Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Olive Leaf - Doctrine and Covenants 88
The restoration, through the Prophet Joseph Smith is an interesting study. Joseph grew up in a protestant family and community, and certainly assimilated some of those understandings of religion, some for good, and some that needed correcting. The progression and order of the truths that are revealed are worthy of note.
The first thing that is established is the basic nature of God at the First Vision. Then through the translation of the Book of Mormon and the Bible the Prophet confronted a number of issues, and truths were revealed. Many of these revelations are found in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Certain truths, when revealed had associated ordinances that were simultaneously revealed, authorized, and administered.
In the First Vision the nature of God is revealed. In the 76th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Plan of Salvation (Plan of Happiness) is revealed (restored the knowledge) with the three degrees of glory and the promise that God will “reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom…” someday in the future.[D&C 76:7]
Then in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants Joseph was given the promise of the Celestial Kingdom:
“This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;” [D&C 88:4]
It appears to me that the “promise” of the celestial kingdom is associated with ordinances, and these things are the point of the temple. We don’t ascend to exaltation outside of or independently from the temple.
The LDS Guide to the Scriptures define the “Holy Spirit of Promise” as:
“The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2: 33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father that the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept.”
“They who are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise receive all that the Father has, D&C 76: 51-60 (Eph. 1: 13-14). All covenants and performances must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to have force after this life, D&C 132: 7, 18-19, 26.” [REF.]
I believe it is probable that what we have in the Doctrine and Covenants, the 88th section is an outline of teachings Joseph received as he received his endowments. That when understood represent the finest and deepest section of canon we have.
Further, that Doctrine and Covenants 88 is akin to Moses’ vision of eternity, to Abraham’s vision of Eternity, to Jacob’s vision of the Ladder, or to Ezekiel’s vision for the temple.
And further still, that it should be used as a supplemental handbook to the temple experience. Most of us are not going to see the heavens open in this life, but we can attend the temple and receive the ordinances of ascension, and apply the teaching of an almost contemporary description of a Merkabah experience, the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
We can know the mysteries of God.
at 9:44 AM