Monday, April 12, 2010
Follow Christ in all things
I was asked:
Nephi invites us to follow Christ in all the ordinances starting with baptism. The endowment clearly requires us to follow Adam in seeking more light and truth, receiving ordinances and making covenants. Finally, when we arrive in the sealing room we seek to follow and obtain the blessings of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Ultimately we follow Christ in all things, but I wondered if you could comment on this.
Nephi followed Christ. Adam followed Christ. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob followed Christ. We get examples from sacred writings (and ordinances) which incorporate reference to earlier disciples of Christ, but always in the context of showing the need to follow Christ.
There is no jealousy about using a man who followed Christ as an example to follow. One of the reasons the Melchizedek Priesthood is named after a man rather than retaining the original "Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God" was to prevent the frequent repetition of the Son of God name. (See D&C 107: 2-4.) This was respectful of the Son of God, while using the man Melchizedek as the example for using the authority which comes from the Son of God.
However, the one we follow is Christ and we follow His Gospel. When we decide to follow only a disciple of His, even if it is a true disciple, we miss the mark and fall to a Telestial state and are no better than the liars and thieves. (See D&C 76: 98-104.) So even when it is a man whose example we list or refer to, it is only to the extent that the man illustrates the correct manner to follow the Son of God.
The God of the Telestial Kingdom (in which we are presently situated) is the Holy Ghost. The God of the Terrestrial Kingdom (which the Millennium will reflect) is Jesus Christ. The God of the Celestial Kingdom is God the Father. (See D&C Section 76.) The Holy Ghost brings us to Christ. Christ brings us to the Father. The Father extends the promise of exaltation by making you a son or daughter of God.
The plan of redemption brings us from our current, fallen state back to a state of awareness of our condition, and then by cleansing us, elevates us in light and truth. The primary God with whom we deal here is the Holy Ghost. However, the association with Christ is promised by Him in Chapter 14 of John. Joseph Smith explained that when the promise given by Christ in that chapter of John is realized, then the Father and Son will visit with the person from time to time. He also clarified that the visit referred to is actual, not just something "in the heart" of a believer. (D&C 130: 3.)
Abraham is the example used in the sealing ordinance because Abraham's covenant with the Lord is the prototype of what the Lord promises all those who follow Him. Those promises include eternal increase (posterity), land (inheritance) and eternal life.