AS YE SOW…
An important word used in the religions of the East and not generally found in Christendom is “karma”. The word serves a very real purpose for all people and about the closest a Christian comes to sensing karma is when he says something like: “I feel that God has sent me here for a special purpose. I feel like I am to be a scientist or a musician.” That special purpose, which is sometimes good and sometimes evil, is Karma, and it is the result of what we have sowed in past lives.
How else can the scripture be fulfilled? “Every man shall bear his own burden…Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:5&7 Alma said something similar- “For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, AND BE RESTORED.” Alma 41:15 Also: “And ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.” Hel. 14:31 “See that you do not judge wrongfully for with that same judgment which ye judge, ye shall also be judged.” Moroni 7:18 Karma is the result of cause and effect. Just as we have Newton’s law of gravity which says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction we have the law of karma which says that for every good deed we sow we receive an equal good (perhaps compounded by interest) back somewhere down the line. If we sow a bad deed we also receive that back. Karma is nothing new and is found in the scriptures as demonstrated above, the only problem is that the scriptures did not contain a word such as “karma” to define the law.
We find clearly expressed in the scriptures that the law of karma is real, that we will have good and evil returned to us, yet how often have we seen the wicked die without having his evil returned? How often have we seen a righteous man die with great suffering and we exclaim: “What did he do to deserve this?” Surely a lifetime of good works would have brought him more than a horrible death?
Ah, yes, says the authority, but God will fix things in the next world. He’ll see to it that all get their just reward. But will they? Can they??? How can an evil person reap what he has sowed in the physical world in the spirit world??? That would be like buying a house of stone and receiving one of wood. The wood house may be worth just as much as the stone one, but it is not what was ordered.
If someone kicked his brother in the seat of the pants he could receive a punishment in the spirit which may be equally as bad, but the only way such a deed could be equally restored is to have it happen in the flesh. Suppose a man commits the perfect murder and dies undiscovered. How is he going to be repaid in the spirit? Will devils burning him in oil do it? No. He would complain that is too harsh. Would suffering for all eternity do it? Again too harsh. Would feeling sorry do it? No the victim would say: “not enough”. What would be a suitable punishment? Amazingly, the scriptures clearly give us the answer: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Gen. 9:5-6.
What could be more just for a murderer than to be murdered himself at some future date? If he were cut off in his prime just as his victim was he would begin to understand just how wrong it is to kill. Alma clearly spoke that we must “acknowledge to our everlasting shame that ALL his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works.” Alma 12:15 If the punishment were meted out exactly as he gave it then who could complain about it? If the murderer’s only punishment was to be in the spirit world, or to be damned for eternity in the resurrection, then I for one would complain that the judgment is not just and the scripture would be broken.
The above scripture in Genesis is used to support the doctrine of blood atonement, but such doctrine is greatly misunderstood. Joseph Smith taught some of the brethren some of the deeper doctrines in private councils and one of them was blood atonement. He was constrained by the spirit from mentioning reincarnation (to all but a few), however, this doctrine is essential to understand fully blood atonement. After Joseph’s death Brigham Young and others taught the doctrine with a great missing piece to the puzzle. Consequently, there were numerous errors in their teaching.
For example it was believed that the only way to atone for murder was to actually have one’s blood spilled. It is from this belief that stems the law in Utah that a person to be executed is given a choice of hanging or being shot so he can spill his blood What sense or justice is this? Only murderers in Utah have the chance for atonement while the other states do not have such a choice and the convict must go to the gas chamber or be electrocuted? Are murderers in Utah more righteous than other states??? Would God allow the sin of one murderer to be forgiven because he was LUCKY enough to have an opportunity to spill his blood; whereas another one gets no such opportunity and gets the gas chamber? Is god’s justice dependent on luck? I hope not.
The true doctrine of blood atonement is exactly as mentioned in the scripture: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” If a man sheds another’s blood then sooner or later, in this life or the next, his blood will be shed by another man,
“Wait!” says the unbeliever. “The Lord is speaking about what He wants to be done. If man does not fulfill the commandment and put to death the murderer, then there is no way he will have his blood shed.”
This is a fine objection if one doesn’t believe the word of God the way it reads. It reads not as a commandment, but merely a statement of fact. Moreover, the real meaning is verified by other scriptures: “He that leadeth into captivity SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY; he that killeth with the sword MUST BE KILLED WITH THE SWORD. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.” Rev 13:10 This is not from the period of the law of Moses as some suppose, but the person speaking here was none other than John the Revelator. He is not speaking of punishments which our civil laws are supposed to deal out, but he is making a concrete statement of fact.
He who commits sin against his fellow men will reap in the same manner that he sowed. If he killed by the sword then he must be killed in the like manner. Yet how many people have killed with the sword and not been killed in the same manner during one lifetime? How many bankers, politicians, and dictators have lead into captivity and died escaping their just punishment? I’ll name just one: Hitler. Hitler killed with the sword and led into captivity, but he escaped punishment anywhere near equal to what he gave out. Because he was responsible for the death of millions he must come back and atone. He does not have to die millions of times for the atonement, as that would be close to impossible. Instead he must develop himself until he is man enough to come up with a program wise enough to be able to save as many people as he previously destroyed. He will probably have to give his life several times in the process. It would be unfair to require a million lifetimes to pay for one lifetime of mistakes, Our karma is like a great balance with the weight of past good deeds on one side and evil on the other. When Hitler was here he created for himself a great overbalance of evil. If he merely leads the life of an average man it will take him hundreds of lives to pay the debt, but if he leads some great heroic life and, say saves the world from something like an atomic war, then perhaps he could pay the debt in one lifetime. Generally, a man like Hitler will suffer many lifetimes: “How oft is the candle (life) of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them!” Job 21:17. “And the earth will bring those long dead to birth again.” Isa 26:19 New English Bible.
The scriptures give us some interesting examples of how the wicked are to be punished in future lifetimes. Interestingly, part of the sealing powers of the priesthood is directed for such use: “And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings to the inhabitants of the earth, TO THEM IS POWER GIVEN TO SEAL both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious; Yea verily, TO SEAL THEM UP UNTO THE DAY WHEN THE WRATH OF GOD SHALL BE POURED OUT UPON THE WICKED WITHOUT MEASURE. Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellowman.” D&C 1:8-10
Reincarnation is the only suitable explanation of the above scripture, for we are told that the wicked are sealed “Up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure…” When is this day to take place??? Verse ten indicates that it is just before the Lord shall come so it can only refer to the great judgments which are spoken of in the book of Revelations. Some of these judgments include pollution of the waters, grievous sores upon men, men will be scorched with heat, they will gnaw their tongues for pain, great wars with one army reaching two hundred million men, one third of men destroyed, the greatest earthquake in history, and many others. Read Revelations chapter 16 for example
How is it that the wicked in 1831 when the revelation was given can be here on the earth to suffer the wrath of God almost two hundred years later if there is no reincarnation? If you say the scripture is figurative or speaking of a punishment in the spirit world then how do you explain the next scripture: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (of revelations) If any man shall add unto these things, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK.” Rev 22:18 How could a Jew living in the days of John suffer the plagues which were to transpire nearly two thousand years later? How can one spiritualize this away and say it refers to the spirit world?
The book of Revelations prophecies about earthquakes, pollution’s, and wars on a physical earth, and plagues and deaths affecting the physical body. Plainly, then, he who adds to the book of Revelations must be reborn in “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world.” Rev 3:10. He then will have added to him the plagues that are written in the book. Paul also mentions this: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you… Who shall be punished with everlasting (AIONIOS age-ending) destruction from the presence of the Lord.” II Thess. 1:6 & 9. Also: “Behold, I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” Rev 2:22.
Paul spoke appropriately of the last days when he said: “And fire shall try EVERY MAN’S WORK of what sort it is.” I Cor 3:13. The Lord said: “Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath IN YOUR LIVES. Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.” D&C 104:8-9 When one is turned over to the buffetings of Satan he “shall be destroyed in the flesh” D&C 132:26 & I Cor. 5:5.
When Nephi was interpreting the filthy water in his vision he said it was “hell”. His brothers then asked: “Doth this thing mean the torment of the body in the days of probation, or doth it mean the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, or doth it speak of the things which are temporal? And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things BOTH TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL.” I Nephi 15:31-32 Here we have it in plain English. Hell is both temporal and spiritual. Men can suffer for their sins both in and out of the body, and since this temporal existence is part of “hell” how are men going to be sent there after they die if they are not born again?
“There cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.” I Nephi 15:34. Nephi tells us that that place which is prepared is hell, of which the filthy water in the vision was a symbol of, and such symbol “was a representation of things both temporal and spiritual”. Therefore those who suffer the temporal hell are sent back to the “temporal” earth.
The Missourians who persecuted the Saints are no doubt in Hell now. Many of them are now on the earth and have been born in very unfortunate situations, for the recompense they were given for their sins in the nineteenth century did not come close to paying for their sins. Of these people the Lord said: “Because their hearts are corrupted, and the things which they are willing to bring upon others, and love to have others suffer, may come upon themselves to the uttermost… Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive and murder and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell. Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all. For there is a time appointed (A future life) for every man, according as his works shall be.” D&C 121:13, 23-25
The Missourians who persecuted the innocent are sealed up to have the judgments of God to be poured out on them. Perhaps they will join those who are prophesied to be scorched with heat and their tongues will stick to the roof of their mouth that they cannot curse their Lord. Speaking of Joseph’s enemies the Lord said “I the Lord will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred fold.” D&C 98:45. The Missourians were not even avenged one fold. They have a large payment to make and they completely escaped their debt in recorded history.
The punishment of Cain is interesting to examine. After he killed Able the Lord told him: “A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be IN THE EARTH.” Gen. 4:12 Cain was not a fugitive and vagabond in his lifetime. Instead he dwelt in the land of Nod and built a city called Enoch and formulated secret combinations to get control of the world. It is further stated: “And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.” Gen. 4:13-14 Here Cain seems to fear that he will be slain more than once for he mentions that “everyone” that finds him will slay him. Let us read further: “And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” Gen. 4:15
Has anyone stopped to ask how the Lord will take vengeance of sevenfold on someone who killed Cain? Will such a person be put to death seven times? If he is to be put to death seven times, how can this be without reincarnation? As it is we have no record of anyone slaying Cain at all; so was the Lord merely speaking idle words? Hardly. The Lord does not have scripture written unless the words are to find fulfillment somehow. It’s quite possible that some of the culprits in the Book of Mormon were incarnations of Cain. Akish may be an example: “And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought for power, which had been handed down even from Cain.” Ether 8:15 Who would be in a better position to revive the secrets of Cain than Cain himself? He would have had subconscious memories of all the secret plans.
The scriptures tell us that not only Cain, but other evil men also keep appearing in history to fight against righteousness: “Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.” Jude Verses 3-4. Part of this scripture is badly mistranslated. It should read: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, the judgment of whom has been written about long ago.” Yes the judgments of Cain and the wicked in Sodom and Gomorra and other bad characters was written about long ago and they return to their fate of being fugitive and vagabonds on the earth.
The next verse in Jude is also interesting: “I will put you in remembrance, THOUGH YOU ONCE KNEW THIS, how the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” Verse 5 Here we have an indication that those living in the days of Jude once lived in the days of Moses, for they “once knew” about that time period, but now had evidently forgotten.
The scriptures plainly tell us that the wicked will not always be allowed to incarnate among the righteous: “God shall likewise destroy (overthrow – Hebrew) thee for ever (continually), he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living.” Psalms 52:5
“Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land (In a future life): When the wicked are cut off, THOU SHALT SEE IT.” Psalms 37:34
Speaking of the curse on the wicked the Lord also said: “Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the most high LORD, AND IF YE BE BORN, you shall be born in malediction (under a curse – Hebrew), and if ye die, in malediction shall be your portion.” Ecclesiasticus 41:11-12. Here the prophet was clearly speaking of a future birth to those who were presently in the flesh.
One of the ways that individuals are made to pay for their sins is with sickness, disease and deformity in future lives. Can you think of a greater and more effective prison than being in a crippled body for a lifetime? Do you think a person suffers so just because of bad luck? Of course not. There is a justifying cause for everything that happens to us. “But,” says one, “I know this guy who is blind and he’s the sweetest man I ever met. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Yes, we all know many people who have their share of problems who are undoubtedly very nice persons, but keep in mind that no matter how nice we are now, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t done evil in the past.
Even within one lifetime we witness many wayward children become solid citizens and the spiritual leaders of tomorrow. Imagine how different you or I or our friends could have been thousands of years ago. Often, when a person commits a great sin he does not have the courage to pay for it in the next lifetime and the payment may be delayed for a long while until the individual develops the “guts” or internal fortitude to atone for his wrongs. By the time the courage has been developed he may have become a fairly nice guy.
The disciples asked Jesus: “Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” John 9:2 From this question it is evident that they believed that a man paid in this life for sins in the past.
This doctrine helps us to understand some previously obscure passages: “Guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me.” Psalms 51:5 Knox Translation.
“And I was a witty child and had received a good soul, and whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled.” Wisdom 8:19-20 Apocrypha
“All these things God may do to a man again and yet again, bringing him back from the pit (death) to enjoy the full light of life.” Job 33:29-30 New English Version.
Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up AGAIN from the depths of the earth,” Psalms 72:20
It is obvious that the Jews commonly believed that present misfortune was caused by previous sins. After Pilate had some Galilaeans killed Jesus asked some observers: “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you Nay: but, except ye repent, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH.” Luke 13:1-5
Here Jesus acknowledged that it was the common belief of the people that the greatest sinners received the greatest calamities. He didn’t say that that particular belief was wrong, but that it was a wrong judgment that those who had recently suffered an untimely death were the greatest sinners. He told them that they were as great a sinner as those who had died and confirmed that the common belief of the people was right by stating that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” In other words the sins of his listeners were as bad as those who had suffered calamity and that such sins would bring a similar calamity. Then in verses six through nine he gives a parable illustrating their sin. He compared them to a tree which did not bear any fruit, which is good for nothing but to be cut down.
When Jesus healed the man who was sick of palsy he said “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” When the people cried blasphemy Jesus answered: “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” Mark 2:5-9 Interestingly, Jesus pointed out here that to forgive sins is a similar feat to healing. Jesus healed the man by merely forgiving his sins. The reason the forgiveness of sins healed him is that his sins , probably in a past life, caused the disease. When the hidden guilt was lifted a healing was effected.
Another time Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years. Afterwards he met him in the temple and said: “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee.” John 5:1-9 Plainly here Jesus told the man that harmful deeds could cause an even worse thing than the infirmity he had had for thirty-eight years.
Who can deny and at the same time even claim to believe the scriptures, that sin does produce disease and affliction? If it can produce it in one life then it can cause it in several lives. Modern revelation agrees by stating that to be free of the destroying angel we must be “walking in obedience to the commandments”. D&C 89:18. Speaking of the wicked in Missouri the Lord said: “And I will answer judgment wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation (Lifetime), so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.” D&C 124:52
It would be unfair for the Lord to punish the children for the sins of their fathers, but since the Lord could not speak in terms of reincarnation it had to be written this way. As it is, many of the descendants of the persecutors have joined the church and are suffering no retribution. Who the scripture really condemns is not the children, but the actual transgressor, and he is condemned to suffer unto the third and fourth lifetime, or as long as he does not atone for his sins, or have his karma lifted through the power of Christ.
The scriptures even indicate that those who put Jesus to death will be here when he comes again. Their sins were so great that Peter did not offer them baptism, but commanded: “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus which before was preached unto you.” Acts 3:19-20
These murderers were to have their sins removed when Jesus comes gain. Speaking of these individuals Jesus speaks of the time of his second coming when he personally appears to the Jews: “And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament BECAUSE THEY PERSECUTED THEIR KING.” D&C 45:53. Interestingly, those who will see Jesus come again are the same who persecuted him. This is verified by another scriptural witness: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM.” Rev 1:7
Isn’t it a fitting masterpiece of the justice of God to have the very individuals who put the Lord of Light to death, for whom he prayed for forgiveness, to have these same individuals delivered by this same Jesus, and greet him with a painful awareness of their sins, yet at the same time experience a joyful conversion? For these people Jesus will have great joy, like that of the Shepherd who found his lost sheep.
Conversely, the rewards of the righteous often extends over several generations or lifetimes. “know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS.” Duet. 7:9 A thousand generations would be more appropriately translated a thousand lifetimes.
Jesus said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and SHALL GO IN AND OUT, AND FIND PASTURE.” John 10:9. What does it mean to go in and out of the door? The door is symbolic of the entry way between spirit life and mortal life. Pasture is representative of spiritual meat and drink the righteous find when they use Christ as their shepherd. The righteous will go in and out of mortal life according to their will and have great experiences that will enlarge their souls until they reach the desired pasture of the millennium spoken by Nephi: “And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him THEY SHALL FIND PASTURE. And because of the righteousness of the people, Satan has no power.” I Nephi 22:25-26. Here we find that the pasture is not some nebulous spirit world, but the pasture exists on this physical earth during the millennium of peace.
On this same thought Paul said “And the Lord will keep me safe from every attempt to do me harm and keep me safe until his heavenly reign begins.” II Tim 4:18 (New English). Keep in mind here that Paul knew he was about to die for he said a few verses earlier: “For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (Verse 6). How was the Lord to keep him safe? Paul was to go in and out and find spiritual pasture until the heavenly reign begins. During that period he would be reborn and would enjoy the fruit of his labors.
Paul could easily say with David: “Lord, thou hast been. our dwelling place in all generations (From generation to generation New English Bible) Thou turnest men to destruction (Death); and sayest, RETURN ye children of men” Psalms 90: 1&3
Speaking to the Nephites who were present when Jesus visited the New World, Jesus indicated that they would be present when the dispensation of the fullness of times was brought in: “And verily I say unto you, I will give unto YOU a sign, that YE may know the time when these things shall be about to take place.” III Nephi 21:1
Samuel the Lamanite prophesied to the Nephites just before the birth of Christ that they would be the ones to suffer 400 years later: “And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then SHALL YE WEEP AND HOWL IN THAT DAY (400 Years later), saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall YE lament, and say: O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. YEA, IN THAT DAY YE SHALL SAY: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery…” Helaman 13:32-33
The Lord said that holy men “confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; but obtained a promise that they should find it (The day of righteousness) and see it in their flesh.” D&C 45:13-14 What good would it do these men to see it in their flesh if they were raised to an immortal resurrection when Joseph Smith said that such resurrected beings “will not probably dwell upon the earth” (DHC 5:212) The real joy and reward would be the honor of being an actual part of that day of righteousness by being there in the mortal flesh participating.
When the day of righteousness shall come the Lord “shall say to the sleeping nations: “Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.” D&C 43:18 In that day the wicked must stay in the spirit world and only the righteous can be reborn.
To the righteous in 1831 the Lord said: “But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory UNTO THEIR DELIVERANCE; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.” D&C 56:18.
Speaking to scattered Israel in the days of Jeremiah the Lord said: “And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, EVERY MAN TO HIS OWN HERITAGE, AND EVERY MAN TO HIS OWN LAND.” Jeremiah 12:15. Those living in the days of Jeremiah will again obtain their property, but it could not be as immortal beings, for the immortals will not live here; thus they must obtain their inheritance as mortals. How can they do that if they are not born again?
Malachi gives us another indication as to how the Lord will deal with the righteous: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord harkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, IN THAT DAY ‘WHEN I MAKE UP MY JEWELS; AND I WILL SPARE THEM, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. THEN SHALL YE RETURN, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Mal. 3:16-18 Here we are not only told that Malachi shall return, but that the righteous from his day will be with him and shall be spared the latter-day judgments. Truly did David speak saying that God’s “promises are like metal tested in the fire.” Psalms 18:30 Knox
Speaking of the redeemed, John said: “And thou hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests: and WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH.” Rev 5:10 “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…” Rev 2: 26-27. Is this some nebulous promise that we shall rule from some throne in heaven only? No! If we are righteous God will exalt us as Joseph the son of Jacob was. We shall return and rule the earth in the golden age: “And my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on the earth.” D&C 43:29. Then we shall truly realize the promise of the Lord: “For whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.” D&C 103:27.
Solomon was speaking of past lives and ages of which we have no remembrance when he said: “There is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time which was before us. THERE IS NO REMEMBRANCE OF FORMER THINGS.” Eccl 1:9-11. Moffat translates that last sentence: “There is no remembrance of THE MEN OF OLD TIME” In other words we have no remembrance of the men of old time – who we used to be.
David speaks along the same terms: “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to REMEMBRANCE my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” Psalms 77:5-6
Now we have the testimony of Job. The words in parenthesis are clearer meanings from the Hebrew: “For enquire, I pray thee of the former age, and prepare thyself to search of their fathers (consider the fathers). For we are but of yesterday (beforetime) and know nothing (And do not know it) because our days upon the earth are a shadow.” Job 8:8-9 In plain English: We lived in the days of our fathers and we do not know it.
Has anyone stopped to consider the full meaning Of the following scripture: “So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few are chosen.” Matt: 20:16. Also see Matt 19:30 Mark 9:35; 10:31; Luke 13:30; Ether 13:12; D&C 29:30 & 88:59. The world has a general idea of the surface meaning which is that many people who expect the greatest reward will receive the least, and many who are esteemed by the world as the first will be the last.
Not all that are presently first shall be last, but “many” Mark 10:31 will be. The many are those who are called and not chosen. Those who are first now and are chosen will continue to be first, but we are told that this number is few.
Many believe that this scripture is only fulfilled in the after worlds apart from mortality. For instance, a man who is a mere church member may rise above the church leader in the day of judgement.
Let me speak to you clearly and give you the true meaning. In the scheme of things man swings back and forth like a great pendulum. In one life he will be poor and spend his time dreaming of being rich. Since the Lord “granteth unto men according to their desire” Alma 29:4 God gives him the opportunity in the next life to be rich. However, the man is careless and abuses his blessing and does not return it to his Lord with usury. Thus the Lord takes his money from him and gives it to another; then in the next life the man is poor again and is again dreaming of riches. Then sooner or later he receives another chance at them. Thus the last become first and the first last, fulfilling the prophecy of David: “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes, even the princes of his people.” Psalms 113:7-8
Yes, in one life a man will be a peasant and in the next a prince. In one he may be weak and sickly, and in another healthy and strong. In one age he will suffer bad luck, persecution, sorrow, and in the next he will seem lucky, without a care in the world, spreading happiness wherever he goes. If the truth be known, one life in seven is a life of rest where we are blessed with peace and calm to gear up for the trials ahead.
Man must continue to shift from first to last and last to first until he learns to properly utilize the power and authority that comes from being first, Only a very few at a time learn this for “it is the nature and disposition of almost ALL MEN as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will IMMEDIATELY begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” D&C 121:39. Thus many who hold the priesthood will cry: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (By thy priesthood). And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:22-23. When they are told that they have worked iniquity they will be quite puzzled and will wonder how this is the case when they seemed to do so much good through the priesthood. They will be answered- “You exercised unrighteous dominion. You did evil that good may come which is not of me.” When one tries to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood or the authority of that man.” D&C 121:37. For instance, if someone tried to stop me from expressing myself by using the control of the priesthood; God would say AMEN to his authority. Then, since the man would have no authority, there is nothing for me to subject myself to but God only.
For many lifetimes man, then, swings like a pendulum from one extreme to the other, and usually finds himself committing the sins peculiar to each extreme. when he lacks power he envies those who have it, and when he has power he abuses those who do not. We are told that “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction”. Matt 7:13 This broad way is the broad swing of the pendulum. The narrow way is the balance between the two extremes. This narrow way is what is meant by “salvation” in the scriptures. That is a man finally overcomes his enemies and becomes chosen – or chooses correctly.
He then has the privilege of obtaining power whenever necessary, because he has proven that he will not abuse such power. He becomes the first continually as far as the earth is concerned, but he then becomes among the “last” in the higher worlds of existence. Thus he is able to keep a balance on his humility, for even though he may be perfect as God is (Matt 5:48) and greatly honored here on the earth he is at the same time aware of how far he has to go in the higher worlds.
If a person were the top student in Algebra One and there were no higher courses and he had reached the highest degree of intelligence possible in that area he would begin to take great pride in his knowledge. On the other hand, if the student was aware that there were ten different courses in Algebra and he had mastered only the first, his outlook would be totally different. If he were to talk with others who had mastered Algebra two and three, he would feel quite humbled by the awareness of how far he has to yet progress, even though other Algebra One students think he is extremely brilliant.
This idea gives us a partial understanding to a reference Jesus made of himself: “I am the first and the last.” Rev 1:17. Jesus may be the first among the sons of men here on the earth, but he is “Least in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 11:11. A statement like this, of course, causes those who are ruled by their emotions and believing that common sense has nothing to do with the kingdom of God – to howl for dear life. They think that no one could be greater than Jesus, yet he confessed that he was the least in the kingdom of heaven. Open your Bible and read it for yourself. Just think. If he was the least what would the greatest be like? How do you think Jesus was able to keep his humility? He keenly maintained this awareness that he was the least in the kingdom he was referring to. Jesus may be first here, but in a higher kingdom he is the last, so again we see that the first will be last. This is an eternal principle. Jesus will eventually be the first in the kingdom of heaven he was referring to, but then he will be the last in the next kingdom. This is part of eternal progression. What one accomplishes on a small scale here on the earth he must perform on a greater more exalted scale in the higher worlds.
Isaiah said: “He reduces the great to nothing and makes all the earth’s princes less than nothing.” Isa 40:23 New English. This principle applies whether the man is a prince on the earth or in the kingdom of God. The significance of our smallness must be manifest from time to time or our progression will stagnate. The position of Jesus now is comparable to a person who has completely mastered algebra one and is helping others master it, but at the same time is struggling with his algebra two lessons.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey