Obtaining Grace Through Learning
Verse 77. It is a commandment to teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. I had never thought of that. It makes sense. A similar point was made in my Gifts of the Spirit book. It was talking about the gift of wisdom. It said that all who are wise, seek to help others gain the knowledge they have for themselves. That’s true. A lot of problems can be avoided in life and in the gospel if people find out stuff from people instead of reinventing the wheel. Plus, I think Heavenly Father knows that when we teach others, we solidify our own understanding. Cross reference Moroni 10:9. That’s about the gift of wisdom.
Verse 78. Teach diligently and my grace shall attend you. That you may be taught more perfectly in the things of the kingdom that are expedient for you to understand. What does it mean to have grace attend you? I was looking forward to a really boss cross reference but it just refers me to the topical guide. I just looked up “Grace” in the Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus and the definition that fits the most is goodwill or favor. God’s goodwill, or favor, will attend us while we are teaching diligently. In the topical guide, “grace” is equated with “benevolence,” “favor,” and “mercy of God.” Ok, I read all the scripture summaries in the topical guide on grace. Here is what I found. Most of the scriptures can replace grace with three things. First and most common, favor. Second, mercy of God, and third is good works. Those are the top three things I would say grace is. All of those can fit into D&C 88:78 in place of grace. Pretty cool. God lists a few things that we’ll be instructed in.
- Law of the Gospel
- All things that pertain to the kingdom of God that we need to understand.
Look at D&C 90:15. We are commanded to become acquainted with good books, and know languages, tongues and peoples. Also D&C 93:53. God here is telling Joseph to hasten translating the scriptures and hasten to obtain a knowledge of:
- Laws of God
- Laws of Man
Going back to the original scripture. We are to know theory, principle, doctrine, law of the gospel, and all things that we need to know about the kingdom of God. I’m not really sure what is meant by theory. Are we commanded to study theoretical things? And would that apply to worldly things or are there theories of spiritual things as well? What I don’t think it’s saying is that we need to speculate. Theories have facts to back them up. God wants us to be learning. Whatever we learn, will rise with us in the next life. the more the merrier. Principles could be looked at as philosophy. Doctrine is easy, law of the gospel–straight forward– and things pertaining to kingdom of God–to the point. In short, theory, philosophy, doctrine, spiritual law, things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
The list continues on in verse 79. I’m going to list all these things out and then I’ll talk about the importance of them:
- Things in Heaven
- Things in the Earth
- Things under the Earth
- Things which have been
- Things which are
- Things which must shortly come to pass
- Things at home
- Things that are abroad
- Knowledge of countries
- Knowledge of kingdoms
I know there is a quote about this in the institute manual so I’m going to copy some of the good stuff in here. The quote explains what all these things relate to subject wise. This is from John A. Widsoe
“Things both in Heaven-astronomy. And in the Earth pertaining to the cultivation of soil and under the earth-mineralogy, geology etc…Things which have been-history, in all its branches. Things which must shortly come to pass-prophecies. Things which are at home and abroad-domestic and foreign politics. Wars, perplexities, judgements-the signs of the times, by which the observer may know the day of the Lord is at hand. A knowledge of countries and kingdoms-physical and political geography, languages, etc…
These studies, the Lord considers necessary. God does not require all his servants to become doctors, or professors, or even profound students of these subjects, but He expects them to know enough of those things to be able to magnify their calling as his ambassadors to the world.”
The last part of the quote points out the reason why all this learning is so important. It’s to magnify our calling. Everything we learn, whatever skill set that may be, ought to be used to serve God. Some may say that is too hard or their knowledge may not apply to spiritual things but it has been my experience, that the more you give to the Lord, the more you serve him, the more full your life becomes. More happy, more wealthy, more healthy, more closely knit family, better are work you are, more you love your spouse. You get out what you put in. The law of the harvest. My friend, learn as much as you possibly can. Don’t worry about remembering it all. If God needs you to remember something, you’ll remember it. I promise. Use your knowledge to serve God and better the world. In that order too.
Early Bird Gets the Worm
Verse 83. Never thought I would say this but this is the early bird gets the worm scripture. I’ll quote it cuz’ it’s short.
“He that seeketh me early shall find me, and shall not be forsaken.”
Cross Reference Isaiah 26:9. This is part of a prayer. Very beautiful verse about seeking the Lord. As I’m thinking about this verse and the one in D&C, I can see two meanings for the word, “early.” First, meaning literally early in the morning. Those that do that indeed will not be forsaken throughout the day. The other is seeking God early in a figurative sense. Early implies the beginning of something. If you seek the Lord when beginning things, you will not be forsaken. You will be able to have the Lord’s blessing, protection, direction, or whatever it is you need as you begin this new thing. Kind of cool. God is in all things and in all things he desires to help us. When we seek, we shall find. The object of this life is not sorrow and failure, it is happiness and success. Both those come through seeking the Lord early, both figuratively and literally.
Cross reference 54:10 in D&C. Those who seek the Lord early are those that are going to be able to rest, have peace in their souls when Christ comes. Also, the footnote for “early” brings up procrastination. Seek the Lord early in the sense that you don’t put off the things that are eternally significant. Don’t procrastinate the day of your repentance etc…
Binding the Law and Sealing the Testimony
The Lord talks about going forth among the gentiles for the last time, as many as the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of his judgment is to come. Few things in here that made me highlight part of the verse. As many as are named by the Lord to go. I have never thought of it as that way. This is referring to missions, or, at least, that’s what I’m looking at it like. We have been called by a prophet of God to serve in whatever area of the world. That’s the same as God calling us, or as the scripture says, naming us. God needs us in this part of the world at this time, in order to complete his work. Before He comes again, certain things have to happen. God has named us to accomplish his purposes in this part because of our talents, abilities, and what we’ll learn in the process that will bring to pass much good later.
God even states the purpose of us being called and what we ought to accomplish while we are preaching. That is, “to bind up the law and seal up the testimony.” Cross reference Isaiah 8:16-17. These verses are talking about sealing the testimony. I take this to mean that people go around preaching about Christ and what is to come. What His law is, how we should follow up, etc…Until finally, like the quote by Brigham Young says (This is found in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church books) that the Lord will call back his ministers once their testimonies have been enough, and the Lord will begin to preach his own sermons. Not with word, but with more destructive means.
We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ, We Preach of Christ, We Prophecy of Christ
I’m just thinking about how long people have been preaching about Christ and His teachings. It’s amazing. He is the most talked about person in history. Ever since the beginning of time people have been prophesying about His condescension to earth. He was present among the people during Old Testament. People saw, talked and walked with him, during the New Testament times and even now, people are talking about his Second Coming. His gospel, the way of eternal salvation, has been talked about for a very long time. Why don’t more people listen? You would think if someone was talked about so much, there would be some merit to his name or message. I mean, think of it in a familial setting. If your great great grandpa was talked about still, about how he was such a great man, the sacrifices he made, the people he helped or saved, the family he had, wouldn’t you be interested in who he was? I would! I would want to know everything about him so that I could live up to him and honor Him by my actions. Now apply that to Jesus Christ. He died for all humanity’s shortcomings. He helped people, he healed them. He was a perfect man. And yes, he has been talked about by millions of people and people still continue to talk about him. Wouldn’t you want to find out all you could about this person so that you could discover your personal connection with him, and honor him by trying to be the best you can? So that when you met him one day, you could lift your head up and say that you didn’t tarnish his good name but sought to honor it too?
The Day of His Coming
The other thing that made me highlight this verse was the mention of the “hour of judgement.” I think I have written about this before. I think I originally read about it while studying Isaiah. It is interesting that whenever God talks about judgement coming it is an hour. The “hour of his judgement” But when we talk about the Second Coming in the scriptures, it is always the “day of His coming.” Always is the day of his coming used in a joyful sense. Emphasizing the fact that the good that is going to happen will far outweigh the bad. How much of a difference is there between a day and an hour? The object of our existence is to be happy and rejoice with the Lord, not be tortured and destroyed. God wants whatever judgments that come, to be short. But mind you, the more wicked, the more intense those short judgements will be.
The entire purpose of preaching the gospel is to declare repentance. To invite others to come to Christ. That their souls may escape the wrath of God and the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked. There is a lot of strong language used here. Desolation entails complete destruction. According to the Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus, “desolation” means uninhabited or to deprive of inhabitants. I think that is pretty clear. “Abomination” is something or someone that is detestable. So the complete destruction of all detestable things.
See Matthew 24. I need to study that one more in depth. Comparing that with the JST of it as well. The hardest thing for me is conveying to people the importance and eternal significance of the things we teach. We can’t go around teaching people about all the destruction that is going to come around at the last day. I guess we don’t need to. As Brigham Young said, “Let the Millennium take care of itself”. We need to teach people things they can do today. Repent, go to church, pray, pay tithing, fast, do good works. Have people do all those things and more and they’ll be fine even if they don’t understand the bigger picture. I feel like it’s hard to get people to even do those things. Heavenly Father probably feels the same about me. Sometimes I just wish I could hook my brain up to theirs and transmit the information I know into their brain. In a way that could understand of course. I look at the people I’ve taught and a lot of them are doing well. They are well on their way to being the strongest members. But others just don’t understand. I’ve read prophecies and know a little about what’s coming and they aren’t ready. That’s a scary thought. I don’t want them to be caught off guard. Perhaps a scarier thought is am I ready? If Christ came today, would I be prepared mentally, physically, or spiritually to endure all the things that are going to come with Him? I don’t think I could say yes. I wish, I could. Prep yourself for Heaven and take as many people with you as you can.