Monday, July 18, 2016

Tried so as by fire

This is a part of a larger section of the JST about Melchizedek.

34 And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world;
35 And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire. (JST Genesis 14:34-35)

I was struck in particular by v35. In what ways might the heavens and the earth come together, and how does this try the Sons of God?

The context makes me think of the day when Zion will come down out of heaven to Zion on the earth, but that seems like it would be a glorious day, not one that would try the Sons of God as by fire.

And trying “so as by fire” evokes mental imagery of the second coming of Christ, but that time should be a reward for faithfulness, not necessarily a trial. So somehow my assumptions must be off.

It may be that heaven and the earth coming together describes the test of the latter days to live side by side among people of the world and still live God’s laws. So many times in history the Lord has separated the righteous from the wicked in order to preserve His people. But when the church is mixed among everybody else, living true to our faith is a challenge. It’s a test of our integrity and our charity. The more wicked the world is, the more it tests us. In order to stay faithful, we have to be fully committed to following the Lord. In the experience of living out that decision and letting the consequence follow, the wrong desires have to be consumed, almost as if it were burned out of us.

And too, the heaven and the earth coming together could just as easily describe continuing revelation.  Continuing revelation tests us as more of heaven’s ways are revealed to us. Can we meet the challenge to keep the commandments given? Can we choose the ways of heaven over that of the world? Will we choose to attain to more than the modicum of social niceness that the world calls goodness?

And it also may be that I still don't really know what this is talking about. But the above is what I think until I learn more.

Meantime, each of us has some aspect of our lives that is trying our faith. Let’s choose heaven’s ways over the world’s.