All men will die; but, will not inherit the same mansion in eternity. Life, death, mortality immortality, and eternal life are the most important subjects for mortal man. After death, the spirit is taken to one of two places: either the bosom of Abraham, or the spirits in prison (hell). Jesus went to the spirits in prison (hell) after He died and returned to the Father. Hell is simply a “hidden” place where the spirits of those who did not obey the gospel await the resurrection. When speaking to the thief on the cross, Jesus compared this place to a paradise. It will also be a place of great remorse; when men realize opportunities that were lost in the flesh. Those who have loved God, obeyed the gospel, and endured faithful and obedient the the law of God to the end, will spend that time in the bosom of Abraham (heaven).
Those who were faithful and obedient will be resurrected when Jesus returns; and spend the Millennium on the earth with all the saints of God. All others will remain with the dead; until the thousand years and the short season have ended. The seven thousand year time allotted to mortal man will be over.
Their will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21) The earth will become the real heaven. It will be the abode of the Father, the Son, and all the saints of God for eternity. Those who remain disobedient will inherit one of the other mansions spoken of by Jesus. Sons of perdition will inherit the second death; and spend eternity as spirits with Satan.
ON MORTALITY, IMMORTALITY, AND ETERNAL LIFE (Below)
ELECTION AND APPROBATION (OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE, DEATH, AND ETERNITY)
A VISION (OF LIFE, DEATH, AND ETERNITY)
On Mortality, Immortality, and Eternal Life
“All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject. Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and the angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.
“We are only capable of comprehending that certain things exist, which we may acquire by certain fixed principles. If men would acquire salvation, they have got to be subject, before they leave this world, to certain rules and principles, which were fixed by an unalterable decree before the world was.
“The disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection would be indescribably dreadful.
“The organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony: their, limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to in their heavenly estate by themselves, and were by our first parents subscribed to upon the earth. Hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth by all men upon the earth that expect eternal life.” (Joseph Smith: Teachings, pp. 101-103)
There are four times or phases in the eternal life of man. First, man was first created spiritually. We have all lived for billions of years before the mortal existence as living souls (body and spirit). “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [for-ordained] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1) “6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job. 38) This spiritual life was man’s first estate. During this time, Lucifer rebelled against God, lost his opportunity to live in the flesh, and must live for all eternity only as a spirit.
Second, man was created as a living soul. “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. 2:7) This is man’s second estate, a probationary estate when he is given an opportunity to choose the good and refuse the evil. Those who kept their first estate are given an opportunity to hear the gospel in the flesh, become members of the church of the first born, and if they are faithful in their second estate become the sons of God.
Third, the spirit of man, after this mortal death of the body, returns to the God that created it. During this time between death and the resurrection there are two places where the spirit lives. Those who know God, obey the gospel, and endure faithful to the end reside with all of the church of the first born from Adam until what John the Revelator termed the first resurrection. All others are kept in a type of prison. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3) “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 Pet. 46)
Fourth, man is resurrected and receives an immortal physical body. All men are saved to immortality by the grace of God and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10) “12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned …18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Rom. 5)
The only spirits that will not receive an immortal body of flesh and bones are the sons of perdition who inherit the second death with Satan and his angels for all eternity. These are they who were made partakers of the power of the kingdom of God, later denied the truth and the power of the Holy Ghost, and say to themselves that they feel justified in evil works.
There are at least three times set for the resurrection of man when man receives an immortal body of flesh and bones. Christ was the first fruits of the resurrection and was given the keys of the resurrection by the Father. Many of the church of the first born were resurrected after Christ was resurrected.
The second time when man is appointed for a resurrection is what John called the first resurrection. “4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20)
The third and last time when man is appointed for a resurrection is after the thousand years, in what John spoke of as the second resurrection; which is the resurrection of all other men. Only the sons of perdition will be cast off for all eternity with Satan and his angels in the second death.
All others will receive an immortal body; which is like the mortal body; except it has no blood. “50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15) Jesus told His disciples, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Mark 24:39) Not only did he have flesh and bones, he also sat down and ate with them, “41 … he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43 And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Mark 24)
The promise of the first resurrection and an opportunity to live with Christ as priests and kings on the earth for the thousand year Sabbath of Creation has been the hope of all members of the church of the first born. This is the “better resurrection.” “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19:26)
The Bible also teaches the eternal life of the family. Christians marry “until death do us part.” How sad to live with ones family for all of life and then be torn apart! What a doctrine to impose on man. The Bible teaches those married by the priesthood of God may be together for all eternity. “…by him shall ye be joined in marriage, that 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.” (Book of the Law, p. 159)
The land of Cainan was promised to Abraham and his seed. Abraham did not realize this promise in life. He will during the millennium and for all eternity with the rest of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. “1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek. 37) The seed of Joseph will inherit the land of Zion; including the US. Native Americans will once again possess their land.
All men who are not the sons of perdition will inherit immortality in a body of flesh and bones. Those who accept the gospel of Christ in the flesh and endure faithful to the end have a very special promise of the Celestial Glory. This is the glory of the Sun. Here is eternal life to be with the Father and with Christ for all eternity, to be the sons of God, and to be like God. Those who received the gospel in the flesh; but were not valiant in the testimony of Jesus will share the terrestrial glory with those who were the honorable men of the earth and obeyed the gospel while with the spirits in prison. This is the glory of the Moon. Those who are “filthy still” and do not obey the gospel will inherit a glory commensurate with their works. This is the glory of the stars and whose mansions are as numerous as the stars. Those who were made partakers of the kingdom of God in the flesh; but turned against the spirit of truth, having denied the Holy Ghost after having received it are the sons of perdition. They will not be redeemed; but must spend eternity with Satan and his angels.
Election and Approbation (Opportunities in life, death, and eternity) (Times and Seasons, Vol. 2, pp. 523-526; 539-542)
“Do you believe in Election and Reprobation?” To prevent the necessity of repeating a thousand times what may be said at once, we propose to answer this oft asked question in writing; so that the saints may learn doctrine, and all who well, may understand that such election and reprobation as is taught in the Old and New Testaments, and other revelations from God, we fully believe, in connexion with every other principle of righteousness, and we ask this favor of all, into whose hands our answer may come, that they will not condemn till they have read it through, in the spirit of meekness and prayer.
The Lord (Jehovah,) hath spoken through Isa. (42, 1) saying. behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; evidently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God chosen or elected by the Father, (1 Peter i, 20, who verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God,) to serve him in the redemption of the world, to be a covenant of the people, (Isa, xlii, 6) for a light of the Gentiles, and glory of his people Israel; having ordained him to be judge of quick and dead, (Acts x, 42) that through him forgiveness of sins might be preached (Acts xiii, 38) unto all who would be obedient unto his gospel (Mark xvi, 16, 17)
Every high priest must be ordained (Heb. v, 1,) and if Christ had not received ordination, he would not have had power to ordain others, as he did when he ordained the twelve (Mark iii, 14) to take a part in the ministry which he had received of his father: also, (John xv, 16) ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, (Heb. v, 4) for no man taketh this honor unto himself but he that is called of God as was Aaron (v. 5.) So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest. but he that said unto him thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
No being can give that which de does not possess; consequently no man can confer the priesthood on another, if he has not himself first received it; and the priesthood is of such a nature that it is impossible to investigate the principles of election, reprobation, &c., without touching upon the priesthood also; and although some may say that Christ as God needed no ordination, having possessed it eternally, yet Christ says (Matt. xxvii, 18) all power is given unto me in heaven and on earth; which could not have been if he was in eternal possession; and in the previously quoted verse we discover that he that said unto him, (i.e.) his father glorified him to be made an high priest, or ordained him to the work of creating the world and all things upon it; (Col. i, 16) for by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth, &c. and of redeeming the same from the fall; and to the judging of the quick and dead; for the right of judging rests in the priesthood; and it is through this medium that the father hath committed all judgement unto the Son (John v, 22) referring to his administration on earth.
If it was necessary that Christ should receive the priesthood to qualify him to minister before his father unto the children of men so as to redeem and save them, does it seem reasonable that any man should take it upon him to do a part of the same work, or to assist in the same priesthood, who has not been called by the spirit of prophecy or revelation as was Aaron, and ordained accordingly? And can it be expected that a man will be called by revelation who does not believe in revelation? Or will any man submit to ordination, for the fullfilment of a revelation or call, in which he has no faith? We think not.
That we may learn still further that God calls or elects particular men to perform particular works, or on whom to confer special blessings, we read (Isa. xlv, 4) for Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have called the (Cyrus) by thy name; to be a deliverer to my people Israel, and to help to plant them on my holy mountain, (Isa. lxv, 9, see connexion) for mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there; even on the mountains of Palestine, the land of Canaan, which God had before promised to Abraham and his seed; (Gen. xvii, 8) and the particular reason why Abraham was chosen or elected to be the father of this blessed nation, is clearly told by the Lord, (Gen. xviii, 19) for I know him that he will command his children and his household after him; and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him; and this includes the general principle of election, (i.e.) that God chose, elected, or ordained, Jesus Christ, his Son, to be the Creator, Governor, Savior, and Judge of the world; and Abraham to be the father of the faithful, on account of his fore-knowledge of their obedience to his will and commandments; which agrees with the saying in the 2nd Timothy ii, 21, if a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the masters use, and prepared unto every good work.
Thus it appears that God has chosen or elected certain individuals, to certain blessings, or to the performance of certain works; and that we may more fully understand the movements of the Supreme Governor of the universe in the order of election, we proceed to quote the sacred writers.
Rom. viii, 29, 30, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brethren: moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified. And whom did he foreknow? Those that loved as him, we find in the 28th verse of the same chapter, for we know that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. And who are the called according to his purpose? Those whom he foreknew, for he foreknew, that those, who loved him, would do his will and work righteousness, and it is in vain for men to say they love God, if they do not keep his commandments. Cain found it so when he presented an unrighteous offering, for God said unto him (Gen. iv, 7) if thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted; and yet he was not accepted; but whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; and hereby we know that we are in him, (1 John ii, 5) or, that we are the called according to his purpose.
But did not god foreknow all things, and all men? Surely, known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world; (Acts xv, 18, but does that prove that all men would love him and keep his commandments, so that he would predestinate them unto eternal life? Certainly not, for that would make God to foreknow things which were not to be, and to predestinate men to that, unto which they could never attain; (Mat. vii, 13) for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat.
The principles of God’s kingdom are perfect and harmonious, and the scriptures of truth must also agree in all their parts, so that one sentiment thereof shall not destroy another, and when we read that whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate; and that known unto God are all his works: so that it might appear from an abstract view thereof, that God foreknew all, and consequently predestinated all to be conformed to the image of his son; we ought also to read (Mark vi, 16) he that believeth not shall be damned; and (John viii, 24) if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins; also, (Mat. xxv, 41) depart from me ye cursed, for I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat, &c.
Paul referring to the Saints. [Rom. i, 7] calls them beloved of God, called to be saints; and says [Rom. viii 1] there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit; and goes on to show in his Epistle to the Romans, that the law, (the law of carnal commandments given to the children of Israel, the covenant people,) could not make the comers thereunto perfect, [see also Heb. x, 1] but was given for a schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ; [Gal. iii, 24,] so that when he had come, and offered himself without spot to God, [Heb. ix, 14] the sacrifice of the law should be done away in him that the honest in heart all might come unto the perfect law of liberty, [James i, 25] or the gospel of Christ, walking no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit, and be of that number who love God and keep his commandments, that they might be the called according to his purpose; [Rom. viii, 28] and these were the individuals referred to, whom God foreknew; such as Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedec, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Caleb, Joshua, the harlot Rahab, who wrought righteousness by hiding the servants of God when their lives were sought by their enemies, Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jeptha, David, Samuel, and the Prophets, [Heb. xi,] who, through faith, subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were make strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to fight the armies of the aliens; these all died in the faith having kept the commandments of the Most High, having obtained the promise of a glorious inheritance, and are waiting the fullfilment of the promise which they obtained, [Heb. xi, 40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they, without us should not be made perfect.
The prophet Alma bears similar testimony to the other prophets concerning election in his 9th chapter [Book of Mormon] saying, this is the manner after which they were ordained: being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceeding great faith, are called with a holy calling yea, with, that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such; and thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while if it had not been for this, they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine; in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the only begotten Son; who was prepared; and thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they might also enter into his rest, this high priesthood being after the order of his Son, which order was from the foundation of the world; or in other words being without beginning of days or end of years, being prepared from eternity to all eternity, according to his foreknowledge of all things.
Rom. ix. 11, 12. For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As we have before shewn why God chose Abraham to be the father of the faithful, (viz.) because he knew he would command his children and his household after him; so now we see by this why the purposes of God according to election should stand, and that for his oath’s sake. Gen. xxii, 16, 17, 18. By myself have I sworn saith the Lord; for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. Here the Lord Jesus, coming through the seed of Abraham, is again referred to, through whose sufferings and death, or in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, or made alive as they had died in Adam. [1 Cor. xv, 22.] In this election is made manifest, for God elected or chose the children of Israel to be his peculiar people, and to them belong the covenants and promises; and all the blessings received by the Gentiles; come through the covenants to Abraham and his seed; for through the unbelief of the Jews [Rom. xi, 17] they were broken off, and the Gentiles were grafted in; but they stand by faith, [Rom. xi, 20] and not by the oath of election; therefore it becometh them to fear lest they cease quickly to bear fruit, and be broken off [verse 21] that the Jews may be grafted in again for they shall be grafted in again [verse 23] if they abide not in unbelief.
The Gentiles became partakers of the blessings of election and promises through faith and obedience, as Peter says, writing to the strangers scattered abroad, [1 Peter 1st chap,] who were the Gentiles, the elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience: [1 Peter ii, 9] for ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, [verse 10] which in time past were not a people but now are the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Why were they a peculiar people? Because God had chosen that generation of Gentiles, and conferred on them the blessings, which descended through the priesthood, and the covenants unto the hose of Israel, or grafted them into the good olive tree; [Rom xi, 17] and thus the house of Israel became ministers of salvation to the Gentiles; and this is what the house of Israel was elected unto, not only their own salvation, but through them salvation unto all others. [John iv, 22] for salvation is of the Jews; [Rom xi, 11] and through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles. Among the promised seed, we find Jesus Christ neither last nor least, but the great high priest and head of all, who was chosen to lay down his life for the redemption of the world, for without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins. [Heb. ix, 22].
[Deut. vii, 6,7,8,9.] Moses bears a similar testimony with Peter and Paul to the principles of election; for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people, but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your father,s hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.–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, which proves the long continuance of blessings of this highly favored people.
And the Lord said unto her, (Rebecca, Gen. xxv, 23] the elder shall serve the younger. And why? Because that Isaac, the father of Esau and Jacob, the husband of Rebecca, and the son of promise to Abraham, was the heir; and as Esau was the elder son of his father Isaac, he had a legal claim to the heirship; but through unbelief, hardness of heart, and hunger, he sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob, [Gen. xxv, 33.] God knowing before hand that he would do this of his own free will and choice, or acting upon that agency which God has delegated to all men, said to his mother, the elder shall serve the younger; for as the elder son, Esau, has sold his birthright and by that means lost all claim to the blessings promised to Abraham, those blessings and promises must have failed, if they had not descended with the purchased birthright unto the younger son Jacob, for there was no other heir in Israel’s family; and if those blessings had failed, the purposes of God according to election must have failed, in relation to the posterity of Israel, and the oath of Jehovah would have been broken; which could not be, though heaven and earth were to pass away.
Rom. ix, 13,–As it is written Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Where it is written? Malachi, i, 2, verses. When was it written? About 397 years before Christ and Esau and Jacob were born about 1773 years before Christ [according to the common computation of time in scripture margin,] so that Esau and Jacob lived about 1376 years before the Lord spoke by Malachi, saying, Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated, as quoted by Paul. This text is often brought forward to prove that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, before they were born; or, before they had done good or evil; but if God did love one and hate the other, before they had done good or evil, he has not seen fit to tell us of it, either in the Old or New Testament, or any other revelation; but this only we learn that 1376 years after Esau and Jacob were born, God said, by Malachi, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated; and surely that was the time sufficient to prove their works, and ascertain whether they were worthy to be loved or hated.
And why did he love the one and hate the other? For the same reason that he accepted the offering of Abel, and rejected Cain’s offering; because Jacob’s works had been righteous, Esau’s wicked; and where is there a righteous father who would not do the same thing? Who would not love an affectionate and obedient son, more than one who was disobedient, and sought to injure him and overthrow the order of his house? [objection] “But God seeth not as men seeth, and he is no respecter of persons,” [Act, x. 34.] True, but what saith the next verse, “He that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him; but it does not say that he that worketh wickedness is accepted, and this is a proof that God has respect to the actions of persons; and if he did not, why should he commend obedience to his law? for if he had no respect to the actions of men, he would be just as well pleased with a wicked man for breaking his law, as a righteous man for keeping it; and if Cain had done well he would have been accepted as well as Able, [Gen. iv. 7] and Esau as well as Jacob, which proves that God does not respect persons, only in relation to their acts, [see Mat. xxv. 34, to the end,] Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was an hundred and ye gave me meat, &c.; and because that God blessed Able and Jacob this would not have hindered his blessing Cain and Esau, if their works had been righteous like unto their brethren; so God’s choosing one nation to blessing, does not doom another to cursing, or make them reprobate, according to the reprobation of God, as some suppose; but by resisting the truth, they become reprobate concerning the faith, [2 Tim. iii. 8,] and are abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate, [Titus, i. 16] consequently, are not fit subjects for the blessings of election.
Rom. ix. 15, for he saith to Moses I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion, [see Ex. xxxiii. 13, to the 19.] My presence shall go with thee, and I give thee rest, for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name, and I will make all my goodness to pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee: and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy, (Rom. ix. 16.) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy; having his eye at the same time directed towards his covenant people in Egyptian bondage.
For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, (Ex. ix. 16, 17.) and in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? God had promised to bring the house of Israel up out of the land of Egypt, at his own appointed time; and with a mighty hand and an out-stretched arm, and great terribleness, (Deut. xxvi. 8.) he chose to do this thing, that his power might be known and his name declared throughout all the earth, so that all nations might have the God of heaven in remembrance, and reverence his holy name; and to accomplish this it was needful that he should meet with opposition to give him an opportunity to manifest his power; therefore he raised up a man, even Pharaoh, who he fore-knew, would harden his heart against God, of his own free-will and choice, and would withstand the Almighty in his attempt to deliver his chosen people, and that to the utmost of his ability; and he proved himself worthy of the choice, for he left no means unimproved, which his wicked heart could devise to vex the sons of Abraham, and defeat the purposes of the Most high, which gave the God of Abraham an opportunity to magnify his name in the ears of the nations, and in sight of this wicked king, by many mighty signs and wonders sometimes even to the convincing the wicked king of his wickedness, and of the power of God, (Ex. viii 28, &c.) and yet he would continue to rebel, and hold the Israelites in bondage; and this is what is meant by God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart; he manifested himself in so many glorious and mighty ways, that Pharaoh could not resist the truth without becoming harder, so that at the last, in his madness to stay the people of God, he rushed into the Red sea, with all his host, and was covered with the floods.
Had not the power of God been exerted in a remarkable manner, it would seem as though the house of Israel must have become extinct, for Pharaoh commanded the midwifes to destroy the sons of the Israelitish women as soon as they were born, ( Ex. i, 16) and called them to account for saving the men children alive, (verse 18) and charged all his people saying every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, (verse 22) and yet God would have mercy on whom he would have mercy, (Rom ix, 18) for he would have mercy on the godly child, Moses, (when he was hid and laid in the flags (Ex. ii, 3) by his mother to save him from Pharaoh’s cruel order) and caused that he should be preserved as a prophet that he should be preserved as a prophet and deliverer to lead his people up to their own country; and whom he would he hardened, for he hardened Pharaoh by passing before him in mighty power, and withdrawing his spirit and leaving him to his own wicked inclination, for he had set taskmasters over the Israelites, to afflict them with their burdens; and caused them to build treasure-cities for Pharaoh, and made them serve with rigor; and made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and brick and all manner of service in the field (Ex. 1st ch.) beside destroying the men children: thus proving to the God of heaven and all men that he had hardened his own hard heart, until he become a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction, (Rom. ix, 22) all this, long before God said unto Moses, I will harden his [Pharaoh’s] heart (Ex. iv, 21.
Are men then to be saved by works? Nay, verily, by grace are ye saved thro’ faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, (Eph. ii, 8.) Not of works, lest any man should boast, (v, 9.) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us. (Titus iii, 5) and yet faith without works is dead being along, (James ii, 17.) Was not Abraham our father justified by works? (v. 21.) Shall we then be saved by faith? Nay, neither by faith nor works; but by works is faith made perfect, (v. 22) but by grace are ye saved, (Eph. ii, 8,) and if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no grace: and if it be of works then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work, (Rom. xi,6.) Ye see then how that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only, (James ii, 24).
Rom. x, 3, 4. For they, [Israel] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God; for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, Thus the righteousness of God is made manifest in the plan of salvation by his crucified Son; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth; (Acts iv, 10, 12,) but of this the Jews were ignorant, although they themselves crucified him; and they have been going about, wandering among all the nations of the earth ever since, for the space of eighteen hundred years, trying to establish their own righteousness, which is of the law of Moses; which law, can never make the comers thereunto perfect, (Heb. x, 1;) yet notwithstanding their darkness and long dispersion, there is a remnant according to the election of grace, (Rom. xi. 5) whom God will gather from among all people wither they are scattered, and will be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen; then shall they dwell in their land which God gave to his servant Jacob, and they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards, yea they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgements upon all those that despise them round about; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God; (Eze. xxviii, 25. 26. Isa. xi, 11 to 16,) and when this gathering shall be completed, it shall no more be said the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them agian unto this land which I gave unto their fathers, (Jer. xvi, 14, 15, &c. to the end).
Rom xi, 7. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it? And why have they not obtained it. Because they sought it not by faith, but it were by the works of the law, for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone; as it is written, behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence, (Rom. ix 32, 33,) to both the houses of Israel; and for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and many of them shall stumble, (Isa. viii, 14, 15,) but have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid; but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, (Rom. xi 11,) and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, (Luke xxi, 24,) and when the house of Israel shall be restored to their possession in Canaan, it may truly be said the election hath obtained it; for the fulfilment of God’s oath of election to Abraham, as the father of the faithful, and the promises to his children, will obtain that for Israel, which he has sought for in vain by the law of Moses.
This is the election that we believe in, viz:–such as we find in prophets and apostles, and the word of the Lord himself, and as we have not room to give all the quotations in full, relating to election in this epistle, we would invite the Saints, to examine the Scriptures in connection with these quoted: and whenever they find election or any other principle or blessing given or applied to the house of Israel, let those principles continue with the house of Israel, and not apply that to Easu, which belongs to Jacob; or to the churches of modern times, which belong to the ancient covenant people; and always ascertain how the Lord, the apostles, and prophets have applied their words, and ever continue the same application, and wisdom and knowledge will be added unto you: and in the words of the beloved Peter and Paul, we would exhort you to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure; [Phil. ii. 12, 13,] giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure, [2 Peter, i. 10.] for this is the sealing power spoken of in Eph. i. 13, 14, In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, until the praise of his glory, [2 Peter, i. 11,] for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
A VISION (OF LIFE, DEATH, AND ETERNITY)
February 16, 1832
Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p.
( Doctrine & Covenants 76:1-119)
HEAR, O ye Heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord he is God, and beside him there is none else; and great is his wisdom; marvelous are his ways; and the extent of his doings, none can find out; his purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand: from eternity to eternity, he is the same, and his years never fail.
I the Lord am merciful and gracious unto them who fear me, and delight to honor them who serve me in righteousness, and in truth; great shall be their reward, and eternal life shall be their glory; and unto them will I reveal all mysteries; yea, all the hidden mysteries of my Kingdom from days of old; and for ages to come will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things; yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations; their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to Heaven; before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to nought; for by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will; yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.
We, Joseph and Sidney, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty two, and through the power of the Spirit, our eyes were opened, and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God; even things which were from the beginning before the world was, which was ordained of the Father, through his only begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning, of whom we bear record, and the record which we bear is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is in the Son whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the Heavenly Vision; for as we sat doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the twenty ninth verse of the fifth chapter of John, which was given unto us thus: speaking of the resurrection of the dead who should hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth; they who have done good in the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust. Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given us of the Spirit; and while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings, and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about; and we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness; and saw the holy angels, and they who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God and the Lamb forever and ever. And now after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the only begotten of the Father; that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are made, and were created; and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. 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,) and was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, and was called Perdition; for the Heavens wept over him; for he was Lucifer, even the son of the morning; and we beheld and lo, he is fallen! is fallen! even the son of the morning. And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the Vision; for behold satan, that old serpant, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ; wherefore he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasses them about: And we saw a vision of the eternal sufferings of those with whom he maketh war and overcometh, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us.
Thus saith the Lord, concerning all those who know my power, and who have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves, through the power of the devil, to be overcome unto the denying of the truth, and the defying of my power: they are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say it had been better for them never to have been born; for they are vessels of wrath doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels, throughout eternity: concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness for them in this world nor in the world to come; having denied the Holy Ghost after having received it, and having denied the only begotten Son of the Father, crucifying him unto themselves, and putting him to an open shame: these are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels, and the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; yea, verily the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath, who shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph & the glory of the Lamb; who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made. And this is the Gospel, the glad tidings which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us, that he came into the world, even Jesus to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved, whom the Father had put into his power; and made by him who glorifieth the Father; and saveth all the world of his hands, except those sons of perdition, who denieth the Son after the Father hath revealed him: wherefore he saveth all save them, and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels throughout eternity, where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment, but the end thereof, neither the place thereof, and their torment, no man knoweth, neither was revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, save to them who are made partakers thereof: nevertheless I the Lord showeth it by vision unto many, but straightway shutteth it up again: wherefore the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, he understandeth not, neither any man save them who are ordained unto this condemnation. And we heard the voice saying, Write the Vision for lo, this is the end of the vision of the eternal sufferings of the ungodly!
And again, we bear record for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the Gospel of Christ, concerning them who come forth in the resurrection of the just: they are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name, and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he hath given, that, by keeping the commandment, they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father shedeth forth upon all those who are just and true: they are they who are the church of the first-born: they are they into whose hands the Father hath given all things: they are they who are priests and kings, who having received of his fulness, and of his glory, are priests of the most High after the order of Melchisedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the only begotten Son: wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God: 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; and they shall overcome all things: wherefore let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet: these shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever: 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: these are they who shall have part in the first resurrection: these are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just: these are they who are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all: these are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the first born: these are they whose names are written in Heaven, where God and Christ is the judge of all: these are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood: these are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the Son, even of God the highest of all; which glory the Sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
And again, we saw the Terrestrial world, and behold and lo! these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differeth from that of the church of the first born, who have received of the fulness of the Father, even as that of the Moon differeth from the Sun of the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; 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, who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it: these are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men: these are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness: these are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father: wherefore they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differeth in glory as the Moon differeth from the Sun: these are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus: wherefore they obtained not the crown over the kingdoms of our God. and now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit.
And again, we saw the glory of the Telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differeth from that of the glory of the Moon in the firmament: these are they who receive not the Gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus: these are they who deny not the Holy Ghost: these are they who are thrust down to hell: these are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil, until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work: these are they who receive not of his fulness in that eternal world, but of the Holy Ghost through the administration of the terrestrial; and the terrestrial through the administration of the celestial; and also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels, who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them, for they shall be heirs of salvation.–And thus we saw in the Heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial which surpasseth all understanding; and no man knoweth it except him to whom God hath revealed it. And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial, which excelleth in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion. And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excelleth in all things where God, even the Father, reigneth upon his throne forever and ever: before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence and giveth him glory forever and ever. They who dwell in his presence are the church of the first born; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; and he maketh them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion. And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the Sun is one. And the glory of the Terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the Moon is one. And the glory of the Telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one: for as one star differeth from another star in glory, even so differeth one from another in glory in the telestial world: for these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and Cephas: they are they who say, there 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, but received not the Gospel; neither the testimony of Jesus; neither the prophets; neither the everlasting covenant; last of all: these are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up into the church of the first born, and received into the cloud: these are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremungers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie: these are they who suffer the wrath of God on the earth: these are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire: these are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work, when he shall deliver up the kingdom and present it unto his Father spotless, saying: I have overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God: then shall he be crowned with the crown of his glory, to sit on the throne of his power to reign forever and ever. But behold and lo, we saw the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were in number as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of Heaven, or as the sand upon the sea shore, and heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sitteth upon the throne forever and ever: for they shall be judged according to their works; and every man shall receive according to his own works, and his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared; and they shall be servants of the most High, but where God and Christ dwells they cannot come, worlds without end. This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.
But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpasseth all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion, which he commanded us we should not write, while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Ghost; which God bestows on those who love him and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory. And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.