The emphasis this time is on the promises of the beatitudes. The promises get increasingly better the closer we get to the Father (conversion). The individual moving towards conversion becomes more and more trustworthy and less and less variable. The condition of the individual becomes less and less tied to the circumstances of the world and completely dependent upon faith- this is powerful. You might see some overlapping (repetition), but that’s because it’s important. Here it is, with emphasis on the promises (3 Nephi 12:3-10):
- Poor in Spirit- Theirs is the kingdom of God (A Promise)
- Mourn- They shall be comforted (The Foundation of Principles)
- Meek- They shall inherit the earth (Principles are strengthened and expand)
- Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness- They shall be filled with the Holy Ghost (Sanctification)
- Merciful- They shall obtain Mercy (Enter the presence of Christ in the flesh)
- Pure in Heart- They shall see God (Enter the presence of the Father in the flesh)
- Peacemakers- They shall be called the children of God, Persecuted for My Name’s Sake, and theirs is the kingdom of heaven (three promises in one)
It is important that you consider these promises as progressive and NOT random. Our God is not an accidental God. We cannot accidentally end up with celestial glory. God is intentional and full of purpose. It is that purpose that gives us Hope. It is the words of Christ that produce Faith. Once you have hope and work out your obedience through faith, you will find yourself in the presence of the almighty (one who loves God with all their heart, mind and soul). Then can you exercise charity by teaching others the truth and helping others ascend (the second great commandment- love thy neighbor as thyself). We’ll go through each promise in the beatitudes to create a clearer picture on what the Lord is trying to offer each of us and to understand what we are giving up in exchange for our immediate, but brief pleasures. Let’s do this:
- Theirs is the kingdom of God– As stated earlier, this is merely a promise of what you can obtain if you make your journey as prescribed in the beatitudes. A promise is powerful when you have a clear image of what you are getting in the end. It produces the desire to push through and to endure to the end. When we don’t have a clear picture of what God is promising us, our desire is not sufficient to endure the conditions that must be met. If “the kingdom of God” generates no image in our minds, then the journey is over before it began. We’ll shrug the promise off at the outset for something more tangible, more realistic to us and more immediate. However, when the promise begins to solidify by the study of the word (search), understanding (ponder), and a mental image (revelation), now we got ourselves a launching pad to begin the journey.
- They shall be comforted– Those that mourn do so because they want to depend on the mind an will of God, but they realize that they don’t know God at all. This is the point of being tossed in the deep water and learning how to swim for the first time. You gasp for air, panic and splash around frantically. You quickly learn your weakness. This is an uncomfortable situation. It is here that we are taught the fundamentals of the gospel and it’s purpose. For the first time your eyes are being opened and things aren’t as you thought they were, therefore the Lord blesses you with knowledge that produces comfort. Knowledge to the beginner swimmer is helpful, but it doesn’t remove the panic. It is only the practice and application of that knowledge that produces sufficient confidence to continue to learn to swim.
- They shall inherit the earth– Here we find that the principles of God apply to all things and we begin to find comfort in the consistent application of principles and waiting for the promised results. They always come. You know this because you have “tried” the Lord in many ways. Using the beginner swimmer analogy, you’ve learned to tread water and feel confident in all sorts of water activities. The deep holds little fear. inheriting the earth points the mind to success in the world. Success in the world is a two-edged sword. It will slice through your worldly problems, but it can also lead you into a pride cycle by distracting your original intentions of obtaining the promised kingdom of God. You opt for a worldly kingdom instead of the kingdom God has to offer. The worldly success becomes ever so present that we forget the future blessings of eternity because of our short sightedness. The saints at Nauvoo experienced such success on the Mississippi river and failed to build the temple in “sufficient time.” This distraction resulted in a failure to receive the promised greater endowment, the prophet being killed, the saint’s where persecuted, killed, and were forced to move into the middle of the desert (Salt Lake City, Utah). Success can cut through worldly problems, but can also be distracting and cut you off from your promised blessings (a two-edged sword).
- To be filled with the Holy Ghost– The Holy Ghost is the revelator. It reveals truth, teaches you all things and brings all things to your remembrance (Moroni 10:4-5). By the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things. Having the truth of all things and a complete remembrance is all pointing to sanctification and being brought to the real veil, not the symbolic veil depicted in the temples of old. At this point the individual has the Holy Ghost as “…thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (D&C 121:46). This is a gift received only by those who hunger and thirst after Christ (Righteousness). The Holy Ghost is the revealer of truth and all truth leads to Christ (All truth is circumscribed into one great whole).
- To obtain mercy– The only one who can give mercy is Christ. Thus, mercy is another name for Christ. At this point we are promised that we shall obtain Christ, personally. This is literal, not symbolic. Be careful not to say that openly in church meetings because there are many who reject this idea and think that such a blessing is only reserved for those in high offices, or only available after death. The beatitudes where addressed to even the commoner. People fear what they don’t understand.
- See God– This is simply entering into the presence of the Father. Again, this is not something people are used to hearing. Trying convincing the populace in church that such a blessing is available to the common member will result in a fight of tradition versus truth. Although truth will always win, contention is of the devil and has no room in the gospel. Just be aware of this fact
- Finally, we have the big three promises at the end of the beatitudes:
- Called the children of God– Now you have been changed in heart, mind and through ordinances (sacrament, temple and higher ordinances), you are a different creature in Christ, from the inside out. God has begotten you or recreated you from a natural man into a god as He has done to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Nephi, Jacob, Enos, etc.
- Persecuted for My Names sake– Many mistakenly believe that we take upon ourselves the name of Christ when we are baptized, even when the sacrament prayer only says that we must only be “willing” to take upon ourselves His name at this point. This idea is a tradition that is not backed by scripture. It is not until we obtain mercy, see God and become the children of God that we obtain the knowledge of Christ’s name. That is when we learn to “pray in His name.” That is a special prayer available to those who “…overcome by faith” (Rev 2:17). Speaking the name of Christ, the creator, is literally power to command all things. Nephi, in Helaman 10, was given this power and used it freely.
- Their’s is the kingdom of heaven– We return to where we began. The promise is now yours! The promise is now a reality. Now your priesthood is inseparably connected with the powers of heaven. You, as Nephi, will do nothing contrary to the mind and will of God (Hel 10:5). You are trusted of God!
You see, no man can be saved in ignorance. One does not accidentally fall into heaven. It requires effort to climb Jacobs ladder. Each sacrifice is evaluated of the Lord, until he declares, “It is enough.” Then your sacrifice becomes sweet unto the Lord and acceptable, like Able’s (son of Adam). We must know where we are, where we are going and what we must do to get there. That is the power of the beatitudes. It is plain to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart and mind that will understand. The words of Christ is filled with key knowledge necessary for one to rise up and obtain the treasures in heaven promised:
“18. And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint
21. and I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.”
The wisdom and treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures, are to assist you in breaking free of your ignorance, false traditions, and unbelief. That is what comforts, produces the inheriting of the earth, filled with the Holy Ghost and obtaining of Christ and the Father. If no man can be saved in ignorance, then those given knowledge will be saved. It is that hidden knowledge that Abraham sought to make the ascent (Abr 1:1-2). Just as well Nephi in the first verse of 1 Nephi (the most commonly read verse in our church) says, “…having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, “therefore” I make a record of my proceedings in my days.” Therefore means, “for this reason!” Nephi’s entire record is to point us to how we can ascend as he did. Alma also teaches us that we can know all the mysteries of God until we know them in full (Alma 12:10). This is the knowledge that seals a family and builds Zion. This is the knowledge that we give up when we “…ask not, neither do ye knock.” (2 Nephi 32:4).
I hope that as you read what I have written here that the Spirit testifies to you that it is true. This witness can clarify the vision of what we are trying to do on this earth. A clear vision leads to an unquenchable desire. And I hope that you will allow that desire to stir in you, to cause you to read the word earnestly, seeking to know the mind and will of God and share what you have learned with the rest of us. Make a serious, concentrated and consistent effort to know God through the study of the word. Establish your life around this serious effort, rather then fitting your study in the gaps of your life. One who can recreate their life to fit in the gaps of the seeking for Christ will receive the promises offered by God. This is placing a worthy sacrifice on the altar. That sacrifice is you. Then will your sacrifice be accepted by Him and you will become at-one.