Talk – Celestial Kingdom

Intro

Brothers and sisters, the Lord has declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 

Russell M Nelson explained, “Resurrection, or immortality, comes to every man and every woman as an unconditional gift. Eternal life is a conditional gift.” Close quote

After this life, we will be resurrected, judged according to our works and then rewarded according to the degree of our faith and obedience.

3 kingdoms exist

LeGrand Richards, in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, taught:

“One of the greatest errors in the teaching of Christian religions is the doctrine of one heaven and one hell, so that all who go to heaven share and share alike, and all who fail to go to heaven are sent to hell where they share and share alike.

This thought has led many to feel that while their lives may not be all they should be, they are as good as, or better than, the average. Thus they feel that all will be well with them…Such a doctrine does not have the motivating and stimulating power to impel or encourage men to do the best they can, but rather to satisfy themselves by doing as well as the average man. Such a doctrine places no value on anything more than average devotion and obedience to the commandments of the Lord, or the development of one’s talents and their useful devotion to his service.”

President Thomas S Monson reiterated this point when he said, “Like the coveted ‘A’ on the report card of a difficult and required college course, the reward of eternal life requires effort.”close quote

In the New Testament, many clues are given to suggest that there is more than one degree of glory in Heaven.

Jesus, in John 14:2 said, “In my father’s house are many mansions.”

The apostle Paul informed the Corinthians that he knew a man in Christ who was caught up into a third heaven. LeGrand Richards said,” It is obvious that there could not be a third heaven unless there is a first and a second heaven.”

Paul, when speaking of the resurrection, said (1 Corinthians 15: 40-42):

40 aThere are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the bcelestial is one, and the glory of the cterrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the bstars: for one star cdiffereth  from another star in dglory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.

Through revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, (in Doctrine and Covenants 76), we now have a full knowledge of the three degrees of glory, as well as outer darkness.

Three Degrees of Glory Explained

The glory we inherit depends upon our faithfulness in obeying the Lord’s commandments and keeping our covenants while we are on the Earth.

The highest glory, or Celestial Glory, is given to those who “received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized, … that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit.” These are they who overcome the world by their faith. They are just and true so that the Holy Ghost can seal their blessings upon them. In D&C 137 we also learn children who died before the age of accountability will receive this glory. Those who were not able to hear the gospel in this life, but would have accepted it, will also have an opportunity to be heirs of this kingdom if they accept the ordinances done for them in the temple. All who inherit the celestial kingdom will live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ forever.

The second glory is Terrestrial. Those who inherit this glory “are they who rejected the gospel on earth but afterward received it in the spirit world. These are the honorable people on the earth who were blinded to the gospel of Jesus Christ by the craftiness of men. These are also members of the church who received the gospel and a testimony of Jesus but then were not valiant.

I found a quote I love by President Spencer W Kimball that I think will help us understand the difference between living a celestial and terrestrial life. He said:

“The Lord’s program is unchangeable. His laws are immutable. They will not be modified. Your opinions or mine do not make any difference and do not alter the laws. Many of the world think that eventually the Lord will be merciful and give to them unearned blessings. Mercy cannot rob justice. College professors will not give you a doctorate degree for a few weeks of cursory work in the university, nor can the Lord be merciful at the expense of justice. In this program, which is infinitely greater, we will each receive what we merit. Do not take any chances whatever.”

He also admonishes us that if we don’t understand God’s plan, “it is an indication that we need to get close to our Heavenly Father so that we may fathom it, for the things of God are understood by the Spirit of God.” Close quote

Those who inherit the Terrestrial world will be visited by Jesus Christ but not by Heavenly Father.

The Telestial glory is given to those who “did not receive the gospel or the testimony of Jesus either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in hell, or spirit prison. until after the Millennium, when they will be resurrected. “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” These people are as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore. They will be visited by the Holy Ghost but not by the Father or the Son.

Some will not be worthy to dwell in any glory. Outer Darkness is a kingdom, not of glory, for the sons of perdition, or those “who had testimonies of Jesus through the Holy Ghost and knew the power of the Lord but allowed Satan to overcome them. They denied the truth and defied the power of the Lord. There is no forgiveness for them, for they denied the Holy Spirit after having received it. They will live in eternal darkness, torment, and misery with Satan and his angels forever.

Blessing of going to Celestial Kingdom:

Joseph Smith said that even the glory of the Telestial surpasses all understanding. Our goal, however, should be to reach the Celestial Kingdom, as this is where we will receive a fullness of joy.

In D&C 76, the Lord has promised those who inherit the celestial glory that “All things are theirs, that they shall overcome all things, and that they shall dwell in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ forever.

In D&C 132, they are promised everything that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have – all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge. They will become gods themselves.

We learn in D&C 131 that there are three degrees even in the Celestial Kingdom. Only those who are married for eternity in the holy temple and are faithful to those covenants will inherit the highest degree. They will be able to be united eternally with their righteous family members and be able to have an eternal increase.  All who are worthy will be able to enter into this covenant of marriage either in this life or the next.

How can we achieve Exaltation?

Through the scriptures and modern-day revelation, we have been given vast instruction on how to obtain eternal life.

In 2 Nephi 31, Nephi clearly explains:

16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall aendure to the end, in following the bexample of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and abaptism by water; and then cometh a bremission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

18 And then are ye in this astrait and narrow bpath which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which cwitnesses of the dFather and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow apath, I would ask if all is bdone? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken cfaith in him, drelying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to esave.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a asteadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of bhope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and dendure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eeternal life.

Nephi also taught “The right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Ne. 25:29).

In the October 2010 conference, D Todd Christofferson gave an excellent talk that complements Nephi’s words. He said, “True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.”

In his talk, Elder Christofferson admonishes us to consider key elements of a consecrated life: purity, work, respect for one’s physical body, service, and integrity. I would like to highlight some of his insights.

  1. Purity: Stubbornness, rebellion, and rationalization must be abandoned, and in their place submission, a desire for correction, and acceptance of all that the Lord may require. This is what King Benjamin called putting off the natural man, yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 3:19).
  2. Work: Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires.
  3. Respect for one’s physical body: A consecrated life respects the incomparable gift of one’s physical body, a divine creation in the very image of God…Those who believe that our bodies are nothing more than the result of evolutionary chance will feel no accountability to God or anyone else for what they do with or to their body.
  4. Service: Jesus demonstrated that a consecrated life is a life of service. Hours before the agony of His Atonement began, the Lord humbly washed His disciples’ feet, saying to them: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”
  1. Integrity: We see it in the husband and wife “who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”5 We see it in the father and mother whose demonstrated first priority is to nourish their marriage and ensure the physical and spiritual welfare of their children. We see it in those who are honest.

Elder Christofferson ended his talk by saying that “the consecration of many who have gone before us and others who live among us has helped lay the foundation for our happiness. In like manner future generations will take courage from your consecrated life, acknowledging their debt to you for the possession of all that truly matters.”

Elder Christofferson ended his talk by saying that “the consecration of many who have gone before us and others who live among us has helped lay the foundation for our happiness. In like manner future generations will take courage from your consecrated life, acknowledging their debt to you for the possession of all that truly matters.”

Nephi again offered inspired words as he said, in 2 Ne 25:23: “we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

We are saved after all we can do. Being baptized into the church is not enough to be able to inherit the Celestial glory. President Monson lovingly reminded us, “May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God.”

I pray that we all strive to devote our lives to serving God and others, to keeping his commandments and our covenants, so that after judgment day, the Lord will say unto us, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing!

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