(Youtube recording of this post provided below)
This topic is very polarizing because it strikes at the very essence of a person’s deeply rooted and very emotional beliefs about the hereafter.
Many of us have acquired a firm set of beliefs about whether or not it is essential to accept the fulness of the gospel, during mortal probation in order to inherit eternal life.
We have established beliefs about the resurrection and the judgment and how all of this effects our true eternal status.
Because this is so polarizing, the feedback I have gotten has been somewhat mixed.
One fellow who read my first post while on vacation responded thusly:
“I have rarely read something that is so completely mistaken… As Joseph taught ” God is more liberal in his views and boundless in his mercy and blessings than we are willing to believe or accept”…
Some of his complaints will be addressed during this series.
I hope I did not ruin his vacation. After all, you only get so many vacations during mortal probation!
Also a few people question the interpretation of “worlds without end“. They seem to feel that the definition of the term that I provided was strictly dependent on how Joseph defined it. I did not mean to imply that Joseph Smith was the last word on what the correct definition is. Many Biblical Christians have taught that the phrase World (s) without end is an idiom that means “forever”. That was an established belief long before Joseph Smith came along.
It appears that some people do not think that anything Joseph Smith said during the Nauvoo years is trustworthy. Perhaps I am partly responsible for that based on some of the things I have said in the past. However I feel that what I have said has been misinterpreted. I do believe Joseph taught a few things incorrectly during the Nauvoo era as part of his calling as the intercessory servant, but I still think he taught some true things as well. Discernment is essential.
On a more positive note, my post seems to have resonated with a few people. One comment is as follows:
Great post, Watcher.
For the last couple months I’ve been trying to complete two articles in regards to the doctrine of baptisms for the dead and the concept of multiple probations. I believe neither are properly understood…and I doubt that even, I, myself have clarity on the matter.
Regardless, we really must try and work these things out because a false understanding of them really are doctrines of the devil.
I decided to not post my article about multiple lives within a singular probation but find it prudent to do so quickly. Not only is Mauricio Berger introducing it via John Pratt, but Julie Rowe’s movement has embraced it full-heartedly.
The bottom line is what Nephi said in Nephi 10:20-22, in which you remark:
“We have been given a set probationary period of time in which to lay claim upon our eternal reward by the thoughts we think, our ability to discern truth from error through the Holy Ghost, and the actions we take in this life. The scriptures teach that If we seek to do wickedly and are found to be unclean before the judgment-seat of God, we will be cast off FOREVER.”
This is clearly the belief the Lord wants in the forefront of our mind.
And praise God that I have removed myself from being open-minded to the idea that the kingdoms of glory are temporary.
Here is another comment-
I just finished listening to your recommended sermon from Pastor Andy Stanley. It was inspiring and I thank you so much for the tip.
Also, it seems to me that your ministry is taking flight to a patriarchal level wherein you are counseling and leading the way to tremendous truths. I had thought that one of your finest ministries was the post concerning the mystical understanding of the original church fulfilling the prophecies of Daniel. However, you have now embarked on a new series which I can see rivals even that tour de force. I refer to your recent “The Doctrine of Nehor Part 1”. There are so many questions which I had following my work on Section 76 that you addressed. Why does 76 refer to the three glories as beyond description yet says that the terrestrial and telestial worlds without end can never achieve the celestial kingdom? Why does 76 refer to the ministry to the two lower levels of glory from those of the celestial if there is no possibility of progression to a higher glory? And the BOM explanation that the three levels of glory are characterized by the celestial law of mercy, the law of Justice and finally the law of judgment. Fantastic and I await your part 2 and 3 with great anticipation.
As always, thank you for your steadfastness, your scholarship, your love of the scriptures and your integrity. You are a mensch!
As you can see, my interpretation of scripture on this topic resinates with some but certainly not all.
In part one of this series we discussed the doctrine of Nehor and how he taught that nobody needed to fear or tremble about salvation because everyone will eventually be saved in the highest Kingdom of God.
Others have since taught variations of that heresy including the multiple mortal probation theory which is the red-headed stepsister of the doctrine of Nehor.
Some believe that everyone will graduate from glory to glory in the eternities until they ultimately reach the highest glory to dwell in the presence of the Father.
We reviewed some very definitive passages of scripture from section 76 in our first installment showing that kingdom jumping will not be an option in the hereafter.
As previously mentioned, some do not believe that “Worlds without end” means what many bible scholars and Joseph Smith seemed to believe that it means. While I believe that it does mean that, it really doesn’t matter because I believe there is much stronger evidence than that one passage.
In that first installment we used section 76 as our primary foundational text to parse through while integrating additional evidences from other scriptural sources.
In this installment, I had planned on using section 88 as our primary foundational text while integrating additional supporting evidences from other scriptural sources. However I have been sidetracked!
Somehow I happened upon the words of Christ himself regarding this topic.
While I love the words of Christs apostles and disciples, I feel that the words of Christ sometimes strike even deeper at the heart of the matter and certainly carry greater credibility.
So I have decided to review some very pertinent teachings of Christ in this installment and then cover Sections 88 and 77 in later installments.
First I want to review two narratives spoken directly from the words of Christ from the New Testament and Book of Mormon. These narratives are very blunt and direct with no mincing of words in authoritatively declaring that few people will ultimately inherit eternal life in the kingdom of the Father.
The first two texts address the “strait gate” and “narrow way” that “leadeth to life” construct which informs us that “few there be that find it” and that after “night cometh… no man can work“:
Christ’s Words in the New Testament
22 ¶ Repent, therefore, and enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; and many there be who go in thereat.
23 Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it. (JST Matthew 7)
Christ’s Words in the Book of Mormon
32 But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt and which thieves can break through and steal. And in that day will I visit them, even in turning their works upon their own heads.
33 And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work. (3rd Nephi 27)
Few will inherit eternal life. That is what a simple-minded person like me gets from the above words of Christ. I suspect there will be those that derive something entirely different from those passages. Thankfully we all have our agency to interpret scripture as we see fit.
Notice that once night cometh, no more work can be done. I don’t know how it could be said more clearly and understandably. I guess we can debate when in the timeline of events “night” has reference to, but frankly, it doesn’t really matter because regardless of where you want to place it, it proves that there is a definitive cut off point beyond which there is no progressing into greater glory or kingdom.
Another powerful and closely related construct in the New Testament that mirrors the above declarations from Christ is demonstrated in the interchange between Christ and the rich man.
Christ was approached by the rich man who asked “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
After speaking about various commandments that one should keep, which the rich man had apparently been keeping throughout his life, the final reply from the Savior to the rich man was, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
21 And the man was sad at that saying, and went away grieved; for he had great possessions.
22 ¶ And Jesus looked round about and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of my Father!
In answer to his question, “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”, the rich man was told that he must “sell whatever thou hast and give it unto the poor“, which I suspect was another way of admonishing the fellow to enter into consecration which is part of gospel law. Further, he was to take up his cross, and follow the Savior.
The term “take up the cross” is an interesting one since Christ had not yet been hung on the cross!
It has been suggested by some Bible scholars that Roman crucifixion (and the carrying of the cross that preceded it) was a well-known form of punishment and that the phrase was a common expression. It is interesting to note that Christ had already predicted his own death, although not with specificity of method.
The term seems to imply that true followers of Christ suffer affliction in this life because of their consecrated life and devotion to Christ. Conversely, they will be lifted up to be saved from the wrath of God at the last day. Yet the doctrine of Nehor would have us believe that even those that don’t take up their cross and live consecration and follow the Savior in this life will somehow end up enjoying the fulness of the Father in the presence of the Father. Is that really consistent with what Christ said?
The bottom-line of the LDS restoration movement IMO is that the saints were commanded to take up their cross, enter into the gospel law which includes consecration, and follow Jesus.
As a collective group, they did not do it and hence, the Lord delivered them and the world over to Satan. Of course it is not a strict parallel with the rich man as the Lord has informed us that Satan played a significant role in hindering his servants (D&C124:49) and that many of those saints will yet come forth victoriously at a later time. (D&C 101:1-3)
The Lord has sent a “strong delusion” upon his apostate people. It is only in our delusional state of darkness that we could be confused and arrogant enough to think that most people, including those that reject the gospel and steal and cheat and commit adultery and murder, are going to eventually dwell in the presence of the Father after the judgment of this probationary experience. If that is the case, there are countless scriptures that are wrong and have no credibility.
At this point, there may be some that are feeling fearful because of all of the people who have not received of the fulness of the gospel and priesthood.
Please remember that during God’s strange act and marvelous work, amazing things are going to take place that will allow EVERYONE who has accepted Christ in their heart and who would have previously accepted the fulness of the gospel in the flesh, had it been offered, to receive the baptism of water, fire and the Holy Ghost BEFORE the first trump. We know this is the case because the first fruits of the resurrection will all be sealed up to God during the sixth seal, prior the sound of the first trump.
“Kingdom of God” vs “Kingdom of my Father”
In the last post I noted that the terms save, saved and salvation are not always used the same way and hence become stumbling blocks for those that think they are. I would suggest that the same is true with the term “kingdom of God“.
Notice how JST of Mark 10 inserts Kingdom of my Father in the place of the term kingdom of God in only one of the three consecutive times in three consecutive verses, that the term is used.
This strongly suggests that the two phrases are not always synonymous, and that Kingdom of God does not always necessarily represent the highest kingdom where the father dwells. Rather, it appears to sometimes refer to a kingdom of glory rather than the kingdom of the Father. Again, context is critical.
Mark 10:21 And the man was sad at that saying and went away grieved; for he had great possessions.
Mark 10:22 And Jesus looked round about and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of my Father! [changed from kingdom of God]
Mark 10:23 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus spake again and said unto them, Children, how hard is it for them who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Mark 10:24 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
One could interpret the above passages to be saying that they who will not give up their riches will not enter the Kingdom of the father and will even have a difficult process getting into a kingdom of glory.
Cast into the Fire
Lets return back to the words of Christ in Matthew 7. A few passages after verses 22 and 23, the Lord explains that those that bringeth not forth good fruit will be cast into the fire.
Matt 7:26 Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matt 7:27 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Matt 7:28 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
Matt 7:29 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matt 7:30 Verily, I say unto you, It is not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Matt 7:31 For the day soon cometh that men shall come before me to judgment, to be judged according to their works.
Matt 7:32 And many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Matt 7:33 And then will I say, Ye never knew me; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Those that don’t bring forth “good fruit” during mortal probation will be “cast into the fire“.
These keywords will take us to the well-known wheat and tares construct in scripture that we are going to review.
A Few Questions to Ponder
But first, let me ask a few questions about your current perception of the wheat and tares narrative.
Do you think Christ is speaking about the importance of bringing forth good fruit during this mortal probation or during the eternities after this probation?
The answer to that should be obvious.
Here is another question to ponder.
If you needed to identify out of the four categories of beings itemized in section 76, which ones are cast into the fire that Christ and the parable speaks of, where would you draw the dividing line?
Do you believe the only ones cast into the fire at the last day are the Sons of Perdition?
Timing is Everything in Understanding the Correct Context
This is where the timeline of this earth as revealed in the Book of Revelation and clarified in section 77 becomes very helpful in gaining critical context.
If the parable of the wheat and tares was speaking about the very end of time after the “little season” is completed, then the graph below would probably be an accurate depiction of who is ultimately cast into the fire. This is because, in the ultimate sense, it will only be the sons of Perdition that are cast off.
However, Christ’s words and the related parable of the wheat and the tares is not referring to the end of the earthly timeline that follows the little season.
It is referring to the end of mortal probation and the beginning period of the seventh thousand years.
We know this because the parable identifies the “end of the world” and the “destruction of the wicked” as taking place in the day of Christ’s return which is the time of harvest.
40 The reapers are the angels, or the messengers sent of heaven.
41 As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world, or the destruction of the wicked.
42 For in that day, before the Son of Man shall come, he shall send forth his angels and messengers of heaven.
43 And they shall gather out of his kingdom all things which offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out among the wicked; and there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
44 For the world shall be burned with fire.
45 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Hence the above graphic is not congruent with scripture.
If you are like me, you have possibly assumed that the dividing line that separates the wheat from the tares in the parable, at the time of harvest, is depicted in the following graphic.
After all, both the terrestrial and celestial beings described in sections 76 and 84 come forth and are redeemed while the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are ended.
Sadly, even the above graphic is not congruent with scripture.
I am going to suggest, that the dividing line of who is cast into the fire that shows up in the scriptures is at the sound of the trump of the first resurrection, making the followings graphic the accurate depiction.
Pretty sober thought, no?
God’s Wrath is What Cleanses and Purifies the Wicked
As documented in the last post, everyone besides those that are lifted up at the sound of the trump are not justified and are therefore, wicked and cast into the fire.
.While that may seem shocking to some, I have come to view the wrath of God that is the fire that the tares are cast into, in a very different way than I once did. I now realize that God’s wrath is not only an extension of his justice and judgment, it is also a reflection of his mercy.
Because it is his wrath that cleanses and purifies the terrestrial spirits that refused to repent. This was the warning in section 19.
One must accept the fulness while in the flesh aor suffer at the last day.
And yet, the fire prepares those that come forth at the second trump to be cleansed and ultimately abide the day of his coming . It is his wrath that prevents the second death from ultimately have full and final power over them.
I believe the terrestrial glory that they inherit after their pain and suffering is an indescribably joyful and blissful state.
That is the wonderment of section 76.
It takes the topic of damnation and God’s wrath that is repeatedly addressed in the New Testament and Book of Mormon, and provides a much greater and deeper context. It reveals that the heaven or hell narratives in the New Testament and Book of Mormon are not necessarily describing what we think they are describing in the long term, eternal sense.
Everyone but the First Fruits of the Resurrection must be Cleansed by God’s Wrath
Keyword searches that I have performed pertaining to the topic of being cast into the fire, explain that the narrative parallels the end times timeline and it actually identifies EVERYONE accept for the elect of God that are quickened, as those that will be cast into the fire.
There are countless evidences of this that you can search out for yourself. I encourage you to do an extensive search of the “cast in the fire” narrative as it relates to the Savior’s words and the parable of the wheat and the tares as I will not have time to cover many of them.
The allegory in the Book of Jacob chapter 5 covers this cast into the fire narrative extensively and at the end of the allegory in Chapter 6 it provides a summary of who is cast into the fire as it integrates the themes of justice and mercy into the explanation:
5 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.
6 Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?
7 For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?
8 Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you?
9 Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?
10 And according to the power of justice, for justice cannot be denied, ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment.
11 O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.
The casting into the fire takes place upon those that rejected the opportunity to accept Christ while in the flesh. It is predicated upon bringing forth fruit “during the light of day“. Those that are nourished by the good word of God during this probation in flesh, yet bring forth evil fruit must be hewn down and cast into the fire.
Thank goodness for section 76 and other revelations that inform us that the wrath of God does not last forever with regard to those that qualify to inherit a telestial or terrestrial glory. The term “endless torment” refers to the exquisiteness and indescribable depth of the torment, not the duration.
Christ warned in section 19 that all those who do not repent during this probation in flesh must suffer.
I am sure that none of us can even begin to comprehend what that suffering would be like, but Section 19 and 76 and other passages in Isaiah and other scriptures give us the loving assurance that AFTER the pain and suffering takes place, most of God’s created beings will be redeemed from the suffering and enter into eternal bliss. Each will enjoy a kingdom of glory! Indeed, in the next installment we shall learn that each of us will return to the specific glory in which we were organized or from which we were organized.
All Men Must Repent While in the Flesh or Suffer
Notice the amazing sequence contained in the following passages from section 19;
1) Everyone that does not repent while in the flesh will suffer
2) But the torment of those that suffer is not endless. It will come to an end.
3) Nevertheless, the term “eternal damnation” is used “more expressly than other scriptures” to warn people for his names glory
A Great Mystery is Revealed with Regard to Two Specific Terms
4) The term “endless punishment” and “eternal punishment” simply means “God’s punishment” because God is endless and eternal.
1 I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.
2 I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—
3 Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done.
4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.
5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.
13 Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;
14 And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;
15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.
The above narrative is somewhat Chiastic in that it begins informing us that we must repent or suffer and ends with the warning that we must repent or suffer.
God was speaking to his servants, not to the world of skeptics and unbelievers.
Can it really be possible that everyone except those who are quickened and caught up in the first resurrection will suffer the wrath of God?
Regarding this great question, I want to point something out about section 76
As you all know, Sidney Rigdon wrote the text found in section 76 in behalf of himself and Joseph soon after they had the vision. He wrote it while in the spirit at the command of God. Joseph obviously agreed with everything that Sidney wrote as he probably was present when it was penned, probably proofed it for accuracy, and was on the committee to have it published and canonized.
We are informed by statements from Joseph and Sidney that they were shone much more than what was written. Clearly, God did not necessarily want everything publicly revealed that Joseph and Sidney saw so some restraint and prudence was used in writing down a summary of the vision.
Here is where it gets kind of curious and interesting. Later on in Nauvoo, Joseph decided to write his own description of the vision in poemic form.
A side by side comparison of Joseph’s poem with Sidneys text in section 76, shows that Joseph followed the exact same sequence of topics in his poem as Sidney had written without any contradiction.
So why did Joseph feel impressed to write his own version of the vision?
I would suggest that even though his poemic version ends up agreeing with and being a second testament of what Sidney wrote, he also used it to insert some clarifications not included in section 76.
One example of this is the clarification that Satan was a “Godified” being in the presence of God when he fell.
|Section 76||Joseph Smith Poem of 76|
|25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,||21. And I saw and bear record of warfare in heav’n; For an angel of light, in authority great, Rebell’d against Jesus, and sought for his pow’r, But was thrust down to woe from his Godified state.|
We could probably do an entire post on the implications in that clarification but that is beyond the scope of this topic.
Another very significant clarification that Joseph Smith inserted that does address this topic is as follows:
|Section 76||Joseph Smith Poem of 76|
|57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. 58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection. 65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
|45. They’re priests of the order of Melchisedek [sic.], Like Jesus, (from whom is this highest reward,) Receiving a fulness of glory and light; As written: They’re Gods; even sons of the Lord. .
46. So all things are theirs; yea, of life, or of death; Yea, whether things now, or to come, all are theirs, And they are the Savior’s, and he is the Lord’s, Having overcome all, as eternity’s heirs.
47. ‘Tis wisdom that man never glory in man, but give God the glory for all that he hath;
For the righteous will walk in the presence of God, While the wicked are trod under foot in his wrath.
48. Yea, the righteous shall dwell in the presence of God, And of Jesus, forever, from earth’s second birth For when he comes down in the splendor of heav’n,
All these he’ll bring with him, to reign on the earth. .
49. These are they that arise in their bodies of flesh, When the trump of the first resurrection shall sound;
These are they that come up to Mount Zion, in life, Where the blessings and gifts of the spirit abound.
50. These are they that have come to the heavenly place;
Oh my GOSH!!!
Joseph is clarifying that when the celestial souls are quickened and caught up. EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH WILL HAVE BEEN TRODDEN UNDER FOOT IN GOD’S WRATH INCLUDING THE TERRESTIALS.
I had already arrived at that conclusion from doing lots of keyword searches and yet I have vacillated back and forth on this over the years because of the traditions of my fathers in which I have been so entrenched.
The above insertion is incredibly validating to my other keyword searches.
Further, Joseph is pointing out that it is only the righteous from the first resurrection that arise in their bodies of flesh at the coming of Christ in his glory. Everyone else is dead and in their disembodied spirits.
This is our Segway into another uncomfortable topic and associated paradigm shift.
Joseph reveals that everyone that is not lifted up into the cloud at the first trump is no longer in a body of flesh!
Is that a contradiction to what we have been taught?
Aren’t the terrestrial people resurrected into bodies of flesh at the sound of the second trump?
Aren’t both the celestial souls and the terrestrial souls both resurrected into immortality during the sounding of the first two trumps?
Section 88:99 informs us that the terrestrial inhabitants of this earth will all be disembodied spirits when the second trump sounds. More on this to come.
Proxy Baptisms for those who are to be Judged According to men in the Flesh
We have addressed the fact that receiving the testimony of Jesus in the flesh during our walk by faith according to the grace of God is quite different than receiving the testimony of Christ in the spirit world after having rejected the gospel in the flesh. They do not merit the same eternal reward.
Some have supposed that receiving the testimony of Jesus and having proxy baptisms done AFTER the walk of faith after having rejected the gospel in the flesh is just as good as receiving it in the flesh and hence, they will eventually dwell in the highest glory with the father.
Scripture does not seem to substantiate that theory.
Section 88 details in chronological order what happens to the four categories of souls at the time of Christ’s coming in the clouds of heaven.
First, the celestial souls are quickened and caught up into the cloud to descend with Christ. This includes those that are living on earth at that time in their physical bodies as well as the righteous souls who had previously died that come forth.
Clearly, the righteous souls such as Joseph Smith’s older brother Alvin who will be saved in the celestial kingdom will be among those that are restored to their mortal body, then receive the baptism of water, fire and Holy Ghost, then are quickened and lifted up at the sound of the trump.
Those like Alvin are not classed among those that must be judged according to men in the flesh while in their disembodied spirits. People like Alvin that would have accepted the gospel will in fact be resurrected back into their mortal bodies and will be baptized for themselves and received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost before being quickened and caught up to descend with Christ.
One of the profound things this reveals is that spiritual rebirth must take place in mortality, IN THE FLESH before the end of the sixth seal. In fact the Book of Revelation informs us that the 144,000 who are the first fruits of the resurrection are all sealed up during the sixth seal, during mortal probation.
This is why it is so important to realize that these people that come forth in the first resurrection will first be restored to their MORTAL BODIES before being quickened and caught up. We have covered these concepts before but perhaps the significance of the chronology has not been fully appreciated.
Notice the following profundities from the Book of Mormon:
Alma 11:45 informs us that we are first resurrected into our mortal body before we are raised in our immortal body.
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body
First we are raise in our mortal bodies then we are quickened from our mortal bodies to our immortal bodies.
Alma 12:20 reiterates that men will be resurrected from their mortal body, not from their disembodied spirit:
20 But there was one Antionah, who was a chief ruler among them, came forth and said unto him: What is this that thou hast said, that man should rise from the dead and be changed from this mortal to an immortal state, that the soul can never die?
There is a very significant progression here.
These passages in Alma in conjunction with what we have previously covered, are stating that we gain a mortal body in this probation, then we are eventually raised up again in our mortal body. The elect are quickened and lifted up in the first resurrection.
The details of this progression differ depending on which category a soul is in.
Judged According to Men in the Flesh
I want to point out something very curious that you may not have noticed.
After the celestial souls come forth out of their graves to be quickened from their mortal bodies to be “lifted up” into the cloud the next passage of scripture chronologically informs us that those who must fall under the law of justice will be judged according to men in the flesh:
99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.
I am going to confess that for many years I interpreted the above passage to suggest that this group are being judge according to the flesh because they were men in the flesh.
I had assumed that they had come forth in the resurrection with bodies of flesh because of preconceived notions based on the false traditions of my fathers.
But that is not what the above passage is saying.
It is informing us that after the rapture of the elect, every single person remaining is now dead. They are disembodied spirits, including those that are classified as the terrestrial. They are no longer in their physical bodies. This is confirmed in verse 101 of section 88 which transitions to the next two divisions of people by saying “and these are the REST of the dead….”. In other words everyone in the previous group that was not raptured up is DEAD.
How can this be possible?
Weren’t they previously resurrected back to their mortal bodies when the second trump sounded? Why are they all dead when the second trump sounds?
These terrestrial souls that come forth at the sound of the second trump are in their disembodied spirit bodies because they have all been trodden under foot in the wrath of God.
Another way to confirm this is by comparing the passage in section 88 to how the exact same phrase is used in 1st Peter 4 and Section 76.
The phrase; “judged according to men in the flesh” clearly means that those in their disembodied spirits will be judged according to those who are in the flesh. This might just be the most powerful, yet subliminal baptism for the dead passage in the scriptures.
|1st Peter 4 (JST) Referring to New Testament times||Section 76 Referring to New Testament times||Section 88 Referring to the end of the sixth seal|
|5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
6 Because of this is the gospel preached to them who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live in the spirit according to the will of God.
|71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.
72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.
|99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.|
1st Peter and Section 76 are making specific reference to the disembodied spirits in prison at the time of Christ’s resurrection during New Testament times. Those spirits had to have the gospel preached to them in the spirit world and they were at the mercy of their baptismal work being done by men who were in the flesh.
Section 88 is revealing something quite mysterious and profound.
After everyone comes forth at the coming of Christ, every single person that remains after the lifting up of the elect during the beginning of the 7th seal, is brought forth to be judged is a disembodied spirit, they are not in their final resurrected body, yet.
I realize this may go against everything you have ever been taught. But I challenge you to search these things out.
Here is a harsh reality that few people understand.
Everyone living on the earth at the time of Christ’s coming in glory that is not quickened and lifted up in the resurrection of the JUST at the first trump, will be found to be under condemnation.
They are not justified by the atonement because they did not fully accept it.
They will be trodden under the foot of man or destroyed in the flesh by the wrath of God, leaving them as disembodied spirits
The righteous elect that “arise in their bodies of flesh” (lifed up) will “walk in the presence of God” while all the rest are categorized as “wicked” because they are still unclean and under condemnation. They will be “trod underfoot in his wrath“.
Praise God almighty that after they suffer for their sins, they will be cleansed and redeemed and blessed with an inheritance in a kingdom of glory!
The takeaways from this installment are as follows:
- Christ himself has told us that FEW will enter into the strait gate to obtain eternal life in his Father’s Kingdom.
- The saints of God that obtain the testimony of Christ while in the flesh will gain a greater inheritance than those that reject it in the flesh and later gain the testimony of Jesus as disembodied spirits
- Everyone that is not lifted up at the first trump will experience the cleansing wrath of God, although the sons of perdition will not even become clean as a result of the wrath. Hence they will inherit a kingdom of darkness instead of a kingdom of glory.
In our next installment we shall see additional proof that only few will dwell with the Father in his kingdom. Additionally, we shall see why it is impossible according to celestial physics and God’s economy for a telestial or terrestrial spirit to eventually rise up to the highest glory of the Father.
More to come, keep watching
PS For those sending emails or making comments, I will be out of the country for about a week and am not sure what kind of Internet access I will have.