Sterling brings up a question that I feel I should respond to right away or else some of our new members may be quite perplexed.
"J.J. in going through a few more archives, my eye caught one called The Two Messiahs.
"I must say that this one is very radical, and could be a breaking point for me in determining if you are pseudo/anti or if you are for real commissioned of God. You are going to need to do some pretty fancy explaining on this one.
"My reading of the scriptures and the witness born repeatedly in my soul is that Jesus Christ was the very son of God, the only begotten in the flesh, meaning that he had a mortal mother, Mary; and his sire, through the interposition of the Holy Ghost, was Heavenly Father. This is the final testimony that is given of him by John in the gospel of John, and it is confirmed in the Book of Mormon (John 1:18, 34, 49; 3:18, 6:69; 10:36; 11:27; 20:31; 1 Ne. 10:17; 11:6, 7, 18, 21, 24, 32; 1 Ne. 13:40; II Ne. 25:16, etc..).
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
"1 Nephi 13:40
And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records [Book of Mormon], which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first [the Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
"These are not just isolated verses. They are text mission statement verses.
How does what you say below coincide with this most crucial of facets of Jesus the Christ?
"To me it is the height of occultism to suggest that Jesus ("Joshua") was possessed of another spirit ("Melchizedek," the Christ element, according to you) from the time he was baptized, and that these two "entities" will manifest as separate personages in these last days. Furthermore, to suggest that Jesus was merely an incarnation of Joshua, Moses' successor, defies the teaching that he was the literal son of God.
"The highest I know, from all my experience and learning, the very core of my conviction, centers around Jesus as the Christ, the Savior of mankind, the Son of God.
"How answer you?"
Here's my answer. I hope you will do your best to read it in the light of the Spirit within.
The Mystery of Christ and His Coming
The greatest mystery man of all time is, of course, Jesus himself. What is his history? There is not a lot of information in the scriptures about his past, but there is some. For instance we read: "And John saw and bore record of the fullness of my glory, and the fullness of John's record is hereafter to be revealed. And he bore record saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was. (In other words before the "age" was or before the days of Adam.) Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, "EVEN THE MESSENGER OF SALVATION" D&C 93:6-8. Thus we see that in the dawn of time here on the earth, that Christ was the one who was called the "Messenger of Salvation." It is quite obvious that he must have had many lives of service to become what he was when he appeared to the Jews.
The scripture continues: "And I, John, saw that he received not of the fullness at first, (In his first life), but received grace for grace; and he received not of the fullness at first, but continued from grace to grace, (life to life), until he received a fullness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fullness at first... I give you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, (That is he, the Christ, is a man like unto ourselves, but with more experience), that ye may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time (after sufficient incarnations) receive of his fullness... He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things." D&C 93:12-14, 19, 28.
The scriptures make it obvious that Jesus lived more than one short life of thirty-three years: "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 4:15. Before I accepted the doctrine of reincarnation I often wondered how Jesus could have been tempted in all points as I have been, for I have often thought that I have been in many circumstances that he could not have been in, but now we can see how this scripture is actually true, that during his long probation of lives, he has been tempted in every way possible and came off victorious in his last life without sin. Now we can have much more application for another scripture:
"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb 2:18. Now we see that he is able to succor us because, in his vast experience, he has undergone every temptation imaginable. We see that "though he were a Son, get learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb 5;9-10
Now we can apply a larger perspective to the interpretation of this scripture. Christ learned obedience by the things which he suffered in past lives. His suffering in this life as the Christ, took place after he was already perfected, but he learned obedience by the things which he suffered in past lives which prepared him for a life as the Son of God. We are told that after he learned obedience by suffering, that he was "made perfect" and "became the author of eternal salvation". What does this mean, and what is perfection?
Perfection seems to mean different things to different people, and from a human standpoint, it could be defined as the highest idea of any individual. But since the highest ideal of each individual is somewhat different, then perfection would be different for almost everyone. For instance, Jesus was by no means perfect in the eyes of the learned Pharisees and Scribes.
They thought the perfect Messiah would idolize their law and traditions as they themselves did. The Christian world in the days of Joseph Smith thought he was far from perfect, for they thought a prophet should be very pious. Of course, he did not live up to this standard and even many converts were disappointed when they met him. Joseph once said that if Jesus himself were with them they would find many faults with him.
If perfection by human standards is the highest ideal of an individual, is there any such thing as real perfection? After all, no matter how high a person's ideal is, there is yet another higher throughout all eternity. There is no limit to a person's will to do good.
Unfortunately when something higher than a person's ideal is presented, the individual cannot recognize it unless he elevates his thoughts, and unless he does this, the person will stand in absolute blindness when faced with the greater reality, blindness so great that nothing from without can penetrate it. The Jews were completely ignorant to the fact that Jesus represented a greater reality. They thought he was less than perfection and presented a threat to their perfection; thus they sought to destroy him.
Would this mean that there is a greater reality than Christ? Yes, and he admitted it for he said: "My Father is greater than I am." (John 14:28) Jesus was able to recognize one greater than himself, but the Jews could not and this was why they were condemned. They saw perfection as only their highest ideal and could not accept the fact that there was nothing higher, and were called "the blind that lead the blind and both shall fall in the ditch".
The first step toward eternal progression is to remove this blindness and always be "opened" to the possibility that there may be, somewhere out there, a greater reality than we have ever before imagined. Many who read this will be amazed, a few years down the road, of all of the greater realities they will discover.
Taking the above logic into consideration, we may safely conclude that perfection, as it is understood by humanity, is an illusion and does not really exist, for there is no ultimate in achievement. Even as far as Christ is concerned, he is just a junior achiever in relation to his Father, and his Father is a mere junior executive in comparison to the Gods above him, for his Father's main responsibility is this planet whereas other's govern solar systems and galaxies and have a consciousness above anything that can be imagined even by Christ himself.
If this is so, then what is meant by the scripture which tells us that he was "made perfect?" To understand this we must examine the Greek. 'The words "made perfect" are translated from the Greek word TELEIOO which really has little to do with perfection as we understand it. As a matter of fact, there is no Greek or Hebrew equivalent for the English word perfection as it is applied to deity, for they had enough common sense to realize that such a word was meaningless. The word TELEIOO is more appropriately translated as "finish, fulfill, or consummate", and in the text of this scripture, it implies "To accomplish an assigned mission"
Jesus himself used this word in a similar context when he said: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish (From the Greek TELEIOO) his work." (John 4:34) Paul also said: "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish (TELEIOO) my course with joy." (Acts 20:24)
After Christ finished his assigned task, he became the author of "eternal salvation". "Eternal salvation" is another interesting pair of words, for neither one of them mean what they seem.
"Eternal" comes from the Greek AIONIOS which can mean one of three things: (1) something which can last for an age or a long period of time. (2) having an ageless quality or (3) at the end of an age. One has to look at the content to see how the word was intended to be used, and the key is given in the word salvation.
Salvation comes from the word SOTERIA which is more correctly rendered "deliverance" or "rescue". An equivalent Hebrew word is used in Joel: "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE DELIVERED [saved]: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." (Joel 2:30-32) Here we see that this word is used to indicate a deliverance at the end of the age. We see that the righteous will be "saved" from the calamities which will come upon the world.
Taking this into consideration let us retranslate the phrase: "And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him." It would be more correctly rendered as: "And completing the work which was expected of him, he made possible our deliverance at the end of the age." The work of the Christ made possible and paved the way for our deliverance thousands of years later. Of course, the prophets were concerned about a deliverance from evil at the end of the age, for they knew they would still be around and were willing to persevere until then.
Before we can appreciate who Jesus was in previous lives, we must understand who he was when he lived his life as the Christ. Many there are who think they understand this, yet are far from the truth, for the real truth is so fantastic that the average man could not even keep the thought in his mind for one minutes consideration; nevertheless, even the truth of this great matter is in the scriptures. The truth lies in that great statement by Jesus when he said: "I and My Father are one... the Father is in me, and I in him." John 10:30, & 38
Does this mean that the Father and the Son are merely one in purpose, or does the meaning go much deeper than this? As we examine the scriptures, we see that the meaning is far different than imagined, for John gives us a leading clue: "This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. AND I KNEW HIM NOT: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I coming baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, UPON WHOM THOU SHALT SEE THE SPIRIT DESCENDING AND REMAINING ON HIM, THE SAME IS HE WHICH BAPTIZETH WITH "THE HOLY GHOST". And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God." (John 1:30-34)
This scripture raises several interesting questions. First why was it that John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, yet John said of Jesus "I knew him not". You would think that if anyone knew that Jesus was the Christ that it would have been John for he was preparing the way for his own cousin!' You would have thought that Mary and Joseph would have explained to the forerunner that their son was the Son of God. Why was it that God himself had to identify the Son of God to John?
The startling answer is that before Jesus was baptized by John in Jordan, the Son of God was not on the earth, but John was aware of how he was to come and he was awaiting verification of this from God. Jesus was the reincarnation of Joshua from the days of Moses, but John and others were awaiting the presence of one far greater than him, and none were positive as to who it was that was going to receive this great entity in what we may want to call a divine possession, but a possession that was completely voluntary. We may more correctly call it an overshadowing presence.
John knew through the Spirit that the Son of God was to be revealed through the ordinances he was performing. He was awaiting that final confirmation when he would see the Spirit descend and "remain" with some holy man. When this finally happened with his cousin Jesus, he "saw and bare record that this is the Son of God." Who then was the Son of God? It was the Spirit that John saw descending on Jesus.
This entity was of such a high order that a pure body had to be prepared for him, for it could not, at that time, incarnate directly among the Sons of Men. Thus after this great Spirit descended and "remained" with Jesus, he became "one" with the Father within him and received great power and always gave recognition to that Spirit; and for three great years Jesus and the Son of God shared the same body. However, because of his great sacrifices Jesus has become known as the Son of God whereas the Spirit within him is usually referred to as the "Father" for they had a Father-Son relationship.
The Book of Mormon seems to identify two entities here: "I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son- The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son - And THEY ARE ONE God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth. And thus the flesh [Jesus] becoming subject to the Spirit [Christ], or the Son to the Father..." (Mosiah 15:1-5) (The meanings to these scriptures have even more depth than we are discussing so one must keep in mind that we are discussing only one aspect of truth here.)
The Doctrine and Covenants gives us further enlightenment on this doctrine: "I Am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. The Father, because he gave me of his fullness, [The Spirit descended on him], and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. I was in the world and received of my Father, AND THE WORKS OF HIM WERE PLAINLY MANIFEST. And John saw and bore record of the fullness of my glory, and the fullness of John's record is hereafter to be revealed." (D&C 93:3-6)
Why couldn't the fullness of John's record be revealed earlier? Why couldn't even Joseph Smith reveal it? Because the people were not prepared and scarcely are today, for when the fullness of the record of John is revealed it will undoubtedly reveal this doctrine, and who could abide such a revelation?
The scripture continues: "And I, John, bear record that he received a fullness of the glory of the Father; And he received all power both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, FOR HE DWELT IN HIM." (D&C 93:16-17) A careful reading of these scriptures will reveal that the meaning is literal as well as figurative. For instance Jesus said "My Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)
At one time Jesus tried to explain to his disciples that he was not working alone, that his power was not his alone, but was coming from another higher entity who he called the "Father". He said to his disciples: "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me Philip? HE THAT HATH SEEN ME HATH SEEN THE FATHER; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: But THE FATHER THAT DWELLETH IN ME, HE DOTH THE WORKS." (John 14:7-10)
Why was it that Jesus said that the Father was greater than himself if whoever saw him also saw the Father? The two statements are definitely contradictory with any other explanation except the one presented here. If they are one being then one cannot be greater than the other, but if they were two spirits co-existing in the same body, then the statement can make sense. In fact, if one will read all the scriptures concerning oneness in this light he will see this as a master key to a great mystery.
Mormons feel that both the Father and the Son look alike physically and that is why Jesus said "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father", but when one reads the whole scripture he will see that Jesus was not teaching this principle, even though it may be true. For instance, a few verses later Jesus tells us that they have seen the Father because the Father was in him, not because they both looked alike. He even went so far as to say that it was not him that did the great works they saw, but the Father, "he doeth the works."
There are numerous other scriptures that bear witness to the dual occupancy of the body of Jesus. One of the greatest was in response to a legitimate accusation of the Pharisees against the testimony of the mission of Jesus: "The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true." (John 8:13) In making this statement they were referring to their law which said: "At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." (Deut. 19:15) This was repeated by Paul: "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (II Cor 13:1)
Jesus gave an interesting response: "Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: FOR I AM NOT ALONE, BUT I AND THE FATHER THAT SENT ME. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of TWO MEN is true. I am one that beareth witness of myself, AND the Father that sent me beareth witness of me." (John 8:14-18)
Here Jesus claims that he was fulfilling the law of establishing the truth of his mission with the witness of "two men" for he clearly stated "I am not alone." Where then was the other man? This is what the Jews wondered for they asked him: "Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also." (John 8:19)
Later they asked him again: "Who art thou?" and he told them: "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me IS WITH ME: THE FATHER HATH NOT LEFT ME ALONE... I speak that which I have seen with my Father..." (John 8:25, 28-29 & 38)
Along this same line he also said: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: For what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise...I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There IS ANOTHER THAT BEARETH WITNESS OF ME." (John 5:19, 30-32)
This dual occupancy is called an overshadowing by some teachers of the race. The Spirit of Christ overshadowed the body of Jesus, and Jesus was in such harmony with the Christ that he always did what was communicated to him because he realized the Christ was a higher intelligence.
A rather inaccurate example, but the best available would be that of a scientist putting an implant within the brain of a friend that he wants to fill a mission for him. This implant allows the scientist to reproduce on a television screen all that his friend sees through his eyes. He is also capable of reading all of his thoughts as well as sending his own to his friend.
He sends his friend on a dangerous, but important mission to a ruthless and savage people, but promises him that he will be with him and provide safety with his greater knowledge and will tell him what to do. Whenever the friend encounters a situation he cannot handle, the scientist tells him the words to say, and they are not the man's words, but the scientist's.
The scientist decides to impress the barbarians with a few miracles, so he tells his friend to do some impressive things like walking on water for example. The friend does not fear for he knows the scientist will help him with his super scientific knowledge and reverse gravity for him. Then he tells others that the works he does are not his, but the one who sent him, but they do not understand.
It is a true principle that the tactics used by evil entities are a mere distorted reflection of divine action. This is true as far as demonic possession goes. It is but a copy of divine possession, except the difference is that evil takes away free agency and God always works with complete freedom of action.
What happened in the dual possession of the body of Jesus will also happen with a number of others before the Christ walks among us again in the flesh. Except this time, he will come in greater glory, for this time he may come in a body which is entirely his own. But before this can occur, there will be a number of temporary overshadowings.
Jesus said: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I WILL COME INTO HIM, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, EVEN AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:20-21) If we are to overcome by having one such as the Christ enter into us, and Jesus overcame in the same way, then Jesus would have had to have a second entity of higher spiritual standing come into him as part of the eternal process.
If we are to overcome by having one such as the Christ enter into us, and Jesus overcame in the same way, then Jesus would have had to have a second entity of higher spiritual standing come into him as part of the eternal process.
He also said: "And my Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in Me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I IN YOU. Wherefore, I am in your midst, and am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth on this rock shall never fall. And the day cometh that you SHALL HEAR MY VOICE, and know that I am. Watch therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen." D&C 50:43-46.
Here we have prophecies that we shall someday experience an overshadowing as Jesus did if we are worthy. They are actually prophecies that refer to the first stage of the second coming, for the second takes place in three steps.
The second coming of Christ has to be the most misunderstood doctrine in all Christendom, for there is not one of the sects that is even halfway preparing for it correctly, and where the Christ comes again he will again find his greatest response from the same type of people who received him the last time: The non religious people, and people who were ostracized from the normal religious community.
When Jesus was with the twelve they asked him: "What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the World[Greek: Age]?" The word "coming" comes from the Greek PAROUSIA which more correctly is translated as "presence". This word is used by Paul to demonstrate this: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence [PAROUSIA] only, but now much more in my absence." (Phil 2:12) PAROUSIA means the opposite of "absence". The word can also be translated as "nearness". The signs given in Matthew chapter twenty-four are indications of the nearness or the presence of Christ
The three stages of the coming of Christ are:
(1) The teaching and introduction of the Christ Consciousness; the lifting up of the Son of Man or the Christ consciousness in a large group of people.
(2) The partial and/or complete overshadowing of certain disciples and groups.
(3) The appearance of Christ himself in a physical body
The second step is the beginning of the presence of the entity who is Christ on the earth, for He shall indeed be present even though it may not be in a body of his own to start with, and this event is actually prophesied of in the scriptures themselves.
A careful reading of Zechariah will reveal that the persons mentioned as Joshua and Zerubbabel are representative of the Christ. Keeping this in mind let us read: "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be SEVEN EYES, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." (Zech 3:8-9)
Here we have mention of Joshua who is Jesus and the stone which is laid before him who was the overshadowing Christ, the stone of Israel. Then there is the servant, the BRANCH who is the one like Moses. Finally there is a group of disciples who are "wondered at." These persons are the seven eyes of the stone of Israel or the Christ. They are seven entities who shall experience the overshadowing presence of Christ as Jesus did. We see that when this will happen that the Lord will remove the iniquity out of the land. Thus it is obvious that it shall occur near the beginning of the new age of peace.
The seven eyes are mentioned again in the next chapter; "For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven, they are the eyes of the Lord, WHICH RUN TO AND FRO THROUGH THE WHOLE EARTH." (Zech 4:10)
We find another mention of this in the Book of Revelation: "And in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God SENT FORTH INTO ALL THE EARTH." (Rev 5:6)
Seven men are mentioned in another prophecy concerning Christ: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; [Christ] whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. [He has the experience of many lifetimes.]...And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then we shall raise against him SEVEN SHEPHERDS, and eight principle men." (Micah 5:2, 5)
We see from these scriptures that there will be seven men raised up in the last days who will be called the eyes of the Lord, and will run to and fro through the earth, and finally that they will assist the Christ in driving back the Assyrian or the Anti-Christ forces. Altogether there will be eight principle men if we include the Christ. They will be men of wonder because these seven men will be overshadowed and will fulfill the prophecy of doing even greater things than Jesus did, because the Christ will come in unto them and sup with them and the Christ has even more wisdom, experience and power than he had two thousand years ago, so we can look forward to great things ahead.
Christ will use these seven entities as seven projections of his presence through the assistance of other Masters in his group. His spirit will shift from one person to another as His overshadowing presence is needed, and will produce a tremendous effect as if there were a group of saviors on the earth.
The second stage in the presence of Christ involves a larger group of disciples; wherein the Christ within them will be manifest on a larger scale. These disciples will try and fulfill the commandment given by Paul: "Let this mind BE IN YOU, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." (Phil 2:5) In speaking of himself and faithful disciples he said: "But we have the mind of Christ." (I Cor 2:16)
Many people quote these scriptures, but few believe them. If we really have the mind of Christ, then we will find that all of the scriptures that apply to Jesus also apply to us. For instance, Jesus said: "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 3:13) We are also Sons of God who will ascend into heaven who have in the beginning come from heaven.
Jesus continues: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." (John 3:14) It is true that this corresponds to his death on the cross, but he also wanted to illustrate that each man should have the Son of man, or the mind of Christ, lifted up within him so that "when he shall appear we shall be like him". (I John 3:2)
Next Jesus said: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 3:15-16)
Not only should we believe the words and works of Jesus, but we must believe in and have faith in the Son of God that dwells within us. If we do this we can have everlasting life and life at the end of the age or in the age of peace. The Son of God that can be lifted up within every man forms a part of "Christ, the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is ONE Eternal God."
When we lift up the Son of Man within ourselves we also become the Only Begotten Son for we are an extension of the only Son there is, for all the sons of men share a oneness that few can realize. Paul tried to teach the real Christ when he said: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: SO ALSO IS Christ...Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular." (I Cor 12:12, 27)
Thus we see that Christ is an office that is composed of all those who take upon themselves his name. Everyone who listens to the sacrament prayer should be aware of this principle for we are told to "eat in remembrance of the BODY of thy Son [Which body is composed of many members], and witness unto thee, O God the eternal Father, THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO TAKE UPON THEM THE NAME OF THY SON..." (Moroni 4:3)
To take upon ourselves the name of the Son means a lot more than remembering the works of another man, however great he is. It means that we are to have the mind of Christ within us and to not think it mockery to be equal with God, or to be a "savior on Mount Zion", or a Christ. This principle is illustrated numerous times in the scriptures. For instance:
"And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should TAKE UPON YOU THE NAME OF Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this, shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; FOR HE SHALL BE CALLED BY THE NAME OF Christ. And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God." (Mosiah 5:8-10)
Jesus repeated this doctrine when he visited the Nephites: "Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name SHALL YE BE CALLED at the last day." (III Nephi 27:5) Again this is repeated in modern revelation: "Wherefore all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name SHALL THEY BE CALLED at the last day." (D&C 18:24)
We shall all bear the name of Christ if we are worthy and share the title of the only begotten. We are many members, but one body, "and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and BE MADE EQUAL WITH HIM." (D&C 88:107)
If we lift up the Son of Man in us as Jesus did, we will indeed eventually be made equal with him. In speaking of this group of disciples, Nephi said: "I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, who were the saints of God [Not necessarily the members of any denomination], were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small... And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord [those who take upon themselves his name], who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and WITH THE POWER OF GOD in great glory." (I Nephi 14:12-14)
What does it mean when it tells us that the saints of God will go forward with power and in great glory? Nephi gives us a perfect example when he prophesied of the mission of Jesus: "And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people in power and great glory." (I Nephi 11:28) We may safely conclude that when the righteous in the latter days go forth with power and great glory, they will go forth as saviors on Mount Zion and do the works of Jesus, and possibly the greater works that he spoke of, because they have lifted up the Son of man within themselves to reveal their true state as Sons of God.
The third stage of the second coming is the actual reappearance of the Christ himself. We say reappearance because he has not been gone to some far off heaven, but has been working right here on the earth for the past two thousand years, for did he not say: "and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [from the Greek AION] which means "Age." (Matt 28:20)
The Christ told us that he would be with us to the end of the age and he has fulfilled that promise by not leaving the earth, for this is the field of his mission. At present he has no stewardship on other worlds, even though the position of the Christ ministers to all worlds.
Christ has had numerous previous lives and many were great and noble ones, but he has not worked among men in the flesh since the days of Jesus. He has done much work in organizing a nucleus kingdom of heaven right here on the earth with a group of resurrected beings he calls the Spiritual Hierarchy of the Earth. He and other Masters of the resurrection, works constantly with mankind inspiring them to do good and laying foundations which will eventually produce peace on the earth.
Some people believe that Christ was Buddha in a past life, but he was not. Buddha was a separate entity who was sent to help bring enough enlightenment to mankind so they could accept his message of love, brought by the Christ. Christ was however Krishna in a past life who was the founder of Hinduism. Many of his acts and words are recorded in the BHAGAVAD-GITA.
Many also believe that Christ was Melchizedek and there are some indications of this in the scriptures. For instance, we are told that the Priesthood was changed in ancient times from the Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, to Melchizedek, making Melchizedek synonymous with the Son of God. Melchizedek was the Christ who was overshadowed by the Ancient of days, or the first Adam to come to the earth.
The first Adam is an even higher entity than the Christ for he has already been a savior on another world before he came to the earth. He has power to create a physical body (and the earth at will) which in the east is called a MAYAVIRUPA. Thus when he appeared on the earth as Melchizedek he became the "King of Salem, which is, King of peace; without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." (Heb 7:2-3)
Even though Joseph Smith said that this scripture was speaking of the Priesthood, it would also be true of the Ancient of Days for he has no father or mother in this world. It was revealed to me that when Abraham's name was changed, from Abram to Abraham, that he was overshadowed by a higher being. Even so the person who owned the body of Melchizedek was Christ, and he was overshadowed by Adam, or The Ancient of Days, for it is written of him (Melchizedek): "Now there were many before him, and also there were many afterwards, but none were greater." (Alma 13:19)
Before Christ will come again in a physical body, the first two steps have to be fulfilled as we have discussed. There must be people spiritually prepared to meet him, and since reincarnation is one of the more simple doctrines he will teach, we can see that there would be few ready to accept him with opened arms, especially among the Christian world. It is written: "When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory." (Psalms 102:16) Hence we see that a Zion condition will precede his coming and not be the result of it.
When Christ appears this time, he will not be the Jewish Messiah, for a lesser Avatar will appear to them, but he will fulfill the Messianic predictions of many of the major religions from Christianity to Moslem, to Hindu to the Buddhist, and this time he will not share a body with a disciple, but will have one of his own. Most probably he will create a MAYAVIRUPA and appear among men as an ordinary mortal at first as he did with Jesus.
At this point one would tend to object and say that the scriptures tell us that he will appear in power and great glory, but remember that is how Nephi prophesied that he would come the FIRST time. This misinterpretation is the reason that the Jews failed to recognize him and also is the reason many will fail to recognize him when he comes again. This is why it is written in the scriptures concerning the slothful: "And the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour THAT HE IS NOT AWARE." (Matt 24:50) In other words, many supposed disciples will meet and see the Christ and not even be aware of him.
Indeed, we are told that the righteous "shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, AND SHALL KNOW ME." (D&C 39:23) Most people believe they will know Christ whether they are righteous or not because the physical glory will make it obvious. They are not aware that the great glory will be spiritual as it was the first time and only the righteous shall "know" him. There will indeed be "weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth among the deceived who will not recognize their Lord whom they professed to know as the five foolish virgins hoped to be ready for the bridegroom.
When he comes it will be much different and more natural than any Christian dreams and, as it was last time, the less pious among the people will be the ones who will be his greatest disciples, whereas most orthodox Christians will reject him. This is as he anticipates. When he comes, even though it will be of a different nature than people expect, it will be found that all the scriptures regarding his coming is accurate, but will be interpreted in a different light just as they were with his first appearance.
When he is here he will not fly around like a bird, but will use an airplane like everyone else and thus "he will come in the clouds". When he begins to attract attention, he will be seen on television and "every eye will see him". He will also bring with him the "holy angels." The Greek for Angel means messenger. Thus Christ will bring with him other great disciples who will work with him.
Because of the nature of his coming, the Lord has put much stress on readiness so we can recognize him and assist him in his mighty work. We are told to "be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you [That is be filled with the Spirit], that you may be ready at the coming of the Bride groom." (D&C 33:17)
Also Jesus said, "Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matt 24:44) Again Jesus said: "I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shall not know what hour I will come upon thee." (Rev 3:3) In other words if we are not ready and watching and seeking, the Christ may pass us by and we may not even be aware which hour it was we saw him.
The time is at hand when the days of marvelous works and wonders are to appear. These writings are to help prepare the lights to awaken so they can receive the marvelous things to come. Unless they awaken and be aware, Christ will come as a thief and pass them by. Let us be among the wise virgins who have oil in their lamps, or the Holy Spirit in us, so we do not lean on the arm of flesh, and can be like prophets; and not let the scoffing of men bother us so we can follow the light within which will lead to a recognition of the Christ.
All the lights without are merely blinding lights that confuse and distort; therefore, let your eye be single that ye may be filled with light that "when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:2) "Wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth." D&C 27:5
Yes, it would be nice to sit down and have a drink with the Christ, our Elder Brother. And some of us will do just that.
Copyright 2000 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved