What have those resurrected to Celestial glory done on earth?
Received THE testimony of Jesus.
Believed on His name.
Kept the commandment and were baptized by immersion in water.
Were washed and cleansed from all their sins and received the Holy Spirit (baptism of fire) after having hands laid on them.
Overcame temptations, trials and the weakness of the flesh by exercising faith in Christ.
Were sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, which is the light that emanates from God.
Received of God’s fullness and of His glory.
Received the High Priesthood, after the Order of the Only Begotten Son and are Priests and Priestesses to God.
Were adopted by God to be His Sons and Daughters and were promised that they were His heirs to receive all things and are Kings and Queens in God’s heavenly kingdom.
They have not yet overcome all things (see v 60 says “shall” or in the future, once they are already in the Celestial Kingdom).
What is “the testimony of Jesus” and why is it referred to as “THE” testimony of Jesus rather than “a” testimony of Jesus?
The testimony of Jesus is Jesus’ testimony to us; it is not our testimony of Him.
It is Christ’s testimony that we, personally, are saved (see D&C 88:75); He is the only one with the right to declare this, as He is the “keeper of the gate” and employs no servant there (see 2 Nephi 9:41).
It is the means by which we receive the “hope in Christ” because it is testified to us from His own lips, while we stand in His presence.
And it is also the testimony, through the tokens He carries in His body, that He IS the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth and was slain for the sins of the world (see 3 Nephi 11:14) and can promise us our salvation and deliver on that promise.
When must one receive this testimony to receive a Celestial glory?
We must receive it while we live in the flesh (see D&C 132:21-25).
He bares tokens of death – the spear thrust in His side and the nail wounds in His hands, wrists and feet; to prove that He lives; those “mortal” or temporal death wounds must be shown to another mortal while living in the flesh so that they can testify that they know He lives because He is standing before them, living, in the flesh, bearing wounds that no living man can bear; it doesn’t make sense that He would carry them in a resurrected, perfect body in Heaven, where everyone knows what He did by the glory that He has – these wounds are physical proofs for people living in a mortal realm where they cannot see or perceive His glory.
We must exercise the faith required to rend the veil and receive this assurance in mortality; and we must bear the “shame” of it to the world as they persecute us for testifying of what we know to be true but they cannot or will not believe.
Those who receive this testimony after death will inherit Terrestrial glory (see D&C 76:74), unless they would have received it in this life if they were allowed to tarry but their lives were cut short (see D&C 137: 5-9).
Also, those who receive it in the flesh but are not “valiant” in it, will receive Terrestrial glory (see D&C 76:79); obviously, this means they did not deny or rebel against Christ, as that would condemn them to outer darkness (see D&C 76:35); their receiving of Terrestrial glory instead of something far worse speaks to a) God’s great mercy and b) how difficult it is to remain valiant in the testimony of Jesus (by God’s definition of valiance), having once received it.
If baptism is “according to the commandment”, what does it mean that by “keeping the commandments” we might be washed and cleansed?
The commandment is to be baptized in water, after the manner of Christ’s burial or by immersion, in Christ’s name.
But baptizing by water is just half a baptism and one might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man or woman (TPJS 352:4), if they have not lived the terms of the baptismal covenant, which is to offer one’s whole soul in sacrifice (Omni 1:26) – those are the “commandments” we must keep – to offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit by abiding by every word that the Lord tells us while we are on this mortal journey (see 2 Nephi 31:13).
If we keep these commandments – to submit to the outward ordinance of baptism and to offer the inward sacrifice of our whole soul - we will be washed and cleansed or sanctified by the reception of the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean that someone has been “ordained and sealed” unto the power of being able to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands?
They have been given the power directly from Christ.
In fact, Christ has touched them with His hands to give them this power (see 3 Nephi 18:36-38; Moroni 2:2); in other words, it is only a witness who has seen Him and been ordained by Him via the laying on of hands who has this power (see D&C 20:38, 43; D&C 84:63; Cowdery’s charge to the Apostles in DHC 2:196; Acts 1:22).
What happens if you have not had hands laid on your head to receive the Holy Ghost by one who has been ordained and sealed unto this power?
You will have to do what is required to receive the Holy Ghost yourself – you will have to offer your whole soul in offering.
You may not automatically receive it, as you would if one who had been sealed to this power laid hands upon you.
But you still can receive it through your own sacrifice in living the terms of the baptismal covenant, either at the time of baptism (see JSH 1:70, 73) or later when you finally offer the required sacrifice (see Alma 36:17-22), with or without a laying on of hands (as evidenced by Joseph Smith and the Lamanites in jail receiving the baptism of fire without this ordinance – see JSH 1:68-74, Helaman 5:20-45).
What does “to overcome by faith” mean; what is being overcome and how it is done by faith?
Overcome = to conquer, to vanquish, to subdue; to surmount, to get the better of, as to overcome difficulties or obstacles.
To truly realize both the desperate state we are in as fallen beings (unable to reenter the presence of God or to extricate ourselves from hell and the devil) and the danger we are in during this mortal probation (to lose what light we have gained previously) is to face fear and doubt in the face.
We overcome those doubts and fears by faith in Christ because He is the only one who can rescue us from the state in which we find ourselves; but to be saved, we must overcome our fears and doubts by putting our full faith in Christ – which requires complete commitment in action, and the action required is the sacrifice of our whole souls. That takes faith indeed.
What does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise?
You become a “child” or “spirit” of “promise” - an inheritor of all the Father has, a member of His family.
You have seen God and received from Him a promise.
What is the Church of the Firstborn?
Those who dwell in the Father’s presence.
Those who have received of His fullness and of His grace.
Those who have been made equal to the Father in power, might and dominion.
Those who have been made a Son or Daughter of the Father or a “firstborn” or one who has inherited the birthright (see D&C 76:58).
Those who have received the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God because they have become one of His Sons.
It is a “church” because it is an association or fellowship of all those who have risen up to be “Firstborn” (see D&C 88:5-6; D&C 93:19-23; Abraham 1:2-4).
Why would the Lord give us “all things” in return for the sacrifice of our whole souls, as this is not an even exchange?
First of all, He only gives “all things” to those that He trusts because He has proven them “at all hazards”.
And He cannot give all things to those who are not precisely like He is (see LoF 7:9, 12-16) because they would not be able to comprehend them anyway.
So, He desires to make us precisely like He is, because it is only then that we can have a fullness of joy, which He desires for us because of His love for us.
But at this juncture of our eternal journey, we will not be able to attain to become as He is; our objective in this life is to enter in by the Gate (make a covenant with Him which will allow Him to change our hearts) and then abide in that covenant, being tried at all hazards – which are not to the same degree as the ones He was tried against during His mortal life here, until we make our way back into His presence in the flesh and He will seal us up to a future exaltation; after which the path continues (see 2 Nephi 32:6-7; TPJS 390-393) from grace to grace or eternity to eternity.
So, by the time He has given us all things, we have become like He is, which will require the sacrifice of our whole souls – but in that case, it will be the sacrifice of all that a Son or Daughter of God can give – an infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:10-14).
What does it mean to be a king or queen and priest or priestess in heaven?
It means to be the servant of all, in that it requires sacrifice up to and eventually including all that Christ sacrificed for us.
Christ is the greatest because He sacrificed and suffered the most – because He loved the most.
What was the original name of the Melchizedek Priesthood?
The Holy Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God.
The High Priesthood.
The Priesthood – originally it was one; degrees of priesthood were introduced when men could not abide the presence and association of the Father.
Why is it written that they are gods, even the sons of God?
To be saved in that Kingdom, one must become precisely as Christ is and nothing else (see LoF 7:9); and Christ is a god, even the son of God.
So, the couples who are in that kingdom (see D&C 132:19-24; D&C 131:1-4) have received all things and become priests/priestesses and kings/queens to God, by definition.
They have progressed up Jacob’s Ladder, from a small capacity to a great one, from exaltation to exaltation, until they have become gods and the sons and daughters of God (see TPJS 390-393).
This speaks to the glory that must be laid down by those who have risen up to Celestial glory, to condescend to come to an earth such as ours to minister to and prove us (see Abraham 3:21-26).
However, they have not yet ascended to the position that the Father (and now the Son) have reached.
Why does it say “shall overcome” instead of “have overcome” all things?
They have not yet themselves attained to the resurrection of the dead; they are still learning all the principles of exaltation as they have not yet become perfect like Christ and the Father are perfect.
They are as Christ was before His mortal ministry, atonement and resurrection; they must still overcome that greatest of all obstacles – suffering all that a god can suffer to save those who will follow them so that they can attain to the resurrection themselves and have life in themselves (see John 21:18-19).
Why should no one glory in mankind, given the fact that “they are gods”?
Only a few of them (mankind) are gods.
Most of us are Telestial, as many as the stars in the night sky.
But even those who are gods, who have condescended to minister to us, have not yet risen up to be only begotten sons or daughters – they have not been tasked with working out an atonement with fear and trembling before God and then attaining to their own resurrection; they are not yet perfect like Christ (now) and His Father are perfect (see Matthew 5:48 vs. 3 Nephi 12:48).
Why would we want to dwell in the presence of God forever?
We can only gain a fullness of joy in God’s presence (see Psalms 16:11; 3 Nephi 28:10); this also involves receiving a resurrected body as His gift to us, which also seems to be a prerequisite for dwelling in God’s presence (see D&C 93:33-34; 2 Nephi 9:8-15).
Why does verse 62 speak of “His Christ” – is there another Christ?
Yes. God the Father was a Christ in a distant past eternity, as Jehovah did nothing during His mortality that He had not seen His Father do (see TPJS 390-393; John 5:19; John 8:28).
We must also rise up to attain to the resurrection ourselves if we are to become precisely as Christ is and be saved (see TPJS 390-393; LoF 7:9, 15-16), including working out our own salvation before God with fear and trembling as Christ did (see D&C 19:10-19; Philippians 2:12; Mormon 9:27).
Who will come with the Lord when He returns in glory?
The Zions of Enoch and Melchizedek.
Any other individual who has inherited Celestial glory and previously died but now has part in the first resurrection.
Why is being “just” so important to our salvation and how is it related to being “righteous”?
Just = regular or orderly; exactly proportioned or proper; full or complete to a common standard; innocent, blameless or without guilt; upright or honest; conformed to the rules of justice or to truth; honors or is faithful to promises; impartial or fair.
Just = justified = to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit; to proclaim innocent or not guilty.
Being just in relation to our salvation means first being justified or declared innocent, blameless or without guilt, of our sins (see D&C 88:75), but ultimately it means being precisely as Christ now is or perfectly righteous (see LoF 7:9, 15-16; John 5:29; Mosiah 15:21-24; 3 Nephi 26:4-5).
What is “Mount Zion” and why do the scriptures use that particular metaphor?
The heavenly temple is described as the “mount of the congregation” and God’s throne is located “in the sides of the north”; it must be ascended to, meaning that it is above all or located on a “mount” or in an elevated position to everything else (see Isaiah 14:13-14).
An earthly “mountain” represents that heavenly mount because it is also elevated and must be ascended, and when you have finally reached its peak you are closer to God physically than if you were standing down in a valley or worse, if you were at the bottom of a pit (see Isaiah 14:15), as God lives in the heavens.
Why is the kingdom of God thought of as a city?
God is always surrounded by those whom He has saved and who worship Him as a result (He shares company with other saved beings or Gods – the Council of the Gods)
God is a social being as evidenced by the fact that His work and glory is the development and salvation of other people.
God is a Father who wants to be with His family and a family resides together; it’s a big enough family to be thought of as a “city”.
Why compare the kingdom to both a mountain and a city at the same time – why are these two metaphors mixed here?
The holy city is on top of the mount.
One must ascend the “mount” to enter the “city” at its pinnacle.
The true Kingdom of God in heaven is not a city in an easily accessible, low place or a lone man/guru on the top of a mountain.
Why does it say they “are” come to Mount Zion rather than they “will” come to it?
Those who inherit Celestial glory must attain to it in mortality; they must obtain the promise or hope of salvation from the Lord to have the faith to continue faithfully during the tribulations of mortal life.
They must learn His ways so they can walk in His paths back through the fiery portal and the angels who stand there as sentinels guarding the way against the uninitiated and unworthy who lack the intelligence or light/glory to abide there… (see Psalms 25:4-5; Proverbs 3:13-18; Isaiah 2:3; Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 18:15).
So that when “They” come back to the earth in the fullness of Their glory, those who reside here can abide that glory because they have a portion of it within them already, which they gained as an endowment or gift from those they visited in heaven (see JSH 1:37).
Where is the Mount Zion being referenced here?
In heaven, where God lives.
This is a reference to the Holy Temple in heaven, where God’s throne is located.
Who are the “innumerable company of angels” and why are they innumerable?
They are all of the spirits and souls in heaven who are not the general assembly or church of the Firstborn.
They are clothed in bodies of variously refined elements, depending upon the light they have gained thus far in their progression when given the opportunity to exercise faith and align their behavior in a world outside of God’s presence while facing opposition, trial, suffering and temptation.
How does one come unto the innumerable company of angels?
One must know how to part the veil, enter the fiery portal and ascend up upon the correct path or ladder, passing those that stand as sentinels along the Way, until one encounters the Lord and enters through the Gate of Heaven.
One must have knowledge to do this – they must learn God’s ways, to walk in His paths; not all portals or spirit paths lead to God and Christ.
What is the difference between the “General Assembly” and the “Church of the Firstborn”?
The Church of the Firstborn are those who have risen up (on the rungs of Jacob’s Ladder) to be adopted into the family of God as Sons and Daughters; they are the “kingdom of God” or His heirs; they received the Testimony of Jesus in a mortal probation and were valiant in that testimony.
It is not clear from the texts if the General Assembly is different from the Church of the Firstborn (they all use the same phrase “the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn”; if they were different it might read “the General Assembly and THE Church of the Firstborn” but even that is not conclusive – this is one that you’ll have to go to heaven to check for yourself).
It is possible that “General Assembly” is a term to describe the Church of the Firstborn; i.e. they reside in God’s presence, (which would imply that only God’s covenant family – the Firstborn - can abide in His presence).
If they are different, it is possible that the General Assembly have yet to experience a mortal probation or perhaps a telestial mortal probation.
What is the significance of one’s name being written in heaven?
Having one’s name written speaks to receiving an honor or attaining to something that all others who read the name see and acknowledge.
In heaven things last forever, so to have one’s name written in heaven is to receive an honor for the eternities.
What is implied about the fact that God and Christ make no mistakes in their judgements of us?
Regardless of your weaknesses, mistakes and sins, if the Lord and the Father judge you to be an heir of Celestial glory, which implies that you will become precisely as they are now at some point in the future (see LoF 7:9, 15-16), it will be so – unless you choose to openly rebel against their judgement.
The magnitude of the gap between where we are now and what they have attained to cannot be comprehended by us, it is so large; and neither can the path to get there and the nature of the obstacles that must be overcome and the challenges that must be met, because to become precisely as Christ is and nothing else, you must do precisely what Christ did.
And yet, God and Christ are promising us that it will happen in a future eternity, if we will believe them that we can work out our salvation with fear and trembling before them… if you understand your true standing now before God, this idea takes faith in God to a whole new level.
What does “just men made perfect through Jesus” mean?
Reconciled to the Father through the Son.
Made perfect in that you are one with Him; the “celestial math” means that since He is perfect and infinite and you are imperfect but finite, the covenant relationship of the two of you is still infinite and perfect.
But in time (or in the eternities to come), He must “make” or enable you to become perfect as He is or you cannot be saved (see LoF 7:9); implied is that His work with us is really not done at all – not even close.
What does it mean to say that Christ is the “mediator” of the new covenant?
Mediator = One that interposes between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them (see 1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
It does not say that Christ is the “administrator” of the new covenant (one who directs, manages or dispenses laws and rights by virtue of having received proper authority).
He is the mediator because the new covenant requires Him to do something to reconcile the parties above and beyond the management or distribution of a covenant; justice requires an infinite and eternal sacrifice and the mediator must offer it - He reconciles the parties through His own actions (see Alma 42:15-16).
It is a new covenant because it is renewed or given to each of us “new” when we individually come unto Christ and receive it from Him; that is why God is referred to as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and not the “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”; God was revealed and the covenant was extended again “new” to each of them separately, based on their own journey back to Him.
It is also “new” because if Christ saw His Father rise up and work out an atonement in a far distant eternity, the covenant is newly given to us through Jesus Christ – but it is the same covenant extended to us (or those who were mortal) by other Saviors during a prior eternity.
What does it mean that Christ “shed His own blood” in working out the atonement?
It means He was a willing sacrifice, which required that His blood be shed to make the covenant in effect, not that He cut Himself.
The nature of the sacrifices Christ made – both in the garden where the physical effects of taking upon Himself the sins and mortal corruption of the world leading to His bleeding from every pore, and at Golgotha, where mortals scourged Him and nailed Him to the cross in an attempt to execute Him – caused His blood to be shed and put the covenant into effect.
What does the word “glory” mean?
Glory = brightness, splendor, magnificence (see 1828 Webster’s Dictionary).
It is the element of light or the spirit that quickens or animates your body (see D&C 88:28-29); it is intelligence and is eternal and was not created or made (see D&C 93:29).
It is had in degrees (Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial) and portions (up to a fullness but within a degree).
It is received based on the agency of the individual in aligning themselves to the specific Law that governs the obtaining of that glory; each receives what they are willing to receive (see D&C 88:32-39; D&C 93:27-28).
It clothes the person or “adds upon” them (see Moses 7:3; Abraham 3:26; Moses 1:2, 5, 9).
It is like fire (see Exodus 24:17; JSH 1:17; Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 33:14) and it emanates from God (see D&C 88:12).
It is intelligence, light and truth (see D&C 93:36).
It enables you to comprehend or understand things, even God (see D&C 88:11, 49); it is a knowledge of truth or how things really are (see D&C 93:24).
It can be lost or taken away if one rebels against Eternal Law and stops aligning oneself to the designated attributes, characteristics and behaviors (see D&C 93:39; Alma 12:10-11).
What does it mean to have a celestial body?
A celestial body is one that is quickened by a fullness of celestial glory.
One’s body or tabernacle is the means through which one receives whatever degree of glory they are willing to receive (see D&C 88:28).
A body is a tabernacle or covering (which can be temporary or laid down and taken up again) or clothing for a spirit which allows the spirit to reside and interact in a specific sphere which resonates at the frequency or abides by the Law of that degree of glory, i.e. to abide in a Celestial realm, you need a perfected Celestial body or to reside in a Telestial world, you need a mortal or Telestial body. It is an “avatar”.
What does it mean to “see as you are seen and to know as you are known”?
God knows all things – all things are before His face simultaneously and He knows things as they are, were and will be (see Moses 1:6).
God fully comprehends all things that He knows or sees.
For you to see and know God as He sees and knows you requires that you become precisely like Him in all ways (see LoF 7:9, 15-16; Moses 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 13:9-13) because there is no end to His works and you must be a God to comprehend them all (see Moses 1:37-38).
What is implied by the fact that the Father “makes” those in the Church of the Firstborn equal in power, might and dominion?
God enables, through the work of His Son(s), mankind to “rise up” and become like Him through the vehicle of mortal probations outside of His presence where they can act for themselves under adverse conditions and gain additional knowledge, intelligence and light through obedience to Eternal Law (codified and given to us for mortality in the form of God’s commandments and Christ’s example – see D&C 130:18-21) by using their agency.
God enables our ability to do this by giving us life and sustaining us and this whole creation from moment to moment (see Mosiah 2); all of this is a free or undeserved gift of grace.
So, God “makes” the circumstances possible and He decrees us forgiven and heirs long before we actually rise up to attain to the resurrection for ourselves, as Christ did.
While it is implied, it doesn’t say “equal to Him” and could mean “equal to each other”; as when Christ rose up to the station of the Father, that act elevated the Father’s own glory and Christ took His place (see TPJS 390-393).
Why does Joseph Smith describe the Celestial kingdom like this?
This is what he saw; either because this is what it actually looks like or because this is the closest description a farmer from rural New York in the mid-1830’s could give us.
Or he could be using symbolic language like “blazing throne,” “circling flames of fire,” and “paved with gold” as metaphorical language to attempt to describe a kind of glory he cannot begin to describe effectively – it is mind-blowing.
What is the Throne of God shaped like and why?
It is more like a high backed couch; it is a shared throne; Elohim is a plural word, so whether it is Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother or the Father and the Son, the throne is a symbol of His glory and the oneness we can have with Him in it.
Who did Joseph see in the Celestial Kingdom and what is implied?
He saw the “El” or the “fathers” who had risen up to become gods (i.e. Adam is Micha-el).
He also saw members of his family – his father, mother and older brother Alvin.
Why is Joseph surprised to see his brother Alvin?
Joseph’s understanding in 1836 is very exclusive regarding salvation: either accept the baptism I have to offer you or be damned, despite how great of a person you are, how much truth and light you have that I (Joseph Smith) don’t have or how in alignment you are with the level of light you had received.
This revelation was received before the doctrine of the baptism of the dead and the Law of Adoption were revealed to Joseph (this is 1836 and it does not appear that those doctrines were revealed to Joseph until 1839, at the earliest, so the principle of proxy ordinance work was still unknown – although this revelation could have been the preamble for that information), so seeing Alvin, who died before baptism at Joseph’s hand, was surprising to him in 1836.
What does “would have received it with all their hearts” mean?
Would have offered the acceptable sacrifice - broken heart and contrite spirit.
Would have abided in covenant true and faithful.
What does “judge according to their works... desire of their hearts” imply?
Whether they had the covenant or not, they listened to the Light of Christ and sacrificed all things in service to the level of light and knowledge they had.
The Lord instituted Temple work to take care of the official covenants.
God has never given instruction, commandments or revelations to guide mankind to receive a Telestial or Terrestrial glory - all that He commands is intended to EXALT mankind; why is this so?
His work and glory is our immortality and eternal life, which is exaltation; anything less than this falls short of His objective and is not His work.
How great is the ascent or climb to inherit Celestial glory, or in other words, what will it take to become “precisely” like Christ (see LoF 7:9)?
We must receive the testimony of Jesus or Jesus’ testimony in the flesh - meaning Christ will testify to us from His own mouth, in our presence, that we are saved, as He is the “keeper of the gate” and is the only one authorized to make such a promise, due to His atoning sacrifice and the resurrection from this life we will receive through His grace and sacrifice (see D&C 88:75; D&C 132:21-25).
But this is just the beginning, because we must become precisely as Christ is and nothing else to be saved (which is the definition of salvation, as Christ is the prototype of the saved being), and that will require us “learning” how to become perfect, then actually doing it outside of God’s presence where there is opposition – progressing from a small degree or capacity to a great one, from exaltation to exaltation, until we finally arrive at the point that Christ did when He had been prepared to be The Son of God and attain to the resurrection Himself, that He might have life in Himself and rise up to be perfect like His Father – and we must do the same or not be saved (see TPJS 390-393; LoF 7:9, 15-16; D&C 93:12-20).
So, the climb is over many “eternal lives” (see D&C 132:22-24) or exaltations and will require the sacrifice of many Sons of God or “preparatory redemptions” for us to be able to ascend to that height (see Alma 13:3-9).
How does the glory of the moon differ from that of the sun?
When they are both in the sky, the light of the sun almost (but not completely) overshadows the moon, to the degree that it can hardly be seen – especially if it is rotating close to the sun from our perspective on earth.
The sun is 14 magnitudes brighter than the moon; you would need 398,100 moons to equal the brightness of the sun.
The sun produces light while the moon reflects the sun’s light.
The moon is much closer to us than the sun, as the Son is closer to us than the Father.
Having said all of that, the moon can eclipse the light of the sun to those on the earth, for a limited amount of time.
What “law” did the terrestrial die without receiving?
The law of the Celestial kingdom (see D&C 130:18-21; D&C 88:17-39).
To live a law means to abide by the principles of a certain degree of glory or to align one’s behavior and mind (and actual sub-atomic particles or the frequency at which those particles which make up your body are vibrating or are quickened) to the requirements or frequency of that degree of glory or intelligence or “law”.
Why is it fair that these receive terrestrial glory instead of celestial as they never received the law which would have enabled them to have qualified for celestial glory?
To not receive something does not mean that it was never offered; it means to reject it when it was offered (see D&C 88:33; Alma 42:27).
The problem for many of us may be that we do not realize when the Lord is calling out to us (as many are called) because we do not know the Master’s voice in the cacophony of voices that are shouting “lo here” and “lo there” to us (see Revelation 3:20; Mosiah 2:9; 3 Nephi 11:3-6; 3 Nephi 19:33).
What is implied about the “spirit prison” by saying that these are those to whom Christ came and visited?
LDS doctrine teaches that Christ never visited the “spirit prison” – only “spirit paradise”.
The spirit world is a “prison” in that it is a place of captivity (see D&C 138:16-18) – even the “paradise” part is a “prison” in this respect.
What is the difference between those he taught in the spirit prison who had died firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection and this group, who He also taught, who had not died with such a hope?
They did not die firm in the hope of a glorious resurrection because Christ has not promised it to them while they were living (see LoF 6:2-6).
And without that promise in the flesh, they lacked the faith to receive it after they’d died.
What does it mean that they didn’t receive the testimony of Jesus in the flesh but afterwards received it?
They fell short of exercising the faith necessary to receive the glory (i.e. intelligence, light, spirit, truth) of God necessary to enter God’s presence in this life.
They may have had the faith to see God after their mortal death and receive His testimony at that time; but one has to wonder about the power of a religion (system of beliefs, ordinances, etc.) that cannot manufacture enough faith in an individual on earth to rend the veil – if it will also lack the power in heaven to bring someone into the Lord’s presence before being summoned for the judgement, because it is not based on truth or not entirely on truth (see LoF 3:2-5).
Does “received not” the testimony of Jesus mean the same as “rejected” the testimony of Jesus?
Not being valiant in the testimony of Jesus is not the same as openly rebelling against it, once you’d received it.
The former merits you terrestrial glory while the latter merits you outer darkness.
So, not being valiant is not coming out in rebellion, it is failing to withstand the persecution and withdrawing from the “fight” or the mission to which you have been called – which is to testify of that which you have experienced so that others might have the same experience you have had (see LoF 2:54-56); it is not rebelling against He who gave you this mission.
Do not underestimate the price to be paid in being valiant in the testimony you have received from the Lord via His ministry to you (see D&C 6:29-37; 3 Nephi 11:14-15).
What does it mean to not be valiant in the testimony of Jesus?
For those who received the testimony of Jesus in mortality but were not valiant to it, means to be cowardly in the face of mankind’s opposition, doubt, persecution, etc. after you have received the testimony of Jesus and have been commanded to testify of it.
Those who did not receive the testimony until one’s mortal life was over means that they did not face and overcome the persecution that comes with bearing witness of Christ’s testimony to them; their lack of faith which led to their receiving the testimony later meant that the testimony could not be “tried” on earth, meaning they were not valiant in it because they did not merit the opportunity to be so – to put the testimony to the test.
How are honorable men blinded by the “craftiness” of others?
They believe them when they lie to them; they believe that the others are also “honorable” or are not liars (see JS Matthew 24:22; 2 Nephi 28:14) when they are, in fact, lying to them.
But they fail because they do not ask God if the doctrines that the others teach, in His name, are true or not but instead put their faith blindly in men.
Why are they still condemned to Terrestrial glory?
Because they can ask God to remove the scales which blind them – they have no excuse for erring, even if they have been taught false traditions, as God will reveal the truth if they a) ask and b) are open to His revelations, even at the expense of their cherished traditions or prideful intellect or self-righteous behavior.
The scales are both a darkness that makes it difficult to see and an incorrect scale which makes it difficult to measure or understand what is seen (see 2 Nephi 30:6; Abraham 3:25; Moroni 7:14).
If our judgments are unjust, our dark or incorrect scales will condemn us.
What is implied by the fact that one can “receive of His glory, but not of His Fullness”?
First, recall that glory is intelligence, light and truth (see D&C 93:36); and truth is a knowledge of things as they really are, were and will be (see D&C 93:24) and it actually shines – it is the light that illuminates and gives life to all things including our understanding, because it is the Holy Spirit or mind or power of God (see D&C 88:6-13; LoF 5:2).
Implied is that there is a “fullness” of glory or in other words, a fullness of intelligence or knowledge or truth (i.e. light) which one must gain (it must be within you) if one is to be able to withstand God’s glory or be able to comprehend God (to know Him as you are known by Him); in other words, you must become precisely like Him (see LoF 7:9, 15-16) by receiving the same fullness He has, which makes Him God.
Implied is that one can receive some of the glory or intelligence or knowledge which God has but may stop short and fail to receive all of it or a fullness of it; however, any glory gained here is to one’s advantage in the next life (see D&C 130:18-21).
What would stop someone from receiving a fullness of glory?
First, glory (or light, intelligence, holy spirit, knowledge) is received within you through obedience to God’s commandments – it is experiential (see D&C 130:18-21).
People are stopped from receiving a fullness because they “set up stakes” or limits of what they will accept to be true.
And because they are not willing to obey all of God’s commandments or in other words, they are unwilling to do or be precisely what God does or is.
What is interesting about this is that it is not, at this time or in this eternity, a question of not being able to obey all of God’s commandments or not being able to do and be precisely what God does and is – because we are all so far from being precisely as God is and it is gained a bit at a time (see TPJS 390-393); for us, the Lord through His atonement has promised to cover our lack of present capability and only requires our willingness to fully sacrifice our whole souls to Him – which is something we can actually do.
However, for Christ, His mission was to see if He would actually DO and BE precisely the things that God DID and had become in a mortal probation eternities ago: the savior of the world and able to attain to the resurrection Himself, which required perfect mortal performance up to and including the night of the atonement and crucifixion; because for all of us, ultimately, we MUST become precisely as Christ is or we cannot be saved – He is the prototype of the saved man (see LoF 7:9, 15-16), so in some future eternity, we must also do likewise: work out our own salvation before God with fear and trembling.
Who will inherit the Telestial Kingdom?
Those that received not the gospel on earth or in the spirit world.
Received not the testimony of Jesus.
Denied not the Holy Spirit.
Were thrust down to hell (spirit prison) after their deaths.
Were liars, sorcerers, whoremongers.
What does it mean to say that someone receives neither the gospel nor the testimony of Jesus?
If you believe that the testimony of Jesus means “a” testimony of Jesus – a testimony of His divinity and atonement, etc., then you will have a really hard time explaining how one could have a testimony of the gospel without having a testimony of Jesus, and visa-versa!
But to receive “the” testimony of Jesus, as we have discussed, is to receive His testimony to you of your salvation.
So, it is possible to receive the gospel which, if followed in faith and diligence, WILL lead (see LoF 2:56) you back to Christ in the flesh, but to fail to “endure to the End” or to fail to receive the testimony of Jesus. In other words, many are called and begin the path but few chose to finish it by coming unto Christ.
What does it mean that the Telestial “deny not” the Holy Spirit when they don’t act in a way to have that spirit with them?
It means that they never received the Holy Spirit in the first place, past the light of Christ which is given and sustains anyone who is born into this world.
It does not mean that they received the Holy Spirit but later denied it like those who are Perdition (see v35).
What does “thrust down to hell” mean?
At a minimum, this speaks to the hell of the spirit world that the Telestial will be forced to endure after their death, being tormented by the devil and his angels who are there.
It also speaks to the bitter hell of disappointment that the Telestial will feel after the resurrection when they realize the opportunity they had here on earth but spurned – they will be their own tormentors and condemners through eternity.
It could also refer to the fact that they are cast out of God’s presence at the resurrection and anything that is not “Heaven” or in the presence of God is “hell”, as being out of His presence is the definition of not experiencing a fullness of joy.
Why does it describe those in the Telestial kingdom as “thrust down to hell” when it is also described as a kingdom of glory?
Either they are thrust down to hell and then “redeemed” from hell at the resurrection to inherit a Telestial glory which surpasses all understanding (this is the traditional interpretation).
Or, the Telestial kingdom can be described as a hell, whose glory surpasses all mortal understanding…which are contradictory at face value but might be worth more consideration.
This earth or “lone and dreary world” is described as a Telestial kingdom in the Temple endowment ceremony but it is also called “glorious and beautiful” upon its initial creation, some of which remains after the fall of man.
The opportunity to come to a Telestial world to be tested and tried is an opportunity worth sending a God to sacrifice Himself to enable, surpasses all understanding and is something to rejoice in (see Moses 7:47) but it is also a hell for those who can’t escape from it by rising up but continue to suffer the deaths (see D&C 132:21-25; 2 Nephi 9:8-10).
Living without God and Christ is spiritual death or hell, and that is the fate of those who inherit the Telestial kingdom, regardless of how nice the surroundings are. So by that very literal definition, anyone who resides in a Telestial kingdom has been thrust down to hell.
What is implied by our need to be “redeemed from the devil” and what does this mean?
The devil “owns” those who have rejected the Master – they are “his children” because they followed his voice; “redemption” is language from the slave market and implies the need to be “bought back” from someone who has a rightful claim over you (mortal slavery is never “rightful” but spiritual slavery may be, as we choose to be bound by Satan or freed by the Lord, and everyone is equally able to choose between the two).
Those in hell cannot extricate themselves out of it (as death is the “wage” of sin, so it is deserved, and those that sin cannot abide God’s presence – which is hell), but must be freed by one who has power over death and hell – power gained through payment, which requires sacrifice.
How do the inhabitants of the Telestial kingdom receive the Holy Spirit?
They receive of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of those in the Terrestrial kingdom.
Implied in this is that they cannot abide a fullness of the Holy Spirit from God Himself and require a shield of some kind (or a lesser degree of magnitude of the Spirit, such as the Terrestrial have) which will enable them to experience and endure a portion of that Spirit only.
The “shield” is the ministration of others, in this case, those with Terrestrial glory; even they must “tone down” their glory when visiting and ministering to a lower, fallen world.
How can the inhabitants of the Telestial world be “heirs of salvation” if Christ is the prototype of the saved being and to be saved means to be precisely like He is (see LoF 7:9)?
It is unclear in this verse who the “they” refers to…the “Telestial” or the “Terrestrial”?
But in either case, neither of them are precisely like Christ who is precisely like His Father, so this verse seems to imply that those who inherit either glory may still have a chance to attain to salvation, as defined by the Lectures on Faith, although perhaps they are on a lesser or “slower” trajectory to get there.
Why is the celestial glory “one” and the terrestrial glory is “one” but the Telestial glory is “one” as “one star differs from another in glory” – in other words, they are all stars (not a sun or moon) but they are all different from each other?
The Celestial glory is the fullness of the Father’s glory – it is “everlasting burnings”; it is represented to us by our one sun, which is orders of magnitude brighter than anything else in the sky, to the degree that it makes them all disappear in its presence – except for the moon, which you can barely see; it is definitive – it is the Fullness of His glory and nothing less
The Terrestrial glory seems to be what Christ had before He attained to Godhood before the foundation of this world (He didn’t always have a fullness) or perhaps not before the resurrection of the dead and ascended to the Father’s state when He finally referred to Himself as perfect like the Father (see TPJS 390-393; D&C 93:12-14; 3 Nephi 12:48); it is represented to us by our moon, which when it is full or in its glory, is much brighter than all the stars together but clearly does not rival the glory of the sun; unlike the sun it’s glory is represented dynamically – it goes in phases from new to full, representing a change, not in its constitution but in how much of its glory is revealed to us at any given point in time.
The Telestial glory is not definitive like the Fullness of the Father or the glory of the Son of God – which are much higher rungs up “Jacob’s Ladder” – it is variable in magnitude from one person to another; these “glories” are represented to us by the stars because they are all different, just as we will inherit the highest degree of glory we can stand but if we do not come unto Christ, we will not inherit the definitive glories of the Terrestrial or the Celestial (where there is a “fullness” of that glory) but must be content with some other, varying, degree of glory tailored to what laws or behaviors and beliefs (intelligence) we were willing to accept and abide by or obey.
What does it mean “who are of Paul” or “some of John”?
Many in the Telestial Kingdom are extremely religious!!
But they are idol worshipers - they worship the “brethren” instead of God; they look to the “brethren” to save them instead of having faith in the Lord who they cannot initially see or feel; they do not receive a saving testimony of Christ or perform the necessary sacrifices to receive the faith or hope of Eternal Life (that is not to say that the various worshipped prophets/brethren encouraged this – the witness of those who know the Lord is intended to point the way to Christ but many do not follow it – see LoF 2:54-56).
What will happen to you in the afterlife if you have “followed the prophet” in mortality?
You will inherit Telestial glory and God’s wrath because you placed men between yourself and Him.
You lacked the faith to come unto Him and instead came unto them (see Exodus 20:18-21; D&C 84:23-24; D&C 76:82).
You have embraced a false religion without the power to save because it will not bring you to the Lord to be redeemed (see Ether 3:13) but to men (see 2 Nephi 28:3-6) who completely lack that power or keys but pretend to hold them on behalf of the Lord or having been given them from the Lord because, presumably, He has done His work and the rest is up to them (the brethren).
To be saved, you must be “following the Lord” not “following the prophet” – they are NOT the same thing as you can only serve one Master; eternal life is to know Christ, not a prophet; true prophets can guide you to Christ by preaching repentance, telling you how they found Him and teaching you the truth about Him, which will enable your faith and your gaining of light and knowledge, but that is all they can do. True prophets do not want to be followed or worshipped – they deflect ALL glory back the Lord.
If those who inherit Telestial glory are very religious but they are liars, what do they lie about?
They lie about the terms of salvation, substituting the commandments of men for faith in Christ.
They lie about their relationship with the Lord, insinuating that they are receiving revelation from Him when they are not.
What does it mean that some individuals who inherit Telestial glory are “some of Christ” but received not His gospel, neither His testimony nor covenant?
These are they that while they professed His name, Christ “never knew” them - (3 Nephi 14:21-23) - “knew” does not mean “know of” because Christ knows all of us intimately because of Gethsemane, this means “knew” in a much more intimate sense; in other words, He was never ONE with them.
Will those who inherit Telestial glory still be wicked?
They will be servants of the most high God (see D&C 76:112).
They will ALL bow the knee and confess Christ (see D&C 76:110).
They will have suffered for their sins but not unto exaltation (see D&C 19:16-17, 20).
But is says that the “are” not “were” liars, sorcerers, adulterers, etc; so if only God is “good”, then yes, they will still be wicked.
How can the wicked be servants of the most High God?
If Christ is the prototype of the saved man and He was perfect, then all who are not like Christ are wicked; but some of them are still humble yet flawed (i.e. “wicked” or not precisely like Christ).
In this case, the Telestial are a bit more “flawed” than the Celestial but if they bow the knee and confess Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit (which the torment of hell within them will enable), they will still be servants of God, albeit servants with less light or capability and farther to progress than others (see Alma 13:3-5; Alma 12:10-11).
How do these suffer the wrath of God on earth when almost all of the most successful people in the world will fall into this category?
There is a vengeful “eternal fire” coming that will utterly waste those who cannot abide it.
So, they may enjoy success on earth for a time, but it will end badly for those living at the time of Christ’s coming in glory, when the saints will be caught up and received into the cloud but the rest will be left on the surface of the earth.
And it will end badly for those who have died previously to Christ’s Second Coming as they will consigned to hell to suffer the wrath of God – or more accurately, to suffer at their own hands for what they chose not to do when given the chance.
When are the “fullness of times”?
It is when this earth will have fully completed the measure or purpose of its creation and Christ will deliver up the kingdom (His saved sons and daughters or heirs) to the Father.
At the end of the Millennium.
What is implied by the fact that Christ must “perfect” His work?
That it is not perfect now but there is work to do to perfect it; and that it is ultimately perfectible.
He has finished His preparations unto the children of men but the completion of His work and glory is our immortality and eternal life, which requires more than just His preparations.
Christ will continue to actively minister to all, sealing up all who will repent and come unto Him (see Alma 42:27) until the “night cometh wherein no man can work” (see 3 Nephi 27:33).
What kingdom will Christ “deliver up and present” spotless to the Father?
The kingdom consists of royal subjects – in this case, it is those who have come unto Him, been made His Sons and Daughters through covenant, and have abided faithful in that covenant or valiant in that testimony to the end.
As those Christ saves are “given Him” by the Father, Christ will present them again back to the Father spotless (see John 17:9-11, 22-24; D&C 88:75).
On a macro level, all elements that were used in the creation of this fallen world will be redeemed and presented back to God.
Why does Christ focus here on His suffering rather than on His resurrection?
Only those who have experienced it by accomplishing an atonement themselves know the magnitude of what Christ has done (see D&C 19:10-20).
There is a relationship between the two events -the resurrection was the triumphant result of successfully suffering the agony of the atonement – without being unfairly convicted on sin and submitting to the wages of sin (death), He could not have overturned death and been resurrected.
What does verse 109 suggest about how many people will go to the Telestial Kingdom?
The inhabitants of the Telestial glory will be almost innumerable while the heirs of Celestial glory will likely constitute a much smaller number than we assume (see D&C 132:21-25).
What do those who inherit Telestial glory obtain and why do they obtain it?
They obtain their own dominion in the mansions of God – as much glory as they are willing to endure.
Based upon their own works.
They are not being rewarded based primarily on Christ’s works or merits, but their own (they are “called” by “another name”) – although without Christ’s works, they would deserve and receive nothing more than outer darkness and becoming angels to the devil, so His grace is at the heart of even their telestial reward – it is the only true enabler.
What is implied by the fact that “where God and Christ dwell” the Telestial cannot come, worlds without end?
They are not Christ’s.
He saved them (in a Telestial glory state) and because of this they are “servants of the Most High” but they are not Christ’s children (Terrestrial); nor are they those who receive the fullness of the Father (Celestial).
What does “worlds without end” imply?
That the work of making us precisely like Him, which is what is required to be saved (see LoF 7:9-11, 15) can go on worlds without end, until at last we arrive at the same state He has (see TPJS 390-393).
But that we must choose to come unto Christ at every opportunity (in any probation, in every eternity) or we will disqualify ourselves from being able to dwell where God and Christ are, worlds without end.
Why were Joseph and Sidney shown both the Celestial Kingdom and outer darkness?
To ascend you must first descend (see Moses 1:18-20; JSH 1:15-17) and we must experience opposition in all things (see 2 Nephi 2:11) to be able to comprehend all things (see D&C 88:6; TPJS 156:3).
Why is man not capable of making some things known?
Some things can only be comprehended by one who is filled with the Holy Spirit or mind of God.
Man is not able to distill them into words; they must be shown to man by God.
Some things, like one’s standing before God, is only known by God and can only be shared with you by Him.
What does it mean to “see” and “know”?
To see is to witness with one’s eyes.
To know is to gain a knowledge through one’s experience – to know with a surety is to touch (see 3 Nephi 11:14-17).
To whom does God grant this privilege of seeing and knowing for oneself?
ALL those who love God (see John 14:15-21) and purify themselves before Him (see 3 Nephi 24:2-3; D&C 88:74-75) will be granted this privilege.
Any who will come are invited to come (see Alma 42:27; D&C 93:1).
When does He grant this privilege?
While they are living in the flesh.
The Lord wants for us to have “godliness” with the power to be near Him; godliness means to be Godly or close to God, which is to be in His presence either physically or via having His Spirit within you to animate you, as it is the mind of God (see LoF 5:2) and means you are connected with Him intimately – He is within you and you are “one” with Him.
Why must one receive Christ’s ministry in the flesh?
To enable you to bear His presence in the world of glory you must be brought back into His presence now and be ministered to by Him, if that were not so, the words “in the flesh” would not be included (see D&C 84:21-23).
You must receive a level of light or glory or spirit (which is intelligence or truth or knowledge) and be quickened by it to be able to resonate on a frequency which will allow you to withstand the fullness of His glory.
And that truth, knowledge and intelligence that you must possess is to know Christ with a surety, which you can only do through your own personal experience in touching His physical wounds in this mortal realm – the tokens or proofs of death in a living man while you, yourself, are “tabernacled” or reside in the same type of physical body which He used to perform His sacrifice and resurrection; this is eternal life – to know Christ and ultimately, the Father, too, while in the flesh (see John 17:3); this association (or priesthood) needs to begin here in order to qualify to receive it again in the world to come.
What happens if we fail to receive Christ’s ministry in the flesh?
This opportunity (probation) will have been wasted and therefore the struggle must continue, worlds without end; we inherit the “deaths” because we refused to receive more (see D&C 132:21-25; D&C 76:112).
It is the Testimony of Jesus given when He ministers unto you that seems to differentiate the kingdoms of glory: receiving it in the flesh and was valiant with it (Celestial) vs. receiving it after death or receiving it in the flesh but not being valiant to it (Terrestrial) vs. not receiving it (Telestial) – (see D&C 76:51, 74, 79, 82).