Baptism—The Symbol of Christ
This is a continuation of the article I started here on Baptism.
I was continuing my reading of Removing the Condemnation tonight, and I came across yet more rich meaning in the symbolism of Baptism that I had not thought of. While my understanding came in reference to "grace" (a condition to which I yet need to obtain), Denver hinted at an understanding is far more reaching, in that it embraces "grace to grace". It embraces not only that we must become sons of God, but that we, in the act of baptism, symbolize who and what we must ultimately become and our acceptace of all that entails.
See commentary on:
If you understand Joseph when he says we must go from a small capacity to a great one;1 or if you understand John's record where he describes what it is we worship2 (by the way, the faithful were promised a fulness of the record of John. How do you think the faithful might obtain that, while others do not?); or if you understand when Joseph said Christ is the prototpye of the saved man, and salvation depends on being precisely what that prototye is,3 then this will have more meaning to you. Essentially, baptism symbolizes that whole path, from eternity to eternity, from exaltation to exaltation. It is a simple yet beautiful and rich symbol of the whole man; of Christ and all of what Christ means. Christ is truly the completion, perfection.4 Lecture 7 by Joseph and Lecture 7 by Denver describe Christ, they describe what we must be to be saved.
In one final baptism, all of which pointed to the state at which He had arrived; He must have savored this moment, and with desire, desired to partake of this ordinance.
When God sends revelation upon the earth, he is necessarily revealing Christ (a doctrine in all ages that Satan successfully tempts men to bury, discard, or ignore).5 So it follows that when revelation is sent, men should be baptized in acceptance of this straight and narrow path.
(12/29/2014) I consider this to be the most sacred subject matter I have written about. I asked the Lord a few days ago to give me a leap in understanding. That I was very appreciative and loved the inspiration I have received, but there is so much of my own darkness to overcome and so little time, that I asked. This came as a result. I read it, it's true, but it took prayer to understand it, and it has been a subject I have pondered upon with solemnity since that time. It is even a subject I had knowledge of before, but it is made more personal.
If I haven't said it on this blog yet, I will say it now. I used to believe scriptures had one correctly interpreted meaning; interpreted by an authority in the church. Now, however, I understand that the Holy Ghost is the authority, that the same passage of scripture may have layers of meaning and one understanding, if given by the Spirit, does not render another understanding given by the Spirit incorrect, it simply broadens and deepens what was previously given.
1. "Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me." (Joseph Smith, HC 6:14)
2. "Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am; And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—The Father because he gave me of his fulness, and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, and dwelt among the sons of men. I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest. And John saw and bore record of the fulness of my glory, and the fulness of John’s record is hereafter to be revealed. And he bore record, saying: I saw his glory, that he was in the beginning, before the world was; Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation—The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him. And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us. And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace; And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness; And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first. And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son. And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father; And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him. And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John. I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness. For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace." (D&C 93:1-20)
3. "As all the visible creation is an effect of faith, so is salvation, also. (We mean salvation in its most extensive latitude of interpretation, whether it is temporal or spiritual) In order to have this subject clearly set before the mind, let us ask what situation must a person be in, in order to be saved? or what is the difference between a saved man and one who is not saved? We answer from what we have before seen of the heavenly worlds, they must be persons who can work by faith, and who are able, by faith to be ministering spirits to them who shall be heirs of salvation. And they must have faith to enable them to act in the presence of the Lord, otherwise they cannot be saved. And what constitutes the real difference between a saved person and one not saved, is the difference in the degree of their faith: one's faith has become perfect enough to lay hold upon eternal life, and the other's has not. But to be a little more particular, let us ask, where shall we find a prototype into whose likeness we may be assimulated, in order that we may be made partakers of life and salvation? or in other words, where shall we find a saved being? for if we can find a saved being, we may ascertain, without much difficulty, what all others must be, in order to be saved—they must be like that individual or they cannot be saved: we think, that it will not be a matter of dispute, that two beings, who are unlike each other, cannot both be saved; for whatever constitutes the salvation of one, will constitute the salvation of every creature which will be saved: and if we find one saved being in all existence, we may see what all others must be, or else not be saved. We ask, then, where is the prototype? or where is the saved being? We conclude as to the answer of this question there will be no dispute among those who believe the bible, that it is Christ: all will agree in this that he is the prototype or standard of salvation, or in other words, that he is a saved being. And if we should continue our interrogation, and ask how it is that he is saved, the answer would be, because he is a just and holy being; and if he were any thing different from what he is he would not be saved; for his salvation depends on his being precisely what he is and nothing else; for if it were possible for him to change in the least degree, so sure he would fail of salvation and lose all his dominion, power, authority and glory, which constitutes salvation; for salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses, and in nothing else; and no being can possess it but himself or one like him: Thus says John, in his first epistle, 3:2 and 3: Behold, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And any man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.—Why purify himself as he is pure? because, if they do not they cannot be like him." (Joseph Smith, Lecture 7)
4. "Paul ascended into the third heavens, and he could understand the three principal rounds of Jacob's ladder--the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms, where Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful for him to utter. I could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them." (Joseph Smith, TPJS Section 6, p. 304)
"Paul saw the third heavens, and I more." (Joseph Smith, TPJS Section 6, p. 301. Also see, The Words of Joseph Smith pg. 202, 207, 211-212, 214)
“I know one who was caught up to the seventh heaven and saw and heard things not lawful for me to utter” (Joseph Smith as quoted by Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner. Journal and Memoirs of MaryElizabeth Rollins Lightner, typewritten copy, BYU Library, pg. 4)
5. Research the efforts the LDS Church went through to bury what Joseph was instructed to reveal in the King Follet discourse, and the "insubordination" of B. H. Roberts in preserving it in the early 1900's. It is not only the Bible that has passed through the hands of uninspired men.