Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The glory of God, the light of Christ.

When we speak of the glory of God the phrase can be confusing because it is ambiguous. "Glory" can mean "honor". Many also read it in the scriptures as just meaning something is surrounded by physical light.

When we speak of the glory of God, these are not what we are speaking of. We do not mean honor. We do not mean a mere display of physical brightness.

The glory of God is the same thing as the light of Christ. It proceeds forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space. It gives life to all things, it is the law by which all things are governed. It is the means through which God controls all things, and the means through which all things past, present, and future are continually before him. (D&C 88).

When we read in Moses 1 that the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, therefore Moses could endure his presence, we are seeing God's power being exercised to preserve Moses. But there is more as well. When we are in the presence of God, that glory is upon us and truth is manifest to us through it in a measure the way that all truth is manifest before God. 

In fact, from the scriptures it appears that when the Lord's glory is upon someone, they can behold things through it in a way similar to the way God himself can. Consider these verses:

Moses 1:2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
 5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

To behold all of God's works would be to see them as God does himself, and to do that requires beholding, or enjoying, the full glory of God. We are then told that such an individual cannot remain in the flesh on the earth. 

Continuing the account we read:

Moses 1:8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.
 9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

When a man is transfigured to stand in God's presence, the Lord's glory must be upon him and the man can perceive things with that glory in a manner as only God can. Moses here has just beheld the world and the ends thereof and all the children of men. This is not how mortal man sees the world. It was this ability at which Moses greatly marveled and wondered. He had never experienced anything like it. Through God's glory he was enabled to look and perceive each of the people of the earth just as God himself did. 

Moses was struck by the huge contrast here between the resurrected body of the Father, and the mortal body of Moses. His body could not even endure God's glory without being transfigured. Moses experiences a portion of how God can see every person on earth individually and learns that he cannot experience that himself in his mortal frame and "remain in the flesh on the earth". Thus his mortal body is limited in ways he hadn't recognized compared to God's resurrected body, and it is this that he is referring to when he says "Now I know that man is nothing". 

Having partaken, to a small degree, of the power and glory of God himself, by perceiving the world through the light of Christ, Moses is then approached by Satan. And Moses's response is indicative of what he just learned. He asks Satan where his glory is. He says he will only worship the god of glory. When Moses says this, his point is that he will only worsihp that God who has all power and sees and knows all things past, present, and future.

We see a similar account when Enoch stands in the Lord's presence. The lord tells him to "look" and Enoch can see and describe the future.

And the glory be mine is not a statement of Lucifer wanting credit or honor for a task, it is a statement of wanting to take the Father's power. His glory is the light of Christ, which is the means by which he is in and through all things, and the means by which he knows all things and controls all things. Lucifer didn't want to just take credit and honor. Lucifer wanted to take the Father's power. He wanted to take the Father's place.

We see the same principle in the three "temptations" of Christ. The Joseph Smith translation significantly clarifies the account. It is not Satan that shows Christ the world. It is actually much like the account of Moses, who saw all the particles of the earth at once. Just as Moses stands in the presence of the Lord seeing and perceiving through the light of Christ, and is then confronted by Lucifer, so also during the "temptations" of Christ we read of Christ beholding the whole world as only God can perceive it, and then being confronted by Lucifer.

And so also, in the first vision, we have God appearing to young Joseph, as well as an open confrontation with Lucifer.

The story of Elijah who percieves the Lord not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in the still small voice. While this is an extremely cursory account, it appears that it is probably another story like that of Moses 1 and the first vision in which the bitterness of hell openly manifests itself, and also the presence of God does as well.

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