Section 76: A Description of Eternity ......Or The Millenium?
DC Section 76: A Description of Eternity
......Or The Millenium?
The RLDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 76 contains a description of Celestial, Terrestrial and Celestial 'Glories.'
For a generation, we have heard these describe the 'final' state of humanity during eternity. But on closer inspection, was 'Eternity' really the topic of discussion?
In answer to this question, it is important to understand that the revelation came in response to the question: "tell us about the Resurrection of the Just and the UnJust."
So if Joseph Smith and Sydney Ridgon asked regarding the Resurrection of the Just and UnJust, isn't it likely that God responded according to their question?
Jesus said if a child asked his father for food, the father wouldn't likely give him a stone to eat; likewise, would our Heavenly Father provide an unrelated answer in response to an earnest question?
For instance, if someone asked, "please tell me about Michigan, would you give a description of Texas?" Probably not. Therefore it is reasonable that DC 76 actully answers the question 'tell us concerning the resurrection of just and unjust.'
So, (and here is the key point), when is the Resurrection of the Just and when is the Resurrection of the UnJust?
Understanding four terms is essential:
The Resurrection of the Just: the resurrection of the JUST is for the good people who have previously lived, it denotes a day in time when they come forth and live ON THE EARTH. It is the Millenium and the resurrection of the Just is what officially starts it. The Resurrection of the Just is also referred to as The First Resurrection.
The Resurrection of the UnJust: it must be understood that the resurrection of the UNJUST is at the END of the Millenium. This is a point (day) in time when the unrepentant people who were not permitted to take part in the resurrection come forth. This is the Second resurrection, or the LAST resurrection.
The understanding of Glory: Glory, is defined by DC 90 as 'light and truth.' In other words, one who has greater light and truth about God, therefore has experienced greater Glory. It is not necessarily a physical place so much as a condition of understanding and transformation. Two people can occupy the same space and have different light and truth, therefore they can experience differerent Glory simultaneously.
A misperception with the term 'Glory' exists. Because glory is metaphorically compared to light (the light of the Sun, Moon and Stars), people associate Glories as 'different places' (planets, galaxies, whatever) in their state of 'glory.' Glory, in other words, has been associated with place or separate places.
Final term: Eternity. Eternity is when God 'makes all things new.' A New Heaven, a New Earth. This is after the Millenium; after Final Judgement. Eternity and the Millenium are not the same.
The misunderstanding of these terms has created a poignant mis-understanding regarding the after-life within the church.
Keep in mind, these things are not points to divide over. Whether we fully understand these has no bearing on our salvation--in the end, we all find out what was true and what wasn't. But, if we can teach truth now, we should. This paper attempts to clarify a mis-understanding of doctrine.
Therefore, with that in mind, portions of DC 76 are shared below.
Read the text on the left, with a simple analysis on the right noting the reference to when the event happens in the future.
DC 76 Was Given In Response To A Question. Understanding that Question is Key to Understanding the Revelation.
Section 76 is a description of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s
vision they beheld upon inquiry regarding John 5:29. This passage, dealing with the
resurrection of the dead, refers to a specific resurrection:
“…speaking of the resurrection of the dead,
concerning those who shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth; they who have done
good in the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil in the
resurrection of the unjust.” John
The scriptures agree that those who die in their sins and do not
have part on the earth during the Millennial reign are resurrected at the
end of the 1000 years; however, those who are righteous are resurrected
at the beginning of the 1000 years, at his coming in glory. Therefore, when John describes the
resurrection of the “just” and “unjust,” the just are only resurrected at one of the two
resurrections: that at the coming in glory, the first resurrection, which
takes place at the beginning of the Millennium.
Details of Section 76 seem, rather, to describe characteristics of the
first resurrection (as compared to eternity after the last resurrection) in great detail. We as Reorganized Latter Day
Saints, traditionally associate descriptions of Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial glory
with eternal realms beyond the final judgment (last resurrection). Is this actually what Section 76
is-a description of life after the last resurrection, or a description
during the first resurrection
(i.e. the Millennium itself)?
The preface in verse DC 76:5a regarding those of Celestial and Terrestrial glory begins with this:
“and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ, concerning them who come forth in the resurrection of the just”
Ah Haaa....stated plainly, we have a description of when these events occur: the resurrection of the just! Is this at the end or beginning of the Millennium? (Answer=Resurrection of the 'Just' is at the beginning of the Millennium).
Keep this in mind when you read the descriptions of the light and truth within the following three groups of people.
Description of people called "CELESTIAL"
Description of People called "TERRESTRIAL"
Sons of Perdition
4e the only ones on whom the second death
shall have any power; yea,
|Notice that the 2nd death (i.e. final separation) is described ONLY for Sons of Perdition|
the only ones who shall not be redeemed
in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his
|Notice that these are the only ones who are not redeemed--i.e. Brought back to the Father.|
all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead,
|Everyone else is redeemed after Millenium, but many will suffer the 1000 years in the prision house.|
This revelation ultimately indicates that during the Millennium (i.e. after the first resurrection), there are people on earth who can dwell in God's presence (i.e. 'Celestial') and people who can not abide the Fullness yet (i.e. 'Terrestrial').
It also describes a group who spend the thousand years away in the Prision House, but those who repent receive 'glory' in the end. Those do not suffer eternity outside of God's presence.
This word glory, as described in Section 76, simply describes the state of those at the resurrection during the Millennium. For a generation, Saints have read the passage too quickly, assuming it described conditions and separate places in eternity, which it does not.
It seems we have few scriptures actually describing the state of Eternity--i.e. life beyond the Millenium.
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|They become Words...|
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|They become Habits...|
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|They become Character...|
|Watch your Character,|
|It becomes your Destiny.|