Thursday, August 11, 2016

The one true church

There are only 2 “churches”

There are many churches in a temporal sense, but only 2 in a spiritual sense.

“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (1 Nephi 14:10).

Membership in the church of God leads to salvation in the celestial kingdom of God.

The members of the church of God

“And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up. And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them. Now I do not say this to destroy my church [which appears to imply ‘. . . that is already in existence’], but I say this to build up my church; Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center. . . . Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. And now, behold, whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them” (D&C 10:52-6, 67-9).

“Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake. And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they [this word is plural, so would refer to people] are built upon my gospel. Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you; And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it” (3 Nephi 27:7-10).

“For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church” (Alma 46:14).

“And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name. . . . And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name” (D&C 18:5, 16).

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [ekklēsia]; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:17-8).

The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church of God, which is built on the rock of revelation.

“And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for [because] there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God” (Mosiah 5:22).

“And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon . . . and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church” (Mosiah 18:16-7).

“And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ” (Moroni 6:4).

“And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually— For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:30-1, given in 1831).

In the diagram above, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a temporal church) who are spiritually in the portion that overlaps with the church of God are in the only true and living church.

Righteousness trumps affiliation

“And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God” (Helaman 3:33).

“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion” (D&C 84:54-8, given in 1832).

In the diagram above, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are spiritually in the portion that overlaps with the church of the devil are under condemnation.

“Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed; But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my church, for the same are overcome of the world” (D&C 50:7-8).

Detecting and cutting off hypocrites after physical death would seem outside the stewardship of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (I have not heard of disciplinary councils being conducted vicariously for the dead).

Now, the Lord wants the wheat and tares to grow together; for Zion must be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness” (Joseph Smith, HC 2:228).

“Now we learn by this parable [Matthew 13:24-30], not only the setting up of the Kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions of the Church, which are represented by the tares, which were sown by the enemy, which His disciples would fain have plucked up, or cleansed the Church of, if their views had been favored by the Savior. But He, knowing all things, says, Not so. As much as to say, your views are not correct, the Church is in its infancy, and if you take this rash step, you will destroy the wheat, or the Church, with the tares; therefore it is better to let them grow together until the harvest, or the end of the world, which means the destruction of the wicked, which is not yet fulfilled, as we shall show hereafter, in the Savior’s explanation of the parable, which is so plain that there is no room left for dubiety upon the mind” (Joseph Smith, HC 2:267).

“I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (D&C 137:9).

There are righteous people throughout the world who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all” (1 Corinthians 12:6).

However, there are some benefits to having membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
  • A large, organized group of people can provide large-scale service to others. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth” (Luke 11:17; see also Matthew 12:25).
  • Apostles and prophets. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
  • The priesthood, through which ordinances may be performed and people may be blessed.
  • Temple marriage, and the doctrine that it is possible to be married for time and all eternity.
(To be continued)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Leaving outer darkness

“But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer [exōteros] darkness [skotos]: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12).

“Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer [exōteros] darkness [skotos]; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13).

“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer [exōteros] darkness [skotos]: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).

“These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth” (D&C 133:73; see also 101:91).

“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil. Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (Alma 40:12-4).

So it is possible to get out of outer darkness.

That process involves the spirit being reunited with a physical body.

This allows the possibility that even after the final judgment, God in His mercy could potentially allow someone in outer darkness to receive a physical body.

It could take eons and eons for some, but at least the possibility exists to receive a physical body and another chance in a new probationary state.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Second Coming around 2104

(Click on the image for more detail)

The Book of Revelation contains both sequential and parallel events

The Book of Revelation (cells with a yellow background in the above table) seems to progress sequentially at the beginning and the end, but in between there appear to be events occurring in parallel.

This becomes especially evident when other scriptures are laid out in a timeline.

Lining up particular “keywords” helps. For example, the imagery of an angel standing on land and sea and swearing there is “time no longer” is in Revelation 10 and D&C 88.

From Joseph Smith, HC 5:342-5:
The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written. . . . 
There is a grand distinction between the actual meaning of the prophets and the present translation. The prophets do not declare that they saw a beast or beasts, but that they saw the image or figure of a beast. Daniel did not see an actual bear or a lion, but the images or figures of those beasts. The translation should have been rendered “image” instead of “beast,” in every instance where beasts are mentioned by the prophets. But John saw the actual beast in heaven, showing to John that beasts did actually exist there, and not to represent figures of things on the earth. When the prophets speak of seeing beasts in their visions, they mean that they saw the images, they being types to represent certain things. At the same time they received the interpretation as to what those images or types were designed to represent. . . . 
He then read Rev. 13:1-8. John says, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.” Some spiritualizers say the beast that received the wound was Nebuchadnezzar, some Constantine, some Mohammed, and others the Roman Catholic Church; but we will look at what John saw in relation to this beast. Now for the wasp’s nest. The translators have used the term “dragon” for devil. Now it was a beast that John saw in heaven, and he was then speaking of “things which must shortly come to pass;” and consequently the beast that John saw could not be Nebuchadnezzar. The beast John saw was an actual beast, and an actual intelligent being gives him his power, and his seat, and great authority. It was not to represent a beast in heaven: it was an angel in heaven who has power in the last days to do a work. 
“All the world wondered after the beast,” Nebuchadnezzar and Constantine the Great not excepted. And if the beast was all the world, how could the world wonder after the beast? It must have been a wonderful beast to cause all human beings to wonder after it; and I will venture to say that when God allows the old devil to give power to the beast to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, all will wonder. Verse 4 reads, “And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
Some say it means the kingdom of the world. One thing is sure, it does not mean the kingdom of the Saints. Suppose we admit that it means the kingdoms of the world, what propriety would there be in saying, Who is able to make war with my great big self? If these spiritualized interpretations are true, the book contradicts itself in almost every verse. But they are not true.
There is a mistranslation of the word dragon in the second verse. The original word signifies the devil, and not dragon, as translated. In chapter 12, verse 9, it reads, “That old serpent, called the devil,” and it ought to be translated devil in this case, and not dragon. It is sometimes translated Apollyon. Everything that we have not a key-word to, we will take it as it reads. The beasts which John saw and speaks of as being in heaven, were actually living in heaven, and were actually to have power given to them over the inhabitants of the earth, precisely according to the plain reading of the revelations. I give this as a key to the elders of Israel. The independent beast is a beast that dwells in heaven, abstract [apart] from the human family. The beast that rose up out of the sea should be translated the image of a beast, as I have referred to it in Daniel’s vision.
From D&C 77:6-7:
Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals? 
A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence. 
Q. What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed? 
A. We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.
“I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2).

To John, the above imagery in a sense symbolized the first 1,000 years of temporal history.

The man sitting on the white horse does not necessarily have to be an actual person in history.

“I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood” (Revelation 6:12).

To John, the above imagery in a sense symbolized the sixth 1,000 years of temporal history.

The question is if the earthquake necessarily has to be a singular event, or can it just symbolize something like natural calamities.

From D&C 77:8-11:
Q. What are we to understand by the four angels, spoken of in the 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelation? 
A. We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; having power to shut up the heavens, to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness. 
Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse? 
A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things. 
Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished? 
A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal. 
Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe? 
A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.
Although they are high priests, it is unclear if there is a possibility that these individuals could be resurrected individuals.

From D&C 77:12-5:
Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?
A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming
Q. When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the 9th chapter of Revelation? 
A. They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ
Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation? 
A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things. 
Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation? 
A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.

The year of the Savior’s birth (“first coming”) was known beforehand

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

“I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes” (D&C 49:7).

“Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord. Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour” (D&C 133:10-1).

It is futile to think about the day or the hour, but what about the year?

“And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 19:8).

“Yea, even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world” (1 Nephi 10:4).

“For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem” (2 Nephi 25:19).

John the Beloved saw the church of God being nourished

“And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ” (JST Revelation 12:7).

“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed [trephō] her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [hēmera]” (Revelation 12:5-6).

The JST changes the 1,260 “days” to 1,260 “years.”

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished [trephō] for a time, and times, and half a time [kairos kai kairos kai hēmisys kairos], from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

If “a time” = 1 period and “times” = 2 periods, then “time, and times, and a half a time” = 3.5 periods. If 3.5 periods = 1,260 years, then “a time” = 360 years in this verse.

So the church of God is fed/nourished for 1,260 years.

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [mēn]” (Revelation 13:4-5).

42 months x 30 days/month = 1,260 days. The question is if in this verse, 1,260 prophetic days = 1,260 years.

“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time [`iddan `iddan pĕlag `iddan]” (Daniel 7:24-5).

The Aramaic pĕlag apparently can mean “half.”

The Aramaic iddan apparently corresponds to `iddah, “(menstrual) period.” So if such a “period” is 30 prophetic days, then “a time” = 30 prophetic days/period x 12 periods/year x 1 year/1 prophetic day = 360 years.

“And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (D&C 5:14).

“But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations; That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws” (D&C 105:31-2).

“That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens” (D&C 109:73-4).

Michael and the resurrection

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament . . . I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half [mow`ed mow`ed chetsiy]; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:1-3, 7).

Daniel mentions the resurrections, so that supports the idea that “time, times, and an half” spans more than 1,000 years.

The year of the Savior’s second coming

If the nourishing of the church of God starts around 1844 (after the woman gives birth to the child, or in other words, after the church of God brings forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ), it will last until around 3104 (1844 + 1260).

If the Millennium is exactly 1,000 years, we then get the year 2104 (3104 - 1000).

There are numerous implications of this timeline, which will be discussed later.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Revelation Chapter 12: War in heaven occurred around 1844

The traditional LDS idea is that the war in heaven described in Revelation 12 is talking about a premortal conflict. In a symbolic sense, that could still be correct.

However, in addition to that idea, we have Joseph Smith’s statement, “There is a grand difference and distinction between the visions and figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and those spoken of in the revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented by John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw that only which was lying in futurity and which was shortly to come to pass. See Rev. 1:1-3, which is a key to the whole subject: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass . . .’ Also Rev. 4:1. ‘. . . Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter’” (HC 5:341).

Below, the JST is in red.
And there appeared a great wonder [sēmeion, “sign”] in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (v. 1)
According to JST v. 7, the woman represents the church of God.
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (v. 2)
“The ancient prophets declared that in the last days the God of heaven should set up a kingdom which should never be destroyed, nor left to other people; and the very time that was calculated on, this people were struggling to bring it out” (Joseph Smith, HC 6:363).

* The JST moves v. 5 to this point. This emphasizes the fact that the woman did give birth to the child (the kingdom of our God and his Christ).
And there appeared another wonder [sēmeion, “sign”] in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (v. 3)
And his tail drew the third part [tritos] of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for [ready] to devour her child as soon as [after] it was born. (v. 4)
Note that the dragon already has the third with him on the earth. Their premortal casting out has already occurred.
* And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (v. 5)
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath [had] a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [hēmera] [years]. (v. 6)
Sometime after John sees this vision, the church of God flees to be fed 1,260 years.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels [dragon and his angels fought against Michael;], And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ. (v. 7)
The JST makes it clear that the dragon could not prevail against the woman (church of God) or the child (kingdom of our God and his Christ) caught up unto God and to his throne.

To battle against an organization (a church or an organization) is to battle its members.
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (v. 8)
Until this time, Satan had some limited access to the presence of the Lord.

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 2:1-2; see also 1:6-7).
And the great dragon was cast out [Neither was there place found in heaven for the great dragon, who was cast out], that old serpent, called the Devil, and also called Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (v. 9) 
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (v. 10) 
And they overcame [For they have overcome] him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death [for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death]. (v. 11)
The JST is very interesting since it states that they kept the testimony “even unto death.” Since spirit bodies cannot die, this would support the idea that this particular war in heaven did not occur in the premortal existence (in the traditional sense of the term).
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. [And after these things I heard another voice saying,] Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, yea, and they who dwell upon the islands of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (v. 12) 
Satan knows he has but a short time to tempt humans.
And [For] when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (v. 13)
And [Therefore,] to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly [flee] into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (v. 14) 
And the serpent cast [casteth] out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (v. 15) 
And the earth helped [helpeth] the woman, and the earth opened [openeth] her mouth, and swallowed [swalloweth] up the flood which the dragon cast [casteth] out of his mouth. (v. 16)
The JST changes the past tense into a present tense, suggesting that these events did not occur before John saw them.
And [Therefore,] the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (v. 17)
To my knowledge, the events in Revelation 11 (the 2 witnesses) have not occurred yet. Therefore, John must be seeing the events in Revelation 12 and 13 in parallel; these 2 chapters primarily describe what the opposition is doing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Revelation Chapters 4-5: Salvation of beasts

And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (4:4)

“Q. What are we to understand by the four and twenty elders, spoken of by John?

“A. We are to understand that these elders whom John saw, were elders who had been faithful in the work of the ministry and were dead; who belonged to the seven churches, and were then in the paradise of God” (D&C 77:5).

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal (4:6)

“The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon” (D&C 130:6-9).

“Q. What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter, and 6th verse of the Revelation?

“A. It is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state” (D&C 77:1).

[A]nd in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within (4:6-8)

“Q. What are we to understand by the four beasts, spoken of in the same verse?

“A. They are figurative expressions, used by the Revelator, John, in describing heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.

“Q. Are the four beasts limited to individual beasts, or do they represent classes or orders?

“A. They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.

“Q. What are we to understand by the eyes and wings, which the beasts had?

“A. Their eyes are a representation of light and knowledge, that is, they are full of knowledge; and their wings are a representation of power, to move, to act, etc.” (D&C 77:2-4).

The drawings at the top represent the earth in its four quarters (see The Book of Abraham, Facsimile Nos. 1 and 2).

“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle” (Ezekiel 1:10).

“And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle” (Ezekiel 10:14).

“The four beasts and twenty-four elders were out of every nation; for they sang a new song, saying, ‘Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seal thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation’ (See Rev. 5:9). . . .

“Now, I make this declaration, that those things which John saw in heaven had no allusion to anything that had been on the earth previous to that time, because they were the representation of ‘things which must shortly come to pass,’ and not of what has already transpired. John saw beasts that had to do with things on the earth, but not in past ages. . . .

“John saw curious looking beasts in heaven; he saw every creature that was in heaven—all the beasts, fowls and fish in heaven—actually there, giving glory to God. How do you prove it? (See Rev. 5:13.) ‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’

“I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them.

“John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:342-3).

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure [thelēma, “will”] they are and were created. (4:11)

Since God has omniscience and omnipotence, everything that happens in creation is because either God caused it to happen or allowed it to happen.

I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (5:6)

Interesting that the JST changes the numbers to “having twelve horns and twelve eyes, which are the twelve servants of God, sent forth into all the earth.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Revelation Chapter 3: Christ chastens those He loves [phileō]

These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars (v. 1)

The JST of the same verse states, “These things saith he who hath the seven stars, which are the seven servants of God.”

So instead of implying the God has seven Spirits, it appears to be a reference to “the seven Spirits which are before his throne” in Revelation 1:4 and 5:6.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life (v. 5)

“For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand” (Alma 5:58).

The book of life is mentioned later in Revelation.

As many as I love [phileō], I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (v. 19)

A relatively easy form of showing love is smiling at someone, greeting them, and saying nice things to them.

In addition to doing those things, a higher form of showing love is to try help someone change for the better. It can involve giving correction.

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8).

“Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son. For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified” (D&C 101:4-5).

“My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom” (D&C 136:31).

“When a corrupt man is chastised he gets angry and will not endure it” (Joseph Smith, HC 4:478).

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (v. 21)

Christ is willing to treat worthy people as equals.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Revelation Chapter 2: The tree of life is figurative

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise [paradeisos] of God. (v. 7)

Paradeisos is used 2 other times in the Bible.

“How that he was caught up into paradise [paradeisos], and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4).

“Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise [paradeisos]” (Luke 23:43).

“I will say something about the spirits in prison. There has been much said by modern divines about the words of Jesus (when on the cross) to the thief, saying, ‘This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ King James’ translators make it out to say paradise. But what is paradise? It is a modern word it does not answer at all to the original word that Jesus made use of. Find the original of the word paradise. You may as easily find a needle in a haymow. Here is a chance for battle, ye learned men. There is nothing in the original word in Greek from which this was taken that signifies paradise; but it was—This day thou shalt be with me in the world of spirits: then I will teach you all about it and answer your inquiries. And Peter says he went and preached to the world of spirits (spirits in prison, 1 Peter, 3rd chap., 19th verse), so that they who would receive it could have it answered by proxy by those who live on the earth, etc. . . . Hades, the Greek, or Shaole, the Hebrew: these two significations mean a world of spirits. Hades, Shaole, paradise, spirits in prison, are all one: it is a world of spirits. The righteous and the wicked all go to the same world of spirits until the resurrection” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:424-5).

The tree of life is in the midst of the world of spirits. It is a figurative tree; it does not seem likely that the tree has spirit roots anchoring it into some spirit ground. It is a spiritual symbol.

“I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25).

“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:9; see also Abraham 2:9).

“In the midst of the street [plateia] of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life” (Revelation 22:2).

The tree of life is said to be in the midst of the spirit world, in the midst of the garden of Eden, and in the midst of the “street” of the holy city. This also reminds us of the figurative, yet spiritual, nature of the garden of Eden and the holy city.

The seed of the tree of life is planted in our hearts (see Alma 32:28), which again reinforces the fact that it is a figurative tree. The tree of life (love of God) springs from a pure heart.

He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (v. 11)

Celestial beings will avoid the second death.

The implication is that terrestrial beings, telestial beings, and sons of perdition will be hurt of the second death.

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (v. 17)

“Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known; And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word” (D&C 130:10-1).

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Revelation Chapter 1: John saw that only which was lying in futurity

“The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:342).

“It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads and horns, and other figures made use of in the revelations; still, it may be necessary, to prevent contention and division and do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit.

“The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge is not so great as the evil of contention. . . .

“There is a grand difference and distinction between the visions and figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and those spoken of in the revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented by John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw that only which was lying in futurity and which was shortly to come to pass. See Rev. 1:1-3, which is a key to the whole subject: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’ Also Rev. 4:1. ‘After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter’” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:341).

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father (v. 6)

After quoting the above verse, Joseph Smith said:

“The Apostles have discovered that there were Gods above, for Paul says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

“If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.

“I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before. He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys” (HC 6:474, 476).

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced [ekkenteō] him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. (v. 7)

The verb ekkenteō is used in one other place in the Bible: “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced [ekkenteō]” (John 19:37).

Those who “pierced” Jesus will see His return in some way.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (v. 8)

Christ is the beginning and the ending, since He is one with the Spirit. Beginnings and endings are concepts for our finite, temporal minds.

“I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.

“I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man—on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it had no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.

“Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement” (Joseph Smith, HC 6:311).

The seven stars are the angels [aggelos] of the seven churches (v. 20)

The JST of the above verse mentions the servants of the seven churches. Since aggelos could refer to mortal or immortal messengers, there is no contradiction here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Receive the Holy Self, part 11: Receiving the fullness [plērōma] of the Godhead

As mentioned previously, Christ has the fullness of the Godhead.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth [katoikeōall the fulness [plērōmaof the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete [plēroō] in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:8-10).

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness [plērōma] dwell” (Colossians 1:19).

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness [plērōma] of him that filleth [plēroō] all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-3).

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness [plērōma] of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

The Father

“And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him” (D&C 93:17).

The Son

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell [katoikeō] in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness [plērōma] of God” (Ephesians 3:14-9).

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make [poieō] our abode [monē] with him” (John 14:23).

The Holy Ghost

“The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that [the above] verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false” (D&C 130:3).

The physical bodies of the Father and the Son do not enter the physical body of a person.

It is the Holy Ghost that can dwell in us.

“I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (D&C 8:2).

[T]hat same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you . . . And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell” (Alma 34:34-6).

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth [enoikeō] in you” (Romans 8:11).

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Galatians 4:6).

“And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God” (Alma 18:35).

A portion, or degree, of the omnipresent Spirit dwells in each person, and in everything.

Our goal is to receive a fullness of it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Receive the Holy Self, part 10: Christ as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The soul (Father/spirit body) is an “interface” between the spirit (Holy Spirit/intelligence) and body (Son/physical body).

An exalted being’s spiritual body (Father) is one with the Holy Spirit.

“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit [pneuma]. . . . know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body [sōma], and in your spirit [pneuma], which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:17, 19-20).

Christ is the omnipresent Father/Elohim/Gods and the individual Son

“I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son” (Ether 3:14).

“In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through—Gods” (Joseph Smith, HC 6:473).

“O Thou, who seest and knowest the hearts of all men--Thou eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Jehovah--God--Thou Eloheim, that sittest, as saith the Psalmist, ‘enthroned in heaven,’ look down upon Thy servant Joseph at this time; and let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than Thy servant ever yet has enjoyed, be conferred upon him” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:127).

The Spirit of the Gods transcends shape, but is a personage (the Father) where it occupies a body (the Son).

“And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh” (3 Nephi 1:12-4).

Instead of sending an angel to tell Nephi, He as the Father tells Nephi.

As the omnipresent Father/Elohim/Gods, Christ has referred to “mine Only Begotten”

“And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless? And, behold, thou art my son . . . and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all” (Moses 1:3-4, 6).

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. . . . I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isaiah 44:6, 45:5).

There is no God beside the “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6).

“According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was” (D&C 121:32).

“[T]he Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (2 Nephi 2:4).

“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten” (Moses 6:59).

“But God did call on men, in the name of his Son, (this being the plan of redemption which was laid) saying: If ye will repent, and harden not your hearts, then will I have mercy upon you, through mine Only Begotten Son” (Alma 12:33).

“I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son. . . . I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten” (D&C 29:42, 46).

“I now give unto you the officers belonging to my Priesthood, that ye may hold the keys thereof, even the Priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the order of mine Only Begotten Son” (D&C 124:123).

The Lord is referring to the Father/Elohim/Gods’ Only Begotten.

As the omnipresent Father/Elohim/Gods, Christ is a Holy Spirit

Jesus fully received his Holy Self (Jehovah) and therefore has set an example for us.

“And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will” (Moses 5:9).

We are spirit children of the omnipresent Father/Elohim/Gods

We are spirit children of anyone who has access to the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

For example, Brigham Young said, “Adam and Eve are the parents of all pertaining to the flesh, and I would not say that they are not also the parents of our spirits” (Journal of Discourses 7:90).

The Spirit [ruwach] of God ['el] hath made [`asah] me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4).

The omnipresent Father/Elohim/Gods speak through their individual Sons (or Daughters)

“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” (John 12:49-50).

“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:19-20).

“But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11).

An exalted person is the Father/Mother.  He/She is the Elohim. He/She is the Gods. His/Her fleshly manifestation is his/her only begotten Son/Daughter.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Receive the Holy Self, part 9: Can God be physically seen?

God, as the omnipresent Spirit of the Gods or fulness of the Holy Ghost, cannot be seen

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible [aoratos] God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:14-6).

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible [aoratos], the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1 Timothy 1:17).

“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting” (1 Timothy 6:14-6).

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12).

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

However, an exalted being’s individual body can be seen by spiritual eyes

“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind” (D&C 67:10-2).

“And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved” (JST John 1:19).

Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” (John 6:46).

“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:7-10).

“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible [aoratos]” (Hebrews 11:27).

“Invisible” means “not seen by the physical eye.”

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8; see also 3 Nephi 12:8).

“The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord” (D&C 110:1-2).

“But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him” (Moses 1:11).

“All the saints of whom we have account, in all the revelations of God which are extant, obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight through the sacrifice which they offered unto him; and through the knowledge thus obtained their faith became sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life, and to endure as seeing him who is invisible” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith 6:11).

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Receive the Holy Self, part 8: God gives us weakness

“Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God” (D&C 93:38).

However, the Lord said, “I give unto men weakness” (Ether 12:27).

God gives people weakness.

Therefore, we either had (1) some weakness, or (2) no weakness, before God gave weakness to us.

Weakness can include moral/spiritual weakness, and not just physical weakness

“Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually” (Ether 3:2).

“And thus had they fallen into this great transgression; yea, thus had they become weak, because of their transgression” (Helaman 4:26).

“And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren” (Mormon 2:26).

God “creates” [baurau] evil

“I form the light, and create [bara'] darkness: I make peace, and create [bara'evil [ra']: I the Lord do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

“In the beginning God created [bara'] the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Baurau signifies to bring forth. . . . Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship” (Joseph Smith, HC 6:307-8).

Why God gives us weakness

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).

It may be more likely the case that moral/spiritual weakness is strengthened, rather than some physical weakness.

“Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness [that which He gave us] that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things” (Jacob 4:7).

“And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father” (Ether 12:37).

We are made strong after “seeing” (acknowledging) our weakness.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness [astheneia]. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities [astheneia], that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We can ponder what types of beings we were before God gave us weakness.

Perhaps more importantly, we can ponder what types of beings we can become.

Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth . . . The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth” (D&C 93:23, 26).

“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods . . . I have said, Ye are gods” (Psalms 82:1, 6).

“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34).