Subheading


And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Worship & Synagogues: Alma 32

I've touched partilaly on this subject once before. One of the chapters that I often reflect on is Alma 32. It gives a clear definition to what it means to "worship".

2 And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them.
3 Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship?
Here Alma tells us Worship is prayer. But it is more than this. The coming chapter is about a group of believers being cast out of their own synagagues who used many of their own resources to build them to worship God. Than because of their course apparel are cast out. It states, "because of their poverty, yea, and more especially by our priests; for they have cast us out of our synagogues which we have labored abundantly to build with our own hands; and they have cast us out because of our exceeding poverty" (vs 5). The priests wear "fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing" (1 Nephi 13:7-8). The poor are continuously down trodden and cast out. The Lord tells us the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto "great banquet" or a feast and in the end He will "bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame" because the others would not come when invited. (See Luck 14:15-24).

When Alma and Amulek went among the people they were disgusted with what they saw. When the poor asked them "What shall we do?—for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God." (vs 9). Alma responded:
I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only? And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week? I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren because of your exceeding poverty, that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble. (vs 10-11)
To worship God you do not need a Synagague.

What it means to Worship:
Not only does "worship" mean prayer but it also means "to labor".To worship (Abad) is to serve, or to labor. The word Abad in Hebrew means both "work" and "worship." And this is why the Lord hates idols. People "work" to make them and therefore the work of their hands is what they worship. People "work" to build babylon but it does nothing to bring forth Gods work, NOR does it work to relieve poverty.

So to worship is both "to labor" (and we are to "labor for Zion") and "prayer and give thanks". So when Alma and Amulek teach that men need not only worship in synagogues, they mean there are plenty of other ways to "worship" or "work" or "serve." Alma and Amulek at that time were "worshipping" out in the open. If we are trully worshiping God we do not need a Synagague nor a place to "worship once in a week".

To keep Gods commandments is better translated. "standing at attention waiting for Gods instructions". Because we are listening, we can do the things He asks of us when He does to truly worhsip Him. By heeding His commands, we can become perfect in our right. And the Lord tells us who He is so we know not only WHO we worship but how we are to worship. As it states "I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name" (D&C 93:19). That is because the Life He lived is the path that we are to follow to "worship". And that can not be done anywhere else except by through becoming like Him and doing His will with "laboring", "prayer" and "thanks.

Few Labor For the Many: Babylon Is Insustatinable:
There is a story around Abraham as recited by Avraham Gileadi that states the following:
"Isaiah and Jeremiah single out something about Babylon that corrupts all, including the Lord’s people. Those who engage in it become “Babylon” themselves and in the end perish with it. This involves the manufacturing, promoting, and selling of idols—the works of men’s hands. 
A story I heard in rabbinic school relates how Abraham’s father, Terah, in the land of Ur of the Babylonians, at times put young Abraham in charge of his store. When Terah, who made and sold idols, went into the forest to fetch wood for their manufacture, Abraham was to sell the idols in his father’s place. Typically Abraham would dissuade buyers, reproving the adults for esteeming statues as gods. One day, fed up with his duty, Abraham smashed all his father’s wares except a large idol that stood on a top shelf. When Terah returned from the forest, he flew into a rage, demanding an explanation. Abraham responded, “The big one did it!” implying that these were no gods at all, or they could have saved themselves. After that, Abraham became unpopular in Ur and the people sought his life. A sequel to this story appears in the book of Abraham, which commences with, “I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence” (Abraham 1:1). 
As Hugh Nibley has often pointed out, the essence of this sort of idol worship is not that people really believed the idols to be gods, but that their manufacture, promotion, and sale provided them with a living. It formed a socioeconomic system that afforded urban dwellers a means of sustenance. One problem with this system lay in its false economic base and the instability it bred—it fed on itself. Economic factors determined social behavior—the law of supply. Manufacturing the works of men’s hands yielded income but constituted idolatry, because what so many people worked at, oriented their lives around, was ultimately nonproductive. The work of idols did not sustain itself, but demanded to be sustained. It enslaved to a false idea not merely those directly involved with it, but also those who produced foodstuffs and raw materials. The latter labored additionally to provide for all the rest.
...
We can thus liken Babylon’s socioeconomic structure to an upside-down pyramid, which, as it grows, ever narrows at its base. In it, the many depend on the few for their support. Babylon’s mass of people, engaged in producing and selling idols, remain out of touch with their life source, rendering them vulnerable to catastrophe. The greatest height to which Babylon attains thus also forms her lowest point of stability. For when, through some unforeseen (divine) intervention, a single stone jars loose from the base, the entire structure collapses." (here)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Elijah Part 3: Words Convey Ideas

First Read Part 1: Promises made to the Fathers
First Read Part 2: The Fathers In Eternal Glory: Future Coming of Elijah: Records

Again this is my current understanding or view of things. I have certainly not figured out nor even pretend to understand it.

I discussed briefly the ideas or characteristics of those who inherit the different degrees in section D&C 76. Each level, telestial, terrestial, and celestial are separated due to what those were willing to receive and by their faith received. We are also told there are various degrees inside of each one.

I have learned that in the scriptures that words mean something. If we take the words literally we could miss out on what the writers are trying to convey. We are stuck to words to convey or represent the spiritual realm and how it behaves with the physical.  But if anyone has tried to convey what an image looks like using words each person would describe it differently but they would all represent the same idea or image. Likewise with the scriptures they have received the revelations of God, received the knowledge of God, and been redeemed to know the path to walk back to God and through words -- many being given the words to use by God -- conveyed that process to us.

The Godhead:
The Lectures on Faith portray an idea of the godhead to us. It defines the Godhead as "the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Further it states.
And [Christ] being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all—the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father—possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father—a Mediator for man—being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: (Lecture 5:2)
When your filled with the Holy Spirit your filled with the "mind of God". This is what makes the Father and the Son "One". Are you not one with God if you posses the same mind to do the will of the Father in all things? The Holy Spirit is the mind of God. Also the LOF states the Godhead consists of only "two personages" (ibid) the third, Holy Spirit not being a personage of spirit. Yet the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. (See D&C 130:22). This would mean that the Holy Spirit is not the same thing as the Holy Ghost.

Scriptures:
The scriptures portray the path back to God. The path required of us to walk if we wish to return to God and be redeemed. Each part of the path is portrayed in the scriptures and we must learn it all if we wish to become "precisely like Christ" the prototype of a saved being. For anything unlike Him cannot be saved. This is why we can read the scriptures and learn new insights and new ways to apply something we have never thought of. The Holy Ghost teaches us intelligence and shows how to get to the next "degree". He enlightens us and leaves us to choose and act upon the new found knowledge. If we act according to the new truth, more will be given. As Joseph declared:
“We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker, and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment.” (TJS, Chapter 17)
One begins to see the overall picture. Not just parts or pieces but how it all fits together. We begin to see others, including ourselves, as God sees us. In reality the Scriptures all talk about one idea (Christ - Prototype of a Saved Being) but the idea takes a lifetime to understand or become, along with being bestowed according to our "heed and diligence" its a great process to learn it all. We cannot be saved without revelation.

Zion: Clear As The Moon, Fair As The Sun:
The Godhead portrays the idea of who God is and what He is like. The scriptures show us how to become like Him and what His character and attributes are. We are also told Zion are the pure in heart. They are One. They are of one Mind, both the Father and the Son. LOF shows that means they all posses the same mind of God or the Holy Spirit.

Zion includes those who are "clear as the moon, fair as the sun". D&C 5 states,
“And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” (vs 5)
This description, "clear as the moon, fair as the sun", will show up another time in the dedicatory prayer to the Kirtland Temple in section 109. It is a description of the Lord's Church. The Lord's Church is “clear as the moon, fair as the sun.” The words "clear as the moon" means they meet the description that is given in Doctrine and Covenants section 76 describing those who have the glory of the moon as their inheritance. "Fair as the sun" is described in Doctrine and Covenants section 76, and describes those who will inherit the celestial glory. That is how He describes His Church. And they will be the only ones who will be able to stand at his coming.

So we have another idea portrayed with words representing a group of people who ascended above the Telestial world. And those who minister for those in the terrestrial glory is the Son, meaning the Son of God. (D&C 76: 77) Who intends to make many sons of God. And in the celestial glory the fullness of the Father dwells. ( D&C 76: 92) And so the Church which He owns, which He calls "mine," that He intends to bring out of the wilderness of darkness and confusion and into the light by which they can understand things of God is necessarily composed of those who have sufficient knowledge to be “clear as the moon, fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.".

Sufficient Knowledge:
“Now, what I am after is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it. What are we to understand by this in the last days? In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come..." (History of the Church, 6:251–53)
"It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance" (D&C 131:6)
"A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.” (TJS, Ch. 22)
 The TJS Chapter 22 relates a story of the School of the Prophets by Joseph which states,
At the meeting of the school held on March 18, 1833, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were set apart as the Prophet’s counselors in the First Presidency. Afterward, the Prophet “exhorted the brethren to faithfulness and diligence in keeping the commandments of God, and gave much instruction for the benefit of the Saints, with a promise that the pure in heart should see a heavenly vision; and after remaining a short time in secret prayer, the promise was verified; for many present had the eyes of their understanding opened by the Spirit of God, so as to behold many things. … Many of the brethren saw a heavenly vision of the Savior, and concourses of angels, and many other things.” 
The Prophet explained, “Great joy and satisfaction continually beamed in the countenances of the School of the Prophets, and the Saints, on account of the things revealed, and our progress in the knowledge of God.”
Knowledge is directly tied to the things of God. They progressed in the knowledge of God from interacting with heaven. Receiving from behind the veil those things required for our salvation. We get Knowledge by Revelation.
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19)
Knowledge Through Faith: Brother of Jared
A Promise is given to us in the Book of Mormon.
And in that day that they[us] shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:7)
It was these revelations that Jared received that the Lord could tell him "Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you." (Ether 3:13 ) That is redemption. To be brought back into the presence of God.

All My Revelations:
"The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God" (Woodruff Journal, Words of Joseph Smith, p.327-336) The Spirit of Elijah's role, consists of "the keys of the revelations" (ibid). Likewise the "Lord will reveal priesthood by hand of Elijah:" D&C 2:1 .

Now how is priesthood connected with knowledge or revelation which is connected to God who is light and truth? The Knowledge of God encompasses all of this. The Priesthood of God is merely an association with the powers of heaven or as D&C 121 says "the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven" (vs 36). Having an association with this higher order is by definition priesthood. "Powers of Heaven" being the "Hosts" of heaven. And by the "power of my Son" the Father created the world. If you want to retain that association you are required to use the only restraints given to you "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;" (vs 41), which describes how God interacts with us.

This is why Aaronic priesthood contains the "keys of ministering angels". Its an order that raises you to become Terrestial if you will receive it to receive a greater association, greater knowledge, and greater priesthood. And the Holy Order spoken of in Alma 13, is received by God Himself. Where knowledge is bestowed, or the "power of Godliness". What further makes this important is that In conjunction with making your calling and election sure, the Lord grants this privilege of asking and receiving. The Fullness of the Priesthood, an association with the Father, contains the "keys to ask and receive" (D&C 124:95). These keys allows ones to receive greater revelations from God. An upward spiral, representing eternal progression.

Spirit of Elijah:
Since the Spirit of Elijah contains the ability to bestow all of Gods revelations we can also see that as promised by Ether 4:7 that its only withheld due to our faith or unbelief. Likewise this same spirit contains the Sealing power over the elements as discussed in Helamen 10 given"unto thee in the presence of mine angels" (vs 6). Meaning they already have or will have an association with "angels".

Joseph described three parts of this power. First, us, the living, are required to do work using Elijah‘s guidance. Second, the "fathers which are in heaven" to whom we must have a bond to avoid being wasted at the Lord‘s return. Third, "our dead" who are intended to benefit from our connection and qualify to be resurrected into a saved line of priestly authorities stretching through us to the "fathers which are in heaven." We must be sealed to "the fathers which are in heaven" in order to be saved. "Our dead" must be redeemed and sealed to us, that they may also inherit eternal life with us. Doing a sealing between our dead and ourselves, however, is not enough and only connects two of the three groups together. Until we are also connected to the third group, that is "our fathers which are in heaven," we remain vulnerable to being "utterly wasted at His coming."

The scriptures portray one great image and I have learned a lot just from writing some of those images the Lord has helped me receive that I am still processing. The Spirit of Elijah can be received by all here now.

Part 4: Conclusion: Parable Of Lazarus and the Rich Man

Elijah Retrospective: Learning from the past: Purpose of Temples

First Read Part 1: Promises made to the Fathers
First Read Part 2: The Fathers In Eternal Glory: Future Coming of Elijah: Records
First Read Part 3: Words Convey Ideas
First Read Part 4: Conclusion: Parable Of Lazarus and the Rich Man

Joseph clarified the relationship on priesthood.
“Answer to the question, Was the Priesthood of Melchizedek taken away when Moses died? All Priesthood is Melchizedek, but there are different portions or degrees of it. That portion which brought Moses to speak with God face to face [Fulness of the priesthood per D&C 84:20-23] was taken away; but that which brought the ministry of angels remained [Aaronic Priesthood]. All the prophets had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God himself.” (Teachings, pp. 180–81.) 
The reasons for their failure is outlined in D&C 84.
Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his angerwas kindled against them, swore that they should notenter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; (vs 23-25)
Learning From the Past: Nauvoo Temple:
Joseph said what happens when the fulness of the priesthood priesthood is lost.
It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood, but when men come out and build upon other men's foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust. (Joseph Smith, Sermon at the Grove)
When there is a people worthy to be in the presence of God, Elijah can come and fulfill his role, We can build a temple, that is acceptable by God where He can "come to and restore again" (D&C 124:28) the priesthood and those ordinances that can seal the family of God together. We can be "endowed with power from on high" (D&C 105:11) or restore again that authority which prevents Zion from coming. Preparing the world for His return in Glory, if it were not so the world would be utterly wasted at His coming because "without this[priesthood] no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live." (D&C 84:22)

Joseph laments about the problem the saints had while trying to build that temple. He states,
I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on the earth & the Saints have none to much time to save & redeem their dead, & gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten & the Consumption decreed falls upon the world. (WJS, Willard Richards Diary, p 318)
Joseph lamented that the seals were still, with him on the earth. But he noted that the Saints should be making use of them, in the Temple, while they are [yet] on the earth. It implies, of course, that the available time was drawing to an end. That the haste required by the Lord (See D&C 124: 26, 31) to have the Nauvoo Temple built was because a real threat existed that these seals were going to be lost to the Saints. (vs 32) The consequence of failing to have these things accomplished while the seals were on the earth was that the earth will be smitten (See D&C 2: 3) and the consumption decreed (See D&C 87: 6) would fall upon the world.

Joseph continued in the same lecture and stated why they had failed connecting it with the inability to receive or understsand knowledge (remember Elijah role is connected with the revelations of God),
Their has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation it has been like splitting hemlock knots with a Corn doger for a wedge & a pumpkin for a beetle, Even the Saints are slow to understand I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God, but we frequently see some of them after suffering all they have for the work of God will fly to pieces like glass as soon as any thing Comes that is Contrary to their traditions, they Cannot stand the fire at all, How many will be able to abide a Celestial law & go through to receive their exhaltation I am unable to say but many are Called & few are Chosen. (WJS, pg 319)
The Saints of that day were unwilling to hear from Joseph about these doctrines. Therefore they left us with a single version of his talk about this most important subject, given on January 7, 1844. Joseph would be dead six months later. The catastrophe of his death was, of course, unanticipated by them at the time. Therefore their indifference may seem somewhat excusable. When, however, the importance of the topic is weighed in the balance, how is anyone to conclude that either they, or we, are excused from careful, solemn and ponderous investigation into this topic? Even if considering it causes us to fear, we should trust that a loving Heavenly Father will not leave us in the dark about such matters. And, of course, the first step to repenting and reclaiming what God offers is always to awaken and arise from your pitiful condition lying in the dust. To repent, and return to Him will always allow us to regain His grace. But unless we awaken, we are not in a position to even attempt to repent. We don‘t know we need to! We remain in our slumber, lying in the dust, unredeemed, unawake, and without understanding which might have saved some few of us.

From the lost of the fulness or the lack of willingness to receive it, there was a change of ordinances. And as Joseph said anytime you the priesthood changes or is forfeited, apostasy occurs and anew dispensation is required.

There is a new dispensation begun, Today. All old things have beend one away and become new. (See 3 Nephi 12) You must accept the ordinances of this new Light or you cannot hope to progress to know God. God always sends messengers once a susceptible amount of time has passed giving to a new generation another offer to know God and allowing them to receive the same rights and privileges of the Fathers which Abraham had sought after. If they succeed Zion will come, if they fail, the Lord as Joseph frequently taught will find someone else who is willing to receive it.

Elijah Shall Come Down: Temples
While the Spirit of Elijah will help prepare the way for the Lords return, Elijah shall come down from heaven the same way he descended accompanied by the city of Enoch. (See JST Genesis 9: 21-25). His role is to restore those ordinances which will seal the Family of God together.

The following are some quotes taken from a talk about the purpose of Temples.

"We think the temples are primarily a place for work for the dead. But temples are required mainly to organize the living into a family. The organization cannot happen outside a temple. That is the only place God will allow the restoration, rites, ordinances, and covenant to be ministered. Heaven and earth will reunite and angels will attend to many of the required things when an acceptable temple has been built. We think a temple can be built following a pattern based on current ordinances. There is no understanding of the ordinances necessary to organize the family of God again." (See Denver Snuffer Polygamy Talk)

"All of the work that gets done for the dead sealing yourself to your dead ancestors (as of they could take you anywhere other than to join them in death), is the inverse of the model Joseph was establishing. Joseph had people sealed to him because he had formed a link to heaven. Sealing your kindred dead as your superior puts you in the spirit world living with the dead: unredeemed, unresurrected, unreturned to the flesh, where you, like your kindred righteous dead (if you have any), can preach to the people who are in prison. But that will never get you up Jacob’s ladder to the presence of God. It won’t even get you out of the grave." (ibid)

"As a living mortal you can have an association with the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn (a priestly reference that requires you to understand about the “rights of the fathers” [and trait of those who attain to a celestial nature] ) here, now. If you do this you become one of those solitary souls who live as a stranger and sojourner on earth. Your association is with heaven, not with earth. But that does not fulfill the prophecies and covenants regarding Zion. You can have the same kind of life but if it is your life alone if you live without bringing others with you. You will live without a city, a community, all things in common, no poor among that community, a temple, rites, and the completion of the restoration of all things. You may have a life worthy of Zion, but it will not be a City of Zion, the New Jerusalem. You can be a “citizen” but you will be a sojourner in exile here." (ibid)

"The sons of Adam who were named were descended in a direct line from Adam. All of those sons held the same Patriarchal Priesthood, at the same time as their father Adam. There was not a “single individual” who held priesthood. But in each generation, from Adam until Noah, there was one who stood at the head of that generation. This direct line were the Patriarchal heirs, and stood in the position of the Patriarch for that generation. When that is here, then only one on earth occupies the role for the generations. Joseph Smith obtained that status, and it passed to Hyrum. The first seven generations of Patriarchs all held exactly the same priesthood and lived concurrently. Gentiles, in their pride, always want to be “top-dog.” They are unwilling to be saved in the Kingdom of God unless they, like Lucifer, can be at the top of the sides of the north sitting on the Throne of God. Fools all. No comprehension of how great a price will be required to ascend there. Utterly forgetting that you must be “exactly” like the “prototype of the saved man” to be there." (ibid)

Elijah Conclusion: Parable Of Lazarus and the Rich Man

First Read Part 1: Promises made to the Fathers
First Read Part 2: The Fathers In Eternal Glory: Future Coming of Elijah: Records
First Read Part 3: Words Convey Ideas

I think that Christ was deliberate about everything He said during His ministry, including the analogies He used in the stories He told. When Christ took occasion in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, to tell us about the status of individuals in heaven, we should take careful note. When the beggar Lazarus died, he was "carried by the angels into Abraham‘s bosom." (Like 16:22) Lazarus leaves this world accompanied by angels, and is taken to Abraham‘s bosom. The definition of reward in the afterlife is to go to "the bosom of Abraham."

The rich man dies and is in torment. But Jesus does not tell us the rich man cried out to God for relief, instead Christ has the tormented man cry out to Abraham. (vs 24)  When Jesus is describing positions of authority in the afterlife, He uses Abraham as the key to relief from torment. The deceased looks to Abraham‘s position and knows there is relief there. The man petitions: "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (vs 24) Ask yourself if being connected to "the fathers which dwell in heaven" or, in other words Abraham (among others) is any clearer a topic from the roles Christ uses to teach us in this parable.

It continues: "But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received the good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou are tormented." (vs 25) There is an equation. Everything will balance. You rich people had good before, but allowed Lazarus to suffer from evil you could have relieved. Now it is put back into balance. In the immediate afterlife you get to suffer, so you may understand the error of your way. You may at last understand how charity is critical to make the universe whole. See, if you are one who chooses to inflict tears (or even ignore tears you might have wiped away), then that will be recompensed to you. And if you wipe away tears, from others, that will be returned to you as well. Because what will be restored unto you is exactly, as we began with Alma, what you send out. It is an equation after all. (Alma 41:14) (See Elijah Reconsidered)

Conclusion:
Joseph wanted the Saints to enter into the Lord‘s presence. He began to set up the Temple rites, including beginning the endowment above his red brick store. The endowment instructs the initiated in the path back to the presence of God. However, he died before the saints completed the required Temple for the Lord to come and restore the fullness. It is clear however that Joseph anticipated there would eventually be more added to the Temple. In fact, he connected Elijah‘s mission not just to sealing, but also to everything including animal sacrifice. (See October 5, 1840, Joseph Smith Papers, Instruction on Priesthood)

Concerning the priesthood, we read in Moses 6: 7: "Now this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also." When you add the promise that the same priesthood will return together with Christ‘s comment "as it was in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be," you have something noteworthy. The "days of Noah" overlapped the time of Enoch. Enoch‘s City survived the flood of Noah by fleeing. This time, however, because of Elijah‘s coming ministry, there will be those who escape the upcoming fiery ordeal by connecting with heaven in advance. They will not be "wasted at His coming" because they are able to endure His presence.
‘It is the privilege of every Elder to speak of the things of God; and could we all come together with one heart and one mind in perfect faith the veil might as well be rent today as next week, or any other time. …’ (Teachings, p. 9.)
We need to rend the veil of unbelief as did Ether to receive "all the revelations of God" and when a group begins to rise up to receive these things they will know the father hath remembered the covenants or promises which he has made with the fathers (ie. Abraham).
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. (Ether 4:15)
To keep the commandments more accurately means to "watch for every communication I will send". To watch is to be on the watchtower and be prepared for His future coming. Only those who watch, receive His instructions, and heed them will be saved.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Elijah Part 2: The Fathers In Eternal Glory: Future Coming of Elijah: Records

First Read Part 1: Promises made to the Fathers
"The spirits of the just are enveloped in flaming fire,...are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.. and are often pained therewith." (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 326.) 
"office & work of Elijah .. . is one of the greatest & most important subjects that God has revealed." -TJS Ch 26- 
When viewing the degrees of the after life and the requirements we should regard them as levels. The requirements as outlined in D&C 76 are attributes of those who have attained to it or what we must become if we wish to do likewise. And we can obtain it by going from "grace to grace" (See D&C 93).

The quote above talks about some characteristics of these saints that exist in the celestial realm. They are "enveloped in flaming fire" that understand what we are each going through. It's like the Book of Mormon described with Lehi when visited with an Angel; there "came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him" (1 Nephi 1:6) where he saw and heard much. When Nephi and Lehi were preaching among the Lamanites they were "cast into prison many days without food" (Helamen 5:21) When the Lamanites returned to slay them, Nephi and Lehi had the following experience:
And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned. And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage. (Helamen 5:23-24)
At this moment Nephi and Lehi had experienced or became as those who "appear as a pillar of light". They "were encircled about with a pillar of fire" showing that they were at this moment like those who also "appear as a pillar of fire". Which glory can be withhold as Christ did on the Road to Emmaus talking with two disciples as man.

Another description was given by Joseph of the afterlife. Joseph taught that the Seraphim are "fiery ones" or the "burning ones." All these words are descriptions of the afterlife. These seraphim are the closest to the throne of God as "shining seraphs around thy throne" (D&C 109:79) It was the seraphim (again a description of a class of angels) that purged the lips of Isaiah "Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; " (2 Nephi 16:6) It was their responsibility of cleansing him. "Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged" (vs 7) to stand in the presence of God.

The Spirits of the Just:
The spirits of the just are talking about a specific type of people. When talking about the attributes of those who attain to celestial glory it states in Doctrine and Covenants section 76 that they are those,
...who overcome by faith, and ARE sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, (HSOP) which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. (vs 56)
An inheritance is obtained by the HSOP. "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance... the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession" (Ephesians 1:10-14). The HSOP is a sealing power, that binds whats on earth with whats in heaven. It is given as the promise of eternal life. D&C 76 states that they "are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise" meaning they have received it in this life. Its describing the characteristics of those who obtain to that glory.

The early saints at one time received this promise as recorded in D&C 88.
3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son— (vs 3-5)
Testimony of Jesus:
The testimony of Jesus is not the HG but rather to be sealed by the HSOP.
"To be sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise that is the Testimony of Jesus.” (WJS, pg 209)
This is another characteristic of the Celestial. We can see those who are terrestial in D&C 76 that they are those "Who received not the testimony of Jesus [which is to be sealed by the HSOP] in the flesh, but afterwards received it.". They did not receive the HSOP but afterwards received it [beyond the grave].

Joseph said regarding the sealing of Elijah,
To obtain this sealing [of Elijah] is to make our calling and election sure which we ought to give all diligence to accomplish (WJS, Franklin D. Richards Diary)
The power of Elijah is connected with one receiving their calling and election (being sealed by the HSOP). It is this promise (C&E) given by God that we are able to obtain a promise for our posterity.
Make your calling and election sure go on from grace to grace untill you obtain a promise from God for yourselves that you shall have eternal life. this is eternal life to know God and his son Jesus Christ, it is to be sealed up unto eternal life and obtain a promise for our posterity. Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, this is the power of Elijah to seal or bind or turn the hearts of the fathers to their children sealed against all sin but the sin of sheding innocent blood and the Sin against the holy ghost. (WJS, James Burgess Notebook)
Receiving Sealing Power - Individuals:
D&C 68:3-4 relates the power of the Holy Ghost to seal:
“And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” [Verse 12 adds,] “And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.”
There is power to seal when moved by the Holy Ghost. That authority anyone can receive on a case-by-case basis. When Christ was brought to the temple at Jerusalem, the prophetess Anna had the power of the Holy Ghost within her. It was the Holy Spirit of Promise that made the declaration through her. In these moments, the one moved simply declares, by the voice of prophecy, what God has done. Women have used this power when moved upon by the Holy Ghost. The first meeting of the school of the prophets in Kirtland, Ohio included both men and women. In the meeting the gift of tongues “was poured out in a miraculous manner” on not only the church’s elders but also “several of the members of the Church both male & female.” Sealing is by the word of God, and in a real sense it is obtained by an ordinance. It is the power of prophecy, and that gift can be experienced by all. The prophetic word contains the power to seal when it originates from God.

While all can experience at times this power through the Holy Ghost it is different than the Spirit of Elijah or the future coming of Elijah.

Role of the Spirit of Elias:
The HSOP is about individuals being sealed to God but the Power of Elijah isn't just about individuals but familial. From the years of 1840-1844 Joseph consistently (at least 6 times) taught about the future need for Elijah to come again and restore the power of Elijah. He never once stated he had already come. In-fact Joseph states the following regarding the role of Elias and Elijah.
"What I want to impress upon your minds is, the difference of power in the different parts of the Priesthood, so that when any man comes among you saying I have the spirit of Elias you can know whether he be true or fals, for any man that comes having the spirit & power of Elias he will not transend his bounds.

John [The Baptist] did not transend his bound but faithfully performed that part belonging to his office, and evry portion of the great building should be prepared right & assigned to its proper place, & it is necessary to know who holds the keys of power & who dont, or we may be likely to be decieved. (WJS, Wilford Woodruff Diary, 10 March 1844)
Those who hold the keys of the "Spirit of Elias" hath a "preparatory work" "His [John's or Spirit of Elijas] mission was to preach repentance & baptize with water, but it was he that should Come after him that should baptise with fire & the Holy Ghost" (ibid). Not once did John the Baptist transcend his bounds but left the "greater work" to others.

Role of The Spirit of Elijah:
Joseph explains about the role of Elijah, "him that should bapitse with fire & the Holy Ghost", was found among the Apostles who were "endowed with greater power than John". The people that were baptized by water under John or Elias - still needed to be baptized with fire - or receive the gift of the Holy Ghost under one with power to do so or from God directly - under the Spirit of Elijah.
"When paul came to Certain Deciples He asked if they had received the Holy Ghost they said no, who baptized you then we were Baptizd unto Johns Baptism No John did not baptized you for he did his work right, & so Paul went & baptized them for He knew what the true doctrine was & he knew that John Had not Baptised them" (ibid)
The apostles knew John's work was baptism by water, not of that of the Holy Ghost. Therefore they batpized the people "with fire & the Holy Ghost". 3 Nephi also distinguishes between these two powers. When bestowing the power to baptize by water the Lord called Nephi forth and said to Nephi "I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people" The Lord also called others forth and "gave unto them power to baptize" (3 Nephi 11:21-23). All it took was the Lords "words" to give them power. Never did the Lord touch them.

Than the Lord distinguishes between this group and another group, the disciples, AFTER instituting the sacrament and the crowd partaking thereof. He called the disciples before Him.
"He touched with his hand the disciples whom he had chosen, one by one, even until he had touched them all, and spake unto them as he touched them. And the multitude heard not the words which he spake, therefore they did not bear record; but the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost.. (3 Nephi 18: 36-37)
The disciples were the only ones with power to give the Holy Ghost. And it required the Lord to "touch them" to receive that power "one by one". Whereas the power to baptize was merely given by the Lord speaking to the people.This power was given after they and the people had received the sacrament. The disciples were the ONLY ones to receive power to do this and was never delegated to others. Though the Lord always retains the right to "visit others with fire and the holy ghost" (paraphrased, 3 Nephi 11:35).

Coming of Elijah:
Joseph spoke repeatedly about the coming of Elijah and his role. There are three parts of this. There is a "spirit of Elias", Spirit of Elijah", and "Spirit of Messiah" and there is Elijah himself who went up into heaven.
The spirit of Elias is first, Elijah second, and Messiah last. Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after, holding the keys of power, building the Temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready; then Messiah comes to His Temple, which is last of all…. Elijah was to come and prepare the way and build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord, although the spirit of Elias might begin it (ibid, or TPJS, pp. 335, 340).
In an alternate recording in a diary by Thomas Bullock (There were multiple recorders each varying slightly from each other as seen here or as recorded in the Words of Joseph Smith. Wilford Woodruff was the most complete recording) said,
The Spirit of Elias is a forerunner same as John the Baptist-the Spirit of Elijah is the sealing power- to seal the hearts of the Fathers to the children-and the children to the Parents 58 as Paul declared that the Saints of the last days could not be perfect without them-neither can they be perfect without us 59-the Spirit of Messiah is all power in Heaven and in Earth 60- Enthroned in the Heavens as King of Kings and Lord of Lords 61-the Rainbow is not to be seen-it is a sign of the commencement of famine & pestilence (WJS, Thomas Bullock Diary, 10 March 1844)
The angel that appeared to Joseph said the following concerning Elijah,
"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. 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" (D&C 2:1-3; JSH 38-39)
This event, where Elijah comes down out of heaven the same way he went up, must still happen before the Lord comes. It will happen when Zion looks downward and a people have received the truth look upward, and follow it. (See JST Genesis 9:22-23) Elijah is vital as the last one to make the ascent from earth to heaven. He rose up through the fiery corridor, and went to God‘s presence. He joined the ―fathers in heaven who are to return. He was the last who opened the way by his physical ascent and will return as the "hosts of heaven" and "they that come shall burn them[us]" (JSH 1:37) if we cannot abide their presence, or obtained to this greater priesthood that allows one to stand in the presence of God and live. (See D&C 84:20-23) This is why we are required to prepare ourselves, individually, before His return or being gathered to Zion.

This work of Elijah involves a temple. It invovles more than just the individual receivng the power themselves, its familial, which at anytime can receive this power by being sealed by the HSOP or receiving their Calling and Election. As seen in Helamen 10.

Connecting Ourselves with the Fathers In Glory:
Joseph said concerning Elijah,
this is the spirit of Elijah that we redeam our dead & connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven & seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection & here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those which dwell in heaven this is the power of Elijah & the keys of the Kingdom of Jehovah. (WJS)
In order to fulfill the spirit of Elijah in our lives we must "redeem our dead" but we cannot do that unless we ourselves are redeemed. Therefore we must receive our "calling and election" or the promise of eternal life that we ourselves can also take part to redeem our dead who are in the world of spirits. That is the mission of Elijah. If you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah: That we redeem our dead, but then connect ourselves with our "fathers which are in heaven". "Our dead" are saved through us, but we are saved by connecting to our "fathers in heaven."

Who are "the fathers who dwell in glory?" Well, go back to the revelation in which Joseph Smith received the sealing power, D&C 132:49. There you learn the sealing power was conferred upon Joseph by God‘s voice: "I the Lord thy God will be with thee even unto the end of the world and through all eternity for verily I seal upon your exaltation. Prepare your throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father." This is Joseph‘s calling and election. Then, in verse 46 Joseph is given the power to seal: "I say unto you whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth in my name by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens. Whosoever‘s sins are remitted on earth shall be eternally remitted eternally in heaven" and so on. This reference to Christ‘s "Father, and [Joseph‘s] father Abraham" is important. The connection was made between Joseph and Abraham, one of the "fathers who dwell in glory" because as soon as Joseph received the sealing authority and was promised exaltation, the Lord immediately describes the effect of the Lord sealing Joseph to eternal life and exaltation. It connected Joseph with "the fathers who dwell in glory." It made Joseph a living member of the family of the exalted.

When we receive "This Gospel", as did Abraham, Jacob or Issac, we will become "Abraham's seed" fulfilling the covenants given to Abraham or those promises made to the fathers. It will reconnect us with this priesthood line that is broken anytime apostasy or wickedness enters the world and people apostatize from the truth. Because priesthood is defined as a connection with heaven, or "inseparably connected with the powers of heaven", if men lose that connection we lose the power to raise up others to connect with heaven. No man can stand in the presence of God and live without this greater priesthood. (See D&C 84:20-23)

When discussing the Sons of God, Joseph said, "I believe in these Gods that God [i.e., the Father] reveals as Gods—to be Sons of God & all can cry Abba Father–Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods even from before the foundation of the world & are all the only Gods I have a reverence for..." (Joseph Smith, Bullock report of Sermon in the Grove, 16 June 1844)

Planting in the hearts of the children:
“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." (JSH 1:39)
The promises of the father's shall be fulfilled in part through the children by planting those promises in the hearts of the children. What does it mean to plant something in the heart of a person? The only way for the children to fulfill the promises made to the fathers is to do what Abraham did and receive "This Gospel" (Abraham 2:9-11). To reconnect, as the right of the firstborn, back to the priestly line of the fathers. So to "plant" in the hearts of the children would be best served by planting the "desire" that Abraham also sought after. Alma 32 distinguishes how faith can grow like a seed, or desire, and when that seed grows it becomes a tree or faith bearing fruit. That desire in the children to rise up, as did Abraham being the type of what we are required to do, will bring some few to fulfill the promises.

Abraham had the desire as those who went before and he explained in that desire the following,
And, finding there was greater happinessand peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers. It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the Firstborn. (Abraham 1:1-3)
Abraham connected with the fathers in heaven and became a righteful heir. The right of the Firstborn is also connected with celestial glory which right was "before the foundation of the earth".
"They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God. " (D&C 76:54-58)
They are those who have joined the church of the Firstborn. Abraham "was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch" (JST Geneesis 14:25,27-28). The same order that D&C 76 describes. He had connected with the fathers in eternal glory receiving the promises made to the fathers before him. "Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God". 

They are those "who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn" (vs 67) or received the covenant promised to the fathers in heaven. Who's "names are written in heaven" (vs 68). In Revelation 21 it speaks of the city of Enoch "I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (vs 2) and that they that join them "are written in the Lamb's book of life" (vs 27).

Sealing Through A Record:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20:12) 
"The books spoken of [See Revelation 20:12] must be the books which contained the record of their works, and refer to the records which are kept on the earth. And the book which was the book of life is the record which is kept in heaven;...that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven." (D&C 128:7)
The works of men are recorded in the books kept on the earth, and the book of life which is kept in heaven contains the "names [that] are written in heaven" (D&C 76:68, Revelation 21:27) Joseph gave another interpretation of sealing on earth with whats sealed in heaven in section 128. It states,
“It is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven...It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah... Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Holy Priesthood. For him to whom these keys are given there is no difficulty in obtaining a knowledge of facts in relation to the salvation of the children of men, both as well for the dead as for the living.” (D&C 128:8-11 )
I want to point out "whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven". Records were so important to the Lord that when He visited the Nephites He asked them "How be it that ye have not written this thing [concerning Samuel the Lamanite], that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?" (3 Nephi 23:9-13) After they realized they had not yet recorded the event, "Jesus commanded that it should be written" (vs 13)

Nephi was one who attained to the sealing power. It reads in 2 Nephi,
“And now, behold, my brethren, I have spoken unto you, according as the Spirit hath constrained me; wherefore, I know that they must surely come to pass. And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.” (2 Nephi 28:1-2)
Nephi held power from God in the words he used. Therefore he could “know that they must surely come to pass” because he sealed them as he wrote them. (D&C 1: 38.) For any person holding the sealing authority, the authority requires an alignment between the Lords servant, the Lord and the Lord’s will. Those who have this authority will not do anything contrary to the will of the Lord. (Helaman 10: 5.) It is because of this trust between the Lord and His messenger that the power is given to the man. Nephi was such a man. His book contained a seal upon it bearing the power of God. Nephi knew. Knowledge came from Christ. Nephi knew Christ. (2 Nephi 11: 3)

Notice Nephi’s prophecy is that “words which shall be written out of the book” rather than the book itself. This is, of course, exactly what we have. The actual book has been withheld. Only words from the book have been given us. But those words are intended to be of great worth to mankind.

These words are given to us by Him, through a servant possessing authority to seal them up. We cannot prevent them from happening. We can, however, align ourselves with them and in turn be saved as well.

Part 3: Words Convey Ideas

Monday, November 28, 2016

Elijah Part 1: Promises made to the Fathers

Part 1: The following posts are some of my learnings and studies on the subject of Elijah and the promises made to the Fathers. I certainly don't fully understand it all but have jotted down some of my thoughts on the subject. Which could change as more understanding is given.
"The spirits of the just are enveloped in flaming fire,...are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.. and are often pained therewith." (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 326)
Promises Made To Abraham:
Abraham was promised the following.
9 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
10 And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
11 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee(that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is,thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. (Abraham 2:9-11, See Also Genesis 12:1-3)
Abraham is blessed with "this right" that it shall continue in thee (that is in thy priesthood). What was this right? The right is associated with Abraham's promise. The definition of "rights" is "entitlement".The promise is that all those who receive "this gospel", the same Gospel Abraham received, shall be called after thy name (Abraham), and shall be accounted thy seed (Abraham's seed). Joseph received "This Gospel" therefore became accounted as the seed of Abraham and received "this right" (vs 11) to continue in Joseph and also fulfilling the promises made to Abraham in his generation.
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 [The right that Abraham was promised, a continuation of seed or posterity], wherein he glorifieth himself. 22 ...narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives [lives, or thy seed, or thy priesthood, this extends not to yourself only but those of your posterity if they receive it19 ...and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (D&C 132:19,22,31)
Abrahams receives three promises.
  • Land: "A land that I will show you."
  • A Kingdom: "A great nation."
  • Posterity, Thy Priesthood, or Seed (These are all related): "All the families of the earth shall be blessed."
A Promised Inheritance:
God fulfills this promise through Abraham's seed telling them "that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham" (Gensis 28:4) Also "the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to Jacob" (Genesis 35:12)

“Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made” (Galatians 3:16) and "The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." (Genesis 12:7) Abraham’s son, Isaac, and grandson, Jacob, were “heirs with him of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9) Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8) to the land of inheritance.

The descendants will continue to receive the land or what is also known as the "promised land". The children of Israel were promised it,
And I have also established my covenant with them [Abraham, Issac, and Jacob] , to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord (Exodus 6:4-8)
The Lord covenanted with Abraham and fulfills that promise through his children. God said to Joshua, "after the death of Moses.", "Arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them..." and "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers  to give them." (Joshua 1:1-6)

These promises extend spiritually as well as all who receive celestial glory will receive an inheritance.
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance... the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession (Ephesians 1:10-14)
A Nation:
I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. (Genesis 17:6-7)
"I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there." (Genesis 46:3)  This is what God said to Abraham's grandson Jacob (called Israel after Gen. 32) and the descendants of Abraham were called Israel, the children of Israel; Israelites - who went down to Egypt as the family of Joseph, but came out - a great nation.

After the family arrived in Egypt and were cared for by Joseph, he died, and the family grew. Exodus 1:7 says: "But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mightily; and the land was filled with them."
By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude-innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (Hebrews 11:11-12 )
Through the course of one child a multitude-innumerable as the sand of the seashores were born. Through One that is infinite or eternal, the continuation of the works of God can continue.

Promises Made To Abraham's Fathers:
Abraham (Abram new name) was ordained under the hands of Melchezidek. "Melchizedek lifted up his voice and blessed Abram. [The name for Abraham before the Lord had given him a new name]" who "was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God" (JST Genesis 14:25, 27-28)

The Lord gives a description of the people after this order which Enoch himself received. This is the power that is given to them and the signs that follow.
For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world (Genesis 14:30:31)
The Lord made an everlasting covenant with Enoch. This covenant contains the promises for a future people that bring Zion and connect with the powers of heaven to receive these promises for themselves.
"this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch." (JST Genesis 9:22-23)
Zion (Enoch) shall come down while Zion will look upwards. Truth looking upwards because thtey will have possed the knowledge of God and he shall dwell there. Zion looks downwards because they will finally at last see a resemblance of what is in likeness in heaven and will desire to dwell there among them.

God continues to fulfill his promises as it says in Joshua "...not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you," (Joshua 23:15).

All The Families of the Earth Shall Be Blessed:
This was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. See Acts 3:25-26.

Part 2: The Fathers In Eternal Glory: Future Coming of Elijah: Records

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Re-baptism Revisited: LDS Changes

I have discussed Re-baptism here and how it was commonly and frequently practiced in the early days. Its a practice that went from commonly practiced, to not at all, to being forbidden today and removal of ones temple recommend.

Brigham Young said regarding re-baptism,
At this time came a revelation, that the Saints could be baptized and re-baptized when they chose. (Brigham Young J.D. 18:241) 
Nearly All the church have been Baptized again, for the Remission of their Sins, since they joined the Church, I have also, by the hands of Br. Joseph (as he himself has been,) & I would advise Jan and you Mary, to attend to it as soon as you can have the opportunity of an Elder or Priest of the Church to administer it. (Jacob Scott from Nauvoo in February, 1843)
Re-baptism as a requirement to enter the temple was discontinued in 1893. See Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints. (John Taylor to Angus M. Cannon, Nov 15, 1877) 

In a journal it states regarding re-baptism and the temple,
September 17th 1886–As it was customary to get baptized to prepare for my temple ordinances, before going to the temple so as to be free from all evil and wrong… I arranged with Brother Leatham, who has charge of baptisms on the Temple Block, to be baptized... 
I had already made arrangements to get Ida’s recommend to be baptized and at 2 p.m. ... I took Ida to the Old Endowment House and after a word of prayer and a few remarks by Brother Leatham, he baptized us and confirmed us for the renewal of our covenants. (Diary of John M. Whitaker, Book 3, p. 16.)
BYU has an article on Re-baptism here (screenshot here) states "On some occasions, the Saints were re-baptized as they prepared for marriage or entrance into the temple. Early members also re-baptized some of the sick among them as an act of healing. Because of misuse by some Church members, all such practices of re-baptism were discontinued in 1897," 

Which you'll notice does significantly downplay re-baptism as "on some occasions" when in fact it was a policy pretty standardized however acknowledges that re-baptism was part of the process upon entering the temple. 

The conference report that brought about its discontinued practice states:
We hear a good deal of talk about re-baptism, and the First Presidency and Twelve have felt that so much re-baptism ought to be stopped. (Conf. Rept., Oct. 1897, p. 68)
The prevalence of re-baptism can be seen in the temple recommend questions in that era. Here are the temple recommend questions in 1877:
"Those desiring to receive the benefit of these ordinances must obtain a recommend from the Bishop of the Ward or settlement in which they reside, or in the absence of the Bishop, the recommend may be signed by the President of the Stake. It will be well for persons presenting themselves at the Endowment House to receive the ordinances thereof, to be prepared to reply to the following questions:--" 
"When were you born?"
"Where were you born?"
"When were you first baptized?"
"What is your Father's name?"
"What was your Mother's maiden name?"
"No person will be eligible to receive these blessings except they have been rebaptized."
Today Stake Presidents are being directed to inform bishops to ask , whether inside or outside the recommend questions I don't know, to ask if the members have been "re-baptized" and removing recommends for doing so. If so they are asked by who and if you know who else has.