Friday, April 24, 2009

Is Baptism or The Temple The Gate?

I have always loved the scripture passage in 2 Nephi 31 which clearly explains the Doctrine of Christ:

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the away; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

One thing that has always plagued me with this passage however, is the reference of baptism being the gate. In another place in the scriptures, another prophet Jacob uses the reference of the temple or Bethel, as the “gate of Heaven.”

Genesis 28:17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

While speaking at the dedication of the Logan Utah Temple site, President Taylor shared with the congregation the feelings he experienced when he visited the St. George Utah Temple, the first temple completed in the Utah Territory:

“When I visited that holy Temple, accompanied by my brethren who were with me, we experienced a sacred thrill of joy and a solemn, reverential sensation. As we entered its sacred portals, we felt that we were standing on holy ground, and experienced, with one of old, ‘Surely this is the house of God, and the gate of heaven.’ [See Genesis 28:17.] That is not simply a metaphorical expression, but a reality, for it is in that House, and it will be in the House to be built on this ground, that the most sacred ordinances of God are to be performed, which are associated with the interest and happiness of the human family, living and dead. I felt to rejoice in my heart that we had been thus far successful in the building of one temple to the name of our Father and God.”

Is this a conflicting doctrine that baptism is the gate, and yet, the Temple is also the gate?

As I was studying in the book of 2 Samuel I came across a passage that described the area that King David waited in while waiting for word concerning his people in battle and the state of his son’s life.

Look at where David sat:

2 Samuel 18:24 And David sat between the two gates: and the watchman went up to the roof over the gate unto the wall, and lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold a man running alone.

That was it! There were two gates in a fortified city. Further research led me to this information:

“As the gate was especially subject to attack (Ezekiel 21:15,22), and as to "possess the gate" was to possess the city (Genesis 22:17; 24:60), it was protected by a tower (2 Samuel 18:24,33; 2 Chronicles 14:7; 26:9), often, doubtless, overhanging and with flanking projections. Sometimes an inner gate was added (2 Samuel 18:24).”

Can’t you just picture this clearly now?

When one enters in at the first gate of baptism, they must proceed forward towards the second gate of the temple. All the while, the watchman is on the tower giving direction and warning of danger.

Such a beautiful picture... don’t you think?


Anonymous said...

We usually think of Gate as a door or an opening. A long time ago, gate could also mean a narrow passage way or narrow path. The kin word in Scandinavian languages is used as a road.

In geometry, it takes two points to make a line. Two points mark clearly if the path is the path you want. These two points serve as two witnesses.

What a fun and subtle English wordplay here. And it goes along well with my "Open Road" post.

Also, there is a great post about how Nephi is talking about the temple in 2 Nephi 31 here: Linkety link

In The Doghouse said...

I cannot get the links to work for some reason...perhaps you can re-post them.

Anonymous said...

Ooops! Here are the links again.

Open Road:

2 Nephi 31, Traveling through the temple:

And one more thing. A gate today can also mean a mountain pass.

Mona said...

YES! Beautiful! Beautiful! I LOVE how you dig deep in scripture in your research and expounding. Musings this week is all about that. Thank you for always enlightening this old scriptorian (or at least I try!)