Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

RS/MP Lesson 46: “The Final Judgment” (Gospel Principles Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on November 12, 2011

As always, I try to hit each section briefly and offer some food for thought through the scriptures quoted. I also give questions for each section. My hope is that these questions make you come up with questions of your own. My questions, and commentary, are mostly rhetorical to help guide your own thoughts on the subject.

Judgments of God

Our lives are not made up of one single judgment. Rather, our lives are made up of a series of judgments. We are judged in almost everything that we do. This is especially true in the church when it comes to worthiness (baptism, temple, priesthood, etc.). It is also true in other walks of life (work, sports, etc.) However, it is not if we are judged, but how we are judged that is important. The following two scriptures will say how we are judged.

For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared (D&C 76:111).

Additionally:

For I, the Lord, will judge all men according, to their works, according to the desire of their hearts (D&C 137:9).

How are these two passages related? Are they saying the something or something different? Can one have desire without works, or vice versa?

Our Words, Works, and Thoughts  Are Used to Judge Us

While speaking with Zeerom, Alma says that three things condemn us. “For our words will condemn us . . . our works will condemn us . . . our thoughts will also condemn us.” These will place us in an “awful state” that is unprepared to meet God (Alma 12:14). What Alma seems to be describing here is the whole one’s being. In a way, it seems that we are under a sort of condemnation for  the very nature of our state of being. This might be related to idea that the natural man is an enemy to God.

I find the word order interesting in this verse (Alma 12:14): words, works, thoughts. Normally when I think of sin I think of the progression as, thoughts leading to words, and words leading to sinful actions. However, Alma ends with thoughts. Perhaps because once you have done an action it is almost impossible to forget that action. So maybe you are condemned by carrying those thoughts with you forever? I’m not sure.

What do you make of the word order in Alma 12:14? Does it even matter?

 We Will be Judged by Records

Multiple scriptures tell us that Christ commits judgment to the disciples and Apostles (1 Ne. 12:9-10, Matt 19:28, etc). If this is true then why do we say that we will be judged by Christ during the Final Judgment?

Inheriting a Place in a Kingdom of Glory

This section just speaks a little about each of the degrees of glory. Refer to D&C 76.

The manual says that “At the Final Judgment we will inherit a place in the kingdom for which we are prepared.” It then references D&C 88:20-32.

What do you suppose it means to be prepared to inherit a kingdom of glory? Who is doing the preparing? Us, God, others, a mix?

We  Should Prepare Now for Judgment

The manual says that “In reality, every day is a day of judgment. We speak, think, and act according to celestial, terrestrial, or telestial law. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines which kingdom we will inherit” (273).

If every day is a judgment, then how much does every day matter? Is salvation lost or gained in one day? What is the purpose of being judged everyday? Does being judged every day make you feel as if you are on a point system? Why or why not?

15 Responses to “RS/MP Lesson 46: “The Final Judgment” (Gospel Principles Manual)”

  1. Rob Osborn said

    One thing that strikes out at me is the phrase you posted-

    “In reality, every day is a day of judgment. We speak, think, and act according to celestial, terrestrial, or telestial law. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines which kingdom we will inherit”

    I have some questions and perhaps helpful insight into this. Firts- what is telestial or terrestrial law? Some have erroneously thought that it was the law of the world- basic wickedness or carnality. But, as learned from the temple, telestial law is actually obedience to the law of the Aaronic priesthood and is what makes up part of the fuller celestial law. Terrestrial law is obedience to the Melchizedik priesthood and makes up another fuller step of the higher celestial law. Celestial law is obedience to the fulness of God’s revealed laws including the law of consecration and the patriarchal type of priesthood.

    So, when I read a statement like that posted in the book I am left to think that they do not properly know what the law for each level really means. For example, If I am in the act of repenting and asking for forgiveness I am thus showing obedience to the telestial level of the law and as a reward i am granted the presence of the Holy Ghost to again be with me. So does this mean that I would thus be going to the telestial kingdom?

    You can thus see the error in thinking this way. We live right now in the telestial kingdom. This earth is the telestial kingdom. Obedience to the gospel in this kingdom brings the honor and glory to us that is available in this kingdom. Showing obedience tot he telestial law advances us intot he terrestrial kingdom which will be when the earth enters the millennium. Obedience to the terrestrial laws advances us into the celestial kingdom after the millennium.

    As one last thought, if we think that the law of say the telestial kingdom is carnality or worldliness why do souls who pay honor to this not get rewarded when they die but rather get punished to hell for their misdeeds?

    • GaryH said

      Speaking of the temple endowment, it would be more accurate to say that the transition to a higher kingdom is made only after accepting the relevant higher laws while still in the PRIOR kingdom. You can’t enter a kingdom unless you have first proved you can live it’s laws.

      According to D&C 76, the telestial world is the world of the wicked. It doesn’t take much effort to live a telestial law. Only sons of perdition are mentioned as those who “cannot abide a telestial law” (D&C 88:24) and inherit an even lower kingdom. The world in which we now live is the telestial world.

      Those who are moderately good (D&C 76:71-80) are living a step above the telestial wicked, and are thus living a terrestrial law, which makes them worthy of the terrestrial kingdom, despite being required to remain physically in the telestial world for the present. The Millennial world is a terrestrial kingdom, and the wicked cannot abide there.

      Those who are fully good (D&C 76:50-70) are living above the terrestrial level and are living a celestial law, and are thus worthy of the celestial kingdom, despite for the most part being presently physically confined to the telestial world.

  2. Rob Osborn said

    So what would you term as telestial obedience then?

    • GaryH said

      keeping the first estate, perhaps?

    • GaryH said

      That being the case, I shouldn’t say that “it doesn’t take much effort to live a telestial law”. If keeping the first estate, ie righteousness in the pre-existence, is the requirement to enter the telestial world, then all those on earth can be given credit for being that much valiant. After all, even the telestial kingdom is considered a kingdom of glory, and is a reward for obedience to law. It just happens to be the limit of progression for those unwilling to abide a higher law.

  3. kirkcaudle said

    Good comments on both ends. However, I think that I side more with Rob on this one (but I am not totally sure). If keeping the telestial law is simply keeping our first estate then that says little for what law one actually keeps while in mortality. But then again, maybe many people actually keep no law during mortality?

    This makes me think about D&C 76:72-3. This verse talks about those in the terrestrial world who “died without law . . . the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited.” I think that this speaks to what Rob was saying about connecting the Aaronic PH to telestial law. Those in prison, who would eventually receive terrestrial glory, followed no law while on earth. Judging from this verse, it appears that one must be aware of a law before one can follow the law. The law must be given.Therefore, if one follows a telestial law here on earth then perhaps that person has additional information that others do not have.

    I like Rob’s example, “If I am in the act of repenting and asking for forgiveness I am thus showing obedience to the telestial level of the law and as a reward i am granted the presence of the Holy Ghost to again be with me.” In this case, following a telestial law would be much better than following no law at all. After all, most people in the world are not even aware that such laws exist.

    • GaryH said

      I have some difficulty with D&C 76:72. I’m not convinced that “without law” means they had no law, as D&C 137 seems to indicate that those with no law that would have received it are heirs of the celestial. Perhaps “without law” could mean “outside” the law, or some such thing. The verses following, of which you quoted a part, seem to describe a consolation-prize second chance for those who did in fact have the law on earth but rejected it.

      In any case, my point was not to define what constitutes the law of each level, and whether it corresponds to the endowment. My point was to suggest that you keep a certain law to qualify for advancement (if you will) INTO the associated kingdom, not OUT OF it. Rob said (and I forget how to do quotes): “Showing obedience to the telestial law advances us into the terrestrial kingdom which will be when the earth enters the millennium. Obedience to the terrestrial laws advances us into the celestial kingdom after the millennium.” If this is the case, then what does obedience to the celestial law advance us into? Or what is the consequence of disobedience to celestial law?

  4. kirkcaudle said

    “My point was to suggest that you keep a certain law to qualify for advancement (if you will) INTO the associated kingdom, not OUT OF it.”-GaryH

    I think I might agree with this (but I am really not sure what I believe on this subject to be honest, lol). My question is, what law does one start with at birth? I mean, do we start out with a telestrial law and move up from there? If I had to keep the telstrial law in order to advance to telestrial glory then I must be given that law at some point.

    • GaryH said

      I can’t answer that, but I’m willing to throw some ideas on the table…

      I doubt each law can be explicitly defined in terms of specific rules or requirements. One thing that is common to each description of the kingdoms in D&C 76 is the term “testimony of Jesus”. The celestial candidates “received the testimony of Jesus”, the terrestrial were “not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (implying they had received it?) or “received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it”, and the telestial “received not the…testimony of Jesus”. Note also that each references in some way, directly or indirectly, the gospel.

      So does everyone have an opportunity to receive the testimony of Jesus? Not everyone hears a mortal minister preach about Jesus. However, Jesus himself declares “I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world”. Assuming this refers to the so-called Light of Christ, then perhaps this medium is a sufficient testimony of Jesus to judge a person by, even if one doesn’t name it or recognise it as such. The “gospel” as distinct from the “testimony of Jesus” may refer to a more solid body of truth. D&C 137 refers to those who “died without a knowledge of the gospel, who would have received it”, suggesting they had access to the non-specific Light of Christ but not the revealed gospel itself.

      How this correlates to the reading of D&C 76 I’m still not certain. But I think it’s sufficient to suggest that all on the earth are provided with at least some kind of law, if nothing other than the Light of Christ.

  5. NathanG said

    I think it’s hard to bring D&C 76 and the endowment into a nice little cohesive packet. I’m not sure either were given with the intent of explaining the other. D&C 88 with discussions of laws of kingdoms may be more useful to think about with the endowment.

    Here’s a possible option. Telestial is where fallen man goes (while we all inherit the fall, there is some allowance built into the plan for ignorance of the law and overall accountability, all of which are taken care of before any final judgment). I personally don’t feel compelled to define a telestial law based on content of the endowment alone. Terrestrial can represent a forgiveness of sin through basics of accepting the gospel which then provides opportunity to receive higher laws (which focus on how we interact with and serve others, helping us become Christlike). Celestial is for those who are both forgiven and exalted (are made like Christ).

    It’s brief and I’m sure there are holes, but that’s where I would start.

  6. JHE said

    Y’all are making the concept way too confusion and complicated. Gospel Principles, lesson 46 states it clearly. And I quote:”

    Celestial – “They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized, … that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit.” These are they who overcome the world by their faith. They are just and true so that the Holy Ghost can seal their blessings upon them

    “Terrestrial – These are they who rejected the gospel on earth but afterward received it in the spirit world. These are the honorable people on the earth who were blinded to the gospel of Jesus Christ by the craftiness of men. These are also they who received the gospel and a testimony of Jesus but then were not valiant. They will be visited by Jesus Christ but not by our Heavenly Father.

    Telestial – These people did not receive the gospel or the testimony of Jesus either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in hell until after the Millennium, when they will be resurrected. “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” These people are as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore. They will be visited by the Holy Ghost but not by the Father or the Son.”

    There is no need to complicate doctrines that are taught simply, and easy to understand. If you understand the 3 different classifications listed and abide by any of them, you will be rewarded accordingly.

  7. kirkcaudle said

    JHE/Moe

    The question that this thread has been discussing has been surrounding where the manual says that “In reality, every day is a day of judgment. We speak, think, and act according to celestial, terrestrial, or telestial law. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines which kingdom we will inherit” (273).

    From this, Rob brought up the question of “what is telestial or terrestrial law?”

    Are you implying that what you have posted from D&C 76 explains the differences between those laws?

  8. Andrew said

    A question about accepting the gospel in the spirit world. Section 76 and the manual says those who rejected the gospel in earth, but received it in the spirit world, would receive a terrestrial glory. However, we do temple work for the dead, including temple marriages, the key to receiving the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom. So are those ordinances not fully effective if it turns out they rejected the gospel on Earth? That is, the only dead who can receive Celestial glory are those who never had the chance to accept or reject it while alive?

  9. It is not that simple, at least in my mind. Who’s to say who received a fair opportunity to accept the gospel in this life? I think that there are a lot of things people carry with them, through no fault of their of own, that might cause them to turn down the truth.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
%d bloggers like this: