Thursday, April 30, 2009

Personal Preparation

It is important to note that part of the preparation for the coming of Christ to the Americas was to soften their hearts so that they could accept the teachings that Christ brought with him.

(click image to enlarge)
We have not yet received all the information that the Lord taught the Nephites at his coming. Some of the information he taught they were not allowed to utter or make known. However, we do know that it was information that would allow them to be grafted into the true vine and to enter into the rest of the Lord.

Mormon intended to include all that the Lord taught the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, however he did not, he explains what happened,

3 Ne 26:6-11
6 And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;
7 But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.
8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.
10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
11 Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.

When the Lord did visit the Nephites the people were believing and loved to bask in his presence. However, there minds were weak and they could not understand the things that he taught them,

3 Ne 17:1-3
1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand.
2 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
3 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.

As we can see, He actually gave them homework so that they would be prepared for the next day when the twelve, that he has chosen, repeated everything word for word. He then came and continued on from the exact place that he had left off from the day before.

What can be learned from this experience? The Father had commanded the Savior to teach specific things to the Nephites, therefore, the Savior was determined that he would teach them and that they needed to prepare their minds by focusing on his doctrine and praying about the meaning of the things taught.

From 3 Nephi 26:10-11 we learn that our faith is being tested to see how seriously we take the commandments and doctrine learned in our Book of Mormon. We need the information that the Savior taught to the Nephite so that we can avoid condemnation.

We must read, study, ponder, and pray about the things that the Lord has revealed to us thus far in all of the scriptures, so that when he comes our minds are not weak and we can understand his teachings.

We learn from the revelations that when the Lord comes his is going to reveal information that will finish the process of turning our earth into a Celestial Kingdom and the inhabitants into Gods. The two scripture quotes that follow help us to see the wealth of knowledge that the Lord will bring with him,

D&C 121:26-32
26 God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
27 Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;
28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.
29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
30 And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars--
31 All the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times--
32 According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.

D&C 101:32-37
32 Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things--
33 Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof--
34 Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
35 And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
36 Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
37 Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.

From this we can see that those who are exalted after the earth is Celestialized truly will know all things. The Lord has reseved the phase of this earthly probation to teach the righteous all things, nothing being withheld. There is a direct relationship between our obedience and righteousness and an inquiring mind and what we learn and know. No wonder in the sermon on the mount the Savior commanded us to ask. He promised that everyone who asked would receive. He further commaned us to seek and to knock and that we would find and have things opened unto us (Matt. 7:7-8).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pattern For The Second Coming

As Latter-day Saints we are fortunate to have the Book of Mormon to help prepare us for the coming of Christ. The coming of Christ to the Americas anciently was a type and shadow of his coming to the world as a whole. President Benson taught,

If they (Nephite Prophets) saw our day, and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, "Why did the Lord inspire Mormon or Moroni or Alma to include that in their records? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?" And there is example after example of how that question will be answered. For example, in the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ's coming to America. By careful study of that time period we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet. (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , p.59) (emphasis added)

The following presentation shows some parallel events between the coming of Christ to the Americas and his second coming to the world so that we can see the pattern. There are many more parallels of which the following is but a small part. These were first presented in the 1979 Institute Book of Mormon student manual p. 395.

(click to enlarge)

Monday, April 27, 2009

We All Need Help In This Life

The quote below, by Elder John A. Widstoe, is a great motivator to do temple and genealogical work for those who have passed on. We all need as much help in this life to perform all of our responsibilities as we can get.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

You Can't Take It With You, Or Can You?

Sometimes we joke that we don't see any U-Haul trucks at funerals because you can't take it with you. However, the Law of Consecration has some unique features that allow us to believe that in some ways we can take it with us.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was once commenting on Revelations 14:13. The phrase in focus was ". . . their works do follow them." Here is his statement,

They rest from their labors for a long time, and yet their work is held in reserve for them, that they are permitted to do the same work, after they receive a resurrection for their bodies. But we shall leave this subject and the subject of the terrestrial bodies for another time, in order to treat upon them more fully.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.171) (emphasis added)

Don't we all wish that the Prophet would have lived long enough to get back to that subject. We see a similar phrase in D&C 63:48,

D&C 63:48
48 He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world, and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come. (emphasis added)

In our doctrine, the earth becomes the Celestial kingdom because of the efforts of the righteous, combined with the atonement of Christ, and the grace and power of our Father in heaven. Whatever efforts that one puts into the building up of Zion through the law of consecration, their works will follow them.

In D&C 63:47-53, the Lord helps us better understand the purpose of consecration as it is combined with the power of the resurrection. It appears from the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith that the spirit children of God have no inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom. They must be born again, through the atonement of Christ and be raised in the resurrection before they can inherit the Celestial Glory. Death is the destroyer of these blessings and therefore must be overcome before one can enjoy the presence of his God in the eternities.

A close look at these verses will reveal that doctrine,

D&C 63:47-53
47 He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.
48 He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world, and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come.
49 Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth, when the Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after, and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city.
50 And he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and hath kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless, it is appointed to him to die at the age of man.
51 Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.
52 Wherefore, for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead.
53 These things are the things that ye must look for; and, speaking after the manner of the Lord, they are now nigh at hand, and in a time to come, even in the day of the coming of the Son of Man. (emphasis added)

Notice, the purpose of teaching the resurrection of the dead was to confirm the fact that they could receive and inheritance through the law of consecration in the world to come. Therefore, one of the major purposes of the law of consecration is to secure us a place in the world to come, that is the Celestial Glory where God and Christ live.

In the early history of the Church there were those who went to Zion but did not want to consecrate. William W. Phelps wrote the Prophet wanting to know how to handle the situation. The Prophet responded with D&C 85. Verses 1-4 and verse 9 are very telling in relation to the things just mentioned above.

D&C 85:1-4, 9
1 IT is the duty of the Lord's clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop;
2 And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.
3 It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.
4 Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.

9 And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. (emphasis added)

Here we learn that those who have received legal inheritances from a bishop in the law of consecration have an inheritance in the world to come. Those who refused the law of consecration have no inheritance at the day of judgment. In my opinion, one of the most powerful aspects of the law of consecration is the power that it has to convey an inheritance in the world to come (Millennium) and then on into the Celestial Kingdom.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No Cause For Unbelief [Hel. 14:28-29] (Part 2)

As seen in the previous post, the Lord warned the people of the Nephite/Lamanite Nations of his coming, to the degree that there was no cause for unbelief. We know from President Benson that the Book of Mormon is a blueprint or type of the Lord's coming to the whole world. The question is, "will the whole world be warned as thoroughly as the people of the Nephites/Lamanites?"

The Book of Mormon tells us that the church of the Lamb will be upon all the face of the earth (1Nephi 14:12).

After the revelation was given on the priesthood to President Kimball and other apostles, Elder Mckonie was assigned to give a talk to explain the importance of the revelation,

And so, guided by inspiration, we began to go from one nation and one culture to another. Someday, in the providences of the Lord, we shall get into Red China and Russia and the Middle East, and so on, until eventually the gospel will have been preached everywhere, to all people; and this will occur before the second coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:14; JS-M 1:31).

* * *

And I have no hesitancy whatever in saying that before the Lord comes, in all those nations we will have congregations that are stable, secure, devoted, and sound. We will have stakes of Zion. We will have people who have progressed in spiritual things to the point where they have received all of the blessings of the house of the Lord. That is the destiny.
(Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie , pp. 163-164)

From Elder McConie's statement above, before the Lord comes we should be looking for stakes in Iraq, Iran, Pakastan, Afganistan, etc., with the people of those stakes being endowed and strong in their faith of Christ.

In the Lord's preface to the Doctrine and Covenants he declares how penetrating his warnings in the last days shall be,

D&C 1:1-5
1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
5 And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them. (emphasis added)

Just as Samuel the Lamanite explained, the Lord taught us through the Prophet Joseph Smith the same principle, that he wants no one with an excuse and that each man must be responsible for his own sins beacause of the warnings given,

D&C 88:81-82
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. (emphasis added)

As with the Nephites/Lamanites the Lord will use two systems to warn the world. The first system as already stated is by the mouth of his disciples sent forth. The other system is through signs, wonders, and destruction,

D&C 88:87-92
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.
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.

Also, in D&C 43:18-25,

18 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.
19 Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked.
20 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;
21 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?
22 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?
23 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.
24 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!
25 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!

Elder Orson Pratt took much of the above quote very litterally. After quoting these verses, he made this statement,

It is true that the Lord has not yet spoken by the voice of thunders, calling upon the people from the ends of the earth, saying, "Repent and prepare for the great day of the Lord," but such an event will come; and when it does come it will not be a mere ordinary, common thunderstorm, such as we experience occasionally, extending only over a small extent of country, but the Lord will cause the thunders to utter their voices from the ends of the earth until they sound in the ears of all that live, and these thunders shall use the very words here predicted-"Repent O ye inhabitants of the earth, and prepare the way of the Lord, prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord." These words will be distinctly heard by every soul that lives, whether in America, Asia, Africa, Europe, or upon the islands of the sea. And not only the thunders, but the lightings will utter forth their voices in the ears of all that live, saying, "Repent, for the great day of the Lord is come." Besides the voices of thunder and lightning, the Lord himself, before he comes in his glory, will speak by his own voice out of heaven in the ears of all that live, commanding them to repent and to prepare for his coming. I do not know how the Lord will send forth his voice so as to make all the people on the four quarters of the globe hear it, for the loudest sound that we can produce only extends over a small area, a few miles at most; but the Lord has power to make his voice heard by all that live on the four quarters of the earth, and when he fulfills this prediction, all that live will literally hear the words that are here named; and the wicked will perish out of the earth as they did in the days of Noah, and so far as they are concerned the earth will be made empty and desolate.
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 15:, p.333) (emphasis added)

Just as the people of this continent were warned by the voice of the Lord in the Nephite and Lamanite world, so also, will the people of this earth be warned by his own voice and the voice of his disciples and by the voice of thunders and lightening, until their is no cause for unbelief when he comes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No Cause For Unbelief [Hel. 14:28-29] (Part 1)

When Samuel the Lamanite stood upon the wall of Zarahemla he gave three very important reasons for the signs that would follow his prophecy,

Hel 14:28-29
28 And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men--
29 And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation.

Reason one, these signs were given for the intent that the people would believe his warnings.

Reason two, these signs were given for the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men.

Reason three, those who refused to believe the signs, a righteous judgment would come upon them, and they would bring upon themselves their own condemnation.

In other words when the Lord comes to destroy the wicked, He does not want anyone saying, "Who is this? Why is he so upset? Why is he destroying everything? Why am I in trouble? Why didn't anyone warn me?"

In order to warn the people the Lord first sent prophets to call them to repentance. When they rejected the prophets he promised to send signs and wonders by the mouth of the prophets as a second witness to the necessity of repenting and being prepared for His coming.

We know from our reading of the Book of Mormon that after the signs began rolling forth in abundance some repented while others rejected these great signs and wonders.

However, the overall affect of these signs and wonders was impressive,

3 Ne 1:17-18
17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.
18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief. (emphasis added)

Again, later in the Book of Mormon we have this account,

3 Ne 5:1-3
1 AND now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.
2 And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.
3 Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night. (emphasis added)

You would think that when the Lord came they would all be righteous and anxiously looking forth to His coming. However, He did not come right after all the signs had been given. He gave them time to prove their faith and dedication to His cause. Some did continue faithful but others "turned from their righteousness, like a dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire (3 Nephi 7:8)."

The important thing to remember is that when the Lord came there was "no cause for unbelief", therefore those who were destroyed had "brought upon themselves their own condemnation (Helaman 14:29."

The question that we must ask is, "Will the Lord be as thorough in His warnings to us (the world) concerning His second coming as he was to the Nephites and Lamanites?" "Will we (the world) have no cause for unbelief and bring upon ourselves our own condemnation?"

Read the next post for the answers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Even though Israel controls the Old Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the mount itself is actually administered by the Muslims. Many Orthodox Jews will not go up on the mount for fear of desecrating the spot on which the temple once stood as no one knows the exact location of the ancient temple.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia,

Controlled by Israel since 1967, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over the site, which remains a key issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict. A Muslim council, known as the Muslim Waqf, manages the site. The Israeli government enforces a controversial ban on prayer by non-Muslim visitors.

No one except Muslims are allowed to pray or worship on the Mount. If anyone tries to pray, sing, or worship God in any manner, they will be expelled from the Mount by Muslim guards that patrol the that area of approximately 37 acres that comprises the Temple Mount.

For those that are interested there is a 90 minute video of Rabbi Richmond, from the Temple Institute, who toured the Temple Mount with a video camera. Click here for the introduction and to view the video.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Independence, Missouri Temple Site

The above building is the headquarters for the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) group. They own approximately 2 1/2 acres of land which includes the spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith stood to dedicate the property for the building of the temple in the New Jerusalem.

A brief history of the site is as follows:
A. Anciently the Garden of Eden was in this location.
B. July, 1831, the Lord reveals the location for the New Jerusalem and its temple (D&C 57). Sixty three acres were purchased for the beginning of the city and the temple complex.
C. June, and August, the Prophet sent two different plans to Bishop Edward Partridge for the city and it 24 complex temple.
D. November, 1833 the saints were driven from Jackson County.
E. 1867, Grandville Hedrick purchased the 2 1/2 acre site for the headquarters of his church - Church of Christ (temple lot) group.
F. In the 1860' - 1870's, the Reorganized LDS Church (now Community of Christ) returned to this area and set up their headquarters.
G. In the 1890's, the RLDS church sued the Temple Lot Group to get their 2 1/2 acres but lost the suit.
H. 1904, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased 20 acres adjacent to the properties owned by the other two organizations.
I. 1907, the LDS Church built a building for the headquarters of the Central States Mission on their 20 acre plot.
J. The Temple Lot Group tried to build a temple and to have it completed before 1932 but failed because of lack of funds.
K. 1971, LDS Church built a visitors' center on their property which stands there today.
L. April, 1994, the RLDS Church dedicated their temple which now stands on their property.

Below is a model of the site, the city and temple complex - June plan. (click to enlarge)

Below is a picture of the location of the temple site so that you can see in perspective the different building in the area, (click to enlarge)

Below is a picture of the temple built by the Community of Christ,

Below is a description of the temple complex given by Elder Orson Pratt. It is not known how or from where he received this description:

There, however, we expect to build a temple different from all other temples in some respects. It will be built much larger, cover a larger area of ground, far larger than this Tabernacle covers, and this Tabernacle will accommodate from 12,000 to 15,000 people. We expect to build a temple much larger, very much larger, according to the revelation God gave to us forty years ago in regard to that temple. But you may ask in what form will it be built? Will it be built in one large room, like this Tabernacle? No; there will be 24 different compartments in the Temple that will be built in Jackson County. The names of these compartments were given to us some 45 or 46 years ago; the names we still have, and when we build these 24 rooms, in a circular form and arched over the centre, we shall give the names to all these different compartments just as the Lord specified through Joseph Smith. Now, our enemies do not believe one word of this. They think we are enthusiastic, they think that this is all nonsense, and I do not know but there may be some of the Latter-day Saints that begin to partake of the same spirit, owing to their assimilating themselves so much to the fashion of the world, that they have lost their strong and powerful faith in that which God has predicted by the mouth of his servants. Perhaps you may ask for what purpose these 24 compartments are to be built. I answer not to assemble the outside world in, nor to assemble the Saints all in one place, but these buildings will be built with a special view to the different orders, or in other words the different quorums or councils of the two Priesthoods that God has ordained on the earth. That is the object of having 24 rooms so that each of these different quorums, whether they be High Priests or Seventies, or Elders, or Bishops, or lesser Priesthood, or Teachers, or Deacons, or Patriarchs, or Apostles, or High Councils, or whatever may be the duties that are assigned to them, they will have rooms in the Temple of the Most High God, adapted, set apart, constructed, and dedicated for this special purpose. Now, I have not only told you that we shall have these rooms, but I have told you the object of these rooms in short, not in full. But will there be any other buildings excepting those 24 rooms that are all joined together in a circular form and arched over the center-are there any other rooms that will be built-detached from the Temple? Yes. There will be tabernacles, there will be meeting houses for the assembling of the people on the Sabbath day. There will be various places of meeting so that the people may gather together; but the Temple will be dedicated to the Priesthood of the Most High God, and for most sacred and holy purposes. (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 24, pp. 24-25).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Parallels Between The New Jerusalem And The Old Jerusalem

Click on the above picture to enlarge

There are some amazing parallels between the New Jerusalem and the Old Jerusalem.

Adam had two trees in the Garden of Eden. On tree gave life and the other tree brought death. Adam's choice to die so that man could live became a type of Christ when he would go into the Garden of Gethsemane and chose death so that man could live.

On the Mount of Temptations, Satan tempted Christ with the 91st Psalm which promised Christ that he could be delivered and have a long life (see Psalms 91:11-16). The other Psalm that we focus on as Christ was hanging on the cross is Psalms 22, Christ quoted from it while he was suffering. This Psalm 22 reads opposite of Psalms 91 as the heavens appear to be as brass to his plea thus bringing death instead of deliverance.

Both locations are considered a center place. Jackson County, Missouri, is the Center Place of Zion. The Old Jerusalem was considered the center of the world and the navel of the earth (see Ezekiel 5:5).

Both locations are the center of two of the pillars of eternity. Elder Bruce R. McConkie referred to the three pillars of eternity as: 1. the Creation, 2. the Fall, and 3. the Atonement. Jackson County Missouri being the location of the Garden of Eden is also, the location of the Fall. The Old Jerusalem and its Garden of Gethsemane is the location of the Atonement.

Both locations had an Adam. See 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 where Paul refers to Christ as the second or last Adam.

Both locations had a serpent/Messiah. In the Hebrew alphabet each letter is also a number. Therefore, each Hebrew word has a numerical value. If two Hebrews words add up to the same value they have a relationship where they may be interchanged and they have an equivalency. Two Hebrew words add up to 358, Serpent and Messiah. In the Garden of Eden, Satan, the serpent, delivered man from life to death. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ (the serpent on the pole being a type) delivered man from death back to life again. We can see a similar event in the Exodus Pattern when Moses' rod/serpent swallowed up the rods/serpents of the court magicians, thus becoming the victorious serpent/Messiah. This may be where Isaiah got the term that Christ will swallow up death in victory (Isaiah 25:8).

Both peoples who are to build up each center place had an extermination order given against them at the time they were moving to accomplish their missions. The Saints had the infamous extermination order given by Governor Lilburn Boggs and the Jews had the extermination order of Adolf Hitler.

As already mentioned in previous posts, both locations are to have a temple before Christ comes. Those who are to build the temple do not control the proposed property upon which the temples will stand.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Coming of Christ (Part 5) The Old Jerusalem and its Temple

During the Millennium the Lord will have two capitals from which he will govern the world. One capital will be in the New Jerusalem (Independence, Missouri) which will be his political seat of government. The other capital will be in the Old Jerusalem which will be his ecclesiastical seat of government. Both capitals and their temples must be in place before the Lord's second coming. Today the Old Jerusalem and the temple mount is one of the most controversial pieces of real estate on the face of the earth. A major world war will be fought, and this area will be part of the focus of the war.

Here is what the Prophet Joseph Smith said about Jerusalem and its temple,

Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &tc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. (emphasis added) There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east. (April 6, 1843.)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.286)

There are controversies as to how the temple will be built, where the temple will be built, which temple will be built, and who will build it.

How the temple will be built according to Jewish thought:

Some Jews feel that the temple will be built in heaven and will descend upon the correct spot. Others feel that the Messiah will build the temple miraculously at his coming, other feel he will build the temple, but not miraculously. Others feel a prophet must be commanded by God to build the temple and start sacrifices. Others think that man will build the temple and then God will lower the heavenly temple. Some Christian Jew believe the temple will be built before Christ comes, it will exist only a short time, then be destroyed, and then Christ will then come and build the fourth temple after the pattern of Ezekiel 40-45. (For more information see Jerusalem, The Eternal City by, Galbraith, Ogden, and Skinner pp. 477-479)

Where the temple will be built:

Some Jews feel that the temple has to be built on the exact spot where David was shown by the angel. The Holy of Holies must be properly located to be accepted by God. There are no less than twelve different locations that some feel the temple must be built. (see Secrets of Jerusalem Temple Mount by, Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer)

Some Latter-day Saints feel that the temple can be built on the property owned by the Church where the Jerusalem Center now stands.

Which temple will be built:

As already pointed out, some Jewish Christians feel that it will the the Ezekiel Temple that will be built. I had a chance to speak with a representative of one of the groups that is active in preparing to build the Third Temple. I asked him which temple they were planning on building? His answer was, "Herod's Temple." I asked him why they were not going to build the temple in Ezekiel? His answer, "No one is righteous enough to interpret the Ezekiel Temple."

One highly respected LDS scholar, who will remain anonymous, that I had a conversation with felt that it would be the Temple from the Dead Sea Scrolls that would be built in Jerusalem.

Who will build the temple:

There are at least two groups in Jerusalem that are anxious to build the third temple. 1. The group from the Temple Institute (see website), they have already manufactured many of the implements to be used in the temple including the priestly clothing. 2. The Temple Mount Faithful (see website). This group has made several efforts to move a cornerstone to the location of the temple mount.

We have several important statements by LDS Prophets and an Apostle about who will build the temple:

The following is part of a conversation that President John Taylor had with Baron Rothschild (as Jew) while showing him the Salt Lake Temple,

said I, "you will build a temple, for the Lord has shown us, among other things, that you Jews have quite a role to perform in the latter days, and that all the things spoken by your old prophets will be fulfilled, that you will be gathered to old Jerusalem, and that you will build a temple there; and when you build that temple, and the time has arrived, 'the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple."
. . .
Said I-"You can do nothing unless God directs. You as a people are tied hand and foot, and have been for generations, and you can't move a peg unless God strikes off your fetters. When he says the word the things spoken of by the prophets will be fulfilled. Then, the measuring line will go forth again in Jerusalem, then your Messiah will come, and all those things spoken of by the prophets will be fulfilled."

(John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham, p.293)

President Wilford Woodruff made this statement,

. . . the Jews have got to gather to their own land in unbelief. They will go and rebuild Jerusalem and their temple. They will take their gold and silver from the nations and will gather to the Holy Land. When they have done this and rebuilt their city, the Gentiles, in fulfilment of the words of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and other prophets, will go up against Jerusalem to battle and to take a spoil and a prey; and then, when they have taken one-half of Jerusalem captive and distressed the Jews for the last time on the earth, their Great Deliverer, Shiloh, will come. They do not believe in Jesus of Nazareth now, nor ever will, until he comes and sets his foot on Mount Olivet and it cleaves in twain, one part going towards the east, and the other towards the west.

-JD 15:277-278, January 12, 1873.
(Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, edited by G. Homer Durham, p.118)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie felt that the Jews who build the temple will be members,

A house of the Lord-the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews-shall rise again in Jerusalem, perhaps on the very site where the ancient holy house stood, because the remnants of Judah shall accept their King, believe his gospel, and walk in his paths. A holy temple, the house of the Lord-a sacred sanctuary with its Holy of Holies where the Divine Presence, the Shekinah of old, shall once more be manifest to Israel-shall be built in Old Jerusalem. It shall be built by the Jews: Jews who believe in Christ; Jews who are converted to the truth; Jews who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Jews who hold again the powers and priesthoods possessed by their ancestors. The keys and powers whereby temples are built vest in the President of the Church, the presiding high priest among the Lord's latter-day people. These keys, first conferred by angelic ministrants-Moses, Elijah, Elias, and others-upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, have come down in direct succession and rest upon and are exercised by the prophet of God on earth, the one who, as it were, wears the mantle of Joseph Smith. And so it is that the Jews shall build their temple, and the Jews who do it will be Mormons; they will be Jews who are the converted and baptized saints of the latter days.

(Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols., 1:, p.116)

We all have our eyes on this sacred site. We are watching and waiting to see how our marvelous, sacred, and holy Savior will bring about the miracle of preparing Jerusalem for his coming.

A Glorious Easter Gift

Brought to my attention by a friend

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Coming of Christ (Part 4) The New Jerusalem

One of the great events that must be accomplished before the coming of Christ in glory to the world, is the building up of the New Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem must have a glorious temple as it's center piece. According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, this temple will actually be a 24 building complex. D&C 42 reveals that the saints are to build up the New Jerusalem living the law of consecration. President Joseph Fielding Smith made this declaration about the New Jerusalem and the law of consecration,

D&C 42:30–35. What Is the Relationship between the Building of Zion and the Law of Consecration?

“In this revelation the Law of Consecration is stated definitely as the law on which the New Jerusalem is to be built. This law is given for the benefit of the poor, for the building of Zion and the work of the ministry. . . . Through this celestial law (Consecration) the Saints are to become the covenant people of the Lord. We cannot enter into the fulness of the covenants pertaining to Zion until we have reached the point where we can live such a divine law. Those who cannot abide the law of tithing cannot partake of this law of consecration, or the higher law and they will be deprived of an inheritance when the inheritances are divided.” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:168)

As mentioned in the post on April 5, by Elder Charles W. Penrose, the Savior will visit the people in the New Jerusalem and instruct them further in the building of Zion. As pointed out so far there is much to do to prepare the saints for the coming of Christ and to live in the Millennium. Remember that there is a very important organization that will be put in place at Adam-Ondi-Ahman that is a part of the concept of Zion and the New Jerusalem (see previous post).

The Prophet Enoch, who built the Zion of old, was instructed that the New Jerusalem would be the place where the righteous will be gathered to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, and that Enoch and his people will meet them there,

Moses 7:60-64
60 And the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;
61 And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem. (emphasis added)
63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.

Here we can see that even before the flood, it was known that the New Jerusalem was a "gateway" to the coming of the Lord and Millennial life. It is one of the major signs or "fig leaves" as it were, to key us in to the time when the Lord will come.

This New Jerusalem is to be a place of peace and safety for the righteous while much of the world is in anarchy,

D&C 45:67-70
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.

In other words, we should not be looking for the coming of Christ until the New Jerusalem and its temple is built by the law of consecration. It is to be a haven and a safe place for the righteous. Also, the stakes of Zion will serve this same purpose (see D&C 115:5-6). There is no way of knowing the speed by which some of these things may take place, but we do have the Lord's promise that he will hasten his work.

D&C 88:73
73 Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Coming of Christ (Part 3) Adam-Ondi-Ahman

There are not many events in the history of the world that are more exciting than the great meeting to be held at Adam-Ondi-Ahman. One of the major purposes for this meeting is to prepare the righteous for the coming of Christ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 157). President Joseph Fielding Smith referred to the business conducted there as the "most momentous matters concerning the destiny of the earth..." Way to Perfection p. 289.

President John Taylor said that the meeting will "adjust the affairs of the world." President Taylor also said that this meeting will be a part of the restoration of all things. He also point out that the kingdom will be both Church and state together. (see The Gospel Kingdom p. 102, 116-118)

Adam comes to set in order the righteous and those who have held keys. It is truly the setting up of the kingdom in preparation to the coming of Christ. Elder Orson Pratt stated the all would be in confusion at the coming of Christ without the meeting at Adam-Ondi-Ahman (Journal of Discourses vol. 18 p. 344).

Elder Orson Pratt at another time explained the organization at Adam-Ondi-Ahman,

He (Adam) comes, then, as a great judge, to assemble this innumerable host of which Daniel speaks. He comes in flaming fire. The glory and blessing and greatness of his personage it would be impossible even for a man as great as Daniel fully to describe. He comes as a man inspired from the eternal throne of Jehovah himself. He comes to set in order the councils of the Priesthood pertaining to all dispensations, to arrange the Priesthood and the councils of the Saints of all former dispensations in one grand family and household.
(Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 17:, p.186)

One of the most sacred and critcal parts of the meeting will be when the Savior is sustained as King of Kings and Lord of Lords,

THE ANCIENT OF DAYS. Daniel speaks of Adam as the Ancient of Days. In this dispensation the Ancient of Days will sit in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman; and the judgment will be set; Christ will come; and the kingdom will be turned over to Christ; and he will be sustained in his calling as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. [emphasis added] (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 1:, p.106)

President Joseph Fielding Smith saw the process of giving an account of keys that had been held as a form of judgment,

COMING OF CHRIST AT ADAM-ONDI-AHMAN. Daniel speaks of the coming of Christ, and that day is near at hand. There will be a great gathering in the Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman; there will be a great council held. The Ancient of Days, who is Adam, will sit. The judgment-not the final judgment-will be held, where the righteous who have held keys will make their reports and deliver up their keys and ministry. Christ will come, and Adam will make his report. At this council Christ will be received and acknowledged as the rightful ruler of the earth. Satan will be replaced. Following this event every government in the world, including the United States, will have to become part of the government of God. Then righteous rule will be established. The earth will be cleansed; the wicked will be destroyed; and the reign of peace will be ushered in.
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 3:, p.13)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie points out that it will precede the other appearances of the Lord that are associated with his second coming. The meeting will include all those who were at the first meeting at Adam-Ondi-Ahman and all faithful saints of all the ages past. It will be the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. Elder McConkie suggests that there will be numerous meetings held. There will be the sacrament meeting that is mentioned in D&C 27. Some meetings may be for instruction of leaders, others for edification of all, some for worship, and some to conduct business. (see Millennial Messiah pp. 575-588)

For another post on Adam-Ondi-Ahman see the April 1 post on In The Doghouse blog.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Coming of Christ (Part 2) Parable of the Fig Tree

We all look forward to the coming of Christ to usher in a period of peace and security. We would like to bask in the light of a Millennial Terrestrial life and have our children grow up in righteousness. When should we look for the coming of Christ is the big question? We are all familiar with the scripture that says the no man knows the day or the hour,

Matt 24:36
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

The Prophet Joseph Smith felt that it would be revealed to the Prophet when the coming of Christ would be,

Remarks on the coming of the Son of Man by Joseph Smith the Prophet. Made in Nauvoo Christ says no man knoweth the day or the hour when the Son of Man cometh. This is a sweeping argument for sectarianism against the latter day ism. Did Christ speak this as a general principle throughout all generations Oh no he spoke in the present tense no man that was then liveing upon the footstool of God knew the day or the hour But he did not say that there was no man throughout all generations that should not know the day or the hour. No for this would be in flat contradiction with other scripture for the prophet says that God will do nothing but what he will reveal unto his servants the prophets consequently if it is not made known to the Prophets it will not come to pass . . .
(Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith:, The Contemporary Accounts of the nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980], 180-181)

The most important help that the Savior gave to help us understand the time of his coming were these statements concerning the fig tree,

Matt 24:32
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh:

D&C 45:36-39
36 And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you--
37 Ye look and behold the figtrees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.

The Prophet Joseph smith taught that the coming of the Son of Man could not come until the judgments spoken of had commenced,

The coming of the Son of Man never will be-never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out: which judgments are commenced. . . . It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.286)

As pointed out in the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual p. 398,

The signs of the Lord’s coming may be classified into two main categories: (1) Signs that are part of the Restoration of the gospel and its eventual expansion throughout the world; and (2) signs that are part of the increase of evils and the calamities and judgments to come upon the world. These two movements are taking place simultaneously in the last days. President Spencer W. Kimball said that “the progress of the church will be paralleled by a growing wickedness among mankind” and, citing Brigham Young, “in proportion to the spread of the gospel among the nations of the earth so would the power of Satan rise” (in Church News, 30 June 1979, p. 5).

The purpose of the next several posts is to examine some of the signs that must be in place before the coming of Christ. We have already seen in the previous post that there are three major appearances of Christ that must take place before he comes in glory to the whole world: (1) His coming at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, (2) His coming to the New Jerusalem, and (3) His coming to the Old Jerusalem. We will look at these three comings first in the next three posts.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Coming of Christ (Part 1) Four major appearances

There are at least four major events associated with the coming of Christ to the world. The Doctrine and Covenants Institute Student Manual gives an understanding of these events. This material comes out the enrichment material section H on the Last Days:

(H-10) Christ’s Appearance to Mankind

When the Lord returns He will make some appearances to specific groups and then culminate His return by His appearance in great power, majesty, and glory, in such a manner that all the world will see Him (see D&C 133:17–22 and 101:22–23). Four appearances of the Lord have had particular mention by the prophets: two of these appearances will be to the Saints; one appearance will be to the Jews; and the fourth will be His final coming to the world.

The appearance at the city of New Jerusalem. The Lord “shall suddenly come to his temple” (D&C 133:2), a temple yet to be built in Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 84:1–5; 97:10, 15–16). Elder Charles W. Penrose said that the Lord would make His appearance first among the Saints and “that appearance will be unknown to the rest of mankind. He will come to the Temple prepared for him, and his faithful people will behold his face, hear his voice, and gaze upon his glory. From his own lips they will receive further instructions for the development and beautifying of Zion and for the extension and sure stability of his Kingdom.” (Millennial Star, 10 Sept. 1859, pp. 582–83.)

The appearance at Adam-ondi-Ahman. The Lord will appear to the Saints at a great sacrament meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess County, Missouri, attended by those who have held the keys of the priesthood during all the gospel dispensations and by faithful Saints from all ages. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council.” (History of the Church, 3:386–87; see also D&C 116.)

The appearance at the Mount of Olives. The Savior’s appearance to the Jews will occur when Jerusalem and its environs are besieged by many nations. At the close of a long and costly war, known as the battle of Armageddon, the Jews will flee for safety to the Mount of Olives. There the Savior will make His appearance. (See D&C 45:48–53; 77:15; 133:35; Revelation 11:1–13; Zechariah 14:1–9).

The Second Coming: the appearance to the whole world. As the Lord’s Second Coming approaches, signs will mark this epochal event. One of the last of these signs is the sign of the Son of Man (see D&C 88:93; JS—M 1:36). The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, &c. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.” (History of the Church, 5:337.)

Following the sign there will be “silence in heaven for the space of half an hour, and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded” and the Lord will make His appearance (D&C 88:95). So great will be the glory and power of His coming that the earth will tremble, the sun shall hide his face in shame, the mountains will melt and flow down, and the waters of the seas will boil (see D&C 133:40–42, 49; 101:25). All that is corruptible will be consumed and destroyed by the brightness of His presence (see D&C 5:19; 101:24–25). The Lord will wear red clothing, signifying His great atoning sacrifice and also His judgments upon the wicked (see D&C 133:48–51).

At this long-awaited day the Lord’s people will receive the reward for their faithfulness and endurance (see D&C 54:10; 133:52–53). Both the righteous living and the celestial dead will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air to be rewarded according to their deeds while the wicked are destroyed and cast into outer darkness (see D&C 88:96–97; 101:89–91). This will be the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (D&C 110:14, 16).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Malachi Prepares Us For Christ's Coming (Part 7) The Sealing Power of Elijah

Malachi 4:4-6
4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, [with] the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

We learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith that the law revealed to Moses on Horeb (Sinai) was never revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.

How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation. Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.

The anointing and sealing is to be callled, elected and made sure.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.323)

As Latter-day Saints we are aware that Moroni quoted part of these verses differently,

JS-H 1:39
39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

Again, President Joseph F. Smith referred to these verses in his great vision of the spirit world,

D&C 138:47-48
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.

The Prophet Joseph Smith also referenced these verses in telling of the visit of Elijah when he brought the sealing powers,

D&C 110:13-15
13 ...Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi--testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come--
15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse--

There are several ramifications to the promises made to the fathers that are to be planted in the hearts of the children. The fathers, in this instance, are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Part of the promise is that they and their posterity are to inherit the earth as a Celestial Kingdom, all being sealed together in the New and Everlasting Covenant (D&C 88:17-20). The other part of the promise is that each one of them are sealed as husband and wife and are priests and kings, priestesses and queens modeled after their heavenly parents (D&C 132:29-33). This is all part of the Abrahamic Covenant that is designed to exalt our Heavenly Father's children.

If there is no one sealed together so that they can inherit the earth as it becomes the Celestial Kingdom, we can certainly see how it would be wasted, as it would sit empty without any inhabitants.

Here we see just the opposite of what the Malachi said of the wicked in Malachi 4:1, that they would be left without root or branch. The righteous have the promise of the coming of Elijah to seal them to their progenitors and their posterity and to their spouses, thus blessing them with both roots and branches. Therefore, the holy Tree of Life becomes alive and eternal with its roots and branches fastened in place.

Several years ago, I gave a talk at BYU Women's Conference on the Abrahamic Covenant. If you are interested you can email me and I will attach a copy of the talk.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Malachi Prepares Us For Christ's Coming (Part 6) Calves of the stall?

Mal 4:1
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

The wicked that had become cynical in their worship of Jehovah will now see the difference between those who served Jehovah and those who did not. The wicked will now be consumed at the coming of Christ. Moroni taught the Prophet Joseph Smith that it would be those that come with the Lord that would burn them up (Joseph Smith-History 1:37). In D&C 5:19 it says that the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's coming. It appears that the second coming of Christ and those that he brings with him will be so bright that all things not transfigured will be destroyed. Another scripture teaches a very similar principle,

D&C 97:7
7 The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.

Being left without root or branch in Latter-day Saint doctrine is to be without progenitors and posterity, or as D&C 132:17 puts it, they are separate and single without exaltation in a saved condition.

Sometime in another post, we need to look closer at this chapter as a reference to the universal TREE OF LIFE that is patterned after Christ.

Mal 4:2
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Mal 4:2 (New International Study Bible)
2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

This verse is an obvious reference to the power of the second coming of Christ, and the healing that he brings with him, and the great power that will be poured out on those who have served him. I also, used the NIV translation because it gives a better impression of the calves being released from the stall.

Having been raised on a small farm I have been able to observed calves released from the stall. The stall appears to be a metaphor for this restricted telestial mortal life that we live. We have the necessities to keep us alive but we are tremendously limited like the calf of the stall. The calf's world is very small, they have the necessities brought to them to keep them alive but there is very little freedom, both their movement and perceptions are very restricted. They cannot run and are not even aware that it is possible to run and to leap.

The day that they are released from the stall and put into the large pasture they, at first, seem a little intimidated and not sure what to do. However, in a few minutes it is a delight to watch them as they now explore the new powers they have been given in their new world. They run and kick up their heels as their tails are lifted corkscrew like to the heavens. They are finally free and have powers that they never knew were possible.

This all appears to be a metaphor to understand the power of the coming of Christ to bless the righteous. They will truly understand the promise made, that as many as come unto him he will give power to become the sons of God (D&C 11:30). In their new Millennial life, where the earth is transfigured, and the Holy Ghost is poured out on the whole earth as a baptism, they will have power and strength beyond their Telestial comprehension. This is the time that is given to them to make their final preparations to become Celestial beings, and the power that is given them is a gift from the Savior's healing powers of the atonement. These verses give great hope to those who love the Lord and desire to become like him. The Millennial powers will lift them to heights of growth and progression toward perfection that they had never experienced or known.