Friday, August 30, 2013

More Comments and Questions from Readers -- Part VI

Here are some additional comments or questions sent in by readers of this website:
Comment #1: While the King James Version uses the word "celestial" and "terrestrial" in referring to two different kinds of bodies, it never mentions the word "telestial." Not only does Mormonism twist the context of First Corinthians 15, it also adds another "kingdom" to make it fit their theology” Heather.
Response: The scripture quoted about the third glory uses the Greek word telos, which means end. Or the end glory. The word Telestial means last, having the same connotation. Thus, the three kingdoms are Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. It might also be noted, that Celestial is from the Greek word, epouranlos, which literally means “above the sky,” or the “the expanse of heaven,” that is, beyond the atmosphere of the earth, and in this case, is larger than the moon or the stars, or the highest degree of glory, likened to the sun, which makes up 99% of our Solar System, and is the brightest light in the heavens. Epouranlos is also translated “heavenly” in various scriptures and is the word that is associated with Father in the name “Heavenly Father” as in Matthew 18:35. Epouranlos is also the word used in 2 Timothy 4:18, wherein Paul is assured the Lord will deliver him from evil so he might participate with Jesus in the “heavenly” kingdom—obviously, the highest or greatest kingdom in heaven. Finely, Paul tells us that we may be exalted to the “divine nature,” that is, to be like God (2 Peter 1:4).
In addition, terrestrial means “of the earth,” and separates the two kingdoms in heaven, that of the glory of heaven (symbolized by the sun), and that of earth, since Paul makes it clear that earth life and heavenly life are very distinctly different. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14), and the scriptures overall emphasize that there is a great distinction between the heavenly nature and the earthly nature, that the two are in no way blended into one, as erroneously supposed by so many. Man was in no sense whatever a heavenly, or spiritual, being once organized, nor will the nature of mortal man ever change, but that nature of heaven is far higher and much different. Thus, the second degree of glory, or kingdom, is called the Terrestrial as opposed to the Celestial.
Comment #2: The Bible always uses the word "kingdom" (singular), not "kingdoms" (plural) in referring to heaven. Although I could quote hundreds of verses, here are just a few: Daniel taught there is only one kingdom. "And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:14). Jesus taught there is only one kingdom. "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt. 13:43). Notice that Jesus only refers to 2 groups of people, "good seed" and the "tares" (Matt. 13:38). Paul taught there is only one kingdom. "For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col. 1:13). James taught there is only one kingdom. "Listen my beloved brethren; did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?" (James 2:5) Mormonism teaches there are three kingdoms, a doctrine that is foreign to Scripture. In fact, the word "kingdoms" is only used 3 times in the entire New Testament (Matt. 4:8, Luke 4:5, and Heb. 11:33), all referring to kingdoms of THIS world” Ingrid E.
Response: The term “kingdom” is defined as “territory or country subject to a king” or “The inhabitants or population subject to a king.” Obviously, the “kingdoms” referred to in Matthew 4:8, Luke 4:5, and Hebrews 11:33, all refer to several earthly kingdoms, each subject to a separate king. On the other hand, there is only one kingdom in heaven, with only one king. However, within God’s realm or overall kingdom, of which he is the overall and only king, there are separate places, called mansions by the Lord, named the Celestial and Terrestrial and End or Last (Telestial) by Paul. In fact, the Lord made it clear, “In my Father’s house  (kingdom) there are many mansions (separate areas, or minor kingdoms)” (John 14:2). That is, there is the Celestial Mansion, Terrestrial Mansion, and End/Last (Telestial) Mansion. Each of these mansions have separate and very different glories—one of the sun, one of the moon, and one of the stars.
Now, to put this in a different light, the question is: “Do you feel you should inherit the same glory as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Adam, etc.? Do you feel you have earned the same glory as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Madam Curie, Helen Keller, Jonas Salk, Florence Nightingale, Henry Ford, Mother Teresa, Hippocrates, Galileo, Archimedes, Claudius Plotemy, Albert Einstein, Christopher Columbus, etc., etc., etc.? Or more importantly, would you feel comfortable around these great people who have done so much, sacrificed so much, and achieved so much?
What about the other side. Do you feel you deserve greater glory, or a more comfortable after-life than Alolph Hitler, Genghis Khan, Josef Stalin, Fidel Castro, Sadam Hussein, Charles Manson, Benito Mussolini, Mao Tse-tung, Attila the Hun, Maximilien Robespierre, Ruhollah Khomeini, Pol Pot, or Caligula?
It is not logical to think that a kind and loving heavenly father would place murderers in the same eternal sphere as those who have lived a righteous, law-abiding life. Should Martin Luther share the same eternal fate as Kublai Khan, or Winston Churchill with Heinrich Himmler, Hirohito or Hideki Tojo?
The point is, there are many mansions, many divisions, many separations within the eternal world, and each of us will inherit that type of resurrection and glory, or mansion, as we have earned through our life here on earth. No other arrangement would be fair and could exist with a kind and loving heavenly father.
Comment #3: God rejected the fig leaf aprons which Adam and Eve made (Gen. 3:21). Why do Mormons memorialize the fall by using fig leaf aprons in the secret temple ceremonies?”
Response: First of all, LDS Temple ceremonies are not secret, they are sacred, and as such, are private. As for the apron, by its very nature, is truly not a covering for nakedness—it covers only the bare essentials of a man and not all of a woman. The Lord in the scripture quoted made coats of skin. In fact, one of the definitions of “coat” is “an external covering, as the fur or hair of a beast or the wool of sheep, etc.,” and “a cover.” Obviously, the coats of skin were made to cover Adam and Eve’s bodies, showing the Lord’s interest in modesty—something that modern people might consider when they choose clothing to wear. As for the purpose of the temple ceremony, either a person attends such ceremony and understands the symbolism of the apron, or one has no knowledge of, nor understanding of, its purpose. However, it should be understood, that God did not reject the fig leaf aprons Adam and Eve donned once they discovered their nakedness. One should fully understand they had nothing else to use at the time. It could also be understood that as the Lord made the coasts of skin, he was teaching Adam how to kill and skin an animal so he would be able to make his own clothes in the future.

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