Saturday, February 28, 2009
9 And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward [there shall be] hangings for the court [of] fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side:
10 And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets [shall be of] brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [shall be of] silver.
11 And likewise for the north side in length [there shall be] hangings of an hundred [cubits] long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets [of] brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets [of] silver.
12 And [for] the breadth of the court on the west side [shall be] hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten.
13 And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward [shall be] fifty cubits.
14 The hangings of one side [of the gate shall be] fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.
15 And on the other side [shall be] hangings fifteen [cubits]: their pillars three, and their sockets three.
16 And for the gate of the court [shall be] an hanging of twenty cubits, [of] blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: [and] their pillars [shall be] four, and their sockets four.
17 All the pillars round about the court [shall be] filleted with silver; their hooks [shall be of] silver, and their sockets [of] brass.
18 The length of the court [shall be] an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits [of] fine twined linen, and their sockets [of] brass.
19 All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, [shall be of] brass.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.
The expression "stake of Zion," first used in the revelation given in November 1831 (Sec. 68) is taken from the expression in Isaiah: "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken." (Isa. 33:20.) Again: "Enlarge the place of thy tent and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." (Isa. 54:2.) Isaiah speaks of Zion as a tent, or tabernacle, having in mind the Tabernacle which was built and carried in the wilderness in the days of Moses, and the cords are the binding cables that extend from the tent, or tabernacle, to the stakes which are fastened in the ground. Now, the Lord revealed that Zion was to be built and surrounding her would be the stakes helping to bind and keep her in place. This figure of speech has almost been lost through the intervening years, but it retains its significance, or beauty. To speak of Zion, the new Jerusalem, or even that section where the city will be built as a stake of Zion is a sad mistake. Zion is the tent, the stakes of Zion are the binding pegs that support her. Zion, therefore, cannot be a stake, it would be as improper to call a tent a stake as to apply this term to Zion.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols., 2:, p.88
The concept taught in these verses is to make the whole world a Holy Site by taking the concepts learned in the temples and spreading them over the earth until the whole world is the Holy Mountain of the Lord (Isaiah 11:9) and suggests a Millennial habitation. As the Church builds temples and establishes stakes in all of the world the prophecy is being fulfilled which says to stretch forth thy curtains, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Many of you have already qualified for endowment in the temple, and others will have that great privilege yet in the future. In the temple, with the authority of the sealing power, blessings of the Abrahamic covenant will be conferred. There, we may truly become heirs to all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Russell M. Nelson, Perfection Pending, and Other Favorite Discourses , p.206
One of the major functions of sacred sites is to administer the Abrahamic covenant. There are many aspects to the Abrahamic covenant including receiving the priesthood. However, there are two major components to the covenant - 1. a land of inheritance forever and 2. posterity as numerous as the dust of the earth (see Genesis 13:15-16). Number one is an intimation that man will become like his maker with the eternal power to create life (D&C 132:29-33). Number two is an adumbration that the earth is going to become a Celestial Kingdom (D&C 88:17-20).
These are sometimes referred to as the promises made to the fathers. So, sacred sites not only help us to conform to the image of the Son but also to become heirs of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These are promises that make us like our God so that we may inherit the earth as it becomes a Celestial Kingdom. Ultimately we truly have posterity as numerous as the dust of the earth and a land of inheritance forever as promised to Abraham.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
It is helpful if we put ourselves in the position of Adam to better understand his first sacrifice. He had just come from the Garden of Eden where nothing threatened his life and he did not threaten the life of any other animal. Now he is asked to take an innocent lamb, tie it up, put it on an altar of stone, slit its throat and burn it up.
I think of how I would feel at that time and the first thing that crosses my mind is that, "I don't want to do this." I see the knife as representing my sins which will inflict pain and death upon an innocent creature. And then it dawns on me, what are we all supposed to think before we sin? - "I don't want to do this." However, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so the knife must inflict pain and death on this innocent creature so that the sinner can see the end result of his sins. How does the sinner feel when he sees the dead lamb lying there? I know how I would feel, horrible, and then it again dawns on me - how are we supposed to feel after we sin? - Horrible.
I would like the results of my sins removed as soon as possible. A fire is put to the wood and the results of my sins are cleansed from the altar - thus the concept of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. At the altar of sacrifice the sinner comes to understand his relationship with his redeemer and how his sins may be cleansed through Christ who is full of grace and truth and the power of the Holy Ghost.
Adam was further taught by the angel that he was to do all that he did in the name of the son. (Moses 5:8) Therefore, we see another sacrifice at the altar, where Adam uses his agency to no longer do his will but the will of God and act as if he were Christ. Thus Adam's will is swallowed up in the will of the Son of God. Adam is well on his way to conforming to the image of the Son. Omni, in the Book of Mormon, declares that our sacrifice, just like the Savior's, is to be our whole soul. (Omni 1:26)
One of the words in Hebrew for sacrifice is "Corban." The essence of the meaning of this word is to draw closer or nearer. In other words, the result of sacrifice is to draw the participant closer to the one for whom he is sacrificing. We see a mother's love as one of the strongest bonds there is in the human family. Is it because of her great sacrifice given out of love for her children? Christ's love for us is beyond our comprehension. Is his love great because of his great and last sacrifice for us?
If this is the case, then when Adam fell which created a breach between him and God, is it any wonder that one of the first law that God teaches Adam is the law of sacrifice to draw him closer to God and help close the breach.
In the Sixth Lecture on Faith, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught that there is a direct relationship between sacrifice and faith,
"Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life."
According to this, if our faith is weak, one of the things that we can do to strengthen it is to sacrifice to help build the kingdom of God.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
As pointed out in the previous posting, God is moving us to conform to the image of his son, Christ being the ultimate model for each of us (JST Romans 8:29-30). Christ is known as the anointed one. The Lord commanded Moses to anoint all of the parts of the Tabernacle including Aaron and his sons (Exodus chapters 30 and 40). By so doing each item anointed becomes a type of Christ or one who is anointed. The anglicized form of the Hebrew word for anoint is MESSIAH, and the anglicized form of the Greek word for anoint is CHRIST. So in English the term is Anointed One, in Hebrew it is Messiah, and in Greek it is Christ.
The Tabernacle and its appurtenances becomes, in a manner of speaking, a model of the body of Christ. In this posting we will look at the altar of sacrifice. It makes sense to anoint the altar of sacrifice because we know that it represents the sacrifice of Christ, thus it typifies him (the anointed one). Adam learned from the angel that visited him at the altar of sacrifice that it was a similitude of Christ who is full of grace and truth (Moses 5:5-8). In the next posting we will look at some of the possible lessons learned from the law of sacrifice.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
2 Ne 11:4
4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
This verse gives us the major key to interpreting "all things" which God gives to man. Using this key we can better understand the Tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness. A major function for all parts of the Tabernacle is to point us to Christ and to prepare us for God's presence.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
In the next few online sessions as we walk through the Tabernacle step by step you may want to refer to the Institute Student Manual for the Old Testament (Genesis - Second Samuel) chapter 13, pages 147-156. If you do not have the manual you can access it from this site by using the link labeled (All Institute Student Manuals). In part 2 we will examine the anointing of the Tabernacle and the law of sacrifice as it was taught to Adam. We will use the model below or the one on page 156 of the Institute Student Manual to help us to understand each element of the Tabernacle.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
He (God) looks to us and to nobody else. He looks to the Latter-day Saints. Why? Because nobody else has received the fulness of the everlasting Gospel; nobody else has taken hold to build up this kingdom. My faith and feeling about this matter is that we were appointed [p.85]before the world was, as much as the ancient apostles were, to come forth in the flesh and take hold of this Kingdom, and we have it to do, or be damned. That is our position today. The eyes of the heavenly hosts are over us; the eyes of God himself and his son Jesus Christ and all those apostles and prophets who have sealed their testimony with their blood are watching this people. They visit you, they observe your works, for they know very well that your destiny is to build up this Kingdom, to build up Zion, sanctify it, sanctify the earth and prepare the world for the coming of the Son of Man.
Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, April 1880, p.84
Then, if it be true that we entered into a covenant with the powers celestial, before we left our former homes, that we would come here and obey the voice of the Lord, through whomsoever he might speak, these powers are witnesses of the covenant into which we entered; and it is not impossible that we signed the articles thereof with our own hands,-which articles may be retained in the archives above, to be presented to us when we rise from the dead, and be judged out of our own mouths, according to that which is written in the books.
Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 7:, p.315
Sunday, February 15, 2009
AGENCY AND PROGRESSION IN PRE-EXISTENCE. God gave his children their free agency even in the spirit world, by which the individual spirits had the privilege, just as men have here, of choosing the good and rejecting the evil, or partaking of the evil to suffer the consequences of their sins. Because of this, some even there were more faithful than others in keeping the commandments of the Lord. Some were of greater intelligence than others, as we find it here, and were honored accordingly….
SOME SPIRITS GREATER THAN OTHERS. The spirits of men had their free agency, some were greater than others, and from among them the Father called and foreordained his prophets and rulers. Jeremiah and Abraham were two of them. . . . The spirits of men were not equal. They may have had an equal start, and we know they were all innocent in the beginning; but the right of free agency which was given to them enabled some to outstrip others, and thus, through the eons of immortal existence, to become more intelligent, more faithful, for they were free to act for themselves, to think for themselves, to receive the truth or rebel against it.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 1:, p.58-59
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The Church is reaching out to help the world better understand who we are as a Church. Two apostles (Elder Ballard and Elder Cook) have visited editorial boards to address misconceptions about the Church. For a short podcast of their report please clip the website below and paste it in the address section of your browser.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Elder Orson F. Whitney taught:
We believe that ties formed in this life will be continued in the life to come; then why not believe that we had similar ties before we came into this world, and that some of them, at least, have been resumed in this state of existence?"
* * *
Why did the Savior say: "My sheep know my voice?" Did a sheep every know the voice of its shepherd if it had never heard that voice before? They who love the truth, and to whom it most strongly appeals - were they not acquainted with it in a previous life? I think so. I believe we knew the gospel before we came here, and that is what gives to it a familiar sound.
Orson F. Whitney, Improvement Era, December 1919, vol. 23 #2, p. 100
President Joseph F. Smith taught very much along these same lines:
Our knowledge of persons and things before we came here, combined with the divinity awakened within our souls through obedience to the gospel powerfully affects, in my opinion, all our likes and dislikes, and guides our preferences in the course of this life, provided we give careful heed to the admonitions of the Spirit.
All those salient truths which come so forcibly to the head and heart seem but the awakening of the memories of the spirit. Can we know anything here that we did not know before we came? Are not the means of knowledge in the first estate equal to those of this? I think that the spirit, before and after this probation, possesses greater facilities, aye, manifold greater, for the acquisition of knowledge, than while manacled and shut up in the prison-house of mortality.
Gospel Doctrine, pp. 15-16 also Improvement Era, December 1919, vol. 23 #2 p. 101
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I have not the least idea that I would be here today talking to you, unless it was distinctly understood in that life that when I came into this I would be obedient to the will of God as it should be revealed. Of course, we have forgotten these things; but the Lord is beginning to illuminate our understandings and is bringing to our recollection certain things in regard to how we were there, and for what we have come into this world. What you and I now want to know is how to secure the position we occupied in the other life when we go back, and that which will naturally be added to us in consequence of the experience that w had in this life; for the Lord has told us that those who would keep their second estate, glory should be added upon their heads forever and ever. It seems to me that no man or woman can afford to do anything in this life only that which, directly or indirectly, will be in conformity to the will of God. (12 May 1894, DW, 48:637.) Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p. 91
Alma teaches us that some were called and prepared before the earth was created. They had used their agency to choose good and exercised exceeding faith. This group appears to be the same group that Abraham referred to has being noble and great in Abraham 3:22-24.
3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained--being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
Monday, February 9, 2009
One of the important doctrines revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith was about our pre-mortal existence. Because of this doctrine we realize that we are in the finishing stage of an important pursuit that we began before the earth was created. So, instead of starting something brand new for the first time we are actually finishing a long sought after objective.
The Prophet Abraham was given a view of pre-mortal spirits:
22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
In my younger life I had always wondered how many were in this group of noble and great ones who had help with the creation of the world. My pondering was answered when I was attending a regional conference in which President Spencer W. Kimball addressed the group by way of a filmstrip entitled "These I Will Make My Rulers." (1978) Here is a quote from the filmstrip:
"A passage of scripture familiar to all of you . . . reads as follows: '. . . intelligences that were organized before the world was and among all these were many of the noble and great ones . . . and he said: These I will make my rulers;' These leaders whom Abraham referred to were noble, good and they had been proven, thus God could entrust them with great responsibilities in his Kingdom on this earth. Were you among those who were noble, good, and tested? The Prophet Joseph Smith said, ' Every man who has a call was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of Heaven.' Yes, you were among those rulers . . ."
By this we can see that there is much to live up to here on this earth because of the level of development that we attained before we came here.
Praise to the man who brought these revelations through the veil.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Liberty and Freedom are precious gifts from God to his children. However, our constant vigilance and care is needed to maintain them. The Lord taught the Prophet Joseph Smith that three things need to be in order to maintain freedom. When these three things are out of balance freedom is in jeopardy.
4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7 And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.
11 And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.
From the above we are taught that the three things necessary to maintain freedom are:
1. The laws must be Constitutional.
2. Those administering the law must be - Good, Wise, and Honest.
3. Those being governed (us) must forsake all evil and cleave to all good and live by every word that comes from God.
Concerning number one, the Prophet Joseph Smith had this to say in 1843:
"The different states, and even Congress itself, have passed many laws diametrically contrary to the Constitution of the United States."
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.278)
Concerning number two, we as a nation have just passed though a period where we debated whether or not our leaders needed to be moral as long as their administrative skills were good. Some concluded that character did not count.
Concerning number three, our founding fathers taught, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (John Adams)
Friday, February 6, 2009
In addition to the Lord's testimony we have the experience and testimony of President Wilford Woodruff:
I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that the men who laid the foundation of this American government, and signed the Declaration of Independence, were the best spirits the God of Heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for that purpose were inspired of the Lord. Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it, every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them. Men are here, I believe, that know of this, Brother J. D. T. McAllister, avid H. Cannon and James S. Bleak. Brother McAllister baptized me for all those men, and then I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them. They did it. Would those spirits have called upon me as an elder of Israel, to perform that work, if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not. I hear this testimony because it is true. The Spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way. (President Wilford Woodruff at General Conference April 10, 1898)
A Little Humor:
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Read the following and answer for yourself:
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I have up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
Hence we say, that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun. (Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith p. 147)
Notice the list in which the Constitution is included:
We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true; that the Book of Mormon is true; that the Book of Covenants is true; that Christ is true; that the ministering angels sent forth from God are true . . . (Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith p. 148)
The principles of the Constitution are to be established forever:
54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
It is important that we do not let negative thinking destroy our progression and happiness. The Savior told Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to look to him in every thought and to doubt not and to fear not (D&C 6:36-37). Doubt and fear are destructive to us. The Lord commanded us to be of good cheer as he has already overcome the world. By making the Savior and his atonement the center of our lives and thoughts we can continue to move forward in life with a positive attitude.
I love the following quote from President Howard W. Hunter:
As a being of power, intelligence, and the master of his own thoughts, a man holds the key to every situation, to make his life what he chooses it to be. When he discovers the divine power within his soul, he can lead his life to a God-like nature. If one dreams lofty dreams, so shall he become. There is magic in the way one thinks. If we expect the worst, we will get the worst. If we expect the best, we will receive the best. If we train our minds to have faith in God and ourselves, we are using one of the great laws of life. If we think and live righteously, happiness will find its place in our lives. It is amazing when we expect the best how forces are set in motion which cause the best to materialize. (83-02)
Our thoughts more than circumstances determine the course of our lives. Outward circumstances do not determine the course of our lives as much as the thoughts that habitually occupy our minds. These thoughts carve their impression on our faces, in our hearts, and on the tablet of our eternal souls. (83-02)
(Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.74,80)
Carol and I want you to know how much we love you and appreciated your friendship. It means a lot to us. Our desire is to be a positive influence however we can.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
We pray the Lord's blessings on us all of us as we work our way through our earthly missions. May each of us complete what we agreed to do before the world was created and do it with honor and dignity.
A Little Humor:
Monday, February 2, 2009
Today we want to share a website that is helpful to answer difficult quiestions and objections that may arise from LDS doctrine. Some of you may already be familiar with this site.
Another site that is helpful in keeping up with current research that is being done by Church scholars. It used to be called FARMS (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) now it is named in honor of the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell.
This is our first installment and we hope that these sites may be of use to you.