Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Telestial Kingdom
“Wherefore, he [Christ] saves all except them [Son’s of Perdition]—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:44)
The Telestial Kingdom is part of the Kingdom of God, it is a kingdom of salvation, bought and paid for by the blood of Christ and His infinite atonement. Like all kingdoms of glory, the only way to achieve this kingdom, resurrection, and glory is through the mercy, merits, and grace of Christ.
No one can pay for their own sins and receive a kingdom of glory. The only people paying for their own sins are the son’s of perdition. No one receives mercy and grace unless they repent and willfully take upon themselves Christ.
To see what is required to inherit the Telestial Kingdom we can go to our examples of the Plan of Salvation made of stone, the temples, and observe what is happening there in that sacred space. The temple space representing the Telestial Kingdom in Solomon’s temple was known as the “court.” Seeing the temple experience as a series of increasing commitments by men, and promises by God, memorialized by ritual acts know as ordinances, we can see what laws (the commitments by men) and ordinances must be kept to enter any particular kingdom.
Obedience is the first law of heaven. When we enter the the court area we first see the altar for animal sacrifice. The entire Mosaic sacrificial system is symbolic of Christ. To enter the telestial space we must be attached to, affiliated with, or joined with Christ. We do this by covenanting to, and keeping the law of the court, the Telestial Kingdom. The law of the Telestial Kingdom is the “Law of Obedience and Sacrifice.”
Whether we ritualize our commitment to the Law of Obedience and Sacrifice with animal sacrifice in Mosaic pre Messiah temples, or post Messiah temple, it is in effect the same. This is the “gate” and rejection of this is a rejection of the kingdom, and a rejection of Christ and his atonement.
Without Christ we are son’s of perdition.
In Solomon’s temple the initiate would ritualize his alliance with Christ by making sacrifice at the altar of sacrifice. He would then move on to the bath which sat upon the backs of twelve oxen, which we know is a baptismal font. The oxen represent the twelve tribes of Israel, which is a representation of the Kingdom of God. When we are baptized we become the blood of Israel, a citizen of the temple, or the kingdom.
Baptism is the initiation ordinance. There were other things going on in Solomon’s temple, in the court, that are not fully explained in scripture. These are the ordinances corresponding to the Law of Obedience and Sacrifice that must be kept to inherit a Telestial Resurrection.
If these ordinances are not sealed upon us by the Holy Spirit of Promise before the time of our resurrection, we will not receive a Telestial Resurrection. The ordinances must be done, and we must live the law of the telestial kingdom to dwell there:
“And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:24)
We can see that keeping the telestial law is akin to what is require to join the church at baptism. A newly baptized convert must only meet a certain minimum threshold of sanctification, but the church envisions increased commitments, ordinances, and levels of sanctification.
How do we reconcile the idea that a person must be baptized to reside in the Telestial Kingdom when we read about an innumerable<1> (appears to be a majority) amount of souls that inherit that kingdom, when they are described as “...liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:103) On it’s face, baptism does not seem to relate to the above list of sins. The resolution comes in understanding the time-line of events.
The majority of people who come to earth can’t even reach a telestial law while residing here. Telestial laws do not include; lying, witchcraft, adultery, whoring, or any such things.<2> The Law of Obedience and Sacrifice exclude such things. Those who can not live the telestial law in this life, when they die, will be “...cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God...” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:106)
This “hell” is the Spirit Prison where the wicked post mortals reside preparing for a resurrection. While there they are vessels of God’s wrath and vengeance. It is the authors understanding that when the vessels of wrath repent, they may leave prison and join the residents of Spirit Paradise. If they refuse (rebellion) to repent after receiving a full knowledge of essential things (revelation), they will be resurrected, but remain filthy still, and join the other Son’s of Perdition.
No unclean thing can enter the Kingdom of God, in any of it’s glories. No one is forced to repent, mercy comes only through Christ, only through Christ can we be cleansed of sin.
“And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” (Alma 11:37)
It is the law a person can and will live that determines his or her resurrection and kingdom of glory, not lingering degrees of sin. All recipients of a glorious resurrection are cleansed in the end.
“These all [telestial recipients] shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:110)
The bowing of the knee is a symbol of allegiance and subjection. We must all be allied with Christ, we must take him upon us, and repent, or become Son’s of Perdition.
The first degree or level of the temple is associated with being cleansed, and identification with Christ,<3> an allegiance with Christ, and bowing the knee.
“They [Telestial Kingdom recipients] have no part in the first resurrection and are not redeemed from the devil and his angels until the last resurrection, because of their wicked lives and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, even these [Telestial Kingdom recipients] are heirs of salvation, but before they are redeemed and enter into their kingdom, they must repent of their sins, and receive the gospel, and bow the knee, and acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:22)
Many faithful saints fret upon the fact that loved ones leave this world in a state of rebellion, and scared with sin. While a portion of that fret may be justified, much stems from a misunderstanding of the plan. The vast majority of those who enter mortality will at one point or another reconfirm the Covenant of Creation, that they agree to take Christ upon themselves. Most will inherit all they are willing and capable of inheriting, the Telestial Kingdom, part of the Kingdom of God.
<1> Doctrine and Covenants 76:109
<2> These things belong to a fallen sinful world, not a redeemed mansion in God’s Kingdom. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Corinthians 6:9 & 10.
<3> “Then, when you were stripped, you were anointed with exorcised [blessed, made holy] oil, from the very hairs of your head to your feet, and were made partakers of the good olive-tree, Jesus Christ. For you were cut off from the wild olive-tree , and grafted into the good one, and were made to share the fatness [blessing and goodness] of the true olive-tree. The exorcised oil therefore was a symbol of the participation of the fatness of Christ...” Cyril on the Mysteries, Lecture 2, verse 3.
at 8:51 PM