Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Praise of Leadership

Recently I was included on a chain of emails which praised President Nelson for his latest devotional. Often when I am included on these emails they are filled with praise and adoration of leadership. It got me thinking of these verses in D&C 76:
98 And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world; 
99 For these are they who are of Paul and of Apollos, and of Cephas. 
100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch; 
101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant. 

Those that abide in a telestial glory will be some of Paul, some of Christ, some of Nelson, some of Bednar, and so on. They trust in flesh mingled with scripture. Christ is included in their testimony, but is not the sole recipient of their faith. They don't receive the gospel nor the testimony of Jesus in the flesh. 

Matthew 16 gives further insight:
13 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of C├Žsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God

I know who President Nelson says Jesus is. I know who Elder Holland, and Uctdorf, and Eyring say that He is...but that isn't the point. 

"Whom say ye that I am?"

There is nothing in life that matters more than Jesus Christ and His Atoning Sacrifice. All things point to that Great and Last sacrifice (Alma 34).

In Hebrews 3: 8-11, Paul compares these Israelites to their ancestors of twelve hundred years earlier. He reminds the Hebrews of the early Israelites’ rejection of God’s invitation to enter into his rest and thus they provoked God by refusing to enter into His presence.

This Exodus account to which Paul is referring is when God invited the children of Israel to ascend the Holy Mountain and meet their God face to face (are we given this same invitation in the Temple Endowment?). The result was that the children of Israel looked up at the quaking, smoking, fiery mount and refused to exercise the faith to go up. The frightened Israelites foolishly told Moses to go on their behalf (Exodus 20: 18-21) (Do we tell President Nelson to go on our behalf?).

The Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 84 explains what it was that Israel rejected:
“For without this priesthood no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord…swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness...” (D&C 84:22-25)
It is sobering that it was unnecessary for the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for forty years. Had they exercised faith in Jehovah, who is mighty to deliver, they might have stopped those trials and entered speedily into the Promised Land.

The Prophet Joseph remarked on Israel’s rejection: 
“God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses…When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.”
Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 244, 247.

From Joseph Smith and Doctrine and Covenants 107, we learn that when God gives a people the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is the power and authority to ascend into the presence of God, they must come or be damned (D&C 107: 18-19).

In the dispensation that followed the death of Moses, the children of Israel had ceremonies, rites, festivals, and rules of conduct that preserved a message of redemption through sacrifice of unblemished and innocent animals. The message was lost on many of those who performed them (Is the Temple Endowment message lost on many who preform them?). Many who ignorantly performed the sacrifices presumed the rites themselves had a cleansing effect upon them, making participants better than other people. They prized their special relationship with God, which they believed the ceremonies celebrated.

These rites were performed daily from the time of Moses until the coming of Jesus Christ. However, the ceremonies were not intended to rid the Israelites of sin, make them holy, or set them apart as better than other nations. They were intended to bear testimony of the Son of God. It was always the Son of God who was intended to be the “lamb, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Despite this embedded ceremonial message, the Jews not only failed to recognize Christ, they rejected Him.

The only reason for our existence is that we might know the only True God, and Jesus Christ whom God has sent (John 17:3). If we don't know them, and know them personally, it will not matter what or who we knew instead. He is the keeper of the Gate and He employeth no servant there (2 Nephi 9:41). It is to Him you must return.


God So Loved The World
City of Enoch

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