15
Jan
09

Godly Boldness

 

     I have sometimes wondered what the Old Testament high priest was thinking when he woke up the morning of the Day of Atonement.  He had to be excited seeing what a special day it was.  It was the only day of the year that he could enter the Holy of Holies in the temple.  And he was the only person who could enter it!  One man – one day a year.  It had to be one of the most highly restricted areas in the history of the world.

    There was only one object in the Holy of Holies – the Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark symbolized the presence of God.  By so severely restricting access to the Holy of Holies God was teaching a valuable lesson – that sin had separated man from God.  This was emphasized by the fact that anybody, including the high priest, who entered the Holy of Holies on any other day would die.  Even on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest could enter, he had to do so by sprinkling blood before him.  The blood “gained” him access. 

     Imagine being that high priest that morning.  Excited, but probably also a little apprehensive.  Especially when, according to tradition, a rope was tied around one of his legs to drag him out in the event he would die.  I have to imagine he didn’t go very boldly through the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.

     The writer to the Hebrews had that background in mind when he penned this most amazing section.  “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus.  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (10:19-20).  Now we have access to God!  Now we can approach God confidently and boldly.  All because of Jesus.  His blood gained access for us.  That is the significance of the veil of the temple tearing in two at the moment of his death.  The Holy of Holies of God’s presence is no longer highly restricted.

     Over the years, numerous Mormons have been puzzled and even taken aback by how confident I am that I am going to live with Heavenly Father forever.  Some have questioned me about it – some have flat out told me I was dead wrong.  Not that many identified with me.  I would say that most felt that my confidence bordered on being naïve. 

     In contrast, many Christians identify with that confidence and exhibit that same confidence in Christ. 

     The contrast between the two is, for me, a striking evidence of the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.

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26 Responses to “Godly Boldness”


  1. January 16, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Mark,
    Let me toss you a curve ball. As a Member of the church of Jesus christ of Later-day Saints (Mormon) I’d like to acknoledge that you believe you will spend the eternity after you pass from this life with our Heavenly Father. I will say to you that you may very well be correct, I hope that you will. If you have faith in Jesus Christ and follow him as your Lord and savior, then I see no reason that you will be restricted form this oppertunity. After all is done it will be your choice, but I doubt that you will choose to give up the oppertunity to live forever with God. So I would concure with your confidance, even as a “Mormon.”

    -D

  2. January 16, 2009 at 5:11 am

    I won’t go into much detail. But in the Mormon temple, it is through the name of Christ that you pass beyond the veil.

  3. 3 markcares
    January 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Ditchu:
    Are you confident that you are going to live in the presence of Heavenly Father for all eternity?

  4. January 16, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Mark,

    I have ask SEVERAL Mormons that same question… “Do you believe that you will go to the Celestial Kingdom?” Without exception everyone of them says virtually the same thing… “Well, I HOPE so. I have tried to live a good life. But I can’t be sure.” That is sad. I KNOW that when I die I will go to be with God the Father. Thanks to Christ I can approach the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE!!

    Darrell

  5. 5 Berean
    January 17, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Seth said: “I won’t go into much detail. But in the Mormon temple, it is through the name of Christ that you pass beyond the veil.”

    Why not go into detail? Is it because it is secretive? What about those tokens that have to be given to the angels along the way? What about the secret handshakes you will have to give the Mormon god along with the new name before entering?

    “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being able to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 416).

  6. 6 Berean
    January 17, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Ditchu,

    Mormonism teaches that “Heavenly Father” resides in the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:92) and only those that have completed the temple ordinances (especially eternal/celestial marriage – D&C 131:2-3) along with other requirements (D&C 76:51-70) will be able to enter that place where he lives. How can you tell Mark that he will be there when he has done none of these things nor will he ever (I believe I can boldly state that since I know Mark)? If Mark dies a Christian (non-Mormon), rejecting Mormonism and then supposedly accepts it in spirit prison, according to LDS teaching even after ordinance work is done for him by proxy the best he can hope for is the terrestrial. The Mormon god doesn’t dwell there. That is not eternal life in Mormonism.

    “Those who hear the gospel in mortality and do not accept it but lead othewise honorable lives will inherit the terrestrial kingdom. Those who do not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in mortality but accept it in the spirit world can inherit the celestial kingdom…Those who reject the gospel in this life and then receive it in the spirit world go not to the celestial, but to the terrestrial kingdom.” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual Religion 324 & 325, pp.164-165)

    Eternal life is exaltation in the celestial kingdom. I don’t see how you can say that Mark is going to end up there when you say:

    “If you have faith in Jesus Christ and follow him as your Lord and savior, then I see no reason that you will be restricted form this oppertunity.”

  7. 7 Berean
    January 17, 2009 at 6:04 am

    The sad reason why our Mormon friends can’t say with confidence that they have eternal life is because they have been told that they have no assurace of that now:

    “If we use the word salvation to mean eternal life, none of us can say that we have been saved in mortality. That glorious gift can come only after the Final Judgement.” (True to the Faith, page 153)

    Christian believers like Darrell, Mark and myself can state with boldness and great joy that we know that we have eternal life with God right now! How can we say that? God’s Word allows us and tells us that we can in John 3:16, 18, 36; John 5:24; 6:47; Romans 6:23;

    It doesn’t get any more clear than this when it comes to confidence:

    1 John 5:10 He that BELIEVETH on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that BELIEVETH not God hath made him a liar; because he BELIEVETH not the record that God gave of his Son.

    1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is in his Son.

    1Jo 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

    1Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God.

    It is our hope that Mormons can experience that confidence and joy that we do in the GIFT that we have already received NOW.

  8. January 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    What guarantee do you have Berean that you haven’t fallen from your saved status?

    And I’m not going to discuss specifics about the temple for the same reason that Christ himself didn’t teach everything to everyone – saving some truths only for his close disciples.

  9. 9 Berean
    January 17, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    My guarantee? Ephesians 4:30 and John 10:27-29 are two that come to mind…many more could be cited, but does it matter to you anyway?

    It’s okay about not wanting to talk about the temple. I know you aren’t allowed. The information is out there and I have former temple Mormons who “spill their guts” at my church if I need to know something that I can’t find in print. I do think the handshakes are unique. My brother was a freemason…very similar. The Book of Mormon says these temple practices that Mormons are engaged in today are of Satan when you read the description of it in Helaman 6:21-26.

    Seth, I’m not mocking…really. I’m trying to make a point that I know you won’t see, but I am hoping that some Mormon out who has serious questions will and that is these rituals and ordinances are not in the Bible and have absolutely no similarity to what even took place in the Jewish temples in the past. Much of this is outright paganism.

  10. January 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I really don’t give a flying leap if Joseph imported the temple stuff from Freemasonry Berean.

    You’re going to have to do better here than shouting “ewww Freemason cooties!”

    I’m aware the whole thing is out there. I’ve seen some of the websites in question. But I don’t cast pearls before swine. I don’t mean that any more derogatorily than Christ meant it. Some people are not in a position to appreciate sacred things. You seem to be one of them. So I’m not going to put stuff out for you to mock or attack. Sorry.

    Central point – in the temple, you are admitted to the presence of God in the name of Christ. Period.

  11. 11 Berean
    January 18, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Seth,

    Do you know if you died right now that you’d be with Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom? Do you have eternal life? Have you met all the requirements that the Mormon Church has set for you that if you died right now you’d get the best that the Mormon religion has to offer?

  12. January 18, 2009 at 4:38 am

    I do not know Berean.

    I have not completed my quest for understanding of Mormon doctrine yet. I am still undecided on the grace vs. works debate. But the more I’ve debated with you, the more I’ve warmed up to the idea of exaltation in which human works play an essential role. One thing that debating with Evangelicals has done is force me to study the issue in more depth. I have looked at the scriptures again – and I’ve seen a two-way Covenant there: in both Old and New Testaments.

    But I won’t pretend I’ve negotiated the correct outlook or balance. Not yet anyway.

  13. 13 Bryant A.
    January 20, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Mark and Berean They just don’t get it. The old covenant the new covenant. The laws,comandment’s and prophecies of the old testament. The old testament, the new testament. The prophecies of the the future. The Bible itself, is the fullness about God, Jesus Christ, And the Holy Ghost. They all point to him. With mormon blinders on they just can’t see it. No matter how hard we try. They will never be able to do enough! Gob bless us everyone

  14. January 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Same to you Bryant.

    With “Evangelical blinders” on, you “just don’t get it.”

    Nice thing about pointless arguments. They’re easy to use in favor of both sides of the debate.

  15. 15 Bryant A.
    January 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Seth, O i get it. There’s nothing pointless about the fullness of the Gospel of God. It is the BIble. Bryant

  16. January 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Yeah, the Bible’s a great book. I agree with you there.

    It’s just your method of witnessing that’s lacking Bryant.

  17. 17 Royalton
    January 20, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Question- if you know you are saved right now, what need have you for a judge? Why do you need Christ to judge you? The bible clearly says we are judged by our works. Is judgement different than being saved? Seems a little strange to me.

    I dont’ know for sure where I would go if I died today- because I have not stood judgement yet!

    Berean- the student manual quotation- those who reject the gospel in this life cannot inherit the celestial kingdom. But what is a true rejection? It requires a clear opportunity and understanding, in my opinion. This gets into judging other peoples hearts, and whether they have had a real opportunity- and we simply cannot judge such things.

    royalton

  18. 18 markcares
    January 21, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Royalton:
    Good question. Please see my next post for my reply.

  19. 19 Berean
    January 21, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Royalton,

    I’m assuming, and I don’t like doing that if I can help it, that the quotation from the D&C manual means exactly what it says: those that fully knew the Mormon plan of salvation and rejected that along with rejecting Joseph Smith as a prophet in this life would have no chance of obtaining the celestial kingdom even if they accepted the plan in the spirit world and had ordinance work done for them by proxy. The best they can hope for is the terrestrial. Only those that did not have an opportunity in this life and didn’t reject it (by default) have an opportunity in the spirit world if ordinance work is done for them by proxy in going all the way to the celestial.

    That’s the way I read the manual and it also is in line with D&C 76 on the specifics of who is going where in relation to the three kingdoms. Seth, is that how you see it or am I misreading this?

  20. 20 royalton
    January 21, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Berean,

    I would agree with you on that.

    royalton

  21. January 21, 2009 at 6:29 am

    I think that is a correct reading of the manual Berean. Reading the D&C passage, I think it’s also a fair reading of the scripture in question.

    The only wiggle room I see here is when you get down to the business of defining who has really “had a chance” to accept the Gospel. Has Mark really had a chance to accept it? Have you Berean?

    I honestly don’t know. I do know that God is merciful, so perhaps there is room for hope here.

    I have also heard Apostles express differing opinions on whether or not there is any future advancement between kingdoms. But it seems like a risky thing to bank on if you ask me.

  22. 22 Berean
    January 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Seth,

    Based on what I have learned from studying Mormon doctrine, once the final judgement is over and everyone is placed in their particular kingdom there is no moving up or down to another kingdom at that point. The only time I know of anyone moving up from one place to another is in the spirit world after one accepts the Mormon gospel and has ordinance work done for them by proxy. At this point they move out of spirit prison and into paradise where the rest of the Mormon faithfl supposedly are. I do have some references on this. Let me know if you’d like them.

  23. January 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I imagine you are right that LDS authorities have said it exactly as you have related Berean. I wouldn’t mind the references if you have them handy. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the contradictory resources I had in mind myself. Maybe it was Orson Hyde…

  24. 24 Berean
    January 22, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Seth,

    I have had Mormons relate to me that there is no moving in and out of spirit prison before the return of Christ even if one accepts the Mormon gospel. These are the references I was referring to that said otherwise that brought confusion to the matter. I think it’s pretty well established about one’s placing in one of the three LDS kingdoms AFTER the judgement. Anyway, here are a couple of references on the matter relating to the spirit world BEFORE the final judgement.

    “Thus, although there are two spheres within the one spirit world, there is now some intermingling of the righteous and the wicked who inhabit those spheres; and when the wicked spirits, they leave their prison-hell and join the righteous in paradise…That world is upon the earth…Life and work and activity all continue in the spirit world…The great work in the spirit world of spirits is the preaching of the gospel to those who are imprisoned by sin and false traditions.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 762)

    “Hell, or spirit prison, is a place for people who have rejected the gospel and people who have died without a knowledge of the gospel. The gospel is preached to them there, and those who accept the gospel and repent of their sins will be released and allowed to enter paradise until the Resurrection and Judgement.” (Preparing for Exaltation Student Manual, page 39)

    Further confusion comes into play when looking at Alma 40:11-14 & 21 where these lost souls are stated to be cast into outer darkness (v.13) and “thus they remain in this state, AS WELL AS THE RIGHTEOUS in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (v. 14). This seems to me to contradict the above stated quotes in that the text of Alma says nobody moves anywhere until the Resurrection. Do you read this the same way?

  25. January 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Mark you asked
    “Ditchu:
    Are you confident that you are going to live in the presence of Heavenly Father for all eternity?”

    Yes, I am confident that I will live with my Father in Heaven for eternity.
    But, the question now should be, is that confidence justified?
    I think that it is justified through faith in Jesus Christ and my adhearance to his comandments.

    Berean, you said:
    “Based on what I have learned from studying Mormon doctrine, once the final judgement is over and everyone is placed in their particular kingdom there is no moving up or down to another kingdom at that point.”

    It is my understanding that those who have attained to the higher Sphears will have work to do in the lesser Sphears. There is no inpenetratable barrior to keep everyone in their place. I see it like having a passport and you will be able to visit or move about as you wish if you have the proper credintials to enter… So someone from say the Celestial Kingdom may move freely from one Sphear to another while someone from the telestial is restricted from the Sphear they have not attained to yet.

  26. 26 Berean
    January 23, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Ditchu,

    Would you mind supplying me with the LDS references that I could look up to substantiate your opinion? I have supplied a few above on this subject matter and there seems to be confusion on this even within Mormonism. Thanks!


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