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Scriptural advent calendar – December 2

MormonBloke

 2 Nephi 25: 19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Book of Mormon truly is ‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ’. Its prophets foretold his birth and ministry, some saw it in vision, and his name was revealed to them.

600 years before his birth, 6000 years before his birth, an eternity before his birth, our Elder Brother Jesus Christ was foreordained to come to this world to redeem us from sin. This is the good news of the Gospel that has been preached through the ages.

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Scriptural advent calendar – December 1

MormonBloke

Isaiah 7: 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The name ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us’. Elder Mark E Petersen commented:

‘How appropriate that name, for He was God, and indeed He came into the world to be with us. “God with us”! This He was in fact. He was deity before he was born into mortality, and He was His divine self while on the earth. He did not change His identity. He forever remains the Son of God, our Redeemer and our Savior.’(General Conference April 1983)

immanuel

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The Mountain of the Lord (Reblogged from November 2014)

MormonBloke

Preston_England_Temple_Free_Image

‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ (Isaiah 2:3)

The ‘mountain of the Lord’ is a phrase commonly used to refer to the temple. The ancients believed that mountains were holy places where it was easier to commune with God. Some of the most sacred events in the history of the world have occurred on mountains – Moses ‘ experiences with the Lord; the testing of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah; Peter, James and John’s witnessing of the transfigured Saviour and the crucifixion of the Saviour on Calvary.

In many ancient cultures the temple represented the ‘cosmic mountain’ – the first…

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Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, Joseph Smith, LDS Church History, LDS Doctrine

The keystone of our religion

In the Introduction to the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith describes the book as the ‘keystone of our religion’. What is a ‘keystone’ and why is the Book of Mormon the keystone of the restored gospel?

The word ‘keystone’ has two principal meanings:

  • A central stone at the summit of an arch locking the whole together.
  • The central principle or part of a policy, system, etc., on which all else depends

keystone

President Benson described three ways in which the Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion. It is the keystone to:

  • Our witness of Christ
  • Our doctrine
  • Our testimony

It is the keystone to our witness of Christ because it is a second witness to the atoning mission of the Saviour. Of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon only 6 don’t have reference to Jesus Christ.

It is the keystone to our doctrine because it sets out the fullness of the Gospel. President Ezra Taft Benson taught us that the Book of Mormon helps us discern truth from error: “We should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings. If we really do our homework and approach the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we can expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men. I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter.”

It is the keystone to our testimony because most of us received our testimony through reading the Book of Mormon and accepting Moroni’s invitation to pray about it.

It is also the keystone to our testimony in the sense ‘locking the whole thing together’. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph was a prophet and restored the true Gospel to the earth. If the Book of Mormon is not true then Joseph was a fraud and the Church has no claim to authority and revelation.

It continues to be the ‘central principle’ on which all else depends. If we have a testimony of the Book of Mormon then we should also have a testimony of prophets and of continuing revelation between God and man. This testimony should strengthen us when we have doubts about the Prophet Joseph, historical issues or current policy pronouncements. When our testimony wavers, we need to go back to that sacred volume and refresh our testimony of it.

We all need the stability that a keystone brings. Without that stability  we risk, as Paul syas in Ephesians being

…..children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

President Benson promises great blessings to those who seriously study the Book of Mormon:

“The moment you begin a serious study of [the Book of Mormon, you] will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. … When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).

See Ensign article:

The keystone of our religion by President Ezra Taft Benson

 

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Back to Eden (Reblogged from November 2014)

MormonBloke

Most LDS temples are surrounded by beautiful landscaped grounds. These provide a peaceful atmosphere and a place for reflection. However, they also serve an important symbolic purpose: they remind us that the Garden of Eden was the first place on earth where mankind stood in the presence of God. The Garden of Eden can be regarded as the earth’s first temple.

In Genesis 3:8 we read:

‘And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…’

Perhaps it was a common experience for Adam and Eve before they were cast out of the Garden to commune with God as he walked in the Garden. The same Hebrew word translated as ‘walking ’is used in a number of places in the Old Testament to describe the Lord’s presence in the tabernacle and temple:

‘I will make my dwelling among you, and my…

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Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, New Testament, Symbolism

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 46 – “He Will Dwell with Them, and They Shall Be His People”

  1. Satan fights against the righteous.

Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

‘At the beginning of most dispensations, a book is given to the newly called prophet. Moses received tablets (see Ex. 31:18).Lehi was given a book to read concerning the destruction of Jerusalem (see 1 Ne. 1:11–14) Ezekiel was given “a roll of a book” (Ezek. 2:9–10) containing the Lord’s message for the house of Judah in his day. John the Revelator on the Isle of Patmos was shown a book with seven seals. Is it any wonder, then, that the Lord would provide a book containing the fulness of the gospel as part of the “restitution of all things”? The Book of Mormon has the power to draw all men and women to Christ. Its references to the Savior’s Atonement are the clearest on record with regard to its purpose and powers.’ (Merrill J Bateman, General Conference, October 2007)

The seven seals

Revelation 6:1-2 Includes the times of Adam’s and Enoch’s ministries

Revelation 6:3-4 Includes the times of Noah, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Jaredites

Revelation 6:5-6 Includes the times of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph and the exodus from Egypt

Revelation 6:7-8 Includes the times of Isaiah, the loss of the 10 tribes, the Babylonian captivity of Judah, Lehi leaving for America up to the time of Jesus

Revelation 6:7-12 From Christ’s birth to the death of the apostles and the Great Apostasy

Revelation 6:12-17 Includes the Renaissance and Reformation, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, great signs and calamities

Revelation 7:1-8 Zion is established and the Gospel preached to four corners of the world

Revelation 8-20 The earth is sanctified through, destruction, fire and bloodshed. The Millennium is ushered in with the Second Coming of Christ. Satan is bound for 1000 years. Satan is loosed and then banished. The great and last judgement of the wicked.

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Revelation 6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

‘And there went out another horse that was red; signifying blood and slaughter.’ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

 Revelation 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

‘The time represented by the third seal was an era of great famine. John sees a black horse, black being the color of extreme hunger and famine (Lam. 4:8-9). In the hand of the rider he sees a pair of balances, which are used to measure the food during the famine, a practice known from earlier times (Lev. 26:26). For instance, on one occasion the Lord prophesied through Ezekiel that he would cause a famine by ‘break[ing] the staff of bread in Jerusalem’; the Jerusalemites, he explained, would ‘eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure’ (Ezek. 4:16).

During this thousand-year time span, Abraham records, ‘a famine prevailed throughout all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented because of the famine. . . . Now the Lord God caused the famine to wax sore in the land of Ur, insomuch that Haran, my brother, died’ (Abr. 1:30; 2:1). As Abraham and Sarai traveled through the land, he stopped and ‘built an altar in the land of Jershon, and made an offering unto the Lord, and prayed that the famine might be turned away from my father’s house, that they might not perish. . . . And I, Abraham, concluded to go down into Egypt, to sojourn there, for the famine became very grievous’ (Abr. 2:17, 21)

We recall that Joseph, the great-grandson of Abraham, interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of a famine that would last seven years and would ‘consume the land’ (Gen. 41:30). The famine existed in Egypt as well as other lands. Gen. 41 relates: ‘And the famine was over all the face of the face of the earth . . . and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands’ (Gen. 41:56-57). Jacob, Joseph’s father, also experienced the famine while dwelling in Canaan, and he sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy corn (Gen. 42:1-5).” ‘(Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Book of Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 81.)

Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

“Surely no period before this saw more vicious generals and armies. It was the time when some of the world’s greatest empires rose and fell: Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and Macedonia among them. As armies marched, men died in droves, and Hell gaped open wide its jaws to receive them.

“Caught up in all this strife were the people of Jehovah. Palestine was often a hotly contested area. Pulled by the forces of the day, its political leaders tried to play power politics to their shame and destruction. The great prophets, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and later Jeremiah and Lehi, tried to warn them of their folly. They would not heed. Too caught up in idolatry to repent, too licentious to reform, too hard-hearted to feel, they warred among themselves and weakened their nation. As a consequence, they left Jehovah and life eternal. Hell was truly their reward.” (Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 67.)

Revelation 6: 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

‘It seems as though the adversary has been determined that if he could not stop the progress of this work in any other way he would drown it in blood. ‘(George Q Cannon, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 25: 279.)

 Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

‘The sight the apostle beheld at the opening the fifth seal was very affecting. He saw the souls of the martyrs under the altar; at the foot of the altar in heaven, at the feet of Christ. Persecutors can only kill the body; after that there is no more they can do; the soul lives. God has provided a good place in the better world, for those who are faithful unto death. It is not their own death, but the sacrifice of Christ, that gives them entrance into heaven. The cause in which they suffered, was for the word of God; the best any man can lay down his life for; faith in God’s word, and the unshaken confession of that faith. They commit their cause to Him to whom vengeance belongs. The Lord is the comforter of his afflicted servants, and precious is their blood in his sight.’ (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

  1. Satan will be bound, and Christ will reign in triumph during the Millennium.

 Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

‘Alleluia is a Hebrew word, and signifies: Praise ye the Lord.’ (Jamiesson-Faussett-Brown Bible Commentary)

Revelation 19: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

“The smoke of the destruction of Babylon (see 18:9, 18) will rise up to the heavens forever as a testimony of her wickedness. When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Abraham ‘looked . . . toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace’ (Gen. 19:28). When Isaiah made his prophecy against Idumea (which represents the world; see D&C 1:36), he saw that ‘the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste’ (Isa. 34:9-10; Rev. 14:11). As the smoke of incense rises up to God as a prayer (8:3-4), so will the smoke of the destroyed Babylon rise up as a reminder of the sin and just destruction of the wicked world.” (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Book of Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 250.)

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Revelation 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

The marriage of the Lamb, who is Christ (D&C 33:17-18) to his bride, who is the Church (D&C 109:73-74) as well as the New Jerusalem (21:2, 9-10), is a metaphor for the union between the Lord and his people, made possible through the atonement of Christ….There is no sweeter or more meaningful relationship on earth than that between a holy husband and a holy wife; that is the kind of relationship (in depth of feeling and completeness of union) that the Lord is inviting us to. That marriage is between Christ and the church-but the Church is not just an organization on the earth; it is also the individual souls who belong to that organization.” (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Book of Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 251 – 252.)

 Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

‘For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints – Represents the righteousness of the saints; or is an emblem of it. It should be remarked, however, that it is implied here, as it is everywhere in the Scriptures, that this is not their own righteousness, for it is said that this was “given” to the bride – to the saints. It is the gracious bestowment of their Lord; and the reference here must be to that righteousness which they obtain by faith – the righteousness which results from justification through the merits of the Redeemer. ‘(Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

‘Which are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb – The idea of a festival, or a marriage-supper, was a familiar one to the Jews to represent the happiness of heaven, and is frequently found in the New Testament.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

“The bottomless pit is the depths of hell. It is not a literal pit without a bottom, for such is a contradiction in terms. But it is a pit or prison where the inhabitants suffer, as mortals view suffering, to an infinite, unlimited, or bottomless extent. Referring to finite inability to comprehend the vastness of the suffering of those reaping the full measure of this status, the revelation says: ‘The end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation.’ (D. & C. 76:48.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 101.)

 Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

‘We read that Satan shall be bound a thousand years.  How is this to be accomplished? By our becoming so impregnated with the principles of the Gospel—with the Holy Ghost—that the enemy will have no place in us or in our families, and shedding forth that influence in our neighborhoods. The adversary is first to be driven from ourselves, then from our families, then from our neighbors, next from our Territory, and eventually from the nations, until he shall find no place upon the face of the whole earth: then will he not be bound? Yes, so far as this earth is concerned; and that is the way in which it is to be done, in my humble opinion. He will be chained to all intents and purposes when he can have no influence—no power—no tabernacles into which he can enter: he will then have no place of entertainment. When he finds that he is cornered that close, will he not consider himself bound? I think he will, whether he thinks so or not.’ (Daniel H Wells, Journal of Discourses)

 Revelation 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

‘The phrase “a little season” – μικρὸν χρόνον mikron chronon, “little time” – denotes properly that this would be brief as compared with the thousand years. No intimation is given as to the exact time, and it is impossible to conjecture how long it will be. All the circumstances stated, however, here and in Revelation 20:7-10 would lead us to suppose that what is referred to will be like the sudden outbreak of a rebellion in a time of general peace, but which will soon be quelled.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

“God’s judgment will be just. The judges at the gate will know for certain the formula, the records, the spirit, the true deserts. The Book of Life (see Revelation 20:12) will show the earthly activities of all of us, and the book of the angels will give the entire story of every man and what he did in the light and in the shadows, in the open and in the corners, all that is said in the secret places and from the housetops, all that was thought and expressed, whether good or bad. There will be no escape. The honest judge will give full value to all for their good works and will not overlook the other.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 46.)

 Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

‘Is there any clear thinking man who would want to gamble on being left in his grave a thousand years when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven with all the holy angels, and those who have died in him shall be brought forth from the grave, and those who are living in him shall be caught up in the air and changed in the twinkling of an eye? I like the statement of the philosopher Cicero. He said he was much more interested in the long hereafter than he was in the brief present.’ (LeGrand Richards, General Conference, October 1981)

 Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

‘”Satan will be sealed up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years-but not forever. ‘When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed’ to once again do his work of deception and destruction on the earth. He will gather followers from all nations to a battle in which the warriors are as many ‘as the sand of the sea.’ Satan’s mortal hosts will surround the Saints and their ‘beloved city,’ but the Lord will act in great glory and power to devour his enemy. Then the devil will be cast away forever, to be punished for his great sins for all eternity.

“The account in 4 Ne. 1 gives us a sobering preview of how the bright millennial era can be brought to a close. After the Savior’s visit to the descendants of Lehi in the Americas, the people entered into a condition that was millennial in some important respects: ‘There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people…’

“The breakdown in this near-perfect society had tiny beginnings: ‘a small part of the people . . . revolted from the church and [had] taken upon them the name of Lamanites’ (vv. 20)…From that point, the society disintegrated rapidly. Within the next decade, ‘there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness. And this church did multiply exceedingly because of iniquity, and because of the power of Satan who did get hold upon their hearts’ (vv. 27-28).

“Thus it was that in only a few years, Satan, who had essentially been bound, was loosed again in the land…The decline and fall of this blessed society makes for troubling reading, and the lessons for our day are clear. Satan ever lies in wait to deceive and destroy, and if he fails with one generation, he will try with redoubled efforts to harm the next.” [(Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry,Understanding the Book of Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 273-274.)

Revelation 20: 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

‘The battle of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium.’ (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5: 298.)

 Revelation 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

‘The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. … The torment of disappointment in the mind of man [or woman] is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone.” That lake of fire and brimstone, ever burning but never consumed, is the description in the scriptures for hell.’ (Boyd K Packer, General Conference, April 2001)

Revelation 20: 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

‘The earth and the heaven fled away – That is, as the stars, at the rising of the sun, seem to flee to more remote regions, and vanish from human view, so when the Son of God shall descend in his glory to judge the world, the earth and all other worlds shall seem to vanish.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

  1. After the last judgment, the righteous will dwell with God.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

‘These books spoken of must be the books which contain the record of their works upon the earth and must refer to the records which are kept upon the earth. The other book spoken of as the “book of life” is the record which is kept in heaven. Joseph Smith explained in a letter preserved as Section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants that whatever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven.’ (Theodore M Burton, General Conference, October 1968)

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Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

‘Then men shall no more die and sleep in the earth, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye and shall be caught up, and their rest shall be glorious (D&C 101:31). And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. What a great time to be alive, when Christ himself will be our lawgiver and righteous men and women, from both sides of the veil, will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. On the other hand, what a tragic time it will be for those who fail to qualify.’ (Sterling W Sill, General Conference, April 1967)

Revelation 21: 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

‘Of the fountain of the water of life – An image often used in the Scriptures to represent salvation. It is compared with a fountain that flows in abundance, where all may freely slake their thirst.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Revelation 21: 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

‘Eternal life brings to us, brothers and sisters, the full bestowal of all the specific promises made in connection with all the temple’s holy ordinances. John declared that the “called, and chosen, and faithful” shall “inherit all things.” (Rev. 21:7; see also Rev. 17:14.) Modern scriptures confirm that these special souls will eventually receive “all that [the] Father hath.” (D&C 84:38.) “All”! You and I cannot even imagine such bounteous blessings. ‘ (Neal A Maxwell, “Endure It Well,” Ensign, May 1990, 35)

Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

‘The idea here is, that it would be a holy world – all holy. No particular portion would be set apart for purposes of public worship, but in all places God would be adored, and every portion of it devoted to the purposes of religion.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

‘Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.’ (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 31 – 32.)

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Temples and symbolism (Re-blogged from November 2014)

MormonBloke

Why is it important for us to understand symbolism?

Because understanding symbolism is central to an understanding of the gospel.  Indeed Elder Orson F Whitney wrote:

 ‘The Universe is built on symbols, lifting our thoughts from man to God, from earth to heaven, from time to eternity…God teaches with symbols; it is His favourite way of teaching.’  (Orson F Whitney, Latter Day Saint Ideals and Institutions, Improvement Era, 30 August 1927)

Latter-Day Saints are used to interpreting symbolism in the scriptures. We recognise that in scripture words, objects, images and people can represent something beyond their surface meaning and that a symbol may be interpreted on several levels. In particular, we believe that all things testify of Christ.

 ‘And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me.’ (Moses 6:63)

However, despite this, many Saints…

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Posted in Gospel Doctrine 2015, Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine, New Testament, Symbolism

Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 45 – “He That Overcometh Shall Inherit All Things”

  1. John sees several symbols representing parts of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“The book of Revelation, written by John, was…written in sorrow-from the lonely circumstance of exile: ‘I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation … was in the isle that is called Patmos.’ (Rev. 1:9.) But perhaps even more powerful than the physical separation and loneliness John felt as he wrote was the spiritual isolation he suffered. We can sense it as we read his words, for John did not write in a time of success, but of gloom. The young, struggling gospel kingdom was beset upon from all sides. The Saints were hunted, persecuted, slain. But more distressingly, the Church was being ravished from within by false teachings. Undoubtedly the loneliness and sorrows John felt as he beheld the struggles of the beleaguered Church contributed strongly to the passion in his words as he wrote what he saw. Then, trying to communicate the scenes viewed in revelation, John wrote of the trials and glories of the earth’s future in powerful and starkly beautiful terms.” (Lenet H. Read, “How the Bible Came to Be: Part 3, A New Word Is Added to the Old,” Ensign, Mar. 1982)

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 Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

‘Now, we have some people professing Christianity who are very intense upon the idea that the old Sabbath day should be maintained. The Lord himself changed the day. The Saints in olden times, that is, after the resurrection of Christ, accepted the date of the resurrection as their Sabbath, and they called it the Lord’s day. It was on that day that John, in prayer before the Lord, received the great revelation known to us as the “apocalypse.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, General Conference, April 1963)

 Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

What is the meaning of Alpha and Omega? Jeffrey R. Holland said  “These [first and last] letters from the Greek [alphabet] suggest the universal role of Jesus from the beginning of the world to its end.”

 Revelation 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Throughout the Joseph Smith Translation of Revelation 1-3, the word angels is changed to servants, making it clear that the stars represent the leaders of the seven branches of the Church.  How are Church leaders like stars? Church leaders are like the stars in that they are constant and give direction to those who look for it.

Revelation 1: 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

‘the mystery] The use of this word in the N. T. is not very far removed from its primary meaning in classical Greek. We may paraphrase it, “the hidden divine truth, now made known, but made known to God’s favoured ones only:” ‘(The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

“The word ‘candlesticks’ reflects the King James translators’ familiarity with wax candles.  What John actually saw, however, was a seven-branched menorah with a bowl at the top of each branch.  Each bowl held olive oil, into which a wick was placed and then lit, providing light. The seven churches must be filled with the Spirit that they might bring light, healing, and peace to the world.  The challenge has not changed for us today.” (Michael Wilcox).

  1. The Lord tells the seven branches in Asia about the blessings promised to those who overcome.

To Ephesus

Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Today, the Savior is still in the midst of his Church, guiding inspired priesthood and auxiliary leaders and individual members in their callings and responsibilities. It is important for us to know that he is in the midst of his people.

“Made well known by Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Ephesus is located 40 miles south of Izmir on the west coast of central Turkey and was a famous commercial center in Paul’s time. The branch, in which Paul spent several years, was later directed by Timothy, and later still was the home branch of the apostle John. Following Roman rule its harbor filled with silt, and with it went the city’s commerce and population.” (Jay M. Todd, “The Seven Cities of Revelation ,” Ensign, August 1976)

The branch at Ephesus is commended for good works, diligence, patience, longsuffering, and rejecting apostates, Nicolaitans, and false apostles. They are condemned for forgetting their first love (God). The blessing to those that overcome is to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God.

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To Smyrna

Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

‘Smyrna—in Ionia, a little to the north of Ephesus. Polycarp, martyred in A.D. 168, eighty-six years after his conversion, was bishop, and probably “the angel of the Church in Smyrna” meant here. The allusions to persecutions and faithfulness unto death accord with this view.’ (Jamiesson – Faussett – Brown Bible Commentary)

 Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

The saints in Smyrna were called to suffer great tribulation for a period of “ten days” meaning a short season. We presume that most of the saints survived the persecutions but some did not. Martyrs from Smyrna include Metrodorus, Pionius, and Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History (Eusebius of Caesarea), chap. 11.)

 Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Through the Atonement of Christ, we will be safe from spiritual death.

The branch at Smyrna was commended for suffering tribulation and poverty and blessed to receive a crown of life and avoid the second death.

To Pergamos

Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

“This passage may refer specifically to the enormous altar dedicated to the god Zeus, which had the appearance of a throne and stood on a hill overlooking Pergamos. It may also refer generally to the pagan cults of Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus, and Zeus, in which the power of Satan was manifest through false religious systems that promoted the worship of the emperor as a god.” (Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Book of Revelation [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 35.)

 Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

In their midst, there were people who would convince the saints to dilute or divide their worship in order to obtain material gain.

Revelation 2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The church at Pergamos was commended for remaining true to the faith but condemned for tolerating the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. The promised blessing was o eat hidden manna, to receive a white stone and a new name.

What is manna?  Pure nourishment from heaven.  What is the white stone?  A personal Urim and Thummim “whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known” (D&C 130:10).  What is the new name?  “The key word” (D&C 130:11), a key that unlocks the door to the person’s true identity, divine potential, and membership in the Lord’s family.

To Thyatira

Revelation 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

‘Thyatira was a city of Mysia or Lydia, not far from Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia. ‘ (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)

 Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

David Stern (Jewish New Testament Commentary) translates this as “that Jezebel woman,” or a woman who is like Jezebel.  In the Old Testament, Jezebel led the people into idolatry.  This congregation apparently had a similar woman, who was not being disciplined despite the fact that she had not repented.  The curse to her would also apply to her bedfellows, or the saints who followed her or tolerated her behavior.

 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

“The word reins literally means kidneys. To the Hebrews the word signified strength and vigor. The phrase is an idiom, meaning that the Lord knows all things about the inner man, his strengths and weaknesses, his character and emotions. And he shall then be able to ‘give unto every one of you according to your works.'” (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 452)

Revelation 2: 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

“And to him who overcometh, and keepeth my commandments unto the end, will I give power over many kingdoms; and he shall rule them with the word of God; and they shall be in his hands as the vessels of clay in the hands of a potter; and he shall govern them by faith, with equity and justice, even as I received of my Father” (2:26-27 JST).  Those who continue until the end in this state will become kings and priests, queens and priestesses, ruling over kingdoms, with the power to shape and form them, governing (guiding and protecting) them as the Gods do.

 Revelation 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The church at Thyatira was commended for works of charity, service, faith, and patience and condemned for tolerating the false prophetess Jezebel and her teachings of idolatry and fornication. The faithful saints were blessed to receive power over the nations, to rule by the word of God, and receive the morning star.

To Sardis

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

‘the ministry of this church had a name, that is, were reported as famous for their faith, diligence, and holiness; but their faith, without suitable works, was dead, and they were no better than hypocrites. ‘ (Jamiesson – Faussett – Brown Bible Commentary)

Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

“Perhaps few chapters in scripture afford such insightful glimpses into the spirit of the Lord’s judgment as do the first three chapters of Revelation. The Lord’s appraisal of the members faithfulness, endurance, patience, charity, and service-and their inactivity, cooling of love, tolerance of wickedness and false doctrines, lukewarmness, self-satisfaction, worldliness, and lack of zeal in his cause-have served for generations to motivate thoughtful readers to evaluate thoroughly their life-style.” (Jay M. Todd, “The Seven Cities of Revelation ,” Ensign, August 1976)

Revelation 3: 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The church at Sardis was commended for the few righteous which had not defiled their garments and condemned for forgetting the Lord, becoming spiritually dead, and for works of wickedness. The faithful were blessed to be clothed in white and have their names written in the book of life.

To Philadelphia

Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

‘Philadelphia—in Lydia, twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis, built by Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos, who died A.D. 138. It was nearly destroyed by an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius [Tacitus, Annals, 2.47]. The connection of this Church with Jews there causes the address to it to have an Old Testament coloring in the images employed. It and Smyrna alone of the seven receive unmixed praise.’ (Jamiesson- Faussett-Brown Bible Commentary)

 Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

‘Usually when someone says, “I know your works. I know what you’re doing,” don’t we usually think, “Oh, no! You know what I’mdoing?” and begin to feel guilty or self-conscious! There’s a tendency to assume we’re doing something wrong, isn’t there? Yet in this instance, there’s not a shadow of accusation or blame or guilt in the words of Jesus. He is speaking in comfort, in promise, in assurance, in might: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” (V. 8.) Isn’t there a feeling of triumph in what he’s saying? He sets before us an open door that we are completely free to walk in and out of, as we choose. No one can close that door between us and the Savior. In fact, he himself is that door. We have total, complete access.’ (Chieko N Okazaki, Lighten Up! )

 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Walls, doors, stairways and windows of a building may be moved, but a pillar is a main supporting post and cannot be removed.  Those who become “fixtures” in the temple to go no more out will receive the name of Christ, and will be known as citizens of his heavenly city.

 Revelation 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The church at Philadelphia was commended for faithfulness in spite of little remaining strength and the faithful were blessed to triumph over their enemies, be made a pillar in the temple of God, and receive a new name.

To Laodicea

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

‘Laodicea lay south of Philadelphia in the way to return to Ephesus: for the seven churches lay in a kind of circular form, so that the natural progress was from Ephesus to Smyrna, and so forward in the order in which the cities are here addressed, which probably was the order in which St. John used to visit them. ‘ (Benson Commentary)

 Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

‘If we are in the line of our duty, we are engaged in a great and glorious cause. It is very essential to our individual welfare that every man and every woman who has entered into the covenant of the Gospel, through repentance and baptism, should feel that as individuals it is their bounden duty to use their intelligence, and the agency which the Lord has given them, for the promotion of the interests of Zion and the establishment of her cause, in the earth. Those who are not faithful in the discharge of these duties cannot be wholly acceptable to God; for they are more or less in the condition of the Church which was complained of by the angel to the Apostle John, as being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and therefore only fit to be “spewed out,” or to be disowned of God.  Manifoldly more deserving of this rebuke and chastisement are those who are not only indifferent to the interests of the cause of God, and its growth in the earth, but who murmur and find fault and who, instead of putting their shoulders to the wheel, actually try to retard its progress by using what little influence and means they possess to obstruct the onward march of the kingdom.’ (Joseph F Smith, Journal of Discourses)

 Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.

 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Those who make it through the challenges of life, overcoming through the power of the Atonement, who keep their temple covenants and endure to the end, will actually be sitting on Christ’s throne with him.  This implies becoming as he is, one of the revolutionary doctrines of the restored gospel.

 Revelation 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The church at Laodicea received no commendation and was rebuked for being lukewarm and proud in their riches. The faithful were blessed that they would sit with the Lord in his throne.

  1. John learns that the Saints overcome Satan through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and their testimonies.

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

The woman represents the church of God and the twelve stars are the apostles.

Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

“Joseph Smith said, ‘At the first organization in heaven, we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it.’

“There were others, however, who were less noble. Many of the spirits, exercising their agency, chose to follow Lucifer in rebellion against God. (See D&C 29:36; Jude 1:6.) Lucifer, as the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith, was once ‘an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son’ and ‘sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ.’ (D&C 76:25, 28; see Isa. 14:12-15.) Lucifer’s proposals that ‘one soul shall not be lost’ (tempting as it sounds, it would nevertheless suspend our agency to choose) and that he be given God’s place and glory were rejected. (See Moses 4:1-3.) War followed, and because of his rebellion, Lucifer ‘was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, and was called Perdition.’ (D&C 76:25-26; see Rev. 12:7-9.)” (Donald Q. Cannon, Larry E. Dahl, and John W. Welch, “The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation,” Ensign, Jan. 1989, 30)

Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

The child she brought forth represents the kingdom of God—the government that will exist on the earth during Jesus Christ’s millennial reign. (Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual)

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

“As we ponder Adam’s role, we see that Adam is a great opposer to Satan. Even before Eden, Satan was defeated and cast out of heaven to the earth by Adam and priesthood power and priesthood forces. Because of the holy priesthood, Adam will forever have ascendancy over Satan.” (Arthur A. Bailey, “What Modern Revelation Teaches about Adam,” Ensign, Jan. 1998, 27)

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Unfortunately, Satan’s war did not end with his expulsion from heaven. As John observed, Satan and his followers were “cast out into the earth”and have come here with “great wrath.” (Revelation 12:12). The evidence of their wrath can be seen in the blood and horror that has afflicted man from the beginning of time. (James J Hamula, General Conference, October 2008)

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

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‘A testimony was an invaluable weapon in the war in heaven, and it is an indispensable weapon here on earth.

A testimony that is continually being nourished and is continually growing will help us at every crossroad when important decisions are made. Indeed, a testimony supplants the need to make certain decisions under fire, because we already know well in advance the course of action we will take.’ (Spencer J Condie, “Agency: The Gift of Choices,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 22)

Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

‘Because he knoweth that he hath but a short time – That is, he knows that the time is limited in which he will be permitted to wage war with the saints on the earth.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

‘Satan is marshalling every resource at his disposal to entice you into transgression. He knows that if he can draw you into transgression, he may prevent you from serving a full-time mission, marrying in the temple, and securing your future children in the faith, all of which weakens not only you but the Church. He knows that nothing can overthrow God’s kingdom “save it [be] the transgression of [his] people.” (Mosiah 27:13) Make no mistake about it—the focus of his war is now on you—you who seek to “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” ‘(James J Hamula, General Conference, October 2008)