Thursday, January 12, 2012

Doing What the Devil Doesn't Want You To

If the devil is trying to stop me from doing something, if I am doing something good and he is trying to stop me via fear, distractions, or other people then it is imperative that I continue to do the thing I am doing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Of Kingdoms Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial

I think we have a misunderstanding of the eternal worlds.

We seem to have a tendency to diminish the pain and agony of hell. We pass it over with the attitude of, "God will beat us with a few stripes, then at last we'll be saved in a kingdom of heaven." But some endure the agony forever, as far as we know. The scriptures say that the minimum is a thousand years (for the whole Millennial period of peace and rest).
Think about this. Think about it seriously: Those who eventually go to the lowest kingdom are these:
  • Receive not the gospel of Christ
  • Receive not the testimony of Jesus
  • Deny not the Holy Spirit (thus they escape "outer darkness" for eternity)
  • They who are thrust down to hell
  • Not redeemed until the last resurrection
  • These are those who follow some servant or prophet of God, even Jesus, but they don't receive the gospel, testimony of Jesus, the prophets, nor the everlasting covenant - they follow the man but not the underlying reality
  • They are liars
  • They are sorcerers
  • They are adulterers
  • They are whoremongers
  • They love lies
  • They make lies
  • They suffer the wrath of God on earth
  • They suffer the vengeance of eternal fire
  • They are as innumerable as the sand upon the seashore
Doctrine and Covenants 76: 98-109

I think we diminish the pain and agony of hell, only focusing on the lowest kingdom which is so glorious that it is reputed we would commit suicide just to get there. Some endure hell for upwards of a thousand years before finally finding relief. Some few endure it forever (along with the devil and his angels, having become angels to the devil).

Think about this. This agony is unbearable for even five minutes. Do any of us really want to endure it for over a thousand years? Jesus was a God. He had more physical and spiritual stamina while he walked the earth than any other mortal . . . ever. He knows what it was like. He does not want us to experience that.

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. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; 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 (Doctrine and Covenants 19:15-18)

Open your eyes and really look at that scripture.

Here's a partial account from an eyewitness:
He thought His sufferings were over, but to His astonishment another wave overcame Him. This one much greater than the first. The Lord, who had been kneeling, fell forward onto His hands at the impact of the pain that was part of a greater, second wave.

The second wave was so much greater than the first that it seemed to entirely overcome the Lord. The Lord was now stricken with physical injuries, as well as spiritual affliction. He suffered anew, His flesh was torn which He healed using the power of the charity within Him. . . . His suffering was both body and spirit, and there was anguish of thought, feeling and soul. . . .

Again, the Lord thought His suffering was over. . . . Wave after wave poured out upon Him, with only moments between them. . . . Each wave of suffering was only preparation for the next, greater wave. . . .

He longed for it to be over, and thought it would end long before it finally ended. . . .

. . . a final wave came upon Him with such violence as to cut Him at every pore. It seemed for a moment that He was torn apart, and that blood came out of every pore. The Lord writhed in pain upon the ground as this great final torment was poured upon Him.

All virtue was taken from Him. All the great life force in Him was stricken and afflicted. All the light turned to darkness. He was humbled, drained, and left with nothing. It is not possible for a man to bear such pains and live, but with nothing more than will, hope in His Father, and charity toward all men, He emerged from the final wave of torment, knowing He had suffered all this for His Father and His brethren.

[I include this as an aside of additional interest:] These great burdens were born by the Lord not only on behalf of mankind, but also as a necessary prelude to His death upon a Roman cross. Had He not been so physically weakened by these sufferings, and drained of power from within, the scourging and crucifixion He suffered at the hands of men could not have taken His life. (Come, Let Us Adore Him – pages 217-219 By Denver C Snuffer, Jr)

Personally, I don't want to suffer anything like this. I don't want my children to suffer it. I don't want my extended family to suffer it. I don't want my friends to suffer it. I don't want my enemies to suffer it. I don't want anyone, including whoever reads this, to suffer it. I want to shout repentance from the housetops, but I feel to keep quiet about it unless God opens my mouth. My desire is to change so completely that people will feel the love of God simply by being in my presence (I asked for that gift decades ago and still feel far from it). My desire is to be given the gift of speech and behavior so powerful that people cannot help but believe:

And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily. (Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 7:18)

So, back to our subject:
Ignored is the Hell of a thousand years. Ignored is the fact that the telestial people cringe at the sight of Jesus or the Father, worlds without end. Ignored is the fact that the terrestrial people cringe at the sight of Father, worlds without end. If it were not so, if they could endure the presence of the Father (or the Father and the Son), they would not be in the lower kingdoms.

It's in the scriptures.
Start with Doctrine and Covenants 76.
Add Doctrine and Covenants 19.
Add (Book of Mormon Mormon 9:3-6)
Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws? Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell. For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you. O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.

It's real. It is not a fairy tale.

Things on Earth Mirror Things in Heaven

So, according the the Doctrine and Covenants, the telestial kingdom (the lowest one) is under the Holy Spirit:
And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial (Doctrine and Covenants 76:81, 86)

The terrestrial kingdom (the middle one) is under Jesus Christ:
These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:77)

The telestial kingdom is under the Father (and the Son):
These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 76:62)

This is not to say the Holy Spirit/Ghost or Jesus live in those lower kingdoms. That is not what the scriptures say, but the people in those kingdoms have proven faithful to experience either the Holy Spirit or both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.

I'm thinking that mortal life reflects eternity, bearing witness to us if we have eyes to see. In other words, these scriptures could be telling us something about our own states here, in this life.

If we hear and feel the Holy Ghost and are led by Him, we are a step up from outer darkness. We see much "outer darkness" in this world. We see it in murderers, child rapists, uncontrollable anger, and so forth. If we hear, feel, are led by the Holy Ghost in this life, we are in the telestial arena. I believe many good people are in this arena, including most honestly believing saints in Jesus' own church.

If we are in the darkness, many of us search for light. We are not comfortable being in the darkness of pain, anger, and evil. According to prophesies and history, there usually reaches a point in societies where the majority of the people feel comfortable in outer darkness and refuse the light, becoming violently angry with it. Unfortunately, this slide into darkness is all too visible in our society today.

But we are going to go up, not down, in this post.

If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He brings us to truth. He brings us to Jesus' own church. Imperfect as it is, it was authorized by Jesus himself. It holds the keys it needs to have to perform its functions. It has the authority to perform ordinances that are vital for exaltation, for returning to the Father. The leaders in the general leadership have the right to inspiration and revelation from God for the benefit of the church as a whole, as a body. None of us peons have that right. It was not given to us by God and it won't be, because God's house is a house of order. Even if Jesus raises up a prophet to warn us of impending destruction if we don't repent, he (the prophet) will never presume to take authority out of the hands of the authorized leaders (i.e. "The Prophet"); he (the prophet) will speak mildly, without coercion, and with no desire to gain a following; he (the prophet) will simply point us toward Christ, as a fellow human, no better than us.

So, we accept those ordinances with a humble heart, in meekness. We obey the voice of God wherever it may be found (personal revelation, which verifies all truth whether that truth comes through ecclesiastical leaders; scriptures; inspired men, women, and/or children; dreams, visions, prayer, and so forth). Eventually, if we remain faithful and hunger after all truth, thirsting after righteousness, we are brought to a point of seeing Jesus face to face, of having our faith turned into absolute knowledge. When we reach that point, we have literally advanced from the telestial kingdom to the terrestrial kingdom – in this life.

The next step, about which I know nothing because practically nothing has been written in scripture (other than that Christ brings us to the Father), is for Jesus to bring us face to face with the Father, completing the redemption from the fall and bringing us into the celestial arena, up to the celestial level – in this life.

It's incredible, really.

What Lack I Yet?

If we are serious about building Zion – the true Zion, not the one we think we have – we ought to ask God, "What lack I yet? What action or inaction of mine is preventing Zion from being established? Open my eyes. Increase my understanding. Give me the power to do and be what YOU want me to do and be."