So far we have covered the first six beatitudes that results in an ascension into the presence of Christ and the ability to see God. The path that was taken in order for one to ascend is:
- Poor in Spirit- obtain a promise that theirs is the kingdom of God
- Mourn- promised to be comforted (remember: what truly produces comfort is knowledge and understanding)
- Meek- promised to inherit the earth (remember: if our heart is focused on things then it is inevitable that we’ll suffer the effects of the pride cycle and will not be able to progress and complete the ascension further than this point. However, if we reset our hearts to hunger and thirst after Christ (righteousness) then our ascension can continue)
- Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness- promised that we’ll be filled with the Holy Ghost- sanctification (remember: Righteousness is code for Christ, the children of Israel refused this step and was cursed to roam in the wilderness for 40 years, and this is the step that breaks us free from this world to climb to our ascension)
- Merciful- promised to obtain Mercy (remember: Mercy is another code word for Christ …and to obtain Christ is to physically enter into His presence and touch Christ- become a personal witness of Christ)
- Pure in Heart- promised that they’ll see God (remember: Christ prayed three times …and each time the people increased in brightness- brightness of fire, brightness of Christ’s garments, and finally they were as bright as Christ). This is the point at which Lehi, Isaiah, and all the prophets talk about seeing God and witnessing the concourses of angels singing praises to Him, etc.
The first six steps complete the ascension. The seventh beatitude points to what you do once you have ascended.
3 Nephi 12:9
“9. And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Several scriptures have been misunderstood because of the failure to see the words of Christ as a map for each of us to ascend. The following are some well known scriptures that when used in the context of ascending completely lifts our understanding to the intention of God found in Moses 1:39, “to bring to past the immortality and eternal life of man,” …in essence to provide an ascension for man, thus giving them immortality and eternal life!
The two great commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. One who loves God this way will be given more and more light, until they know all the mysteries of God, until they know them in full (Alma 12:10). That knowledge provides them with an ascension (filled with the Holy Ghost, coming into the presence of Christ and seeing God). Then can that candidate -who has ascended- now turn around and love their neighbor as themselves, by teaching others to ascend the same. That is why Matt 22:40 says that on “these two commandments” hang all the law and the prophets. This is what everything about the gospel of Christ is pointing to, our ascension. This truly relates to God’s work and glory (Moses 1:39).
Elder Holland’s talk about the first great commandment shows Peter in this very predicament. Christ tells Peter, “…when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32). Christ’s words comes as a surprise to Peter …and us, knowing how close Peter was to Christ. However, if we consider the ascension as one who comes into the presence of the resurrected Christ, then we can understand the rest of the story. The resurrected Christ appears to Peter and asks, “why are you fishing? Go out and love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, is the point that Peter becomes the great prophet and produces miraculous works, and converts thousands, because Peter is now converted and loving his neighbor as himself.
Nephi in Helaman 10 is found at the point of ascension …and is trusted that whatever he asks would be given, because he would not ask anything contrary to the will of God (Helaman 10:5). That is the trust of the ascension. Then Nephi goes straightway and preaches repentance to his people, just like Peter (loving his neighbor as himself by teaching them how to ascend.) Nephi asks for a famine to humble his people. He preaches the gospel so that they can ascend. On these two commandments hangs all the law and the prophets, not just in the New Testament, but in our day as well.
Other commonly misunderstood scriptures include:
- Seek to obtain my word (Christ is the word), …then you shall have my Spirit and my word, the power of God unto the convincing of men (D&C11:21). Obtaining Christ refers to your individual ascension. The power of God unto the convincing of men refers to loving your neighbor as yourself.
- Bring one soul unto me (points to an individual ascension for you), then is your joy great. Even greater will be your joy if you bring many souls unto me (points to loving your neighbor as yourself) (D&C 18:15-16).
The traditional line of thought removes a personal connection to Christ from the equation, which creates the problem of justification, slothfulness and complacency. When Christ is removed from our objective, then we consider receiving “rites and ordinances” the highest aim. Once we have obtained the greatest ordinances available to us, now we consider ourselves set …and all our attention is focused on getting others to do the same (receive the same rites and ordinances we’ve received). Now when we go to the temple, we do it for the dead. President Hinkley said that the temple is more for the living than it is for the dead. When we do missionary work, our objective is to get them baptized. When we try to reactivate members, we get them to come to sacrament meeting to partake of the sacrament. So those who partake of the sacrament weekly, attend the temple, and get people into the church are considered “SAFE.” Ask yourself, how many people do you know that are baptized, take the sacrament weekly, go to the temple, does their home teaching, etc. …yet still are not converted? I think that the mark is Christ. When we see all the external busy-ness as a replacement for entering into the presence of Christ, we too look “beyond the mark.” And all those actions are dead! Not only am I suggesting that the actions are dead, but they are also killing you and dragging you down into a false sense of worthiness.
The ancient saints during the time of Nephi had the same problem understanding this concept. Nephi introduced the ascension in 2 Nephi 31:17-21, but traditions confused the entire process of ascension:
- baptism of water
- baptism of fire
- the straight and narrow path
- entering the way-into the presence of Christ
The ancient saints couldn’t wrap their heads around it. Just as we considered all four steps as one- baptism, …the ancient saints were wondering, “what next?” Nephi responded to their confusion saying, “…I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way…” (2 Nephi 32:1). The ancient saints didn’t get that once you have completed the ascent, and have entered into the presence of Christ, you are to love your neighbor as yourself by declaring the word with the tongue of angels. That is exactly what Nephi taught here. But he said to the saints that if they didn’t understand what he was talking about, it was because they ask not, neither do they knock (3 Nephi 32:4).
What I am saying here is that the first six beatitudes are to bring you, as an individual couple, into the presence of Christ. Then the seventh beatitude, being a peacemaker, is about someone who has made the ascent, seeking to prepare and teach others how to do the same, so that they can have true joy. That is what is meant by loving your neighbor as yourself.
A foolish man asked a wealthy man, “How hard is it to make a million dollars?” The wealthy man said, “The first million is always the hardest.” The foolish man then replied, “Then, I will start with my second million first.”
This is the same mentality that we have about the two great commandments. We think that by serving others, we show our love for God. Our external actions are only bi-products of our heart. We show an external sign of an inward commitment, thinking that we can get away with the internal ignorance. Christ constantly condemns this mindset. He said to the Jews that “…they draw near unto me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…” The Jews used their lips to show that they were devoted to God, but their hearts refused the Christ. Christ also said of the Pharisees and Sadducees that the outer vessel is clean, but the inner vessel is filthy. We foolishly think that we can reverse the order of the two great commandments by making our outer vessel look clean and by drawing near with only our lips. We cannot fool God. God looketh upon the heart!
Always, those who truly sought after Christ did it against the will of the popular group. It is never popular at first because those you teach are raised in the world. However, when we speak with the tongue of angels, which is by the power of the Holy Ghost, hearts are changed. Enoch was considered a “mad man” because he sought after Christ. Melchizadek was considered a lunatic when he first entered into Salem. Both the city of Enoch and the city of Salem were eventually translated because Enoch and Melchizadek made their ascension and then loved their neighbor as themselves. Both cities ascended as they followed the instruction of their leader/ fathers.
Samuel the Lamanite was also one who ascended and was given command to love his neighbors, the Nephites. Samuel the Lamanite was also instructed to give glad tidings to the Nephites, but the Nephites refused to hear him, so his words became a curse to them. Joseph Smith ascended into the presence of Christ and saw God the Father. Joseph told the saints in Nauvoo that they too could have the privilege of coming unto the Savior if they built the temple in “sufficient time.” They did not, Joseph was murdered and the savior did not come into that temple. The saints were driven and persecuted (D&C 124:40-48).
Side note: I find it interesting that the saints took 40 years to erect the Salt Lake temple in the desert, compare to the 40 years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, before entering into Jericho. Both parties failed to receive the prophets invitation to be sanctified.
Those who seek Christ, find Him. Abraham was a seeker of Christ. He said that he wanted to be one who possessed great knowledge and great faith and to become a prince of peace (Abraham 1:2). Melchizadek is considered to be “the great high priest” and was called a prince of peace. Enoch followed after the order of the son of God and became a prince of peace. It is my intention to show that once one has made their individual ascent, they are able to follow the second great commandment and love their neighbor as themselves. Then they too become peace makers and are able to build Zion, who are then called the children of God.
The peace makers are taught to pray “in the name of the son” because they are taught the son’s name. When Christ came to the American continent He taught his people how to pray “in His name” after they had received Him (3 Nephi 18). Then the people were able to pray Christ to them and then were purified …in the next chapter (3 Nephi 19). We inaccurately think that we know how to pray as they did in 3 Nephi. The prayer that they are referring to …is reserved for those who have ascended into the presence of the resurrected Christ and are taught. The peacemakers are the ones that know how to pray this way, but they are under strict command not to reveal these truths (Alma 12:9).
Malachi tries to teach those, …with ears to hear …and hearts that understand, that we need to turn our hearts to those Fathers (peacemakers) who have made the ascent. As we do so, they are allowed to …turn their hearts to us and love us as they loved themselves, so that we can make the ascent and produce greater joy by being one of the many souls brought unto God. When we have ascended, then we have the ability to help others make a similar ascent.
The problem with us today is that we have looked beyond the mark, past the mark, before the mark, behind the mark, and have completely missed the mark altogether …by removing the mark. The mark is Christ. He wasn’t meant to play a passive role behind the scenes. You and I have put Him backstage, when He was purposed to be front and center! When we put Christ back in His place, then we can see our darkness, then we have reason to obey, then we can be given the reasons that are so great that we would be willing to sacrifice all things, including our pride, to receive it. Then we can have the privelege to be persicuted for His names sake (3 Nephi 12:10) and obtain the promise offered in the beginning of the process, even “the kingdom of heaven.”
3 Nephi 12:10
“10. And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It all begins with the Poor in Spirit who will read “the word “with a heart to understand. God gives us hope by way of a promise. Christ provides a law, or a path to follow in faith. As we follow in faith, trusting all our heart, mind and soul in Christ, we may obtain our ascension. Then we can help others, in charity, by teaching others to ascend with the tongue of angels. Hope, Faith, and Charity points to ascending and assisting others in their ascension. It has nothing to do with lesson manuals, ward callings, home teaching, visiting teaching, young mens, young woman’s, etc. The programs can be considered as being commanded in all things… Thus we …are the slothful and unwise servants. The slothfulness referring to the speed at which we move and progress to our ascension- slow and passionless. When we have the mind and will of God, in our hearts and minds, then we can move with great speed, passion and efficiency.