LIFE AFTER DEATH
Learn about your beginning, your spiritual life, spiritual opportunities in mortal life, spiritual life after death, the resurrection, and life in eternity. After our spiritual creation, our spirits remain immortal for eternity. Our spirits are joined at birth to a mortal physical body. Those who worshipped the God of Israel, honored Jesus, obeyed the gospel, and were faithful and obedient to the will of God spend the time between death and the resurrection with all saints of God—in the bosom of Abraham. All men will be saved—receive an immortal, physical body—in either the resurrection of the just, or the resurrection of the unjust. Saints of God will receive their immortal, physical bodies at the first resurrection and live with Jesus on the earth for the Sabbath of Creation. After death, all others live with the spirits in prison (hell) until the resurrection of the unjust. Those honorable men of the earth that accept the gospel in the spirit will also inherit the earth with the saints for the Millennium. The faithful and obedient have the great hope of living on the earth for eternity with the Father and Jesus in the celestial glory.
Mortal life is but a brief moment in eternity. The greatest duty we owe to ourselves and our families in this mortal life is to know God, understand His will, honor Jesus, and secure our salvation in eternity. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) Thousands of different churches and religions teach differently about life after death; and how a person is to reap rewards in eternity. Only a few will find the gate to eternal life. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13, 14)
Joseph Smith wrote, “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.”
The first question that must be resolved is whether there is life after death. If God was to appear to you, and teach you of life, death, and eternity, you would have a perfect witness. If you were to talk to one who had died, you would have a perfect witness. God has appeared to man and directed him according to His will; and promised a glorious life after death to the faithful and obedient. Adam walked with God and learned the will of God from His own lips. Enoch knew God. Noah knew God. Moses talked to God face to face as a friend (Ex. 33:11). God appeared as a man to Abraham; and ate with him in his tent (Gen. 18:1). Jacob wrestled with God. “30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Gen. 32) When Jesus returns to gather his people and resurrect the righteous, He will talk to them face to face and show them the wounds He received on the cross.
“6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zech. 13) “34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt , so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezek. 20)
You have most likely heard of a place called Katmandu . It is unlikely that you have ever been there. Yet, do you question its existence? Most places and events we accept based on the testimony of reliable witnesses.
We have four thousand years of reliable witnesses in the Bible that attest there is life after death. Prophets of God spoke with God; and their words are to us as from the mouth of God. The testimony of the prophets of God, of Jesus, and the twelve Apostles are immutable evidence of life after death and of the resurrection. Many of these sealed their testimony with their own blood. All of the twelve Apostles, except John, were martyred. Thousands more followed. “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19)
Those who understand the restoration of the gospel, and appreciate that Joseph Smith and James J. Strang were Prophets of God, have a more recent testimony. Their gospel work reached from 1830 to 1856. Both knew God and Jesus personally; and also many of the Prophets of old. Like Prophets of God before them, they offered themselves to be martyred as true witnesses to the truth of their missions. “35 … whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8) The Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith, is a great testimony to the truth of the Bible; and of life after death. The Book of the Law of the Lord, translated by James J. Strang, brings to light the law that was given to Adam and to Moses, was the most important book of Scripture until lost during the Babylonian Captivity; and is another witness of life after death. Both books were prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel, “19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph [Book of Mormon], which is in the hand of Ephraim [Joseph Smith], and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah [Book of the Law], and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37)
There is no “Thus saith the Lord” in Babylon . Christianity was successful because it brought belief in a living God and in the actual resurrection of the man Jesus Christ. Being a man, His resurrection was the most perfect testimony of life after death. After Jesus completed His three day mission preaching the gospel to the spirits in prison (hell), He appeared to Mary while he was yet in the spirit. He had not yet been resurrected. “17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20) Only GOD held the power required to resurrect Jesus. “14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” (Acts 3)
Jesus now sits on the right of GOD holding power over our resurrection. “32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. 34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD [GOD]said unto my Lord [Jesus], Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2) “18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28) “18 I am he that liveth [as a spirit from the beginning of this creation], and was dead [spent three days in hell]; and, behold, I am alive for evermore [as a resurrected Savior], Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death [of the resurrection].” (Rev. 1)
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples; and even prepared a meal for them (John 21:12 ). “39 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.” (Luke 24) “3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1)
Many other saints were resurrected shortly after Jesus; and visited the saints establishing a broad base of reliable witnesses. “52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matt. 27) Several of these testimonies have been handed down to us that we may know that there is truly life after death.
Before we can understand life, death, and eternity, we must first understand our life through its various estates in eternity. We were first all begotten as spirits. Our individual identity is our spirit; and we are eternal. “5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1) “13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3)
GOD has neither beginning, nor end. “17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1) “15 Which in his [Jesus] times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Tim. 6)
Jesus was the beginning, or the first spirit, of this creation—the only begotten spirit of the Father. “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 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22) The first spirits of this creation are also called morning stars—Jesus being the first. “16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Rev. 22)
Jesus is the God of this creation. The Father is GOD over the entire Universe. “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. 11) “28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14) The spirit of Jesus was begotten of the Father. His physical body was of the seed of Abraham , Judah , and David through the male line from Adam to Joseph.
All of the rest of this creation was the product of Jesus in liaison with the Father. “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1) “26 And God said, Let us [GOD and Jesus] make man 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)
This was the spiritual creation of man. The fact that the first account of creation in Genesis, chapter one, was spiritual is reflected in the beginning of the second chapter. “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) All of mankind, both male and female, were first begotten as spirits, “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).
Lucifer was among the first stars or spirits—a morning star. He rebelled against God and Jesus thinking to take away man’s free moral agency and stand above Jesus over the rest of the congregation. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! 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) For this rebellion he was cast down, never to receive a physical body. Lucifer, the third of the begotten spirits that followed him (Rev. 12:4), and the sons of perdition from mortal life will spend eternity as spirits. They will be cast away after the last resurrection never to associate with the rest of this creation (Rev. 20:10). It should serve as a strong lesson to those who would rebel against the will and laws of God. “30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12)
Some spirits were loyal followers of Jesus during this rebellion. These were sons of God during our first estate. “4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 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)
Saints of God have been known as sons of God since before the foundation of the earth; and will always be known by that name. “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” ( Rom. 8) It was our works during this first estate as spirits that determines many of the spiritual opportunities in mortal life. Those who were faithful and obedient during this first estate were also for-ordained to various offices in the priesthood and to hear the gospel in mortal life. “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)
Adam was first to have his spirit united with a physical body, “7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [his spirit]; and man became a living soul [spiritual body and physical body are united].” (Gen. 2) After death Adam became Michael, the Archangel . Out of Adam, God made the first physical woman, Eve, “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) After the fall of Adam and Eve, their bodies became mortal and capable of having children. The rest of the spirits of mankind are united with a physical body at birth. “13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3)
Spiritual opportunities in mortal life are the result of our faithfulness and obedience to the will of God during our first estate. For-ordination is always carried through the male line; as only the male carries the seed of man. “9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he [his for-ordination] was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” (Heb. 7) Genealogy was counted only through the male line. The daughters of man are often not even recorded.
The law of God required Jesus to be of the seed of Abraham, the seed of Judah , and the seed of David. “1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. …6 And Jesse begat David the king. …16 And Jacob begat Joseph.” (Matt. 1) “3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” ( Rom. 1) Mary was of the tribe of Levi.
Jesus became the greatest witness for life after death. He was the only man who kept a perfect law being without sin. “15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4) As the fall of man was by a man, the redemption of man had to come through another man. “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. …15 For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” ( Rom. 5) In the beginning, Jesus brought forth all of our spirits; and in the end has all power over our resurrection. “18 I am he that liveth [the first spirit or beginning of this creation], and was dead [His spirit spent three days in hell]; and, behold, I am alive for evermore [as a resurrected Savior], Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev. 1)
Only a few in the history of the world have been called of God to know God, Jesus, the gospel, and the fullness of His law. “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7) These have been Apostles, Prophets, true ministers of God, and saints of God—sons of God.
Those who were worthy in their first estate are given the great election of knowing God and obeying the gospel in mortal life. Through the gospel of Christ man can be confirmed into the kingdom of God ; but, only faithfulness and obedience gives hope of a better resurrection. “22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 10) Proper baptism washes away prior sins. Only a murderer has no forgiveness in mortal life. If a person returns to sin, he loses that grace which would afford him the greatest happiness after death. Those who live for all and choose the good—the honorable men of the earth—have the wonders of eternity opened to them.
Those who are faithful and obedient to the end of mortal life have the promise of the great approbation—the celestial glory. “22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 10) “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev. 21)
All men are given the basic law of God. Every civilization understands the law of God as it relates to social behavior. The opportunity to choose the good and reject the evil has been understood by all. God has given the basic elements of His law to every people. Every civilization has known the evil involved in killing, adultery, stealing, and lying. They understand the joy of proper marital and social relationships. They understand the necessity of caring for the poor and the needy.
There is one theme that permeates the whole Bible: man must live according to the will and laws of God. This was true in the beginning, is true in mortal life, and will be true in eternity. “31 Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 22) “15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24) “15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14) “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21)
All men know they should not kill, commit adultery, steal, or lie. Those who live for themselves, for their family, and for society obey these laws. “39 Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22) Except for knowing God and obeying the gospel their lives are in obedience to the law of God. After death, they will again have a perfect knowledge of God. After they are baptized for the dead, they have the hope of the terrestrial glory and later that of the celestial glory.
Those who were not honorable men of the earth must spend time in hell with the spirits in prison. Those who choose to live to themselves, and choose the evil, will spend the time from death to the resurrection of the unjust in hell. “8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21) They cannot be resurrected until the resurrection of the unjust and inherit the telestial glory in eternity. Even there they have the opportunity to live and be sanctified by the law of God.
Imagine the comparison of a lifetime of seventy years with even a billion years in eternity. The comparison defies comprehension. Yet, the wonders in eternity are dependent on our mortal lives during this very short span of time. It is our choice to subject our will to that of God and live by His law, or to suffer the reprobation of men lost to their own will.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
The heaven hell dogma that entered Christianity does not accurately portray the real events after death. Our spirit is our real identity or personal reality. It is eternal. We all existed as spirits before being joined at birth with a mortal body. We live in mortality as a spirit united with a mortal body—living souls. After death, our spirit is taken back to God, is judged, and then spends the time between death and the resurrection either in the bosom of Abraham, or with the spirits in prison (hell). “23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16) This is not a literal flame; as fire would have no effect on a spirit. It is a mental torment caused by the realization that keeping an honorable life during a brief mortal life would have brought countless blessings in eternity.
Those who worship the God of Israel, obey the gospel, and remain faithful and obedient to the will and law of God to the end of life are taken to the bosom of Abraham to be joined with all the saints of God. All others are taken to the spirits in prison (hell).
After the crucifixion of Jesus, His spirit went to the spirits in prison (hell). Death is not the end of spiritual opportunity. Jesus opened a dispensation of the gospel to them; which allows them to hear and obey the gospel. “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 [mortal body died], but quickened by the Spirit [His spirit like ours is eternal]: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 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 Pet. 4)
All men must obey the gospel to enter the kingdom of heaven. “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) After Jesus opened a dispensation to the spirits in prison, He opened a dispensation for baptism of the dead through Peter. “29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15) Under the direction of a Prophet, saints in mortal life are baptized for the dead who accept the gospel while with the spirits in prison.
Jesus is the Savior of all men. All men will receive an immortal, physical body in either the resurrection of the just, or the resurrection of the unjust. “10 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) “Those that believe” are those that obeyed the gospel of Christ. “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” ( Rom. 1) They live as spirits with Abraham and the saints of God; and come forth in the resurrection of the just at the beginning of the Sabbath of Creation.
“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)
LIFE IN ETERNITY
After the Millennium, Satan is loosed for a short season; and then comes the end of mortal man; “and there shall be no more death.” (Rev. 21:4) All of the rest of mankind, except for the sons of perdition, are resurrected. Satan, his followers, and the sons of perdition are cast into the bottomless pit for eternity. The rest of mankind enters their final phase in eternity as immortal, resurrected souls. “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 taught, “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14) There are three glories prepared for man in eternity. “40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars [telestial]: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15) “12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev. 22)
Those who worship the true and living God of Israel, honor Jesus as their Savior, obey the gospel, and endure faithful and obedient to the laws of God will inherit the highest glory in eternity—the celestial glory. The earth, having kept a perfect law, will take on its celestial glory; and become the habitation of the Father, Jesus, and all the saints of God who were faithful and obedient in mortal life.
“3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 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 things are passed away. … 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. …22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21)
The celestial glory is a sole glory and differs from the terrestrial and telestial glories as the sun differs from the moon and the stars in glory. They come forth in the resurrection of the just; and inherit the earth for eternity. They dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son and share the same glory. These are the church of the First-born who live equal in power, might, and dominion for eternity. They are just men made perfect through the grace of Jesus. They are gods; even sons of God. “6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” (Ps. 82) “34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10) “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” ( Rom. 8) Before a person can inherit any glory in eternity, he must live by the law of that glory. Unless a person can live as one with all others and abide a celestial or perfect law, he cannot inherit the celestial glory.
God alone has omniscience or a perfect knowledge of all things and all times. “10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46) To be like God will be to have access to unlimited knowledge. God alone is omnipresent as it is within His power to be any place within the Universe at any time. To be like God will be to have mobility across the Universe; and to be able to visit other planets and glories as easy as walking next door. The wonder of this glory is beyond the comprehension of mortal man.
The terrestrial glory is a sole glory and differs in glory as the moon differs from the sun and the stars. This will be the inheritance of those saints who were not honorable in their mortal lives; and those honorable men of the earth who accept the gospel in the spirit. They receive the presence of the Son; but, not the fullness of the Father.
The telestial glory differs in glory as the stars differ from the sun and the moon. These never accepted the gospel of Christ. They cannot share in the forgiving grace of Jesus; because they never repented and obeyed the gospel. They are judged only by their own works. They sought their own will in their first estate, in mortal life, and in death. This will be the inheritance of those who refuse to submit their will to the will of God; even after death. There will be many different degrees of glory; even as one star differs from another. Yet, even this lowest glory is so wondrous that is surpasses the understanding of the mortal mind. There will also be kingdoms without glory for the worst of the human race.
OPPORTUNITY IN ETERNITY
The first creed in Christianity was authored by the unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. It stated, “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” “9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15) After the end of the short season at the end of the Millennium, death will be no more and Satan with his followers, and the sons of perdition, will be cast into the bottomless pit for eternity. For the beast [ Rome ] that originated this creed, it is true. “10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20)
For all others spiritual opportunity continues in eternity. There is eternal progression for those who improve themselves and are able to abide a higher law. Those who inherit the terrestrial glory will be administered to by those of the celestial glory; and have the opportunity to advance according to their own will and obedience to the law of the celestial glory. Those who inherit the telestial glory will be administered to by those of the terrestrial glory; and have the opportunity to advance to the terrestrial glory according to their ability to live by the law of that glory. Eternity is endless in opportunity. Those who are not redeemed in eternity are those whose nature is not capable of improvement.
A SPECIAL INVITATION
You’re invited to walk on the path of light and know the living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Discover the truth about the real Jesus and His sacrifice. John the Baptist was a Priest of the Levitical Priesthood. Yet, he did not hold divine authority to baptize with the Spirit (Matt. 3:11 ). Jesus was ordained to the higher Melchisedec Priesthood (Heb. 5:5). He organized the kingdom with the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood that held divine authority to baptize with the Spirit and confirm men into the kingdom of God . Only these officers were given the power of the gospel (1 Thess. 1; Matt. 16:19 ). At least one of these officers is required “for the work of the ministry” and “the perfecting of the saints.” “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 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 fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)
I am an Elder of the Melchisedec Priesthood—holding divine authority to baptize and confirm you into the kingdom of God . Obey the gospel of Christ; and become a member of the kingdom of God . If you are able to understand this special invitation, you have been given the greatest opportunity ever given to man in the flesh—an opportunity to inherit the earth with the Father and the Son; and enter eternal life in the celestial glory. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27) “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:7, 8)
Here is a truly special invitation. The kingdom of heaven is at hand (within your reach). Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will be born of the Spirit, receive a gift of the Holy Ghost, and enjoy all the blessings prepared for saints of God.
Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion