, had completely given himself to following after the law of Moses.

It is amazing to be described like this in the history of the kings of Israel. Josiah was like no other king because he was loyal to the Lord, trusted Him, and stood up for those things which he knew to be true. His choices to cleanse all of Judah, were bold and courageous. He is an example of “standing up and being all in“, not wavering in his faith, and being a force for good in the lives of those under his influence.

26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.
27 And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

However, Manasseh had done such wickedness and the people with him, especially with sacrificing so many lives to his evil ways, that the Lord would still hold the people of Judah accountable for their actions. Judah would be scattered, just as Israel had been scattered, including all that were in the city of Jerusalem. The temple had been desecrated by wicked acts, and the Lord would no longer be among the people there.

29 In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead.

Egypt came up against the Assyrains, and Josiah went against him. Josiah was killed in Megiddo and was taken back to Jerusalem and buried there (see also 2 Chronicles 35). Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, was anointed king by the people.

31 Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
32 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
33 And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh-nechoh.

At the age of 23, Jehoahaz began his reign in Jerusalem. He only reigned in wickedness for three months, then Pharoah-nechoh took him captive and made the land of Judah subject to Egypt. Judah had to pay Egypt 100 silver talents and a talent of god. Pharoah made Eliakim the king instead and calld him Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken into Egypt and died there (see also 2 Chronicles 36). Jehoiakim paid tribute to Egypt by taxing the people.

36 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.

Jehoiakim reigned for 11 years in Jerusalem, from the age of 25 to about 36. He led the people in wickedness. Sadly, all the work that Josiah had done, to help the people return to righteousness, was quickly undone by two unrighteous kings that followed after him. This is a testimony and a witness to me, of the importance of heeding the warnings and preparing ourselves to withstand temptations in our own lives. The Lord had warned the children of Israel, that any amount of idolatry, would bring their entire nation down to destruction. Over a short amount of time, some of the people chose to allow other nations to influence them and turned to the wickedness of idolatry. Once the temptation had been allowed to be a part of the land, it was nearly impossible to go back to following strictly after the Lord. Josiah worked hard to bring as many back to following the commandments as possible, but even his own sons were not willing to continue in righteousness. There are warnings that have been given in our own time. We need to heed the warnings of modern-day prophets, so that we may avoid temptations, remain safe spiritually, and have the kind of peace that Josiah was able to have in his life. (A good talk on warnings in our time, as it relates to our children is “Watching with All Perseverance“.)

2 Kings Chapter 21

Hezekiah, was the king of Judah in a time when most of the land of Israel was taken over by other nations. Hezekiah had ruled in righteousness and had the blessing of the Lord’s protection for himself and the people of Jerusalem. At one point, he allowed himself to give into the temptation to be prideful and showed all his treasures to the Babylonians. In response, the Lord promised Hezekiah that the people of Judah would be taken captive into Babylon. These things would effect his descendants in the days of his sons. When Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh, became king. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
3 For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.
4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:
8 Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.
9 But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.

At the age of twelve, Manasseh became king. He ruled until he was about 67 years old, or for about 55 years. He did not follow after the ways of his father, who had destroyed all the idols and repaired the temple of the Lord. Instead, he followed after the ways of many others who had ruled before Hezekiah, building the temples, altars and groves for other gods. He also built other altars within the temple of the Lord, which were designed to worship other gods there. He sacrificed his own sons and did all manner of wickedness associated with idolatry. He placed an idol in the temple, in the sacred place where great promises had been made to the faithful kings of the land, such as David and Solomon. He desecrated the Holy temple of the Lord. Manasseh led the people into greater evil than even the heathen nations that were found in the land before the children of Israel arrived there. (see also 2 Chronicles 33)

It is hard to think that the son of one who had lived so righteously, would live so wickedly. His father had only been an influence in his life for twelve years, he was young and I am sure that there were still many people who were wicked, who were able to influence his impressionable mind. It all would come down to his individual agency, or the kinds of choices he made, because of the influences he had. This teaches how important it is to influence our youth for good. Our youth will one day become those who lead the world. All future generations will be influenced by our children and their choices. We can make a difference in the future, by being the right kind of examples and giving our youth the tools they need to make good choices for themselves.

10 And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying,
11 Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols:
12 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle.
13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of
Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
14 And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies;
15 Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.
16 Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Prophets were called by God, to speak to the people. The prophecy and word of the Lord, was that Manasseh had done greater wickedness than all those before him and had caused Judah to do these things along with him. Because of this, a great evil would come upon all of Judah and those who heard the prophecy would feel their ears tingle, a witness of its truth. The people of Judah would be destroyed and forsaken, delivered into the hand of their enemies to be killed or made slaves. The Lord also said that Manasseh had shed so much innocent blood, that it filled Jerusalem. A lot of blood can be shed by one man in a reign of 55 years.

17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

These were not all of the acts of Manasseh, but more were recorded. Manasseh died and his son, Amon, became the king.

19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh did.
21 And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them:
22 And he forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.

Amon reigned from the age of 22 to 24, continuing in the wickedness of his father. He did not follow after God, but chose to follow after idols and continue to lead the people in idolatry.

23 And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and slew the king in his own house.
24 And the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.
25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
26 And he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza: and Josiah his son reigned in his stead.

His servants conspired against him and killed him. The people of Jerusalem killed those who had conspired against the king and then made Josiah, the son of Amon, the king.

This chapter causes me to think about the Lord’s timing. There had been many years now, in which great wickedness had been allowed to continue, even after the first prophecy of the destruction of the people of Jerusalem and Judah. In their great wickedness, I am sure they would not have believed it was ever going to happen, since they had been allowed to continue to live as they were. But, how often do the wicked believe in the prophecies of the Lord? Nevertheless, the Lord has always done things at the time that was right for his purpose. His purpose being to allow the greatest number of souls to be redeemed as possible, in order to have eternal life. Moses 1:39 reads, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The prophets seem to have been proclaiming a warning call, giving the people of Jerusalem every opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Likewise, there was also going to be a day when a Savior would come, and the timing of their destruction would influence the lives of all the generations that would someday come from these wicked and idolatrous people. The word of this prophecy would eventually be fulfilled , and only those who heeded the word of the Lord, would be able to avoid destruction. We can learn about at least one group who avoided this specific time of destruction in The Book of Mormon (see 2 Kings 24 and 1 Nephi 1). Recognizing this, should help us to see that we have the opportunity to heed the warnings of the prophets as well. Will we follow after the world and be led to destruction, or will we follow after the prophets and avoid it?

Exodus Chapter 11

Moses and Aaron were called of God, to deliver the Israelites from bondage. They were commanded by God to bring nine plagues against the Egyptians by this point. Pharaoh hardened his heart against the wonders of God and still would not allow the people of Israel to go. Moses and Aaron have been cast out of the presence of Pharaoh with the threat of death if he saw them again. The story of Moses and the plagues of Egypt continues as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.
2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
3 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.
9 And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.
10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

The Lord told Moses that there would be one more plague and then Pharaoh would let them go, or rather he would cast them out. The Israelites were told to ask for jewels or jewelry from their neighbors. I think this was to fulfill the promise that was made to them before the plagues began, that they would receive things of wealth before leaving the land of Egypt. I think the Egyptians were willing to give them anything, if it meant they would leave and stop bringing such awful things upon them. The plague was that all the firstborn, whether human or animal, in the land of Egypt would die. This would bring great heartache to the people of Egypt. This plague was following a warning given to Pharaoh before the first plague came to them. He had been told then, that if he did not allow the Israelites to go and worship him, then his firstborn would be slain. The Lord is always true to His word, and here again was the promise of taking the firstborn. The Lord would put a difference between the Egyptians and the Israelites. I think that this means that the Egyptians would not have been able to hide among the Israelites to avoid this. The Lord knew His people from those who worshipped other gods. He knew that some would beg them to leave and not bring any more plagues upon them. I think Moses was to tell these things of the Lord to the people so that word would get to Pharaoh, since he was not to go to Pharaoh any more. However, the verse says he went out from Pharaoh in anger and I’m not quite sure what that means. Anyway, the Lord told Moses that Pharaoh would not listen to the warning and the plague would happen. The lesson learned from this chapter, is that the Lord will do what is necessary to more His work forward. Pharaoh was warned multiple times of what would come and yet he still hardened his heart to the words of Moses. Also, the Lord keeps His word. The Israelites were given much from the Egyptians and this was just as the Lord had said. We are given warnings as well, and we need to heed them.

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 77 (Part 2)

(This is a continuation of the previous post: D&C Section 77 Part 1)

Historical Background

While translating the Bible, the prophet, Joseph Smith, received this revelation regarding the book of St. John (or the book of Revelation). It is a guide to understanding parts of the revelation of John, that had been a great mystery to the saints before the prophet received this.

Four Angels Sent from God with Power to Save Life and to Destroy It

In Revelation 7:1 we read, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

“Q. What are we to understand by the four angels, spoken of in the 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelation? A. We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; having power to shut up the heavens, to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness (D&C 77:8 ).” The four angels that John saw will have the power to judge the wickedness of the world, and to cause for all things to be sealed to the heavens or to be held captive by darkness. I believe that there is and always has been order to the work of God, which involves the practice of delegation. These angels have been delegated a portion of the responsibility for bringing destruction to the wicked. The power to do this comes directly from the Lord.

What Is the Significance of the Angel from the East Sealing the Servants of God?

In Revelation 7:2-3 we read, “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea (v. 2), Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads (v. 3).”

“Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse? A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things (D&C 77:9).” The servants of God are sealed by the everlasting covenant and will be protected when the destruction falls upon the wickedness of the world.

“Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished? A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal (D&C 77:10).” The destruction of the wickedness and the saving of those who are sealed by the everlasting covenant, will happen in the sixth thousand years of the earth’s life, before the thousand years of rest. This revelation through Joseph Smith, tells us that Elias will come to restore the sealing power that will save those who serve the Lord and are sealed by the everlasting covenant.

Who Are the 144,000?

In Revelations 7:4 we read, “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”

“Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe? A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn (D&C 77:11).” The ordained high priests of God, are those 144,000 who are sealed and have the power to seal the everlasting gospel and covenant to those who are faithful. These 144,000 will gather the tribes of Israel and bring them to the gospel.

What Things Has Christ “Not Put into His Power”?

In Revelations 8 we read, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour (v. 1). And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets (v. 2).”

“Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation? A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; . . . (D&C 77:12)”.

There will be a thousand years that will be the time when the world will be sanctified. All things will be redeemed by the Lord, except those things which “he hath not put into his power”. In D&C 76:41-43 we read, “That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness (v. 41); That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him (v. 42); Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him (v. 43).” At this time, all but the sons of perdition, will be redeemed.

What Is the Purpose for the Sounding of Trumpets by Seven Angels?

Revelations 8 continues, “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound (v. 6). The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up (v. 7). And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood (v. 8 ); And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed (v. 9). And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters (v. 10); And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (v. 11). And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise (v. 12). And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound (v. 13)!”

The rest of verse 12 in Doctrine and Covenants Section 77 reads, “. . . and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.” The seven angels with seven trumpets, will announce the coming of the Lord. During the last dispensation of the world, before the Savior comes again, these signs represented by the seven angels, will be given.

Revelation chapter 9, goes on to tell about the rest of the angels sounding their trumpets and awful things happening to those who do not repent. It also tells of things happening to those who have been sealed, but not ending in death. In D&C 77:13 we read, “Q. When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the 9th chapter of Revelation? A. They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ.” These signs are proof to us that the second coming is near.

What Is the Symbolism of the Little Book Eaten by John

In Revelation chapter 10, John’s message continues about seeing another angel. “And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth (v. 2), And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices (v. 3).” John had more he was shown that he was to write, when he was told not to write them (v. 4). The angel told him there would be no more time, once the seventh angel days were here (v. 5-7). “And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth (v. 8 ). And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey (v. 9). And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter (v. 10). And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings (v. 11).”

In D&C 77:14 we read, “Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation? A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.” The little book was the words of God, to be shared with all people. By eating the book in his revelation, he was being ordained to his mission to bring this message “before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings”. Like the book, the message of God is sweet and we should rejoice in it, but the responsibility that comes with knowing of the word of the Lord, is that there will be judgements and they will be bitter for those who have not repented.

Are John the Revelator and the Angel Ascending from the East the Same Person?

We learned from modern-day revelation, that the angel from the East, was Elias (see D&C 77:9 above). Then here in verse 14, we read that John ate the book, or was to fulfill the mission of Elias. The mission is the same, to restore all things. Throughout the scriptures, there are many men who are given the title of Elias. This is because the restoration of all things came through many men. The prophet Moroni came and began the restoration through Joseph Smith. He was given the tools to translate, the Book of Mormon, and more. In D&C 13, John the Baptist came to restore the keys of the Aaronic priesthood. In D&C 110, Moses restored the keys of the gathering of Israel, Elias restored the gospel of Abraham, and Elijah restored the sealing powers. In D&C 128, the prophet speaks of Peter, James and John (the John who gave this revelation) restoring keys of this dispensation and the fullness of time, and of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael each with their keys of the priesthood. Elias is the title given to all those who would bring their keys to be restored in this final dispensation.

Who Are the Two Witnesses Referred to by John?

In Revelation chapter 11 we read, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth (v. 3). These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth (v. 4).” Two witnesses will prophesy with great powers of heaven, then they will be killed and after three days of the people rejoicing over their death, they will rise and be witnessed ascending to heaven.

In verse 15 of D&C 77 we read, “Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation? A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.” Just before the Lord comes again, a temple will be built in Jerusalem again, and as there is war in the city, two prophets who have been “raised up to the Jewish nation” (up to it and not from it), will prophesy. The manual I am studying goes on further to say that Elder Bruce R. McConkie said these prophets would be members of the Quorum of the Twelve or the First Presidency, who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know that we are in the last dispensation of time, when all things have been restored just as was prophesied by John. The gathering of Israel has been started and many great and wonderful things have happened on this earth. I believe with all of my heart that all of these prophesies will be fulfilled. I do not fully understand the things that John saw in this revelation, and in fact it has taken me several days to read and re-read this section to even understand the smallest part of it. That being said, I know theses things are true. I know that there will be more great things to come and many awful and terrible things as well. The hope I have, is that after all these things happen, the Savior will come again and bring with Him the greatest joy and peace that man has ever known.

D&C Section 43 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Part 1).

Historical Background

Some of the saints still did not understand that revelation for the church could only come through the Prophet, Joseph Smith. Some continued to falsely say that they were receiving revelations pertaining to the guiding the church or giving correction to the Prophet. The Prophet asked the Lord and received this revelation in response.

How Is God’s Warning Voice Being Sounded Today?

“Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand (v. 17). For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations: Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again (v. 18 ).” Those who are wicked will not be a part of the first resurrection when the Lord comes again. They will be resurrected, but they will not receive the blessings that will come with that first sounding of the trump.

“Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked (v. 19). Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord (v. 20); For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord (v. 21)?” It is the duty of all followers of Christ, to share the gospel with others and to not hold back.

“Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come (v. 22)? And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you (v. 23). O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not (v. 24)! How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not (v. 25)!”

We are called to repentance over and over again. There are many warnings that we are given by the Lord and we need to pay attention and act accordingly. In our lives there will be times of storms, either literal or not. These storms are a way for the Lord to remind us to get our lives back on track, to repent of our sins, and to devote ourselves to obeying the commandments. They come as a warning before the Lord returns again. Personally, I would rather follow the warnings of the prophets and repents, then to have natural disasters and other bad things happen in order for me to be reminded.

How Will Satan Be Bound During the Millennium?

“Behold, the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full (v. 26). . . Wherefore, labor ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time—for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth (v. 28 ). For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth (v. 29). For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come (v. 30). For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth (v. 31).”

In 1 Nephi 22:26 we read, “And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.” Satan will be bound, because the saints will be so righteous that he will not have the power to influence them. It is our choice not to listen to the temptations of Satan that can stop him from having power over us. This binding of Satan, will only be after the second coming of the Lord, when the wicked will be removed from the earth. I learn from the manual that I am studying that both the destruction of the wicked and the blessing of the spirit on those who remain, are the necessary parts that will strip Satan of his power for that time. What an amazing promise this is. I hope to witness the day when the people of the world are this righteous, because it truly seems that there is greater wickedness every day and it is creeping in all around us.

“The Earth Shall Pass Away So As by Fire”

“And he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire (v. 32).” In order for the renewal of all things, the earth must pass away just as all things that are living must do. The earth will be renewed just as all people will be resurrected and renewed.

“The Wicked Shall Go Away into Unquenchable Fire”

“And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment (v. 33).” Those who are wicked will not be immediately resurrected, but will be held captive while the righteous do the work of the millennium. They will be caught up in the torment of their sins and will be awaiting their possible spiritual death, or separation from all things spiritual, particularly God.

What Are the “Solemnities of Eternity”?

“Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds (v. 34). Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen (v. 35).” The Lord told the saints then, and it applies now as well, that they needed to think about the solemn things. We have the opportunity to make sacred covenants with God and when we do, we need to remember the things that we promise as well as the blessings that are promised to us. When we remember these things and treasure them in our minds, we will find it easier to do what is right. It won’t be easier because there will be less temptation. I believe actually that it will be quite the opposite and that there will be even greater temptations there, but we will be given the strength that is needed to withstand those temptations.

I know that in my own life, I have been blessed when I think of things with my “eternal eyes”. When I think of the effects that my decisions have eternally, rather than what they may mean for just right now, I am happier with my decisions. There are a lot of things that would make my life right now seem better, but that would not be good in the long run. When I choose to focus on the bigger picture, I realize that my perspective makes all the difference and I feel so blessed. I am so grateful to know of the plan of salvation and to know that there are reasons that I am trying to live righteously today.

D&C Section 1 (Part 1)

The Doctrine and Covenants Is a Voice of Warning unto All People

“HEARKEN, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together (v. 1).  For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated (v. 2).  And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed (v. 3).  And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days (v. 4).”  The Lord is telling us that this book should be used as a warning unto all people in these last days.  This is a book of revelations that will be used to judge all mankind and so the Doctrine and Covenants is meant for all people in the world, no matter where they are or what religion they may be.

It is the responsibility of members of the gospel, to make sure that all mankind is made aware of the warning found in the Doctrine and Covenants.  He says here, the disciples whom he has called.  There are those that are specifically called to proclaim the gospel, such as the full-time missionaries.  However, any person who has been baptized into the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is making a commitment to help the work of the Lord move forward.  We do this by teaching others the gospel.  It is commandment from God.  Not a commandment to convert, but a commandment to bring His word to every person.  Only the spirit of God has the power to convert the souls of men.  It is our duty to learn what the warning is for ourselves as well.  We need to search this book and apply these things to our lives.  We need to study and ask God if these things are true and ask for the guidance of His Spirit to convert our souls.  This book, the Doctrine and Covenants, is meant to bring joy and happiness.  If we follow the commandments and live righteously, we will find these things joyous.  If we do not follow the commandments of the Lord, these writings will be a warning of the misery and eternal sadness that come from living unrighteously.

The Lord Calls This Section His Preface

And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them (v. 5).  Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth (v. 6).  Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled (v. 7).”

A preface is typically an introduction to a book.  It typically will prepare a reader by giving a summary of what they will read in the remainder of the book.  The Lord called this first section of the Doctrine and Covenants and this particular revelation, the preface to the book of His commandments.   I like that this tells us that these writings are directly from the Lord and that they are commandments for us to follow.  We should not be using the Doctrine and Covenants as soft guidelines for our lives, but we should be strictly following the doctrine.  These verses warn us that all that is found in these pages will be fulfilled.  If we are not following them, we will receive the reward that we have worked for.

What Does It Mean to Seal the “Unbelieving and Rebellious”?

“And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious (v. 8 ); Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure (v. 9)—Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man (v. 10).”

There are many things in this life that will remain with the earth once we have passed on.  Only the things that are sealed to us eternally, can continue with us.  The manual I’m reading says that those who have been called of God and have received the sealing powers, have been given the power to seal people in a state of unbelief and rebellion.  This applies in particular to those who have already been baptized members of the church.  There are leaders that are able to excommunicate members from the church.  Members who have chosen to rebel against the Church, rebel against God.  The sealing power allows those who remain rebellious to be sealed to their reward eternally.

“Prepare Ye for That Which Is to Come”

“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear (v. 11):  Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh (v. 12); And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth (v. 13).”  This is another indication that the Doctrine and Covenants is a warning to us.  The Lord’s second coming and millennium, is near and anyone who is rebelling against his commandments, will receive his anger.  I know that we are in the last days.  I believe that the Lord will come soon and I can see the wickedness of the last days building.  People are straying so far from the gospel.  I just head yesterday, that in order to avoid offending anyone, this nation will no longer have a national day of prayer.  Meaning no President will be able to call a day of prayer for any reason.  This is a sign of the times.  We as a nation are not allowed to band together in prayer to the Lord because someone who may not believe could possibly be offended.  We definitely need to be prepared for fulfillment of the prophecies of the Lord.

What is the Sword and the Arm of the Lord?

This section says that the sword of the Lord is “bathed in heaven” and will “fall upon the inhabitants of the earth” (v. 13).  “And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people (v. 14);”  When I read this, I am not exactly sure what is meant by the sword and arm of the Lord, but they are used often in scripture.  According to the manual the sword is meant to represent the destruction and judgments that come upon the wicked.  The are represents the strength of God or his power.  When I look at these verses again with this in mind, it says that the judgments of the Lord are in heaven and will come upon mankind.  And that his power will be revealed and all those who will not listen to the voice of the Lord in any way, will be cut off.

“They Who Will Not Hear . . . Shall Be Cut Off”

In verse 14, we are warned that we will be cut off if we do not listen to his words.  His words can be found in the scriptures as well as out of the mouths of his prophets.  We have a prophet on the earth today, and he speaks the words of the Lord.  He is the Lord’s mouthpiece on the earth today.  If we choose not to listen to the words of the prophet, will will be cut off as well.  I know that President Monson is the Lord’s prophet today and I know that we should listen to his counsel.  We have been given promise that the Lord will not allow the prophet to lead if he is not leading by His will, and so we need to do all that the prophet has told us to do.  This applies even when we may not understand the reasons for the counsel.

*** D&C Section 1 will be continued in the next post. ***

Helaman, Chapter 5

“Ripening for destruction”

In Mosiah 29:25-27, King Mosiah gave the Nephites a warning.  “Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord (v. 25).  Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people (v. 26).  And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land (v. 27).”  His warning is that if there comes a time when the majority of the people choose evil, or choose unrighteous leaders, then the time has come for destruction.  This warning still applies to us today.

“And it came to pass that in this same year, behold, Nephi delivered up the judgment-seat to a man whose name was Cezoram (v. 1).  For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted (v. 2).  Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction (v. 3).  And it came to pass that Nephi had become weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment-seat, and took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi also, all the remainder of his days (v. 4);”

The majority of the Nephites has begun to choose evil more often than choose that which was not evil, so they were “ripening for destruction”.  Nephi decided that he needed to go and preach to the people instead of remain in the judgement seat.  Nephi’s brother Lehi, joined him on this mission to the Nephites.

Alma had done the same thing in his days and it had been effective in changing the hearts of the people.  In Alma 31:5 we read, “And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”  Nephi knew that the gospel had the power to change hearts, and as a judge all he could do was sit and watch as the majority of the people chose things that were evil.

In D&C 15:4-6 we read, “For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you (v. 4).  Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments (v. 5).  And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen (v. 6).”  The best thing that we can do “the remainder of [our] days” to help further the Lord’s work, is to teach others.  Both Alma and Nephi understood this, and we should follow their examples and do what we can to be missionaries of the Lord’s gospel.

Will you remember?

With any game of memory (a game where you lay cards face down and turn them over two at a time to see if they match) the key to winning is remembering what you have seen.  Helaman, the father of Nephi and Lehi, had told to his sons about the things that should be remembered.

“Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good (v. 6).  Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them (v. 7).  And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers (v. 8 ).  O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world (v. 9).  And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins (v. 10).  And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls (v. 11).  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 (v. 12).  And it came to pass that these were the words which Helaman taught to his sons; yea, he did teach them many things which are not written, and also many things which are written (v. 13).  And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi, beginning at the city Bountiful (v. 14);”

Helaman told his sons to remember:

  • To keep the commandments
  • They were named (Nephi and Lehi) after their ancestors who came from Jerusalem
  • The works of Lehi and his son Nephi and that their works were good.
  • The words of king Benjamin (to his people) – that man can only be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ, who would come to redeem the world
  • The words of Amulek (to Zeezrom) – that the Lord would come to redeem men from their sins through repentance and that “angels” of the Lord (missionaries even) are sent to tell the people about repentance to save their souls
  • To build the foundation of our faith on Jesus Christ, because that is the only way to remain strong in the face of the adversity of Satan

It is so important for us to remember the things which we have been taught as well.  If we can remember these same things that Nephi and Lehi were told to remember, than we will have a strength and testimony that will not buckle under the pressures of every-day life.  If we also remember the things that are most important in our lives, the covenants which we personally make with our Father in Heaven, we cannot fail.  Remembrance is what will bring us the salvation that all righteous people are longing for.  I am glad that I am at a point in my life where I am constantly being reminded of the Savior and His atonement.  I know that without it, I am flawed in a way that prevents me from progressing eternally.  I pray that I may know the ways to use the atonement in my life and to build upon the rock of the Savior, so that I can have the blessings of exaltation and eternal life.

Remembering our names

I love my name.  When I was younger I didn’t feel that it was anything special, but as I have grown up some, become a parent myself, and have learned how it came to be, I have really come to love it.  I love that my Dad wanted to give me my first name, that he knew that one of his children was going to have this name and that when they saw me, I was it.  I love also that I have such an awesome store to go with my middle name, related to my great-grandmother.  Not as her namesake, but still.  I love that I had something to pass on to my first daughter and I hope that she will continue to pass it on.

Helaman named his son Nephi and Lehi, after his ancestors from Jerusalem, who sailed to the promised land.  He gave them these names to be a constant reminder of examples of righteousness that they should have in their lives.  I’m sure that Helaman hoped that his sons would live up to these names.  We also have a name to live up to, when we join the church and take on the covenants of baptism.  At that time, we take on the name of Christ, and I am sure that Heavenly Father wants us to do our best to live up to His name.  He has said, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  He wants us to work towards eternal life and immortality.

The power of God’s words

Nephi and Lehi started preaching in Bountiful (see v. 14 above).  Then they went to Gid, Mulek, all the land southward, and Zarahemla (v. 15-16).  Some of these places were the current lands of the Nephites, but Zarahemla was one where the Lamanites had taken over.

“And it came to pass that they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done (v. 17).”  Many dissenters from among the Nephites heard their words and repented of their sins.

“And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them (v. 18 )—Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers (v. 19).”  They were extremely successful among the Lamanites, because they were completely led by the spirit in what they should say.

In Alma 17:2-3, we learn how the sons of Mosiah and Alma were able to be such powerful teachers of the gospel.  “… yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God (v. 2).  But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God (v. 3).”  We can be great teachers also, if we prepare ourselves to have the spirit through diligent scripture study, prayer and fasting.

Why should we bother in being great missionaries?  In D&C 18:15-16 we read, “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father (v. 15)!  And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me (v. 16)!”  Because we are that we might have joy, and we have been promised a greater joy in the amount of souls that we help to bring to the gospel.

“Encircled by fire”

“And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did proceed from thence to go to the land of Nephi (v. 20).”  They had just had great success in Zarahemla and now they went to Nephi.  The first that happened when they arrived, was that a Lamanite army took them and threw them into the same prison that had held Ammon and his brothers (v. 21).  They went without food and were about to be killed (v. 22).  “And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned (v. 23).  And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage (v. 24).  For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement (v. 25).”  They were encircled by fire, and the Lamanites could not touch them, but stood there, unable to speak because of their amazement.

“And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did stand forth and began to speak unto them, saying: Fear not, for behold, it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing, in the which is shown unto you that ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us (v. 26).  And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth; but behold, they did not fall. And behold, they that were in the prison were Lamanites and Nephites who were dissenters (v. 27).  And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them (v. 28 ).  And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings (v. 29).”  As they stood there, Nephi and Lehi told them that the power of God protected them, and then they heard a voice tell them to repent.

“And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul (v. 30)—And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse (v. 31)—And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled (v. 32).  And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder (v. 33).”  Three times, they heard the voice and the walls of the prison shook with the power of God.

The Lamanites were not able to move because of fear (v. 34).  Aminadab, a dissenter, saw the shining faces of Nephi and Lehi talking to angels of God.  He told the rest of the Lamanites to look and they all saw what he saw and he told the people what they were seeing (v. 35-39).  The Lamanites wanted to know how to have the cloud of darkness removed (v. 40).  “And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you (v. 41).”  They all started to pray to God, and the cloud went away (v. 42).  Then they saw that a pillar of fire was around them, and Nephi and Lehi were with them, but nothing around them burned (v. 43-44).  The were filled with joy (v. 44).

“And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words (v. 45).  And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying (v. 46):  Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world (v. 47).”  They were filled with the spirit and the voice of the Lord spoke to them.

When they looked to see who spoke, they saw angels come down from heaven to minister to them (v. 48 ).  About 300 people witnessed these things and were told not to doubt what they saw (v. 49). “And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received (v. 50).  And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers (v. 51).  And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession (v. 52).”  A great number of Lamanites were converted to the gospel, because of the mission of Nephi and Lehi and the spirit they brought with them.

God will use us as instruments in his hands, if we are willing and able.  There is power in us, through the priesthood and the covenants we make with God, to do marvelous things as well.  This is the proof that the word of God is stronger than the sword, because Moronihah was only able to gain back half of the Nephite lands, but the word of God, converted the lost Nephites, as well as the Lamanites who returned the land to the Nephites.  If we pray, search the scriptures, fast, and have faith in the power of God to declare the gospel, we will be able to bring others to Christ.

Alma, Chapter 38

Can you be trusted?

The motto that is on the US coins is “In God We Trust”.  At this point in the scriptures, Alma has finished speaking to his son Helaman and is now talking to his son Shiblon.  “My son, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence (v. 1).  And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end (v. 2).  I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites (v. 3).  For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee (v. 4).  And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day (v. 5).”

If Shiblon would trust God, Alma promised him that he would be delivered from trials and saved at the last day.  I think the best way that we show our trust in God, is to follow the commandments and follow the promptings of the spirit.  When I have turned to God in my own personal trials, I have always come out a better person because I have put my trust in Him.

Alma says, “I trust that I shall have great joy in you (v. 2)…” to his son Shiblon.  He is saying that he trusts Shiblon to honor him and bring him great joy.  Shiblon had already shown his father the kind of man he was, by serving the wicked Zoramites along side of him.  He showed his father that he was a man of faith, who wanted to bring others to Christ.  He has proven that he wants to do what is right, that he can have patience in suffering,  and that he puts his trust in the Lord.

Trust is such an important thing.  It is a daily struggle at times, to prove to the Lord that I can be trusted, but I know that I can always trust in Him.  I have faith that if I do the things that Alma has told Shiblon to do, that I will also be delivered out of my trials, troubles and afflictions, to be saved at the last day.

How can we gain a testimony?

My testimony has grown little by little throughout my life, as I have learned of the gospel and have had simple spiritual experiences.  Since, going through the temple the first time, for my endowments and to be sealed to my husband, my testimony has grown by much greater amounts at a time.  As I get older, I understand so much more because I am more willing to listen to what the spirit has to tell me, rather than what I think is best for myself (because they have not always been the same things).

“Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things (v. 6).  But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his angel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of destruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth (v. 7).  And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul (v. 8 ).  And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness (v. 9).”

When Alma tells Shiblon that the Spirit of God has made these things known to him, he is bearing his testimony to him.  He gained his testimony because he was “born of God”, after he experienced a visit from an angel and then the pain of his sins.  When he turned to God for forgiveness of his sins, he was blessed with a testimony of the Savior, His atonement, and the gospel.  If we are willing to turn to the Lord, we can also be blessed with a stronger testimony of the gospel.

Why is it important to receive counsel and warning?

It is important to have warnings when we may not know better for ourselves.  We see warnings around us all the time.  There are warnings on medicines, so that we do not use them when they could harm us.  There are warnings on signs when we drive, so that we will be safe on the roads.  There are warnings in the scriptures, so that we will be protected in this life and saved in the next.  As a parent, it is so important to warn my children of dangers that may come in their lives, because they are young and they do not know of the things that can truly hurt them.  There are even times, when I am sure they know of something that could harm them, but their curiosity gets the better of them, so I must warn them to keep them as safe as I can.

Even though Shiblon had proven to be faithful, Alma still left him with a warning.  “And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things (v. 10).  See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not boast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength (v. 11).  Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness (v. 12).  Do not pray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom (v. 13).  Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times (v. 14).  And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be sober. My son, farewell (v. 15).”

Alma warns his son to not be lifted up in pride.  If we are prideful, we are not teachable and we will quickly be led away by our own selfishness.  We can avoid this pride by always being grateful to the Lord for everything we have and are.  He warns his son to bridle his passions and be filled with love.  We need to always be watchful of the simple things in life that can be a temptation to take us away from things of God.  Satan is very cunning and will have us do something we enjoy just once, then before we know it we cannot keep ourselves from our passion for that thing.  We can avoid the idleness and letting our passions get in the way, by serving others always.  When we focus on others, we cannot be focused on ourselves and our own desires.  Alma warns him to be careful of how he prays.  He says not to pray for the attention of others and not to be prideful in his prayers.  If we remember to pray for help with our own short-comings and pray that others will be shown mercy for what they do wrong, we will not put ourselves above them.  We all have our own challenges and temptations, we cannot allow ourselves to think we are better than others, just because we are trying to keep the commandments.  Ours is the greater sin, if we truly know better and yet still do things we shouldn’t, so we really should be focused on our own faults and not the faults of others.

Bridle all your passions

A bridle is something that is put on the head of a horse.  The purpose of it is to control them and direct them to where they should go.  A bridle keeps them in line and is a good thing to have.  Alma told Shiblon to bridle his passions.  When you bridle a horse, you do not destroy the horse, and the same is true when we bridle our passions.  Passions are strong feelings that we have been given by God to make us into the best people we can be.  To bridle them is only to control them, not to get rid of them.  I have a passion for performing.  I have loved it for many years, in fact most of my life.  But I have found that if I do not control myself in my performing, I can get carried away.  It can become the thing that guides my life instead of the gospel and the things I know are true.  Performing is a good thing that allows me to share my talents with others, which I know Heavenly Father would not want me to abandon completely.  However, I know that I must keep it controlled and in the right perspective.  It may not be the thing that controls me.

I find that as I keep myself closer to the gospel, my passions are easier to control.  If my mind is clear, because I am praying, reading my scriptures, and trying to do what is right, I know when I am approaching that line that I do not want to cross.  When it comes to my passion of performance, when I am doing what is right, I get a greater joy by using my performances to share my testimony with others.  As I control what I use my talents and energies for, I keep myself away from that line and instead point my passions in the direction that I know God would want me.  When I allow my spirit to control and direct me rather than my body, I can feel myself becoming a better person and I definitely find that I get more joy out of life.

My ason, give ear to my words, for I say unto you, even as I said unto Helaman, that binasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and cinasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be dcut off from his epresence.
2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your asteadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that bendureth to the end.
3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the aZoramites.
4 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with apatience because the Lord was bwith thee; and now thou knowest that the Lord did deliver thee.
5 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your atrust in God even so much ye shall be bdelivered out of your trials, and your ctroubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
6 Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been aborn of God I should not have known these things.
7 But behold, the Lord in his great mercy sent his aangel to declare unto me that I must stop the work of bdestruction among his people; yea, and I have seen an angel face to face, and he spake with me, and his voice was as thunder, and it shook the whole earth.
8 And it came to pass that I was athree days and three nights in the most bitter bpain and canguish of soul; and never, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a dremission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul.
9 And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is ano other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the blight of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and crighteousness.
10 And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and atemperate in all things.
11 See that ye are not lifted up unto pride; yea, see that ye do not aboast in your own wisdom, nor of your much strength.
12 Use aboldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bbridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.
13 Do not apray as the Zoramites do, for ye have seen that they pray to be heard of men, and to be praised for their wisdom.
14 Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are abetter than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my bunworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.
15 And may the Lord bless your soul, and receive you at the last day into his kingdom, to sit down in peace. Now go, my son, and teach the word unto this people. Be asober. My son, farewell.

Mosiah, Chapter 18

How important is baptism?

Baptism

My baptismal covenants are important to me because they are a promise that I have made to God.  I want to keep them, so that I can have the blessings that He promises to give me.

“And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, repented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi (v. 1)—Yea, concerning that which was to come, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the redemption of the people, which was to be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and death of Christ, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven (v. 2).  And as many as would hear his word he did teach. And he taught them privately, that it might not come to the knowledge of the king. And many did believe his words (v. 3).  And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts (v. 4).  Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king (v. 5).  And it came to pass that as many as believed him went thither to hear his words (v. 6).  And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord (v. 7).”

Alma taught the words that he had heard from Abinadi.  He taught them in secret to any who would hear them.  He had to teach in secret so that the king would not find out and have him put to death as well.  Then those people chose to listen to all that he taught.  The people had great faith and belief in the words of Alma because they were willing to put their own lives at risk to hear them.

Alma explained the covenant of baptism to the people.

We covenant…

  • to “come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light (v. 8 );”
  • to be “… willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places (v. 9)…”
  • to “… serve him and keep his commandments (v. 10)…”

That we may…

  • “… be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life (v. 9)—”
  • be blessed that God “… may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you (v. 10)…”

How did Alma’s people feel about the covenants they would make with the Lord?  “And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts (v. 11).”  When we are willing to keep the covenants we made with the Lord, we show that we have faith in Him.  We show our desire to live with Him and to have His help to get their.  I think that as we are active members of His church, we are given many opportunities to mourn with, comfort, share a witness with, and bear the burdens of other people.  The key is to learn what being an active member truly is.

Bearing one another’s burdens

Verse 8 reads, “And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;”  When we stand together with others of our faith, we become stronger than we our alone.  The stronger we are, the harder it is for Satan to influence us with his temptations.  When we work together in the church, the church becomes stronger and can influence more for good.  In Moses 7:18 we read, “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.”  We can become more christlike, when we are active in working together in the church.  We become one in purpose with each other and with the gospel.

Did Alma baptize himself?

“And now it came to pass that Alma took Helam, he being one of the first, and went and stood forth in the water, and cried, saying: O Lord, pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart (v. 12).  And when he had said these words, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he said: Helam, I baptize thee, having authority from the Almighty God, as a testimony that ye have entered into a covenant to serve him until you are dead as to the mortal body; and may the Spirit of the Lord be poured out upon you; and may he grant unto you eternal life, through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world (v. 13).  And after Alma had said these words, both Alma and Helam were buried in the water; and they arose and came forth out of the water rejoicing, being filled with the Spirit (v. 14).”

The manual explains the answer to this question in this way.  Alma, being a priest, was already baptized and had the priesthood.  He had just gone astray as he served King Noah.  When he was at the waters of Mormon, he did not need to be baptized, but was baptizing Helam and recommitting himself to God.  He was “buried in the water” as a symbol of his repentance.

How do we become the children of God?

It is the job of members of the church to help others find Jesus.  This is the way that we can take Christ’s name upon us and become the children of God.  We can help others find Jesus by bringing them into the church (v. 17), teaching them the gospel (v. 18 ), teaching them repentance and faith (v. 20), by loving one another (v. 21), keeping the sabbath day holy and giving thanks to God for everything (v. 23), working for ourselves and not burdening others for our benefit (v. 24), gathering together often to worship (v. 25), working in the Church without pay so that we can have the spirit to teach others (v. 26), and by giving what we can afford to the church so that others in need can be helped (v. 27-28).  These are the things that the people who followed Alma did and we can follow their example today to become children of God.

Alma once again escapes King Noah

“And these things were done in the borders of the land, that they might not come to the knowledge of the king (v. 31).  But behold, it came to pass that the king, having discovered a movement among the people, sent his servants to watch them. Therefore on the day that they were assembling themselves together to hear the word of the Lord they were discovered unto the king (v. 32).  And now the king said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him; therefore he sent his army to destroy them (v. 33).  And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were apprised of the coming of the king’s army; therefore they took their tents and their families and departed into the wilderness (v. 34).  And they were in number about four hundred and fifty souls (v. 35).”

King Noah noticed his people changing their ways and sent his servants out to find out why.  When he found that they were getting together to be taught, he wanted them destroyed.  But Alma and his people learned of his plan and escaped into the wilderness.  The footnote in verse 34 references Mosiah 23:1 which reads, “Now Alma, having been warned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah would come upon them, and having made it known to his people, therefore they gathered together their flocks, and took of their grain, and departed into the wilderness before the armies of king Noah.”  This is a reoccurring thing in the scriptures.  The righteous are in danger and the Lord makes the leader aware, so that they can escape.  For example, Lehi was warned by the Lord that people were after him, so he escaped with his family into the wilderness.  The Lord’s work will not be stopped.  If we are righteous, we will be doing the Lord’s work and he will protect us if it is his will because He loves us.

And now, it came to pass that Alma, who had fled from the servants of king Noah, arepented of his sins and iniquities, and went about privately among the people, and began to teach the words of Abinadi—
2 Yea, concerning that which was to come, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the aredemption of the people, which was to be brought to pass through the power, and sufferings, and bdeath of Christ, and his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
3 And as many as would hear his word he did teach. And he taught them privately, that it might not come to the knowledge of the king. And many did believe his words.
4 And it came to pass that as many as did believe him did go forth to a aplace which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the bborders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts.
5 Now, there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the daytime from the searches of the king.
6 And it came to pass that as many as believed him went thither to hear his words.
7 And it came to pass *after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did ateach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.

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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