Sunday, March 28, 2021

Visions of Glory (D&C 76 & 137) Part 1 QUESTIONS

Because of the length of this post about D&C 76, I have split it into two parts.

 

During the life of Joseph Smith, if someone asked you about “The Vision”, what would they have been referring to?

 

 

The Lord Will Enlighten Those Who Serve Him

 

READ D&C 76:1-4

Why did the Lord give Joseph and Sidney this vision?

What does it mean that the “Lord is God” and “beside Him there is no Savior” – what about Christ?

Why can none of us find out the extent of His doings?

What does the phrase “from eternity to eternity” imply?

What does the phrase “from eternity to eternity” mean?

How can it be true that Christ was the same “from eternity to eternity” when D&C 93:12-17 says that He did not receive the Fullness of the Father at first?

 

READ D&C 76:5-10

What does it mean to “fear” the Lord?

What does it mean to “serve” the Lord?

What is promised those who fear/reverence and serve the Lord and why?

 

 

Vision of the Father and the Son

 

READ D&C 76:11-19

What does it mean to say their “eyes were opened” by the power of the Spirit?

What does it mean to be “in the Spirit”?

How were their understandings enlightened?

What does it mean to say that the Son was “in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning”?

What does it mean that Joseph’s testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ is the fullness of the gospel?

What caused the Lord to give this vision to Joseph and Sidney?

How and why does meditation upon the things of God present an opportunity for God to open the veil and communicate directly with people?

In verse 12 it says Joseph’s eyes were opened by the power of the Spirit and in verse 19 it says the Lord touched Joseph’s eyes and they were opened; what does this suggest?

 

READ D&C 137:1

Why can’t Joseph Smith tell if he is “in the body” or not when he has this revelation?

When discerning the truth of revelation, does it matter whether Joseph was “in the body” or not?

 

READ D&C 76:20-24

What is the first vision that Joseph and Sidney see?

What is the significance of this portion of the vision and why is it first?

What does it mean to say that this testimony is “last of all”?

Why is a testimony of the living Christ important?

What does it mean that Christ is the only begotten of the Father AND that the inhabitants of the worlds are begotten sons and daughters of God?

 

READ D&C 76:39-42

Who will be resurrected through the triumph and glory of Christ?

What is the gospel that the voice out of heaven bore record of?

What does it mean that the Father had put souls into Christ’s power?

What does it mean that the Father “made” them (the souls) by Him (Christ)?

 

 

Vision of Satan and Those Who Merit Perdition

 

The Lord illustrates His plan using opposites...

READ D&C 76:25-38

What is implied by the fact that Satan was “an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God”?

It is somewhat unclear if “who was in the bosom of the Father” in verse 25 refers to Jehovah or Lucifer; we’ve talked about it referring to Christ but if it also refers to Lucifer, what is implied?

Why do you think Satan is called Lucifer, which means “morning star”, when Venus, the “morning star” is associated with Christ?

Why is Satan referred to as “that old serpent”?

We know that it was the Father’s plan that Christ volunteered to enable, being prepared from the foundation of the world; so why does it say that Satan rebelled against Christ and not the Father?

What happens to those who rebel against God while in His presence and what does this imply?

Why are they “thrust down” from heaven?

Why did the heavens weep over Lucifer and what does that teach us?

Why was Lucifer’s name changed to “Satan” and why is he called the “devil”?

Why is Satan called a “liar from the beginning” (see D&C 93:25) and a “murderer from the beginning” (see John 8:44) if he was an angel of light who had been rewarded for his obedience to God?

What is Satan’s plan?

How and when did Satan make war with the saints of God and encompass them around?

Why are they called “sons of perdition” and what does “perdition” mean?

What do these verses teach us about the sons of perdition?

What does it mean that it would have been better for these sons of perdition to have never been born?

Given the dangers of a probationary state, why would anyone, including the most spiritually advanced (of which Lucifer was one example), want to take the risk?

What would their states be if they had never been born and how would they be better off?

What is a “vessel of wrath”?

What is the punishment of the devil and his angels?

How does one become a son of perdition?

What does it mean to deny the Holy Spirit after receiving it?

How does a person crucify the Son of God unto themselves and put Him to open shame?

Why would someone choose to deny the Lord, after having known Him?

How can the sons of perdition be the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power when all, except those who inherit Celestial glory, will suffer the second death or the second separation from God?

What does it mean that the sons of perdition “shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord”?

If the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, does this mean that the sons of perdition will not be resurrected?

What kingdom do we merit without the atonement of Christ?

 

READ D&C 76:43-49

Since Christ did suffer the atonement, what must one do to be thrust into Outer Darkness?

What is everlasting or endless punishment (see D&C 19:4-12)?

Why would the Lord show the vision of the torment of perdition to “many” and yet the full extent of the torment is not revealed to man?

What is implied by the statement “and the end thereof”…”no man knows”?

Why did God show Joseph Smith the vision of hell and outer darkness before He showed him the vision of celestial glory?

 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Christ’s Coming in Glory (D&C 45 & 133)

READ D&C 45:1

What does it mean that Christ has been given the “kingdom”?

The Father gave (some of) His children to Christ to save – a kingdom or family of souls.

His personally attaining to the resurrection of the dead and becoming our spiritual “Father” in heaven through the atonement means that those of the Father’s (Ahman’s) children that were given to Christ to save (see John 17:6-24) are now His (Christ’s) – His “kingdom” or family; they are still part of the Father’s, as they must all eventually be “one”, but they are now part of the Father’s family (again) through the mediation of the Son because they had been separated from the Father due to their spiritual deaths.

In what way did Christ "make” all the hosts of heaven?

The elements used to create our physical bodies and everything in this tangible universe were created and then redeemed by Christ out of elements He “owns” or are a part of Him and God – they are the light of Christ or “holy spirit” which proceed from God to fill the immensity of space (see D&C 88:6-13; D&C 131:7-8).

Everything that lives on this earth is sustained from moment to moment by Christ through His Spirit.

Implied is that the hosts of heaven referenced here are all bound to a probationary cycle on this earth, which Christ created and redeemed.

 

READ D&C 45:2

Why might we think that we are still in “summer” but in reality the “harvest is ended”?

This morality is a probationary state and for those who have been given the “kingdom”, death is the end of that probation.

We do not know how many years of mortal life we will be granted.

So, the fact that we think we have more time (“it is summer – time to play,” rather than thinking “it is the harvest, time to work”) implies that we are not using that time effectively.

Christ’s warning is that not using our probationary time effectively will leave us “unsaved”.

The other implication is that we underestimate how much time may be needed to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” during this mortal probation; while Christ is a “first watch God” when it comes to repentance, many seem to not realize what it means to “offer one’s whole soul” until it is too late.

 

READ D&C 45:3-5

How does Christ plead our cause to the Father?

Based on the sufferings and death of Christ…

Who did no sin (to justly suffer or die for)…

But accomplished the Father’s mission which He gave to the Son, which pleased the Father…

So, based on this, Christ begs the Father to “please spare those that believe on Christ’s name that they may have eternal life” even though they have no right to be saved otherwise.

It is Christ’s right to ask that those with whom He has covenanted be spared, as Christ has won the victory over death and hell by submitting to them unjustly.

This is how justice is served (as Christ paid for all sin, unjustly as He did no sin) and mercy also (souls are saved who do not merit it).

 

READ D&C 45:6-9

What can we learn about Christ from His titles?

Alpha – the beginning, one who is more intelligent that we all and set the example before us (He is more intelligent because He has used His experiences to gain more light through His superior obedience to God’s commandments which is eternal law; see Alma 13:3-6; D&C 93:12-14; D&C 130:18-21).

Omega – the end, one who descended below all; the one who is at the end of the path and is the gatekeeper to what lies there.

The Light of the world – who lights the world through His glory, quickening both the physical elements and each person’s mind.

The Life of the world – who gave life initially, maintained it from moment to moment, and then redeemed all so that they could have life infinitely; and has life in Himself.

The Son of God – because He condescended to take upon Himself a mortal tabernacle or body so that He could save us.

He has earned these titles through His righteous works in past eternities in addition to this one; titles describe His accomplishments, as well as His attributes, as they are one.

How do we “become” Sons or Daughters of God; and aren’t we already that?

No or the verse wouldn’t say “to become” which infers a future transition.

We’re “spirit children” of God but Christ tells us that only those who “receive” Him can qualify to “become” Sons or Daughters of God.

A “Son of God” or “Daughter of God” denotes having been adopted into God’s family of saved or exalted beings; one can only enter into that kind of relationship after having been proven at all hazards in a mortal probation outside of God’s presence, where one must “seek out” the Lord with faith, entering into the everlasting covenant that they might “receive” Him in the flesh (so that He can “reason” with them v10).

 

READ D&C 45:10, 15

What must we “come unto” so that Christ can come visit us in the flesh and reason with us?

The everlasting covenant – we must have a relationship with Him through covenant, in which He makes us His and declares us clean.

We must come unto or be adopted into a familial relationship with Him – we must become His Sons or Daughters.

We must also “hearken” to Him (see D&C 93:1).

What is implied about Christ and the relationship that He wishes to have with us that He wants to “reason” with us?

He wants to have the kind of relationship or friendship that we have here on earth with those that we can share deeply personal experiences and insights with or debate “jugular” issues with, without offense (see D&C 50:10-12).

He truly desires to become our closest friend in mortality.

He also desperately wants to share His wisdom with us but will not force it upon us nor compel us to follow it once He’s shared it.

He wants us to address Him like we were addressing our most intimate friend and have nothing to hide; to tell Him about our hopes, frustrations, concerns, fears and confusion; because He cares about what we care about; and He wants to give us His perspective on those things – which will change everything for us.

 

READ D&C 45:11-14

Why did “holy men” seek for a “day of righteousness”; what were they trying to do?

A “day of righteousness” is a day that Christ comes to visit His people (i.e. in Zion).

The ultimate or perfect “day” will be when He comes to rule and reign upon this earth as its rightful king in all His glory (which is above the brightness of the sun at noon -“day”).

A “holy man” or woman is one who has experienced a “day of righteousness” for themselves and entered into God’s presence to be redeemed and sanctified.

But many holy men were not able to help others meet the conditions required to prepare for such a day (see Moses 84:19-26) – they were not able to prepare a Zion people who could stand in Christ’s presence when He comes, a people who had been “sealed” to withstand the glory (in the last days by Elijah) so they would not be “utterly wasted”; for instance, Joseph Smith seemed to have only been able to help one other to meet these conditions and experience these things for himself – his brother Hyrum Smith.

Why were these “holy men” not able to establish Zion?

The wickedness (sins or disobedience to God’s commandments) and abominations (false religious beliefs and rites masquerading as truth) of the people prevented them (the people, not the “holy men”) from entering into God’s presence themselves because it diminished their faith (unbelief) and led them to believe that they were either already saved (all is well in Zion) or taught them a false path which promised light but only led to darkness (see 1 Nephi 8:4-8).

The people would not let Christ show unto them His wisdom; instead of asking to obtain His will or the knowledge He wanted to share, they shaped the discussion and influenced the Lord to give them what they wanted.

In a sad bit of irony, this is exactly what happened to the Saints at the time this revelation was given; the Lord wanted to reestablish the “ancient order of things” by restoring the gospel which had enabled Enoch to build Zion and to find the Lamanite remnant to build Zion in the latter days as foretold in the Book of Mormon, but the Gentile Saints (led by Sidney Rigdon) wanted a “restored” New Testament church and to build Zion themselves, so that is just what they got; only Joseph and Hyrum Smith received the “day of righteousness” that was offered to all; and the “Zions” in Jackson County and Nauvoo were abject failures (see D&C 124:28, 31-34, 40-50, 91-95, 123-124; Ezekiel 14:1-23; TPJS 266:2).

What is implied about Christ’s wisdom?

If you hearken to Christ and let Him show you His wisdom, He will give you a promise (or hope) you can have faith in and will teach you how to be received unto Christ yourself while you are in the flesh (which requires transfiguration, at a minimum), like Enoch and his brethren were.

But, you will become a “stranger and pilgrim” on this earth, when you come back to continue your mortal service here.

 

 

The Signs of Christ’s Coming In Glory

 

Will Christ actually come back to the Earth in glory?

If the Book of Mormon is a guide (and it is, as they saw our day) more and more people will disbelieve in a literal Second Coming – and will ridicule or persecute those that do believe and are vocal about it.

He has spoken it - and every prophesy will come to pass - those who look for Him will see Him, those who do not will not (they’ll be cut off or utterly wasted) – see D&C 45:44.

What will be His purpose in returning?

To put all enemies under His feet (see D&C 49:6).

Destroy all wickedness from the Earth (see D&C 29:9-11) – to give it a baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, which is a sanctifying, quickening transformation.

When will He return?

Soon - it is “near, even at the doors” (see D&C 34:7; D&C 110:16).

But no one knows exactly – not even the angels (see D&C 49:7).

What are the “destructive” signs of the times?

Wars and rumors of wars (see D&C 45:26).

Desolating sickness (see D&C 45:31).

Earthquakes in divers places (see D&C 45:33).

Storms and floods (see D&C 88:90).

Hailstorms that destroy crops – and the ensuing famines which will follow (see D&C 29:15).

Sun will be darkened, blood moon, stars fall (see D&C 45:40-42; D&C 88:87) – there will be signs in the heavens.

Faith will fail FOR FEAR (see D&C 45:26; D&C 88:91).

What are the “positive” signs of the times?

Gospel restored (see D&C 45:9).

The New Jerusalem will be built (see D&C 45:66-71).

The Kingdom of God established (see D&C 65:2-6).

What can we do to prepare?

Obtain “oil” (the Holy Spirit) in our lamps.

Receive the promises made to the Fathers for yourself (see D&C 2:1-3).

Become one who can stand in His presence so that you can abide the day of His coming - through realizing the ordinances of the Temple (experiencing the “real thing” by parting the veil and walking into God’s presence in the flesh) and being true and faithful to the covenants you receive there (see D&C 128:24; 2 Nephi 32:6), in the heavenly temple.

Who are the “fathers” who have received promises?

Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, (the 10 generations of “patriarchs” from Adam to Shem) who were ordained to “His Own Order” which enabled them to have “all things made manifest” and avoid the destruction of mankind; i.e. flood or in our day, fire (see Moses 8:19 and 23-24).

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim - “I sought for the blessings of the fathers and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same” (see Abraham 1:2) – the five generations of Abraham, who left an apostate society to find the Lord, as we will also have to do in our day.

Will America be safe?

He will make an end of all nations.

So no, the United States of America will be destroyed (see D&C 87:6).

Will the people who live in America be safe?

It depends - there is a Law that governs America (see Ether 2:9-12) - it is OUR choice.

What does this Law mean for America?

No power on earth that has ever threatened America for one second; however...

None of America’s missiles or economy can save us if we stop worshiping the God of this Land. 

If you reach the Fullness of Iniquity, you will be destroyed.  America is its only enemy.

 

Societies that are destroyed are destroyed because they reached the fullness of iniquity (especially if they were living in a Promised Land).  The mode of destruction is usually (but not always) war, with its companion’s famine and pestilence.

 

READ D&C 45:16

What does the Lord want to reason with us about?

The signs of His coming.

And how we’d better get a move on and prepare or we will get caught thinking it’s “summer” when the “harvest” is come.

Ultimately, He wants to reason with us about the salvation of our souls (v2).

To whom were these verses addressed and what does that tell us about how we should understand them?

Christ is recollecting the discussion He had with His apostles, recounted in Matthew 24 (see also Joseph Smith-Matthew).

He is quoting Himself regarding what He told the Jewish apostles, so it includes prophesies about Jerusalem in 70 AD but also the Last Days before His Second Coming.  Since He’s speaking here with Joseph Smith, implied is that we can also learn things for our day from what happened to the Jews in 70 AD.

 

READ D&C 45:17

Many religions have taught that being in a body is bondage; how would you explain to someone with that belief why it is bondage to be without a body?

Some religions believe that due to the Fall of Adam, our bodies are the root of all our problems with sin and that they are inherently evil; they believe that our spirits are trapped within these depraved bodies and that the spirit just needs to escape it to be truly godlike and righteous; they believe that the body should be mistreated and all physical urges denied – that the body is a punishment.

But a body is required to experience a fullness of joy (see D&C 93:33-34) and to reenter the presence of the Father (see 2 Nephi 9:6-15), so not having a body means that you are trapped in the world of spirits or Hades (hell), which is bondage.

 

READ D&C 45:18-24

What things will pass away in the first set of verses?

Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem would be completely destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, less than 40 years (within the generation) after Christ made His statement.

Many Jews would be killed and most of the others scattered throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle-east.

The Jewish hope for a Messiah would be dashed (and then obliterated 1900 years later in Hitler’s Holocaust).

What is the fate of Israel in verse 24?

The survivors will be scattered among all nations.

As the Jews were in 70 AD.

And the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were in 600 BC when Jerusalem fell to Babylon.

And the other “lost tribes” were scattered prior to that at the fall of the North Kingdom of Israel.

 

READ D&C 45:25-27

What are the “times of the Gentiles”?

The period of time when those who were last to receive the gospel (the Gentiles at the time of Christ) will be the first to receive it when it is restored to the earth in the last days.

The times of the Gentiles started with the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith to the “Saints” who were primarily gentiles of European origin.

What is implied by saying the “times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”?

That at some point the Gentiles will no longer have the fullness of the gospel of Christ because they will reject it – their “time” or opportunity will be fulfilled or completed (see 3 Nephi 16:10-11) and they will lose the fullness of the gospel and the rights and privileges that accepting it give to a people.

Scattered Israel will not be gathered again until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled; implied is that any gathering that has taken place prior to the rejection of the Fullness of the Gospel by the Gentiles is not the gathering referenced by Christ here.

The question, then, is when did or will the Gentile Church that received the fullness of the gospel reject it: one argument would say it rejected it at the time of Joseph Smith because so few escaped the condemnation spoken of in D&C 84 and entered into the rest of the Lord themselves – and Joseph Smith’s death, after the final failed attempt which involved building the Nauvoo Temple to receive again the High Priesthood which had been lost; a second argument would say that the Church has just recently rejected the fullness of the gospel as evidenced by the Correlation Department removing all reference to the Second Comforter, Calling and Election, and Theosis (becoming Gods) in the last 20 to 30 years – this was confirmed by Elder Dallin Oaks telling the saints in Boise in 2015 that seeking for the actual presence of Christ in this life was a “familiar tactic of the adversary,” and by the excommunication (from SLC) of members who have actively taught that they have seen the Lord (i.e. Denver Snuffer, Rob Smith and others, although this is not usually the stated reason why they are disciplined and cast out of the Church); a third argument might suggest that it is still to come, as the Church leaders make their concessions to the popularity of the world and their changes to the doctrine Joseph Smith taught even more pronounced and explicit.

What time period do verses 25-27 describe?

The chaos which will reign in the last days, after the times of the Gentiles is over.

Not only will there be rumors of wars, but the whole earth shall be in commotion with fear and terror.

What is implied by the prophesy that people will say that Christ delays His coming until the end of the earth?

Things will be REALLY bad.

People will believe that the end of the world is imminent, and that Christ won’t make it in time to save us; this suggests either a nuclear war or an earthbound comet or some event that is cataclysmic, unstoppable and immediate.

 

READ D&C 45:28-30

When will the light of the Fullness of the Gospel “break forth among them that sit in darkness”?

AFTER the times of the Gentiles have “come in” or is in progress but not before it has ended.

This is a sign regarding when the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled: after they’ve initially been offered the fullness of the gospel (it has “come in”) but still “sit in darkness” (haven’t accepted the fullness of the gospel), a “light” will “break forth” among them (meaning it will come from heaven; there is an unexpected nature to the appearance of this light as it breaks forth) but they won’t see it because they are comfortable in the dark with their precepts of men.  Possibly implied here is the Lord seeking to minister one last time to the Gentile Church before their time is up (see Jacob 5:63-64); in the generation when this happens, the times of the Gentiles will end.  It is also possible that this breaking forth of light is what triggers the passing of the Fullness of the Gospel to Israel – they accept it while the Gentiles reject it.

What is implied about the Gentiles at that day?

They “sit in darkness”.

But they do not realize it because when the “light breaks forth” they do not perceive that it is light.

Instead, they reject the light (thinking they already have the light because they have been hearkening to the precepts of men who tell them that they already have all the light they will ever need).

And in the pride of their hearts, they receive not the light but turn away from Christ.

They have shown that they cannot recognize Him, even when He shines the bright light of the Fullness of the Gospel in their eyes because they are blind indeed – blinded by the precepts of men.

And in that generation, they sin against the light and the Lord they say they worship; the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled and they are done.

 

READ D&C 45:31-33

What might constitute a “desolating sickness” and when will this occur?

In the 1800’s, tuberculosis killed one-quarter of the adult population of Europe.

The Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed more than 50 million people globally.

The Bubonic or Black Plague killed half the population of Asia and Europe in the 1300’s.

Smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, AIDS, Typhus fever, and Ebola are examples of other “scourges” that have decimated populations. 

As of 2021, 2.5 million deaths have been attributed to COVID-19, so unless it mutates significantly and becomes more deadly, it might only be a warning of the pandemic that is to come; especially given how much more infectious it was than the traditional flu (longer incubation, asymptomatic carriers, smaller particles which linger longer, etc) – imagine if the mortality rate was significantly higher and affected all populations equally – that is a “desolating sickness”. 

It will occur after the rejection of the fullness of the Gospel by the Gentiles (but in the same generation that it happens) and after Israel begins to be “gathered” again or comes to a knowledge of the gospel and the promises they have been given; Israel could refer to the “remnant of Jacob” in the Americas or to the Jews or other remnants of Israel around the world.

Why is this sickness referred to as a “scourge”?

A scourge was a whipping or flogging administered as a punishment for criminal (either civilian or military) behavior.

Although capable of killing the victim, scourging was usually either a “corporal” punishment (as opposed to a “capital” punishment or purposeful killing) or preparatory to a cruel death like crucifixion, where the victim needed to be hurt prior to the capital punishment to expedite the death.

The Lord seems to have three objectives with this scourge: a) capital punishment among some of the wicked, b) a massive warning to sinners to repent, and c) to weaken wicked mankind for the coming twin deathblows of natural disaster (from God) and war (self-inflicted).

Who are Christ’s disciples that will stand in “holy places” and not be moved?

As this takes place after the Gentile Church has rejected the Fullness of the Gospel that they have been offered, these disciples will be from the Remnant of Israel (the exception being those few Gentiles that have repented and accepted the Fullness of the Gospel).

The Gentile Church will be among those who are “scourged” as punishment for rejecting the light of the fullness of the gospel (see D&C 112:23-26).

Implied is that the Remnant of Israel will a) have a holy place or Temple built and/or b) that they will have become “holy places” or “temples” themselves – places where the Lord’s Spirit can abide or live permanently.

What is the relationship between natural disasters and war?

Natural disasters destabilize an area, enabling wicked, ambitious men to seize the opportunity to take control, which happens via war.

Natural disasters are warning messages from God to repent but in many cases, not only do the wicked not heed the warning, they double-down on their wickedness by taking up their swords against each other and killing those who have been weakened in the disaster.

When faced with “calls” to repent from God Himself (sickness, natural disaster, etc.) why do the wicked harden their hearts against God and curse Him with loud voices?

They love Satan more than God – perhaps not explicitly, but they love sin and following their own wills much more than they love God.

They resent or even hate God for not allowing them to take pleasure in their sins; some justify their anger by thinking “a loving God would not do this to me, so you are not a loving God and I can hate you”.

Many otherwise “good” people lose their faith when faced with such terrible afflictions because they lack the “actual knowledge” that they have been accepted by God; they “grow weary in their minds and faint” (see LoF 6:2-6, 12).

Everyone does have a choice – to either humble themselves in the face of affliction or to further harden their hearts (see Alma 62:41), and sadly, most of the world will continue on the trajectory they have already set for themselves.

 

READ D&C 112:23-26

Why is vengeance and desolation coming to the inhabitants of the earth?

Because the people have allowed their minds to be darkened.

All people have become corrupt; either causing the darkness or as a result of it (they have embraced it).

But the implication is that the inhabitants of the earth are responsible for the darkness and could have chosen to be enlightened; otherwise the Lord would not be justified in seeking “vengeance” which is executed as a result of being knowingly or purposefully harmed or betrayed.

What is implied by the quick, “whirlwind” speed of the wrath and burning?

Either it means that it is coming soon (this revelation was given in 1837).

Or it means that when it comes, it will come quickly out of nowhere, like a whirlwind that cannot be predicted.

Where will the desolation begin?

Upon “my house” shall it begin, says the Lord.

My House refers to “those among YOU” (the Lord is speaking to Joseph Smith about the Gentile Church – see verse 27).

“Who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house”.

The desolation will begin among the LDS Church (and their offshoots?), specifically among or because of those who have professed, claimed, or asserted openly but falsely (blasphemy) that they are “special witnesses” of Christ while in the midst or center of His house (so either while in the literal temple in a weekly Thursday meeting or while generally leading the Church through policy-making and General Conference) by claiming to speak for Him but have NOT known Him.

Today, the modern Church Apostles claim to be “special witnesses” of Christ’s NAME (see D&C 107:23) but they continue to infer a personal manifestation or “witness” of Christ when they speak in Conference; however, if they have not known Him because they lack the faith to rend the veil and stand in His presence but use clever wordplay to make it appear to the Saints that they do know Him (and can thus control the lives of the active Church members) but at the same time retain “plausible deniability” with the media or perhaps with God Himself when called on the carpet about the nature of their “witness”, they are triggering the desolation the Lord is speaking to here.

There is an argument that this judgement started in 1837, shortly after this revelation was given and continues today, and will culminate with the return of the Lord to the earth; the “you” refers to the followers of Joseph Smith who had professed to know the Lord’s name but didn’t and had blasphemed Him in the midst of the only modern “house” or temple that the Lord has ever acknowledge was His (the Kirtland Temple); the history of the Saints from 1837 onward in Kirtland, Far West, Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, and Salt Lake City illustrates the “vengeance” and “wrath” which is referenced in the verses.

 

READ D&C 45:34-38

What promises were made to Christ’s disciples that would decrease their fear?

That the angels will gather Christ’s elect (those who treasure up His word) and the Lord will come unto them (see JS Matthew 24:37) and they shall be sealed up (see D&C 77:11), prior to the destruction that will accompany His coming in glory, such that they will be able to abide the glory in that great day.

How does this parable answer the question about the previous two verses?

The angels will come to the elect to fulfill the promises of protection when the signs spoken of are clearly seen.

Those signs include: the rejection of the fullness of the gospel by the Gentile Church to whom it was given in the last days.

The “breaking forth of light” that occurs when the fullness of the gospel is then given to the remnant of Israel.

The desolating scourge that will sweep the earth, starting amongst the Gentile Church.

The earthquakes and wars that will quickly follow.

Seeing these signs and having faith in the promise of being sealed up (the 144,000, see Revelation 7:2-4, 9-17), should aid the elect to have faith in the promises such that they can rend the veil and enable the angels and the Lord to come unto them, albeit “just in time.”

 

READ D&C 45:39-44

What will those who are looking for the signs of Christ’s coming see?

They will see signs and wonders in the heavens above and in the earth.

They will see blood, fire and smoke.

They will see the sun darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the stars fall from heaven.

There will be a place of gathering for the Remnant of Israel.

They will look for Christ (implied is that they much watch – which means He will make them wait) and will see Him come in great glory and they will survive the day and not be cut off.

They will see the signs because they are looking for them; they will be taught what the signs mean because they will be enquiring of the Lord and searching the scriptures to understand them.

And they will be ready, spiritually, to abide the glory of the Lord BEFORE His coming in great glory – having obtained a promise, via sealing from the Lord and angels (see D&C 77:11), that they will be able to stand in that great day.

What will those who are not looking for the signs see?

They will see war and bloodshed, fires and smoke, solar eclipses, blood moons or lunar eclipses, and shooting stars or comets and asteroids.

And they will think nothing of them, above the fact that they have always been with us and will likely always continue to be.

But for their careless indifference to the signs that were prophesied, they will be cut off from the Lord.

Which remnant will be gathered?

The remnant of the House of Israel.

In America, that will be the Remnant of Jacob or the Lamanites.

But Israel was scattered all over the world (see Jacob 5); in addition, some of Israel likely married into local populations, which means that some people may have Israelite blood but do not know it.

Where is “this place”?

Zion.

In the western hemisphere they will be gathered to the New Jerusalem, in the “tops of the mountains”.

In the eastern hemisphere they will be gathered to ancient Jerusalem in Israel.

 

READ D&C 45:63

Of what “wars in your own lands” was this a prophecy?

The American Civil War.

 

 

The Fullness of Iniquity

 

We will highlight the specific sins that have led eight civilizations to the fullness of iniquity and destruction.  These eight sins are also interrelated.  For additional insights, see Michael Wilcox’s book A Nation at the Crossroads: Spiritual Decline in the Promised Land. 

 

READ Moses 8:28-30

What was the primary reason for the Flood?

The earth was filled with VIOLENCE.

When people are afraid of violence, entertained by violence, and when violence is pervasive in a society, that society is reaching the fullness.

How are we doing today?  Are we more violent than we were 20 years ago?  Than we were 40 years ago?

 

READ Ether 8:18, 20-23

What led to the destruction of the Jaredites?

The Rise of SECRET COMBINATIONS.

What gives a secret combination power? 

A man’s sins.  A man with an obsession is a man you can make money off of and get power from.

 

READ Moses 5:31-34

What three rules that secret combinations govern themselves by?

Mahan Principle – your life for my money or how to turn life into money. 

“I am free” – Principle that you can sin and you don’t have to pay the consequences. 

“Am I my brothers’ keeper?” – I have no responsibility for my brother.  Whatever you do is your business – my business is to make a profit from it.

 

READ Moroni 9:7-11, 13

How would you describe the Nephites prior to their destruction?

WITHOUT CIVILIZATION – the loss of all human restraint which leads to the VICTIMIZING OF WOMEN & CHILDREN.

Delight in evil (v13), awful brutality (v17), depravity, without order, without mercy, lose fear of all kinds of authority – even military authority (v18), perversion, delight in everything save that which is good, suffering of women and children (v19), without principle, past feeling (v20), seeking blood and revenge (v23).

When you see women and children abused, battered, exploited, becoming the victims of violence, that society is reaching a fullness of iniquity.

 

READ Alma 10:22-23, 2 Nephi 15:24

What did the people of Ammonihah do which led to their destruction?

CASTING OUT THE RIGHTEOUS, THE LAW OF THE LORD AND THE WORD OF THE LORD.

How is the Law cast out?

The Law is cast out through relativity – situational ethics – no truth because everything is relative.  May be “right” for you but it’s not right for me.  Something may be “wrong for you” but it’s not “wrong” because there is no right or wrong, society decides those things based on its preferences. 

Foundation of destruction is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of lawyers and judges.  They cast out righteousness by the interpretation and application of the law. (see Alma 10:17-18, 27).

Seeking to put down all power and authority that comes from God (see Moroni 8:28).

 

READ Jude 1:7-8

What sins led to Sodom and Gomorrah destruction?

Accepted and PERVASIVE IMMORAL BEHAVIOR, particularly perverted immoral behavior.

“Giving themselves over” is to be obsessed with, to give in, to yield to.

 

READ Deuteronomy 18:9-12

What did the Canaanites do to warrant destruction?

FASCINATION AND DELIGHT IN EVIL for its own sake.

The occult; when the fullness is full-blown, you’ll see the occult start to spread in a society.

How do we see this today in our society?

Today it’s found in the media – music industry, movies, video games, TV, etc; we are entertained by evil - even the “clean” movies and TV shows are all about murder, crime and intrigue.

The word “wicked” to describe something good - “wicked cool”;

Breaking the rules that society has traditionally followed is seen as being “cool” or “awakened” (now, the “traditions of the fathers” get a bad name for a reason, but breaking them doesn’t necessarily mean that one is following God…).

 

READ Deuteronomy 8:19-20

What led to Israel’s captivity and the destruction of their culture and many of their people?

The WORSHIP OF FALSE GODS.

Forgetting God (leads to . . .) walking after other Gods, which leads to serving other Gods, which leads to worshiping other Gods, which leads to destruction.

What leads to forgetting God? 

When you have eaten and are full – prosperity and pride (see Deut 10-12, 17).

What are America’s two major false gods?

Two major false gods of America (President Kimball, July 1976) are materialism and military might.  The many Americans aspire to (worship) money and power.

 

READ Mormon 2:8

When the Nephites were destroyed, what was the last straw?

A complete revolution – A REFUSAL TO REPENT.

This is the last aspect of a Fullness of Iniquity society.

When my nation is crumbling around me and there are problems everywhere and I still won’t change.

(v 13) Sorrowing was not unto repentance but was the sorrowing of the damned.

(v 15) Day of grace is past with them because they won’t repent.

Where is the protection from being swept off in the last days?

ONLY in Zion - we must build it - one family at a time.

In my opinion, Zion is built as individuals (hopefully families) who have rent the veil and know the Lord, and are called by angels to gather together into a community where no one need ask “know ye the Lord” as all will already know Him individually; the idea that Zion can be built as Joseph Smith tried to build it (gather first then try to come unto Christ) was proved to be extremely difficult by the early Saints – who had many more spiritual experiences and gifts than are demonstrated today (so one can assume that they were more likely to succeed than we are today – and they failed miserably on several occasions).

 


The Latter-day Zion

 

READ D&C 45:64-66

What “eastern lands” were the Saints to gather out of?

The eastern seaboard of the United States.

Britain.

What “western countries” were the Saints to go forth into?

If they were to establish Zion, which was to be built up by the Remnant of Jacob or the Lamanites, they would need to go west – at least to the Indian territories west of Missouri but more likely to the Rocky Mountains; Joseph Smith had been told that they were among the “western tribes of Indians”

What inhabitants were they to call to repentance?

In the early days of the Restoration of the Gospel, during the times of the Gentiles, the Lord had given the opportunity to receive the fullness of the gospel to the Gentiles – so it was the Gentiles or those of European descent that they were to call to repentance initially.

But ultimately, they were to preach to the Remnant or Lamanites; Ephraim is to take the fullness of the gospel to Israel in the last days; Zion was to be built up among the Indians because the Gentiles would reject the fullness of the gospel (see 3 Nephi 16:10).

 

READ D&C 45:67, 70, 74-75

Why will the wicked not come unto Zion?

They cannot abide the glory of the Lord who will reside there – it will literally burn them up - and this will cause terror among them.

The inhabitants of Zion are “terrible”; to be able to abide the Lord’s presence and glory, they must also be filled with a portion of that same glory or light or intelligence that fills the city from heaven; so this will cause the rest of humanity to fear the mortals in Zion also because they can live in such a place without being harmed.

They will also hold the High Priesthood After the Order of the Son of God (required for them to abide in God’s presence) which has power over the elements, which will also help to defend the New Jerusalem.

Zion will be at one end of an open portal to heaven; open so that the glory of heaven will shine through it and will be seen by those within the walls of Zion and those looking up at Zion and the mountain upon which it stands from beneath.

 

READ D&C 133:38-45

Who are the “servants of God” who go forth with a loud voice?

Those who know Him – they have been in His presence and He has ministered to them.

Those who have been given an errand to perform from the Lord.

Many times in scripture the “servants of God” are angels; but the term can also apply to those who “speak with the tongues of angels” because they have a) been ministered to by Christ and b) have been given a message to relay to others from Christ.

What are they praying for?

The Second Coming of Christ in glory (see Matthew 6:9-13).

Christ to rend the veil and to make Himself known unto all people, to their condemnation and destruction or to their rejoicing and salvation.

What risks do those who invite the Lord to come to the earth in glory take upon themselves?

If they are using the Lord’s name in vain (they pretend to know Him and speak for Him) and they don’t think He will really return or that He will be pleased with them for the way they have executed their “stewardships”, they are inviting Him to come and “do terrible things they look not for” in vengeance for blaspheming His name (see D&C 112:23-26; Ezekiel 34:1-31).

 

READ D&C 45:68-69, 71

Who will flee to Zion?

Those among the wicked who will not take up arms against his/her neighbor.

Those who have been called and sealed by angels to go there to abide with the other Saints of Zion; the Church of the Firstborn who visit through the portal from heaven; and the residents of the cities of Enoch and Melchizedek’s Salem, who become their friends (see D&C 77:11; Moses 7:63).

What will the rest of the world, including the United States, be like at that time?

If you do not have a gun or way to defend yourself, you will be killed.

The whole rest of the world will either be at war or informally fighting with each other.

Everyone else will be living in fear – sleeping with a gun under their pillow; rule of law will be gone in a state of open war and civil unrest.

Why will they be safe in Zion; why will Zion have no army or defense system?

The glory of the Lord will be such a deterrent and cause such fear in the hearts of the wicked that no one will need a gun to defend themselves if they live in Zion; the wicked won’t come near the place (see Exodus 19:16-18; Exodus 20:18-19).

 

READ D&C 133:4-9, 14

What does it mean to “go ye out from Babylon”?

Ultimately, it will mean to flee from Babylon or the world to the New Jerusalem.

In the meantime, it means to leave behind the mindset of Babylon so that you can be clean – it means to “sanctify yourselves” or consecrate or separate yourself for holy purposes; this is in the form of an offering or sacrifice that we make of ourselves (our whole souls) to God – but He must accept our offering and actually sanctify or change us through the baptism of fire.

Why are the Gentiles to be “called upon” first and then the Jews, and who is being referred to here?

The Gentiles earned the right to be the first to receive the gospel in the last days, following the Jew’s rejection of Christ during His ministry.

Gentiles are those of European descent; they may include people with Israelite blood (specifically Ephraim) but it is diluted as they did not remain a “people” like the Jews did or the Lamanites (who are primarily Manasseh and Ephraim through Lehi and Ishmael, respectively).

Jews are those of Israel who stayed together in their tribe and didn’t intermarry to the point of losing their genetic and social identity (i.e. the Jews and Lamanites).

 

READ D&C 133:10-13

How does one flee Babylon?

You must awake to your awful state – implied is that you might otherwise sleep through it or not realize it.

You must arise or take action by going forth to meet Christ, the Bridegroom.

You must prepare yourselves by having “oil in your lamps”.

Where are the “mountains” of the Lords House?

They are the earthly temples in Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem (Zion) which mark or serve as the entrance to the open portal to God’s Temple in the heavens.

Jerusalem and Zion are in the “mountains” or will be higher than the surrounding areas.

But the heavenly temple requires an “ascent” up through His Way to the “mountain” of His House.

 

READ D&C 45:56-59

What do you need to be able to abide the day of Christ’s coming?

Truth or knowledge of things as they really were, are and will be.

Truth = intelligence, light, spirit, glory within you.

To be filled with the Holy Spirit (which is truth, intelligence, light, glory, etc. and the mind of God).

What will stop you from being able to abide the day but will get you hewn down and cast into the fire?

Not receiving the truth.

Being deceived – receiving falsehood as if it were the truth.

Implied is that we have been given a way to be able to discern the difference, so we are accountable – and that is: did we take the Holy Spirit as our guide?

When will the parable of the ten virgins actually happen?

In the generation when the Gentile’s reject the fullness of the gospel which is then given to and embraced by the Remnant (in a sudden and miraculous way); because Christ will come soon after.

 

READ D&C 133:17-19

Who are the 144,000 who are sealed with the Father’s name?

They are “high priests” ordained unto the Holy Order of God (see Alma 13:1-19; JST Genesis 14:25-40; Abraham 1:2-4, 15-19; D&C 84:19-24, 33-42) to administer the fullness of the gospel.

They are ordained by the angels not by men.

Their mission is to bring as many as will come to the Church of the Firstborn.

Who are the Church of the Firstborn?

Those who are heirs to celestial glory (see D&C 76:54).

Those who dwell in God’s presence because they received on earth of His fullness and grace (see D&C 76:94).

Those who received the Testimony of Jesus with regards to their standing before Him while in the flesh (see D&C 88:75; D&C 76:51, 74); they receive a promise or hope of the glory that will be theirs later if they are valiant in the Testimony they have received (see D&C 76:79).

 

READ D&C 133:20-29

What is the great deep?

This could be a literal reference to the ocean.

Or, it could be symbolic, as the ocean has been used as a metaphor for people (see Revelation 17:15; Revelation 13:1).

What does it mean that the islands will become one land and the earth shall be like it was before it was divided?

If literal, Christ can command the sea and could “drive it back” so that one large land mass is exposed (see Genesis 10:25).

If metaphorical, it may be referring to a reunification of people who had been divided and scattered (see Jacob 5).

What is implied about there being “prophets” of those in the “north countries”?

Christ calls people to be prophets whenever, wherever and among whichever people He pleases.

These prophets are connected to the Lord but they are not connected to each other or affiliated with the LDS Church – because they will “no longer stay themselves” (meaning that they had been “laying low” before the call from Christ – so either they were not prophesying at all or they were doing it locally within their own group or people and it had not come to the knowledge of anyone else) but will begin to lead out – removing stumbling blocks (like unbelief or false beliefs) or obstacles which seemed impenetrable but will “flow like ice” in the thaw as they come unto the Lord easily, as if on a highway cast up above the ocean (no more long and dangerous sea voyages to a promised land, like Lehi – these people will come quickly to the Lord – perhaps even following His “ways” and “paths” from the earth to the heavens to meet with Him there), and as a result, the barren deserts (people without revelation or God in their lives) will become living again, almost overnight, as if springs of living water long hidden beneath the desert were allowed to spring up after an earthquake.

 

 

The Second Coming of Christ

 

READ D&C 133:46-53

Why is it not obvious to everyone that it is Christ who is coming down from heaven “in the greatness of His strength” and glory?

Because He does not look like what the world envisions a “god” should look like (see 3 Nephi 11:6-8) using their paradigm of “greatness” from this fallen world.

He is both the meek Lamb and the mighty Lion but His greatness is defined by His service (see Luke 22:23-27; D&C 122:8) – He IS great BECAUSE of His humble sacrifices and this shows in His being when He makes Himself known, even in glory.

He is “terrible” because His glory is so overwhelming, not because He is “zapping” people with “godly vengeance”; He just “is” or exists and when one who is unprepared to enter His glorious presence does so, they want to hide (see Mormon 9:2-5; Alma 36:12-16).

Why will Christ’s garments be red when He comes in glory?

To symbolize His atonement, where He bled from every pore (see Revelation 19:11-16).

To symbolize His coming in glory to subdue the earth with fire.

To symbolize His kingship, as scarlet is symbolic of royalty and fine materials.

To symbolize His Everlasting Covenant, as covenants were made efficacious by cutting ceremonies where blood would flow.

To symbolize His vengeance or righteous anger and judgement against those who would not listen to His word after all the effort He had made to invite them to repent and come unto Him; He is executing justice.

Why does Christ choose “treading the wine vat” as a symbol of His atoning sacrifice?

Wine was made by crushing the grapes, first underfoot and then the mash was pulverized in a stone press and the grape juice extracted for fermentation.

The feet and clothing of those who tread the winepress were stained red with the juice.

Enduring the agony of the infinite atoning sacrifice, Christ was “crushed” by the weight of all sin and corruption to the point that He bled from every pore of His body (see Isaiah 63:1-6).

What similarities and differences exist between Christ’s visit to the Nephites (3 Nephi 11) and His coming in glory?

In both events He is seen coming down from Heaven to the “more righteous”.

In both instances, He is unrecognized when He comes (in His Second Coming He will appear first as a blazing light heading towards the earth, like a comet).

In both visits, He shows the tokens of His crucifixion to prove who He is.

With the Nephites, He does not come in glory and He is not dressed in red; while at the Second Coming, He does.

With the Nephites, He appeared to one group of people at a time (He had other sheep to attend to and had likely been doing that prior to His visit to the Nephites, which was 11 months after His resurrection); while at His Second Coming, all the world will see Him together.

He came alone to visit the Nephites; while at the Second Coming, He will be accompanied by an “entourage” – Enoch and His city.

Who does the “angel of His presence” refer to?

An “angel” of God’s presence is one who dwells in everlasting burnings with God; He is like unto God in many ways or He would not be able to abide the glory; He is a seraphim or “fiery” one (see Isaiah 6:2-7; 2 Nephi 16:2-7).

Christ was such an “angel” (see Abraham 1:15-16) because He had risen up from a small capacity to a great one, as all Gods have before Him, to the point that He had received of the fullness of the Father and became a Son of God (see TPJS 390-393; D&C 93:12-14).

Why does the Lord pity us?

We are pitiful creatures – people to be pitied; in the great scheme of things and in the context of the level of knowledge (light, spirit, glory, intelligence) which God possesses, we “know not what we do” because we are filled with darkness of our own choosing (see Alma 12:10-12; Alma 13:3-5); we are nothing compared to Him (see Moses 1:10); we are less than the dust of the earth because we will not obey our creator and God while all other basic elements will (see Mosiah 4:2; Genesis 18:27; Helaman 12:7-8).

We cannot extricate or save ourselves from the awful situation we are in and the consequences of remaining in this state are dire (see 2 Nephi 9:7-10).

 

READ D&C 45:47-50

How does one who has looked for the Lord (v44) contrast with one who has watched for iniquity?

One who has watched for iniquity is not a person who revels or participates in iniquity but is one who is obsessed with finding iniquity in others and focuses on that rather than focusing on seeking the Lord or watching for the signs of His coming.

They are the “Pharisees” in any age – the ultra-religious who have hearkened to the precepts of men and concentrate on the outward performances.

One who “looks for the Lord” is only concerned with one thing: finding and then abiding with the Lord Jesus Christ; they don’t care for or seek out the opinions or flattery of any others or ingratiate themselves in the eyes of others, and they don’t concern themselves with the iniquity of others, except to the degree they are concerned for those others’ welfare and then it is not an accusatory interest but a calling to repentance when inspired by the Spirit, with charity, albeit with boldness.

 

READ D&C 133:30-35

Who will be crowned with glory by the children of Ephraim?

The tribes of Israel.

Specifically, the Remnant of Jacob or the Lamanites in the Americas.

Why does Ephraim receive the “richer blessing” after the Gentiles (who are associated with Ephraim) reject the fullness of the gospel?

Some few of Ephraim will come unto Christ and know the Lord such that they will be able to take the fullness of the gospel to Israel or the Remnant of Jacob (mostly a concentration of the tribe of Manasseh).

Ephraim was given Joseph’s birthright above the older son, Manasseh; although, ironically, most of Ephraim will disqualify themselves from receiving the birthright due to their arrogance about being “chosen”, some few will rise up and claim the blessing, which is done by sacrificing oneself in service to others – they receive the “richer blessing” because they will meekly follow the example of their Lord – in His Kingdom, the greatest are the servants of all.

What is Judah’s “pain” referring to?

The pain of not recognizing the Messiah but instead putting Him to death.

Which happened because of the wickedness of the Jewish leaders and the general rejection of the fullness of the gospel of Christ for the Law of Moses by the majority of the people (see John 6:28-61; D&C 84:23-26).

 

READ D&C 45:51-53

How does one KNOW that Christ is the Lord?

You must look upon Him.

You must see and touch the wounds He bears in His body, where there are tokens of what He did; they prove it physically to all that see and feel them.

The wounds in His hands, wrists and feet prove that He was crucified and the wound in His side proves that He died; and yet, He stands before you in the flesh - He is the Son of God.

How will we react when we realize what He truly did for us and how we have used His gifts of life and redemption?

Like the Jews, we will weep because of our iniquities and lament that we have persecuted our King (see Alma 36:12-16).

 

READ D&C 133:57-59

How does the gospel covenant prepare the weak for the things which are coming on the earth?

No man will be able to withstand the glory of the Lord when He comes to reveal Himself to the whole earth unless they embrace the fullness of the gospel and become “partakers of the glories” before they were to “be revealed” in great power; in other words, one must covenant with the Lord, enter into His presence and partake of His glory or be given an endowment of light, spirit, intelligence, truth, such that His glory is within them (they have “partaken” of it), so that they can abide Him when He comes in great glory.

And only the “weak things” who are meek, humble and submissive, who are willing to see themselves as they really are and open their hearts to that awful truth – only they will seek out the Lord and wait on Him in patience – only they will enter His presence in the flesh and be sealed up to eternal life, which is the fullness of the Gospel of Christ.

Why does the Lord use the weak things of the earth to accomplish His work?

Only the weak will offer the required sacrifice – their whole souls; the strong don’t realize their desperate need sufficiently to offer it – they hold out thinking that perhaps they might be either “righteous” enough to merit something or smart enough to realize that there is no god anyway.

With the weak as His tools, God tries the world – people don’t believe that God would appear to a 14-year-old farm boy or that the Lamanites can rise up and accept the gospel in a single generation or that the Gentile Church will go astray, reject the fullness of the gospel, and be destroyed.

What does it mean to be on the Lord’s errand?

To have been given a mission to perform personally by the Lord (see also Jacob 1:17; 2 Nephi 32:6); to have work to perform on behalf of the Lord (see D&C 64:29).

How can two put tens of thousands to flight?

The High Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God has the power to “put at defiance the armies of nations”, so even one with that power could put tens of thousands to flight (see JST Genesis 14:31; 1 Nephi 4:1).

The Lord can call upon legions of angels to help His servants in their time of need, if it is His will to do so (see Matthew 26:53).

What does it mean, that the Lord will “thrash” the nations?

Thrash means “to defeat thoroughly”.

Thrash also means “to separate grain from its husk by beating”.

In this case, both meanings are correct – He will defeat thoroughly and by so doing, separate the “grain” or those who will follow Him from those who will not.

 

READ D&C 133:62-73

What is the connection between being “cut off from among the people” and not being left “neither root nor branch”?

It is saying the same thing.

Being cut off from among the people IS to be left neither root nor branch.

These are genealogical terms – it is saying that your family line will be stopped going forward and dissolved going backward – you will be on your own and unsealed – a “branch” that has been “cut off” from among the tree of the family of God and burned such that it is not left or cannot be found upon the tree or to “cumber” the ground round about it.

What is the relationship between being given eternal life and being cut off and left neither root nor branch?

They are opposites or mutually exclusive states.

To have eternal life IS to be joined or graphed into the living vine.

One sense in which you have “eternal life” is through your posterity that have also risen up to connect to God and have received eternal life – in part, perhaps, through your witness and guidance (see LoF 2:54-56).

It is to have both a vital connection to the “root” through the Son of God and the fathers in Heaven via the Law of Adoption, and to have the opportunity to enable more “branches” to extend from you as you rise up and do what all those who have sought to become Gods before you have also done – sacrifice to bring light and life to others (see TPJS 390-393).

Why did the Lord say “no one” received Him when He came unto His own?

He says, “no man among YOU (who have cut yourselves off and subsequently been burned) received me”.

Which is exactly why they were cut off and burned.

The “them” in this verse is talking about the portion of “His own” who rejected Him despite having qualified in a prior eternity or “first place” to be “His own” here on this earth (see John 6:39; Matthew 22:3-14; Alma 13:3-5; D&C 130:18-21; 1 Corinthians 15:30; D&C 20:32); it is a sobering and heartbreaking thought.

Does the Lord really call to His own from out of the heavens and what is implied by the accusation He lays on His people?

Yes, He personally speaks to all “His own” from out of the heavens.

He also sends His servants, so that we will have an opportunity to receive His word from several sources (see Amos 3:7) – some are angels and some are mortals.

He is much closer to us than we think and uses the vehicle of the Holy Spirit to speak to each of us in a “still small voice”.

The implication is that those who will hearken to His voice will follow it and come unto Him, while those who will not hearken will be cut off; our eternal prospects depend completely upon whether or not we will hear and follow God’s voice back into His presence (see 2 Nephi 32:3-7).

How many times did the Lord come or call unto His people and why?

In the day when He come unto His own – 1.

When He called again but there was none to answer – 2.

Yet His arm was not shortened and He continued to try – 3+.

But ultimately, if we do not listen to and find Him, we will lie down in sorrow because of what WE failed to do.

What differentiates those of His people who accepted Him and those who rejected Him?

They hearkened unto the Son, who had a message to them from the Father (see John 17:14).

They hearkened unto Christ’s servants, who also shared that same message from the Father (see John 17:20).

Note: “His people” seemed to have been the Father’s before they became the Son’s (see John 17:6-12).

Why is there no one who can deliver those who have not obeyed?

Who can deliver you from endless torment and eternal punishment but a God, as endless and eternal refer to the nature of that punishment (see D&C 19:4-12) and it requires an infinite and eternal sacrifice to atone for such a punishment (see Alma 34:10-14) or in other words, it requires the sacrifice of a God to suffer the punishment of a God.

If you fail to obey God’s will, you will not be able to deliver yourself – and no one but a God can deliver you.

What does it mean to “seal up the testimony” and “bind up the law”?

The Lord’s mortal servants were called as servants because they hearkened to His voice and came unto Him in the flesh.

Their testimonies stand as a witness that a) He lives and b) He has extended the invitation for all (He is no respecter of persons) to come unto Him and know Him, which is eternal life (see John 17:3).

But the testimonies they bear to us of what they have experienced and thus know to be true will condemn us if we have not considered them, believed their reports, cared enough to have followed the same path, and have experienced the same sure knowledge of the living Christ for ourselves (see Isaiah 8:16-19).

The Law is just – anyone can come unto Christ themselves if they can discover the Way from those who have traveled it (and if you have found the Lord, you are duty bound to testify of Him and the Way or risk being found not-valiant in the Testimony of Jesus) and will follow it to its destination (see LoF 2:54-56).

So, at some point when their probationary opportunity is passed and the testimony was not hearkened to, justice is “sealed” upon those who would not find the Lord and their fate is “bound up” as per Eternal Law.

Those who are burned up at Christ’s return in glory are destined for “outer darkness” but don’t seem to be sons of perdition who were sealed up to eternal life and then fell (see v64); so what does this mean?

Outer darkness here is used to describe “hell” or “Sheol”, the place the unredeemed spirits go after death (see Alma 40:11-14).

The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth referenced here are symptoms of the bitter disappointment that those who failed to listen to the voice of the Lord will feel when they finally hear His voice testifying to them – but now it is too late – they are their own tormentor and condemner (see TPJS 401:1).

The question remains, are they resurrected beings as this point or is this just talking about Hell in the Spirit World – see the discussions/blog posts about Alma 12, 40 and 41 for more insights and questions.

 

 

The Resurrection of the Just

 

READ D&C 45:45-46

What does it mean to have “slept in peace”?

To have gone to rest in the paradise of God, having successfully completed one’s mortal probation.

What would it mean to have not slept in peace?

To have been tormented in hell and bound by the devil as a result of not being sealed up to eternal life.

As a result of having lacked the faith to have obtained a promise or hope of salvation while in this life.

It begs the question that if your religion lacks the ability to enable you to generate the faith necessary to enter the presence of God in this life, how will it do so in the next?  That excludes the moment that everyone is are brought before Him in judgement, which will not be a good experience for those who are unprepared and do not know Him (see Mormon 9:2-5).

How can one qualify to “sleep in peace”?

You must first behold Christ and know that He “is” while in the mortal flesh (see D&C 132:21-25).

And receive a promise of salvation or redemption from His lips (see LoF 6:2-6) that you exercise faith in until your death.

You can “sleep in peace” as He is a God of truth and cannot lie; you will find with a surety that His promise was true when you die because you have entered into His rest to go no more out.

What does it mean for a person’s redemption to be perfected?

Their redemption is completed.

Not only are they redeemed from the fall by coming back into the presence of God on earth (see Ether 3:13) but that redemption is “completed” or “perfected” by being able to stay in His presence through eternity (see Helaman 14:16-17); but it doesn’t mean the person is yet perfect or precisely like Christ is and nothing else.

Ultimately, one’s redemption won’t be truly perfected until one becomes perfect on their own merits, as the Father and Son are perfect; this didn’t happen for Christ until after He attained to the resurrection.

 

READ D&C 133:54-56

What is the “song of the Lamb” that the Saints will sing?

It is a ceremony or rite of worship and thanksgiving to God.

It is the “new song” mentioned in Psalms 40.

 

READ D&C 45:54-55

What does “tolerable” mean?

That which may be borne or endured; supportable; moderately good or agreeable; not contemptible; not very excellent or pleasing but such as can be borne or received without disgust (see 1828 Webster’s Dictionary).

Why will it be tolerable for the heathen nations in the resurrection and what does this mean and imply?

It will be tolerable or moderately good for those who knew no law because they didn’t know God and He won’t hold them to account for what they were not exposed to.

They will not be sent away to “outer darkness” like those who knew better but sinned against what their knowledge.

It is interesting to note that He doesn’t just give them the keys to the Celestial kingdom (that would be more than “tolerable”) which begs the question of fairness: just because they had the unfortunate luck to be born and lived in a “heathen” nation without the law, they have missed out on the opportunity for celestial glory.

Why might this be the case and how could God be just in doing this “arbitrarily” to some people if He is no respecter of persons and loves all His children?  It must be either because a) in the “first place” (see Alma 13:3-6) they were not as faithful in following God’s commandments and merited a lesser amount of light and opportunity in this life (see D&C 130:18-19) or b) they are growing from a lesser capability to a greater one (see TPJS 390-393 and D&C 93:12-14) but are further back in their development and since God won’t try them beyond their strength (1 Corinthians 10:13), in His mercy He gives them all they can handle in this life but no more – but to be fair, they would have to receive additional mortal probations in future eternities to give them an opportunity to qualify for the Celestial kingdom and something more than “tolerable”; both of these conditions could be in play at the same time.

It is also interesting to note that the principle that Joseph Smith was taught regarding his brother Alvin’s celestial glory (see D&C 137:5-9) doesn’t seem to be applicable here – clearly Alvin’s reward was more than tolerable (it was Celestial) but he “knew no law” because he died before the gospel was restored; so either God is saying that all those in the heathen nations would not have accepted the gospel anyway or perhaps Joseph is seeing Alvin’s ultimate Celestial glory after he’s had an opportunity in a future eternity to know and live the Christ’s full law or the fullness of His gospel, and the Lord is prophesying to Joseph that Alvin will successfully navigate through that future experience?

What is implied about the remit Satan has with us now?

He has place in our hearts because he is allowed to.

He will be bound at a time in the future – he will no longer be allowed to have place in our hearts.

Implied is that if he were not bound, he would seek to have place in our hearts and turn us from God.

Also implied is that his temptations are a key part of this mortal probation as they provide opposition.

 

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