God is the covenant maker. Man cannot make a covenant with God. God makes the covenants and man either chooses to receive or reject it. Those who receive a covenant by the voice of God are considered to be “Fathers.” The ordinances that are offered to us are pointers to obtaining covenants by the voice of God. In this blog we’ll look closely at Malachi 4, according to Joseph Smith’s instructions from the angel Moroni. In Malachi 4 we can see the covenant system that God has prepared. This covenant system was meant both to prove and to protect.
Those who seek a covenant from God must be “proven herewith.” Being proven herewith is not intended for God to identify you. God already knows you. Instead, it was meant for you to realize who you are, and what you are willing to sacrifice, or not. Those seeking a covenant from God must be willing to be fully accountable to Him if the covenant is broken.
Those who do not obtain a covenant by the voice of God, or does not seek a covenant, …are somewhat protected in their ignorance, in order to preserve the gift of agency. God will force no man to heaven. We will only be held accountable for what we understand. To those who do not seek and receive this covenant (the presence of the Lord), the Lord says “Wo” unto them. They will regret it. We will not be accountable for that which we do not know, but we can only be blessed according to what we understand and our accountability. It is a two-edged sword. That’s why the Nephites were under greater condemnation than the Lamanites. The Lamanites were protected in their ignorance, while the Nephites were heald accountable, and wiped out after receiving covenants and not keeping them.
Lets look at words of Malachi given to the prophet Joseph Smith, by the angel Moroni. It’s a little different than the way it was recorded in Malachi 4 of the old testament.
“39. He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
The promises made to the fathers, referred to here, are the covenants given from God to those who have received them (Adam/ Enoch/ Melchizedek/ Abraham/ Isaac/ Jacob/ etc.). Abraham was one of those who received a covenant by the voice of God. We now call it the Abrahamic Covenant. The way you identify yourself as one of “the children” is that the promises made made to the fathers are planted in your heart. That requires one who wants to be one of “the children” to know what the Abrahamic Covenant entails. Most of us don’t. One who has such promises planted in their hearts knows what those promises are because they have read them and sought God to understand them. That is when their hearts will be turned to “the fathers.” There is an order given in this scripture:
- The promises, or covenants, made to “the fathers” are planted in our hearts (The Word is likened unto a little seed)
- Then… the hearts of the children are turned to “the fathers”
If our hearts are not turned to “the fathers,” God promises to smite the earth with a curse. There will also be a burning at the coming of the Lord. In the Joseph Smith history, we are told:
“37. For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
Those who obtain a covenant by the voice of God, are clothed in light and glory. When Christ prays the intercessory prayer for the Nephites in 3 Nephi 19, the Nephites are being clothed in light and glory. That is why each time Christ returns from talking to the Father, on behalf of the Nephites, the Nephites appear as increasing in light or brightness. They were in the process of being clothed in light and glory. The process of being clothed in glory exposes men to such extreme light that if they were not previously prepared, they would burn up as stubble. That is also the reason why prophets can stand in a pillar of fire and not be burned, or be placed into a furnace and the furnace cannot burn them. Such men have already been exposed to far greater light. They are truly protected, and truly clothed in glory.
Our temple ordinances are purely symbolic and is conditioned upon our faithfulness. However, when we receive a covenant by the voice of God, it is not symbolic, it is literal and permanent. We will have been proven true faithful in all things. We will have been pronounced clean from the blood and sins of this generation. The atonement will have redeemed you from the fall, and you will have been brought back into the presence of the Lord. That is what is meant to be sealed up! In the temple we are clothed in ceremonial glory, or clothing. The whiteness of our clothing is a symbol that points to really being clothed in light and glory, like the Nephites in 3 Nephi 19. The officiators in the temple are not the Holy Ones that offers the real blessings. They are only place holders to point our minds to the real servants, the angels. At the veil, it is Christ himself. He employs no servant there (2 Nephi 9:41). When the promises made to “the fathers” are planted in our hearts, then we can see past the symbolic, to uncover and hidden treasures, even the mysteries of God. Perhaps then we can receive our own covenant by the voice of God, and we can be literally clothed in light and glory, while in the flesh.
Many look forward to the second coming of Christ, thinking that it will be a glorious day. There are two edges to a two-edged sword. To some it will be glorious, but to most it will be a burning, and not desirable at all. Those who are not clothed in glory will experience the hosts of heaven very differently than those who are clothed in glory. From the passage in JSH 1:37 we know that “they that come shall burn them.” They that come are described as the hosts of heaven, who are clothed in glory. It is their glory that produces the burning effect. God sends prophets to prepare a people to receive the hosts of heaven and not be burned at their coming. He does this by clothing you in glory. That is what repentance is for, not to get you to suffer consequences. Preaching repentance was never meant to make anyone do something that they don’t want to do. Instead, repentance was to offer all the greatest experiences available to mankind, to clothe them in glory and bring them back into the presence of the Lord, to receive a covenant.
Those who are prepared, who are clothed in glory, will have a far better experience at the appearance of the Hosts of Heaven. Their experience can be likened unto a celebration:
“63. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other.”
That is the experience we are being offered. That is what the Lord is pointing to in the temple ceremonies. That is the purposes of planting in the hearts of the children the promises made to “the fathers.” That is why God has offered the records of covenants made to, and received by ancient prophets.
God’s mind and will can be witnessed by those who are willing to plant the word in their hearts. The word to ancient prophets provide us a template for us to obtain and receive a covenant for ourselves by the voice of God to us, individually.
These covenants are from God. They will not come through another man. They will not come through a prophet. They will only be given by the voice of God Himself. All true prophets teach the words of Christ, and point to the covenants of “the fathers” written in the scriptures, so that individuals can obtain and receive a covenant for themselves. Then all can become prophets. All will have the mind and will of God. All will be of one heart and one mind and no poor among them.
Our ceremonies are only pointers intended to educate us, so that we might obtain a personal relationship, a covenant from God. When we perform this work for the dead, they too are being pointed to obtaining a real promise from the voice of God Himself as well. They too only have a conditional promise that is conditioned upon their faithfulness.
No one can receive the covenant for you, or for anyone. You and I are responsible for our own salvation, and we can only obtain it by obtaining a personal relationship with Christ. You will be the only one responsible for it. No other man can provide it for you. It is only available to those who seek to receive a covenant from the voice of God. You can only do it by understanding the mind and will of God through the words of Christ. If you cannot read it, talk about it. All have the ability to know the words of Christ. It is available now.