Chapter Seven: Distinction Between The Lesser Orders
It may be well to mention at this point that there was also a lower division of spirits who rejected the priesthood of God in the pre-mortal existence, which is the reason for their birth into a cursed lineage (See Chapter 4, Section: Curse upon the Jews for the Exercise of Priestcraft). Some have said that there were neutral spirits in the pre-mortal state. It is the opinion of the author that there were no neutrals in that estate of existence, all sustained one position or other. Some were occupied by complete rebellion and became sons of perdition and as such were not permitted to be born unto the probation of mortality. Concerning them and their condition, the Apostle John relates the following as shown to him in vision:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7-9).Many have wondered why they were cast out upon the earth. Perhaps until the final judgment there was no other place for them to go. It would seem that they will not be assigned to their final place of abode, a kingdom of outer darkness, which the Lord has said is prepared for them (See "Who Am I?", Dyer, pp. 558-559; The Kingdom of Condemnation), until the end of mortal life and the final judgments and expulsion. Therefore, until the final subjugation of Lucifer and his followers, they are permitted to reside in the ambient areas of the earth called inner darkness, here upon the earth (See Section of this Volume, "The Kingdom of Evil"). They could not continue in the presence of God because of their rebellion. Concerning their banishment from the presence of God in the beginning, we have the following scripture:
And I heart a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Revelation 12:10).
Distinction Between Lesser Order and Sons of Perdition
From this we learn somewhat of the difference between those of the premortal estate who came into the earth-life existence in a lower division, while the sons of perdition were denied the privileges of of mortality. Those of a pre-mortal lesser righteous judgment apparently did not lose characteristics of potential repentance, and thus the probation of earth life could have a good effect upon them, while Lucifer and the disobedient spirits that followed him sinned against light and were thus incapable or repentance. Because of this the gospel plan and earth probational existence would avail them nothing.
Recognizing this awful condition, Lucifer and his followers organized a resistance against God and fought against him. He accused God; he accused Christ; he accused the brethren (Revelation 12:10), and did everything in his power to undermine the coming forth of the plan of salvation here upon the earth denied to him and his followers. Consequently, those who followed him supported the action of rebellion.
The Mark of Apostasy
The mark of a deep-rooted apostate in the Church today can be detected, for after excommunication from the Church they set to work to destroy the Church and the work of the Lord. This is precisely what many of the early-day leaders in this dispensation have done, and some even today are doing, for when they were cut off from the Church, they retaliated in various ways to undermine the Church and its forward progress. Because of this, their ultimate fate is in serious jeopardy, and some may have even partaken of perdition.
The Mild Apostate
There are those of mild involvement who have really never come to know the truth, who simply say, when leaving the Church, we want no part of Mormonism. In our way of thinking it is false, we have never understood its purposes. Having taken this stand they go back to their former way or some other way, but do nothing to harm the work of God. Their condemnation will not be so great as the former. It is the same today as always with dissenters, for we can witness the difference between a hard core apostate who rebels and then seeks to undermine and destroy, and others who leave the Church simply because they were never really converted to its message.
The Scheming Apostate From Within
Then too, there are those under the protective guise of Church membership who seek to undermine its progress by open criticism of its policies and leaders, under the premise of being wiser than God's revealed laws, or the pronouncements of his representatives upon the earth.
These have already apostatized from the Church and Kingdom of God, even though the Church tribunals of excommunication have not caught up with them. This type of member is referred to in one of the revelations as having already apostatized, and are ranked with those who have been "cut off." Concerning this the following reference is given:
And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High (D&C 85:11).
Sent Forth to Proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles
Missionaries are sent to many countries of the world, and while we rejoice with our wonderful converts and members of the Church, remember we have not quite reached three million members as of today. This is far from the number of people who live in one large city. Perhaps the number of living who will fully accept the Gospel will be fewer than we would like to think.
We read from the scriptures that "... strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, ... and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). For fear that some of these might fall, the Lord said unto his disciples on the Mount of Olives that, "And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:22).
In light of the foregoing scriptures, what then is our real purpose in testifying of the message of the restoration unto the people of the world? This is being done so that as many as will may be made partakers of the eternal benefits of the Gospel. We are assisting our Heavenly Father to gather from the various races of mankind, both from the chosen and adoption lineages, those who will valiantly accept the gospel in this life and prepare themselves to take part in God's plan of redemption and to assist in the governing and ruling of all God's children who will be categorically assigned to the divisions of three degrees of glory in the next estate of eternal life.
The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76, tells clearly of the assignment of those of the priesthood to become kings and priests in the patriarchal order of the family that will govern in the celestial kingdom.
According to the law of the gospel, no man is to be in bondage to another (D&C 101:79). No man in the eternities will be given jurisdiction over anyone who is not sealed to him by covenant and promise, and who is a recipient of the same blessings.
This is just another way of describing a condition of leadership and of being an administrator in God's plan. The ancient term of king and queen meant the same thing, but to us in our modern terminology it could be said, I anoint you to become a leader in our Heavenly Father's kingdom in the government and administration of the degrees of glory in the next or third estate of man. We testify unto and teach the people of the world the gospel that they may by obedience and conformity have place in the celestial kingdom, for if not there, then in either the terrestrial or telestial kingdoms of glory, each kingdom being lesser than the one above it.
The Process of Resurrection
The celestial kingdom, or the kingdom of administration, will be the first to be founded and organized and the characteristics of those who will occupy it are described in the revelations as follows (D&C 76:51-70): "These are they who are of the Church of the Firstborn" (D&C 76:54). "These are they who come forth in the morning of the first resurrection" [I can find no scriptural reference for this exact quote; D&C 76:64-65 is close], not the evening. The ones who come in the evening of the first resurrection will no doubt go into the terrestrial degree. But those who come in the morning will go into the celestial degree. And then the first resurrection will be over, and the second resurrection will be for those of the telestial degree of glory and the sons of perdition, who will exist in a kingdom not of glory. All of this is in accordance to the plan of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 76:64, 85).
Preparation for Leadership
From the revelations given unto Abraham he learned of his foreordination, together with others who had prepared themselves for leadership in mortality.
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;All of the blood of Israel who have come into the Church have been foreordained to their places in the Church and kingdom of God, if they accept it and by faith and good works demonstrate their convictions (Alma 13:3; Ephesians 1:4, 5). Every bishop of the Church is foreordained to be a bishop before he left the premortal realm, as are all to participate in assisting the work of God upon the earth.
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou was chosen before thou wast born (Abraham 3:22-23).
Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before the world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council (History of the Church, Vol. VI, p. 364).Recently before ordaining several bishops, the writer reminded them that this was the fulfillment of that which had been established by foreordination in the councils of deaven, and that they could take joy in the realization that they had come this far in the way of their earth life callings.
The Celestial Kingdom
There will come a time at the end of earth life existence when all who have been born into mortality will, through the inexorable law of resurrection, have prepared themselves for the final judgment and assignment to their places in the next or third estate of eternal existence, called by the Lord immortality and eternal life.
In a sense, this assignment to places of future abode will be similar in judgment and assignment which took place in the first estate, or premortality, leading to birth into the second estate or mortality. The principle difference in the third estate, an immortality assignment, will find man as an eternal soul.
The soul of man, to be whole and complete, constitutes both the body which dies, and the spirit, which though separated does not die. Redemption, in its various degrees, is brought to pass by the resurrection and spiritualization or quickening of the natural body that it can unite eternally with the spirit (D&C 88:14-17).
The assignments to places in the third estate will be into one of three degrees of glory, with the exception of the sons of perdition.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the early-day Christian saints at Corinth describes this ultimate third estate condition in the following way:
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead (I Corin. 15:40-42).They who will occupy the celestial kingdom will be the Church of the Firstborn, "into whose hands the Father has given all things" (D&C 76:55-60). What is meant by all things? It pertains to all knowledge, all power that exists in the presence of God. Not to obtain the great power that he personally has, but to be influenced and instructed by that which emanates from his presence that we may function in it, thus to improve, leading to perfection.
They that are priests and kings in the patriarchal order of the family will in this manner receive the benefit of his fulness and glory. All who partake of this power will increase in might and dominion. What is meant by dominion? This pertains to leadership - to govern, control and direct.
The following revelation concerns those assigned to a lesser or terrestrial kingdom:
These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.In explanation of this, we learn that the Son will visit and administer through the priesthood of God in the terrestrial kingdom, but they who are there will not dwell in the presence of nor receive of the fulness of the Father. They will not have the right of dominion, since the patriarchal order will not obtain in this kingdom. The terrestrial kingdom will thus be administered by the power and dominion of the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:87).
These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father (D&C 76:76-77).
Of the telestial kingdom, which glory is lower than that of the terrestrial kingdom, this has been revealed:
These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angles who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation (D&C 76:86-88).God shall designate those of the celestial kingdom who shall be called to govern and control in the telestial kingdom. From this great revelation on priesthood, we read:
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.
They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, said the Lord:
For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom: therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him (D&C 84:33-38).
The Administration of the Glories
Thus we are led to understand, to some extent at least, the powers of dominion. The telestial receives its administration from the terrestrial where the presence of the Son will govern and under whose direction the priesthood after the order of the Son will administer unto this kingdom, as well as also the administering angels from the celestial kingdom (see D&C 7). John the Apostle is an administering apostle unto the heirs of salvation. These of the celestial kingdom as referred to, no doubt directed by the Christ, will administer and govern the lesser glories. In all of this we see a purpose. Every one of us dwelt in the pre-mortal estate with God and was given challenge of leadership, and privileged to come to earth at this particular time to fulfil that challenge and prove worthy of further leadership appointment in the continuing plan of the gospel.