Eternal Lives, Chapter 11

This entry is part 11 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Seeing They See Not

After Jesus gave the parable of the sower his disciples came to him and asked: “Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, BUT TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore, I speak to them in parables: because SEEING THEY SEE NOT; and hearing they hear not neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matt 13:11-18

Many people have the idea that Jesus taught in parables to make it easy for the common people to understand what he was talking about, but here he clearly tells us that the purpose of the parable was to give a surface meaning which would make people think they see and understand, yet the real meaning would lie concealed, which real meaning is one of the “Mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” Thus the people say “I see”, but see not. They say “I understand”, but they understand not just as Isaiah prophesied would be the case.

For some strange reason everyone who reads the Bible today believes that they are much smarter than the common people in the days of Jesus. They read the parables over, and also many other sayings of Jesus, and they say “I see, I see,” yet they see not. They see no more than did the common people at the days of Jesus. If this is so then what are the mysteries hidden in the sayings of Jesus and who can find them out?

Actually, many of the deeper interpretations were never written down in Jesus’s lifetime, but were passed down orally to those who were ready for the deeper doctrines and there were many things that were not even revealed to the apostles. Jesus said: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” John 16:12

Joseph Smith had a similar problem to Jesus in that he could not relate all that he knew. One time he said: “The design of the great God in sending us into this world, and organizing us to prepare us for eternal worlds, I shall keep in my own bosom at present.” DHC 5:403 He also said “It is not always wise to relate all truth.” DHC 6:608. Clearly, he followed this philosophy for when he was at one time expounding on some parables he was asked: “What is the meaning of the scripture, ‘He that is faithful over a few things shall be made ruler over many; and he that is faithful over many, shall be made ruler over many more?’ What is the meaning of the parable of the ten talents? Also the conversation with Nicodemus ‘Except a man be born of water and of the spirit?’ were questions put to me which I shall not answer at present.” DHC 5:325.

Why would not Joseph explain simple things like the parable of the talents and the conversation with Nicodemus? After all do not church members often hear the meaning expounded in Sunday school??? It’s obvious, isn’t it, that there are deeper meanings than that which we hear in the 2 1/2 minute talks. Let us see if we can find some of them out.

Nicodemus, we are told, was a ruler of the Jews. He was curious about Jesus, but since Jesus was condemned by the general authorities of the day he did not dare visit with him openly so he went secretly “by night.” He acknowledged to Jesus that he must be sent from God and Jesus told him: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the SECOND TIME into his mother’s womb, and be born? 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 3:3-5

Most of us are familiar with the orthodox interpretation of the above scripture. That is: To be born again means to be baptized which is a symbol of a new birth. This is also the meaning of being born of water. Being born of the spirit refers to receiving the Holy Ghost. This interpretation is well and good, but it CANNOT be the meaning that Joseph Smith refused to reveal, because the above orthodox meaning was already abroad in the church and was by no means a secret. Obviously, there is more than one meaning.

The key to understanding the writings of the prophets is to discern the manner in which they were written and that is this: God inspired all his holy teachers to write their words in such a manner that there would be as many TRUE correspondences as possible. By having more than one true correspondence to each parable, story or scripture more than one truth could be communicated in one writing. There would be the surface correspondence for the masses and two or more deeper correspondences for those who “search the scriptures”. Where the scripture is not corrupted there is generally a numerical correspondence which is interesting to delve into, but serves no purpose in this writing.

Nephi understood this key to interpreting the scriptures: “I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” I Nephi 19:23 By using the spirit and correspondences Nephi was able to write clear interpretations of a large portion of Isaiah. If correspondences can be accurately worked out we can generally feel safe with the meaning ascertained.

Nephi felt comfortable in relating the scriptures of Isaiah and others to his people because they correspond and not because the original intent of the writer was meant only for his people. All writings inspired by the Holy Ghost has multiple meanings and applications because a lower truth always corresponds with a higher one.

One meaning then of being born again to see the kingdom of God is a physical rebirth or reincarnation, for the kingdom was not established in the days of Jesus and was a future event which was prophesied of by Daniel: “And in the days of these kings (Ten kings – Rev 17:12) shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” Daniel 2:44 A further reading of the entire chapter will tell us that this applies to a literal physical kingdom where the righteous will rule the earth. Such a kingdom is not yet here so how will a righteous man who lived in the days of Jesus attain it? He would have to be born again (reincarnated) to actually see this peaceful kingdom in the flesh.

On the other hand, there is also a kingdom of God within the person spiritually born again so we see that at least two interpretations have correspondences here.

Besides this scripture there was one other that Joseph Smith refused to comment on in his day and that was the parable of the talents and the statement “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” Matt 25:21

Let us quote the parable in full and examine it more closely: “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord’s money. After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliverest unto me five talents: behold I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliverest unto me two talents: behold I have gained two other talents beside them. His Lord said unto him, hell done, good and faithful servant; thou hast teen faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

“Then he which had received the one talent came and said Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

“His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gathered where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of His glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Matt 25: 14-32.

There are a number of correct correspondences to this scripture and several of them have been successfully enumerated but let us examine the core meaning which is not generally elaborated. To help understand this more fully the reader should compare it to Luke 19:11-27. This should also be read before continuing.

We find here several important points. First, the fulfillment of the scripture pertains to the Lord’s second coming and second he is speaking to his servants on whom he bestowed the keys and authority of the kingdom. Quoting from Luke, the parable begins: “And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. and he called his ten servants, and he delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” Luke 19:11-13

Here we find that one of the main reasons the Lord gave this parable was because his disciples thought that the physical kingdom was going to manifest in their day, but Jesus explained that the certain nobleman (who was himself) was going to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. The far country is the abiding place of Jesus until his return. In that age Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world so he had to go away from the world to “receive for himself a kingdom”. How is he going to receive himself a kingdom away from the world?

When Jesus went to the far country he was alone among the perfected sons of God from humanity, but he was the “firstborn among many brethren.” Rom 8:29. As disciples became worthy they were received by Christ as an associate in this far country and personally trained by him. This is how he was to “receive for himself a kingdom and return”. One by one after his resurrection he received worthy brethren who were anointed to be kings and priests and began to form the nucleus of the kingdom to come. When his kingdom in the far country was large enough he would then return and rule the earth fulfilling the scripture: “For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: AND WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH.” Rev 5:9-10

While Christ was building a kingdom in the far country he was also concerned with keeping a foothold in this world so he called a number of servants and commanded them to “Occupy till I come.” Luke 19:13

This was a difficult commandment for his little band of troops which was expected to be upheld for several thousand years for numerous incarnations. Of these he said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out (of incarnation) and find pasture.” John 10:9

Concerning those who were not disciples, but were to be citizens we are told that they “hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14.

Thus it was. After Jesus left, his little flock tried to “occupy” with the true doctrine of the kingdom, but the world would not have it and they hated the true Christ and made up one of their own that they could outwardly love. So here we have a prophecy of the great apostasy. Even though the gospel was restored in part we find here that the apostasy will be mostly in effect until he comes. For instance we read that “the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; UNTIL THE ANCIENT OF DAYS CAME, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints POSSESSED THE KINGDOM.” Dan 7:21-22. Thus we see that the kingdom will not be established with the saints in possession until Christ and the Ancient of Days return.

“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, HAVING RECEIVED THE KINGDOM, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” Luke 19:15

We see that when Christ returns he will have already received the kingdom in this far country, but his first priority is his servants. He wants to know what they have done with the talents he has given them. And what are the talents? The talents are the gifts of the Spirit and the keys and powers of God delegated to them. In other words, the Lord expects his servants to keep the oath and covenant of the priesthood and magnify their calling.

Magnifying our callings goes a lot deeper than most realize, yet an understanding is very important for we are told that “whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come.” D&C 84:41

The Lord was angry with the slothful servant because he broke his commitments and did not magnify his calling. He may have been a Sunday School teacher, Bishop, and many other things, but if he merely upheld the status quo and tried only to do what was necessary in his office then that was not enough. The priesthood is separate from any office and this is what the servants are under covenant to magnify.

To understand how this is successfully done we must examine the faithful servants: We know they brought their master an increase, but an increase in what? Was it converts? No. For it was an increase in something the Lord gave them before he left and he left them virtually no converts. He explained that he gave them the talents to “occupy till I come”. In other words the talents include the power to occupy a foothold for the kingdom in the world. Jesus established a foothold through the power of his faith while he was here and he expected his disciples to continue with “greater works” while he was gone so that the foothold that he established would have an increase.

We find that the slothful servant hid up his talent because he was “afraid”. In other words, it was more because of fear than laziness that he did not magnify his calling. It’s quite possible that he was very busy making use of every minute of time, but in the wrong activity, that is an activity that did not require any courage for it takes great courage to try and magnify the foothold that Christ established on the earth and why is this? The parable itself explains: “But his citizens HATED him, and sent a message after him saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14. Jesus also explained: “Ye shall be hated of all men for my namesake.” Matt 10:22. This explains why the wicked servant was full of fear. He feared the persecution of the world by those who hate the true kingdom of Christ and desire the status quo instead. “Verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.” D& C 67:3

To boldly go forth and establish a dominion for Christ on the earth always brings fear and persecution from the unprepared. This is why we always have those wicked servants among us who are afraid and want to water down the doctrine of Christ and say that Zion is only the pure in heart (of whom they claim to be) and that no literal gathering of Israel is necessary unless Jesus himself were to come do it for us.

On the other hand, those who magnify their calling will be given an increase in dominion, in other words “authority over ten cities”. Luke 19:17 It is interesting to note that Joseph Smith said that Zion was to be established by the building of “cities” and interestingly the faithful will soon have the opportunity to build communities of light.

Some will be given authority over more than cities for it is written: “But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto; the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron.” Rev 2:25-27

This is the reward of the righteous servant; to receive an increase in dominion, but before he can receive an increase he has to at least work toward establishing a dominion to begin with.

We are further told in the parable that if one is faithful over a few things he will be made ruler over many. The meaning of this is multifold. He who is faithful in using a few spiritual gifts will be made a master over many. He who is faithful in magnifying the small amount of power he has will be given a greater fullness. He who wisely disperses the knowledge he receives will be given hidden treasures. And finally he who works for the literal establishment of Zion will be given dominions over cities and more which he will rule, and finally eternal lives in the eternal worlds where he will eventually have share dominion over earths and various solar systems.

On the other hand, the reward of the wicked servant was to be cast “into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 25:30 The wicked servant will think that the Lord will receive him with opened arms but to his dismay he will discover merely rehashing a few old platitudes is not enough to satisfy the Lord, but “Precept MUST be added to precept.”

Finally the master will command: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” Luke 19:27 There will be great disruption before the coming of the Lord but the scripture also refers to a mental destruction. Old worn out ideas and dogmas will be slain by the powerful words and reasoning of the Lord when he comes, as well as by his servants who will pave the way for him, A man clinging to one of the many fables that Paul prophesied that men would believe in will appear to be a fool when placed beside one who has the fullness of the Spirit and their reasoning will not be able to stand. They will not abide the brightness of his coming which comes as a bright light and a whirlwind of pure knowledge executed with wisdom.

We can also see from this parable that one needs to understand reincarnation for a full understanding for the servants will toil in the world until the Lord comes and the patterns they set with their works will follow them from lifetime to lifetime and eventually from world to world.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 12

This entry is part 12 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

The Prodigal Son

Another parable worthy of elaboration is the story of the prodigal son: “A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, gather give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him to the fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’ I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy Son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said unto his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath recovered him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. and he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:11-32.

Those who say “I see, I see,” but do not see merely think this parable exemplifies two typical sons, one good and faithful and the other wayward. It is true that this is the surface meaning that Jesus intended to convey, but he was also illustrating several larger truths for those who “search the scriptures”.

The most obvious inner meaning is that of the “Father.” This represents “Our Father in heaven”.

The Father had two sons. The two sons represents two classifications of beings who dwelt in his presence. The one group was happy to stay in the Father’s presence at all times and did not want to venture forth into the lower worlds of material creations which would bring sin and separation from God. The other son said: “Father, give me the powers and gifts of my Sonship and I will go forth to the material worlds of creation and use these powers to bring honor and glory to thy name.”

The Father said in return: “As you will my son, for this is the path I chose in a previous round. But, be careful that the material worlds do not affect to great of hold on thee else ye fall and forget your inherit Godhood and think yourself only a material creation.”

Thus the son ventured off to “a far country” which was the planet earth, but instead of honoring the Father’s name he misused his powers and “wasted his substance in riotous living”.

Here we are talking about not one son of God, but a group who came here thousands of years ago to be the seed of Adam, for unknown to many there were men on the earth before Adam. For instance Hyrum Smith said: “There were prophets on the earth BEFORE Adam, and Joseph has the spirit and power of all the prophets.” Mill Star Vol. 23:Pg 406.. Orson Hyde said: “The world was peopled before the days of Adam as much as it was before the days of Noah.” JD 2:79.

The last Adam came and brought with him many righteous spirits who were to incarnate as his posterity and were to use the great gifts of the Spirit and Priesthood, or their inheritance from their Father, to be a light to the world of men who were in darkness. But instead of his posterity showing themselves to be true sons of God they “fell” into materialism and became trapped on this planet in an apparently endless series incarnations where they found themselves to be as other men spending their time in riotous living until they wasted all of their inheritance so it appeared as if they were no more sons of God.

Next a great famine arose and the son began to be in want. Instead of looking to his father, for he no longer felt he was worthy and was not sufficiently humble, “he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country.” In other words, he relied on the arm of flesh in his hour of spiritual need, but in looking to man for the gifts of the Spirit he found that he about starved to death for the unspiritual man inherently despises the true son of God and “sent him to the fields to feed swine.” Thus the son Of God walked in the low places of the earth unnoticed by the great and mighty of the earth and the authorities in the various religions.

The Son became desperate so that “he would feign have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: no man gave unto him.” This elect Son of God was almost deceived by the craftiness of men to the extent that he almost accepted the doctrines of men completely for “no man gave unto him” the gifts of the Spirit. finally in the midst of this bottomless pit a great thought entered into his consciousness: “When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” The Son finally comes to himself after numerous lives of feeding the swine and living in the mire of materialism. It dawns on his consciousness that there has to be something better than the doctrines of men. He realizes that he no longer has to rely or! the arm of flesh for his food, that he doesn’t have to go through his priest or bishop or even a church to obtain access to the Father, but that he can go direct and receive spiritual gifts just as any servant of the Father can receive so he says to himself: “I will arise and go to my father.”

However, going direct to the Father, considering his past unworthiness, seems to him to be a bold thing and he feels unworthy in doing so and thinks to himself: “I Will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

Thus the son arises to go to the Father in anticipation of merely being a servant of God, but as soon as he aspires to be a true servant of worth having true humility he draws the attention of the Father even though his views were “a great way off”.

“But when he was yet a great way off his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

We are told that the Father had compassion because the Father was aware of the son’s experience with the pigs in the mire and the great famine and of his son’s “fall”, and because he had a similar experience as a youth he “had compassion” and rejoiced at his return. At this point the son received a glorious surprise. He was not met with scorn and ridicule by his father, but with great rejoicing and whereas he thought he would be lucky to be considered a servant, he was again proclaimed to be a son and since the resources of the Father are inexhaustible the son finds himself restored to all the Father has. They had a great party or the marriage feast of the lamb and the Father said: “This my son was dead (was subjected to the spiritual death or the fall) and is alive again.” (brought back into the presence of God).

However, when the older son found out about the merriment over the return of the fallen son he became angry because the Father had never killed a fatted calf for him that he might make merry with his friends. In other words, the first son had never fallen so deeply into matter and experienced the great sorrows that he may know great joy, but the Father said unto him “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” Even though the first son shares all that the Father has he does not appreciate it and partake of as great joy as the second son for he had not experienced the great battle with opposition; thus the second son actually achieves the greater experience, joy and glory by descending below all things that he might rise above all things.

This earth is sometimes referred to as the battleground of the gods for it is a planet of unique sorrows and sufferings which can bring in the end, great joy to him that overcometh. Other beings of a fairly exalted nature who are timid to venture forth into this battleground tend to look upon the victors here with awe and an almost godly type of jealousy at their conquest and return home.

As the Lord was discussing various kingdoms and heavenly bodies he gave a parable to Joseph Smith: “Behold, I will liken these ‘kingdoms unto a man having a field, and he sent forth his servants into the field to dig in the field. And he said unto the first: Go ye and labor in the field, and in the first hour I will come unto you, and ye shall behold the joy of my countenance. And he said unto the second: Go ye also into the field, and in the second hour I will visit you with the joy of my countenance. And also unto the third saying: I will visit you; and unto the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth. And the Lord of the field went unto the first in the first hour, and tarried with him all that hour, and he was made glad with the light of the countenance of his lord. And then he withdrew from the first that he might visit the second also, and the third, and the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth. And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their Lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season- beginning at the first, and so on unto the last, and from the last unto the first, and from the first unto the last; Every man in his own order, until his hour was finished, even according as his Lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified in him, and he in his lord, that they might all be glorified. Therefore, unto this parable I will liken all these kingdoms, and the inhabitants thereof – every kingdom in its hour, and in its time, and in its season, even according to the decree which God hath made. And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near.” D&C 88:51-62

Again the meaning of the parable is multifold. For instance on the earthly scale there are twelve divisions among mankind, symbolized by the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. God visits each nation in its time as the prophet says:

“For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.”
II Nephi 29:12

Each nation and people have their hour when they are visited by a messenger of God representing the Christ. Every people has their holy words and scriptures. Even though they are not recognized by Christians, they are still the words of God through visitation of the Spirit adapted to the capacity of the various peoples.

On a larger scale there are divisions of twelve, seven and three, many of which are unknown to us, but all will be visited by a higher life performing the work of redemption. And what is that?

The name of Jesus Christ means “anointed to deliver.” Jesus did not intend to keep the name just for himself, but advised all of his followers to take the name upon themselves. All enlightened souls are anointed to deliver those of a lower vibration. When we have been “saved,” or elevated, by someone above us, then it is our mission to lift or deliver others to higher ground. There is a universal rule which tells us that we cannot go higher until we have given out what we have learned and assisted in lifting our brethren to where we are. When we have done this, then another will come along and lift us to higher ground. This is the principle behind the name of Jesus Christ. To believe on His name is to believe on this principle, that there are higher lives in the universe waiting to help deliver, or “save” us when we are ready.

When we are visited by one representing the office of Christ this Being will seek to lift us up to the next kingdom which we call the Kingdom of God. But then there are a “higher order of kingdoms” (D&C 130:10) than even the celestial, and beings in the higher order of kingdoms representing he redeeming power of Christ on an still higher level “visit” the celestial kingdom and seek to deliver them from the lower to a yet higher.

And thus the work of eternal progression goes forward within twelve kingdoms, yes, verily, twelve times twelve times twelve – eternal lives on the eternal worlds.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 13

This entry is part 13 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Who’s Who

When. one considers the doctrine of reincarnation his mind will naturally reflect not only on who he may have been, but also others in history who have held high esteem in his eyes. One may consider the good guys such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, , Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the bad guys such as Nero, Hitler, Boggs and others. One wonders what other roles they played in history and even more interestingly – Are they here on the earth again with us now?

One clue as to possible past lives may lie in some of the substitute names given in the Doctrine and Covenants. For instance Joseph Smith is referred to as Enoch, Gazelam, and Baurak Ale. (See D&C 78:1, 82:11 & 103:21) Newell K. Whitney called Ahashdah, (D&C 96:2j John Johnson is Zombre (D&C 96:9), Sidney Rigdon is Pelogoram (104:22), Oliver Cowdery is Olihah (104:22), Martin Harris is Mahemson (104:24), and Frederick G. Williams is Shederlaomach (104:27).

All of these names except for Enoch are original names. Instead of being merely code names could the/Lord have actually been giving out their previous identities in some ancient land such as Egypt, Israel, or America? On the other hand, just because Joseph was called Enoch here is not iron clad proof that he was Enoch who built the city, but it is quite possible that all of our famous Mormon brethren could have lived in numerous ancient civilizations of which we have no record. Perhaps Joseph as Baurak Ale was quite famous at some ancient time, but is now forgotten to history.

More impressive is the Lord’s associating the brethren with certain Biblical characters. For instance there is a strong indication that Oliver Cowdery was Aaron. Oliver was told: “You have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold it hath told you many things; Behold there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands.” D&C 8:6-8.

This scripture is even more striking when one considers that a very important word has been changed. In the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants it reads: “Rod of Aaron” instead of “Gift of Aaron”. The word “gift” does not make sense because Oliver was told that he would hold it in his hands. It is interesting then that Oliver was given a rod just as Aaron was, and his rod generated power just as Aaron’s did.

Oliver was the first with Joseph to receive the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist, and he was ordained in an earthly ordinance to this priesthood, even before Joseph Smith, by the Prophet. Oliver was told that he was “called and ordained EVEN AS AARON”. D&C 27:8.

Concerning Edward Partridge it was written that “he is like unto Nathaniel of old, in whom there is no guile.” D&C 41:11 Could this be the Lord’s way of hinting that he was Nathaniel in a previous incarnation?

Was Hyrum, Hiram, King of Tyre from the Old Testament? Could it be that Brigham Young was King Solomon? Just as King Solomon built the temple without the sound of a hammer (I Kings 6:7) so did Brigham construct the tabernacle in Salt Lake without hammer or nails. Both are famous for having many wives and furthermore, Solomon had sculptured lions on both sides of his throne and ornamenting his house just as Brigham had two of them guarding the entrance of his home he called “the Lion House”. Brigham was often referred to as “the lion of the Lord.” You will also notice that many of Brigham’s sermons sound amazingly like the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastics written by Solomon.

One would naturally wonder what place in history Joseph Smith would have played. Perhaps it was a longer one than one would even dream for Hyrum said: “There were prophets before Adam, and JOSEPH HAS THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF ALL THE PROPHETS”. Mill Star Vol. 23; Page 406.

In revealing a few elementary mysteries Joseph said: “would to God I had forty days and nights to tell it all.” DHC 6:313 A short time later in the same speech he said: “No man knows my history. I cannot tell it. I shall never undertake it. I don’t blame anyone for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself… When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all. Amen.” DHC 6:317.

This was a strange statement for the Prophet to make, for many were quite acquainted with his history in that life He usually had a scribe at his side at all times just for the purpose of keeping a historical record. There were quite a number of saints familiar with the ministering of angels and visions that he experienced so the question naturally arises as to what history he was referring to that he could not disclose? He also indicated that the saints did not know him at that time, but would when the archangel would call him forth and weigh him in the balance. Is it not obvious then that the history he was referring to was before his birth?

This is indicated in another quote: “Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would want to call it blasphemy and want to take my life.” Life of Heber C. Kimball Page 333.

When one reads between the lines here it is obvious that Joseph Smith had a knowledge of some of his past lives and was very hesitant to reveal them.

The Lord, however, gave several hints in various revelations: “He shall be blessed unto eternal life; and his name is Joseph.” D&C 18:8 Also:: “THOU ART JOSEPH, and wast called to do the work of the Lord.” D&C 3:9 Was the Lord here identifying him in a dual manner, not only as Joseph Smith, but as a previous Joseph such as the one who was sold into Egypt? Is this why Joseph of old, when prophesying of the mission of Joseph Smith, wrote of him: “He shall be like unto me.” II Nephi 3:15.

Why was Joseph Smith told that he was “called and chosen to WRITE the Book of Mormon”? We know that as Joseph Smith he did not write the book, but translated it. The one most responsible for compiling and writing it as it reads was Mormon. Could this be a clue that Joseph was once this ancient hero? This would mean that Moroni was no stranger to Joseph for they had worked together before (Since Mormon was his father)..

His mother gives an interesting account of Joseph’s early childhood that indicates that Joseph had flashbacks to lives on the ancient American continent: “During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He could describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, AS IF HE HAD SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE WITH THEM.” LUCY SMITH BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, Pg. 85.

It is interesting that this occurred when he was a young boy before he ever met Moroni in this life and before he was supposed to know anything about those ancient inhabitants. It sounds as if he were merely recalling his past life experiences just as numerous young people do today to an ever increasing degree.

We shall try here to verify Joseph’s past lives by some amount of reasoning process for we realize that the reader cannot be expected to accept all that is written on intuition alone.

The most obvious past life of Joseph Smith is that of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Several years before his death Joseph Smith prepared for himself an elaborate tomb and he insisted it be called: “The tomb of JOSEPH, a descendant of Jacob.” DHC 5:127 He was indeed a descendant of Jacob, for Jacob was once his father.

Joseph evidently had Brigham Young convinced that he was going to reenact the performance of ancient Joseph for Brigham said: “Yet he (Joseph) will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world.” DHC 6:16.

Now if we could find evidence as to the other lives of ancient Joseph we would have a clue as to other lives of Joseph Smith. Fortunately there is one clue in the scriptures in the Psalms of David: This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I (David living as Joseph) HEARD A LANGUAGE THAT I UNDERSTOOD NOT. I (the Lord) removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. Thou callest in trouble, and I delivered thee; and answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I PROVED THEE AT THE WATERS OF MERIBAH.” Psalms 81:5-7

Here we are told quite plainly that David was both Joseph and later Moses. David clearly said that as Joseph he had heard a language that he understood not, that being the language of the Egyptians after he was taken into captivity. The Lord here also told David that he was proved or tested at “the waters of Meribah”. This is a flashback to his life as Moses where he smote the rock at the place he named Meribah arid brought forth water for Israel to drink, but at that time Moses failed the test and did not give glory to the Lord; thus he was not allowed to enter the promised land. (See Exodus 17:5-7) Seeing then that the Lord was aware of David’s valiant lives as Moses and Joseph he called David “a man after his own heart” (I Sam 13:14) when he was yet but a lad. We can also see why “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him” (Ex 13:19) when he left Egypt, for Moses was once Joseph. In another way Moses was taking the bones of Joseph by merely bringing himself out of Egypt. It was quite fitting for this entity to deliver Israel, for it was because of him that Israel moved to Egypt in the first place.

Since we have an indication here that Joseph Smith was once ancient Joseph, Moses and David one may ask how this could be so since Moses appeared to Joseph Smith. (See D&C 110:11) This is easily explained since .Moses as a head of a dispensation could also be represented as an office just as the Christ, Elijah and Elias are. For instance the one who spoke to Nephi several hours before the birth of Christ identified himself as the savior, but it could very well have been an angel representing Christ since his birth was a mere few hours away.

Also the God that appeared to Moses said: “And worlds without number have I created…and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” Moses 1:33.

It is fairly obvious that one being did not make all there is nor is there only one Only Begotten. Joseph Smith said: “The heads (Plural) of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take that view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods.” DHC 6:476.

Joseph stated: “Jesus is one of a grand order of Saviors. Every world has its distinctive Savior and every dispensation its Christ.” Women in Mormondom by Edward W. Tullidge; Page 192.

Thus we see that when a being achieves the position of the Father or a Christ that he can identify with the creators of all there is just as the Being did who appeared to Moses.

There is quite a lot of evidence that Joseph Smith could have been Moses for not only did he receive writing of ancient Joseph but received the Book of Moses. When he received the Book of Moses could it have been a mere recalling of something previously written?

Concerning Moses Joseph Smith said: “Moses was a stammering sort of boy like me.” DHC 6:478

Interestingly Joseph was told that the Lord would raise up one like Moses: “Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man who shall lead them LIKE AS MOSES led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.” D&C 103:15-18

An elaboration of the redemption of Zion is given in the Doctrine and Covenants 101:44-62 and here the Lord talks about a servant who will redeem Zion “after many days”. Then the Lord says: “My servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.) is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.” D&C 103:2

It is obvious then that Joseph Smith and the one like Moses are the same person for they are both prophesied to redeem Zion.. Also read D&C 105: 26-27,37. Joseph said that his father in a blessing “anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led them in the days of old.” DHC 2:380

In speaking of this future Moses the Book of Mormon says: “And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing.” II Nephi 3:17-18

This is also in harmony with the prophesy of the one Mighty and Strong: “And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God.” D&C 85:7

Here the One Mighty and Strong is like unto Moses for he will have a “scepter of power” or a rod like Moses. Next he will have light for a covering just as Moses did numerous times and his mouth shall utter words, eternal words (words that shall not pass away, or be forgotten) like Moses did.

The Lord gives a strong indication that Joseph Smith will be this mighty and strong one to set the kingdom in order for he told him: “And this shall be your business and mission IN ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, AND SET IN ORDER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THIS CHURCH AND KINGDOM.” D&C 90:16

If Joseph Smith is to be the one like unto Moses it is small wonder that the Lord told him: “But a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion.” D&C 122:4 This never happened in his lifetime but the scripture would certainly be fulfilled if Joseph was given powers similar to ancient Moses.

There are many indications that Joseph Smith will be sent to dwell with us again. After he was commanded to mentally prepare himself the Lord told him the reason was “that ye may be prepared in all things WHEN I SHALL SEND YOU AGAIN to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.” D&C 88:80

Joseph Smith himself prophesied of his second coming for in speaking to the Nauvoo Legion he said: “You have faithfully performed your duty, in preserving the lives of the people as well as mine. You shall be called the first elders of this church…And your mission will be to the nations of the earth to preach the gospel, and to gather many people to the fastness of the rocky mountains, and many of those who will come in under your ministry because of their learning will seek for position and they will gain eminence over you, and you will walk in low places unnoticed. Yet you will know all that transpires in your midst. Those who are your friends are my friends AND I PROMISE YOU WHEN I COME AGAIN I WILL LEAD YOU FORTH, SO THAT WHERE I AM YOU SHALL BE WITH ME.” LIFE STORY OF WANDLES MACE, by himself; pages 131-132.

We also have a similar promise given in a revelation to Parley P. Pratt that Joseph would come again in the flesh; Just after Joseph and Hyrum were shot Parley was pondering in his heart as to how he was going to explain his death to the saints. He was quite concerned because it appeared to him that all of the promises made to Joseph were not yet fulfilled and he prayed thus: “O Lord! In the name of Jesus Christ I pray thee, show me what these things mean, and what I shall say unto thy people? On a sudden the Spirit of God came upon me, and filled my heart with joy and gladness indescribable; and which the spirit of revelation glowed in my bosom with as visible a warmth and gladness as if it were a fire. The Spirit said unto me: ‘Lift up your head and rejoice; for behold! It is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, AND HE SHALL STAND IN DUE TIME ON THE EARTH IN THE FLESH, AND FULFILL THAT TO WHICH HE IS APPOINTED.” Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt; Page 333.

After one has studied the chapter called PROMISES UNFULFILLED he can see why God made this statement for we see here that there are many promises made to Joseph that he did not fulfill in that life.

Unfortunately, the average Mormon will merely think that the above two quotes has reference to Joseph’s return as a resurrected immortal being. Anything that cannot be explained by the normal reasoning process he will feel will be explained in the resurrection. This is partially true since reincarnation is the resurrection of KRISIS as explained in the Bible, but it is not the resurrection to immortality.

There are several obvious reasons why Joseph will not come back as an immortal being among which are:

(1) There is no precedent. Never in history has God sent a resurrected being to accomplish what can be done by mortal men.

(2) The scriptures indicate that Joseph will live to be eighty-five years of age when the Lord comes. To fulfill this he would have to be born here in the flesh.

(3) Brigham Young said Joseph Smith would be able to buy up the world as ancient Joseph did. Can you imagine the Lord sending a resurrected being to do this?

(4) Joseph was told that he would lead his people as Moses. To be as Moses he would have to be a mortal as Moses was.

(5) Joseph was promised that he would be the one to redeem Zion. The one who will do this is refereed to as the marred servant “marred more than the sons of men”. (See Isa 52:24 & III Nephi 20:44.) Does it make sense that Joseph Smith would appear to lead the saints to Zion in a resurrected body that is also marred?

(6) Joseph was promised that he would restore all things. (See D&C 132:40&45) There are many things yet to be restored which was left unfinished when he died. Some things yet to be restored are: (a) The sealed portion of the gold plates. (b) The fullness of the record of John. Joseph Smith was specifically promised that he would restore this. (See D&C 93:6) (c) The ten lost tribes. (d) The Bible and lost scriptures are yet to be restored in their original form. (e) Joseph said the fullness of the priesthood is yet to be restored.

(7) Joseph is to reveal all the mysteries until the Lord comes: “And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, AND THE THINGS WHICH SHALL COME FROM THIS TIME UNTIL THE TIME OF MY COMING, if he abide in me.” D&C 35:18. Also see DHC 2:32

(8) Joseph commented on several occasions that he would go to hell to redeem his wayward wife Emma for when he received the revelation on plural marriage and later presented it to her she was furious. Hyram tried to break the revelation to her gently and he returned to Joseph commenting that he had never received such a tongue lashing in his life. Later he presented it to Emma in person and Emma was so upset she took the revelation into the other room and burnt it in the fireplace thinking it was the only copy. (See JD 17:159.)

Brigham Young once said that she was more full of the devil than any woman he ever met. Even so Joseph loved her despite her opposition for she seemed to undergo some personality change after the revelation on plural marriage. Joseph once said to Benjamin Johnson: “Benjamin, look at these children, how could I help loving their mother. If necessary I would go to hell for such a woman.” Johnson to Gibb page 4. Brigham Young commented on this and said that if Joseph wanted Emma then he would have to go to hell to get her, but where is hell? We have already concluded and proven from the scriptures that it is right here on this earth. Thus it is logical that he would come back to this earth as a mortal and keep his promise to find his estranged wife again.

(9) Finally, Joseph is to be the one mighty and strong and “set in order the house of God.” This is expanded in another article, but it is obvious that Joseph Smith is to be this particular person for he was told: “And this shall be your business and mission in ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, AND SET IN ORDER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THIS CHURCH AND KINGDOM.” D&C 90:16

Most people who believe in this coming one expect some great display of power to identify him, such as perhaps a resurrected being appearing to the General Authorities commanding them to repent, but such will not be the case. Perhaps a clue as to what to expect may be gained from Isaiah: “Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephriam, shall be trodden under foot… The priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink (doctrine), they are swallowed up of wine (knowledge) they are out of the way; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” Isa 28:2-3,7

The Hebrew for “mighty and strong” can also be translated here “determined and resolute”. Whoever this one is he will certainly be this, but he will also eventually display power as Moses did, but let us remember that Moses was eighty years old before he was given much power and Joseph Smith was told that he would see the face of the Son of Man if he lived to the age of eighty-five. It is quite possible that the one like Moses, this determined and resolute one, may even be a little older than Moses before he becomes the one like Moses. On the other hand this one may display quite a lot of spiritual power before he sees the face of the Son of Man.

Joseph Smith had a particular mission that required the vigors of youth, but the one like Moses will have a mission that will require the wisdom of experience, acquired knowledge, and the mellowing of age under his belt.

There are several other indications of the past lives of Joseph Smith. For instance we have established the indication that he was Joseph who was sold into Egypt. If this is so then the scriptures also hint he was also Seth: “For he is a descendant of Seth (Joseph) and a partaker of the blessings of the promise made unto his fathers.” D&C 96:7

The prophet Daniel also received the promise: “But go your way to the end and rest, and you shall arise to your destiny at the end of the age.” Dan 12:13 (New English). Here we have a strong indication that Daniel will be reborn at the end of the age to fulfill his destiny. The prophet Joseph has been described as having the wisdom of Daniel. If not he then some other entity will come forward to fulfill this prophesy.

Joseph had numerous past lives that we cannot prove by the scriptures, as well as the other brethren and the rest of humanity.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 14

This entry is part 14 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Prophets Who Live Again

Another entity who can be identified several times in the scriptures is Elijah. However, much confusion has arisen over this name because Joseph Smith made a distinction between the names Elias and Elijah calling them two separate offices and in D&C 110 they even seem to appear as two separate personages. Joseph has often been justifiably criticized for making this distinction for the New Testament is written in Greek and every time this word (Elias) appears in the New Testament it refers to the Ancient prophet Elijah and none else for Elijah (Hebrew ELIJAW) translates directly into the Greek Elias (Greek HELIAS). Non Mormon scholars merely believe that Joseph forgot to check the original languages on these two words and became confused as he created his doctrine, but such is surely not the case for he had a reasonable grasp of both the Hebrew and the Greek and surely realized that these two words were the same.

The answer is quite simple. There was a particular office that had no name as yet in the English and he felt the name Elias was as good a name as any to call it. In explaining this he said: “The Spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias or the Priesthood of Aaron.” TOTPJS Page 335. The next office he called Elijah. Concerning this he said: “Now for Elijah. The Spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Kingdom of God on the earth.” TOTPJS Pg. 337. Thus we see why Joseph said: “There is a difference between the spirit and OFFICE of Elias and Elijah…” TOTPJS pg. 335. One simply represents the Aaronic Priesthood and the other the Melchizedek. Joseph said he represented the office of Elijah or Melchizedek. When personages appear in the scriptures and are identified as Elias or Elijah (referring to modern revelation) they represent one of those offices and not necessarily the person Elijah.

Similarly he also referred to the Christ or the Messiah as an office. (DHC 6:254) We have a good example in the scriptures of someone besides Jesus identifying with this office of the Messiah, none other than the Holy Ghost: “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying (that is the Holy Ghost is saying:) I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever.” Moses 5:9 Most do not believe the Holy Ghost and Jesus to be one and the same person so how else could the Holy Ghost identify himself as Christ unless it is an office that can be attained and delegated as Joseph indicated?

The beginning of the belief that Elijah would come again is given in the familiar scripture: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse..” Mal 4:5-6

Malachi seems to speak of this messenger again in saying: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple…” Mal 3:1

Ironically, both of these prophesies were fulfilled during one turn of the wheel by John the Baptist.

In speaking of John the Baptist Jesus said: “But what went ye. out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. FOR THIS IS HE OF WHOM IT IS WRITTEN, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee…” Matt 11:9-10.

Thus we have positive identification that John the Baptist is the person (Elijah the prophet) prophesied of in Malachi chapter three. The Apostles were familiar with the prophesy of Elijah and there was much talk in Jerusalem about the coming of Elijah before the appearance of the Messiah. Thus “his disciples asked him saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias (Elijah) must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come and restore all things. (This refers to a future coming) But I say unto you, that Elias is COME ALREADY, AND THEY KNEW HIM NOT, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” Matt 17:10-13.

Clearly we see that the person identified as the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah was none other than John the Baptist. So we have here definite proof that John was the messenger talked about in both of the prophesies of Malachi.

However, the prophesies will be fulfilled twice for the Messiah will have yet another appearance. Thus we can look for one or more appearances of one like Elijah in modern times.

Another prophecy which leads to the positive identification of John the Baptist as Elijah was given directly by Moroni: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah THE PROPHET, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. D&C 2:1

Here we see that the priesthood would be revealed, not by someone occupying the position of Elijah, as Joseph Smith did, but by Elijah the prophet himself. Moroni wanted to make this clear so he specified “Elijah, the prophet”. But who did reveal the priesthood. Amazingly the first one to reveal the priesthood was none other than John the Baptist himself as related in D&C 14!!!

If one accepts the scriptures the way they are written, then, there is no possible way to deny that John the Baptist and Elijah the Prophet are one and the same.

It is interesting to compare the lives of John the Baptist and Elijah. There are a number of fascinating similarities. For instance, they both lived in the wilderness a good part of their lives. Their physical appearance was also amazingly alike. Concerning Elijah it is written: “He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” II Kings 1:8. Then of John the Baptist it is written: “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.” Matt 3:4 Elijah was one of the greatest prophets of the Old testament and John was one of the greatest in the New Testament.

On the other hand, there is a difference which is also significant. Elijah displayed great power and John did not. Elijah received great recognition but John dwindled in significance because of the coming of one much greater than himself;.

In comparing behavior within two lifetimes we often find that a significant change indicates a correction of a past mistake and we note a large difference in how John and Elijah handled their enemies. When Elijah had enemies come before him he said: “If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.” II Kings 1:10. This Elijah repeated three times with three different groups of soldiers which certainly put the fear of God into the Government of that time and saved Elijah from the martyr’s death.

On the other hand, John offered no resistance when they came to arrest him and suffered a martyr’s death similar to what would have happened to Elijah if he had followed the same course.

This may cause one to wonder if Elijah misused his power in calling fire from heaven and had to come back and suffer in humility to learn a lesson in restraint.

That Elijah set a bad example is verified by Jesus: “And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, EVEN AS ELIAS (ELIJAH) DID? But he turned, and REBUKED THEM, and said, YE KNOW NOT WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT YE ARE OF. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:54-55

Undoubtedly, the disciples were astonished at the Lord’s answer for they felt they were on safe ground by following the example of this great prophet, but they were deceived for all must remember the scripture: “Cursed is he who putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.” The apostles were relying on the example of a man (and black and white scripture) and not the whisperings of the Spirit.

Who can doubt that the scriptures condemn the act of calling down fire to destroy men’s lives. Convincing men by great signs is not the way of Christ, but the Anti-Christ as prophesied of in the Book of Revelations: “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire to come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men.” Rev 13:13. It is ironic that it was John, the Beloved (not the Baptist) who was rebuked for desiring to see fire come down from heaven to prove that Jesus was the Christ. Ironically he also saw into the future when an Anti-Christ would arise who would use this same method.

Thus the scriptures indicate that Elijah made a mistake in using his power from God and had to come back and atone for it with a life of complete submission to the will of God.

At this point one may ask how Elijah is accounted as being such a great prophet if he made a grave mistake? One must keep in mind that Jesus was the first perfect man and even Moses displeased God in a similar fashion by misusing his power and was not allowed to enter Canaan. Despite their weaknesses, however, they were the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, and their memory was so great that there is a legend among the early Christians that these two men will return and battle the Anti-Christ in the last days. Indeed, they were favored enough to be the ones to work with Christ on the mount of transfiguration;

Another prophet who may have had numerous incarnations, or lives, was John the Revelator. Peter, in wondering of the future of this man, said: “And what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet JESUS SAID NOT UNTO HIM, he shall not die; but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:21-23.

Some people believe that John was translated so he would not suffer death, but John himself wrote that Jesus did not promise him that he would not die, but indicated that his will was that John should tarry until he would come. If, then, John did not have the promise of deathlessness the only way he could tarry here on the earth until the Lord comes is by a series of lives. Indeed, this is indicated in the prophesy that is written of him: “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, THOU MUST PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES AND KINGS.” Rev. 10:10

Have we heard any announcement over the news lately that John the Revelator has prophesied to kings and is appearing in many different lands speaking in numerous languages? No, we have not, nor will we; for when he fulfills this prophesy he will not be known as John the Revelator, (unless such is revealed) but will be in a different identity having a new name.

Another interesting thing to point out here is that even appearances of Peter, James and John to Joseph and Oliver may be symbolic as indicated in the temples, by the appearance of Peter, James, and John to Adam. We are clearly told there that this is symbolic. In other words, three persons appeared to Adam representing the keys of the Priesthood, but were probably not the entities, Peter, James, and John. It is possible that these three men were on the earth as mortals, even at the time Joseph Smith received the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Oliver Cowdery was with Joseph when they were visited by John the Baptist and testified to that event with boldness, but here is all he had to say about the restoration of the Higher Priesthood:

“I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred on us, or restored, the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands. I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred by THE HOLY ANGEL from on high. This Priesthood, we then conferred on each other by the will and commandment of God.” DHC Vol. 1 pg 40

Notice that Oliver’s words about this being who confirmed the higher priesthood. He calls this person, “the holy angel” not Peter James and John. Notice the word angel is singular. Perhaps this being who confirmed the higher Priesthood was the same as gave them the lower. Reread the above statement and you’ll see that it appears he is talking about the same angel. We are given no written record of the manner of this visitation.

What created the confusion is that the angel told them that he was acting under the same authority as was held by Peter, James and John from ancient times.

Joseph intuited a confirmation of this Priesthood by sensing the presence of the Apostle Peter, but even he was unaware at the time that he was communing with a memory and thoughtform of his past where Jesus told him (as Peter) in a past life the following:

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:19

Joseph was given the same promise as was Peter because he was Peter. Here are two references.

D&C 64:5 “And the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., through the means I have appointed, while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances.”

D&C 81:2 “Unto whom (speaking to Joseph) I have given the keys of the kingdom…”

Thus we see that which LDS members have been told about its history and the plan of Salvation may not square with what is written or the true reality as it makes itself manifest.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 15

This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Who Was Jesus?

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.

One of the strongest hints of an ancient past is found in the gospel of John:
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” John 21:2

Now according to orthodox belief, the apostles only knew Jesus for three years and this was not enough association to even write a book. Each of the gospels that were written about him was only the length of a short story, not enough material for one book let alone books so numerous that they would fill the earth.

When did Jesus do all these thousands, perhaps millions of deeds so numerous that they would fill thousands of volumes??? There is no way that so many works could be done in a mere 33 years. Such a voluminous history would have to span many lifetimes.

Another hint of the Past of Jesus is given in this scripture: “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 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 and one or more was as a “messenger of salvation.”

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 if we consider reincarnation, 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.

This helps us understand 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, yet 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 be suffered in past lives. His suffering in his 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 ideal 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.

Thus we come to a question. 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-good. Unfortunately when something higher than a person’s ideal is presented, the individual cannot recognize it unless he elevates his thoughts. If he does not do this the person will stand in absolute blindness when faced with the greater reality, a blindness so great that nothing from without can penetrate it.

Therefore, 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 these words now will be amazed a few years down the road at 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.

Thus we see that after the Christ had finished his assigned task that he became the author of “eternal salvation”. These are 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 which 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 rather than a spiritual atonement. 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 scripture in question which reads: “And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him.” It could be more correctly rendered: “And completing the work which was expected of him he made possible our deliverance at the end of the age.” In other words the work of the Christ made possible and paved the way for our deliverance at this time thousands of years later. This deliverance could be multiform. It could be a deliverance from physical calamities, but could also imply a deliverance from our lower nature as the teachings of Christ finally sink into our consciousness at the end of the old and the beginning of the new age.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 16

This entry is part 16 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Jesus and The Christ

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 minute’s consideration; nevertheless, even 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, a possession that was completely voluntary. Some may refer to it as an overshadowing presence.

John knew through the Spirit that the Son of God was to be revealed through the ordinances he was performing and 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? Was it Jesus or the Spirit that descended and “remained” in Jesus?

Indeed 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 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 yet always gave recognition to that Spirit and for three great years Jesus and the Son of God shared the same body. Even so, Jesus was a Son of God in his own right, just as the faithful are destined to be. The one who dwelt in him was often called the “Father” for the two 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 viewing 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 in the church 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 if it were 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. Thus 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 will 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 eventually 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 the reward of our overcoming is 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 a prophesy that we shall someday experience an overshadowing as Jesus did if we are worthy, ready and watching. Let us therefore “watch” for that day and hour when our Lord cometh –unseen like a thief in the night.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 17

This entry is part 17 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

The Coming of Christ

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 when the Christ comes he will again find his greatest response from the same type of people who received him the last time: The non religious but spiritual 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 AEON or “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 We see that PAROUSIA means the opposite of “absence”. The word can also be translated as “nearness”. Thus we see that 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 physical manifestation.

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 individuals 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 marvelous things ahead. These wonders may or may not include miracles in the normal sense. They will definitely include synthesizing and uniting people and groups to prepare for the coming of the Master.

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 came 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 We shall be like him because the consciousness of Christ is lifted up in us.

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.” Thus 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

Thus 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. This is the field of his mission, for 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 translated beings he calls the Spiritual Hierarchy of the Earth. He and other Masters of the resurrection work 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 for 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 an the earth at will, which in the east is called a MAYAVIRUPA.

Thus when he appeared on the earth as Melchizedek be 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 is also 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 Melchizedek, 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 has to 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 Thus we see that a Zion condition will precede his coming and not be the result of it.

When he 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. Exactly how he will manifest physically is a great mystery, but it will be one of three methods.

(1) He will be born as a natural child as happened last time. If the method of natural birth is chosen there will be no virgin birth, but he would be born as a normal child of no special appearance.
(2) He could create a physical body of manifestation which is called in the East a mayavirupa. He could manifest in this any time the world is prepared for him.
(3) He could manifest through a divine possession and share a physical body with a cooperating disciple. This was the method used with the disciple Jesus and is a closer relationship than an overshadowing. If this method is chosen then he could manifest later by methods (1) or (2) as the need may require.

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, and this misinterpretation is the reason that the Jews failed to recognize him and 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 but had no oil (Holy Spirit) in their lamps.

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 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.

Hear, 0 Israel! The time is at hand when the days of marvelous works and wonders are to appear and these writings are to help prepare the lights to awaken so they can receive the marvelous things to come, for 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 1996 by J J Dewey

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