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Home Doctrine Covenants, free agency and Symbolism

Covenants, free agency and Symbolism

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Copyright by Massimo Franceschini 2002

In this article I will try to relate these three different things togheter. The first two are very strictly connected the third one is the way to remind people or to persuade people to obey or understand covenants and laws.

In the preexistence we had free agency, which is evidenced by the fact that each of us choose the plan which God presented to us in the celestial grand council. There was even the possibility that we could reject this plan, as some did, and we further had the freedom to sin against God, as did one-third of our Father's children. This is pointed out in John 9:1-3 and from the fall of Lucifer who became Satan when he was driven out of the Kingdom of God. The difference between then and now is that now we have the opportunity to repent, but back then there was no such means to have our sins washed away.

The free agency problem.

Lucifer was well aware that free agency had its problems. The biggest drawback to it is that if people were spiritually weak, rather than become exalted, it would lead them to damnation. Therefore, he formulated his plan as a way to avoid this problem. His idea was to eliminate free agency and compel all of mankind to obey the rules.

However, his plan forgot one of the most important principles of heaven: the Priesthood, or power of God, cannot be exercised or control by any degree of unrighteousness. God explained to us in the scriptures that the priesthood needs two things in order for it to work properly: "Power and authority." Without getting in the subject of authority for right now, let's take a look how it the power of the priesthood works.

D&C 121:36
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

D&C 121:41
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

D&C 121:42
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--

And this doesn't pertain just for holders of the priesthood. This advice is good for everybody.

In verse 46 it declares

D&C 121:46
and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

Since man is the offspring of God, that means he is a god in embryo, with the ability to develop his divine nature. But in order for that to happen, he needs opportunities for personal progress. As such, the knowledge of good and evil, connected to proper use of free agency, is the key for man's progress to godhood. Without it, there is no other way to obtain this goal.

The Lord knew that his plan had risks, because not everyone uses their free agency properly. But He also knew how to help His offspring during their times of trouble. That's why He gave us commandments. In order to have freedom of choice there must be obedience to rules, because obedience is something that requires freedom of choice.

As I wrote earlier, the priesthood or power of God needs two ingredients: "Power and authority" If all the priesthood needed to operate was power, then the plan of Satan would be in force today! The reason why the principle of authority is needed to be connected with the principle of free agency is that it needs some one willing to recognize it and support it. The reason why people break the rules is because they don't recognize or respect the authority of the law. As such, the enforcement of the law can come only after people accept the law in the first place. However, Satan's plan did just the opposite. It sought to take away our freedom to choose and depended entirely on enforcing the law.

The fact that God held a council in heaven to explain His plan to us shows that He is not a dictator, as Satan wanted to be. Neither Mussolini or Hitler informed the people of their plans to take over the country. They merely decided what the laws were going to be and the people had no other choice than to obey. The fact that Lucifer and his followers were allowed to express their feelings and fight for them is proof that God allowed them to have a say in His plan. Whenever there is war, there are always two different opinions involved, and there are two different armies on the battlefield with each one fighting for what they believe in. God could have driven out Lucifer and his followers out of heaven with just a word, but, instead, He allowed them the opportunity to express their opinions, even when it was wicked.

Yet, after Lucifer had been afforded the opportunity to present his ideas and the majority of our Father's children accepted Jesus as our Savior, he should have remained silent and supported the authority of his God. His problem was that he rebelled against God's authority and the decision of the majority.

Allowing people to have their free agency is one thing, but it can't interfere with justice. Let me see if I can explain what I mean. We know that God makes covenants with man. The question is, Why? The answer is simple. It is the only way to tie the free agency of man to certain rules or laws. After the fall of man in the garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve a sequence of covenants. In return, Adam promised, or made a covenant that he would obey all of God's commandments. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are a making covenant people. By that I mean, upon being baptized, we promise to obey all the rules or laws which God has given us. At that point, we have not lost our free agency because our decision was not made by coercion. Instead, we were persuaded to make this choice, which we did by our own FREE CHOICE. Therefore, it is clear that when Lucifer and his followers rebelled against God's authority, they no doubt broke some covenants they!
had previously made while they were in the kingdom of God.

To prove this point, let me quote what the scriptures tell us.

D&C 88:13
13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

D&C 88:21
21 And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.

D&C 88:22
22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.

D&C 88:34
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.

D&C 88:42
42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;

For His part, God has promised us that He will keep His word when we keep our covenants.

D&C 82:10
10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

The scriptures also tell us that, even though Satan has his power, it is not like the power God has. As such, his kingdom will be a kingdom where there is no glory and chaos will reign in it.

D&C 88:35
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.

The reason why chaos will reign in Satan's kingdom is because there will be no laws and no authority there.

Because God has such great reverence and respect for free agency, He enforces His laws and rules only making sure that people have a knowledge and an understanding of them. Then they are free to either accepted or violate them. That is why when we make covenants with God we receive privileges, or blessings from Him. But making covenants also involves taking on great responsibilities. This is why we need to exercise our free agency very carefully. The Lord has told us that every kingdom is governed by its own law and if people are not ready to obey a higher law they must inherit a kingdom governed by a lower law. Therefore the final judgment we will receive is more like a harvest, where we reap what we sow. At that time we will better understand what the Lord meant when He said that the worker is worthy of his wages.

Although it is not important to know exactly how the authority and power of God's priesthood works, nevertheless, it is extremely important to have faith that it is not arbitrary but is in perfect harmony with the laws of justice. We need to rejoice in this power, which is based on righteousness, and one day we will have a full understanding of how it works. In fact, the most important aspect of the priesthood is that is based on the first principle of the gospel: "FAITH!"

COVENANTS

"Make sure to be received by covenant!" this is a key phrase in the Gospel's plan and the faithful saints know it very well.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that shortly after the fall of Adam and Eve, the Lord made a covenant with them that He would send a Savior to redeem them from their transgression if they would agree to obey His commandments (Moses 5:5-8). Using their own free agency, Adam and Eve voluntarily promised God that they would. And the reason they made this promise was because they recognized and submitted themselves to the authority of God.

However, they exercised their free agency based on their faith in God. As Paul stated, "without faith it is impossible to please Him". When Adam was faithful and obedient to the commandment which God gave him, the symbolism of the commandments were also disclosed to him. Symbolism is used by the Lord to help man understand the spiritual aspect of God's word and help us better appreciate the covenants we received from Him. A covenant is never IMPOSED upon us. Instead, it is always PROPOSED. Man is then free to either accept it or reject it. But, before we can accept it, we have to understand it. And once we understand it, we have to become converted to it. And conversion is a process that should last all of our life. This is what the scriptures mean when it says we should "endure to the end."

The church non only MUST understand the new revelations but above all should accept them and support them with a sustains vote in a general conference, just then the church is tied up because it has pondered them, accepted them and received them BY COVENANT voting them by raising their hands. The Old Testament or better the Old Covenant, the covenant people, the Abramic covenant, even the book of Mormon is named the New and everlasting covenant and it is named like this in DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS another book all based on doctrines and practiced accepted by covenant from the covenant people. The first page of the Book of Mormon declares:"

Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the COVENANTS of the Lord,

Once  we have established this and that is that God from the very beginning in the garden decided to use the covenants  as a way to tie up the free agency of mankind for chosing good we need to see if the understanding of mankind, generally, realize the sacredness and the holiness of such covenants.

If so was the cas we shouldn't have had the many apostasies in the past and probably neither the need of repentance. For every covenant there is a symbolism connected which speaks to our soul and this is a very good help. For every need we have the gift of the Holy Ghost (only for the covenant people, before of the covenant (baptism) just for the people who exercise faith in God and Jesus). The Holy Ghost remind us and reveal us, according to the circumstances

John 16:7
7 ¶ Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:8
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:9
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

John 16:10
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

John 16:11
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

John 16:12
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

John 16:13
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 16:14
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

At the end we have the gift of repentance which is a very good gift which is symbolized by the atonement of Jesus Christ.(to wash our cloth in His blood) Then mankind it is furnished of all the essential elements necessary to be able to overcome all the challenges coming forth from every covenant we made. But mankind after all should work out his problems otherwise God would have made covenants with Himself.

The meaning of conversion connected to the knowledge of good and evil it is the complete acceptance spontaneous and individual.

God's plan foresaw the personal grown through the intellective progress and obedience to what is good against to the temptations of the adversary. Faith plays as a Liahona against the carnal logic. We live in a carnal world subjected to the flesh and a carnal logic, but the spirit is subjected to the Spirit of God. Faith in the beginning will be just in the middle and the laws should be obeyed by faith like Adam did, and doing in that way the knowledge will increase. Once the process is learned we need just to keep going. Liahona was just a symbol of this process and was used by the Lord to help to develop faith which is the deterrent of the human logic and the divine attribute which is necessary to become like God is. Faith in God will increase faith in ourselves, miracles are just that the power of God manifested to mankind and they happen by faith.

Ether 12:6
6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Ether 12:7
7 For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.

elf unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.

Ether 12:9
9 Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.

Ether 12:10
10 Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God.

Ether 12:11
11 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.

Ether 12:12
12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.

Ether 12:18
18 And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God.

That is why it was necessary to introduce first the law of sacrifice: People needed to believe and accept Jesus like Savior otherwise miracles or the Power of the priesthood would never been manifested. Faith and this knowledge were and are necessary.

Free agency is extremely necessary for God because when we accept the covenants free agency is at the very base and testify that the person  understand accept and share not only personally but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually with the full knowledge f good and evil. Without these conditions there can't be a true covenant. in fact an equal covenant it is when the two parts in cause perfectly understand what they are going to accept and sign and they do that after they have pondered everything. The insurance companies, when they put in writing their forms for the contract, love to write the most difficult parts in very small characters, to discourage the reader to get in those restrictions. God writes his decrees and laws in great characters even to discourage the opposite, that is, He really wants for us to be clear and sharp, he wants His laws understood and well defined before to be accepted but He wants also that mankind will keep His commandment at the best they can.

The purpose of Symbolism, or soul's language, it is important for God to motivate, to suggest, to push, PERSUADING and not IMPOSING the soul toward good. Satan tempts mankind by means of carnal nature. God motives it by means of spiritual nature, as the knowledge, inspiration and above all He uses His knowlgede as means of progress, Satan to the contrary just the opposite.The lower instincts  of carnal nature or animal are coming from Satan who works on the lower desires. God works on the spirit to lift it up, to emancipate it and make it more related to His divine Nature.

Fortunately neither Satan (and it was his plan) can compel mankind but only trying to persuade mankind to do evil, so it is clear now why the knowledge of good and evil it is a base for the indivu\idual grown. Lehi explained in

2 Nephi 2:26
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for THEMSELVES and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

And after in the same chapter he explained:"

2 Nephi 2:29
29 And not choose eternal death, according to THE WILL of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the SPIRIT of the devil power to CAPTIVATE, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

The tree of "knowledge of good and evil" is the symbol of choice or free agency with consciousness

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 09:55  

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