LOVE – MARRIAGE – HAPPINESS – ETERNITY
By Samuel E. West, Elder in Latter Day Zion
September 3, 2016
This article is Bible based (KJV). There is no attempt to be politically correct; but only to present those spiritual truths as substantiated by the Bible. I use the term “man” to address both men and women.L
Like everything, it is requisite to know what, how, and from what, to fully understand a subject. What is love? Many different things have been called love–from simple emotional relationships to true spiritual love. It affects every part of life from the cradle to the grave. Only true spiritual love provides happiness in mortal life and in eternity. Nothing brings more joy and happiness to man than true spiritual love.
Relationships built only on emotion are almost certain to fail. Most divorces are within the first 18 years of marriage. In 1900, the divorce rate was almost zero. People understood the basics of lasting relationships; and were responsible and committed to each other. By 1960, the divorce rate was up to about 25%. In 2000, it had risen to 58%. It is even higher for second marriages. The average length of an American marriage is 8.8 years. This is not a reflection of true spiritual love. This is becoming a free love society where every type of social relationship is becoming legitimate. The overall illegitimate birth rate has risen to over 40%.
Before we can fully understand love, we must understand man himself. Man was first organized as a spirit, long before Adam walked on the earth. Jesus was the beginning of this creation–His spirit was organized by God for this creation; and is a mirror image of God in many attributes; especially in love and judgment. “1 In the beginning [of this creation] was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1) Through Him everything in this creation was by Jesus in liaison with God. “26 And God said, Let us [God and Jesus] make man [for this creation] in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1) Since man was created by God in His image–and God is love–that wonderful attribute was given to man to bring him the greatest happiness.
The first story of creation addresses the spiritual creation. Everything had to be organized first as spirits. “26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Gen 1:26 “4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.” (Gen. 2) “31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1) Since the spiritual creation was of incorruptible material, God called it good. “31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1) This was not said of the physical creation because all things were made of corruptible material.
After the spiritual creation, came the physical creation. “7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2) “21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen. 2) When our spirit is united with a physical body at birth, we become a living soul. Adam and Eve both had to be created physically before their spirits could be placed within their bodies to become living souls. Our primary existence, though, is our spirit–it is incorruptible and eternal. When our physical body dies, our spirit is taken back to the God who organized it–Jesus. It abides in one of two places from mortal death to the resurrection: either in the bosom of Abraham, or with the spirits in prison [erroneously called hell].
Back to love. Spiritual love is a bonding of spirits. What is the difference? Spiritual love has no end in life and in death—unless broken. Such relationships are often termed soul mates. Soul mates are bonded both in spirit and in body. It was customary for a couple to consummate the marriage (betrothal) on the night of the marriage. There are various creatures that when their mate dies they remain celibate. This mortal life is only a moment in our eternal lives. It is like a snap of the fingers compared with eternity. My wife and I bonded the first night that we met. We went steady in three weeks; and were engaged at her high school Junior Prom about a month later. We got married ten days after she graduated from high school. That was over 53 years ago.
Spiritual marriages must be administered by one authorized by God and are for life and eternity. Temporal marriages are authorized only by man: “until death do you part.”
The first love we know is between mother and child. Hospitals recognize the necessity of the mother holding and bonding with the child as soon as possible after birth. A mother that is bonded with her child never loses that love; and the same is true between child and mother–unless that bond is broken by either. God can never violate a covenant; but, man often does. What is called the everlasting covenant is a bond between man and God. It requires an oath from man to worship only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and to keep His commandments. “15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3)
Our lives depend on embracing the everlasting covenant. Jesus is to return: “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess. 1) Without the spirit of revelation, none can know God–including even Peter who was close to Jesus needed the Rock of Revelation. “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 16) Without a correct understanding of the attributes, character, and perfections of God, no man can have gospel faith unto salvation.
Hundreds of poems have been written about the love of mothers to children; and children to their mothers. This is one of the strongest bonds; but the bond between God and man is the greatest. I have a 522 page book entitled Mother, Home, and Heaven that was published in 1890. “There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap; no rose so sweet as a mother’s cheek; no music so charming as a mother’s voice. The history of great men is the history of great mothers.” There can be no home without a mother’s loving care. It is a piece of heaven given to man on earth. It should be pure everlasting spiritual love. The sign of a great society lies in its mothers.
“Give me my old seat, mother,
With my head upon thy knee;
I’ve passed through many a changing scene
Since thus I sat by thee;
O, let me look into thine eyes!
Their meek, soft, loving light
Falls like a bean of holiness
Upon my heart tonight.”
When a child is able to comprehend his own being, time, and eternity, he is able to enjoy the greatest love: spiritual love. This love is to live. To live in true love is to be happy. Where is the source of such a wonderful attribute? God has meant only the best for man. Love is one of His greatest blessings. Remember, we were organized as spirits in the likeness of God. “16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.” (1 John 4) God’s love for man is eternal. It is man that violates that relationship until he must be destroyed. Such was the great flood when all but eight perished. Such was the pain that God endured to allow His only begotten Son to be killed to fulfill the greatest love of all. “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3) “13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15) Jesus was one of our primary examples in all things.
No one can say–or abide in–love, if they fail to abide by the rules of that relationship. “6. Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment to imagine that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.” (Book of the Law of the Lord, p. 19) Love and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15)
“36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22) This is not a casual relationship—it is a spiritual bonding between man and God. To truly know Him is to love Him. Unfortunately, few in the world today have a correct understanding of the attributes, character, and perfections of God. This is the true and living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Some question His existence because there is no direct communication with God today. “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)
When the pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine, reorganized the Christian church in 325 AD, he did so by adopting the Trinitarian pagan god in place of the true and living God of Israel. Jesus was made a pagan god by changing His identity into a demigod born of a virgin. Those who believe this must believe that Jesus was the bastard son of ghost. Not so! Joseph and Mary were married (betrothed) and the marriage is always consummated the same day. Jesus had to be of the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the house of David. The seed of man is married only in the male line. Only his father Joseph met this requirement; and is why Matthew gave that genealogy from Abraham to Judah, from Judah to David, and from David to Joseph–the husband of Mary (Matt. 1). How can man love God, if he has no proper understanding of God?
Love is the greatest proof of the existence of God. All mankind has been given a basic understanding of a superior intelligence. It is man’s choice whether to abide in His love, or to live for himself. “7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8) The Holy Spirit is a gift to those who have been born again into the Kingdom of God through baptism of water and fire. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3) “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6) True happiness can only be found through a loving relationship between man and God. “4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.” (Dan. 9)
Jesus was first called and ordained by the Father to the highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt. 4) “17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [among you].” (Matt. 4) “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6) John was a Priest of the Levitical Priesthood [a temporal priesthood] and could not baptize with the Spirit. John said: “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3) When the angels ministered to Jesus, the Father called and ordained Jesus to the highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood: a Prophet and Lawgiver–as was Adam, Moses, and others. “22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3)
No one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven without the ministration of one having a legitimate claim to this priesthood. This is why Jesus called and ordained all of the lower offices of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 [Why?]FOR the perfecting of the saints, FOR the work of the ministry, FOR the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 [How long was this law to remain?] 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 fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) Only an officer of this priesthood can marry for time and eternity.
Not all marriages are a bonding. Temporal marriage is not built on spiritual love, so contention and eventual loss of emotional attachment is lost. Love knows no hate. God does not hate. He simply loves less those that abide in iniquity. Our love must remain a constant. A minister friend of mine–when he married people–always warned them not to go to bed with an unresolved conflict. It will only get worse. The man is the head of the house. “3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 1) It is best to come to a mutual resolution; but with a proper understanding of this authoritarian relationship. It is the prerogative of the husband to resolve any issue. When my wife and I could not come to a resolution, we simply forgot it. I would never want to use authority to solve a problem; but the law of God does provide for such. There are no winners or losers in husband and wife conflicts that persist. Sometimes we simply have to bear the pain to forget; but, this is insignificant to the joys in marriage. Older children should be taught this rule and how to resolve conflicts together. Divorce should never be an option. “32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery : and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery .” (Jesus, Matt. 5) “14 Thou shalt not commit adultery .” (Ten Commandments, Ex. 20)
Who can imagine the pain that God suffers to bring necessary judgment upon man? The great historian Josephus–who lived contemporary with Jesus–wrote about the book of the prophecies of Adam, in which Adam wrote about two destructions–one by water and the other by fire.
When man violates the love bond between God and man; and becomes ripe in inequity only total destruction can wipe out the evil. Man is better off dead before entering eternity. Adam–about 1,500 years before the flood–was right about a destruction by water. His prophecy about destruction by fire may soon come to pass. “4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (God, Isa. 24) “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [Israel] those days shall be shortened.” (Jesus, Matt. 24) The only escape is in the Kingdom of God.
The spiritual bond in marriage is made with a covenant or oath. Who today, makes love as a condition of marriage? In love is not the same as to love; as there are many forms of love. “When thou takest a wife, thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who lovest thee, and whom thou mayest lawfully marry… And he [who holds authority from God] who joineth you in marriage, shall unite her unto thee by an indissoluble bond; and shall give thee grace to love her, and protect her; and grace unto her to love thee, and nourish thee, and honor thee.” (Book of the Law of the Lord)
The fundamental law, then, is love. There is no provision in the law of God for divorce. Only the law of man provides for such. No wander they marry “until death do you part.” Violation of the spiritual bond–through adultery– breaks the spiritual marriage bond. Only after a long period of confession and repentance—and remarriage–is the spiritual bond renewed. “8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Jesus, Matt. 19) Under the added law of Moses, divorce was permitted; but, under the spiritual, eternal laws of God, it is not. The temporal law given to Moses ended when Jesus was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses. “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the [spiritual] law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill [the added law]. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the [spiritual] law, till all be fulfilled.” (Jesus, Matt. 5) This spiritual law was given through Adam and other Prophets and Lawgivers and will remain forever.
It should be written on our hearts and no decision should be made without comparing the alternatives with the law of God. The first two social laws were given to man through Adam. First, he is to marry in order to provide the greatest happiness. “24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The only marriage recognized by God is between man and woman. Second, they are then to become one through their children. This brings the next level of happiness. When all is done according to the will and law of God, man can appreciate the greatest happiness.
“1. Thou shalt be fruitful and multiply and replenish the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and subdue it: lest it be waste and desolate, and thy name be lost in the generations to come. 2. But all thy children shall be of thy wives… 6. Thou shalt not put away thy wife but for adultery… 7. Thou shalt not lie with the wife of thy neighbor… 10. And if thou covenant or promise to marry a woman or a virgin, thou shalt not break thy covenant.” (Book of the Law of the Lord, Household Relations)
Possibly the worst misfortune a woman could suffer was to be barren. “BARREN: In Israel and among oriental peoples generally barrenness was a woman’s and a family’s greatest misfortune. The highest sanctions of religion and patriotism blessed the fruitful woman, because children were necessary for the perpetuation of the tribe and its religion. It is significant that the mothers of the Hebrew race, Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, were by nature sterile, and therefore God’s special intervention shows His particular favor to Israel. Fruitfulness was God’s special blessing to His people (Ex 23:26; Deut 7:14; Ps 113:9). A complete family is an emblem of beauty (Song 4:2; 6:6).” (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Sarah–wife of Abraham–was barren, so she gave her handmaids Hagar and Keturah as wives–for life–to bear him children in life and eternity. Since Sarah was the only spiritual wife of Abraham, the spiritual promises [of the priesthood and knowledge of the will of God] passed only through her. Sarah had well past the age of fertility. God intervened; and by the power of the Holy Ghost she conceived of Abraham and bore him a son: Isaac. Although her handmaids were not spiritually married to Abraham, their sons were spiritually bonded to Abraham. The seed of Hagar–Ishmael–became the father of the Arabs.
Bearing a son was of great importance to fathers in Israel; as that requirement is addressed in the law of God. When a man died without bearing a son, his brother (or next male kin) was required to take her to wife and bear his brother a son. The family and continuation of the seed was all important when following the law of God.
The law of God requires children to: “Honor thy father and thy mother: give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts: reverence their age, and seek unto their house all the days of thy life.” (Book of the Law, p. 26) Does this sound like the generation of today? Or, does this: “1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Tim. 3)
The foundation for happiness is found in the will and laws of God. “1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1)
Before Adam took his first step in the Garden of Eden, the Law of God existed. “9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations [only about a 150 generations have passed since the fall of Adam].” (Deut. 7) “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (Jesus, John 15)
Man was not created to live alone. “20… But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man. 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. ” (Gen. 2) For Eve to be Adam’s “wife,” they had to be married. They had to be married according to a bond that is eternal, as there was no death at that time.
There are two forms of marriage. The first is an eternal bond for time and eternity. There is no divorce in the laws of God. It is broken by violating the marriage covenant (keeping oneself only to her/him). Spiritual marriage is possible only through officers of the Kingdom of God given authority from God to marry for time and eternity: the Melchisedec Priesthood. Adam was the first to hold this priesthood. It was lost 400 years before Jesus and was restored by Him. “4 And no man taketh this honor [of the priesthood] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron [by the spirit of prophecy from God]. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec .” (Heb. 5) This priesthood was lost for 1,260 years from 570AD until 1830.
No man can hold an office in any government without meeting the requirements of that government. The Kingdom of God requires a calling by the spirit of prophecy from God who holds all authority and is the originator of all authority on earth and elsewhere. “Thou shalt not take the name [authority] of the Lord thy God in vain [without being properly called and ordained].” James J. Strang was called and ordained a Prophet and Lawgiver like Moses and Jesus under the hand(s) angels. He called and ordained L. D. Hickey one of the Twelve Apostles, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a high priest, who ordained me an elder. I was called by the spirit of prophecy and ordained to the office of elder in the Melchisedec Priesthood by a man holding a higher office in the priesthood. I have authority to bring men into the Kingdom of God and to marry them for eternity.
When man departs from the law of God, he loses all divine authority. When authority from God is lost, man is left to himself without authority to marry for time and eternity. This is one reason why Jesus said: “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [including eternal marriage] shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6) The day is soon–but not yet–when our Lord will be King over the entire earth and the law of God will rule all. Eternal marriage will be available to all. Gospel ordinances are also available to those who did not receive them in mortal life. “19 By which also he [Jesus] went and preached unto the spirits in prison [hell].” (1 Peter 3) “6 For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4) All spiritual ordinances are valid during life and in eternity. Those who receive not the gospel in mortal life will have that opportunity after death.
The second form of marriage is “until death do you part.” This is an admission that one does not hold authority from God; but must act only by the laws of man. Such mortal marriages are lost at mortal death. Those who are spiritually bonded in mortal marriage will have the opportunity to be married for eternity after death; even as those who know not God and obey not the gospel will have that opportunity after mortal death. God does not discriminate. “28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3) It is man who separates himself from God. God does discriminate because of time. Spiritual laws and ordinances are for both time and eternity.
There are two purposes to marriage. First is to have a soul mate for life and eternity. Second is to abide in the first commandment given to man. “28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1) This same command was given to Noah; and continues through mortality. “1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 9) Mortal man was given seven thousand years. It was about two thousand years from Adam to Abraham, about two thousand years from Abraham to Jesus, and about two thousand years from Jesus until today. The great and terrible Day of the Lord is at hand when all evil will again be destroyed. The last thousand years will be the Sabbath of Creation or Millennium. After that will be a short season; and then all mortality will end; and man enters eternity. “4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former [mortal] things are passed away.” (Rev. 21)
The family circle is the foundation of a society built in accordance to the will and laws of God. To imagine that people of the same sex can marry is not only vain; but, condemned by God. Has man forgotten history so soon? Does he not remember Sodom and Gomorrah? Has man forgotten God? Does he believe that God will treat man today differently than He did at the time of these destructions?
We cannot live only for ourselves. God created man both male and female so they could enjoy true happiness together; and create physical bodies for all the organized spirits as living souls—spirit and mortal body. “27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 1) “7 And the LORD God formed man [physically] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [his spirit]; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2) “24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh [through their children].” (Gen. 2)
An illustration of this bond is found in various creatures and animals. One of the best illustrations is the bond between a mother bear and her cub. After the cub is born it spends months in close association with its mother; but, no bond with its father. Anyone who travels in bear country must be aware never to come between a mother bear and her cub(s). Mother’s will offer their lives to protect their young.
There is a natural bond—but not as strong—between all of mankind, if allowed to properly form. Here is the second greatest commandment given to man “39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22) Its original form is found in the Ten Commandments in Book of the Law of the Lord: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. thou shalt not revile him, nor speak evil of him, nor curse him: thou shalt do no injustice unto him; and thou shalt maintain his right, against his enemy: thou shalt not exact rigorously of him, nor turn aside from relieving him: thou shalt deliver him from the snare and the pit, and shalt return his ox when he strayeth: thou shalt comfort him when he mourns, and nurture him when he sickens: thou shalt not abate the price of what thou buyest of him, for his necessity; nor shalt thou exact of him, because he leaneth upon thee: for in so doing thousands shall rise up and call thee blessed, and the Lord thy God shall strengthen thee in all the work of thy hand.”
There is positive and negative in many issues. Jesus was the first spirit organized in this creation and was as pure in love as God Himself. Satan thought to violate the law of God on authority and stand at the head above Jesus. Since this grievous sin was done in the presence of God, Satan was cast down with his followers never to have physical bodies forever. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning [of the first spirits of this creation]! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14) Satan lost the bond of love and obedience. Imagine having to spend eternity only as a ghost. The severity of judgment for sin must be understood.
Has man forgotten the severity of many of the offenses against the law of God? Does man no longer remember history? In the case of men like Hitler and the terrorists, the natural bond is lost. People with this bond have offered their lives to protect others; and often saved the lives of others. When this bond never properly forms, man can become radicalized and without love; and embrace evil. We see this in men who have no respect for life. Today, it is most evident among those known as Islamic Terrorists. They murder and behead people without a normal thought of the value of life and love for man.
David–King in Jerusalem about 1,000BC–had a man killed so he could marry the man’s wife. After Jesus resurrection, many others were resurrected and walked the streets of Jerusalem; but, not David. “29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” (Acts 2) Those who think to murder should make note of history. David had to pay the last farthing for his sin. God is not dead.
Association is a key factor in the forming of true love. Without the association between mother and baby, this bond does not exist. Many creatures never bond with their offspring. Without proper social interaction, this bond does not exist between man and mankind. This has become a serious problem today with social media. Without direct social contact, the bond between mankind cannot properly form. If a child in early life does not learn social interaction and responsibilities to man and God, they withdraw from God and society to often live in a fantasy world; which can make them a threat to anyone they come in contact with. A deep respect for life is lost; and a person may resort to killing others.
“8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1 John 4) “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3) “16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4)
The greatest laws ever given to man require pure spiritual love. “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22) “10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” (Deut. 5) How is love of God manifest? “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15) “22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1 Pet. 1) Without love of God and man—especially the brethren—life is vain.
The words of the prophet Mormon always ring in my heart: “46. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity [love], ye are nothing, for charity [love] never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity [love], which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail–. 47. But charity is the PURE LOVE OF CHRIST, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. 48. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, PRAY unto the Father WITH ALL THE ENERGY OF HEART, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” (Moroni 7)
There is a principle that is supreme over all mankind, in all generations. “6. Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment to imagine that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.” (Book of the Law, p. 19) God cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance. What is sin? “4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3) Thus, if we do not live in love and abide in our responsibilities, we live in sin; and cannot claim to be children of God.
The first law–given to man was during the organization of all spirits for this creation: “28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1) Then in mortal life: “24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen. 2) Marriage creates the basic unit upon which mankind is built. Marriage must be based on true love. “1. When thou takest a wife thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who loveth thee.” (BOL, p. 159) When this marriage is performed by one holding a legitimate claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood: “…she may be thine in life, thine in the resurrection, and thine in life everlasting; and that the children which she beareth thee, may be with thee in the Everlasting Kingdom.” (Ibid.)
What a wonder! While others in the world marry “until death do you part,” there is an opportunity for saints of God to be bonded for time and eternity. When a saint contemplates marriage, it should be understood that such a marriage bond requires true spiritual love—eternal love and responsibility. The law of God provides: “6. Thou shalt not put away thy wife but for adultery.”(BOL, p. 314) In Zion—today—marriage is worth next to nothing. Same sex marriage is allowed nationwide. Divorce is allowed in almost any situation. Serial adultery is common through divorce and remarriage. The average divorce rate among all races is over 40%. How does God judge such evil? People fail to learn from history. But then, who has a deep respect for the laws of God? “15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. 28; read the whole chapter) “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20)
The marriage bond is conditional under the law of God. If a husband or wife does not remain true to the marriage covenant—through adultery and possibly fornication—the marriage bond is broken. If the guilty party repents “in dust and ashes for a long time, thou mayest forgive her; yet she is not thy wife: if thou wilt take her, thou shalt marry her again.” (Ibid.) What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. “28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3) What is spiritually true in mortal life is also true in eternity.
The fundamental reason for this mortal life is to gain experience; and learn to love the good and reject the evil. This is our opportunity to build a family circle to be with us in time and eternity. In this learning experience, all make errors. “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1)
Knowing that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, God must have prepared a way for us to be freed from sin. “BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER.–Paul says, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.’ I will add, bear ye each other’s weaknesses, and so show yourselves saints and men of fortitude, that are not discouraged at trifles. Remember, the church of God is a great moral hospital, in which mankind are to be healed of their constitutional and moral infirmities, weaknesses and disabilities. It is often a manifest weakness in one to take offence or be offended with the weakness of another. Soundness of moral fortitude is one of the noble principles of manhood. He that is destitute of it is not fit to be a king or priest in the kingdom of God. J. E. PAGE.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, p. 104/416)
“You are absolutely right in your statement ‘About being offended. None of us can AFFORD TO BE OFFENDED AT MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH. There is too much to accomplish. A LIFETIME IS SHORT enough; and we have a great deal TO ACCOMPLISH WITHOUT stopping with HURT FEELINGS every moment or so.’ No truer words could be said; more especially at the present moment in our church’s affair.” (Lloyd Flanders, high priest, to Stanley Johnston, 2/27/39)
“How are the sins if the sinner forgiven? By baptism—‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.’ ‘And now why wriest thou? arise, and BE BAPTIZED, and WASH AWAY THY SINS, calling on tile name of the Lord.’ How are the sins of the saints forgiven? By confession. ‘If we CONFESS our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.’ To whom are sins to be confessed? ‘Confess your FAULTS ONE to ANOTHER, and PRAY one FOR another, that ye may be healed.’ Does God remember sins after they are forgiven? No. God says—‘I will FORGIVE their iniquity, and I Will REMEMBER their sin NO MORE.’ And again he says, ‘Though your sins be as SCARLET, they shall be AS WHITE AS SNOW; though they be RED LIKE CRIMSON, they shall be AS WOOL.’ Let all the saints be OBEDIENT unto God, for ‘NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD from them that walk uprightly.’ Yours respectfully, JOHN C. BENNETT.” (Zion’s Reveille, March 4, 1847, p. 30/82)
The key to continually washing our sins is to recognize/appreciate our errors, make recompense as necessary, and then turn from that sin. “14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (John 5) 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Heb. 10) If we remain in any particular sin after having received forgiveness (and continue in that sin), we have crucified Jesus to ourselves and there is no more forgiveness in this life. Without love, all is vain. The Law of God must rule all equally in every time period, or He is not a just God and we would have no reason to trust in Him. “6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3)
Without association there can be no true love. We may have affection for another; but, not true love. The saints of God have been a gathered people since Abraham. Jesus lamented: “37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem , thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt. 23) Such a gathering was also required under both of the latter day prophets: Joseph Smith and James J. Strang. Yet, like under Jesus, this people would not. There is promise to the saints who remain faithful and obedient: “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem [saints in Zion]. 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee [Joseph and James were shot and killed with the help of the US Government]? is thy counselor perished [L. D. Hickey was the last of the apostles] ? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Mic. 4)
A second destruction of mankind is on the horizon. “6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: 8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. 9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isa. 13)
Only a few will survive. “1 Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. 2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. 3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. 4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws , changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24)
These are they who will be the elect of God (Israel) and among the daughters of Zion–saints of God in the America’s. Let’s join together as saints of God, be gathered with the very small remnant that will survive, and walk together with our families into the Sabbath of Creation.
God has given us the greatest gift: love. Make love and responsibility your dominant attributes. This is spiritual love and not temporal or emotional love. It is a bonding of spirits; and can be eternal. Man (and woman) was commanded to marry and have children. Here is the greatest blessing of love on earth; and can continue into eternity. While most are married “until death do you part,” those married by authority from God can marry for time and eternity. “4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” (Mic. 4) While those married for time and eternity will have their families (vine/fig tree) with them, most will be separated at death as they are married “until death do us part.” Join with me in the Kingdom of God; join with your families that accept the gospel with us in the resurrection and in life eternal. Those who are baptized by one holding authority from God become the seed of Abraham; and recipients of the promises made to Abraham. “26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [of eternal life].” (Gal. 3)
Yours in the priesthood of God, the gospel of Christ, and in bonds of faith, hope, and love,
Samuel E. West
Elder in Latter Day Zion
September 3, 2016