Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All Things Testify of Christ

In teaching the Old Testament in seminary last year we as a class noticed that the Old Testament is rich in symbolism. It uses similitudes, types, shadows and patterns of Heavenly Things. The Old Testament testifies and witnesses of the coming of Christ and his mission using these kinds of imageries. When we as a class would find one, I would look up to the class and look at one of the students and say. So? Eventually one of them would say ‘ALL THINGS TESTIFY OF CHRIST’ That is the theme of my talk to today.
Some are more obvious; like Moses as a type of Christ delivering the Israelites from bondage, or Jonah coming forth from the belly of the whale after three days. Some are more subtle but they are there to be discovered; for instance the take Jacob who would be required to labor as a shepherd for seven years to marry Rachel. Jacob, was a forerunner and type of Christ. He is portrayed as a bridegroom seeking his bride from among his own brethren. We learn later in the NT Christ refers to himself as the ultimate Bridegroom; and his church, the ultimate bride.) The eventual union of bride and bridegroom begins when Jacob rolls away the stone that covers the mouth of the well and brings water to the sheep.  As the account continues, Jacob earns his bride by caring for the sheep for seven years. Significantly the inheritance of sheep will consist of the lame and spotted.
The similitude pertaining to Christ, is the well. Centuries later Christ appears at the well (identified as Jacob’s well) . After asking for a drink from a Samaritan woman at the well, Christ teaches, “If thou knewest … who it is that saith to thee, Give me drink; thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” And in reply to the question. “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?” he answers, “The water that I shall give … shall be … a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:6–14). Just as water preserves life and makes it possible, so Christ’s atonement makes possible our eternal life.
Reinforcing this theme is Nephi;
2 Nephi 11:4 4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
The Savior proclaimed that “all things bear record of me” (Moses 6:63). That is, all symbols teach of Christ, of his mission and relationship to us.
In the 88th Section of the DC the Savior teaches us that is creations testify of Him. But before that he teaches us that:
6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
You can see the Lord’s imagery could easily refer to the orbits of the planets.
The earth spins around it's axis at about a 1000 mph. The earth moves around the sun at 65,500 mph. The sun moves around the center of the galaxy at 500,000 mph. Consider that there are something like 400 billion stars in the Milky Way not to mention 500 billion galaxies in the universe. We have all this motion going on yet;
We feel no movement. This traveling continues all day, all night, century after century. There is no evidence that the sun’s movement about the galaxy has ever increased its speed or slackened its pace. The system does not run down or lose power or momentum.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
AS WE CONSIDER THESE THINGS WE SHOULD SEE JESUS CHRIST. BUT THEN HE SAYS. 48 I say unto you, he hath seen him; nevertheless, he who came unto his own was not comprehended. Here is the great irony. Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Creator of Worlds.
It is difficult to comprehend Him. We know that a testimony of Jesus Christ is a spiritual gift that needs to developed.
NEIL MAXWELL MADE THIS POINT SO WELL. For Jesus, REMEMBER, irony began at His birth. Truly, He suffered the will of the Father “in all things from the beginning.” (3 Ne. 11:11.) This whole earth became Jesus’ footstool (see Acts 7:49), but at Bethlehem there was “no room … in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and “no crib for his bed” As the Creator, Christ constructed the universe, yet in little Galilee He was known merely as “the carpenter’s son.” Christ was keenly aware of this constant irony: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
The scriptures make great use of the symbol of a Wilderness. It’s used effectively in many allegories.
Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden into the Wilderness.
Moses liberated the Israelites and led them through the wilderness to the promised land.
Lehi and his family fled to the wilderness before being led to the promised land.
Wilderness and Deliverance is a pattern of Heavenly Things.
As Adam and Eve  fell from the Father’s presence into the Wilderness of the world. So have we left our Father’s presence and live in this Worldly Wilderness.
Wilderness infers a separation from God’s presence and being subject to temptation and suffering. Just as Moses delivered the Israelites from bondage and from 40 years in the Wilderness across the Jordan River to the The Promised Land. So we should be led by Christ to find our way through this worldy wilderness through the veil to ETERNAL LIFE.
The Promised Land is a similitude of Eternal Life or as we’ll see Jesus Christ.
John 10: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life.
Another important depiction of the journey through Wilderness to Eternal Life is found in Lehi and Nephi’s vision of the tree of life. This is rich in symbolism. The Iron Rod leads us through A Wilderness to the tree of life whose fruit is described as HAVING MIRACULOUS FRUIT . Along the Iron Rod is also the straight and narrow path. Nephi said that ‘We are not just to cling to the iron rod, we are to press steadfastly in Christ having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
1 Nephi 15 23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?
24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish;
John1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So the iron rod is the word of God. And Word is another name for Jesus Christ. Thus the iron rod is a similitude of Jesus Christ that leads us down the straight and narrow path.
Discuss Kevin’s experience teaching priesthood with Elder Holland.
verse30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
[Elder Holland noticed how they fell down as they partook of the fruit of the tree.]
1 Nephi 15: 36 Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen
The symbol of the fruit is eternal life which is the same as Jesus Christ. (why they fell down)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has written, "at the very outset of the Book of Mormon, in its first fully developed allegory, Christ is portrayed as the source of eternal life and joy, the living evidence of divine love, and the means whereby God will fulfill his covenant with the house of Israel and indeed the entire family of man, returning them to all their eternal promises."
Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
It seems that everything that is of God has to come from and pass through a Wilderness. Even Jesus Christ. john 1:46
Doctrine and Covenants 33:5 5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.
Many of you have heard this statement. It was given in a General Conference by Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church in 1898.
[When he heard Joseph Smith preach he could not rest until he wrote it—[He] felt we were living in the most important era of the world. DESCRIBE HOW Wilford Woodruff is responsible more than any other for preserving the teachings of Joseph Smith.]  (Also that he had a gift that allowed him to remember every word Joseph spoke until he could right it down.)
"On Sunday night the Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland, and who had gathered together to go off in Zion's camp. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others. There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, 'Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't comprehend it.' I was rather surprised. He said 'it is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America it will fill the world.' “The truth of God” Joseph Smith said, “will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
Brother Chrisney this week carries on this work of the Great Jehovah or Jesus Christ.
Isaiah also saw the Church coming out of the wilderness: After describing the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that would take place in the latter days.
ISAIAH 29: 18 ¶And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
Could Isaiah have better described the coming forth of Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. TITLE THE BOOK OF MORMON ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST MORONI’s Title page —Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.
[101 names or titles of Christ are presented in the Book of Mormon. These include the names/titles Lord God Omnipotent, Redeemer of Israel, Shepherd, and Son of the Living God, each of which is found once in the work. The names/titles Stone, True Messiah, Mighty One of Jacob, and Great Creator are each found twice; the names/titles Holy One of Israel, Lamb of God, Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer, and Messiah each appear 10 or more times; and the names/titles Christ, God, Jesus, Lord, and Lord God are each found at least 100 times in the book. In all, the 101 names/titles of Christ are collectively presented 3,925 times in 6,607 Book of Mormon verses. 21 Black's tabulation of the names and titles shows that on average, one name or title of Christ appears once every 1.7 verses.]

Testify of the healing power of the scriptures.
ALMA 7:11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. NOTE: Succor Succorrer to run to the rescue to descend below Prodigal Son.
Christ himself told us that he has descended below all things.
I know that Jesus Christ our Savior has descended below all things and runs to our rescue.
Discuss that in the parable of the prodigal son the father was a type of Christ and that he ran to his son as he turned to him.
Last night I read this scripture. May we be among those who learn to comprehend the Savior.
1 Peter 3; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
AS THE PROPHET NEPHI SAID: 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

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