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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fulness of joy

Here is something interesting from 3 Nephi chapter 28. Notice what the 8 are promised.

2. And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.
3. And he said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.

Notice what the 3 are promised

8. And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.
9. And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.
10. And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

Very interesting. One might ask the questions:
What is the difference in the promises given to the 8 and the 3?
Why were the 3 given greater promises?
Just what is a "fullness" of joy and why won't the 8 expirience a fulness in Christ's kingdom?

11 comments:

Dallas said...

The difference between the two are the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God the Father. From what I understand there are different theories as to what the difference of these kingdoms are. Some people believe that Kingdom of the Father is the Celestial Kingdom, while others believe that it is limited to the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. As for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ depending on which view you take. It would be the degree or Kingdom below the God the Fathers.

This also bring up a question for me. If we set our sights on the Highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom for this eternal round are we setting our sights too high? Only three of the 12 Apostles on the American continent made it that far. It is all line upon line, precept upon precept. It seems that this process could last way into the eternities to accomplish this task. What do you think?

Also am I missing something in this story Robby you are a Math guy so I trust you, but 8 + 3 = 11. Weren’t there 12 apostles?

Robby C said...

Oh dear! Now that is embarrassing. I definitely meant 9, not 8. No more late night postings for me, especially if I've been drinking kool-aid.
Now as to the matter at hand, I'm also not sure what the differences in the kingdoms are, except that I would assume that the kingdom of the Father is a higher level than the kingdom of Christ, and that Christ is in the kingdom of the Father. If the 3 were going to inherit the kingdom of the Father, then would they be on equal ground with Christ..."joint-heirs" as it is put in the scriptures? If this is the case, then what was it that qualified them for this honor in the Father’s kingdom?
Verse 6 reads:
"And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me."
Verse 9 reads:
“And again, ye shall not have pain while ye shall dwell in the flesh, neither sorrow save it be for the sins of the world; and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.”
It seems to be this desire that separated them from the 9 (notice I've got the number right this time). But then are we safe to say that the 9 didn’t want to bring the souls of men unto Christ. I don’t think we can say that, so how are the 3 different. Is it the number of souls that one brings unto Christ? This doesn’t really seem to ring true with me, but I guess it could be the case.
I've always assumed that Christ's great sacrifice of atonement help qualify him for the Father's Kingdom. Apparently an atoning sacrifice is not a requisite to enter the Father's kingdom, but that whatever John and the 3 were doing/going to do would also qualify one for that kingdom. It has something to do with bringing souls to Christ, but I just think there is more here. The 9 were valiant disciple of Christ and I’m sure that they brought many souls to Christ. Unless I’m wrong in assuming that Christ’s atoning sacrifice helped qualify him for the Father’s kingdom, then I would assume that there should be some relationship between what John and the 3 did, and what Christ did. I’m having a hard time expressing why I think there should be relationship, but let me try this route.
X = Atonement
Y = What John and the 3 did
If X qualified Christ for the Father’s kingdom and Y qualified John and the 3 for the Father’s kingdom, then the magnitude of X and Y must be the same.
Could understanding Y increase our understanding of X or vice versa? Just what is the secret of reaching the Father's kingdom?

renee said...

ok i see what you 2 are talking about. a queation i have is what about personal reward? are we not rewarded gifts individually according to the desires of our heart? as i see it all of this math equals getting a gift; which gift and what is the out come of the reward? some are given one thing according to the desire of the heart; others another. i don't think(in my opinion) that the gift is separated based on the number of souls brought in because christ says...bring one soul unto me and great shall be your reward...i don't think number are the deciding fctor...or else the savior would be specific; he would want us to win the prize.
ok i'm going to chunk and chew on this more but i think a missing link is personal desire and personal reward.
renee

Ben said...

Robby, I like the post a lot; it's a fantastic question. I don't know what the difference between the Father's and Jesus' kingdom is. I always assumed they were the same--joint heirs.

My only comment is on your X and Y reasoning.
If X (atonement) then Z (Father's kingdom)
and, if Y (What John and the 3 did) then Z
It doesn't logically follow that X and Y need to be the same, or of the same magnitude just because they both have the same consequent.

Sort of like the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20:1-16)

Robby C said...

Ben, thanks for your comment. You're right I didn't explain myself very well with the XYZ thing, but when has algebra ever been easy to explain :). Anyway, let me try again with the parable you mentioned. In the parable of the workers and the vineyard, they work for different periods of time, but they all did the same kind of work. So keeping with the analogy, was the work of the atonement and the work that John and the three did, the same work? Or were they working in different vinyards doing different things and the "pay" happens to be the same?
Another problem with my XYZ logic is that I'm assuming that it was the Atonement that qualified Christ for the Father's kingdom. Perhaps it was something totally different that qualified Christ for the Father's kingdom.

Dallas said...

Robby as to you question, “Just what is the secret of reaching the Father's kingdom?” I don’t know everything yet, but here is my train of thought on this one so far. Joseph Smith said, “the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in [the Book of Mormon], as delivered by the Savior" (JS—H 1:34) Anti Mormon’s love to bring up the fact that temples although mentioned as buildings in the Book are not discussed. If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel, why isn’t temple stuff discussed therein? After all we do believe that the endowment is required for all who have died.

The answer as far as I can figure out is the Book of Mormon does contain the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NOT the fullness of the Gospel of God the Father. The fullness of the Fathers kingdom is learned in the temple and beyond. This is what is so confusing for people on the Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, Endure to the End model of things. People have a tendency to lump temple stuff in the category of Endure to the End and Gospel of Jesus Christ. When actually they are Gospel of the Father.

Hope this helped.

Ben said...

This also bring up a question for me. If we set our sights on the Highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom for this eternal round are we setting our sights too high? Only three of the 12 Apostles on the American continent made it that far. It is all line upon line, precept upon precept. It seems that this process could last way into the eternities to accomplish this task. What do you think?

I think this is a valid point. Maybe most of us are in the running for salvation only? But I think this is a little hard to square with the fact of all the active LDS who are endowed and keep temple covenants. Furthermore, what are your thoughts on what happens to temple marriages if one partner makes it to salvation only?
Also, we don't know that the other 9 didn't receive exalation at some future time, just that they didn't make it at the same time as the other 3. Maybe they were blessed with it later?

The answer as far as I can figure out is the Book of Mormon does contain the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NOT the fullness of the Gospel of God the Father. The fullness of the Fathers kingdom is learned in the temple and beyond. This is what is so confusing for people on the Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, Endure to the End model of things. People have a tendency to lump temple stuff in the category of Endure to the End and Gospel of Jesus Christ. When actually they are Gospel of the Father.

I love this answer.

Dallas, another question for you.

It is clear from the scriptures that we are saved by grace. Are we also exalted by grace, or do we "earn" it?

Dallas said...

Thanks Ben. Sorry this post is so long. You just asked a lot of questions. I fully agree that the 9 other apostles may have later have been blessed with exaltation.

I really think that your statement, “maybe most of us are in the running for salvation only” is correct. Having grown up Mormon, when I first came to the this conclusion it seemed rather depressing, BUT IT ISN’T. Since primary we are taught that highest degree of celestial Kingdom is where is at, all the “cool” Mormons are there and we are all going there if we get endowed and stay active in the church. I have even sat in on numerous temple sealings where the sealers have stated, that the sealing is the highest ordinance in the temple and if the couple stays true to the faith they basically have it made.

But when you look at some of the greats in Christian History like Abraham. He is defiantly up there for exaltation. Me, the average Joe Mormon, can’t even compare to what he hid. Yet we get the same degree in the celestial kingdom? It doesn’t seem fair. Why be willing to sacrifice your kid for exaltation when you could just get your endowment and “endure to the end?”

This shouldn’t be depressing. Part of the beauty of Exaltation is the process we go through to obtain it in the eternities. We have had an infinite time of life before this “eternal round” and we shall have an infinite time after this “eternal round” to earn exaltation. (Hence the name of this Blog “Eternal Rounds”) Yes, I do believe exaltation is earned, not by grace.

As far as what if one partner make it to salvation only. I don’t know how that all works yet. The Book of Mormon teaches that the same spirit that posses our body here will be in the after life. When we die our eyes aren’t suddenly opened and we can see that we should have repented. We just no longer have a body.

Ben said...

I must think that grace has a prominent role in exaltation as well (I'm a big grace guy). D&C 76:94 tells me that those that are exalted have "received of his fulness and of his grace."

And I understand the concept of eternal rounds. But still. Why would we be endowed and strive to live our temple covenants if most of us won't make it to exaltation? I'd like to believe that we can have eternal families (I like my current wife and children quite a bit). If I don't make it to exaltation, then none of that happens (in this round, of course).
I don't think we need to be as good as Abraham. Again, the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20:1-16). JS taught that we must be willing to sacrifice as they did to receive the same blessings, not that we must do as they did and be as great (which prompts the question, would I do as Abraham if tried the same, and to that I have no answer).

(And even though Abraham is cooler than me, I opine that there are degrees of glory even within the highest degree of celestial glory. John 14:2)

Robby C said...

I also think grace plays a major roll in exaltation. Grace is an enabling power (see bible dictionary). It is only through God's grace, or enabling that we can "BECOME" Gods. D&C 93:12 tells how we receive this grace or enabling power. Grace for grace. When we give grace we receive grace. How do we give grace? Think about what Christ did his whole life. Grace for grace. He gave grace (enabled others/served/helped) and therefore received grace (enabling power) which he used to give more grace. That is how Christ became and it is how we become. Grace for grace. Grace is essential to exaltation. I think this brings us around to the original question of what was the difference between the 3 and the 9? The three would be presumably giving grace while they remained and so receiving grace as well, becoming Gods. So the logical question to follow is this, Is one lifetime enough time to Become a God by the grace for grace principle, or does it take a bit longer, as seems to be the case with the three Nephites sticking around for quite a bit longer. (I know that last sentence was way long, but I didn't want to take the time to figure out how to fix it.)

Dallas said...

Okay, so you guys are starting to sell me on the Grace requirement for Exaltation. The more I study and think about it, It just would make sense if Grace was only required for Salvation than it was purely works for exaltation. I am really liking that idea. Thanks!

But for the question about eternal families, and why do we strive to keep these covenants? I believe that when we are sealed it is only for one eternal round. Which is still a very long time, I mean this round would continue until we decided to go down and try another round. I love my family very much also and when my wife and I decide to come back down again we would have to decide if we want to be together or not. I have spoken to different people about this and some of them believe that they have been with there wife before this round and other don't believe they had.

Also temple work is the basis for the resurrection. Joseph will have all the heads of the dispensations sealed to him and they will all resurrect there families. These links will continue down until we are resurrected and can resurrect our families.