02
Jan
12

Attending the Heavenly Wedding

As I mentioned last week, the LDS Church has a set curriculum for its adult Sunday School or Gospel Doctrine classes.  It also sets much of the curriculum for what is studied during Relief Society (women) and priesthood quorums (men). This year, on the second and third Sundays of each month, they are continuing a series entitled Teachings of the Presidents of the Church.  This year they are studying the life and words of George Albert Smith who was president of the LDS Church from 1945 to 1951.  As with the Book of Mormon manual I mentioned last week, you can obtain a copy of this book for just a few dollars from LDS.org.

The first lesson, which will be studied this coming Sunday, is entitled, “Living What We Believe”.  Being worthy is the theme that runs throughout the lesson.  The following quote reflects the tenor of the lesson.

“I would like to say to the Latter-day Saints, if we are worthy to be called Latter-day Saints, it will be because we are living the lives of saint, and it is the purpose of the Gospel to qualify us in that way.  The world has gotten into such a condition and has been deceived by the adversary for such a long time and has declared that the mere belief in God is all that is necessary, that I am fearful for it.  That is only a trick of the adversary.” (p. 3)

But what I want to focus on is its treatment of the parable of the wedding feast recorded in Matthew 22.  It focuses on the man who was thrown out because he didn’t have a wedding garment on.  It then makes the point that we have to be prepared if we will be welcomed by God.  “The adversary has so deceived them as to make them believe that no preparation is necessary, anything will do, but in this message that the Savior gave in a parable to his associates we are informed that there must be some preparation and without that preparation no one will be permitted to partake of the more precious gifts of our Heavenly Father.” (p.6)  The way we prepare, according to this lesson, is to keep the commandments. “The Lord will be merciful, but he will be just, and if we want any blessing there is only one way we may obtain it, and that is to keep the commandments that will entitle us to the blessing.” (p.7)

Is that really the message the Savior gave with this parable?  What is so instructive about that parable is that the custom at royal weddings was that the king would supply a wedding garment for the guests.  It would be his gift to them.  We don’t know, but the man who was cast out might have been well-dressed.  But he wasn’t dressed in the wedding garment that the king had supplied.  By not wearing that garment, he dishonored and angered the king.  He was thrown out into outer darkness.  The thought that these wedding garments were gifts of the king also fits into the context of the parable because the king’s servants went out into the highways and byways to get guests – guests who would not have had the time or even the means to get a wedding garment of their own.

It’s obvious the point Jesus was making is that in order to enter God’s presence you need to be wearing the clothes he has given us.  These are the clothes Isaiah talked about when he said:  “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful to my God; for he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (61:10). Note that Isaiah said the Lord clothed him – the Lord covered him with the robe of righteousness.  Isaiah’s robe of righteousness was given him by the Lord.

That robe of righteousness is the robe Jesus wove for us when he kept the commandments perfectly for us.  It’s all about his works, not our work.  It’s all about his gift to us, not our obtaining his blessing by living worthily.  It’s all about me not making or obtaining my own wedding clothes, but rather being clothed by the Lord.

And notice how high the stakes are.  Anyone not wearing Christ’s robe of righteousness is cast into outer darkness (Matthew 22:13).  A couple of times this lesson mentions that the adversary (Satan) has deceived people.  I agree.  But the sobering truth is that Satan’s deception is the teaching that we, in any way, merit or obtain the blessing of living with heavenly Father for all eternity.  That is God’s gift to us.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

 

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19 Responses to “Attending the Heavenly Wedding”


  1. January 2, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Mormons have no understanding at all of what real and true mercy is because Mormonism’s teachings are devoid of what real and true mercy is.

    Quote from the LDS “The world has gotten into such a condition and has been deceived by the adversary for such a long time and has declared that the mere belief in God is all that is necessary, that I am fearful for it. That is only a trick of the adversary.” (p. 3)

    Being saved through faith alone is the Bible’s beautifully painted picture of pure and true Mercy.

    Titus 3:5 “he saved us, NOT because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy

    The LDS teachings that Mark pointed out above clearly contradict the teachings of the Bible.

    Luke 6:32-36 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that… But love your enemies, do good to them, …Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ”

    The fact of the matter is….God loves his enemies! God does good to them! He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked! And THAT is mercy.

    Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh NOT, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

  2. 2 shematwater
    January 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    ECHO

    We understand fully the mercy of God. However, we also understand his justice, which you have so frequently throw out the window with you fanatical adherence to mercy.

    True mercy is not simply ignoring the faults of others, or doing everything for them. This is not mercy. What you teach is not mercy.
    Mercy is doing what a person can’t do for themselves, and teaching them how to do it later. As the saying goes; if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish you feed him for life. The first way is not merciful, nor is it just. But the second is truly merciful, for it does not make the person dependent on you, but rather teaches them how to take care of themselves. It is also just, as once he has learned it will be his own fault if he doesn’t eat.

    Now, I have to point out that God does expect us to submit completely to him, and thus, in a sense, give our will to his. This may seem to be in line with the first way of just giving the man the fish, but it isn’t. It is truly in line with the second. If you are to teach a man to fish he must submit his will to you while you teach him. If he tries to go off by himself before he has learned he will fail. But once he has learned he can then get his own food, though he will still return to you if he finds a problem.
    In the same way we submit to Christ as he instructs us on how to live. If we try to go off by ourselves before we have learned we will fail. But once we have learned we are able to act for ourselves, though we still return to him for advice and comfort.

  3. January 3, 2012 at 1:27 am

    You can’t teach a Dead man to fish…

    Ephesians 2:4-6 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in MERCY, MADE US ALIVE with Christ even when WE WERE DEAD in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”

  4. January 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    “For the love among Christians should be the same kind of love as that of every member of the body for every other one, as St. Paul often says, each one accepting the faults of the other, sympathizing with them, bearing and removing them, and doing everything possible to help him. Hence the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins is the most important of all, both for us personally and for our relations with others. As Christ continually bears with us in His kingdom and forgives us all sorts of faults, so we should bear and forgive one another in every situation and in every way” ~Martin Luther

    “TRUE JUSTICE SHOWS MERCY, but false justice shows indignation. True holiness is merciful and sympathetic, but all that false holiness can do is rage and fume”~Martin Luther.

    “One of the virtues of counterfeit sanctity is that it cannot have pity or mercy for the frail and weak, but insists on the strictest enforcement and the purest selection; as soon as there is even a minor flaw, all mercy is gone, and there is nothing but fuming and fury”~ Martin Luther

  5. 5 shematwater
    January 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    ECHO

    Just because Martin Luther says something does not mean that it is true.

    Justice and Mercy are two different principles. True justice does not show mercy, and true mercy does not appease justice. To say either of these is true is to contradict the vary nature of each.

    Justice: the administering of deserved punishment or reward. One who is just has the quality of being just or moral rightness.
    Mercy: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power.
    (dictionary.com)
    True justice gives the deserved punishment or reward, without regard to compassion or forbearance. Mercy, on the other hand, shows this compassion without regard to the deserved reward or punishment.
    Martin Luther was wrong.

    Oh, and since we are made alive in Christ, it is now time to teach the man to fish rather than give him a fish, as I have stated. I agree that the dead can’t fish, but what you are advocating is to give the living fish rather than teaching them to.

  6. January 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Shem said: “…what you are advocating is to give the living fish rather than teaching them to.”

    After two plus years, you stlll don’t understand our position.

  7. 7 choosethechrist
    January 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    When God says something, it means it is true (2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work).

    Mercy and Justice:

    2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
    21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Galatians 2:21 (ESV)
    21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

    Acts 16:31 (ESV)
    31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    1 Timothy 1:15–16 (ESV)
    15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example …

    1 Peter 1:8–9 (ESV)
    8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    Galatians 3:10 (ESV)
    10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

    1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)
    24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

  8. 8 Kent
    January 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    The gift from the King is His free gift, grace, and it is not after all we can do and it is not after preperation at all.

    The people on the highways that the King’s servants went out to invite to the wedding not only didn’t have the means to get the garments themselves obviously they wouldn’t have time to prepare to be worthy to enter the wedding either.

  9. January 5, 2012 at 4:40 am

    It seems that the message in the parable in Matt.22 is clear . Taken together with the other
    scriptures mentioned here it’s apparent that it is by Jesus’ righteousness alone, on our be- half,
    that we can be fully pardoned, and fully reconciled to God and be given eternal life . It’s Upon
    surrender of our will and then asking for forgiveness that this incredible miracle happens.
    God’s mercy , God’s grace , God’s love — Rom.5:8 . Thank you Jesus.

  10. 10 shematwater
    January 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    MARK

    Could you give a source that actually shows this custom of giving clothes to guests. I have never heard of it before, so I would like to see an actual, reliable source that it is true.

    ECHO

    Please explain it then. In what way are people being taught to fish according to your doctrine? Or does learning to fish even really matter?

  11. 11 shematwater
    January 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Let us look at the Parable in full, verse by verse.

    2 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,”

    This is obviously referring to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the latter being the groom in many other parables.

    3 “And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.”

    Now, the servants seem to be the prophets and other leaders that have been called by God throughout the ages. When it says “them that were bidden” this is a reference to Israel, or the chosen seed who were given first claim on the blessings of the gospel. But the Israelites, as the bible testifies to, would not receive the gospel, or refused to attend the wedding.

    4 “Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.”

    This is another group of prophets or servants sent by God to declare the gospel. As all things are now ready for the feast (which was not stated earlier) I think this is a direct reference to the time of Christ, when the gospel was once again offered to the Jews.

    5 “But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
    6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.”

    We now have a description of how the prophets were treated by Israel, and possibly even a prophecy of the fate of the twelve apostles. Many simply ignored the call, while others murdered the servants, as the twelve were all killed.

    “7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”

    Obviously the Jews were destroyed.

    “8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.”

    The Jews were rejected for unbelief and wickedness.

    “9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.”

    The gospel is now taken to the gentiles, those who do not have direct ancestry to Abraham and the right of the blessings of the gospel. All are to be invited.

    “10 So those servants went out into the highways, and agathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.”

    The gentiles are brought into the church, without regard to status.

    “11 ¶And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
    12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

    This is the part in question. Now, even if the garment is given by the King, the man still made the conscious choice not to wear it. He was not prepared. Given the fact that what was needed for the preparation was provided for him, and all he had to do was to put it on, that just makes it worse.
    So, what is this talking about. This is talking about those people who hear the gospel and join themselves to the church, but who do not do that which is required. It is those members who are given the gift from Christ but do nothing with it.
    As it was the man’s choice not to wear the garment I don’t think that it is a reference to simply accepting Christ, as he had already done that by showing up at the marriage. The fact that he was at the wedding indicates that he had accepted Christ, but had not done what was needed in clothing himself.

    “13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    This, in my opinion, supports what I have said. He is cast out, but what does it say in verse 14. Many are called, or are brought into the church; but of those who accept Christ and join themselves to his church few are chosen to receive the blessings of it.

  12. 12 markcares
    January 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Shem:
    One authority that says the garment was supplied is Alfred Edersheim. He was a Jewish scholar who converted to Christianity in the 1800’s and is still today considered one of the experts on Jewish life, customs, etc. of biblical times.
    One question that comes to mind with your above explanation is the number of people who are thrown into outer darkness. The man who is thrown out is part of the many of v. 14. Therefore the conclusion is that what happens to him happens to the many, otherwise the parable has no meaning. Therefore do you believe that many will be in outer darkness, and not just cast out to the lower kingdoms of glory that Mormonism teaches? (Or to put it another way, you can’t say outer darkness is synonymous with a lower kingdom. Gospel Principles, p. 273, talking about those in outer darkness states: “They will not have a kingdom of glory.” ) In fact, from verse 14 with the comparison with few, do you believe that the majority of people will be cast out into outer darkness? But that is not what Mormonism teaches,is it?

  13. 13 choosethechrist
    January 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    The insult of refusing proper attire for the wedding feast is obvious. It speaks to the Pharasees, those who are depending on their own works and their own self-righteousness to make them acceptable before God. Self-righteousness does not work with God (Ephesians 2:8-10). The king provided the wedding garments for the guests as Jesus provides salvation for man. Refusing God’s offer of salvation is insulting to God. When the religions of the world are examined, we either find man working his way toward God, or we find Christ. Jesus is the only way to salvation. Our wedding garment is Jesus Christ, and unless we put Him on, we will miss the wedding feast which is eternity with God.

    Mercy: God has offered salvation to everyone. None of us deserve it.

    The parable ends with sad reality: “for many are invited, but few are chosen.” Salvation is available to everyone, only a few accept it.

    Justice: Those who do not accept salvation through Jesus Christ go to outer darkness.

  14. 14 shematwater
    January 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    MARK

    The term Outer Darkness speaks to the state of people being out of the presence of any member of the Godhead. In the Bible this first refers to what we now call the spirit prison, or the place where the wicked go between death and resurrection. What we now call Outer Darkness is the final judgment of the Son’s of Perdition, those who will never be in the presence of God again.
    As this parable is from the Bible we can use the Biblical understanding of the Term. So, I would put it this way.

    The marriage of the Son is Christ’s second coming and millennial reign, not the final Judgment. Those who were initially called refused to come, representing the ancient house of Israel, and thus will not be with Christ when he comes (the faithful dead who will be resurrected). Those who did come are the modern day church that prepared for his coming. The one man that is thrown out represents those among the members of the true church who are not really prepared. They will not be caught up with the saints, but will be destroyed at his coming and spend the thousand years of the millennium in the spirit prison, or Outer Darkness.

    This does not mean that they will not eventually gain a lower kingdom; only that they will spend time in Outer Darkness suffering their part of the second death.

  15. 15 markcares
    January 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Shem:
    I would appreciate you giving me an authoritative LDS source for your definition of outer darkness. I have not seen it defined like that in the literature I have read.

  16. 16 shematwater
    January 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    MARK

    In Bruce R. McConkie’s book “Mormon Doctrine” he equates the term solely with the Spirit Prison between death and resurrection.
    In fact, if you read Alma 40, more specifically verses 11-14, though the whole chapter is instructive. In these verses it describes the state of the spirit after death, but before resurrection. It states in verse 13 that the wicked are cast into Outer Darkness.
    Now, I would also say that every time the phrase “Outer Darkness” is used in any of the standard works it is referring to this spirit prison (three times in Matthew, once in Alma, and twice in the Doctrine and Covenants).

    Going just on these I would say that only the Spirit Prison is rightly called Outer Darkness. However, since the final judgment of Satan and the sons of Perdition is referred to as Outer Darkness in more recent church literature (such as the diagrams of the Plan of Salvation and various class manuals) I say that that term, according to the LDS, can refer to either the Spirit Prison (as it does in the scriptures) or to the final resting place of Satan and his followers (as it is used today). As both places are described as being in darkness, out of the presence of God, I conclude that the term Outer Darkness refers simply to that state of being, and can refer to either one of these two specific places.

  17. 17 markcares
    January 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Shem:
    I have to admit that I find it quite ironic that you referred to McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” as an authoritative source. I say that because, over the years, countless Mormons have vehemently protested when Christians have referred to it. They would flatly say that he wasn’t speaking for the church and that it wasn’t authoritative!

  18. 18 shematwater
    January 9, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    MARK

    It is true that Brother McConkie was not speaking for the church; or, more precisely, he was not commissioned by the church to write his book, and actually did get into some trouble when he published it. As such it is not the final authority on doctrine and should never be taken about the standard works, or any other source that was so commissioned.
    However, it is still a great source of Mormon doctrine and should not be ignored simply because it was not commissioned. I use it to explain doctrine that I already know is in the Bible or the other standard works, and used in such a way it is authoritative. This is why I site Alma 40 and make mention of the other times in the standard works that the term Outer Darkness appears.

    You will notice however, that in my post I did not site this book as anything other than the opinions of Brother McConkie. His is an opinion that I value greatly, and thus am more willing to accept than many others, but it was still opinion that was being sited.

  19. 19 shematwater
    January 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Should say “should never be taken above the standard works”


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