Monday, February 22, 2010

Under His Feet Was A Paved Work of Pure Gold

Continuing in the theme of the glorious visions that occurred in the Kirtland Temple, I again add another post today on the first of the four visions.

By retiring to the pulpit of the temple, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had separated themselves from the “world” and had allowed the “veil to be taken from their minds”. This transfiguring moment led to the magnificent experience of seeing the Lord himself, as he accepted the offering the Saints had made by building the Temple. They described what they saw as follows:

Doctrine and Covenants 110:2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

3 His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun;

John the Revelator described what he saw when he had a similar experience with these words:

Revelation 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace;

In the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith had also described the Lord the first time he had seen him, in what we as LDS refer to as the First Vision, with the explanation that “his brightness and glory defy all description”.

In contemplating all the various accounts given by those who have seen the Savior, the one word that comes to my mind that is similar in all of them is light. This light is so pure and complete it has the power to dispel all darkness. Not only is the light perfectly bright it is full of energy, with power enough to drown out even the memory of darkness, or in other words an energy with the power to cleanse. I believe the process of what these witnesses had experienced is best explained by the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 50: 24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

In this Kirtland Temple experience, not only did Joseph and Oliver see the Lord, He spoke to them as well. They described his voice as “the sound of the rushing of the great waters.” It is interesting to me to analyze some of the things he said, and the order he said them in.

First of all the Lord introduced himself, or as I like to call it, he gave them his credentials.

110:4 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.

In this brief introduction we learn so much about Jesus Christ. We learn that he is not only the creator, being the first, but he is our Savior and Redeemer, being the last. Because he lives, he proves that he holds the keys for power over death, or the ordinance of resurrection. These keys have been turned on our behalf so that we too may live beyond this life. Because he was slain, he answered the demands of justice from the law which was broken because of the fall. Basically, he has been obedient to the full extent of the law, which in turn allows him all blessings predicated upon that law. One of the blessings attached to that law is us. He paid the price to have the job as our advocate with the Father. He is the great mediator. This job as advocate allows him to not only speak to the Father on our behalf, but also allows him to speak to us for the Father.

Why did Jesus Christ need to explain all this to Joseph and Oliver, and to us? I believe it is because it gives assurance, or makes his word sure, for what he then says next.

110: 5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.

His statement of authority or credentials allows us to have faith that he can do what he says he can do. In this case it proves he has the authority from the Father to actually forgive sins, and he exercises that authority. It shows that he has permission to accept the Temple for the Father, and place his name there. It explains that he can extend mercy to us and show himself to those who keep his commandments. It shows that he is the answer to the prayers that have been given concerning the Temple.

His words of farewell are ones of prophecy and instruction.

110:9 Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.

10 And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. Even so. Amen.

He has told us that because of faithfulness, we can be endowed with power from on high. It started with Kirtland in this dispensation, and continues today in each of the LDS Temples around the world. We can believe this, we can experience it for ourselves, and we know it to be true because his word is sure. His credentials prove it.

He is the light that dispels all darkness and sin.

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