2 Nephi 9

2 Nephi 9: The Last Days and the Spirits of the Dead

                Jacob speaks to his brethren and tells them that he has come to the knowledge of the things he is about to teach as being part of the covenants of the Lord, that was promised through the house of Israel. Jacob explains that he knew; “…he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.” (2 Nephi 9:2)

In the Last Days, the Jews will come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Jacob explains to his people that he teaches of these things, so that they may be filled with joy, because of the promised blessings the Lord has in store for them.

What is the meaning of Life?

                Jacob knows that many of his people, and many of us in present day are searching for the answers to questions like; what is the meaning to life? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going after death? Etc. Jacob explains; “…I know that ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come; wherefore I know that ye know that our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God.” (2 Nephi 9:4)

Jacob makes the obvious point, we all must die. Has there ever been a recorded history of mortal men living forever? No. However, this does not mean that our life does not go on after death. If one is to believe that we have life after death, that means that there must be some sort of plan for this, correct? Our Heavenly Father has a plan for us, this plan was created before the world was!

Jacob explains this Plan of Salvation;

“…it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him. For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.” (2 Nephi 9:5-7)

Let’s step back and understand what Jacob is teaching. We know that Jesus Christ was sent to earth (our Redeemer) to Redeem us from our sins! What sins? In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve something called Agency, this Agency would allow for Adam and Eve to make their own choices, even if they were contrary to the commandments of God. This was necessary for God to give His children the ability to choose for themselves, whether they wanted to follow good or evil. This gave our life meaning and purpose, however, God was not about to leave us without a plan to return to Him.

Here we have the Plan of Salvation, God knew that Adam and Eve would disobey Him, but this was all part of the plan. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God by following the enticing’s of the Devil they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and thus given the opportunity to prove themselves in the world and become the first parents of all the Spirit Children of God. Because man was in a “fallen” state, i.e. we were unable to be in God’s presence. God gave us the Resurrection through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, who DIED FOR OUR SINS! Because Jesus Christ died for our sins, we were given a gift from God, Salvation! Because of Jesus Christ, we know had a way to return to God! But, we again have to use our Agency… Follow Jesus Christ on the pathway back to God? OR Follow Satan on the pathway to disobedience and destruction?

If God had not given us a Redeemer, Jesus Christ… we would have been dead spiritually. The Free gift of Salvation is ours to take as long as we can be a disciple of Christ. This means that we are disciple-ined (disciplined in the teachings of Christ, i.e. we follow His commandments). Jacob goes on to teach his people and praise God; “….O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.” (2 Nephi 9:13) God’s plan for us is perfect, we must choose who to follow in this life.

The purpose of Life? Follow God’s commandments, obtain knowledge and become as perfect as we can in this life. If we make mistakes, we recognize the mistakes and move past them, always bettering ourselves and those around us.

Jacob teaches that in the next life, when were are judged; “…we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and the irrighteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness…. it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.” (2 Nephi 9:14-15)

The only thing that goes with us into the next life is our knowledge and memories. Nothing else will go with us, therefore we should strive to value friendship and family… love for our neighbor and our God. Jacob explains that after we die, those; “….who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.” (2 Nephi 9:16) Essentially not much changes from the time we die. If we are miserable in this life and only desire material wealth… we will desire material wealth in the next life. If we are happy with our life and the basics we have, we will enjoy the next life.

Those who follow God will be delivered from the devil in the last days! “…he [Jesus Christ] cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day… he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God… if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.” (2 Nephi 9:22-24) Jesus Christ died for all our sins that we might be given a chance to prove ourselves in this life, be baptized and follow His commandments until the day the Lord calls us home.

No Law… No Punishment

                “…he has given a law; and where there is no law given there is no punishment; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for they are delivered by the power of him. For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 9:25-26)

God has given us laws and commandments so that there might be punishment and reward. For those who follow the commandments, the Lord has sent His Son to die for our sins, so that we can return to our Heavenly Father! Jacob warns of those who have been given the law, and chose to disobey… knowing full well that they are doing wickedness; “…wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!” (2 Nephi 9:27)

Wo unto those who think they are WISE:

Jacob explains that many who think they are wise, are actually foolish.

“…O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.” (2 Nephi 9:28)

Wo unto the…

  • “…unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.” (2 Nephi 9:30)
  •  “…wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they shall perish.” (2 Nephi 9:31)
  •  “…Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.” (2 Nephi 9:32)
  • “…Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities shall smite them at the last day.” (2 Nephi 9:33)
  • “…Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.” (2 Nephi 9:34)
  • “…Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die.” (2 Nephi 9:35)
  • “…Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell.” (2 Nephi 9:36)
  • “….wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.” (2 Nephi 9:37)
  • “…wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.” (2 Nephi 9:38)

Jacob encourages his people to follow the Lord and not to give into the enticing’s of the Devil; “…But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin? Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin.” (2 Nephi 9:47-48)

Because Jacob was called of God to speak unto his people, he must act as a teacher unto them… so that they might become holy. Jacob exhorts [urges] his people to follow God, that they might be quenched of their spiritual thirst

“Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.” (2 Nephi 9:50-51)

2 Nephi 2

2 Nephi 2: Agency is Important

                Lehi speaks to Jacob and promises him that God; “…shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.” (2 Nephi 2:2) Jacob shall find comfort and shall dwell in safety with his brother Nephi. Lehi explains that; “…the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.” (2 Nephi 2:4) Lehi goes on to explain that men are instructed to know good from evil and by the laws that are given unto mankind, we shall be justified. Lehi then explains that NO man can return to the presence of God without the merits and mercy of Jesus Christ. Even though Salvation if FREE, one has to have a broken heart and contrite spirit in order to accept this free gift.

“…redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth… he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah…” (2 Nephi 2:6-8)

Why does God permit suffering?

Lehi goes on to explain that there needs to be opposition in all things! He answers the grand old question; why does God permit suffering?

“…it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” (2 Nephi 2:11)

But why is this? For if there was no opposition in all things, there would have been no reason for our creation, for our very being! All things would; “…have been created for… naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.” (2 Nephi 2:12)

Atheists claim that there is no God, others who believe in God claim no need to follow God’s commandments, because salvation is free and no works are required for entering the Kingdom of God.

Lehi explains that this is not so;

“…if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.” (2 Nephi 2:13)

Science explains that every action, has an equal and opposite reaction. Here we see that there must be opposition in all things. We also see that without anything to be acted upon, all things would have vanished. Who or What acted first in the creation of all things? Science explains that everything was created from the Big Bang. We do not have to discredit science, for the universe most likely was created by something similar to what science has explained as the Big Bang. But what caused that? One could easily argue that science, as we know it, was created by a higher power. God must exist, or we would not exist.

Everything has its opposite

                From the very beginning, God has given us the ability to CHOOSE for ourselves. This choice is known as agency. We have been given the gift of agency, to ACT on our own accord, to be our own AGENTS. Go has given us this agency, and the ability to act as our own agents so that we could exist and have a reason for existence. After God had created the earth, the fowls of the air and the fields, God created our first parents [Adam and Eve] and gave the opposition; “…it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Nephi 2:15)

The Fall of Mankind: The Purpose of Mankind

                After rebelling against God in the pre-mortal existence, Satan was cast out of heaven and became a fallen angel. He was there [because God permitted him to be there] when Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. God did this, so that man could be their own agents. In order to choose for themselves, God needed to place opposition to the good. After being tempted by the devil to partake of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were cast out into the world so that men might be.

“And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.” (2 Nephi 2:21)

God gave the children of men [all mankind] a time of probation [their lives] to repent and follow the commandments of God that they might one day return to live with their Heavenly Father. Nevertheless, we were given the ability to choose to return to our Father in Heaven.

What if Adam did not Fall?

                Some look at the Fall of Adam as the ‘Original Sin’ that prevents us from having a paradise in this life. These same people claim that if Adam and Eve would not have partaken of the fruit, that we would be living in paradise in the Garden of Eden. All of the world’s problems today, would not exist. But, we too would not exist!

“…if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end… they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:22-25)

                ADAM FELL, THAT MEN MIGHT BE! Without the fall of Adam and Eve, WE WOULD NOT EXIST! God is all knowing, the opposition in the Garden of Eden was all part of the plan, He had for His children! Because Adam and Eve partook of the fruit, men were destined to be apart from God. But, God had this in mind, when he called a Savior for mankind!

“…the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.” (2 Nephi 2:26)

God made it possible for Jesus Christ to come and die for all our sins! Through His Atonement and Sacrifice we ARE ALL SAVED from the Original Sin. Jesus Christ RESTORED our ability to return to God! This ability to return to God, is FREE. Salvation is FREE. But, we are all FREE to choose good from evil. Therefore it is our choice to accept Salvation.

“…men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (2 Nephi 2:27)

Satan chose not to follow the Plan of Salvation, and because of His rebellion he was cast out of the presence of God. We, being FREE agents, have the ability to choose to follow God. If we choose to follow God, we must follow His commandments. Only then, can we accept His free gift of Salvation.

Moses 5

Moses 5: Adam and Eve Bring Forth Children

 

“And it came to pass that after I, the Lord God, had driven them out, that Adam began to till the earth, and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as I the Lord had commanded him. And Eve, also, his wife, did labor with him.” (Moses 5:1) God tells Moses that Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden and were now required to till the land and work for their food. It is interesting to note that God said that Adam and Eve worked together, Adam and Eve were not alone, they had each other.

“And Adam knew his wife, and she bare unto him sons and daughters, and they began to multiply and to replenish the earth. And from that time forth, the sons and daughters of Adam began to divide two and two in the land, and to till the land, and to tend flocks, and they also begat sons and daughters.” (Moses 5:2-3) Here we learn that Adam and Eve had many Sons and Daughters, who then separated off and had more sons and daughters. By this, Adam and Eve were able to fulfill the commandment of God to ‘multiple and replenish the earth’.

God tells Moses that since Adam and Eve man has had some sort of religion, Adam and Eve would pray unto the Lord and would hear His voice, but would not see His presence; “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.” (Moses 5:4)

From here, the Lord God gave them commandments and they fulfilled these commandments, even when they did not understand them. And he gave unto them commandments, that they shouldworship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of theirflocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.

God explains that Adam was filled with the Holy Ghost and that he bore witness of the Lord. Adam was also able to come to a knowledge of the reason both him and Eve had to transgress and break the commandments of God;  “… as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” (Moses 5:9-11) Here we learn that the Fall of Adam and Eve (or what some consider the ‘Original Sin’) was actually part of God’s Plan, for if they did not partake of the fruit, they would not have had their eyes opened and would not have had the knowledge that they now had. Eve even realized that if they had not partaken of the fruit, they would not have had children, for they knew not good or evil. Adam and Eve were both innocent and did not even know that they were both naked before they partook of the fruit; How were they supposed to of reproduced?

Here is the part of Moses where some may argue the thought of ‘Original Sin’ comes from; “…Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God; and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God…” (Moses 5:13) From this moment on, many of the decedents of Adam and Eve became; “…carnal, sensual, and devilish.” (Moses 5:13)

Adam and Eve have two more sons; Cain and Abel; “…Cain loved Satan more than God…” (Moses 5:18) Abel was loved by the Lord, because he brought forth great offerings unto the Lord; however Cain did not offer any good offerings unto the Lord, for he loved Satan. Cain begins to call himself “…Master Mahan, and he glorified in wickedness.” (Moses 5:31) Some believe that ‘Mahan’ refers to ‘Mind Destroyer’ and the ‘Great One’.

Cain calls Abel to the fields and while they are talking, Cain kills Abel. God knew that this would happen, but decides to ask Cain about what had happened; “…Cain: Where is Abel, thy brothers? And he [Cain] said: I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Moses 5:34) God becomes angry and asks why Cain had done such a thing? Cain responds that he was jealous of the things that Abel had and wanted to kill him because of that. God then punishes Cain, and curses him; “…thou shalt be curse from the earth…A fugitive and a vagabond [wanderer] shalt thou be in the earth…” (Moses 5:37) Cain, coming to the knowledge of what he had done, pleads with God; “…my punishment is great than I can bear.” (Moses 5:38)

In this chapter of Moses we are then drawn to the following family tree;

“…Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bare Enoch, and he also begat many sons and daughters. And he builded a city, and he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

“…unto Enoch was born Irad, and other sons and daughters. And Irad begat Mahujael, and other sons and daughters. And Mahujael begat Methusael, and other sons and daughters. And Methusael begat Lamech.

“…Lamech took unto himself two wives; the name of one being Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah… Adah bare Jabal… And Zillah, she also bare Tubal Cain…  the sister of Tubal Cain was called Naamah…. “ (Moses 5:42-46)

Lamech had entered into a covenant with Satan, wherein he became Master Mahan, who was; “…master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam; Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath’s sake. For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.” (Moses 5:49-51) Here we learn that after Cain was cursed, part of his family continued to worship Satan and from that time forward, they worked in secret combinations. Think about what is going on in the world today, or throughout all history! Who is behind all of the wars? Plagues? Etc… it is Satan.

The disbelief and wickedness of the Devil was spread throughout all of the earth to all of God’s children. Lamech and his entire house were also cursed by God, but the Devil continued to work hard to spread the word of wickedness and evil.

Because of this spread of wickedness, it was necessary from day one to preach the Gospel; “…thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof; and thus it was. Amen.” (Moses 5:58-59)

God had a plan for his children, and part of that plan is agency. God has given us a choice on who we should follow. It is obvious that we should follow God, and slowly learn our way back to him. Because Satan disobeyed and rebelled, He was cast out of Heaven and never given the ability to obtain an earthly body. For this reason Satan desires that all be miserable like unto himself.

1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4: Gospel Preached unto the Dead

Peter writes that just as Christ had suffered for our sins in the flesh, we should do “…likewise  with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2) If we cease from sin (or at least do our best) we can please God by doing His will.

Peter then goes on to ask an important question; “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6) Why is this important? Because it helps us to understand God’s Plan for us; Remember when Jesus Christ died on the cross and then rose 3 days later? Where did He go for those three days? Jesus Christ went to the Spirit World to teach those who were in ‘Spirit Prison’, who did not hear the word of God or have the opportunity in this life. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God;

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God… for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” (John 5:25;28)

Peter goes on to explain that we should have Charity; “…for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Peter is not saying to  go out an sin, but what he is saying is that if we DO sin, we can be forgiven of our sins easier if we are actively engaged in charity.

Peter encourages us to; “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” (1 Peter 4:9) He also advises that if we suffer in this life, we are suffering like Jesus did… which means that when Jesus Christ reveals His glory in the Second Coming, we will also have part of that glory and joy; “…rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:13)

1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3: Christ Preached in the Spirit World

                Peter writes about how wives should be in subjection of their husbands, Peter gives the explain that “…Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord…” (1 Peter 3:6). Some might say that this is sexist, however Peter explains exactly what this relationship between husband and wife should look like; “…husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife… being heirs together of the grace of life… be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another.” (1 Peter 3:6-8)

Wives being subject to their husbands really means that the husband acts as the head of the household… but does so as an equal partner. In the Family: A Proclamation to the World the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lay out the roles for husband and wife:

“HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children… Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners…” (Family: A Proclamation to the World – The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of theChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – September 23, 1995)

Peter continues to explain that we need to “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in your with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) – Peter is telling us that if someone comes asking a sincere question, we should be ready to answer them. However if someone is just trying to fight with you or to argue over different beliefs…then you should not answer them.

Peter explains that “…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 in the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which some were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20) Essentially Christ suffered our sins, so why wouldn’t we not suffer for the consequence of our sins in the flesh? Here we also learn that Christ after he was crucified went to teach Spirits in the spirit prison. This is sort of like “purgatory” but not exactly, it is more of a waiting room for those who were not baptized with the proper authority while on the earth or who never learned about Jesus Christ. Once Jesus Christ returns for the Second Coming, then those people will be judged and given their kingdom in heaven. Remember what Jesus Christ said to the thieves that were on either side of Him? “…Jesus said unto him… To day shalt thou be with me in paradise…” (Luke 23:43) After death, and before we pass over into “heaven”, we go to Spirit Paradise or Spirit Prison.

Titus 1

Titus 1: Eternal Life Promised before the World was

                Paul writes to Titus, and explains to him that eternal life was “…promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2) Paul explains that a bishop has stewardship over the flock of God; “…a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, not given to filthy lucre. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort [urge] and convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:7-9)

Paul explains that a Bishop must be all of those things, because of men who try to change the truth and lead people away by the “…commandments of men…” (Titus 1:14) For these people “…profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient…” (Titus 1:16)

2 Corinthians 12

2 Corinthians 12: The Third Heaven – Paradise

                Paul opens by explaining that as an Apostle of the Lord, it is not; “…doubtless… I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 12:1)  Apostles of the Lord can and will have visions and revelations! With that being said, Paul goes on to explain that he knew a man who had gone to the third heaven. Paul explains that he did not know if it was in body or spirit that he knew this man. Paul explains; “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (2 Corinthians 12:2) What is the Third Heaven? Paul continues; “…he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words…” (2 Corinthians 12:4) Earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul also spoke about the “Third Heaven”; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

3 Degrees of Glory

What Paul spoke of is something extremely important, yet many Christians either do not understand what he speaks of, or simply decide to ignore it. Through modern revelation, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that Paul is speaking of the Three Degrees of Glory that are found in the Plan of Salvation. So, what is the Plan of Salvation? It is a plan that God has given to us, to understand the deepest questions of our soul; Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where are we going after death?

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Placed into my scriptures at: 1 Corinthians 15:40-42

In my scriptures I have a small piece of paper inserted into my Bible that outlines this plan. It is there to help me remember the sacred love that God has for us all! Before the world was created, we all lived with God! We are His offspring, however we lacked one major thing that God possessed, and that was knowledge and experience. While we will never EVER become God, we can however strive to be LIKE Him! God (Our Heavenly Father) wants us to become like Him and because of this He created a world for us to live and dwell, that we might learn and grow from our trials and tribulations.

Where did we come from?

                The Book of Genesis recounts the story of the Creation; where God created not only the world, but also created man to dwell on the earth. He provided our first parents (Adam and Eve) to make their own choices in the Garden of Eden, disobeying Father meant that they were cast out of the Garden. Men “fell” from the presence of God, and as a consequence would have to work by the “…sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19) Mankind would now have to work and learn by themselves, without the presence of God directly in their lives. Mankind would have to walk by faith and not by sight.

Many Christians argue that what Adam and Eve did was a sin, and because of that sin, we are all born with an “original sin”. However, what Adam and Eve did was actually part of the Plan that God had set in motion forever. In the Book of Mormon we learn about the purpose of the Fall of Adam and Eve;

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy…. The Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because… they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon… and they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seethe that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (The Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 2:25-27)

The Book of Mormon helps us to understand more of the Plan of Salvation. Yes, Adam and Eve did disobey a commandment of God. They partook of the Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in defiance of God’s word. However, God being all knowing, knew that they would disobey. He set in motion a savior for them [for all mankind] that we might be able to choose good from evil.

Are we born with sin? No. We read in Ezekiel that; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son…” (Ezekiel 18:20)

When Christ came to the earth, He died for our sins and with His grace we can all be saved. Salvation is a FREE gift! Accepting it however is our own choice! With acceptance of this FREE gift, we are asked to live by God’s commandments and become a Disciple of Christ! What does Disciple mean? Disciple comes from the same root word as “Discipline”, therefore disciples are disciplined in the commandments of God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ! It is not enough to just say you accept Christ into your life. You must constantly prove those words to be true, through your actions!

Why are we here?

                While we are on this earth we have a choice to either follow Jesus Christ or Satan. Following Satan means that we will not be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven, but rather live an eternity of anguish where; “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Luke 13:28)

                If we chose to follow Jesus Christ, we must through personal revelation come to a knowledge of Him and have Faith in him. We must repent of our sins and be baptized as he was baptized. After baptism we must also receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Power and Authority of the Priesthood. Upon completing these steps, we must then live our lives in accordance to the covenant and promises we made at baptism. We must follow His commandments and live as He would live. Then and only then can we return to live with our Father in Heaven and be “…caught up into paradise…” (2 Corinthians 12:4) as Paul had spoken.

Where are we going?

                Finally, we ask “where are we going after death”? The Gospel of Jesus Christ through modern revelation has revealed the answers to these questions. We all know that we will die, and when we die we will go to a Spirit World where we will wait for the Day of Judgment. Those who were faithful to the Lord will wait in a state of Paradise and those who were not faithful or did not have the opportunity to learn about Christ during their earth life will have an opportunity to be taught and accept the Gospel on the other side.

When Jesus Christ finally comes for a Second time, all men and women will be judged according to their works, merits, and intents of their heart. Upon the completion of this Judgment, each person will receive their glory according to the guidelines mentioned. This is where Paul speaks of “Three Heavens”. This is the Glory of the Sun, Moon and Stars.

 The_Plan_of_Salvation

                Paul ends his address by explaining that his; “…grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

                We too must remember that God has a plan for each one of us; the Plan of Salvation helps us to understand the most basic questions of life’s supposedly “unanswered” questions. The truth of the matter is this… God speak today, He has authorized servants speaking on His behalf! We are not alone, nor has God abandoned us! We need to remember that God is GOOD, and He knows what’s best for us… if we are faced with difficulties, we need to remember that with weakness, vulnerability, in infirmities and in trials… comes STRENGTH!

“…for when I am WEAK, then am I STRONG.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

1 Corinthians 15

1 Corinthians 15: Baptisms for the Dead

                Paul preaches to the Corinthians and tells them that the Gospel he preached to them is the word of God and that Jesus Christ did in fact die for our sins; “…that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures; “(1 Corinthians 15:4) Paul explains that the evidence of Him is all around, for many saw His great works and miracles. Paul explains that all men will be resurrected, Paul explains that if there is no resurrection then Jesus Christ also did not rise on the third day; “…if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ is be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14) Paul goes on to make a very bold statement; “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” (1 Corinthians 15:16)

Essentially we learn that if you believe that Christ rose on the third day, then you must also believe that all men will one day be resurrected. Paul goes on to explain the purpose of Jesus Christ and the Fall/Redemption of Mankind through Him;

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive… Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him…. 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 Corinthians 15:20-29)

So, Paul is telling us that through the Fall of Adam and Eve, death was brought into the world, but through Jesus Christ we can eventually overcome that death. The Corinthians participated in Baptisms for the Dead and because of this Paul was essentially asking them; ‘if you don’t believe in resurrection, why are you participating in the baptisms of the dead?’ – From this we learn that Baptisms for the Dead were performed in ancient times and that it was for the very purpose of those who did not get a baptism in this life. This practice of Vicarious Work is done today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paul goes on to explain what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints already know as the Plan of Salvation. Paul describes the different bodies; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory…” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)