Key of Knowledge (926 Words)

Godliness is to be near God, and the power of Godliness is to know God, thus God is the Key of Knowledge. False teachers fail to come to God, stand in the way of others approaching God, fearing their own failure, and proclaiming a corrupt message. Eternal life is to know God.

Those who are near God are Godly. To be in the presence of God requires nothing less than Godliness, otherwise His presence alone is sufficient for the ungodly to wish the mountains would cover them in their guilt and shame. The Savior has provided a way for all to be Godly, while in the flesh. He offers the Key of Knowledge. He offers the Holy Ghost, which gives access to the mind and will of God.

Moses 6:61

“61. Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.”

The power of Godliness is to know God. Having been near God, an individual comes to know God, and from that knowledge they can act in confidence that what they are doing is pleasing to the God that they know. It is through confidence that power is produced.

If someone were to tell me that they’re sure that they saw Dad dancing on the streets of Waikiki, I would know that they got the wrong Dad. However, if someone reported that they saw Dad at a home improvement show, a lumber yard, a construction site, a chicken feed store, a laundry supply house, or a green house, the certainty that they were talking about our Dad is high. And if they claimed seeing him at all of those places, I have extreme confidence that they knew who I was, and knew who my Dad is. Likewise Godliness is to be near to God, and the power of Godliness is to know God. What matters most is the Key of Knowledge.

False teachers are described in Luke:

Luke 11:52

“52. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the Key of Knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”

False teachers have never experienced what they try teaching. Luke is clear that false teachers haven’t entered into the heavens themselves, and when they see people trying to do what they’ve failed to do, false teachers stand in the way of those that were in fact entering in. They remove Key of Knowledge. They prevent salvation and redemption, discouraging those who are working at returning into the presence of the Lord while in the flesh. They proclaim a corrupted message, even the philosophies of men, mingled with scriptures. And they are certain that it cannot happen, because they’ve never had it happen to them. In their ignorance they establish rules, corporate standards, uniformity, and massive marketing campaigns, to justify their ignorance, and they label it a “House of Order.” When they make their claims, they do it in Christ’s name, taking His name in vain. It is all in vain, if you fail to actually know God and Christ.

Ignore the ignorant, and keep seeking His face in the flesh. Those who are wise will not respect the lie intended to deceive true disciples to stop seeking after Christ. Instead, they will awake and arise by studying the words of Christ, to know God.

John 17:3

“3. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Conclusion: Knowing God and Christ is the only way to eternal life. It doesn’t matter how many apostles you know, how many scriptures you memorized and can recite, or how many months of consecutive visit/home teaching you have done in your life. It doesn’t matter how many names you have gathered, and done ordinances for, none of it matters if all you have is ignorance. Sealing yourselves to the ignorant dead, is sealing yourselves to the damned. However, when you have knowledge, then you have value to your dead, and you can be a savior on mount Zion.

When you have the Key of Knowledge, what you have is the power of Godliness, and you are Godlike. The Holy Ghost is offered to those who will receive it, to make men and women more Godlike. The beatitudes say blessed are… or Godlike is… and instructions are given there, to assist those who sincerely seek Christ to become Godlike. When you have been redeemed, and brought back into the presence of God, then you are Godly, and have the power of Godliness, and can testify that you do know, not merely believing, who Christ and God is. Then you can save your kindred dead by teaching them about the God that you know.

Don’t be mad because the gospel doesn’t work from your vantage point as an LDS, following traditions of men that have kept you outside of the presence of the Lord in the flesh. Repent, simply turn around, be humble and don’t grumble. Just search the words of Christ so that you can be reconnected to the Key of Knowledge. It will not only give you an advantage now, it will be to your benefit in the life to come. Don’t let the fear of man stop you from Knowing God and Christ. Once you know them, then will your confidence wax strong.

IMUA!

Predicated on Laws (898 Words)

All of God’s blessings are Predicated on Laws. Telestial laws differs from Terrestrial laws, which differs from Celestial laws. Celestial law is above them all, and encompasses both terrestrial, and telestial law. Our progression to the Celestial glory doesn’t require choosing one over the other, it requires obtaining all three glories.

God bases all of his blessings upon laws. If you want a blessing under God’s hands, you are required to know the law that governs that blessing, …and then act, based upon that law. That’s what it means to be Predicated on Laws, it is to be based upon laws. In exchange, God is “irrevocably” bound to produce the blessing (D&C 82:10). He “must” produce the blessing:

D&C 130:20-21

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Each glory is based upon specific laws. The lowest glory is telestial, a higher glory is terrestrial, and the highest being celestial glory. They differ in light like the stars, moon, and sun, respectively. Celestial law is above them all, and encompasses both terrestrial, and telestial law. Our progression to the Celestial glory doesn’t require choosing one over the other, it requires obtaining all three” glories.

To master all three glories you must begin at the bottom rung, and progress upward, without skipping steps.

“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them.” (TPJS 264-268)

The “KEY” is to obtain the knowledge of the law, and then constantly act upon that law, so that the law is identified with who you are, …and not just what you do. To make it clear, I’ll use an example. I have earned an engineering degree. I know that their are forces acting within a structure, and that materials and their configurations must be properly applied for the structure to endure the loads placed upon them, or it will fail and kill someone. However, “KNOWING” is not the same as “DOING!” I haven’t practiced the skill of engineering long enough to write that law upon. Both KNOWLEDGE and PRACTICE combine to produce POWER!

Each degree of glory builds upon the next, until, line upon line, you have accumulated all degrees. Starting from the very beginning requires instruction to acquire the knowledge of the telestial. Having knowledge is incomplete. Practice applying knowledge writes the law upon your hearts. Successfully applied knowledge grows through experience, developing into wisdom and expertise, producing POWER (in that law). Likewise, terrestrial law must be instructed. Knowledge must be put into practice, until experience turns into expertise (mastery). Likewise, celestial law requires instruction, practice, and mastery. Consider three progressive steps for each degree of glory:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Practice
  3. Mastery

There is telestial knowledge, practice, and mastery. And likewise terrestrial and celestial. The knowledge of telestial law is one of productivity. When productivity is practiced and mastered, telestial laws produce financial rewards. However, you cannot associate financial rewards with the knowledge and mastery of productivity. Theives and liars are not productive, but fair sumptuously in financial rewards. But telestial glory, tied to it’s law, produces real productivity. People who produce are rare in America today.

Terrestrial knowledge is acquired in the words of Christ. It too requires practice and mastery, to obtain terrestrial glory. The scriptures teach that when there are a terrestrial people, the Earth would yield her fruit. The scriptures are lined with promises of prospering in the land. But we tend to apply a telestial definition to a terrestrial law, seeing financial rewards as prospering in the land. The Earth has kept a celestial law from the beginning (D&C 88:25). To prosper in the land is to be tutored by the Earth in a celestial law. All things in the Earth teach of the creator of the heavens (Alma 30:44). Mastery of the Earth produces far greater abundance than financial rewards.

Celestial knowledge is acquired by entering into the presence of Christ in the flesh. He offers greater light and knowledge, beyond the veil. But, …you must still put that knowledge into practice. So the idea that death brings you into His presence in the flesh is a false idea. There must be practice, and mastery. Otherwise, you have not abided the celestial law, therefore, you cannot obtain a celestial glory (D&C 88:22). We must return from beyond the veil, to implement higher knowledge, …becoming saviors on mount Zion. Otherwise, we cannot claim the celestial glory.

Conclusion: My Ohana, you have kept the telestial law. You know how to labor in the world, and produce, even though the world has not given us the appropriate financial rewards. You are worthy of a telestial glory. However, the terrestrial offers a far greater reward. It comes with an incorruptible language, and a land of inheritance. Upon this land of inheritance can a temple be erected, and provide us access to Christ, celestial laws, and a grander reward into the eternities. Don’t be satisfied! Seek MORE!

 

Three Patterns (616 Words)

Three Patterns

There are Three Patterns that deserve significant attention, as they are the only path leading into Zion. The first establishes a pattern that is the foundational-concept all must understand and do. The second properly expresses  how line upon line, precept upon precept really works. And the last is a pattern of the gathering of Zion. Let’s get to work.

The first pattern depicts how an individual ought to get started. It first requires an admission of ignorance to the things of God. Once you can admit it, you have humbled yourself to a possible solution, so next you must search the words of Christ, to write them upon your heart. This is a slow process that you don’t want to hasten, but would highly benefit from committing significant effort, in ponderous thought, and writing every word upon your heart. Most give up here, as this work can sometimes seem unrewarding, at first. As you continue the effort, it will be suddenly and often times unexpected that you will understand a concept you’ve never before understood. What wasn’t there at first, now suddenly appears. This is called revelation, and it was revealed by the power of the Holy Ghost. Now that you have searched, and received revelation, a testimony requires that you put that revelation to action. Implementing the revelation by obedience is an indicator that you did not ask these things in vain, and that you fully intend to observe and keep all the commandments you are given. Armed with a testimony, from your experience, you are now able to repeat the pattern, to get more knowledge, more revelation, and take greater action, to obtain a greater testimony. That is the first pattern!

The second pattern properly explains what “line upon line, precept upon precept” really means. The process for getting the scriptures written upon your heart, obtaining revelation, acting upon your revelation, and bearing testimony must be constantly repeated. As the pattern is repeated, greater revelations will be obtained, and greater actions will be taken, because you have come to align your actions with the words of Christ. Line upon line was intended to produce increase and progression, not excuses that will accumulate damnation.

The third pattern is how I believe Zion will be gathered. It will always start at the individual, who loves the words of Christ, and has repented of the condemnation, by not only speaking the words of Christ, but also by doing accordingly. From the individual, there must be a uniting of the couple, based on the same covenant. From the couple, a group of couples can be united based upon the same covenant. It is the words of Christ alone that is the covenant that will determine who’ll be gathered into Zion.

I can only offer you my understanding of the words of Christ, but my understanding is insufficient to save you. If you are to be saved, it will be because you have chosen to value the mind and will of God offered in the words of Christ, to develop your own relationship with God, personally. No man can offer you salvation. All a man can do is point in a direction. You are totally accountable for authenticating the message, by what you know of the words of Christ, and choosing the right direction.

Conclusion: The only thing stopping you from knowing the words of Christ is what’s in your heart. While you are all good people, you are still required to make choices. I can only do what I can do to make ingesting the concepts easier. You must still make a concerted effort to write them upon your own hearts. I wish you the best!

Only One Revelation (716 Words Short)

The word Revelation, in Greek, is “Apocalypse.” The words of Christ are intended to preserve men in the great Apocalypse. There is truly Only One Revelation.

The word Revelation, in Greek, is “Apocalypse.” Because of the ignorance of the world, the apocalypse is considered negative. When properly understood, it is the greatest blessing, it is coming back into the presence of Christ. The book of Revelations is more commonly known as the “Apocalypse” of John, because it tells of John the Beloved’s experience, being brought back into the presence of Christ and God the Father. My efforts are to have my own Apocalypse, while in the flesh, as did John the Beloved. The preparation is nothing less than revelation!

All revelation is really Only One Revelation, it is the revealing Truth and Light by degrees. When all revelation is accumulated, and all truth is circumscribed into one great whole, it is God who is revealed. All revelation is really Only One Revelation, and it is returning into the presence of God. The Apocalypse is dreadful to those who are not conditioned to light, because the light of God burns those who are impure. Moroni reminds us that procrastinating our repentance and preparation for the Apocalypse is not very wise at all:

Mormon 9:1-2

1. And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.

2. Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation [Apocalypse]—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?

 

The words of Christ are intended to preserve men through the great Apocalypse. While we are not in the presence of the Lord, we are in a probationary state, a time for men to prepare to meet God. The words of Christ is designed to expose the serious seeker to greater and greater light, as truths are revealed by the power of the Holy Ghost. When the earnest seeker of light adjusts their lives to reflect the light being given in scripture, then further light and knowledge can be added by messengers sent from the presence of the Father (angels). As each addition of light changes the life of the believer, the believer becomes more and more conditioned to light (getting used to the heat), so that the coming of the Lord at the great Apocalypse is a joyous celebration of light, rather than a burning lake of fire and brimstone. The words of Christ are intended to condition all who take them seriously to the light, thus preserving men through the great Apocalypse.

There is truly Only One Revelation. We foolishly think that answers to decisions is where revelation matters. Answers to decisions hold little value when compared to the unveiling of God. But God uses our plea for answers, as an opportunity to unveil Himself to us. Consider the brother of Jared. The problem of light in the ships was not the Lord’s concern at all. It was only an opportunity to reveal Himself, in answer to earnest prayer, and to bring the brother of Jared back into His presence. Looking back, the brother of Jared’s preferred blessing wasn’t the glowing stones, it was the unveiling of God. All the little decisions hold little, or no value, compared to God’s unveiling.

When anyone enters into the presence of the Lord, it is their second coming, it is their Apocalypse, it is the accumulation of all revelations to reveal ALL TRUTH, God. All revelation is God unveiling Himself!  There is truly Only One Revelation, it is God being unveiled to you!

Conclusion: In our darkened state of ignorance, God refuses to bring you back into His presence hastily. Instead, the humbling experiences we are given are as a refiners fire, intended to burn-off the impurities, sanctifying us in preparation for His unveiling. Pruning, digging at our roots, scattering dung to fertilize us seems unpleasant at first. A refiners fire doesn’t sound much better. It was all designed to prepare you for joy in eternity! Pay the price now, eternity lasts much longer than earth-life.

 

 

Citizenship in the Government of God (995 Words Medium)

Zion is the government of God. The government of God is a family. The family of God is literally connected to the heavens, by way of “the fathers.” Those whose hearts are turned to “the fathers” (those who have connected to heaven while in the flesh) are “the children.” The children have Citizenship in the Government of God.

Children: When there are children, whose hearts are turned to the fathers, then the hearts of the fathers turn to the children. The connection of “the fathers” and “the children” is an invitation to God, that there are a people on the earth who finally desire to be governed by Him. The savior’s return to claim that people is the establishment of the government of God (Zion) here on the earth.

We’re the Invitation: When what is on earth is as it is in heaven, then Zion in heaven will reconnect with Zion on earth, making heaven and earth “ONE.” Although a man can be connected to heaven while in the flesh, and belong to the family of God in the heavens, it doesn’t qualify as Zion on earth. He will remain a wanderer and sojourner on the earth, until there are others like him, a people. Zion on earth requires a people (a community) who hear the word of God, who become one because they are governed by the Doctrine of Christ. Their presence on earth becomes an ensign (or a signal) to heaven, that the family on earth looks like the family in heaven. We are the invitation.

Baptism: Since the government of God is a family, the only way to enter into a family is by birth. Baptism is the sign of being born into a family, and is required of all who enter the government of God.

The church is an unfinished mock-up of the family of God. Joseph Smith required baptism into the church because he was restoring the family of God on the earth. He set up the framework of the church by bringing forth more Doctrines of Christ, for the people to govern themselves, and setting quorums equal to each other, so one is not above the next (D&C 107). However, before he could finish the restoration, he was killed, and the work went unfinished. Immediately after Joseph’s death the quorum of the twelve made what was once equal authority, into a power grab, and it has been this way ever since. We have since removed from our canon of scripture significant doctrine (lectures on faith), and have sought to be governed by leaders, rather than governing ourselves.

Lessons in the Symbols of the Past: The church is the mock-up of the family of God. The first presidency is a symbol of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The quorum of the twelve is the symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel. The quorum of the seventy is the symbol of the seventy members of the family of the twelve tribes, when they entered into Egypt. When Joseph established it, each were equal in authority because each represented the entire family of God.

Egypt was the “Power House” at that time, as America is today, and was a symbol of going into the world. The family of God went into Egypt and fell apart, becoming apostate. Moses was sent to bring them out of the world, as Joseph Smith was trying to do before he died. However, when Moses took the children of Israel out of Egypt, Israel would not be sanctified. They would not be governed by Christ and become the family of God.

The restoration that Joseph began was intended to once again establish the family of God. The family of God is prophesied to over throw all nations of the world. The saints today have rejected to be sanctified by the words of Christ, just as the children of Israel did at the time of Moses, and have suffered a great deal because of that condemnation. Just as Egypt was the world power at the time of Moses, America is the world power today.

The restoration was left incomplete at the time of Joseph Smith. the family of God was not established, except for in the mock-up of the LDS church. In order to complete the restoration, the family of God is coming out from the Gentiles unto YOU, the house of Israel. It’s coming out of the mock-up, to become the real family of God, connected to heaven. It’s coming out of what the world considers the “Power House” (America), symbolic of when God overthrew Egypt.

Lessons of the Mock-up: We must qualify as little children, and not reject the gift being offered to us now. What we have in the Doctrines left by Joseph Smith is partial, on purpose, to try our faith. We must search the Doctrines Joseph left (including the lectures on faith), to write it upon our hearts. It must sink deep within us, to “govern” our every actions. Only those governed by the Doctrines of Christ qualify for citizenship in the government of God on the earth. And we must see clearly that lording over others, compulsion, unrighteous dominion, force, and inequality disqualifies citizenship in God’s government.

The counsel to become as little children had more to do with the establishment of the government of God, the family of God, Zion, …than anything else. Children submit to all things that the Father will inflict upon them. When the Doctrines of Christ are central, there you will find a family who are of one heart and mind, with no poor among them, dwelling in righteousness. We are the ensign. We are the invitation to the heavens. When we are ready, the heavenly Zion will return.

Conclusion: Because of agency, God doesn’t kill the wicked. The wicked kill the wicked. The wicked are also allowed to kill the righteous. BUT, …once the government of God is established on the earth (Zion), none can stand against it!

Maturity Adds More! (1,000 words Med)

A snake sheds it’s skin for a new skin. The snake isn’t a different snake. It’s the same snake. It’s just that the dead skin is left behind. However, the snake continues forward, renewed! God is the same today, tomorrow, and forever, …and he can only reveal to you and I only as much as we are able to currently bear, offering to renew us. When we have matured, and are ready to receive more, then we are added upon, and are given new skins. And our capacity to bear more increases. Therefore, Maturity Adds More!

First Vision: I have taken notice of the different accounts that Joseph Smith wrote of “The First Vision.” Although the event Joseph is writing about is the exact same event, his maturity increases, and Joseph is able to understand more from the exact same event. Each recording shows a renewing of Joseph’s understanding. Consider the change in emphasis from his first written entry, to the last one recorded in our Pearl of Great Price, and what you will see is how maturity is additive:

  • 1832- Joseph emphasized his personal salvation: “Joseph, thy sins are forgiven thee…”
  • 1835- He emphasized the combat with Satan: wrestling with an unknown power.
  • 1838- A Cosmic Salvation was the focus: all religions are wrong/ all are corrupt/ they teach commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof/ join none of them

Joseph’s maturity did not change the event of “The First Vision.” He was added upon, as he first reflected his personal salvation. Then he was able to see that his salvation demanded a face-off with Satan, as all saved beings must combat the same. And finally teaching all men what is necessary to overcoming the world, to obtain a cosmic salvation. Join none of them, make your personal contact with heaven, let no man stand between you and God, was his most matured message.

Ordinances: Ordinances, just like The First Vision, was not intended to remain complete all at once. They were intended to mature the initiate, progressing them  from one rung of the ladder, on to the next, until we have climbed the entire ladder of eternal progression. That is why Jacob’s dream is called “Jacob’s Ladder.” The Lectures on Faith states that we are to climb, following the prototype of a saved man (Christ), until we become precisely what He (Christ) is!

Anyone believing in an eternal progression must expect the ordinances to be added upon, and yet remain unchanged, just like The First Vision. Joseph’s salvation did not become less important. Added to his personal salvation, Joseph was able to extend the exact same salvation to us. The foundation was always salvation. Likewise, the few ordinances that have been revealed were intended to be added upon, expanded upon, and growing into more, so that all initiates would have the the kingdom of God, in them!

However, foundational portions of the original ordinances have undergone change, and must be repaired, in order for more to be added. Failure to fix the foundation would be the same as building more upon a termite rotted support beam, it cannot bear the weight of the Kingdom of God, being built upon it. When we know that the ordinances are preparing a foundation for a Kingdom, only then will we reflect upon the foundation. Only then will we recognize that our changed ordinances cannot sustain what God intends to build upon it.

Scriptures: Joseph studied and applied the promise given in James 1:5. He felt he lacked wisdom, and did not know which church to join. So he asked God, knowing that God wouldn’t reprimand, scold, or upbraid him for asking. God promised to give it to him because he asked. However, before Joseph got the Book of Mormon, God had a work to do, to prepare Joseph to receive more. And that work was maturity. Joseph asked, and God did the heavy lifting of preparing Joseph to receive. Joseph submitted to being changed, and God filled in the blanks.

Once the Book of Mormon was complete, more scriptures were given, in the form of the inspired translations of the Bible. The lectures on faith were also added to the Doctrines and Commandments. And the Pearl of Great Price and the Joseph Smith history ends what we were given through Joseph. Not that the Lord didn’t want to give us more. He promised He would. We stopped receiving. We refused being matured.

No more has been added to our canon since. We now claim that all talks from General Conference is added scripture, for the next six months. But, it doesn’t come close in comparison to what Joseph Smith revealed. The scriptures themselves promise more scripture to come, …but Joseph complained that the saints fly to pieces like glass when they are taught new things that go against their traditions. They weren’t able to get more. It was the saint’s inability to receive more that stopped more, not God’s willingness to give it. We suffer from the same immaturity today. We don’t read what we have, and we aren’t seeking for FURTHER” light and knowledge. We don’t want more!

Conclusion: Our family cannot simply maintain what we always have been, if we are to be united in Zion. We cannot continue the same way, expected another result. A degree of maturity has progressed us to this point, but pride will put an end to our progression, when God’s intention for us is EXPANSION! We must be a people willing to humble ourselves before the Lord, so that the Lord can do the heavy lifting to make us His! The AT-ONE-MENT was intended to make, those who will be, His. He makes us one-with Him. I pray that we can understand this concept, and realize that Maturity Adds More!

 

New Light on the Ninety and Nine (756 Words Short)

Yesterday, I was talking to some friends after sacrament and was given further light and knowledge concerning the often referenced “Ninety and Nine,” found in Luke chapter 15. I never saw this scripture in this light before. I have heard it referenced often as being “The Church.” And “The One” is always assigned to the less active, or the non-member. But, I’ve never paid much attention to the rest of the symbolism. Let me highlight the points that came to me, and you can judge for yourself whenever it is that you choose to read it for yourself.

The Wilderness: I was shocked to read that the Ninety and Nine was in the wilderness, to begin with. In verse 4 the Lord asks, who will leave the Ninety and Nine “in the wilderness,” to seek out that which is lost? No one said that the ninety and nine was not lost. But it does state that the ninety and nine was in the wilderness. Since we are all in the wilderness, having been born in this world, he that is greatest ought to seek out him that is least among them, until he find them.

Once Found: More interesting than the masses in the wilderness (the 99%), is that the shepherd doesn’t return the wandering sheep (the 1%) to the fold. He lays the wandering sheep, on his shoulders, and doesn’t return to the the wilderness, but brings him “home.” And follows up with talking about the joy of “the heavens,” for one soul who repents.

Contrast of the Ninety and Nine: In verse 7, the Lord rejoices over the one that repents, and then contrasts it against the Ninety and Nine in the wilderness, which need no repentance. Have you ever known anyone in the wilderness who “need no repentance?” The parable was given in response to the pharisees and scribes, who were the rank and file of the church, complaining because Christ was eating with the sinners. It seems to me that the pharisees and scribes were the Ninety and Nine, in this parable, who claimed themselves as needing no repentance. They didn’t even know that the Lord was speaking directly to them.

Three Parallel Stories: To top it all off, chapter 15 records three different scenarios, with very similar themes, from three different perspectives. The first story was the shepherd and the one sheep, that he rejoiced over, and brought home, to a celebration in heaven. The second story was the woman, who lost a silver coin, lights a candle to find that coin, orders her house, and diligently seeks after it. When she finds it, she calls her friends and celebrates. And her friends are identified as “angels.” The third story is from the perspective of the son, who is a prodigal son that squandered his inheritance, repented and returned, and the father put a ring on his finger (covenant), a robe on his shoulders (clothed in light), and threw a celebration for him, a feast in preparation for ascension.

The themes are very similar, but each perspective is different. Consider the shepherd as a father’s perspective, the woman as the mother’s perspective, and the prodigal as the son/daughter’s perspective. The loving parent is seeking the lost, who has repented. The prodigal submits completely, through repentance. The Ninety and Nine, or the son that claims to have never left, seems to have a problem with the treatment of the prodigal who repented and returned.

Conclusion: When you consider who the Lord is responding to (the Pharisees and Scribes), and their accusation of the Lord- for associating himself with those who are not acceptable to them, labeling them sinners, suddenly the Ninety and Nine seems unappealing. It’s even more unappealing when you see that the Ninety and Nine are still in the wilderness, while the repentant one is brought back home, celebrated, given a ring, and clothed in robes.

The author of Hymn 221 “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd,” missed the fact that the shepherd didn’t return the lost sheep to the fold of the Ninety and Nine. Instead, the shepherd brought the repentant “home,” and left the Ninety and Nine in the wilderness, because they needed no repentance. I do not want to be associated with the Ninety and Nine. I prefer to be the repentant prodigal, sought out, given a ring, clothed in a robe, and brought home by the shepherd and his wife, celebrated with a feast. The words of Christ is the feast prepared for the one. Many are called, but few are chosen.