The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 118 - Moses 7, D&C 74
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In this episode we focus on the “precious morsel” of Moses 7, that gives Joseph a view of what Zion really is and why it is so important. We also cover D&C 74 which was written around this time and aligns with what was revealed in Moses 6.

3 Nephi 20:22

3 Nephi 21:23-25

3 Nephi 28:7

D&C 84:119

John 10:1

Isaiah 35:10

D&C 133:33, 35

Jude 1:6

2 Peter 2:4

D&C 38:3-6

Matthew 27:52

1 Peter 3:18

Isaiah 42:7

Isaiah 49:9

D&C 76:73

D&C 88:99

Revelation 1:18

Revelation 3:20-21

D&C 76:53

JST Genesis 9:21-23

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13 comments on “Iron Rod 118 – Moses 7, D&C 74

  1. Great podcast as usual.

    One question I’ve had lately is how the gospel, which is about faith, ties in with the law. Salvation doesn’t come by works, yet Zion is built upon a people following the law of God – it’s their actions/attitudes/etc. that defines Zion. I think there are different levels of salvation. There is an individual level of salvation anyone can get by following the gospel. However, I think there is more than one station or status in heaven. Not everyone who goes to heaven will necessarily be on God’ Divine Council, for example. I believe the people living the law of God in Zion are preparing themselves for this greater glory.

    There’s an interesting nugget in Moses 7 that may be highlighting this:
    56 And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory;
    57 And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.

    The saints are crowned with glory. The repentant spirits from prison are saved and stand on the right hand of God, but they aren’t crowned. I don’t think this is about Celestial/Terrestrial/Telestial glories, because they are all in the presence of God. It doesn’t say they are limited to any particular aspect of God.

    I think this explains how the gospel offers salvation to individuals. The law God gives for Zion prepares saints who will be part of His Divine Council. If this view is correct, then when the people, as a group or as a church, fail to live the law of God and are cursed or punished what does that mean? I don’t think it means they necessarily lose salvation through the gospel – unless they reject their faith in God’s grace. If it’s a failure to live the law, a failure of works, then they may lose the crowns of glory. They may be subject to the buffeting of Satan for a season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be among those standing on the right hand of God.

    This view aligns with the gospel of faith, where our salvation comes free from God through no works of our own but simply through faith in His works. What our works – living the Law of Zion – could do is prepare us to be members of the Divine Council, but they wouldn’t determine our access to Heaven.

    • Good observations. Here are a couple of my thoughts:

      The celestial are crowned at Christ’s coming and reign with him during the Millennium (D&C 76:63). They seem to receive their seat on the divine council at the beginning of the Millennium. We know the terrestrial people live on earth in the presence of Jesus, so we have two categories: those who rule with Christ and those who are ruled by Christ and his council. That seems to align with your initial observation.

      At the last day, after the little season, I don’t see a division anymore.
      3 Nephi 27:5-6, 14-19
      Have they not read the scriptures which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day; and whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.

      And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—and for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father. And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words. And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

      If nothing enters his kingdom that has not repented and been washed in the blood of Christ and remained faithful until the end, can there be the second category you talk about? If only those who are called by the name of Christ can be saved at the last day, how could there be levels at the last day?

      2 Nephi 31:15-16, 21
      And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. 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.

      And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; 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.

      I could cite dozens of other verses that say the same thing. You either endure to the end and are on the right hand of God, or you don’t endure to the end and you are on the left hand.

      From what I’ve seen, before the last judgement there are divisions and some who get to sit on the divine council and others who don’t. But once the last day arrives and the final judgment occurs, everyone is either saved or damned, and there are no different degrees of being saved at the last day that I can see in the scriptures. I’m always open to being corrected with scripture.

      • I agree with most of what you said, except I’m not seeing the Divine Council membership distinction disappearing after the final day of judgement. By my reading, Moses 7:56-57 happens at the crucifixion/resurrection of Christ. There are two groups who are found on the right hand of God. A similar differentiation happens during the millennium, but I don’t see where those from Moses 7:56-57 who were not crowned with glory would be “promoted” to the Divine Council.

        The problem with the scriptures you provide is that they all appear to me to be defining the salvation of grace. That’s what I view all of them as addressing. I don’t see them adding in those who are crowned with glory for the Divine Council. Also, those passages don’t seem to have any need for the law of Zion. There are numerous examples in the scripture of people who have believed on Christ, repented of their sins and been saved, yet never lived the law of Zion. The law of Zion, by my recollection, is nowhere mentioned in all those countless passages you could provide about those saved people.

        So why bother to enter in and try to live the law of Zion? It doesn’t appear necessary, it involves your own works – and if you covenant to do it and fail you face God’s wrath. The only thing I can think of is that those who strive to live the law of Zion are striving for something greater that is available to those saved in Heaven. Again, this isn’t anything like the Celestial/Terrestrial/Telestial division relative to the millennium. This applies from the time Christ rose from the grave to the final day of judgement and beyond.

        I don’t know if I can find scriptures to support my conjecture, but if it isn’t membership on the Divine Council, what else could it be?

        Also, look at all the scriptures of those who have had visions of heaven. There are countless beings worshiping God and singing Him praises. It appears some are on the Divine Council and others are not.

        The crux of my question, which isn’t addressed by those who are saved and those who are not, is why the law of Zion? What purpose if it’s not part of the equation: “And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.“. He doesn’t add on “and who abide the Law of Zion”, as far as I can see. My guess is that it’s Divine Council membership.

        • I think this gets to the issue of “opportunity”. What if you lived during a time when it wasn’t possible to live the law of consecration? Does that mean you are forever excluded from the divine council? If so, God is picking eternal winners and losers based on when and where he chose for us to be born. I don’t subscribe to that notion.

          D&C 105:3-5 tells us living the law of consecration is a requirement to enter the celestial kingdom:
          But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; and are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

          I don’t see how anyone can be received into the celestial kingdom without living this law. Those who had that opportunity before the meridian of time receive their crown at Christ’s resurrection. Those who had that opportunity after Christ’s resurrection receive their crown at his second coming. That still leaves a lot of people that never had the opportunity to live the law of consecration. During the Millennium the law is lived, but Satan is bound so you aren’t really being tested. That leaves us with the little season, and the test of whether those subject to temptation will endure to the end. I think those that follow Christ during the little season will continue to live the law of consecration as they did during the Millennium, and those who follow Satan will revert to Babylon. Everyone gets a chance to live the law of consecration. I don’t see how you can fully follow Christ without doing so.

          While I don’t have definitive scriptural support, here’s one thing to ponder:
          D&C 88:96-98
          And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—they are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

          Then skipping a few trumps:
          D&C 88:107
          And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.

          At this point the saints are made equal with Christ. This is before the Millennium starts. You can cross-reference that with D&C 76:62-70. These are the celestial people that come with Christ in the cloud.

          Verse 110 talks about the Millennium, and 111 starts the little season.
          114 And then cometh the battle of the great God; and the devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all.

          Does this mean the devil and his armies have power over the celestial saints that have already been made equal with Christ? I don’t think so. I conclude this group of saints are the ones who didn’t qualify before the Millennium, had the opportunity to live properly during the Millennium without temptation, and then endured to the end in living the law of consecration during the little season. Then, at the last day, those saints are no longer subject to the power of the devil and his armies.

          Then we are back to the binary judgement: you either were 100% loyal to Christ, or 0% loyal to Christ. If you were 100% loyal to Christ, why would your reward be any different than someone else who was loyal but had the opportunity to demonstrate that loyalty earlier?

          This links me to the parable in Matthew 20. Some workers start at dawn, some at 9am, some at noon, some at 3pm, and some at 5pm. Yet all are paid the same wage. “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” This is how Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven.

          If Christ makes everyone equal in the kingdom of heaven, how can there be different levels? No one gets in without doing the work, but everyone gets the same reward regardless of when they do the work.

          This is consistent with D&C 76:92-95
          And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever; before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever. They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

          Everyone who dwells in the presence of the Father is equal in power, might, and dominion. While there are levels before the last day, by the last day anyone who makes it into the kingdom is equal with everyone else in the kingdom of God, because we’ve been made equal with Christ. Unlike Animal Farm, some are not more equal than others!

          • I can agree with most of this, especially everyone getting the opportunity through the little season. However, I’m not convinced that every being in Heaven is a Divine Council member. For example, I’m not convinced the Watchers and the Deuteronomy 32:8 worldview sons of god are necessarily Divine Council members. I think there is a whole host of divine beings in Heaven. I don’t think that it’s a slam to not be on the Divine Council.

            The way your formula works, those who were released from prison at Christ’s resurrection and who stand on the right hand of God are only there temporarily. Since they didn’t have a chance to live the law of consecration, they will have to prove themselves during the little season and many of them may not make it. This reverts to a salvation of works, not of faith. Faith only gets most of us through the millennium (a rather small number have had the chance to live the law of Zion prior to the little season). After that, it is our works and not God’s works that gets us to Heaven. It was also the works of those who lived the law of Zion prior to the little season that earned them their place in Heaven. That part of your equation gives me heartburn. I think access to Heaven is ALWAYS through faith on the works of God. We need to have faith, repent, be baptized with water and fire and endure (stay in that state) to the end.

            1 Nephi 1:
            8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

            Alma 36:
            22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.

            Mormon 7:
            7 And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

            D&C 128:
            23 Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

            All these creations sing praises to God. Does that make them all Divine Council members? I think we get into a status argument and believe one is greater than another. But that isn’t necessarily the case in some are angels – messengers, some are Divine Council members, some are watchers, some sing praises, etc. I see room for all of God’s creations in Heaven. There’s a whole laundry list in D&C 128.

            I get a little of your idea that if you’re not on the Divine Council you are lesser, not equal. But I think that may be tied to our mortal perception. Why couldn’t God have a plethora of creations serving Him in whatever ways He needed? They are all saved, they are all in His presence. So what does it matter what job God assigns them?

            We are found guiltless by having our garments washed white in the blood of Christ. That’s relying on Christ’s atonement for us. I don’t think we wash our own garments by following the law of consecration. That makes us the author of our salvation.

            Look at D&C 88:96-98, those are the first fruits. Are there no second fruits? Those that are still going to heaven because they followed the simple gospel? I think there is room for them.

            I think being equal is being in God’s presence, in Heaven, for eternity. What task He may assign us, doesn’t degrade our equality. Our mortal, carnal mind needs to have a hierarchy which implies status, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way God’s mind works.

            So to sum it up: You believe all of God’s saved creations are Divine Council members. You believe that we must prove through our own works in following the law of Zion in order to obtain permanent residence in Heaven. That might sound harsh the way I word it, and that’s what’s giving me the heartburn.

            • Just some added context, I’m just finishing up Hebrew’s on Dr. Heiser’s podcast. Having been indoctrinated as a Mormon, the gospel of works makes easy sense to me. Learning and understanding the gospel of faith is more challenging to my LDS indoctrinated mind – and then I see the law of Zion…

            • I agree that not every being in heaven is a divine council member; however, it appears that every human in heaven is a divine council member. There are non-humans in heaven; specifically, angels are not humans.

              In Heiser’s book Angels, page 15, “Many scholars have pointed out that there is a discernible hierarchy within the divine council. All council members, including Yahweh, are heavenly spirit beings. However, a careful comparison of the council terminology sketched here with text from ancient Canaan, particularly Ugarit, and the terms “sons of God” and “angel”, allows one to discern three tiers within the council.” He goes on to document the different roles: “angels” are spirit beings that deliver or receive messages, “ministers” are spirit beings that attend to the service of God, “watchers” are spirit beings that oversee parts of the creation, “cherubim/seraphim” are spirit beings that guard the presence of God.

              Humans are made in the image of God. Angels are different. We need to purge the false doctrine about angels that SLC propagates, starting with D&C 129 (angels are resurrected humans) and D&C 132 (angels are humans that didn’t practice polygamy).

              When Joseph and Sidney saw the vison of heaven, they recorded:
              D&C 76:20-21
              And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; and saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.

              The holy angels are distinct from those who are sanctified before his throne. We can see that in verses 66-67:
              These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all. These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

              Celestial humans come to an innumerable company of angels. Celestial humans seem to be distinct from angels.

              Moses 5:58 has angels teaching the gospel to Adam and his descendants:
              And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by his own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost.

              If D&C 129 were true doctrine, who would these angels be? They can’t be resurrected beings, and they can’t be the spirits of a just man made perfect waiting to be resurrected…because they teach Adam who was the first man. We need to believe the scriptural descriptions of angels as non-human.

              According to Paul, humans will have seniority over the angels of heaven:
              1 Corinthians 6:3
              Know ye not that we shall judge angels?

              Notice that Jesus will vouch for humans before the Father and the angels. He doesn’t vouch for humans before humans. Angels are distinct from humans.
              Revelation 3
              5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

              He goes on to say the humans will sit down with him, something that isn’t promised to angels:
              20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
              21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

              Contrast this with Hebrews 1:13-14
              But to which of the angels said he at any time, “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

              To sum it up, I believe that humans are made in the image of God and are destined to become heirs of salvation, to inherit God’s glory and sit and rule with Christ. There are other spirit beings that God has created that are not destined to rule, but to serve and worship. I don’t think we humans have to “prove” through our works that we are worthy to enter heaven, but that humans have to conform to the behavior required to enter heaven. Once you conform, you are admitted. Whether you conform early or late, once you are admitted you have the same status.

              • Thanks. This is close to my thinking. I haven’t got all of the resources I should with Dr. Heiser’s works.

                Is the idea then, that part of the “repent” formula is that we have a change of heart and mind and we are far more in alignment with God’s own mind? The whole point of baptism is to certify the covenant we make with God to choose Him our father, to follow Christ. There are some actions involved in following Christ. Yet there is a huge liberation in having Christ do the work of cleansing our garments. Mormons are heavily burdened with the idea that they must do all their own work, to get just up to the finish line and then Christ does the last tiny step to get them there.

                It must be the other way around, that Christ has done all the heavy lifting. Once we accept that, then our own works, our efforts to follow him are the tiniest, almost negligible, part of it. That is a liberating gospel.

                It still seems hard to me to say that living the law of Zion isn’t our own works even if we have truly repented and aligned ourselves with God’s mind. Maybe in that case it’s also easy and not a burden. I guess I’m jaded by the failure of the saints in the 1830s when I should look to the successes of Enoch and the Nephites after Jesus visited them. It probably wasn’t hard for them and didn’t seem like their own efforts or work to live in a Zion-like state. That must be what it will be like in the little season, not our works but our faith and alignment with God makes living in Zion a breeze.

                • I think it is impossible for us to comprehend what it will be like when we receive the baptism of fire and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we are able to put off the natural man and we have no desire to sin, sharing our goods with one another will probably be so simple we don’t think twice about it. People can still choose to stray and sin, but at that point we are going against our nature, whereas in our fallen state that is totally aligned with our nature.

                  I think our families give us a sneak peak of how easy it will be. Does a parent agonize over whether to give of their substance to feed and clothe their own children? Does a parent mark all the food in the kitchen with name tags to ensure the kids don’t eat food they didn’t earn? Of course not! We stock the kitchen and the kids take what they want. We even buy food that we know we won’t each much of, but the kids will. Even though I bought all the furniture in the house, I don’t have rules about who can sit where. There are times when my kids want to watch a different TV show than I want to watch. Even though I paid for the TV, and the couch, and the content, we still seek a compromise that makes everyone happy. That’s how I envision living in Zion.

                  The Saints failed in the 1830s because they didn’t have pure hearts and didn’t love their fellow beings as they love their own children. I don’t think that’s because they were more wicked than the rest of us, but because the majority of them had not had the change of heart that is necessary to succeed in that situation. Most of us put in that situation without a change of heart would likely have behaved the same. Indeed, we may be acting the same way today, we just don’t have the expectations of living the law of consecration putting a spotlight on our selfish behavior.

                  I suspect that once we have truly been converted, it would be offensive to our own sense of right and wrong to behave the way we used to.

                  Mosiah 4:11-
                  As ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel. And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true. And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due. And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another. And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

                  I don’t think he’s saying this as a commandment, but as a consequence. Once we have truly been converted, this is how we will “naturally” behave as new creatures.

                  • A couple of things I thought of on this topic:
                    Section 76:86-88 86 These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
                    87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
                    88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.

                    So yea apparently angels are different from terrestrial souls who both have a duty to minister to the telestial worlds. My speculation on the difference is that these angels are those in the heavenly zion and the terrestrials mentioned are the dwellers of zion, who have to leave zion and go out into the telestial realms. JST Hebrews 1:6-7 says: 6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him, who maketh his ministers as a flame of fire.
                    7 And of the angels he saith, Angels are ministering spirits.
                    D&C 7:6 says of John: 6 Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
                    So I think angel might simply be a specific calling perhaps of various ranks to minister to the telestial worlds.
                    Moroni 7 seems to confirm this: 29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.
                    30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.
                    31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance, and to fulfill and to do the work of the covenants of the Father, which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of him.

  2. So, having helped with faith vs. works, I want to go back to the passage that I started with.

    Moses 7:54-55 places the timeline at Christ’s first coming. Verses 56-57 must then show a judgement that happened at the meridian of time, at Christ’s resurrection. The passage describes three groups. Looking at it, it is a direct match for the judgement that happens at the start of the millennium.

    There are pre-meridian saints who are crowned with glory = celestially at the millennium.

    There are those released from prison who stand on the right hand of God = terrestrials at the millennium.

    There are those who remain in chains of darkness = telestials at the millennium.

    I think this 3 part judgement of the pre-meridian people matches the way you see the post-meridian judgement that happens at the start of the millennium.

    I believe at the end of the millennium all those telestials will be released and have one final opportunity for God’s grace. Likewise the terrestrials will have the opportunity to live the law of Zion. The celestial will need to endure through the end of the little season and the final day of judgement.

    I hadn’t noticed this parallel before and how the three groups match up with the post-meridian people as described in D&C 76.

  3. I just finished Dr. Heiser’s podcast on Hebrews and he makes an interesting point regarding faith vs works. Our works do not earn us God’s love or take advantage of His atonement for our sins. It’s our faith that does that (and I would say following the simple gospel of faith, repentance, baptism by water and baptism by fire and spirit).

    Instead, the things we do, our works in following God’s laws/commandments are evidence of our faith. They are a byproduct of that faith we have in following God. But those works don’t, by themselves, mean we have faith. Someone could act kindly to a stranger, but not have faith. While those who have faith will be kind to strangers as a result of it. So it’s a cause/effect that we are usually putting backwards: we can only see the works, so we judge the works and think judges the works too.

    Following this formula, how does it work when one’s actions are not in line with God’s laws and He punishes one for it? My focus is on the saints not living the law of Zion and God rejecting them and turning them over to Satan.

    I think I have the answer combined with Dr. Heiser’s work and the scriptures. The things we do, the following of God’s law of Zion, are demonstrations of our faith. Certain actions that we do, may demonstrate a lack or absence of faith.

    Alma 44:
    4 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.

    This passage is consistent with Hebrews that the transgression we need to be concerned about is denying or losing faith. At the beginning of the verse, God supports, keeps, and preserves the faithful. If a people begin to reject God’s works and do their own, that is a demonstration of their lack of faith. If the saints in Zion (in 1830s) tried to take matters into their own hands to exact retribution from their enemies, their actions were not relying on God. It was evidence they didn’t have the faith.

    D&C 42:
    23 And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.

    D&C 63:
    16 And verily I say unto you, as I have said before, he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear.

    From the Article on Marriage (since removed from the LDS D&C):
    We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this Church from marrying out of the Church, if it be their determination so to do; but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    These are actions (in some cases thoughts) that are equated with denying the faith. It appears that faith and actions are tightly coupled. With faith in God, our thoughts and actions are in line with God and are evidence of our faith. Certain actions which violate God’s laws are evidence of a lack of faith.

    But it never is living the law of Zion that gives us salvation. It is always the true gospel of faith that leads to salvation. An unbelieving group could try to live the law – and if they managed to succeed in matching it to the letter, it would not be to their benefit. Their outward works might appear the same as the faithful saints living the law of Zion, but faith is what is needed. I understand that in practice, no one can successfully live the law of Zion without faith in God.

    Back to the 1830 saints, it appears their failure to live the law of consecration and Zion demonstrated that they had lost their faith in God. God wasn’t punishing them for their works but for rejecting the faith. Having the faith and God’s blessing as a result of it and then denying it and losing it leads to the punishments of God. That’s why ancient Israel was going to be wiped out. I suspect that’s also part of the reason for the flood. That’s why the Nephites were ultimately destroyed by the Lamanites. Their works demonstrated how they had lost their faith.

    • Great observations! And especially Alma 44:4.

      We are conditioned in the Church to put the cart before the horse when it comes to faith vs. works. Rather than helping people build faith in God, knowing that good works will result, we focus on fostering good works, hoping that faith in God will follow.