All Things Testify of God’s Majesty
I love verse 46 and 47. God is saying, rather asking, unto what shall he liken these kingdoms so they may be understood? God says if you have seen these kingdoms, you have seen God moving in his majesty and power.
I smell a parable coming up soon.
If you consider kingdoms refers to (This is my hypothesis anyway.) galaxies, then it becomes clear. If you have seen even the least of these, you have seen God moving in power and majesty. How can that be? Because he made them all. One doesn’t have to see far set celestial objects though to know God is around. You merely need to look at the world around you. The skies, clouds, trees, grass, rivers, buildings etc… God is the author of it all. It’s too complex and orderly to be mere chance. I know God created all things. His creations are all around us, bearing testimony that He lives and that there is more to life than we know. Cross Reference Alma 30:44. The same thing is said here. All things denote there is a God, even a Supreme Being.
The Parable of the Laborer In the Field
Now for the parable. It’s in verses 51-61. I’ll refer you to the scriptures on this one because it is so long but I would love to write some things I noticed and thoughts while reading it. To start off, I’ll summarize what happens in this parable. A lord tells his 12 servants to go labor in the field until the master comes to visit (behold his countenance as the scripture says). The master says the 1st hour, he’ll visit the first servant, the second hour, the second servant and so on till the twelfth servant. Every time the lord visits he tarries with the servant. The servant is happy because of the light of his Lord and beholding his countenance. The Lord is glorified by the servant and the servant glorified by the Lord. Both are glorified.
Verse 61 says the kingdoms are like this parable. Every kingdom will be visited in its own time and season according to the decree which God hath made. Let’s dive a little deeper and ask some questions.
The Time and Place of This Parable
First, every kingdom will be visited in its own time. In the parable there are 12 servants. Is that number significant in relating to kingdoms? Are there 12 kingdoms/worlds that God has to visit? That’s an interesting thought. I think we don’t fully understand the significance of the number twelve in our church. Twelve tribes of Israel, twelves apostles, etc… Could there be more?
The parable says the master began at the first and went to the last. From the last to the first and from the first to the last. It looks like he made the run three separate times. Occupying 36 “hours” (12 servants being visited 3 times each in their own hour). I’m not sure if the 36 hours has any significance but verse 59 confused me. I know what is meant by the first shall be last and last shall be first but that isn’t referring to this. This is more fumbling because it’s dealing with time, something in which God sees differently than we do. Maybe that is what it is referring to! I was going to say this verse, 59, is linear. That’s how everyone thinks of it probably. But remember this is talking about God visiting every place in its own time. Not our time per se. Now, If you remember, the theory of relativity and how time can be compressed till the “there” is “here” and the “later” is “now.” Keep that in mind and read verse 59. the first can be the last and the last first because all time is before God. Rather than a linearized version, it’s a point in time!
I’m getting tangled in my remarks to the point where I confuse myself. Let’s take a step back and flip-flop to consider the alternative, that this is speaking linear like God is making the rounds 3 different times. What would that mean? Let’s start with what it all means. The symbols that is. Kingdom. It probably is a planet. Earlier it was talking about how there is no space without a kingdom. Greater or lesser Kingdoms. Even the footnote for space means astronomy. I don’t know what is meant by greater or lesser but that’s ok for now. Kingdom would be the servant in the parable that the master is going to visit. The master is Jesus Christ. The field is tricky. It could be a galaxy, it could be representative of the universe. Whatever it is, it has to contain these planets. Usually workers don’t work in the same part of a field, they are spread out. If this is consistent with real life than the planets would have to be spread out. Maybe scattered through the galaxy or in the universe. They are spread out and the master visits them in their own time.
One hour in the parable. Based off the Earth’s time that is really short. Based off God’s time and in earth years it comes out to about 42 years ( I knew 42 was the answer to life, the universe and everything!)( See Revelations notebook for calculations. I’ll be publishing those eventually). I don’t know if that is relevant or true. My guess is no. Rather, what is meant is God will visit them and bring to pass their salvation one at a time. Because to get all the inhabitants glorifying the master and vice versa, takes a long time. We aren’t even there yet. That is like Second Coming conditions. Ok, let’s imagine that is correct. God works out the salvation for these twelve kingdoms. They are finished. Celestial beings. But it says, or seems to say He makes the round twice more. Does that mean he sends another batch of humans to the planet? I don’t think so. Because at the end, our planet will be celestialized, a kingdom of glory. Not exactly a good place for mortal being to learn and face humanity. Ok, does that mean God makes a new planet? Then starts all over? the planets all wouldn’t reach the end of their existence at the same tie. They would have different people, trials and situations. That could explain why God is making the rounds three times. Because by that time all of Heavenly Father’s children have been taken care of. And by the time you create another, and come back, maybe it’s ready. How many planets can you go through in three trips? Or maybe he doesn’t create more. Just lets the 12 be and by the time he has gone through 3 times, they are all finished. This is all speculation of the highest form so take it with a grain of salt. I wanted to point out a cross reference. It’s the footnote for 59a. It refers you to the 20th chapter of Matthew verses 1-16. this it he parable of the laborer and the vineyard. Quite similar to this one actually.
A Similar Parable in Matthew
In this parable, a landowner goes out to the marketplace to hire some people. They agree on a penny’s wage for the day’s labor. Then at the 3,6,9,11 hours of work, the master does the same thing, each time hiring more men. The only difference was no wage was negotiated beforehand. The 3rd, 6th, 9th, hour laborers were standing idle in the marketplace. The lord told them to go labor and he would give them what was right. The 11th hour workers were also found idle in the marketplace, not having been hired by anyone all day. The master told them to go and work. At the end of the day, all received a penny for the day. However the 1st hour workers were disgruntled because they had worked all day and the others hadn’t worked so long, yet they all received the same wage. The master reminds them the agreement was for a penny for the day’s labor. The sentence that links the two parables is the last unto the first and the first unto the last. Meaning in my mind, what is given unto the first person is also given unto the last person. You can also look at it as different types of people. The first people negotiated a wage before going to work, with the focus on a reward. The last laborers did not waste time asking about money, merely glad they had finally been hired and worked the one hour. Some of the LAST people called in this day, right before the day’s labor is over, ask about rewards before working. But others, that are hired in he morning don’t ask anything about money or reward. They just go. The point is, no matter when you are hired , as long as you work, and no matter what type of attitude you have as long as you are not idle, you will get the same reward, eternal life I would say in this case.
This is a cool parable. it reminds me of a justice a little bit. If someone punches you for whatever reason, and you punch him back, justice has been dealt out and you cannot do more to that person without being in the wrong. But if you get punched and “turn the other cheek.” Not only will you get more blessings for being the bigger man, but he will get his justice dealt out to him later if he doesn’t repent. Applying that to the parable in Matthew, the laborer who asks about money before working and thus earning a penny can be likened unto the person punching and then getting punched back. Justice has been dealt, all agreements have been dealt. But if you are one of the laborers who didn’t ask about money, but trusted the Lord and went to work, you also mercifully received the penny for the day even though you didn’t do as much. That can be likened unto turning the other cheek when getting punched and getting the blessings for yourself control. And let God take care of the justice later.
But I digress. How does this parable in Matthew actually help us understand the one in D&C? Although Kingdoms/planets may be at different stages in their so called “labor” as long as they fulfill their measure of creation, they will be rewarded. For example, maybe a planet was made a long time ago, takes a long time before salvation is reached. As opposed to a recently created planet, that gets salvation quicker. Was one planet better than the other? Not necessarily. Each has a time and season. God will visit each one. No matter when it is, the reward will be the same.
I suppose this can be applied on a more personal level as well. I think there is a time in every person’s life when God really comes to us. The equivalent of the master working with the laborer. Sometimes that may be at the end, middle or beginning of your life. And if you let him in, let him work with you, you will gain the same reward. When you think of it like that, God has a plan for EVERY person. And his plan for every person is drastically different between everyone. To the point where its impossible to pinpoint enough of the plan God has to judge them. Everyone has their time. Our job is to help others along the way. I think that is how it applies. But it’s all personal thoughts.
Here is a quote about the parable, found in the D&C institute manual, it’s from Elder Orson Pratt:
The Lord wanted to represent these kingdoms so that we could understand what he desired to impart, and he gave it as a parable, in order to assist our weak comprehensions…Says the interrogator-‘I do not comprehend this idea of the Lord’s withdrawing from one and going to another.’ In order to comprehend this let us come back to our own globe. Do we not expect that the Lord will, by and by, come and visit us and stay a little while, about a thousand years. Yes, and then we shall be made glad with the joy of the countenance of our Lord. He will will be among us, and will be our king, and he will reign as a king of kings and lord of lords. He will have a throne in Zion, and another in the temple at Jerusalem, and he will have with him the twelve disciples who were with him during his ministry at Jerusalem; and they will eat and drink with him at his table; and all the people of this globe who are counted worthy to be called Zion, the pure in heart, will be made glad by the countenance of their Lord for a thousand years, during which the earth will rest. Then what? He withdraws. What for? To fulfill other purposes; for he has other worlds or creations and other sons and daughters, perhaps just as good as those dwelling on this planet, and they, as well as we, will be visited, and they will be made glad with the countenance of their Lord. Thus he will go, in the time and season thereof, from kingdom to kingdom, or from world to world, causing the pure in heart, the Zion that is taken from these creations, to rejoice in his presence.
But there is another thing I want you to understand. This will not be kept up eternally, it is merely a preparation for something still greater. And what is that? By and by, when each of these creations has fulfilled the measure and bounds set and times given for its continuance in a temporal state, it and its inhabitants who are worthy will be made celestial and glorified together. Then, from that time henceforth and forever, there will be no intervening veil between God and his people who are sanctified and glorified, and he will not be under the necessity of withdrawing from one to go to another, because they will all be in his presence.”
Good stuff right? This helped clear the parable up for me. I thought what was meant by Him visiting was bringing to pass the glory of mankind. I guess in a broader sense, that is true but this was referring to the Millennium. Glad I understand now. One other thing I was reminded of while writing this quote down. The people on other planets are God’s children as well. I think the pre-mortal council was a lot more long ago than we think and not only encompassed our planet’s population but others as well. And, like the quote says, once it’s all finished, we are all brought back to dwell in His presence. That’s a lot of people but it’s a comforting thought.