D&C 84:19-25: To See the Face of God…and Live!

ChristusAnd this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;

For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.

Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; (D&C 84:19-25)

I fear that to some I may be starting to sound like a broken record.  I keep writing about Christ (here and here), about seeing His face, and about Zion (here and here – among others).  Some of you might become bored with this, or think I’m just caught up in a “gospel hobby”.  If so, then some of you would be wrong about me and about what’s going on in my spiritual journey.  On the contrary, I keep writing about these things because:

  • I love my Savior. He knows me, He understands me, He speaks to me.  He is my friend.  He is defined by His love.  Everything He does is an extension of that love.  Furthermore, He’s my hero because His “glory” is actually the result of His integrity, an integrity so perfect that even the very elements willingly obey his every word.
  • I am absolutely convinced that the Lord has been encouraging man ever since the fall to build Zion. This is another manifestation of His love and perfect integrity.  He actually wants to BE WITH US, and He can only be with us if we are Zion.  I believe the term “prosper in the land” implies living in a Zion society.  As I said in my last post, every pride In His Arms
    cycle in the Book of Mormon peaked with a Zion society where there were no poor among them.  Until we become serious about building Zion, we will continue to disappoint the Lord until He has had enough, and He destroys everyone who is unable to endure His presence – in short – everyone who has not become a Zion person with a Zion heart.  This leads us to the third “non-hobby”…
  • Everywhere I turn I see references to seeking and seeing the face of the Lord. The scripture quoted above is just another example, and one that had eluded me until today.

In short – I keep writing about these things because the scriptures make it clear that they are critically important, and because I think we as Latter-Day Saints don’t emphasize them as we should.  I make this statement because:

  • In my 12 years of membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before I began to realize these things, I personally didn’t give them emphasis commensurate with their importance, and I didn’t have any idea I was missing something. In other words, I fit right in with the crowd.
  • In the last 4 years, I have discovered that a lot of people just sort of humor me, or look at me funny, or, worse, express concern about me taking these things too far.
  • Excluding the first topic, the topics of Zion and Seeing the Lord’s face are NEVER discussed in General Conference any more. President Monson gave a beautiful talk in the last conference about Christ’s love and the atonement, but no one discusses the other two topics.  When I ask myself why this might be, I come up with three possibilities:
    • The Lord doesn’t prompt the speakers to discuss these topics. That’s a pretty scary idea to me, considering that He thought it was important enough to fill the scriptures with references to them.
    • The speakers themselves don’t think these topics are important. That’s also a scary thought since they’re our leaders.
    • The people themselves are so blinded by babylon and the philosophies of men that it wouldn’t do any good to discuss these topics. This is the scariest possibility of all.babylon

Well, I may get myself into trouble someday, if I haven’t already, but I’m going to continue to write about them.  I feel like I must write about them.  For those who get tired of these topics, I have 3 words…WO! WO! WO!

The above scripture just jumped out at me today as my wife and I were driving from delicate archMoab, UT (Delicate Arch is absolutely a very sacred place!) to our home in Salt Lake City.  Please let me paraphrase in non-scriptural language what it is telling us:

  • The “greater” priesthood, what is commonly called the “Melchizedek” Priesthood, holds the key to the knowledge of God! In other words, it holds the key to eternal life (John 17:3)
  • Without the power of Godliness, no man can see the face of God and live. Without the ordinances thereof, the power of Godliness is not manifest (made known or recognizable) to men in the flesh.  Again – no eternal life.  This might even lead one to conclude that the very purpose of the ordinances is that man might see the face of God…and live!
  • Moses plainly taught this to the Israelites, that he might sanctify them so that they might behold the face of God. MOSES taught the Israelites the ordinances of the priesthood for the express purpose that they might see the face of God, even the Father, and live.  The God of the Israelites was who?  Jehovah – the Christ – our Savior, of course.
  • The Israelites “hardened their hearts” so that they could not endure His presence. So, one result of hardening our hearts is that we cannot endure His presence.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, while for many, “hardening their hearts” might result in carnal sin – basically not listening to God at all – for Latter-Day Saints, hardening their hearts is more akin to “…we have received, and we need no more” (2 Nephi 28:27).  In other words, when we stop seeking further light and knowledge; when we stop seeking to sanctify ourselves that we might “see the face of God…and live”; we have hardened our hearts just as if we had committed a great carnal sin.  It might even be worse for us, because we have been given much, but we think it enough.
  • Here is the best part – the Lord got mad at them! He got mad because they refused to seek His face!!!  Then He swore in His wrath that they would not enter into His rest – which is the Fullness of His Glory!  In other words, because they refused to try, He said, “Fine, then, I’m outa here, and I’m going to take Moses AND the Holy Priesthood, too!”

israelites in the desertWhat a drama!  Let’s see…the Lord invited the Israelites to seek His face.  He invited them both as a people, and each individually to sanctify themselves so that they could endure His presence, and they said no!  Why in the world….?!  Oh, yeah – they were a stiff-necked people. (8 references in Exodus and Deuteronomy – compared to 19 in the Book of Mormon and 1 in the Doctrine and Covenants.  You figure that out for yourselves).  Were they really that wicked, or were they just lazy?  Either way – they were offered a gift, and they rejected it!

This next story is admittedly anecdotal, but I have absolutely no trouble believing it.  I heard it on the 3rd level – once removed from the actual observer.  A primary teacher was overheard telling one of her children that “only the prophet could see Jesus”.  I’m sorry – but when I heard this, I was enraged.  This person, in a trusted position of teaching our children, was overheard blatantly teaching the philosophies of men to an innocent, trusting child!  Such a statement is nowhere supported in the scriptures.  I know there are many out there who realize this, but I fear there are far more who would agree with her – if not doctrinally, at least in practice.

Zion will be a place where the Lord can dwell (Moses 7:69).  Those who dwell in Zion must be able to endure His presence.  They as a people must have been sanctified, just as Moses tried diligently to sanctify the Israelites.  This is not something that happens to a group…it must be done individually.  We must purify our hearts and prepare ourselves to receive Him in the flesh.  Those who do not simply will not be able to abide His glory.

According to D&C 84:19-25, the very purpose of the ordinances of the priesthood is to prepare us to see the face of God and live.  This, of course, implies in the flesh – not after we have died.

My testimony of this principle just continues to grow.  The scriptures are laden with it.  I beseech each of you to ask the Lord if this is not a true principle, and what it is that you must do to invite His presence.  All things must be done in His time, and according to His wisdom.  I promise that He will answer your prayers.  You will find yourself the clay in the hands of the potter.  There will be trials.  There will be pain.  The alternative is to reject the offered gift.  I, for one, will not do that.  I will submit myself to His will and His wisdom.  My submission will be imperfect, but it will be sincere.  Through His love and the power of the atonement, I will one day be sanctified that I may endure His presence.

Will you ask Him what you must do to accept this supernal gift?

10 comments on “D&C 84:19-25: To See the Face of God…and Live!

  1. Many humble people are seeking the blessings of being a Zion people. We as a Church have been offered the same gift of sanctification as the people of Israel, which is obtained through offering the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit, and which is received in a complete immersion in spiritual fire, called the baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Only those who are sanctified by fire, heavenly fire, which we have a right to receive after baptism in water and confirmation, have the power of Godliness to seek the face of God. Don’t get the cart before the horse. The baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost is Christ’s opening of the gate to the kingdom of God. THEN are you on this strait and narrow path (2 Nephi 31). THEN if you prove faithful, continuing to be filled with heavenly fire (this is literal, everyone, not figurative), you may earn the privilege of seeing Christ face to face. We must not be among those who say “we have received, and we need no more.” Sanctification = being born again spiritually in the baptism of fire. The Church as a whole has erased this one doctrine as being irrelevant. We sanctify ourselves by REPENTANCE. Christ sanctifies us in the baptism of fire. We cannot be saved without the heavenly ordinances, AFTER we have received the physical ordinances. If we deny the spiritual ordinances that come directly from Christ and the Holy Ghost, we are in the same situation as the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses.

  2. I echo what Scott said: Will you ask Him what you must do to accept this supernal gift? If we humbly ask Christ for forgiveness of our sins, and if He sees our hearts are sincere, in His own time and in His own way, He will answer our prayers and forgive our sins and sanctify us in the baptism of fire and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This is the gift we have been offered. It is the gift we must believe we can receive. Seek, ask, knock, and it [the gate/door ] shall be opened to you. Believe it!

  3. Great thoughts, Scott.
    When you said, “for Latter-Day Saints, hardening their hearts is more akin to ‘…we have received, and we need no more'” it reminded me of the spin that has come to be on what it means to “keep the commandments”. A careful reading of 2 Nephi 17 shows us that Laman thought righteousness meant keeping the Law of Moses (the written law), In contrast, Nephi declares and illustrates by example that “keeping the commandments” means “doing what God tells YOU to do, when He tells you to do it.”
    I cringe in church when people throw around “keep the commandments” not realizing that that act requires 1) a connection with God, 2) the courage to ask His will, and 3) the faith to do it.

  4. Scott, Nephi found out also that it is hard to do what God tells YOU to do. He was told to kill Laban, which was a commandment in direct opposition to the Ten Commandments, which was the law of the established church in his day. When a person receives the baptism of fire, he/she enters the kingdom of God, which is a different and higher establishment than the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. The kingdom of God is the ‘man child’ which is born of the woman– ‘the Church’. Members of the kingdom of God answer directly to the Holy Spirit, who conveys the commandments of the Savior. So, yes, sometimes God tells you to do things in the kingdom of God that may not be considered acceptable in the Church. But the man child is the offspring of the woman/Church, so they are inseparably tied together by covenants and ordinances and keys.

  5. Claudette – I will private message you on this topic. I must be mindful of the public forum.

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