Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 24 – “This Is Life Eternal”

Jesus promises his apostles that they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

One by one, the apostles were killed as they went out to preach the gospel in foreign lands. At first, successor apostles were chosen such as Matthias (Acts 1:22), James (Acts 12:7; Galatians 1:19), Barnabas (Acts 14:14), and Paul (Acts 14:14; Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 9:1).

Peter, Philip, Andrew, Jude, Bartholomew, and Simon were crucified;

  • James the son of Zebedee was beheaded;
  • Matthew was slain by a spear and a battle-axe;
  • James the son of Alphaeus was beaten and stoned by the Jews;
  • Matthias was stoned and then beheaded;
  • Thomas was thrust through with a spear.

While the exact dates of death are not known in many cases, it is believed that with the exception of John, all met their deaths well before the end of the first century.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

“…in the New Testament, the full powers and gifts of the Holy Ghost were not given in the Old World meridian Church until the day of Pentecost…While the Bridegroom was present with his disciples in the flesh, he was their Comforter, their Revelator, their Testator. He was their Life and Light, their source of power and might. ‘Hence, as long as Jesus was with the disciples in person, there was not the full need for them to have the constant companionship of the Spirit that there would be after Jesus left.’ But because of the vital role that Spirit would play thereafter in the growth, development, and expansion of the early Christian Church, Jesus said: ‘It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you’ (John 16:7).” (Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 194.)

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

“The Holy Ghost, then, is the Spirit of truth; therefore, those who are worthy to possess it will be guided into all truth, which truth is the word of God. The Holy Ghost will not abide with the unrighteous, the insincere, or the wicked person. It is a gift from God, most valuable to those who enjoy its companionship and powers. Said Moroni, a Nephite prophet: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moro. 10:5).

Without the Holy Ghost one lives in spiritual darkness, blind to truth, unbelieving of heart, and apostate in feelings and teachings.

The Holy Ghost is also a comforter; it has the power to give peace to the soul of the righteous.

The Holy Ghost is the spirit of prophecy. The Apostle Peter, speaking of the more sure word of prophecy, admonished all to take heed, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).

If prophets speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, then the Holy Ghost is required to interpret correctly the teachings of holy men. Therefore, those who do not possess the Spirit of God cannot comprehend the things of God (1 Cor. 2:11).

The Holy Ghost is a revelator. Jesus, speaking of the Holy Ghost, promised his disciples: “. . . and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).” (Delbert L Stapley, General Conference, October 1966)

Jesus foretells his death and resurrection

John 16: 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

A little while – His death would occur in a short time. It took place the next day.

Ye shall not see me – That is, he would be concealed from their view in the tomb.

And again a little while – After three days he would rise again and appear to their view.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?

18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye inquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

“Shall be turned into joy – You will not only rejoice at my resurrection, but even my death, now the object of so much grief to you, will be to you a source of unspeakable joy. It will procure for you peace and pardon in this life, and eternal joy in the world to come. Thus their greatest apparent calamity would be to them, finally, the source of their highest comfort; and though then they could not see how it could be, yet if they had known the whole case they would have seen that they might rejoice. As it was, they were to be consoled by the assurance of the Saviour that it would be for their good. And thus, in our afflictions, if we could see the whole case, we should rejoice. As it is, when they appear dark and mysterious, we may trust in the promise of God that they will be for our welfare. We may also remark here that the apparent triumphs of the wicked, though they may produce grief at present in the minds of Christians, will be yet overruled for good. Their joy shall be turned into mourning, and the mourning of Christians into joy; and wicked men may be doing the very thing – as they were in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus – that shall yet be made the means of promoting the glory of God and the good of his people, Psalm 76:10.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Jesus offers the great intercessory prayer

“I have always thought this one of the grandest and most remarkable prayers ever uttered, that we have any record of. No doubt the Son of God offered many prayers not in the power of mortal pen to record. But this prayer was recorded, and it has come down to us. It is a prayer that is full of meaning, and one that should be especially dear to the Latter-day Saints, because the blessings that the Savior prayed for on this occasion are the blessings that we need. We would not be worthy of the name of Saints if we did not receive the answer to this prayer in ourselves. The servants of that have received the Priesthood, unless they received the fulfilment of this prayer and exemplified it in their lives, would not be in truth His disciples.” (Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 4, George Q. Cannon, April 7, 1895)


John 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

“This was Jesus’ appointed hour-the hour for which he came into the world; the hour when he would take upon himself the sins of the world. For this purpose was he born; for this purpose had he lived. And because he would accomplish the appointed purpose, he would soon rise in immortal glory-for which glory he now prayed.” (Bruce R McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 4: 107.)

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

“Our quest for eternal life is nothing other than a quest to understand who God is and for us to return to live with Him.” (Christoffel Golden Jr, General Conference, April 2013)

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

A clear statement that Jesus had a premortal existence.

6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

“In his prayer Jesus made it perfectly clear that the eleven disciples knew him to be the Son of God. He had taught them who he was and that he had been sent from his Father. That they had received a witness in their hearts and souls to the truth of his teachings is made clear in the following statement by John: (quotes John 17:1-2, 6-8.).

“By receiving the Savior’s message and accepting him for what he was and is, the Apostles obtained eternal life.

“This knowledge of ‘the only true God, and Jesus Christ’ (John 17:3) is the most important knowledge in the universe; it is the knowledge without which the Prophet Joseph Smith said no man could be saved. The lack of it is the ignorance referred to in the revelation wherein it is written: ‘It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.’ (D&C 131:6.)” (Marion G Romney, “Except a Man Be Born Again,”Ensign, Nov. 1981, 14)

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

“The meaning of this expression here seems to be this: Jesus is praying for his disciples. As a reason why God should bless them, he says that they were not of the world; that they had been taken out of the world; that they belonged unto God. The petition was not offered for wicked, perverse, rebellious men, but for those who were the friends of God and were disposed to receive his favors.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

“If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world. We should have no part in all its foolishness. We should not partake of its sins and its errors-errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be-we have no part in it.

“The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God. That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves…If I sometimes, and once in a while I do, go to a football game or a baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably I will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarettes or cigars or dirty pipes. It gets very annoying, and I get a little disturbed. I will turn to Sister Smith, and I will say something to her, and she will say, ‘Well, now, you know what you have taught me. You are in their world. This is their world.’ And that sort of brings me back to my senses. Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1952, Afternoon Meeting 28.)

John 17: 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“It is the principle of unity that has enabled the wards, stakes, branches, and missions of the Church to progress and to accomplish the purposes for which the Church was established. It could not have been done by dissension and hatred. There have been difficulties. Each member of the Church has his own ideas. Sometimes they are not the same as those of the bishopric, and not the same as those of the presidency of the stake, and not the same as the Presidency of the Church; but each has had to submerge his own ideas to the good of the whole, and in that united purpose we have achieved something that is wonderful.”(David O. McKay, General Conference, October 1967)


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