REVELATION THROUGH THE LIGHT OF CHRIST
I would like to focus today on the principles taught in D&C 76: 1-10. Here we learn that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We also learn that the mysteries of the kingdom will be revealed to ALL the faithful and that through the power of God He will ENLIGHTEN our minds that our wisdom be great and our understanding reach to the heavens.
1 Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior.
2 Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out.
3 His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.
4 From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.
5 For thus saith the Lord—I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9 And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.
From eternity to eternity He IS THE SAME
Reading those verses, we learn many attributes of God and gain a better understanding of Him. God is already perfect. He does not go through trial and error with his children as we earthly parents often do. We are not part of his learning curve. He has already attained perfection. Therefore, he is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Knowing this, Christians believing this, it is hard for me to understand why it is so hard for christians today to believe in modern prophets and revelations as they believe in the prophets and revelations of the bible? I was looking at applying to teach at a christian school and wanted to know more about them. I looked at the statement of beliefs to make sure I could agree with every point of belief without expounding on the deeper knowledge that we have through revelation. I found I could on all save one point. We believe the bible to be the word of God and then they clarified that further by saying “We do not believe in any further revelations.” My mind stumbled over that concept. Because God is unceasing, His revelations did not cease as the final pages of the bible were closed.
Let’s take the words “yesterday, today and forever” and change them to the word “dispensations” and let’s look at the pattern God has set for us from the beginning of time.
Elder Bednar explains to us that “A gospel dispensation is a period of time in which the necessary priesthood authority, ordinances, and doctrinal knowledge are found on the earth to implement the Father’s plan of salvation for His children. Essential to the establishment of a dispensation is an authorized servant of God, a dispensation head, who holds and exercises the authority and keys of the holy priesthood. Gospel dispensations were established through Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, and others. In every dispensation gospel truths are revealed anew—or dispensed—so the people of that period are not entirely dependent upon past dispensations for knowledge of Heavenly Father’s plan.”
Adam was a prophet first one that we know! His dispensation was the beginning. In the beginning, there was light. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen 1:3)” And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
Light was the first earthly gift God gave to us. I want to understand light with a deeper knowledge and understanding of what exactly light is and how we use the word light in christian language.
Elder Theodore Burton explained that “God’s light includes the physical light we see, which makes us feel so warm and comfortable. God’s light is also the power to understand and comprehend all things. In other words, all kinds of light are related to intelligence and truth. We have been advised that if our eye be single to the glory of God, our whole body shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in us, for a body which is filled with God’s light will be able to comprehend all things.”
Looking in the scriptures for further light on the subject, we read in D&C
“We need not think that the light of God is limited only to the things of the Spirit. We are taught that “the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; (See D&C 88:67)
“…we have been taught that “the glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” Such light and truth forsake the evil one. (See D&C 93:36–37.)
“The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.” (D&C 88:11–13.)
So we can say that light is not only a physical light, but a spiritual light that refers to our intelligence, to knowledge, and to truth.
When we study the Old Testament prophets and look closely at their relationships with God, we find a consistent pattern of truth and light.
Prophets of the old Testament and early Book of Mormon taught principles of truth. The law of Moses was given to them that included the law of sacrifice and the law of prayer. The light of knowledge brought the spirit of revelation and they prophesied of the coming birth of Jesus Christ and that His gospel would be established on the earth.Their minds were enlightened and they understood. Prophets of old received revelations that gave warning to the people and through that same spirit of revelation God showed unto them the wonders of eternity, of things to come -even the things of many generations. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that ” … the rolling forward of the latter-day glory, even the dispensation of the fulness of times, is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 186).
Let’s move forward through time to the dispensation of Jesus Christ. When he was upon the earth we gain an even deeper understanding of light.
- New Testament
¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
- Book of Mormon
I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
- Doctrine and Covenants
For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
We can now add to our definition of light as this:
Divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. It is the law by which all things are governed in heaven and on earth (D&C 88:6–13). It also helps people understand gospel truths and helps to put them on that gospel path which leads to salvation
Christ established his church upon the earth and then fulfilled the law of Moses through his ultimate sacrifice. When Christ was crucified, the earth was covered in darkness. A very physical and spiritual darkness for the light of Christ was no longer on the earth.
Moving again through our timeline, we come to what is actually known as the Dark Ages for the knowledge of truth and light were no longer on the earth.
But then came an exciting age of enlightenment when the minds of men were beginning to open to the knowledge of God. Minds were being enlightened to understanding and to inspiration. Martin Luther, in 1522, began to translate the bible and make it available to the common people who, as they read and believed, were then open to receive the light of truth and knowledge.
Puritans wanted to separate church from state affairs desiring a more perfect gospel untainted by the philosophies of men (or rather -a king).
Pilgrims journeyed to the promised land to obtain religious freedom.
Our founding fathers were inspired to create one nation under God; and from then to now the advancements made through enlightened minds has been amazing.
In 1862, Brigham Young said: “Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work”(Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 18–19).
Can you see God’s plan? Once again God is preparing a people to receive the true light and knowledge of the gospel -just as he did with the prophets of old. A pattern of light was set from the beginning and will continue – for God delights in honoring those who serve Him in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
And then, one day, the dispensation of Joseph Smith began as he read the words: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” and decided to ask for truth. Joseph describes his experience:
“ I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
Truth and light and the spirit of revelation was once again upon the earth with a living prophet of God!
Continuing in D&C 76: 11 – 12
11 We, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, being in the Spirit on the sixteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two—
12 By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God—
Prophets today follow the patterns of old. They prophesy of the second coming of Christ, they teach principle, give warning, continue the work of the gospel and build up the kingdom of God. Nothing has changed for God is the same. “His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.”
(D&C 128:18): “ In this greatest and last of all gospel dispensations, “a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which have never been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and the prudent, shall be revealed … in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times”
In a recent talk, Elder Bednar shared this prophesy.
In the book of Moses, Enoch foresees the restoration of the gospel in the latter days, the gathering of Israel, the second coming of the Savior, and the return of Zion. He also foresees that “… before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood”
Prophet Harold B Lee prophesied “ that the rains of disaster, the rains of difficulty, the floods and winds of severe trials are going to beat upon the house of every one of you. There will be temptation to sin, you will have hardship, you will have difficulty to face in your life. The only ones that will not fall when those tests come will be those who have their houses founded upon the rock of testimony. You will know no matter what comes; you will not be able to stand on borrowed light.”
All of us have the right to receive light. Doctrine and Covenants clarifies that those who will receive it are “all those who fear god”. This does not mean those of us who are afraid of God, rather this means that the…
“…fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience.” (Websters 1828 Dictionary)
When we align ourselves with perfect obedience to the light of Christ, the law that governs all, we too can receive the light of knowledge that brings the spirit of revelation. (76:10) For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.
It is important to understand we can only receive revelation for ourselves and for those we have stewardship over.God will reveal His light upon the world through his Prophets. We can have the truth of these things revealed unto us line up line, precept upon precept – through revelation – through the light of Christ – through all time that this great and everlasting work may continue unceasing and forever. Amen.