"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
September 14, 2007

What’s In a Name?

Anciently, when one made a covenant, one received a new name. In Isaiah 43:1 God states not only “I have redeemed thee” but also “I have called thee by a new name.” This association between covenants and new names exists today, even in temporal matters. When a professional athlete signs a contract with a new team, he takes on the name of that team. When a person receives all the appropriate medical training, he takes the Hippocratic oath (a kind of covenant) and takes on the new name of doctor. Most commonly, when a man and a woman marry, the bride traditionally takes on the name of her husband. When we enter into Christ’s church by covenant, we receive the name of Christ. “In ancient times, a name was more than an identifying label. Your name was your essence, what you were all about, your identity rather than just your identification” (Harold S. Kushner as cited by Dallin H. Oaks, His Holy Name, pg. 46). Thus, to take on Christ’s name is both a privilege and an obligation. It requires us to also take on his identity, his way of being, and his mission of saving souls. The only way to accomplish this formidable task is through the covenant itself. With this covenant comes the gift of the Holy Ghost, which purifies our nature, reshapes our hearts, and fills us with the desire to live higher and holier lives. Gradually everyone that is called by his name is created, or recreated, for his glory (Isaiah 43:7). This is the whole essence of our covenants. They have been given by a loving God to strengthen our commitment and to keep us on track. They are to lift and to bless, to ennoble and to purify, and ultimately to help us become what he is and receive all that he has. Such is our privilege as a covenant people. (Amy Blake Hardison, Being a Covenant People, Covenants, Prophecies and Hymns of the Old Testament, pg. 31-32)

August 19, 2006

Like a Rock

What we too often fail to realize is that at the same time we covenant with God, he is covenanting with us — promising blessings, privileges, and pleasures our eyes have not yet seen and our ears have not yet heard. Though we may see our part in the matter of faithfulness as going by fits and starts, by bumps abd bursts, our progress erratic at best, God’s part is sure and steady and supreme. We may stumble, but he never does. We may falter, but he never will. We may feel out of control, but he never is. The reason the keeping of covenants is so important to us is at least partly because it makes the contract so binding to God. Covenants forge a link between our telestial, mortal struggles and God’s celestial, immortal powers. — Patricia Holland, God’s Covenant of Peace, in The Arms of His Love, p. 372

April 10, 2006

Good Salt

“…We are a people of covenant. We have made supernal promises, some of us in holy places, to stand as lights to a world desperately in need of direction and focus. We are under solemn obligation to be the salt of the earth (see D&C 101:39-40), to bring out the best in the world, to preserve the world from decay and destruction. It is important to remember that salt does not lose its savor or influence with age; salt loses its savor through mixture and contamination.” — Robert L. Millet, A Call to Holiness

April 4, 2006

Pillars

Exodus 6:2

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord; 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 4 And I have ESTABLISHED MY COVENANT with them, to give them the land of Canaan….” 5 And I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in BONDAGE; and I have remembered my COVENANT. 6 Wherefore, say unto the Children of Israel, I AM THE LORD, and I will BRING YOU OUT from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their BONDAGE and I will REDEEM you with a STRETCHED OUT ARM, and with great judgment. 7 AND I WILL TAKE YOU TO ME FOR A PEOPLE, AND I WILL BE TO YOU A GOD, AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHICH BRINGETH YOU OUT from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the LAND concerning the which I did swear to give it to ABRAHAM, to ISAAC, and to JACOB; and I will give it you for an HERITAGE; I AM THE LORD.

“Remember, this God, Jehovah establishes covenant, brings out from bondage, and REDEEMS. You are MY PEOPLE. From this time forth you are either in Israel with the covenant people, and referred to as “a PEOPLE” or “MY PEOPLE”, or you are considered by God as “NOT A PEOPLE.”

“REMEMBER, THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE ON THE EARTH IN COVENANT LANGUAGE. EITHER THE COVENANT PEOPLE WHO REPRESENT CHRIST, AND HIS NAME, OR SATAN, AND NOT A PEOPLE. That is harsh, but that is the covenant language that God gives. THIS IS THE COVENANT. I AM GOD, YOU ARE MY PEOPLE; I WILL ESTABLISH YOU, REDEEM YOU AND DELIVER YOU.

“The word “established” becomes a key word, all the way through the scriptures. When He has the temple built, with Solomon, he has two standing pillars just before you entered. One was called JACHIN, and the other, BOAZ. One meant, THE LORD WILL ESTABLISH, and the other, IN THE STRENGTH OF JEHOVAH. So that when you pick up the New Testament and you are reading the blessings the Lord gives, notice Jesus says that he will “make them a pillar in the temple of God.” Rev. 3:12. That means that if you overcome, you will be established in the covenant and in the strength of Jehovah. You become those pillars.

“In establishing the covenant, notice when Alma wants to create a church in the Book of Mormon.  Notice that the wording that is used comes right out of Exodus.  The Lord shows Alma that the covenant in the church that he is forming will be the same one that is found in the law of Moses.

Put yourself in Alma’s shoes.  He is establishing a church, just having “delivered” a group of people from bondage.  You might wonder if you have done the right thing in organizing the church.  Mosiah 26:17-20

  17  Blessed art thou because thou hast ESTABLISHED a church among THIS PEOPLE; and they shall BE ESTABLISHED, and they shall be MY PEOPLE.

The Lord only establishes in one thing, and that is in the covenant, in the promised land, with posterity as numerous as the sands upon the seashore.

18  Yea, blessed is THIS PEOPLE who are willing to bear MY NAME; for in MY NAME shall THEY BE CALLED, and they are mine. 19  And because thou hast inquired of me concerning the transgressor, thou art blessed.  20 Thou art MY SERVANT; and I COVENANT with thee that thou shalt have ETERNAL LIFE; and thou shalt SERVE ME and GO FORTH IN MY NAME [out of Egypt?] and shalt gather together MY SHEEP.

“So this covenant will get them, and you, how far?  All the way into Eternal Life.  Established, their God, His People, …this is covenant language, and it is carried throughout the scriptures.  Land, People, God, Redeem, Establish.” — Robert J. Norman

March 27, 2006

Why Does God Send Famine?

“What color was manna?  White.  It came from heaven; landed on the ground; melted when the sun came out.  Everybody had to have it for life. All nutrients needed for life.  What color is snow? White. Comes from heaven, lands on ground, melts when sun comes out. Need it for life. We all need it.  Who is the Water of life? Jesus.  Who is the Bread of Life (manna)? Jesus.  Notice when you reject Christ, what does he do?  He withholds one of his types, which is the water of life, and you get famine.  What happens to people in famine?  They repent.  When Nephi wanted the people to repent, God gave Nephi all power.  Nephi asked for famine.  Let’s pull one of the symbols of Christ and see what the people do. Short time later they repent.”

“Remember that all things point to Christ. They are in harmony, and when you are in harmony with all things in nature that typify Christ, then all is well, but if you are out of harmony and get wicked, then all things will be in COMMOTION (D&C 88) and their hearts will fail them, the earth reel to and fro, the sun does weird things, the stars fall, the moon does things it normally doesn’t do, because they are originally made to bear record of Christ.  When their testimony is rejected, they stop bearing testimony in all things, and all things go into commotion.  The system literally points to Christ.  He is in all things and through all things, and if all things stop bearing record, we will be sorry.  It will be as if the earth is turned upside down, shaken and burnt.  Is.24. The history of Israel will eventually become the history of the world.”  — Robert J. Norman