D&C 88 — LeGrand Baker — a commentary
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels [is this the members of the Council? like “goodness and mercy” in Ps 23] rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers [I’m not sure what “alms” means, but I suspect we are talking prayer circle] have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth [I understand that word has a military connotation like “Lord of Hosts”] , and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world. [These people are already saved, and their prayers have eternal or at least lasting impact]
3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter [As in Isaiah 61, the word “comfort” means to empower (see OED) I suspect this other Comforter is more than just a quick look at Jesus, it is an ordinance, or a series of ordinances which have to do with kingship, sonship, and enthronement. I just read TPJS on the comforters. To avoid your having to look it up also, it is at the end of this, called appendix 1], even upon you my friends [that suggests a different, more equal relationship than “sons and daughters” in Ether 3] , that it [not “he”] may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise, which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John. [This sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise happens at the Council (Ephesians 1:13 ); on this earth (D&C 76:53); and is the key or power which binds in heaven (D&C 132:7, 18, 19, 26; and it is the equivilant of being born of God, which is both sonship and heirship. “Whosoever is born of God doth not continue in sin; for the Spirit of God remaineth in him; and he cannot continue in sin, because he is born of God, having received that holy Spirit of promise. (JST 1 John 3:9)]”
4 This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; [That confirms that receiving the Second Comforter includes ordinances associated with a promise; also includes covenants. Since all covenants are associated with ordinances and new names, I suppose this one is as well]
5 Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn [Joseph F. Smith said there was a church in the pre-existence. I take it that this is his source for that. See full quote in appendix 2] , even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son–
6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things,[my understanding of that is tied to the story I told you a couple days ago] that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; [truth is a knowledge of things as they were, are, and will be, that is, truth is a knowledge of reality. If one has all truth, one must also understand every facet of the reality of God.]
7 Which truth shineth. [ we are not talking photons here, nor are we limiting the light of the shining truth to the speed of light in a telestial existence] This is the light of Christ. [I suspect that it is this light – light “without spot” – which is the very definition of God. Moses in his confrontation with Satan, seems to suggest that also] As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes [photons or the power behind them], which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; [not photons, but intelligence – which is the “light of truth” I think intelligence is the light, and intelligences are the personalities embodied within the light.]
12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space–
13 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 [Elohim] who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. [There is a throne in the temple on Kolob, which is where Joseph said the Council met, and which I suspect was a temporary throne of Elohim, just as the throne in Solomon’s temple was a temporary throne of Jehovah. But the throne we are talking about here is in the “bosom of eternity.” I suspect in that statement we have reached beyond Kolob to the place where Elohim perminently presides.]
14 Now, verily I say unto you, that through the redemption which is made for you [I suspect that “you” is not universally inclusive] is brought to pass the resurrection from the dead. [but the resurrection of the dead is universally inclusive. If that is so, then it asks some very interesting questions about the eternal relationship between Jehovah and the members of the Council who are called the Church of the Firstborn.]
15 And the spirit and the body are the soul of man. [that definition does not always apply in all the scriptures, but it is necessary in this context to help us understand this section]
16 And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. [redemption mans to purchase or ransom, and to be brought into the presence of God – all of which are integral to the resurrection process. ]
17 And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. [poor and meek as in the Beatitudes. Poor = have sacrificed a broken heart and contrite spirit. Meek = have keept the covenants they made at the Council (Ps 25)]
18 Therefore, it [earth] must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; [This gets a bit heavy. The earth was created near Kolob, and if Kolob is the temple of this system rather than the permanent residence of Elohim, then this suggests that the earth, having gone through the entire creation process (spirit, physical, resurrected) will also be able to be where the Father is: i.e. the place from which the Great Light originated.]
20 That bodies who are [present tense = the then present condition of the body] of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. [That seems to suggest that the earth isn’t just the rock they live on, but it is an integral part of their resurrection and sanctification. It will be their home, and a urim and thummim to them, and is the elements from which their physical and celestial bodies are made. ]
21 And they who are [ that is a this-world present tense] not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. [much of this section is about law. The definition of law was given in v. 21: “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.” So we are still talking about the light, but that aspect of light which is called the “law.”]
22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.
25 And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law– [ that comment may be more significant that it appears: It is likely that the law of the celestial kingdom for all things, including people is: “it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law–”]
26 Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened [In order for one to abide a power, one must also be endowed with sufficient power to do so, so that verse not only comments on the environment in which the earth finds itself, but necessarily also teaches us something about the power whereby the earth may “abide” that environment], and the righteous shall inherit it. [they also must have sufficient power to “abide”]
27 For notwithstanding they [the celestial people] die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.
28 They who are [this world present tense] of a celestial spirit shall receive [ resurrection future tense] the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive [ resurrection future tense] your bodies, and your glory shall be [ resurrection future tense] that glory by which your bodies are [this world present tense] quickened.
29 Ye [those who have already been defined in the first few verses, as the sanctilfied] who are [now – this world present tense] quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then [resurrection future tense] receive of the same, even a fulness.
30 And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
31 And they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. [I think that may be the saddest verse in all the scriptures]
33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same. [We are still talking about that law which is a facet of the light of Christ – or perhaps the whole of the light]
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
36 All kingdoms have a law given; [so it must be a facet, for the whole of the light would only be the law of the Celestial kingdom]
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
38 And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. [“is given” suggest to me: “is proportioned” the idea of bounds and conditions seems to reenforce that suggestion]
39 All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified. [The idea of justification by law, seems to mean that one is acknowledged to have acted justly. That takes me to 132:9-11 “Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name? or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, as I and my Farther ordained unto you, before the world was?” Here the “law” seems to be covenant based, and seemingly related to the Council. It is the law of one’s own being that was sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (Eph 1) and must sealed again in this world (132:7) There seems to be a close relationship between that idea and v. 28. “ They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.” If that relationship is what it appears to be, there are laws of light which govern worlds and universes, and there are laws of light which govern individuals within those systems, and the degree to which one is filled with that light becomes the definition of that individual.]
40 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. [The phrase “judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things,” appears at first sight to be a way of defining God. But when one considers that at the festival the king, as son, sat upon the throne of God, one might look at this differently. Is this a statement of the law, a list of characteristics of good relationships, or is it an historical sequence, beginning with intellilgence and ending with one’s being enthroned as a son of God.]
[When I first read that, I thought of D&C 130:10-11. “Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known; And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.”]
41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever. [What if the words “even God” should be written “even god”. Notice how similar that v. 41 is to 76: 53-59: “And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. They are they who are the church of the Firstborn. They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things– They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory; And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God– Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” You know I wouldn’t say that in Sacrament Meeting, but it seems to me that if one were asking abut a sequence which would make a man a god, those verses might be a good place to find it.]
42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons; [These next verses are intriguing. They sound like Enoch, and creation battle you talked about which comes chaos into cosmos. The only excuse I can find for having the creation story – and God defined in terms of that creation story – or man defined in terms of that creation story for the members of the Church of the Firstborn (Council) were also a part of the creation – in this part of the revelation is this: the creation belongs here, or, the rest of the section must be understood in terms of the powers of creation.]
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
44 And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years–all these are one year with God, but not with man.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
48 I say unto you, he hath seen him; nevertheless, he who came unto his own was not comprehended.
49 The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. [That sounds like Moroni 7: “…that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…”]
50 Then shall ye know that ye have seen me [in the movement of the stars, etc], that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound. [we are still in the Moroni 7 discussion of charity. Christ is the true light us that is in us, but we are also a light that is in him. It is this relationship which causes and sustains life. So now the light which is in all things, which is the law by which all things are governed is also athe light which eminates from celestilal persons. “…you shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened. Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.” – we have come 50 verses, but we have never left the original subject.]
[V.51- 61 are a parable, the object of which is:]
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near–
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. [veil]
64 Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you; [prayer circle]
65 And if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness–in the wilderness, because you cannot see him–my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.
67 And if your eye be single to my glory, [having been anointed to see] your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. [that was given in 1832, before the endowment, but it still says that the endowment is the place where one may be instructed about how to come into the presence of God]
68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. [the real veil]
69 Remember the great and last promise [the promise that one can see God] which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.
[v. 70 – 73 are the charge to do missionary work – the conclusion that one must be “salt” in the Beatitudes.]
74 And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean; [That was as far as the ordinances went before they got to Nauvoo]
75 That I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God, that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation; [that is why one washes hands and feet] that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last promise, which I have made unto you, [the promise that one will see God] when I will.
76 Also, I give unto you a commandment that ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth.
77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, [note: “the law of the gospel” ]in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms–
80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, [then there is more about missionary work]
86 Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.
87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.
88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
[So now we are resuming the creation story/battle, but this is the continuation of creation rather than the beginning of it.]
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.149-50
The Doctrine of Election. Peter exhorts us to make our calling and election sure. This is the sealing power spoken of by Paul in other places.
“13. In whom ye also trusted, that after ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
“14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory, that we may be sealed up unto the day of redemption.”—Ephesians, 1st chapter.
This principle ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye that Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power, and the other Comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation.
The Two Comforters
There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure intelligence.
The Second Comforter
The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted.
When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Three 1838–39, p.150
Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses:
“16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;
“17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Three 1838–39, p.150
“18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.* *
“21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
“23. …If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions—Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.
Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection (Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1963), p. 50-51.
[Speaking of the pre-mortal spirit world, President Smith wrote:]
It is reasonable to believe that there was a Church organization there. The heavenly beings were living in a perfectly arranged society. Every person knew his place. Priesthood, without any question, had been conferred and the leaders were chosen to officiate. Ordinances pertaining to that pre-existence were required and the love of God prevailed. Under such conditions it was natural for our Father to discern and choose those who were most worthy and evaluate the talents of each individual. He knew not only what each of us could do, but also what each of us would do when put to the test and when responsibility was given us. Then, when the time came for our habitation on mortal earth, all things were prepared and the servants of the Lord chosen and ordained to their respective missions.
Paul said to the Ephesian Saints:
Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. –Eph. 1:3-4.