Destruction and three days of darkness mark the death of Jesus. The voice of the Lord speaks to the people. Almost a year later, Jesus descends and shows himself to the Nephites and begins teaching his doctrine.
Moroni 7:26, 48
1 Nephi 19:10-12
3 Nephi 17:25
JST Luke 10:22
The end of 3 Nephi 11 has been one of my new favorite scriptures as I’ve been searching and studying these topics the last few years. I also feel like it is so simple and straightforward. Like you both said, how could Christ be any more clear? As I’ve read the scriptures with this new perspective so many spots jump out to support it. What has really hit home over and over is that the book of Mormon is SO clear and specific on important doctrines like baptism, repentance, the sacrament, etc. Yet, we still manage to justify things that aren’t there, twist things, add things, and distort things that God made so clear.
I have brought up the end of 3 Nephi 11 as well with family that disagree that the temple is not scriptural and they respond “well, clearly that’s just the foundation…” But in my mind, if that’s what you believe, you HAVE to answer how it’s not “more than this…” and they never answer that question. The original articles of faith, multiple spots in d&c (i.e. 39:5-6), the book of Mormon, bible all agree on the simple doctrine of Christ. And yet people still act like you’re teaching false doctrine or getting out of the good ol’ ship zion for believing the scriptures. I just get blown away how I didn’t see it before. Stumbling blocks indeed. I guess I need to be more patient and merciful to others though, because it took me a long time to understand and get to where I’m at (more accurately to be led to where I’m at). So, I need to focus on the motes in my eyes maybe, eh?
I was listening to one of Dr. Heiser’s older podcasts and they were discussing the OT and the two powers in heaven. They brought up about the Holy Spirit and mentioned that there’s plenty of evidence for that in the OT as well.
With my LDS indoctrination of there being 3 personages in the Godhead, it gets hard to wrap my head around what the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost really is. From LDS upbringing, it seems more like a binitarian than trinitarian. But it’s clearly stated in LoF that these 3 are one and affirmed numerous times in the scriptures as well.
How do we cast off our concept that the 3 members of the Godhead are all personages and figure out what that third member is all about? There’s a personage of spirit, who is called the Father. There’s another personage of tabernacle, who is called the Son. They both share the same Mind which is called the Holy Spirit and is considered the third entity of the Godhead. All three are one – but how does that work?
The way I am seeing it, is that the two personages are defined by the space their personage occupies. I don’t know the specifics of a personage of spirit, but descriptions of those who have seen Him indicate that the personage has form that looks like a man and LoF also teaches that both personages – spirit and tabernacle – are in the same image, form and likeness. The third entity in the Godhead would not have this image, form or likeness. It is described as the mind of God, it bears record of the Father and the Son.
Combining this with a lot of the discussion of the temple (anciently) and post-Christ where the new temple is the bodies of believers in Christ – I get an idea that the Holy Spirit is also the presence of the Lord. When God’s presence was in the Temple, I don’t think it necessarily had either of the personages – the Father or Son – residing in it. I think it had the presence of God, which may be another way of saying the Holy Spirit or Mind of God. After Christ came and He said He would send His Spirit, it is now the presence of God which can dwell within each believer. It isn’t limited, but can simultaneously dwell within millions and millions of people.
I believe this presence of God, is different than the idea of God being omnipresent. I think that’s true, but the Mind of God, the Holy Spirit, may be a different concept than the one of omnipresence. If the Holy Spirit – the Mind of God – was centered at the temple in Jerusalem, it can now be centered in the hearts of all believers.
It’s still hard for me to get my mind wrapped around this aspect of God because it’s still ingrained in me that all entities in the Godhead must be personages. I would be very interested in your take on this and it might be a good podcast once the BoM is completed.
I know you covered some of this in episode 18, but what is your view on the Holy Ghost/Mind of God being the same as “the presence of the Lord”? It’s difficult navigating through the stumbling blocks we’ve placed in front of ourselves!
I’m still struggling to cast off all the distorted thinking that is a consequence of all the false doctrine I was raised with. This is definitely an area, and having accepted that the Holy Ghost isn’t a personage, I assume that any reference to the presence of the Lord can only mean the Father or the Son. That has caused me to choke on some scriptures, like this one:
2 Nephi 5:20
Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence.
This is referring to Laman and Lemuel and their families. I can’t see how those two were faithful enough to dwell in the presence of the Father or the Son, given how much they resisted Lehi’s and Nephi’s teachings. But if the presence of the Lord here is the Holy Ghost, I could see how their continued rebellion finally cut them off from that. I’m going to have to ruminate on this for a while, but thank you for the idea.
As for a dedicated episode, I’ll have to consult with Searcher. Maybe we can hit a couple focused topics before we start the D&C.
I like your explanation. It makes sense to me.
One of the topics you touched on was the matter of how to become a “son of God”. I just want to add to your scriptures on that subject. Moses chapter 6:68 says “Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.”
What is the process that was previously described to become a son of God?
“…all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God” (v.57)
“Even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.” (v. 59-60)
“And it came to pass when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.” (v. 64-65)
The point continues to be made in Moses 7:1 “And it came to pass that Enoch continued his speech, saying: Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God…”
Romans 8 is another place where Paul is teaching this concept to gentile converts. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (v. 14-17)
I am really grateful that there are so many witnesses available throughout the scriptures that confirm the same point.