Let’s talk about the resurrection of the just and consequently those who will inherit the Celestial Kingdom. But before we do that, why do you think the vision talks about Outer Darkness and then the Celestial Kingdom? Why are those who are damned to the darkest pit of Hell mentioned first and then those who are super righteous? Maybe since the vision started out with the council in Heaven, told that story, and focused on what would happen with Satan? Logical path to follow. Maybe it’s good to show the two extremes. Make you feel good because you know you aren’t going to Outer Darkness. And then show you next where you can go if you keep up the good fight.
The Qualifications of the Celestial Kingdom
Ok, let’s lay out the qualification of the Celestial Kingdom. I’ll list them all in the scripture language and then talk about them.
- Received the Testimony of Jesus
- Believed on his name
- Baptized after the manner of his burial
- Keep the commandments
- Receive the Holy Spirit
- Overcome by faith
- Sealed by the spirit of promise
I may have laid these out like a checklist but it is not something you can simply check-off. Yes, I could say I have received the testimony of Jesus and check that off, but I have to maintain that for my entire life. I have to consistently be building that for my entire life. Because Satan doesn’t want me to have that testimony of Christ. And if I am not constantly doing that–building it up–it’s being chipped away.
Obviously, you can only be baptized once but you can partake of the sacrament worthily each week to renew your covenants you made at baptism. Each one of these qualifications has been laid out in simple terms, but I think each entails more than we think at the surface level. Take overcome by faith for example.
Once you do overcome by faith, you can’t check it off. You need to develop faith and then practice overcoming. Since we aren’t perfect, we might slip up. Overcoming by faith is a constant process. A learning process. Sometimes you do well while other times not so much.
I think being sealed by the spirit of promise is being sealed in the temple. If you want that to happen, there are things you have to do to prepare to enter the temple. I’m going to rewrite the list a bit and see if I can simplify it a bit.
- Testimony of Jesus
- Believe in Him
- Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
- Obey the commandments
- Endure to the end
- Be sealed in the temple
Looks an awful lot like the gospel of Jesus Christ lesson in Preach My Gospel? Probably not a coincidence. This reminds me, in seminary one year, my teacher said that if you hold a temple recommend and are worthy of it, meaning you do everything you are supposed to and strive to keep your covenants, he sees no reason why you shouldn’t be let into the Celestial Kingdom. If you are worthy to enter the house of the Lord on Earth, wouldn’t it make sense the same would hold true in Heaven?
The Rewards of the Celestial Kingdom
Those aforementioned things are the qualifications for getting into the pearly gates. The verses following are a bunch of rewards. I’ll list them:
- Father has given all things
- They are priests and kings
- They are Gods, even the sons of God
- All things are theirs
- They shall overcome all things
- Dwell in His presence forever
- Have part in the first resurrection
- Their names are written in Heaven
- Made perfect through Jesus Christ
I’ll talk about some of these. The first one says they are given all things. Follow the cross reference to D&C 84:34. It says that they become like the sons of Moses and Aaron and the seed of Abraham. I don’t know what blessings were given to Moses and Aaron but I know a little about Abraham. God promised Abraham that he will have posterity without number. Through his descendants, all the world will be blessed. He will be exalted. That is something I want for sure.
Cross reference was for the wrong verse. Hang on a second.
Here we go. This cross reference makes more sense. Daniel 7:14. We’ll have dominion, glory, and a kingdom. Even an everlasting kingdom. How would you like something like that?! Sign me up! Cross reference Revelation 2:7. Those that overcome will be given to eat of the tree of life and dwell in paradise. Cross reference D&C 50:26-28. The only way you are able to possess all things like it says you will after having entered the Celestial Kingdom will be through having your sins cleared away through the Atonement.
We are all Gods. Cross reference Psalm 82:6. We are all the children of the highest God. Verse 58 in D&C 76 struck me today. I just realized I AM a God in embryo. Because I am a son of God. Whoa, that’s cool!
All things are theirs. Life, death, things that are or will come. I like verse 59. Cross reference Psalm 84:11. No good thing will be withheld from those that walk uprightly before God. That seems like a pretty good gig. I’ve just been thinking about this whole thing, qualifications and rewards of the Celestial Kingdom and I have concluded that if you do your best every day to follow the commandments and covenants you make, you’re going to make it. I guess in my mind I’ve always thought the Celestial Kingdom seemed impossible and unreachable. But after reading the scriptures, ti seems very real and possible. That makes me excited because it’s something I want.
I love verse 61. I think it’s interesting and a bit strange that God brings up Enoch. He wasn’t someone I was expecting to be mentioned in these verses. Cross reference D&C 38:4 and 45:11-12. Both these mention Enoch as well. Normally we talk about the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Why is Enoch mentioned? I think I know the answer. During this time in the church’s history, what were they trying to build and get to? Zion! And who better than to mention and talk about than the original builder of Zion?
One side note I want to mention before I go on. Why is it the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob”? It’s the same God, isn’t it? Yes! The reason it is written that way is because each person, prophet, and patriarch had to come to know God in their own way in his own time. So it is with every person on Earth. We have the religion taught to us by our parents but we have to come to know God on our own and in our own time.
Verses 68. It says these peoples’ names are written in Heaven. Cross reference the song, “Choose the Right”. I believe there is a line in the hymn that talks about angels taking notes on every good deed and bad deed you do. In the scriptures (I’ve forgotten where maybe it was in Revelation) It talks about how we are judged out of books. Probably the book of our deeds. It’s like a giant naughty and nice list for the entire history of mankind! I wonder if that’s where the naughty and nice list has its origins?
Qualifications of the Terrestrial Kingdom
The Celestial Kingdom is finished. Now on to the Terrestial Kingdom. I’ll list the qualifications.
- Died without the law
- Received the testimony of Jesus after death but rejected it while in the flesh.
- Honorable men of the Earth, blinded by the craftiness of men.
- Not valiant in the testimony of Jesus
I think I’m a little iffy on some of these so let me summarize it. Verses 72-74 go together. Those who rejected the testimony of Jesus while in the flesh but accepted after they learn in spirit prison go to this kingdom. But, that raises the question of what about when the gospel wasn’t on the Earth in its fulness or it never came to them? That is where Christ comes in and looks on the heart I think. According to D&C 137:7, all those who, had they been permitted to tarry on Earth, who would have received it in full, will go to the Celestial Kingdom. The hearts of men will be that determining factor and I’m not smart enough to know that so I’ll leave it up to Christ.
The last two, numbers three and four, are pretty self-explanatory. Good people who were overcome by bad people. And those who had a testimony of Jesus Christ but gave up after some time. Maybe it got too hard and they didn’t want to play the Plan of Salvation game anymore. I heard somewhere that someone said the Terrestrial Kingdom is where a lot of saints will go because they will fall away. That’s a slightly depressing thought and I hope I see you all in the Celestial Kingdom! I want to take as many people with me as possible.
The Glory of the Terrestrial
Another thing I just realized is the significance of the glory of the moon compared to the sun. Sorry, I should have mentioned the Terrestrial Kingdom is likened unto the moon while the Terrestrial Kingdom to the moon. Ok, moving on. The moon is merely a reflection of the sun, a shadow of the real thing. That’s how I imagine you may feel in the Terrestrial Kingdom. Although you will be happy and comfortable where you are, you will realize you are only a shadow of what you could have become.
Live the Law of the Glory You Desire
Before I move on with the Telestial Kingdom, I want to write a part about an email I received a few months ago. It was regarding the kingdoms of glory. This person was discussing with some friends about how if you are living the Celestial law, you are most likely going to end up in the Celestial Kingdom. If you are living the Terrestrial law, the Terrestrial Kingdom. On so on. That sounds true to me. You don’t need to wait till heaven to begin living the life you know you need to. I think if you have an attitude of waiting, you will be sorely disappointed when you get to the judgment bar. I think by the time we get to Heaven and have a perfect recollection of all our memories, we will have a fairly good idea of where we are going to go.
This reminds me of something another one of my mission companions told me. We had a discussion about Tad Callister’s talk entitled, “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary“. The level of consecration in your mission/ life will determine the blessings you get. The more you put on the “altar of sacrifice” so to speak, the more you will be blessed. If I’m going to the temple, going to church, teaching and ministering to my family, reading the scriptures, daily prayer, individual and family, having family home evening, fulfilling my church callings, doing home/visiting teaching, and striving my best to uphold my covenants, I’d say you have a good start at a consecrated life. And Heavenly Father is going to bless you tremendously for that.
Qualifications of the Telestial Kingdom
Ok, time to start on the Telestial Kingdom. It is like unto the stars in glory. In verse 81 it says that. I think it is worth pointing out that the Telestial Kingdom isn’t even compared to the sun. It’s only compared to the moon. When you contrast the moon with the stars in the background, there is a big difference. If you were to compare the Telestial (stars) with the Celestial (sun) you probably wouldn’t even see the Telestial because when the sun it out, you can’t see the stars or the moon. Just an interesting comparison I thought I would point out.
Here are the qualifications of the kingdom.
- Received not the testimony of Jesus Christ or the Gospel
- Deny not the Holy Spirit
- Didn’t receive the fulness in the eternal world (spirit world)
The first bullet point is what I’m thinking about. I think what I wrote is true but there is more to the verse this comes from. It continues by saying
“…but [received] of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the Terrestrial.”
What this is saying is that some sort of teaching seems to go on between kingdoms. The next two verses explain that the Telestial receives ministration from the Terrestrial and the Terrestrial receives ministration from the Celestial. I would say it’s missionary work but people have already been judged and can’t move kingdoms. If some sort of home/visiting teaching program is in effect in Heaven, I guess it would make sense. God does not intend for us to stop learning once we die. Eternal progression my friend.
What is the Telestial Kingdom Like?
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see that the glory of the Telestial Kingdom surpasses all understanding. How crazy is that? The lowest kingdom, the one compared to the stars in glory is better than anything we could possibly imagine. I think some people would be like Han Solo and say, “I don’t know kid, I can imagine quite a bit.” But it’s true. Better than anything you can think of. I haven’t seen it so I couldn’t second that witness so I’ll have to take these two people’s word for it. I’m cool with that.
All Creation Bows Before God
It goes on talking about the glory of the other kingdoms and says an interesting thing. It said that all things bow in humble reverence and give Him glory forever and ever. That is, meaning to Heavenly Father. When I read this yesterday, I had a thought that was pretty cool. But reading it today again, I have no idea how I got that idea. So, I was thinking about “all things” in verse 93. And I thought to myself, even as beautiful and great as the Celestial Kingdom is, it bows before God. God is the main attraction, the best thing to see in the Celestial Kingdom. Not the actual Kingdom itself. Because everything gives Him glory. After all, God created everything. We glory in God’s creations because they point us to the real masterminds behind it all, Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Who Comprises the Telestial Kingdom?
Telestial kingdom consists of liars, sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers, and lovers making lies. They suffer the wrath of God on Earth. I take that to mean they did not have a happy life because of the choices they make. They suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. I don’t think this means Outer Darkness. I think it means spirit prison. The Telestial Kingdom is going to be wonderful for them but they have to go through the suffering first. If they don’t repent, they have to suffer as Christ did.
The End of the Vision
Joseph and Sidney see that the inhabitants of the Telestial world were as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sands of the beach.
Verse 113 and 115. The first says that the vision is over and that what they saw are commanded to write. The second scripture says they saw things that they were not allowed to write and that it was unlawful for them to write. I read somewhere, I don’t remember where that Joseph and Sidney saw 100x more than they were allowed to write. Can you imagine that? If they wrote all the vision down, the revelation would be 700 pages long and probably 11,900 verses. Crazy!
The only way they saw this vision is through the Holy Spirit. That is the only way anyone would see this vision for themselves. In the Spirit and if God grants you the privilege of seeing it. Because while you are in the flesh, you have to have the spirit with you if you are going to be seeing things like God and the kingdoms of glory.
Ok, that’s if for D&C 76. Hopefully, you enjoyed it. Next up will be something from the New Testament.