Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Isaiah has to say about the Celestial Kingdom - part 2

He will swallow up death in victory;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces;
and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth:
for the LORD hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 25:8)
"He will swallow up death in victory" – How do you conquer death? How do you swallow up death in victory? Some people think that the way to conquer death is to never die, but they are wrong. For Christ to conquer death, He couldn’t run away from it, otherwise that would just have been avoidance, and there would always be the suspicion that death would still win in the end. For Christ to conquer death, He had to face it, choose to submit to it, and then come back with a glorified body un-killable. And not only that, He had to have power to bring other people un-killably back too. And that’s what He did. This is the biggest part of the healing that will take place, and it is the Resurrection not just of Christ, but of everyone.
11 He shall see the travail of his soul,
and shall be satisfied:

by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities
.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong
;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;

and he bare the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

(Isaiah 53: 11-12)
I suspect that these verses have the cause and effect being mixed out of order, so I colored the text to highlight the ideas that were similar, with red being the cause and blue being the effect.

"because he hath poured out his soul unto death" – First, this testifies of Christ and how He became worthy of celestial glory. He poured out his soul in service and teaching and in suffering for our sins. He poured out His soul to the very end of His life and never held back.

This is what makes us worthy of celestial glory too after repenting of all our sins. It tells us that we have to “pour out our souls unto death”, meaning we have to be faithful to the very end. Some of us will have to pour out our souls to death by dying as martyrs for our testimony, as the world becomes more wicked and intolerant of righteousness. Others of us will have to pour out our souls in a long life dedicated to the service of God. Others of us will suffer disease and accident and pour out our souls in the effort to remain cheerful and hopeful to the end. Some of us will be poor and pour out our souls in the daily effort to provide for our families. Others of us will be well off and pour out our souls to the end by being generous to those less fortunate. There are many ways it is possible to do it, but all of us must faithfully pour out our souls unto death.

"He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" - These verses testify of Christ looking back at the good things He did during His life—ministry, atonement, crucifixion—and being satisfied with how He did, but it will also be true of us, if we have faithfully poured out our souls unto death. We will also be able to look back at all the good things we did during life and feel satisfied about it.

It is hard for us to realize just how good our memory will be of everything we did during life. My brother Stuart told me something that really made it clear how well we will remember: The only part of time that we see and know perfectly while in mortality is “now”. The past we only see selectively, based upon a few things that stuck out to us. So I figure our mortal brains can only recall very little, but our spirit remembers everything. When we die, our spirit will have access to every little memory, and it will all be as clear as “now” is for us today. We will be able to see our struggles with perfect clarity and relive them with satisfaction. (If we have not repented of our sins, we will see those just as clearly too, and those memories will be terribly painful.)

"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong" - We will all then divide the celestial reward—all the Father hath—as joint heirs with Christ, if we have been one of the “great” and “strong” who have been valiant all during our lives.