Tuesday, August 11, 2009
"Turn Heart of the Fathers to the Children . . ."
There are several aspects to the statement found in Malachi 4:6, "... turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers ...."
Speaking of Adam, Noah and others of the ancient priesthood holders, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught, "... they without us cannot be made perfect." "These men are in heaven but their children are on the earth. Their bowel yearn over us. God sends down men for this reason." . . . "All these authoritative characters will come down and join hand in hand in bringing about this work" (TPJS p. 159). "We cannot be perfect without the fathers, etc. We must have revelation from them . . ." (TPJS p. 338).
So, one aspect is that we cannot be made perfect without revelation from our ancient fathers who held the priesthood and keys for the salvation of mankind. We need their priesthood, keys and instruction as to how to use them.
Thus, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,
15 That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman;
16 Who hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life. (emphasis added)
Another aspect is that the word "turn" means to bind or seal,
What shall I talk about to-day? I know what Brother Cahoon wants me to speak about. He wants me to speak about the coming of Elijah in the last days. I can see it in his eye. I will speak upon that subject then.
The Bible says, "I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Now, the word turn here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.
But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah. And I would to God that this temple was now done, that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.330-)
Yet another aspect has to do with planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers,
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.
1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2 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.
3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
The fathers to whom the promises were made were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises involve all aspects of saving mankind including the priesthood, the Celestialization of the earth and helping man to become like Heavenly Father.
Elijah brought back the sealing power so that marriages and other ordinances that are bound on earth shall be eternally sealed in the heavens. Those married by this authority are husband and wife in this life, and they so remain in the life to come, if they are true and faithful in all things. When Elias appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on that third day of April in 1836 in the Kirtland Temple, he "committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed." (D&C 110:12.) That is, Elias restored the great commission, given of God to Abraham our father, whereby the seed of Abraham has power to gain eternal blessings forever through eternal marriage; that is, Elias restored the marriage discipline that had eternal efficacy, virtue, and force in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
One of the grandest concepts in the whole plan of salvation is that these same blessings, given to worthy mortals whenever the fulness of the gospel is on earth, are also available to all those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel but who would have received it with all their hearts had it been offered to them while they dwelt in the flesh. This is what is involved in the promise that the Lord would reveal unto us "the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." By restoring the sealing keys, Elijah revealed the greatest use to which the priesthood may be put by mortals on earth. "And he [Elijah] 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." (D&C 2:1-2.)
The fathers are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises are the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant whereby the seed of the ancient patriarchs are entitled to receive the priesthood, the gospel, and eternal life (including celestial marriage). We are the children, and after we receive these blessings for ourselves, our attention turns almost by instinct to the well-being of our ancestors who died without a knowledge of the gospel. We are Abraham's seed, and they were Abraham's seed-through Isaac, through Jacob, and through the house of Israel. It thus becomes our privilege, on the basis of salvation for the dead, to search out our ancestors-to whom the same blessings have been promised as have come to us-and to make these blessings available to them through the vicarious ordinances of the house of the Lord.
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.508-)
Those who preceded us on the earth without the gospel cannot be made perfect unless we seek them out and do their work for them so that the promises made to the fathers may become a reality to them.
The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, "They without us cannot be made perfect;" (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times-a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.
Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half way. I say to you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are going before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man. Hence, God said, "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6.)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.356-)
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.
There is an impact on missionary work on this side of the veil in relationship to the gospel being taught and received in the spirit world,
Elder Melvin J. Ballard reflected on this truth (only one or two of a family who receive the gospel) and received an answer to explain it. He taught: "Why is it that sometimes only one of a city or household receives the Gospel? It was made known to me that it is because the righteous dead who have received the Gospel in the spirit world are exercising themselves, and in answers to their prayers elders of the Church are sent to the homes of their posterity . . ., and that descendant in the flesh is then privileged to do the work for his dead kindred. I want to say to you that it is with greater intensity that the hearts of the fathers and mothers in the spirit world are turned to their children now in the flesh than that our hearts are turned to them." (Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, p. 219.)
(S. Michael Wilcox, House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple, p.106)
Another aspect is turning the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews,
16 Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;
17 And again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.
The promises made to the fathers had the power to make Abraham like his God, therefore he sits upon his throne and is exalted and has the power of infinite posterity.
29 Abraham received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word, saith the Lord, and hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth upon his throne.
30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins--from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph--which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.
31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.
32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.
33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.