Christ and the Crucifixion

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Kevin Kraut

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.   Matt. 16:24

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And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.  Matt. 10:38

[5]                               CHAPTER I


Divinely implanted within every soul is an inexpressible longing for spiritual adoration. Satisfaction for this longing is often sought for in the acquisition of wealth, power, passion or fame; but the lustre of these soon perishes, leaving the soul unsatisfied. Contentment and peace of mind can only be found in Jesus Christ.

His grand manifestation of divine love came through His sacrifice for us, and we remain restless until we return our love. Within Him consummate all the desires of the heart and the fulfillment of the soul. Haggai the Prophet best described Him as “the Desire of all nations.”

Saving and helping man has been His work and His desire. He was and is the ultimate Friend. Through every conceivable opposition by men and devils, He labored and sacrificed His all to save others.

By His merciful touch he restored sight to the blind, healed the sick and lame, and unstopped the ears of the deaf. However, He was not only the Great Physician, but also the Great High Priest at the mercy seat; the Advocate and the Mediator with the Father to plead for us; and the Savior to the sinner. His honors He rightfully won as a Prince of valor on the cross of Calvary. And for this, he shall reign as King of Kings.

The cross reflects the central theme of the doctrine of Christ. All of the principles, ordinances and commandments of the Gospel rest upon the atonement that [6] Christ offered upon that cross. The cross, like the crossing intersection of highways, represents the crossway in men’s lives when their pathway meets and joins with the pathway of God. Through the span of life man must learn to meet the intersection of the temporal with the immaterial–the realities of physical to the realm of the spiritual. The cross of Christ is the turning point for men–that point at which they change the direction of their lives and turn upon the pathway of God.

The cross of crucifixion has not only become the symbol of Christianity, but those crossbeams have become the architectural structure of its principle theme–the atonement for all mankind. The weight of that ignoble wood, which three times caused the Son of God to fall, was not just a burden of timber, but the burden of men’s sins. Though the cross had always represented the most horrible form of torture, Christ made it represent man’s only pathway back to God; it was the most ignominious kind of death, but now it portrays everlasting life. From those crossbeams the air was filled with cries and screams of the dying; now it is filled with the song of the Saints. It was once the most dreaded of all things, but now it represents salvation.

If Christ’s life has transformed that horrible cross of crucifixion into a symbol of glory, what must He be able to do in changing the lives of men!

[7]                             T H E  F A L L

Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. For I say, that through the offense, death reigned over all. But the offense is not as the free gift, for the gift aboundeth. For, if through the offense of one, many be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded by one man, Jesus Christ, unto many.

And not as, by one that sinned, is the gift; for the judgment is by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 5:14-19


[9]                               CHAPTER II


While dwelling in the midst of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in a true Paradise. Crowned with beauty, abundance and tranquility, it was a land of grandeur without the curse of weeds, pain, or death. It was a glorious garden basking in the sunshine of happiness, but such a condition was in itself a suppression. Adam needed mortal children who could appreciate the opposites of nature and of principles. The perennial bliss of Eden was felicity without the taste of sorrow–it was innocence without understanding. However, wisdom requires experience, and only mortality could provide the necessary circumstances for acquiring it. Indeed, mortality would render an abundance of conflicts, trials, and oppositions necessary for man to receive a “knowledge of good and evil.”

The fall was a step down from immortality to mortality. It was neither an accident, nor a mistaken sin, but an integral part of the gospel plan. This plan was proposed, planned, and enacted upon, previous to the foundation of this world; and since Jesus was appointed to become “the Lamb slain from BEFORE the foundation of the world,” (Rev. 13:8) it proves that the fall of Adam and the redemption of Christ were predestined.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the tree of mortality. Adam’s fall was the essential violation of the laws of health by introducing the elements of mortality into an immortal system. Blood would be supplanted in his veins and with it would come the seeds of death and mortality. So Adam introduced death; Christ would introduce the resurrection. The blood of Adam provided mortality; the blood of Christ would purchase immortality.

[10]         While many have blamed and condemned Adam for the fall, the Mormons, through the light of revelation, have gained the highest respect for him. He is the Grand Patriarch who bore the burden of progeny for a thousand years. The Prophet Joseph Smith described him as “The Ancient of Days” and “Michael” who “held the First Presidency,” who “obtained the priesthood keys in the creation;” and those “keys are revealed by him” because he “has dominion over every living creature,” and “presides over the spirits of all men.” (TPJS p. 157) He also was the “first to know gospel ordinances,” and the “first to hold spiritual blessings.” He “holds the keys of all dispensations.” But most astounding of all is that “Christ is revealed through the authority of Adam.” (TPJS p. 167)

Adam’s mission was to perform the requirements of breaking a law to provide the earth life of all his children. Men were first spirits–children born in the heavens who basked in the glory of their Eternal Father. After the fall those children were given a tabernacle body which surrounds the temple of their spirit, at which time the veil of immortality and spirituality were severed. Because men are estranged from God by sin, they are trapped in the mire of mortality and now grope in the bondage of darkness. However, the seeds of immortality still strive within them. The burden of the physical does not wholly extinguish that spark of spiritual light that echoes of a life and glory he once knew.

Taken from the presence of the Father and banished to a sorrow filled existence, men stumble through mortality in the quest for an understanding of life. But this in itself is the purpose of mortality. The heavens must be properly appreciated by the perspective of its opposite. Men who trudge through sub-zero storms or who thirst upon a parched and barren desert, will properly respect the climatic abundance of paradise. Those, too, [11] who have lost the use of limbs, eyes, or ears, will rejoice most in their restoration. And, when men come face to face with death, they will cling more tightly to the blessings of life.

But the difficulties of life are a test–and in a test there can be failures. The hardships of life render spirituality to some–for others, only bitterness, antagonism, or despair.

It is the privations and difficulties of life that render dearness and appreciation of things. Through sorrow we learn happiness; from the bitter we know the sweet; and from misery we understand joy. In difficulty men turn to God, or to villainy–they supplicate to the heavens, or they resort to crime. Under stress men will turn to God or to mammon.

The beauty and abundance of heaven would be properly esteemed if it became both the desire and the reward of man. The beauty and abundance of a garden is highly prized by those who must contend against the weeds. Who will treasure health more than the affirmed and the sick? Or–who has greater love for freedom than those who have lost it? How beautiful is peace for those who have heard the thunder of bombs and bullets on a battlefield? And how sweet is the fruit of our labors when we have earned it by the sweat of our faces.

But, above and beyond the value of all mortal experience is the love of truth and the love of God. The body with all of its senses is important to man, but how much more prized should be the principles of life which mold and shape the destiny of the soul. The pathway through life, though strewn with the burden of tests and the weight of trials, is garnished with those resplendent principles which lead to eternal life and immortal glory.

[12]         All of Adam’s children would profit from mortal bodies and rejoice in the privileges of that experience. They would learn sorrow; they would learn joy; and in the conflict with evil they would appreciate truth. Mortality would be their schoolhouse; experience would be their teacher.

But the struggle of life is not just overcoming the oppositions of nature, but resisting the forces of evil and error. The greater victory comes to those who champion truth and righteousness; and he who treasures the plan of Salvation will revere Christ the most. Then, in the passing of mortality there will not be death but life everlasting, and in the love of God we will have found the greatest joy.

We must appreciate Adam’s labor in providing for his children, and we must revere Christ’s labor to save them. Adam bestowed upon men the opportunities of a mortal life; Christ would render them opportunities for eternal life. From the fall came death; nevertheless, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Adam sacrificed Paradise to offer us the experiences of life; Christ was the sacrifice to offer us eternal glory.

[13]                T H E   B L O O D   S A C R I F I C E

. . .Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. . . . For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. . . .

Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away. And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.

Alma 34:8,10,13,14

[14]         An illustration called: AN OFFERING OF TURTLE DOVES


[15]                             CHAPTER III


From the tops of barren mountains to the exotic magnificence of sacred temples, blood from millions of animals has been spilled on religious altars. Similar rituals have been made to appease the anger and jealousies of strange gods. However, revelation and commandments from the true Diety were given to explain the necessity and significance of certain kinds of blood sacrifices. Scriptural history records in detail these sacrifices by the most noble prophets and patriarchs, and rather than appeasing the wrath of a mysterious or mythical god, this ordinance was a representation of the promised Messiah.

Blood sacrifice was introduced and sanctioned by God, and the scriptures ascribe blood with a most distinctive sacredness. Blood represents life; and when it is shed according to the requirements of certain laws, it denotes an actual or vicarious atonement. Sacrifices became the means through which a broken covenant could be amended, thereby restoring a union between man and God. These offerings, according to the requirements of divine direction, were commemorative, propitiatory, and dedicatory–thus fulfilling the complex spiritual elements of atonement.

Since the natural man is under the bondage of sin, and the “wages of sin is death,” justice demands that payment. But God, in His mercy, instituted the ordinance of sacrificing an animal in man’s behalf. The shedding of the victim’s blood signified the sacrifice of life for the penalty of sin. However, it was done in lieu of the Supreme Sacrifice which would be offered.

[16]                         From the commencement of the offering of sacrifices, the inferior creature had to suffer for the superior. Although it (the animal) had taken no part in the act of disobedience, yet was its blood shed and its life sacrificed, thus prefiguring the atonement of the Son of God, which should eventually take place. The creature: indeed was made subject to vanity not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Millions of such offerings were made, and hecatombs of these expiatory sacrifices were offered in view of the great event that would be consummated when Jesus should offer up himself. (John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, p. 149)

The killing of an animal would be an acceptable sacrifice if it were done with faith in the vicarious atonement of God’s Son. Sacrificial blood represented both life and death–atonement and sacrifice–teaching man a divine principle and increasing his faith. Man was taught that justice required an infinite price beyond the capacity of a sinner to pay. Therefore, some other type of sacrifice must be made. It was Christ who accepted the penalty and the punishment for men, and so became the accepted ransom for all.

To kill a bird or beast could in no way absolve the transgressions of a human being. As a representative offering, it pointed men’s faith in the vicarious sacrifice of the Messiah, who would amend that broken law. Every sacrifice became symbolic of that Great Sacrifice who would be offered up on the altar of Calvary; therefore blood sacrifices were perfected by faith in the life of Jesus Christ.

The symbolisms of blood sacrifices were graphically portrayed in the promised Messiah:


THE SACRIFICE:              Justice required an atonement for broken laws. God accomplished this through the ordinance of the sacrifice. “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Heb. 9:13-14)

THE OFFERING:                The offerings which were made upon the altar represented the giving of a gift for reconciliation between God and man. These were called the sin-offering, trespass offering, meat offering, burnt offering, etc. The offering portrayed the innocent for the guilty. Christ was the Offering of Perfection for the imperfect. He fulfilled the meaning and purpose of all offerings by His “offer to bear the sins of many.” (Heb. 9:28)

THE LAMB:                        The most common sacrificial offering was the lamb, because it represented innocence. And when John the Baptist introduced the Messiah to the Jewish nation, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

THE BLOOD:      The nature of the sacrifice required the spilling of blood, because “almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22) So priests sprinkled the blood of animals around the altar just as the blood of Christ was at a later time sprinkled around the altar of Calvary.


THE FIRSTLINGS:            The lambs to be sacrificed had to be taken from among those first born. In the Hebrew family, the firstborn received special family rights and privileges, (Esau and Jacob), and also many priesthood rights. Other nations recognized this rightful and honorary position. For example, the greatest curse upon the empire of the Pharoah of Egypt was the death of all firstborn. Christ declared, “I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn.” (D & C. 93:22)

WITHOUT BLEMISH:      This indicated that the sacrifice should be without defect or flaw, thus portraying the perfection of Christ. “He was a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Peter 1:19)

WHITE:                                Whiteness has always represented purity. The perfection and moral strength of Christ was reflected in every lamb that was white and without spot.

PROPITIATION: The conciliation by animal sacrifices is well expressed in the vicarious reconciliation of the vicarious atonement of Jesus.

THE INCENSE:   The incense was offered up every morning and night–a reconciliation type of representation for prayer–intercession between man and God, earth and heaven. The incense, therefore, gave all offerings an “odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable to God,” (Phil. 4:18) thus strengthening faith and the covenant between man and God by prayer.



Burning the sacrifice with fire is an evidence of cleansing, for fire purges dross and purifies. As fire purged the sacrifice, so also the Holy Ghost cleanses the soul by fire. (Matt. 3:11)

THE ALTAR:       The altar represents a place of dedication. The victim was also sanctified and set apart for offering by the laying on of hands. (Lev. 8:14-15) This typifies the acceptable consecration of Christ as the final victim consecrated only by God.

The sacrifices were of three main types:

  1. The Sin Offering: offered in view of cleansing man from his sins, making him acceptable before God. These were offered at each new moon, the Passover, Pentecost, Feast of the Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement.
  2. The Burnt Offering: marked man’s dedication to God’s service. This was a daily offering and made twice on the Sabbath Day.
  3. The Meat Offering: This was an offering of thanksgiving and peace, and always accompanied the Burnt Offering. It was eaten by those who made the sacrifice.

Most of the sacrificial rites and ordinances were given to man in their simplest forms; however, departures from and disobedience to them have dominated man’s history since the time of Cain.

[20]         Now the story of Cain and Abel and their sacrifices reflects the order and sanctity of the ordinances which are consecrated and acceptable to God. For it was “by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts.” (Heb. 11:4) As complex as the meaning and representation of Gods ordinances may become, yet they are all simple in their nature. Because Cain changed the ordinances, he broke an everlasting covenant, transgressed God’s laws, and thus profaned the offering.

By faith in this atonement or plan of redemption, Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground and was not accepted; because he could not do it in faith, he could have no faith, or could not exercise faith contrary to the plan of heaven. It must be shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man; for this was the plan of redemption; and without the shedding of blood was no remission; and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the Great Sacrifice which God had prepared; to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised, because redemption was not purchased in that way, nor the power of atonement instituted after that order; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin. But Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God Himself testifying of his gifts. Certainly, the shedding of the blood of a beast could be beneficial to no man, except it was done in imitation, or as a type, or explanation of what was to be offered through the gift of God Himself; and this performance done with an eye [22] looking forward in faith on the power of that great Sacrifice for a remission of sins. (T.P.J.S., p. 58)

(Page 21 is an illustration of Cain and Abel offering sacrifice.)

The deeds of Cain appear so despicable, yet man has generally followed a similar belligerent and rebellious course. Through the expediency of compromise and concession, man gradually changes and alters the institutions of God. And it is man’s sinful acts that influence him to disobey the orders of God as they are outlined. Cain, then, was apparently not innocent in his character or he would not have been influenced to pervert the sacrifice. In his folly and foolishness, he changed the ordinance, thereby causing him to lose the spirit of the Lord; and then when his offering was not acceptable to God, he became jealous, overcome with anger, and resorted to murder. Rather than shed the blood of a lamb for atonement, he descended to shedding the blood of his brother.

The portrayal of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel illustrates the two final courses in man’s nature–the one of life, hope, and communion with God; the other of sin, crime, and death! A most befitting lesson for all men to diligently pursue the course of life as outlined by God.

Cain’s bad example, however, was overshadowed by Abraham’s noble faith and sacrifice. These stories of sacrifice prove that the ordinances of God can exalt man or consume him. Through diligence and obedience to the laws of God, man will increase in faith, but disobedience will destroy his faith.

The purposes of these ordinances were to bring men into a spiritual unity and harmony, and sacrifice was a means of helping men obtain faith. [he Lord sought for faith and obedience from man rather than the animal sacrifices.

(Page 23 is an illustration of Abraham offering Isaac.)

[24]                         Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (I Sam 15:22)

Altars filled with animal sacrifices were schoolmasters for faith and obedience. These altars portrayed, in blood, the atoning power of the Messiah, who could forgive sins. Men knew that by obtaining such innocence they could be brought into the presence of God; therefore, they eagerly made these offerings with the faith that He would some day come and make His offering for them.

When men properly appreciate the gift of sacrifice that Christ made for them, they will accordingly return the offering. Christ gave His life for them, and men should graciously offer as much. And, when men give their life for Christ, who gave His for them, then the law of sacrifice is complete. It is for this reason that man should learn to make themselves “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” (Rom. 12:1)

[25]                           NOAH AND BAPTISM

Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? But, behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and, behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them, and he whom I have chosen has plead before my face;

Wherefore he suffereth for their sins, inasmuch as they will repent, in the day that my chosen shall return unto me; and until that day they shall be in torment.

Genesis 7 :44-45 I.V.

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For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, that he might bring us to God. For which cause also, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. Some of whom were disobedient in the days of Noah. . . . I Peter 3:18-20

[26]                   (Picture of some wood fragments)

Buried deep in a lake, capped by ice and glacial debris near the summit of Mount Ararat at the Turkey Soviet border, are what several scientists believe to be the remains of Noah’s Ark.

Numerous persons have seen the object, including several pilots who have reported a ship-like structure showing through the ice. Under certain weather conditions large parts of it have been exposed. Some have reported seeing three rooms of the boat that could have been as much as six hundred feet long and three stories high.

Fourteen years ago French industrialist Fernand Navarra discovered a piece of timber near the summit of Mount Ararat which had obviously been worked by hand. Navarra distributed pieces to several universities and scientific institutes in Europe and the U.S. All of them, he said recently, have carbon-dated the wood at a minimum of 4,000 years old. Scholars have put the date of the Ark, however, at between 2500 and 4500 B.C.

April 1970 / Moody Monthly 31


[27]                              CHAPTER IV


Everything that shall come into the presence of God must be purged and cleansed from sin. The only means of sanctification, acceptable to God, is through the ordinances of His Gospel. Thus the earth, too, because it is “God’s footstool,” must become purified and cleansed by the baptism of water and fire.

Now the story of the flood is perhaps the most illustrative symbol of the gospel message. The flood teaches the principle of baptism, and baptism points to the crucifixion and atonement of Christ. The preaching of the gospel and the teachings of baptism have always been co-existent; and to understand either of them, one must first comprehend the doctrine of the atonement. It is necessarily true that the doctrine of baptism would be meaningless without the atonement of Christ. The flood, therefore, was both exemplary and effectual in preparing man, and the earth, for receiving the blessings of Christ’s atonement.

In the beginning the earth underwent a fall and became cursed. Men, too, because of their fallen and carnal nature, transgressed and began to do that which was “evil continually.” Then the Lord said to Noah, “among all the workmanship of my hands there has not been so great wickedness.” (Moses 7:36) The time had arrived when the earth must be purged of wickedness and baptized with water.

Now Noah was a just man and did everything “according to all that God had commanded him;” therefore, he was appointed to become a preacher of righteousness. He offered men a chance to accept the Gospel of salvation, [28] or reject it and be destroyed according to the promises of God. But for a hundred and twenty years the gospel had no effect upon the inhabitants of the world.

“. . .and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (Gen. 6:5, 12)

When men become wicked, there is little hope of their acceptance of the tender mercies of Christ. When taught the simplicity of the Gospel, they consider it a thing of naught; and when it is preached to them with power and sharpness, they will revile against it.

So the hearts of men were too vile, too hardened, to accept the Gospel; therefore, they mocked and reviled against Noah, and against God. Noah suffered derision and scorn from those who had once been his friends. He saw many of his own family and relations turn against him, saying that he was a deluded and foolish man. Noah suffered when many of his own family turned away in scorn and shame because of his “strange” ideas; but it was the revelations of God that had caused such derision and division. It was also the revelations of God which brought him peace within his soul and made him all the more determined to do “all that God commanded.”

The gospel was loved by Noah, but it was despised by the people. Nevertheless the Lord proceeded to make one last turbulent effort to save his children.

“. . . and on that day, the Lord caused the whole earth to shake, and the sun darkened, and the foundations of the world raged, and the whole earth was moved violently, and the light-[29]enings flashed, and the thunder roared, and all the fountains in the earth were broken up, such as was not known to the inhabitants before; and God did this mighty act, in order to terrify the sons of men, that there might be no more evil upon earth.” (Bk. of Jasher 6:11)

God’s work and Noah’s mission were to save men so–

“Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying, Hearken and give heed unto my words, believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers did, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if you do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless, they hearkened not.” (Gen. 8:11-12, Ins. Ver.)

But men are often offended by the men and principles which could prove to be their greatest benefactors.

“And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life.” (Gen. 8:6, Ins. Ver.)

These wicked people were also referred to by Charles Walker, a close friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He spoke at a Priesthood meeting about the trials of Noah and–

“related the incident of the Prophet Joseph telling Dimick B. Huntington, while his books were being mended, that Noah built the ark in the land where South Carolina is now and that while he was building it and preaching, the wicked people mobbed and drove him four times.” (Charles Walker Journal, p. 942)

[30]         But God spoke to Noah, and those revelations provided the means for salvation and a sanctuary.

“Noah after having preached the Gospel and published glad tidings among the nations, was commanded to build an ark. He had a Urim and Thummim by which he was enabled to discern all things pertaining to the ark, and its pattern.” (Orson Pratt, J.D. 16:50)

Because Noah was righteous, he was given the keys of the priesthood for that dispensation. He had accepted and obeyed the Gospel; he was “baptized and ordained to the priesthood by the laying on of hands.” (T.P.J.S. p. 264) By obedience to the law of baptism, he was saved; and so Peter said, “God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were SAVED BY WATER.” (I Peter 3:20) He infers that those eight souls were saved BY water and not FROM it. They had accepted the gospel and were saved by obedience to the laws of baptism.

Noah was the savior of his dispensation for man and animal. The Lord told him to gather the clean animals in pairs of seven and the others would be brought in pairs of two.

“Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female; and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” (Gen. 8:30)

Then the rains came–not for 40 days, but for FIVE full months!

“. . . the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days–(and then the) windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. (Gen. 8:46, 48, Ins. Ver.)

[31]         The earthquakes and the floods lasted for 40 days, and archaeology has amassed great evidence of this epoch in the world’s history. Even remnants of the ark have been reportedly seen.

“It has been announced in a number of publications that certain Russian aviators, just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, claimed to have seen the bulk of a gigantic ship high up in the inaccessible glacier vastness of Mt. Ararat; and that they reported their find to the Russian Government. Just then the Czarist Government was overthrown by the atheistic Bolsheviks, and these reports were never made public.” (Haley’s Bible Handbook, p. 78)

So the rains descended until the “waters prevailed” upon the face of all the earth–the work of cleansing had commenced! Wickedness was about to be destroyed; sin was to be washed away; former evils would no longer prevail; and the darkness of the past would be forgotten. Then from out of the chaotic gloom and obscurity, life would begin anew while the promise and hope of a better life would prevail. Such is the principle of baptism.

Then when “all the high mountains that were under the whole heavens were covered with water,” the baptism of the world was complete. Man and earth would begin again.

Now baptism means the full acceptance of the Gospel of Christ. However, the severance of old ways for the new is not always easy. As in the times of the flood when tempests, winds, and the thundering storms brought turmoil to the earth; so also are the disrupting elements of truth which tear men from their old traditions. The devil gives not easily of his treasures to the fold of Christ; and many men, like Noah, have suffered abuse from family and friends because they accepted the Gospel of Christ. But being spiritually minded, they too, like Noah, have seen the foolishness of wickedness, and also the rewards of the righteous.

[32]         Picture of Noah offering sacrifice after coming out of the ark.

Then from out of the chaotic gloom and obscurity, life would begin anew while the promise and hope of a better life would prevail. Such is the principle of baptism.

[33]         But the story of the flood is the symbol and the pattern of Gospel law and principle. The mission of Noah was the heralding of the work of Christ. And he has been seen and heard since the time of his mortal span of life. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that God had given Noah a new name–which was Gabriel. (T.P.J.S., p. 157) Gabriel, or Noah, would hold the keys and powers of saving man and the earth through baptism. That work and commission did not expire with his earthly life. He would be the angel to prepare the way for the advent of John the Baptist! So important was the work of John the Baptist, that he had actually received the commitment of a dispensation!

“There came a dispensation of the gospel with the herald of the Christ, John the Baptist; and a more complete one with the earth mission of the Christ.” (Jos. Smith, C.H.C. 2:364)

Gabriel made the preparatory announcement of John’s birth to his father, Zacharias, the priest.

“The angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stands in the presence of Got; ant am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. . . .”

“Many shall rejoice at his birth, for he shall be great in the sight of the Lord.” (Luke 1:19, 14, 15)

After Elizabeth conceived, then Noah was to make another announcement to Mary, the mother of Christ:

“the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto the city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin

[34]         Picture of John baptizing Jesus Christ in the River Jordon

The keys of preparation and baptism committed to John the Baptist by Gabriel (Noah) received their fulfillment at the time John baptized the Christ.

[35]espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee. . . . thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.” (Luke 1:26,27,28,31)

It was necessary for Gabriel to introduce and prepare the way for both John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. Little wonder that Noah must also prepare the way for the second coming of the Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that Gabriel had come in these days to declare those “rights, keys and powers of priesthood” for the “welding together of dispensations and keys” for the last time. (D.C. 128:18-21)

John the Baptist came and also conferred the keys of preparation which he held (D.C. Joseph Smith, 2:72) upon Joseph Smith, thus preparing for the judgments of the last days.

When the great vision of the end of the world was revealed to the Prophet Daniel, it was Gabriel who helped him interpret the meaning.

“he said unto me, understand O son of man for at the time of the end shall be the vision…. Behold I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be.” (Dan. 8:17, 19.)

The end of the world (worldly wickedness) would be similar to the end of the world in Noah’s time. Noah’s generation was opposed to all that was pure and holy. It was a generation in which darkness overshadowed everything that was righteous. The works of [36] man directed him into every path that was alien to the gospel. To accept the ways of the world, one had to oppose or reject the saving principles which God had revealed; this was apostasy–the worst kind of sin.

How startling it is that the Savior should say that the last days would be so similar. Said he, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt. 24:37)

Now these are the last days–days in which men are rejecting the revelations of God. Men are turning to every other means for their delights and satisfaction. Did men in the days of Noah thirst for power, gratify all the lusts of the flesh, and continually scheme to gain more wealth? We may well imagine that their society was proud, boastful, deceiving, and filled with violence and disrespect for law. They probably had a welfare state with excessive taxations, rising crime, internal revolutionaries who cried for peace, but bombed and killed the peaceful. Perhaps they enjoyed free love communals and promoted every pornographic smut that vain imagination could conceive. Their schools undoubtedly outlawed prayer and the scriptures; but advocated atheism and the idea that men came from mud or monkeys.

The days of Noah are returning–and with similar results, for the earth must be cleansed with fire as it once was with water. The earth has obeyed the law of baptism and so must man. The merits of those saving principles were so difficult for Christ to earn, yet so easy for men to acquire. The merits of Christ’s atonement are free to all who will accept them. The atonement will work out its proper course for earth and man, and society will be purged, that the purpose of Calvary can be complete.

[37]               M O S E S     W R O T E     O F     M E

There are priests that offer gifts according to the law, who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle; for See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee on the mount.

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.

Hebrews 8:4-9

[38]         Picture shows ancient law scroll


[39]                              CHAPTER V



No other person’s life has paralleled the life of Jesus Christ more than that of the Prophet Moses. For the tribes of Israel, his life and words became an introduction to the law and life of Jesus Christ. From within the scriptures he has been given more references than any other pre-Christian man. His writings consist of one-fourth of all the books of the Old Testament, and they all point to the great Messiah, who was to be “like unto Moses.”

Moses has gained the respect and honor of nearly every nation in the world, and his name is honored by more people than that of Jesus. The three great religions–Christian, Jewish and Mohammedan–all revere Moses as the outstanding leader, lawgiver and prophet of the pre-Christian era.

His main contribution was delivering a nation from slavery, moving them into a new land through impossible obstacles, and then establishing a law among them which has been a source of principle for every major civilization in the world for 3500 years.

Through divine guidance and protection, Moses miraculously liberated a nation that had weltered in temporal and spiritual bondage. As a spiritual instrument for God, he manifest a power of greatness that changed the course of history for all the house of Israel. Leading 3 million people from Sinai to Kadesh, and then into the Transjordanic kingdoms, and providing all their needs, was certainly a major accomplishment.

[40]         Picture of A cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night!

“Aside from various accompanying miracles, the transplanting of a whole great nation, bodily, from one land to another, meanwhile maintaining it 40 years in a desert, was in itself one of the most stupendous miracles of the ages.” (Haley’s Bible Handbook, p. 145)

[41]         Moses was known by the apostles of Jesus as a man who was “mighty in words and deeds.” He was also “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22); and as a prince was in a position to become the king of all Egypt. Yet he chose to suffer the difficulties of life with his people in the faith of their fathers . So, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season,” (Heb. 11: 25) he fulfilled a mission that heralded the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

The life of Moses was a parallel to that of the Savior in many ways. His teachings exemplified the gospel of Christ, and the laws he administered were introductory to the laws of Christianity. These parallels serve as an illustration and shadow of the life and ministry of Christ.

First, Moses was leading the people from bondage and sin into a new freedom and a land of promise. Christ came to lead men from the slavery of sin and error to the eternal mansions of heaven. While Moses brought them from the spiritual darkness of Egypt, Christ became the light that was to “lighteth every soul” forever.

The life of Moses had been foretold by prophets before he was born, (Gen. 50:29 I.V.) and so had the life of the Savior. Both had been appointed a time and place to be born and wore given a special mission to perform.

The birth of both Moses and Christ caused the jealousy of the ruler of their nation. The Pharoah pronounced a death sentence upon Moses; and Herod did the same to Christ. The satanical zeal of both rulers ordered the killing of all male children to satisfy their jealous rage. Said Pharoah:

“Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Ex. 1:22)

[42]         Herod slew all the male children “that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.” (Matt. 2:16)

Egypt was the land involved in their birth, for the mother of Moses worried about getting her son out of Egypt away from the Pharoah, while Mary had to take her son to Egypt to avoid the wrath of Herod.

Although Moses was in a position to become a king over all of Egypt and Israel; and Christ was born as “King of the Jews” and of “all the world,” both honors were rejected and their lives were sought after.

When Moses went up into the wilderness of the mountain to speak with God, he fasted 40 days (Ex. 34:28); and when Jesus went into the wilderness, he also fasted 40 days. (Matt. 4:2)

When Moses went into the wilderness, he spoke to God “mouth to mouth” (Num. 12:8) as Jesus did, and then the devil appeared to him to tempt him (Moses 1:18-22) just as he did to Jesus. (Matt. 4:3)

These marvelous manifestations prove that Moses was indeed a spiritual giant!


Moses performed over twenty outstanding miracles. These were evidences of the power that God had entrusted to him. They were manifest to the children of Israel with such force, that there was little doubt as to God’s calling of Moses. Miracles by Jesus were one of the most convincing proofs that He was the promised Savior. When “Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews” came to Jesus, he said, “We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:2)

[43]         When Moses performed the miracle of turning water into blood, (Ex. 7:19), it was comparable to the miracle that Jesus performed by turning water into wine. (John 2:9) And, when Moses manifest divine powers over the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21), Jesus exhibited similar powers by quelling the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:24).

Again, when the Israelites were starving for food, the miracle of manna bread (Ex. 16:15) was contrasted to the multiplication of 5 loaves to feed the 5,000 and the 7 loaves to feed another 4,000 (Matt. 16:9-10). The manna bread came down from the heavens to preserve the life of the Israelites; Jesus likened himself to that bread. When the people questioned him saying:

“What sign shewest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, he gave them bread from heaven to eat.

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Moses gave you not that, bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven; and giveth life unto the world. “Then they said unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger.” (John 6:30-35)

Then, as the children of Israel marched through the wilderness, they thirsted. God provided water from a rock by miraculous powers at Massah (Ex. 17:6), and again at Meribah. (Num. 20:1-13)

“. . .The people thirsted. . .and murmured against Moses, saying, `Wherefore is this [44] that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?’

“`What shall I do,’ cried Moses unto the Lord, `unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me’ (Ex. 17:3,4). The Lord’s reply was that Moses was to take with him of the elders of Israel and his rod and come up to the rock called Horeb and smite the rock upon which the Lord, it was stated, would stand. The promise was that as Moses struck the rock, waters would gush forth that the people might drink.

“And so it came to pass. The cry of the people had been, `Is the Lord among us, or not?’ What more proof could be demanded? A frowning, impenetrable rock, smitten by a frail rod, only to burst asunder with a mighty stream of water, fresh and pure, gushing forth for the famished multitudes to drink until they could drink no more. It was wrought, we read, in the sight of the elders.

“No picture in the Old Testament foreshadowings of the coming Messiah has appealed more to the hearts of Christians, eager as they are for unveilings of the glory of Christ, than the smitten Rock of Horeb. It has been immortalized by Toplady’s famous hymn, enshrined in the very heart of Christendom, `Rock of Ages, cleft for me; let me hide myself in Thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.’

“The thought is so outstanding in the scriptures that one cannot escape it. It all points to the same astounding fact; namely, that in the cross of Christ healing streams of eternal life flow forth for all mankind.” (Cross Through the Scriptures, p. 35-36)

[45]         Paul the Apostle aptly made the comparison by writing:

“All our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.” (I Cor. 10:1-4)

Jesus first taught this to be true by declaring that “if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37 and Rev. 22:17)

Jesus became the Living Water and Bread to all who would accept Him.


Comparable to the miracles of Moses were the ordinances and celebrations which pointed to the promised Messiah.

The most holy and revered possession in Israel was the Holy of Holies. It was a cube containing the Ark of the Covenant, representing God’s dwelling place, and was entered once a year by the High Priest. The ark was:

“a chest, 3-3/4 feet long, 2-1/4 feet wide, 2-1/4 feet high, made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold. It contained the two tables of the Ten Commandments, a pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod.

“The Mercy-Seat was the top of the ark, a lid of solid gold. A cherub at each end, of one piece with the lid, facing each other, [46] their wings spread out, looking down toward the Mercy-Seat. The Mercy-Seat being just above the Two Tables of the Ten Commandments, represented the meeting place of law and mercy: Thus, a “shadow” of Christ.” (Haley’s Bible Handbook, p. 129)

This Holy of Holies was entered on the “Day of Atonement.” Now the Day of Atonement was a national holiday, or holy day–the most solemn day in all Israel. It was the only day in the Mosaic Law which had to be observed, and was observed as a special Sabbath. It was instituted for the removal of sin from Israel for the period of one year.

“On this occasion only the high priest was permitted to enter into the holy of holiest. Having bathed his person and dressed himself entirely in the holy white linen garments, he brought forward a young bullock for a sin offering, purchased at his own cost, on account of himself and his family, and two young goats for a sin offering, with a ram for a burnt offering, which were paid for out of the public treasury, on account of the people. He then presented the two goats before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle and cast lots upon them. On one lot “For Jehovah” was inscribed, and on the other “For Azazel,” a phrase of unusual difficulty. The best modern scholars agree that it designates the personal being to whom the goat was sent, probably Satan. This goat was called the scapegoat. After various sacrifices and ceremonies the goat upon which the lot “For Jehovah” had fallen was slain and the high priest sprinkled its blood before the mercy-seat in the same manner as he had done that of the bullock. Going out from the holy of holies, he purified the holy place, sprinkling some of the blood of both the victims on [47] the altar of incense. At this time no one besides the high priest was suffered to be present in the holy place. The purification of the holy of holies and of the holy place being thus completed, the high priest laid his hands upon the head of the goat on which the lot “For Azazel” had fallen, and confessed over it all the sins of the people. The goat was then led, by a man chosen for the purpose, into the wilderness, into “a land not inhabited,” and was there let loose. The high priest after this returned into the holy place, bathed himself again, put on his usual garments of office, and offered the two rams as burnt offerings, one for himself and one for the people.

“In considering the meaning of the particular rites of the day, three points appear to be of a very distinctive character. (1) The white garments of the high priest. (2) His entrance into the holy of holiest (3) The scapegoat. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb. 9:7-25, teaches us to apply the first two particulars. The high priest himself, with his person cleansed and dressed in white garments, was the best outward type which a living man could present in his own person of that pure and holy One who was to purify his people and to cleanse them from their sins . . . . If we keep in view that the two goats are spoken of as parts of one and the same sin offering, we shall not have much difficulty in seeing that they form together but one symbolical expression; the slain goat setting forth the act of sacrifice, in giving up its own life for others “to Jehovah;” and the goat which carried off its load of sin “for complete removal” signifying the cleansing influence of faith in that sacrifice.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 65-66).

[48]         Aaron had been instructed to take two goats, and lots were cast over the two. The goat upon which the lot was chosen was to be the scapegoat for Israel. The sins of the people were placed upon the goat, and it was turned out of the gate of the camp and the sins were to be forgotten and forgiven of the people.

“Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” (Lev. 16:21-22)

The act of placing the sins of Israel upon a goat and sending it “without the camp” was exemplified by Paul the Apostle when he wrote that–

“The bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his blood, suffered without the gate.” (Heb. 13:11-12)

Another celebration observed by Israel was the Passover. It was commemorated for Israel’s miraculous deliverance from the bondage of sin. Being saved by the blood of a lamb was a pattern of being saved by the blood of the Lamb of God. (Ex. 12:7 and Matt. 26:28) And Paul said that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7)

[49]         “This feast (Passover) was instituted by God to commemorate the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and the sparing of their firstborn when the destroying angel smote the first-born of the Egyptians. The deliverance from Egypt was regarded as the starting point of the Hebrew nation. The Israelites were then raised from the condition of bondmen under a foreign tyrant to that of a free people owing allegiance to no one but Jehovah. The prophet in a later age spoke of the event as a creation and a redemption of the nation. God declares himself to be “the Creator of Israel.” The Exodus was thus looked upon as the birth of the nation; the Passover was its annual birthday feast. It was the yearly memorial of the dedication of the people to him who had saved their first-born from the destroyer, in order that they might be made holy to himself.

“The Passover was not only commemorative but also typical. `The deliverance which it commemorated was a type of the great salvation it foretold.’ No other shadow of good things to come contained in the law can vie with the festival of the Passover in expressiveness and completeness. (1) The paschal lamb must, of course, be regarded as the leading feature in the ceremonial of the festival. The lamb slain typified Christ the `Lamb of God,’ slain for the sins of the world. Christ `our Passover is sacrificed for us.’ (I Cor. 5:7) According to the divine purpose, the true Lamb of God was slain at nearly the same time as `the Lord’s Passover,’ at the same season of the year, and at the same time of the day, as the daily sacrifice at the temple, the crucifixion beginning at the hour of the morning sacrifice [50] and ending at the hour of the evening sacrifice. That the lamb was to be roasted and not boiled has been supposed to commemorate the haste of the departure of the Israelites. It is not difficult to determine the reason of the command, `not a bone of him shall be broken.’ The lamb was to be a symbol of unity–the unity of the family, the unity of the nation, the unity of God with his people whom he had taken into covenant with himself.

(2) The unleavened bread ranks next in importance to the paschal lamb. We are warranted in concluding that unleavened bread had a peculiar sacrificial character, according to the law. It seems more reasonable to accept St. Paul’s reference to the subject, (I Cor. 5:6-8), as furnishing the true meaning of the symbol. Fermentation is decomposition, a dissolution of unity. The pure dry biscuit would be an apt emblem of unchanged duration, and, in its freedom from foreign mixture, of purity also.

(3) The offering of the omer or first sheaf of the harvest, (Lev. 23:10-14) signified deliverance from winter, the bondage of Egypt being well considered as a winter in the history of the nation.

(4) The consecration of the first-fruits, the first-born of the soil, is an easy type of the consecration of the first-born of the Israelites, and of our own best selves, to God.

Further than this: (1) The Passover is a type of deliverance from the slavery of sin. (2) It is the passing over of the doom we deserve for our sins, because the blood of Christ [51] has been applied to us by faith. (3) The sprinkling of the blood upon the door-posts was a symbol of open confession of our allegiance and love. (4) The Passover was useless unless eaten; so we live upon the Lord Jesus Christ. (5) It was eaten with bitter herbs, as we must eat our Passover with the bitter herbs of repentance and confession, which yet, like the bitter herbs of the Passover, are a fitting and natural accompaniment. (6) As the Israelites ate the Passover all prepared for the journey, so do we with a readiness and desire to enter the active service of Christ, and to go on the journey toward heaven.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 485-486)


God’s introduction to His commandments came by “thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount. And the voice of the trumpet, exceeding loud; so that all of the people that were in the camp trembled.” (Ex. 19:16) The Creator of the earth descended upon Mount Sinai to give Moses the Ten Commandments. Mightier than the parting of the sea, the miracles of manna bread, or the plagues upon Egypt, was God’s establishing His law to His servant Moses.

The commandments were given to Israel to help them overcome their struggle against idolatry, and to prepare them for the higher law that would come through Christ. Moses was the mediator of the first law as Jesus was to be the mediator for the second (Heb. 3:1-19). Of the ten commandments, four were in reverence to God and the other six in respect for man. These commandments were so spiritual and everlasting in their nature, that when Christ came He said that He did “not come to destroy the law but to fulfill.” (Matt. 5:17) Jesus condensed the [52] ten into two. Moses had established the first great commandment when he wrote:

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:5)

So Jesus added only, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ” (Mark 12:31) to that first great commandment.

These laws of God were so powerful and eternal that Jesus quoted them to refute the temptations of the devil. (Compare Matt. 4:3-10 and Deut. 6:13, 8:3) Then the devil quoted scripture in return to support his temptation. (Matt. 4:6) Then for a third time Jesus quoted the writings of Moses to discourage and rebuke the tempter.

Moses knew that if the children of Israel would live the laws of God, they would soon gain a testimony of God because living spiritual laws convinces men of spiritual things. Moses was attempting to bring them to a knowledge of their Messiah. He introduced this Messiah by saying that there “shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.” (Num. 24:17) Again he wrote that “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken.” (Deut. 18:15) Paul the Apostle quoted this passage to the Jews to convince them that he was speaking of Christ. (Acts 7:37-38)

So similar were the lives of Moses and Christ that the resemblance cannot be refuted. Everything in the life and teachings of Moses pointed so forcefully to Christ and His life as the Messiah that Jesus said, “had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me.” (John 5:46)

[53]                 T H E   B R A Z E N   S E R P E N T

And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beholdeth the serpent of brass, he lived.

Numbers 21:8, 9

* * * * *

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

[54]               Picture of CADUCEUS, EMBLEM of MEDICINE

The Army Medical Corps has adopted this emblem based upon legendary mythology, and is considered as a symbol and attribute of the Greek God Hermes and the Roman God Mercury.


[55]                              CHAPTER VI


Famished and fatigued in the midst of a barren desert, the children of Israel endured numerous privations. However, instead of understanding the ameliorating effects of their difficulties, they manifest a most common human fault of complaining. Rather than humbly submitting their lives into the hand of Providence and accepting His will with grace, they were wont to “speak against God and against Moses.” If they had humbly reached to God in prayer, He would have reached down to them. It requires spiritual faith and trust in the Lord to “acknowledge His hand in all things;” but in these qualities they lacked.

The desert difficulty was the spiritual proving ground for the Israelites. When men continue to trust God through all of their afflictions, He then can trust them with all things. Joseph, while in Egypt, continued to trust in God from the depths of a prison; then later God elevated him–not only to the governorship–but he became second only to the sovereign of all Egypt. Lehi, who was consigned for many years in the desert, was later blessed to become the father of a nation. Similarly, Moses, who “esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt,” (Heb. 11:26) went alone suffering through the desert to Midian; but later was called of God to be the great `deliverer’ for all of the House of Israel. These men who proved themselves faithful to their God while in the midst of sorrow, affliction and dishonor, were raised by the hand of their Creator to the noblest of all honors. Now, in the wilderness of Edom, came a chance for the children of Israel to do the same.

[56]         Six days before the Passover, as the conspiracy of betrayal began to take place, Jesus came again to Bethany. Here once more he came to the home of Martha and Mary. Jesus knew his hours were numbered upon the earth–His heart was torn in the agony of leaving His home, His friends, and His wives. How natural then to come to their home in Bethany to spend a few remaining and precious moments with those whom He loved.

Mary’s love and devotion were as pure and as dear as any wife’s could be. We read that she was anointing the feet of Jesus with ointment “very costly” and that she “wiped his feet with her hair.” Who would be more qualified to anoint the Master than a wife? How much like a wife to weep and rest her head on the bosom of Jesus and anoint his body with costly oil with such profound devotion. Surely she knew of the approaching death of Jesus, and as a faithful wife, she paid this last devotional tribute to her husband–a love story with an eternal affection for which Jesus said, “shall not be taken away from her.”

“If He (Jesus) was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.” (Orson Hyde, J.D. 4:259)

“Joseph Smith spoke upon these passages to show that Mary and Martha manifested much closer relationship than merely a believer.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, July 22, 1883)

That relationship had the closeness of a marriage contract. And that love which was so manifest on these occasions was to be perpetual; for a true love which evolves into marriage should become reciprocal–ever increasing with each manifestation of kindness and thoughtfulness. It is meant to form a bond which can never be broken.

[57]         Map of the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness.

[58]         Grumbling against Moses and the Lord, Israel exposed a fault which would have to be corrected; and whiners and complainers never could reach heaven, not to mention the Promised Land. With utmost wisdom God “sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.” (Num. 21:6) Now, instead of complaining against the Lord, the Israelites became humble through fear of pain and death. In repentance and humility they petitioned God for deliverance.

How often in life men complain, profane, or turn against the Lord through the minor difficulties in life; yet it is in the major catastrophies man is prone to cry to his Maker for help. So Israel “came to Moses and said, `We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against thee; pray unto the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ And Moses prayed for the people.” (Num. 21:7) The Lord’s answer and remedy came to Moses with simplicity. For God, who so often turns the most terrible and trying circumstances into His miraculous means of strength and salvation, is ever ready to answer men’s faithful pleas. Those things which may to us seem to be the most terrible, difficult, or miserable, may become the very steps towards eternal wisdom or eternal salvation. Oftentimes God must bring death, famine, or similar “fiery serpents” into our lives, thus imposing the conditions in which we will obtain spiritual humility and faith. How else can we obtain faith unless we exercise a trust in Him for deliverance? In sickness we pray for health; in famine we pray for bread; in affliction He becomes our Comforter. Yet, many will not soften their hearts and obey His will. Stubbornness and a disbelief in God’s will have caused many sorrows and much death. The Israelites were of such a type.

God’s remedy for the affliction of poisonous snakes was simple. Moses was commanded to make a brazen serpent and place it high on a pole and “if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Num. 21:9) Such a simple means of deliverance; such a [59] remarkably easy cure. Yet, many would not exercise sufficient faith and so they perished. The Prophet Nephi verifies this tragedy:

He sent fiery flying serpents among them and after they were bitten, he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.”

I Nephi 17:41

Eternal salvation, like temporal salvation, requires faith. The plan of salvation is simple; the means of exercising faith is easy; the pathway to heaven is not difficult, yet many would rather perish than obey God.

From the beginning of time the catastrophes, wars, and tribulations have been the most effectual means of drawing men to God. In the fear of death, the pangs of famine, or suffering afflictions, stubborn men will bow the knee.

The children of Israel were not the only people who learned a lesson in faith through their afflictions. Famine and serpents were also sent upon the people of Jared; and “when the people saw that they must perish, they began to repent of their iniquities and cry unto the Lord,” and because they were prayerful and repentant the “Lord did cause the serpents that they should pursue them no more.” (Ether 9:34) And as another prophet observed that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.” (Helaman 12:3) The Israelites needed similar chastisements.

[60]         The use of the serpent and references to it have been used abundantly throughout the scriptures. From the beginning of time the devil has been referred to as a serpent and was cast out of the heavens. (Rev. 12:9) The devil was referred to as a serpent because he was extremely dangerous to man and like a poisonous snake, can issue poisons affecting the temporal and eternal life of man. These poisons are more dangerous than the venom of the serpent because they appear in the form of temptations and sin which wound and destroy the soul. The Hebrew word for serpent is “Seraph” which is “to burn;” given perhaps because of the fever which is created when it bites. The soul too can burn with remorse and put the conscience aflame through the effects of that most heinous venom called sin, and like the venom of the serpent, must bear the pain of its own poison.

The Israelites needed healing from their wounds; so also they needed healing from their transgressions. Without looking up in faith to the great Messiah, they would perish with the burden of poison and sin; but those who exercised faith became healed and saved. God prepared the brazen serpent as a remedy for both ailments, but many perished for the lack of belief.

There are perhaps many reasons why the serpent was used to represent Christ. The scriptures insist that the serpent possessed the characteristics of craftiness, wisdom, and was subtle in its methods. The serpent must possess more of these qualities than all other animals because Moses wrote that “the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (Gen. 3:1) And, Jesus advised his disciples to be as “wise as a serpent.” Perhaps for this reason the wisdom of Jesus was symbolically reflected in the wisdom of the brazen serpent.

[61]         When the disciples of Jesus were instructed to become as “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” (Matt. 10:16) he highly esteemed the wisdom of a serpent and the innocence of the dove. Wisdom and innocence were two vital qualities which were necessary in following the Master. Symbolically, these qualities were depicted in the serpent and the dove.

Upon the American continent these two–the serpent and the dove–were representatively expressed in the architecture of the ancient inhabitants of this land. Around their pyramids, altars and temples can be found the serpents’ head surrounded by feathers. Since there are no serpents with feathers, the structures and art of those people were representative symbols. Archaeologists will all agree that these sculptures represented the God of that lost civilization. Since the serpent and the dove were symbolic of the true disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem, it stands to reason that He must have made an appearance upon this continent and taught these same teachings.

[62]         Picture of ancient pyramid.

Earlier stage of the main pyramid in the Ciudadela at Teotihuacan, showing feathered serpents.

[63]         The interpretation of the brazen serpent is not a presumption–for Jesus himself made the parallel before the event transpired:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

The cross has often been published with a snake on it to represent Christ. The following illustration* is one of many such graphic portrayals.

(picture of cross with serpent holding its tail)

*Title page to Women of Mormondom.

[64]         Christ was represented as a serpent because He accepted the curse that we should have received for our sins. Paul the Apostle said that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” (Gal. 3:13) The devil was cursed as a serpent, and we in our fallen state have become carnal and “devilish”; therefore, we also should receive a similar cursing. But Jesus accepted our curse and paid the penalty.

The serpent is the lowliest of all creatures, yet Jesus was represented as such because he undertook to bear the lowliest and basest of all men’s sins. As a brazen serpent on a pole in the wilderness of Edom healed the wounds of Israelites, so Jesus upon the cross will heal the wounds and sins of nearly all men. In mortality the serpent became the Christ and the pole became the timbers of Cyprus upon the hill of Golgotha. By faith in the brazen serpent the Israelites were healed; by faith in Christ we are saved.

The brazen serpent was preserved in memorial among the Israelite people down to the time of Hezekiah, who had it broken in pieces. (2 Kings 18:4) They gained understanding and faith in their encounter with the fiery serpents of Edom, and they were also gaining an understanding of mercy through the power of Christ. The anti-type makes a match to the type, and the parallel cannot be misunderstood.

[65]        T H E   S C R I P T U R E S   T E S T I F Y   OF   M E

And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

John 5: 38-40

* * * * *

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:16-21

[66]         Picture of the scriptures


[67]                             CHAPTER VII


God’s sacrifices, rites, and ordinances portrayed the life and death of Christ in similitude. The miracles and wonders were also graphic demonstrations of the promised Messiah. But the voice of the prophets was conclusive evidence of this promised Son of God. The testimony of ancient prophets came by the revelations of God, foretelling the life and ministry of the “Holy One of Israel.”

These prophets, or living voices of God, “had the Melchizedek Priesthood and were ordained by God Himself.” (TPJS, p. 181) They comprehended the life and death of the Christ, and foretold in detail the place of His birth, His life of sorrow, His teachings, and the manner of His death.

The nobility of all humanity was represented in the life of the prophets, for they spoke with and for God. There could be no error in their words for they knew of whom they spoke.

“Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:22) and “Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9) The “Lord appeared unto Abraham (Gen. 12:7) and Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face” (Gen. 32:30), and so did Moses speak to “God face to face.”

The Lord said,”I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob.” (Ex. 6:3) And at another time “Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the Elders of Israel, . . . saw the God of Israel.” (Ex. 24:9-10).

Jeremiah said,”The Lord appeared from afar unto me” (Jer. 31:3) and Isaiah “saw also the Lord sitting upon a [68] throne high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1). The “Lord appeared again in Shiloh: For the Lord revealed himself to Samuel. . . .” (1 Sam. 3:21)

Then when the Lord appeared to Job, he said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee.” (Job 42:5)

Jeremiah prophecied of the coming of the Messiah and introduced Him by saying that:

“a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. 23:5-6)

Isaiah revealed more about the mission of Christ than any other ancient prophet. He described His birth by revealing that:

“a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” (Isa. 7:14-15)

Continuing his narration:

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chas-[69]tisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” (Isa. 53:3-8)

Isaiah also saw the man who was to introduce the Christ to the Jewish nation. He spoke of John the Baptist as the:

“voice of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa.40:3)

Daniel said the “Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (Dan. 9:26), and Zechariah described in detail how this would happen.

“But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.

[70]                         “Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.” (Zech. 7:11-14)

Isaiah said he “came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Isa. 2) (See also John 1:11)

Zechariah continued with the story of rejection and crucifixion by saying that the Jews would “look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10). Then he continues with a later time in which the Jewish nation would see the resurrected Messiah:

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zech. 13:6)

So accurate and detailed were the prophecies, that the associates of Jesus and their deeds were known centuries before they occurred. The traitorous deed of Judas Iscariot was among the forseen events that would transpire in the life of Christ. It was known that Jesus would say,

“mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9)

And Zechariah adds, “So they weighed for my price, thirty pieces of silver,” and that they also “cast them to the potter.” (Zech. 11:12-13)

[71]         The scourging, smiting, and spitting that were heaped upon the Savior were foreknown, for it was written:

“They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou Bethlehem Ephratah though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.” (Micah 5:1-2)

“They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.” (Job 30:10)

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” (Isa. 50:6)

“Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness, and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psalms 69:20-21)

“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about, the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice. Then the earth shook and trembled, the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.” (Psalms 18:4-7)

“And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn . . . in that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem.” (Zech. 12:10-11)

[72]         The accuracy of these events and the harmony between prophecy and fulfillment bring amazement to the reader of scripture. Concerning the crucifixion, it was written that: “He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken,” (Ps. 34:20), which is according to the law of the Passover. (Ex. 12:46) Yet breaking the bones of the legs was a part of the custom of crucifixion; so when the Roman soldiers “came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs.” (John 19:33)

The feelings of His pain, and the sorrow of his words, were written in ancient scripture. Psalm 22 is known as “the Crucifixion Psalm” because it reveals so much of that ignominious agony of Christ on the cross.

“My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me; and the words of my roaring?” (Psalm 22:1)

“They shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliver him.” (Psalm 22:8)

“The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psalm 22:16, 18)

“All they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him.” (Psalm 22:29)

The prophecies do not end with the death and resurrection of Christ. They continue to reveal His victorious triumph over all things, revealing His final glory. Like the fulfilled prophecies of his life and death, these, too, will all come to pass.

God once told Him: “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” (Psalm 110:1) which was fulfilled at the time Stephen saw Him in vision. (Acts 7:55)

[73]         Again Isaiah, who prophesied more concerning the Messiah than any other prophet, gave this tribute to His great victory over death:

“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. And it will be said in that day, so, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isa. 25:8-9)

Then with a final tribute, Daniel gives a view of the concluding glory of Christ and His Saints:

“I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days: and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Dan. 7:13-14)

The ancient prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament, and their fulfillment in the New Testament, comprise the volumes of our Bible. It is for this purpose they were written.

[74]                          THIS PAGE IS BLANK

[75]                    “IMMANUEL …. GOD IS WITH US”

And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God! And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken, and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove. And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them. And I also beheld twelve others following him.

And he spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.

And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world, and I saw and bear record.

And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

I Nephi 11:26-29, 31-33

[76]             Picture of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.


[77]                             CHAPTER VIII


The life of Jesus Christ portrays the personage of God. His voice was the voice of God; His deeds were accomplished through the power of God; and His life became the Sacrifice of God.

Through Him the astonishing powers of God were revealed. He gained control of the elements of nature and had the power to subject good or evil men; even devils obeyed His command. Yet He was misunderstood, rejected, and treated with contempt.

Descending from the throne of heaven, He took upon Himself the lowliest of earthly circumstances. Then like a white robe of purity, smitten with the mud of men’s sins, He took upon Himself the guilt of others. Though He was the noblest of any king, He became the humblest servant of man.

The beauty and depth of Christ’s teachings transcend all the written works of men; his words have been preserved and respected with sacredness. More songs and psalms have been sung about Him, more books written about Him, and more sermons preached about Him than any other mortal. By the honest in heart the world over, His name has become the most revered of all. The influence of His life upon those who knew Him or studied His life has motivated them to improve their own lives. The nature of his precepts has inspired men to remain steadfast and unyielding in the face of temptations or death. Millions of dead and millions more alive have gained testimony that He was the Messiah–the Redeemer of men–the Son of God!


Balaam’s “vision of the Almighty” was a description of the heralded coming of Christ. He said that “there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel. . . .” (Num. 24:17), and Samuel the prophet also described “a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.” (Hel. 14:5)

The new star in the evening sky, which was so bright that the night seemed as though it were day, was a sign and a revelation that the “Star of Judah” had been born.

Only Christ had come into this world with so many signs and wonders of nature, and even a host of angels came to make the announcement. Thirty-three years later the heavens and the earth would manifest even greater marvels at his death.

The Son of God in heaven was reduced to become a tiny, helpless baby, subject to cold, pain, and hunger. In “all points being tempted as we,” He would know the sorrows, afflictions, and the struggles of life and survival. And, though He was born in glory, He would die in grief.

Sacrificing such an honorable Son, the Father must have been pained to make that offering. Placing Jesus into a world that would offer him only trial, despair, discouragements and opposition would itself be very difficult. Sending such a noble Son into this life to endure conflicts, troubles, temptations and finally the worst of all the cruelties that men and devils could devise, would cause a Father profound sadness. Indeed, it would be a sacrifice for the Father. God must have sorrowed for His Son, but to shield Him would impair the sacrifice; to favor Him would be unfair. Christ must come and suffer for all; this was His mission among men. For this reason the ancient prophets testified that “Unto US a child is given, unto US a Son is given.”

[79]         God raised up special witnesses among men to whom He revealed the identity and mission of the newborn Messiah. This was done that the nation of Judah would be without excuse. From the lowly shepherds to the princely magi, all classes of men would hear the divine news of His birth.

God had raised up to Himself witnesses among the people to testify that the Messiah was born, that the hope of Israel was fulfilled. But there were classes of people among the Jews whom these lowly shepherd witnesses could not reach, and had they been able to reach them, the story of the angel’s visit, and the concourse of angels singing the magnificent song of `Peace on earth, good will to men,’ would doubtless have been accounted an idle tale of superstitious folk, deceived by their own over-wrought imaginations or idle dreams. Hence God raised up another class of witnesses–the `wise men from the east’–witnesses that could enter the royal palace of proud King Herod and boldly ask: `Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship him’; a testimony that startled Herod and troubled all Jerusalem. So that indeed God raised up witnesses for Himself to meet all classes and conditions of men–the testimony of angels for the poor and the lowly; the testimony of wise men for the haughty king and proud priests of Judea. So that of the things concerning the birth of the Messiah, no less than of the things of His death and resurrection from the dead, His disciples could say, `these things were not done in a corner.’

Young Men’s M.I.A. Manual, 1897-8

[80]         The shepherds and the magi came to offer gifts and divine recognition–but not to Herod; they went to the lowly infant Jesus in the stable. The gifts which the magi offered were gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gifts were a customary recognition of spiritual endowment or superiority. It has been said that the gold was a tribute to His royalty and kingship. The frankincense was recognition of His Priesthood; and the myrrh was a tribute for His death and burial. They were fully aware of who He was!

The brightest hope of the Jewish nation was the coming of their Messiah. Their songs, rites, and customs all blended into that long awaited promise–that the Savior would be born among them. In Him they looked for a Deliverer from bondage, a Healer from their many afflictions, and a Good Shepherd who would gather and strengthen their nation. But most of all, He would be their Redeemer!

Although the Jews were awaiting their Messiah, they would fail to understand His mission. They sought for deliverance from the Roman yoke rather than deliverance from their sins. They were engrossed too deeply in the temporal to be aware of the spiritual, and they would refuse the “Light which shineth in the darkness;” and so the “darkness comprehended it not.”

The birth of Christ was not without the notice and resulting opposition by the Prince of Darkness. It seemed as though the devil must have sought among all the nations of the earth to come up with a man as vicious and as cruel as the Edomite, Herod the Great. He was a ruler of such jealousy and resentment that when he heard the news of the birth of Christ, he slaughtered all male children under two years of age. Even some of his own sons were not exempt from this national carnage. But God was watchful over the life of His Son, and the wise men were “warned of God in a dream that they should not [81] return to Herod, so they departed into their own country another way.” Joseph was also warned by an angel to “take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt. . . .” Then, after the death of Herod, when Joseph returned from Egypt with Jesus and his mother, he was again warned in a dream of Archelous, Herod’s son: so they made their journey into Nazareth in Galilee, rather than to Jerusalem.

Other witnesses would arise to bear testimony of Jesus’ being the Christ. There was a very devout man at the temple by the name of Simeon, and it “was revealed unto him that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” When the child Jesus was in the temple, Simeon saw Him and took Him in his arms, then blessed God and said, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

Another worker in the temple by the name of Anna was acclaimed to be a prophetess. When she saw Jesus, she instantly “gave thanks likewise to the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (Matt. 2:38)

Of the childhood of Jesus, we learn only that “. . . the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” By the time he reached the age of twelve, He was back at the temple; and “all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” At that early age He had already become involved in His “Father’s business.”


Zacharias, a priest of the temple, was visited by an angel who declared that he would father the child who should introduce the Messiah. The priest, because of his old age, disbelieved the angel, for which he was [82] stricken dumb. This was a sign to him that the message was true. Both he and the Jewish people accepted the sign, the message, and the miracle of John’s birth. Zacharias first words were “His name shall be John,” and he indeed became the Elias, the fore-runner to the Messiah. John preached, prophesied, and baptized–promising the Jewish people that the “kingdom” of God was near at hand, saying: “There standeth one among you, whom ye know not. . . . one who is mightier than I.”

The next day John introduced Jesus by saying, “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John did not say that Jesus was the King, or a Prophet, or Deliverer–he said the “Lamb of God.” The Jewish people were continually travelling to the temple to offer up their sacrificial lamb. Their own lamb was a sacrifice for their own personal sins. When John said that Jesus was the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world–the announcement could be no clearer to them–Jesus was the Messiah!

With John’s announcement of Jesus as the “Lamb” of God, he was indicating that Jesus was to be the great eternal “sacrifice” of God. In the same sentence that he introduced the Savior, came the announcement of his death–He would become a sacrifice. All men come to earth to live–Jesus came to die. He was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8)

When John went to prison, he sought for Jesus for deliverance, but He offered him none saying that “blessed is he that is not offended in me.” He knew that John’s mission of introducing the Messiah was finished; now he must die, sealing his testimony with his blood. When John was killed, Jesus then said: “. . . Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.” (Matt. 17:12)

[83]         Since John was appointed the mission of announcing the coming of Christ in the meridian of time, it is only reasonable to assume that he would prepare the way for Christ’s Second Coming. This has become an actuality. In 1829, on the banks of the Susquehanna River, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by a heavenly messenger who “said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament.” Thus the responsibilities of Christ’s Second Coming are upon our nation, the same as His first coming was to the Jewish nation.


The Sermon on the Mount has been recognized as the greatest sermon ever delivered by man. The teachings alone render sanction to the divine calling of Jesus Christ, and He “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:29)

The miracles performed by Christ in His ministry exceeded any other powers given to man. And when Nicodemus, one of the leading Rabbis of Jerusalem, came to Jesus, he said, “. . . we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2)

The spirituality of Christ was so profound that the devil appeared to Him and tempted Him, but Christ rejected him; then the angels of God “came and ministered unto Him.” The powers and realities of heaven and hell were perfectly understood by him.

But, instead of recognizing these signs, prophecies, testimonies, sermons, miracles and the spirituality of Jesus as evidence that He was the Christ, the nation of Judah deliberately rejected their Messiah. At the beginning of His ministry, when many were questioning His [84] identity, Peter boldly asserted knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God. Then Jesus “began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the Chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again, and he spake that saying openly.” (Mark 8:31-32) So it was from the first of his ministry that He gave witness of His death.

Approximately a week later, Jesus went to the top of a mountain with Peter, James and John. The mountain became known as the Mount of Transfiguration because Moses and Elias “appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:31) Thus the heavenly beings were preparing Christ for His mission of being crucified by the Jews.

After this magnificent manifestation had closed and they were descending down the mountain, Jesus gave them the charge that they were to “tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” Jesus knew that these disciples would be alive to see His death and resurrection.

The ministry of Christ was to involve others with the same trials and difficulties; therefore, He said to His twelve when he ordained them: “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 11:38) The apostles followed Christ with the cross of persecution and death.

The Pharisees witnessed the miracles of healing performed by Jesus; yet, instead of acknowledging these wonderous blessings, they “went out and held council against Him how they might destroy him.” (Matt. 12:14) Some of the scribes and Pharisees came to Him and said:

“Master we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and [85] there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt. 12:38-40)

He was telling them of His death and the length of time His body would remain in the earth before its resurrection. The sign of Jonas was given to the Pharisees in other terms which they failed to understand.

“. . . Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, forty and six years was this temple in building and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” (John 2:19-21)

At the beginning of His ministry, He entered Nazareth where He had been raised. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and was given the scriptures to read, from which He read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18)

He closed the scriptures and said: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” When He had finished His remarks,

“. . . all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, [86] and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” (Luke 4:28-29)

But His hour to die had not yet come.

The first miracle performed by Jesus was at His wedding in Cana of Galilee. His mother was troubled about enough wine, whereupon Jesus said to her, “. . . mine hour is not yet come.” This passage seems to indicate that a lack of wine at the wedding was not to be as upsetting as his “hour” that was to come. At the feast of the Passover, the Last Supper of the Lord, He revealed what that “hour” was:

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father.” (John 13:1)

There was wine on this occasion also, and it was indicative of His “blood” which would be shed. When the supper was finished, Jesus “. . . lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the “hour” is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” (John 17:1)

His “hour” was His crucifixion!

He had previously spoken to the Elders:

“saying, the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. . . . Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour.

[87]                         Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”(John 12:23-24, 27-33)

Another parable was given to the chief priests and Pharisees which pointed to their persecution of the prophets and the slaying of the “Son” of God. It was the parable of the Householder.

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

[88]                         And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. (Matt. 21:33-46)

This parable was delivered in the temple to the chief priests and the elders who questioned His authority and had it in their hearts to destroy Him. In the parable He tells them that they did kill the “son” and that the gospel would be taken from them and given to another people who were worthy. Later He spoke to them in clear language, without parable, telling them that they were the persecutors and killers of the prophets. (See Matt. 23:27-39)

[89]         The antagonism that existed between Jesus and the leading elders at the temple increased with momentum, and they continually sought to take his life. Once they retorted:

“. . .Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God . . . .” (John 8:39-40)

Before He had finished speaking, “they took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.”

While speaking to the disciples who were with him in Galilee, He said, “The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.” (Matt. 17:22-23) Then again while He was on the way to Jerusalem with His twelve apostles He said,

“Behold we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. And they shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Matt. 20:17-19)

On another occasion, while in the temple, He was charged with Sabbath breaking because he had healed people on the Sabbath day. He countered their charge by saying, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days?” and asked them if they would lift a sheep out of a pit on the Sabbath. He then declared, “it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” He called upon a man with a withered hand to stand up in front of the congregation [90] so that all could see; then He healed the hand so that it “was restored, whole, like as the other.” The Pharisees were furious and from that time they began to conspire with the Herodians, a political party which was very unpopular among the Jews. The Jews were ready to enter into any kind of plot, with anyone, to destroy Christ.

Those to whom Christ came to save were those who sought to destroy Him. To do so they had to become filled with the spirit of Lucifer, which they had obtained through apostasy. For the expedience of worldly honors and profiteering, the leading elders and priests had substituted a counterfeit gospel. Unanimously they had voted to reject God’s revelations. They had used their priesthood for profit–making holy offices the agencies of men, and the temple had become a den of thieves who profited on the coins of the poor. They had become deceived by a religion which consisted of ritual observances, while spirituality was far from them. Without the realization of their own position, they had become apostates. It was for these reasons they were without the Spirit of God and became “whited sepulchres” eager to persecute Christ and His disciples.

The mold for the crucifixion was in full form.

[91]         F A T H E R . . . L E T   T H I S   C U P   P A S S

And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping.

Luke 22:39-45


[92]                         Picture of a chalice

The Cup

In 1910 there was found, in the ruins of a cathedral on the site of Antioch, a cup, containing an inner cup, that is thought by able scholars possibly to have been the actual cup that Jesus used on that holy night. The inner cup is a plain silver cup. The outer cup, of silver, is exquisitely carved with twelve figures, representing Christ and the Apostles. The outer cup was evidently made to hold the inner, as a sacred, precious object older than itself. The art and workmanship is considered to be of the first century.


[93]                              CHAPTER IX



How ironic that lamb sacrifices at the celebration of the Passover would occur at the same time that Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, would be slain. Over a quarter million lambs would be sacrificed during this historic Passover festival, commemorating the power of deliverance by the Lamb of God. While they sacrificed lambs to honor the Son of God, they would slay Him.

At the temple court the lambs were slain and the blood was sprinkled on the altar. Then the meat would be eaten at gatherings among friends or family. The disciples of Jesus wished to gather together to celebrate this paschal feast; so Jesus made arrangements at the “upper room.” It has been assumed by some that the householder’s room belonged to Joseph of Arimathaea, and there at a later date Jesus would return to His Apostles in this same room as their resurrected Lord. This meeting occupied a deeper significance than the Passover celebration, for it was the place where the ordinance of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper would be introduced. The Last Supper became the First Sacrament.

Animal sacrifices were token ordinances to commemorate the coming of the Savior. The Lord’s Supper was introduced so that all would remember that the Savior had come.

It was necessary that Christ introduce the ordinance of that Sacrament. He must demonstrate and impress with His own seal of approval, the ordinance representing His own death and atonement. Previously He had said:

[94]                         “I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:48-51)

It was through the Last Supper that Jesus gave His pledge as Redeemer. Through obedience to this commandment, He significantly transformed the bread and emblems into objects more treasured than gold which pleases the eye, or the rarest vintage wine that satisfies the taste. The emblems of the Sacrament envelope both earthly and eternal worlds. Partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a commemorative act from which the spiritual results are beyond man’s meager thoughts to envision. Such blessings can only be anticipated in the promise of Jesus that, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

This Sacrament, though simple, should be accepted with delight. It is a renewal of covenants and promises that the disciple made with Christ at baptism; and that Christ had promised to the disciple. It becomes a commemorative offering to honor the sacrifice of the Lord’s offering for us. Like baptism, it should be anticipated and prepared for by observances– entered into with prayer so that the influence of the Holy Spirit may strengthen the disciple to keep His commandments. It should not be taken without forgiving others so you may be forgiven–even as Christ forgave the soldiers who nailed him to that wood. Enmities should cease at the Sacrament. Self examination is also required. A true disciple should be motivated to self-sanctification equal to the emblems of that Sacrament.

[95]         Commonly called Communion, the Sacrament prompts a union between God and man by the effectual influence of the Holy Spirit. As spirituality is increased, the oneness and communion with Deity is perfected. We are drawn to Christ and He to us through the harmony of the Sacrament, for He promised that “he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in Me, and I in him.”

Remembering those bitter scenes at Calvary causes man to shrink in humbleness because of that offering. Recognizing that Jesus suffered for us, that His pain was ours, should show that His grief rightfully belonged to us. His pain and death were substituted for ours, because of His great love for us. His greatness pales our greatness into insignificance. When we refresh our memories with the crucifixion, we lose all selfishness, our pride is lost, and we discover our own inconsequential importance. Proper acceptance of the Sacrament transforms the character of the disciple with the burning love of Christ. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (I Cor. 11:26)

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper became a part of His new commandment of love. Said he, “a new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Later he explained this love which exceeded loving your “neighbor as thyself:” “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) This He was about to do. The beautiful setting of the Lord’s Supper illustrated a token remembrance of His last act of love for us. The Sacrament commemorated the love of God.

While seated with the twelve, He said that He had “desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” It had been a moment for which He had longed, and this last ordinance signaled the completion of his ministry. As a promise to them He said, “I say unto you, I will [96] not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come.” (Luke 22:18)

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord again mentioned the time when He would partake of that Sacrament with His apostles on the earth:

“. . . marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon,. . .and also John the son of Zacharias, . . . and also Elijah,. . . and also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham . . . and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days; and also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, . . . and also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world. Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice…” (See D. & C. 27)

At the Last Supper Jesus gave a commandment that His disciples should meet together often and partake of this Sacrament. At this same time Jesus made His own commitment that He would not drink or eat of that Sacrament again until His kingdom was fully established on the earth.

When the kingdom of God holds precedence over all the nations of the world and Christ is accepted as their king, then Jesus will again drink the fruit of the vine on the earth with all of His chosen disciples.


Traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem was often a dusty journey. Servants many times were employed to wash the feet of those who had made these travels. But it was the Son of God who set aside His garments to wash the feet of His apostles. However, this act consisted of a primer lesson in gospel servitude. When Peter aroused his feelings against it, Jesus replied: “What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” and “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” As they had often “shaken the dust off their feet” as a witness, now too they were completing another act of that part of their ministry. On this occasion a menial and customary task was transformed into a spiritually significant ordinance.


The crucifixion of Christ could not have occurred had it not been for the betrayal of an apostate.

“All the hue and cry of the chief priests and elders against the Savior could not bring down the wrath of the Jewish nation upon his head, and thereby cause the crucifixion of the Son of God, until Judas said unto them, `Whomsoever I shall kiss he is the man; hold him fast.’ Judas was one of the Twelve Apostles, even their treasurer, and dipped with their Master in the dish, and through his treachery, the crucifixion was brought about.” (Fate of the Persecutors, Lundwall, p. 78)

Jesus spoke of Judas and said, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matt. 26:24) Therefore, Judas gained nothing by coming into mortality; his sin was so despicable that nothing else was comparable to the betrayal of the Savior of the world. To the sinner, Christ often gave forgiveness; for the traitor, [98] there was no pardon. Judas had been termed a “thief” and a “devil,” and now he betrayed the Lord. When he was discovered, he was flushed with guilt and immediately went out into “the night”–that darkness which typified his evil deeds. Judas left a name that was to ring throughout the ages–Judas became a name synonymous with traitors. His act of betrayal became the most heinous crime ever committed by man.


There is a darkness which can be felt just as the darkness which is seen. It is a spiritual darkness which descends upon the sinful souls of men, leading them into the grasp of death and hell. Through conspiracy and secret combinations, the darkest and wickedest of all deeds are brought about. It is a darkness of a blacker dye than the night.

From that sombre sullen evening as Jesus entered the Gethsemane Garden, the blackest deed ever committed would commence. These forebodings were known to Jesus–so He prayed. “My soul sorrows unto death,” he cried. Here was the Shepherd of Israel, about to become a Lamb being led to the slaughter.

In that Garden are olive trees which still stand. Their interlaced branches form, as it were, a canopy of beauty and memorable interest to those who realize that it was here that the Savior entered alone in that “Valley of the Shadow,” One large tree stands which is properly called the “Tree of the Agony.” It is supposedly here that Jesus asked the Father if the bitter cup might pass.

In the hour of sorrow, or with the expectancy of evil, the soul must acquire serenity and strength through prayer. Though Jesus was an unequaled tower of strength, He was humbled to bow the head and knee in prayer. He [99] who walked upon water, quelled the storms, raised the dead, and commanded legions of angels, now softly prayed. He asked that He might live. The humanity within Him begged not to die, but His divinity asked only that the Father’s will be done. Of all who have lived, He alone possessed that right; but it was the will of the Father that He die.

Jesus had a love for life just as others. He was young and sought to live a little longer upon the good earth. Though there are darknesses in life, there is also sunshine; there are fasts and famines, but also joyous feasts; there are seasons of cold, but also the warmth of firesides. Though we experience pain, there are pleasures; enemies often cause sorrow, but there are friends who will share happiness. Throughout moments of loneliness, there are those joys of loved ones and family. Jesus experienced them all and asked that they might not yet be taken from Him. There was yet much good that He could do–there were many more that He could help; it was only reasonable that His life be extended a little longer.

“Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from me;” he cried. We might well imagine that few prayers ever rendered the heavens as did His in that lonely garden. Anticipating sore distress of the forthcoming agonies, He may well have wailed through sweat and tears of prayerful supplication. How long His head bowed or His lips moved in prayer we do not know, but when He was through the ordeal of the agonized heart, the horrors of anticipation, and the anguish of mortal agony, He still spoke with divinity: “nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Then the Father spoke His will–Jesus must suffer and die; the proper time had come!

With the maturity of a God He accepted the bitter cup. His hour had now come and He would proceed, accept-[100]ing with willingness the difficulties that would be heaped upon Him. Here was perfection in illustration–a lesson which few among the children of men ever learn. Christ accepted, with manliness and humble submission, the will of God.

Why not receive at the hand of God the good or the evil? Why not endure affliction, sorrow, or the burden of a cross? Men should learn to express their will, but accept God’s. This is the grand lesson of life!

After finding the apostles asleep for the third time, He approached them and said, “Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is enough. The hour is come. Lo, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

Jesus was about to be crucified.

[101]            G E T H S E N A N E   T O   G O L G A T H  A

And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged and cast out, and disowned by his people.

And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, ha shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

Mosiah 15 :5-7

[102] Map of the last hours of Christ life


[103]                             CHAPTER X


The prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane was hardly finished when the howls of an angry mob could be heard in the distance. Gethsemane to Golgatha was Christ’s last mile–the time of His earthly tenement was now quickly passing. Betrayed by a kiss from a trusted apostle and forsaken by His own nation, He was then captured and bound by barbaric Romans.

Through the dark of night, Jesus was dragged into the palace of Annas, the foremost authority of the Jewish law and former High Priest of the Great Sanhedrin Council. This was a pre-trial attempt to obtain evidence of conviction which was necessary to put Jesus to death. Everyone recognized Annas for his cunning craftiness in obtaining such evidence.

Annas questioned and Jesus answered: “I spake openly to the world; ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them.” A temple guard struck Jesus in the face, saying, “Answerest Thou the high priest so?” With calm composure Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou Me?” What a rare scene in man’s history, as Innocence was being judged by sinners.

Jesus Christ was the only being ever born into mortality whose life was without blemish. He lived above reproach and conducted His life according to principle. In nothing did He err, no one did He wrong, and His words always extolled truth. When He found sorrow, He comforted; where there was pain, He healed; to those who were in darkness, He became a light. Then, when there was sin, He rebuked; where there was pride, He chastised; [104] and where there was evil, He exposed it. He was the Son in whom the Father was “well pleased.” Yet now he stood before this despicable council to be judged for crimes worthy of death!

It was the divinity within Christ that aroused the wrath of fallen humanity. It was ever so. When men express faith in Christ and in the principles that Christ lived and taught, then the Prince of Darkness rings the bells of hell, and calls upon his imps from the lower regions to declare war upon that soul. From the pits of darkness to the lighted towers of Babel, from the filth of slums to the thrones of kings, Satan rallies his barbs and his influence to destroy the character and the imitations of Christ. That which the devil cannot buy with flattery or coin, he seeks to plunder with mobs or destruction. When Satan cannot influence or entice a man to evil, then he will attempt to destroy him through others. Such is the heritage of those who follow Christ.

The former High Priest Annas gave council to the Jewish leaders, then directed them to take Jesus to his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who presided over the Sanhedrin Council. This was done, and the Sanhedrin quickly assembled to open trial. Caiaphas was seated in the judgment seat–the place where Jesus rightfully belonged. Then this organized mob instead of exalting Christ, sought for His condemnation; however, they were perplexed as to how it could be accomplished. The Pharisee and Saducee council was composed of high priests and scribes whom Jesus had described as being hypocrite, vipers, and murderers. These were the ones to pronounce judgment upon Jesus!

False witnesses contradicted each other and evidence dwindled. Excitement and fears mounted. Though everyone else was excited, Jesus stood calm–still the Master of the situation. Caiaphas was determined to extract self-incrimination from Jesus and said to Him: “Answerest [105] thou nothing?” Then, dramatically and with great emphasis, Caiaphas stood up and shouted at Jesus: “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” All eyes were fastened on Jesus. Silence fell upon the whole assembly, for everyone had awaited this moment. The leader of the Jewish nation had presented the most pertinent question since the beginning of Christ’s ministry. With dignity and calmness Jesus stood erect in His chains and then declared: “I am.” For a moment the air was tense with anticipation of what these words would bring–then Jesus prophetically continued: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

This moment would carry an eternal weight of judgment. If Jesus would have said that He was not the Christ, it would have been blasphemy; but His testimony was truth and they would judge it blasphemy. Caiaphas had waited for such words–not that they would benefit him, but that he might use them to destroy Jesus. With all the enthusiasm of the most zealous actor, Caiaphas turned to the Council, tore off his priestly garments, and ripped them in two. It was now his shallow moment of glory. With dramatics and shouting, he was tearing his garment to emphasize contempt for the words of Jesus. What he did was a criminal offense (Lev. 10:6), and it was really Caiaphas who should die. He desecrated the garment which was in symbol the “yoke” of the Messiah–the one whom he was condemning. The tearing of these garments was in itself an act of disclaiming the priesthood. Such an act was a display of rejection.

How relevant that at the moment Jesus died, the earth shook and the temple was rent in twain! This was God’s act of disclaiming the priests and priesthood of the Jews for their deed of condemning Christ! For two thousand years their nation would be also torn, scattered, and rejected of God.

[106] With a display of passionate zeal, Caiaphas was swaying a mob in priestly offices–“What further need have we of witnesses? . . . Behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy, . . . what think ye?” he shouted. They all shouted back that He must suffer death!

They called for His death and spit upon Him, beat Him, and then covered his head and struck Him saying, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee?” This trial became one of the most notorious mock trials ever conducted. Where thousands upon thousands of criminals have been released because of one technicality, Christ was sentenced in a trial where nothing was in order. Of the many illegalities of that trial, a few were:

  1. The arrest was made at night.
  2. Examination by Annas and Caiaphas was at night.
  3. The hearing before a `sole judge.’
  4. No prosecutors or formal indictment.
  5. Public discussion not permitted.
  6. The Sanhedrin convened at night.
  7. Proceedings of the Sanhedrin were before the morning sacrifice.
  8. Proceedings conducted on eve of the Passover.
  9. Conducted and concluded within one day.
  10. Founded upon uncorroborated confession.
  11. Self confession without witnesses to corroborate.
  12. Without a defense.
  13. Condemnation was pronounced in a place forbidden by law.
  14. The High Priest rent his clothes.
  15. Balloting was irregular.
  16. Enemies were not to occupy Sanhedrin Council.
  17. A man with enmity could not be judge.
  18. Merits of defense were not considered.
  19. Abuse and torture before conviction.

[107] For years they had sought to entrap him by lawyers and scriptorians; and when their cunning and efforts failed, they had to resort to violence. In their eagerness to destroy Him, they violated their own laws, and technically they became the transgressor.

“The pages of human history present no stronger case of judicial murder than the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, for the simple reason that all forms of law were outraged and trampled under foot in the proceedings instituted against Him.” (The Hebrew Trial, by Chandler, p. 216, Vol. 1)

The trial of Christ was enough to make anyone sorrow. These diabolical prosecutions were aroused in fits of anger and passion, where there was neither justice, mercy, nor decency. At times the Roman soldiers had to protect Jesus from outright murder. The dignity of holy priests had descended to the fury of a peck of wild dogs, thirsty for the blood of the Lamb.

Outside the judgment hall sat Peter the Apostle–that poor dejected soul who had tried so valiantly to protect Christ from this fearful plight. He had furiously wielded a sword against the whole mob, but was rebuked by Jesus to hold his peace. Weary and worn, eyes washed with tears, Peter was taunted by old women and soldiers, but he was in no mood to banter or listen to their foolish remarks. To discourage them he passed off their comments by saying he didn’t “know the Man.” We must remember that Peter never betrayed Christ–nor did he ever deny that Jesus was the Messiah; he never opposed the true Gospel doctrines. His sin was in saying he didn’t know Jesus. He was evading talk with these simple people who were unaware of the tragedy that was occurring. Peter knew who Jesus was–he knew what was happening to Jesus and to that nation. He sat heartbroken with helpless sobs of grief–because he loved the Lord!

[108] The council of the Sanhedrin now led their victim to the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate. The governor sensed that Jesus was not a criminal when the Jews declared, “We found this fellow perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar. . . .” The charge of blasphemy was the only crime worthy of death under the Jewish law; now the crime had to be contorted to another charge for death under the Roman law. Their charge against Jesus was now sedition, a political offense.

Pilate took Jesus inside the palace and questioned Him. After examining Jesus, Pilate returned to the Jews saying, “I find in him no fault at all.” Jesus was acquitted! The mob was furious and their mania had been foiled. With their thirst for blood unquenched and their plans frustrated, they now hurled their madness against Pilate saying: “If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: Whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.” The Jews despised the Roman rule more than any other–now, however, they were befriending it to convict Jesus. Pilate became worried.

There was friction between Herod and Pilate; so to flatter Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time, Pilate directed them to take Jesus to him. This would rid himself of the responsibility of judgment on such frail evidence, and at the same time, help to amend their personal enmities.

Herod’s father had been a murderer of men and women and the babies of Bethlehem. Now his son, Herod, had the blood of John the Baptist upon his hands by the pleasure of a seductive dance.

Herod was eager for an audience with Jesus, but was surprised when Jesus “opened not his mouth.” Actually Herod was out of order to pass judgment on either of the charges: Roman sedition or Jewish blasphemy. He stam-[109]mered in confusion and reminded Jesus that his hands possessed the power to free or condemn Him. He commanded Jesus to bear witness by word or deed that He was Christ, the Son of God. His silence spoke eloquence. He was able to withstand the insults, derision, and abuse without retaliation. His self-control was testimonial when compared to the howls of the priests who were clamoring for His death. They saw in Him power and influence, to which they were unaccustomed–and for this they were envious. The silence of Jesus left Herod with the responsibility of judgment.

Jesus once called Herod an “Old Fox,” and it may well be that the “Old Fox” was wise enough not to become involved. He therefore sent the throng back to Pilate.

To convey the charge of political sedition and to mock such assertions, they platted a crown of thorns upon the head of Jesus. Blood streamed down His face and then in contempt they put upon Him a purple robe and marched Him on to Pilate.

Pilate was exasperated to see the mob returning. He called the chief priests and rulers together to make a final decision in the matter.

“Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people; and, behold, I having examined him before you, found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him; No, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” (Luke 23:14-16)

The mob was furious. All of their efforts and thirst for the blood of Christ was about to be abolishes. Pilate began to fear their pressures; so to appease their wrath he sought for a compromise. It was customary [110] during the Passover season to release one of the prisoners. He offered them Barabbas, the murderer, or Christ. Surely, he thought, they would release Jesus; but instead they demanded the release of Barabbas. Pilate was amazed and then queried: “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They answered, “Let Him be crucified,” to which Pilate retorted, “Why, what evil hath he done?” They could not answer the question. All they could say was, “Let Him be crucified!” The howls of mobs have always been heard against the true prophets of God. “Today these enemies of Christ have risen to positions of great power and influence–the power of the purse, the power of political authority, the power of cultural infiltration, the power of world-wide manipulation. They are as much determined to blot out the name of Jesus Christ and crucify Him afresh, as they were 2,000 years ago. It is as if they were gathering in a mob, even at this very moment, crying, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (The Cross and the Flag, Vol. 21, p. 2; 1962)

Pilate was perplexed and wavered with indecision. God gave him an answer by speaking to his wife, and she sent him the warning. She had been warned of the impending disaster and wrote: “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.”

Pilate called for a bowl of water and washed his hands before them saying: “I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it.” However, he then turned and spoke those fateful words; “Take ye and crucify him.” Rather than risk the loss of his political position, Pilate gave in to the desires of the mob. But those fears which he sought to appease became a reality, and later he still lost his office and title. Shortly [111] thereafter, he ended his own life because he compromised with sinners.

The Roman soldiers took Jesus and began to beat and scourge Him. This was part of the preparation ceremony for crucifixion.

Picture of a Flagellum or Scourge

[112]                       THE SILVER TETRADRACHM

This silver coin is one of the “30 pieces of silver” which Judas Iscariot received for his betrayal of Christ. Thirty pieces of silver was an established price for the purchase of a slave. By present monitory standards, it would be about $25. We learn from this that great men, through weakness, may fall from the highest position and calling of God because of their love for silver and gold.


This coin is the “farthing” which Jesus referred to in Matt. 10:29, when he said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing.” The inscription is the head of King Agrippa. By using such a coin, Jesus also taught that men should learn to “render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 23:17)


This bronze coin was referred to as “the widow’s mite.” Jesus taught that the “poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury.” (Mark 12:43) Christ was teaching that a man, though poor and weak, may contribute more than all others by giving his all to God.

[113]              T H E   C R O S S   A T   C A L V A R Y

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the arose.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of Cod the Father.

Phil . 2:5-11

[114]                     Picture of the crucifixion


[115]                             CHAPTER XI


To witness punishment by crucifixion was a spectacle never to be forgotten. The one to be crucified was first weakened by beatings and scourging, which was the means of preparing him to be nailed to the cross. Roman soldiers would strip the criminal of his clothes, then bind him to a frame or pillar, and whip him with the scourge or flagellum. The scourge was an instrument made of leather straps containing sharp pieces of bone and jagged chunks of lead. As the scourging whip would strike the victim, it would tear out pieces of flesh and rip open muscles, blood vessels and nerves. A multitude of bleeding wounds on the legs, arms, back and chest would be opened simultaneously which caused the most excruciating pain. Often the scourge would strike the head, face, and eyes; occasionally the criminal would die from such a beating. On two separate occasions, Jesus was beaten with the scourge.

The practice of scourging criminals was common among the Jews, but the Romans seldom inflicted this cruelty upon their own citizens. The Romans, however, took pleasure in witnessing a human being cringe under physical pain, and they exulted in seeing someone beg, cry, or expire in death.

It was strange indeed that those who claimed to be the “seed of Abraham” and wore priestly robes, were those who spit in the face of Christ, mocked Him with a crown of thorns, and delighted to see Him suffer under the lashing of the scourge. They had contended against him throughout His entire ministry. In fact, it is recorded that Joshua Ben Perachiah of the Council had excommunicated Jesus forty days prior to His crucifixion. Because [116] of this spirit of persecution, Jesus warned His disciples that a similar fate would also befall them:

They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they to unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2-3)

John Foxe, in his voluminous work on the martyrs of Christianity, records in detail the violent deaths of all Christ’s apostles, thus fulfilling this prophecy.

In our own time the Prophet Joseph Smith reiterated this by saying:

“It is thought by some that our enemies would be satisfies with my destruction; but I tell you that as soon as they have shed my blood, they will thirst for the blood of every man in whose heart dwells a single spark of the spirit of the fullness of the Gospel. The opposition of these men is moved by the spirit of the adversary of all righteousness. It is not only to destroy me, but every man and woman who dares believe the doctrines that God hath inspired me to deliver to this generation.” (Doc. History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 498)

Many of God’s servants have, in like manner, suffered most from the hands of their own brethren. It was Judas the Apostle who lead the murderous mob to Christ; and the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred by a mob let by one of his own apostles. Jesus had to listen to their indignities, ensure their mockery, and feel the pains of their afflictions. His eyes, like those of many of his servants, were filled with bitter tears. The true disciples of Christ will feel the burden of mistreatment, unjust judgments, and often prison bars or death; for the disciple is not above his Master.

[117] The persecutors of Christ were not ignorant peasants of the field or calloused men of the military; they were “letter-of-the-law theologians,” lawyers, educators and money-men, who sought for the favor and honors of society. It was their contempt for gospel principles which made them reflect the spirit of darkness rather than light. While professing a love of God, they were persecutors and oppressors of the Son of God and His devoted disciples.

As men trust more in the formalities of worship, rather than in the revelations of God, they are inclined toward a religion of servitude and rituals without the manifestations of heaven. The offices of the priests were filled with men who sought political ambition and temporal power, and their selection to office was based upon conventional sovereignty rather than upon directives of the Lord. Their sermons became speeches for popularity and their prayers were a written art; the revelations of God were contorted to the satisfaction of intimidating gentiles. Whatever thirst existed in the people for truth, and the love of God, was drowned by fable and fiction from their leaders.

Time has changed little in men, for today they commonly profane His name, despise His principles, and would sanction His crucifixion. Said Joseph Smith the prophet of this last dispensation:

“This generation is as corrupt as the generation of the Jews that crucified Christ; and if He were here today, and should preach the same doctrine He did then, they would put him to death.” (TPJS, p. 328)

The true disciples of Christ are drawn together–not by the honors of society, political acclaim, or ecclesiastical station, but rather because of their love for truth and the spirit of God which is reflected in their [118] character. The natural man never knows that calm and peaceful spirit which radiates from the soul of the followers of Jesus Christ, while false brethren and oppressors are influenced by vain ambitions and unrighteous control and compulsion over others. To gratify their pride, they exult in the suffering of Christ and His chosen servants. The true disciple gains experience from many of the same difficulties that Jesus bore.

“It is necessary, then, that we pass through the school of suffering, trial, affliction, and privation, to know ourselves, to know others, and to know our God. Therefore it was necessary, when the Savior was upon the earth, that he should be tempted in all infirmities, to comprehend the weaknesses and strength, the perfections and imperfections of poor fallen human nature. And having accomplished the thing he came into the world to do; having had to grapple with the hypocrisy, corruption, weakness, and imbecility of man; having met with temptation and trial in all its various forms, and overcome; he has become a `faithful high priest’ to intercede for us in the everlasting kingdom of His Father. He knows how to estimate and put a proper value upon human nature, for he, having been placed in the same position as we are, knows how to bear with our weaknesses and infirmities, and can fully comprehend the depth, power, and strength of the afflictions and trials that men have to cope with in this world. And thus understandingly and by experience, he can bear with them as a father and an elder brother.” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 1:148)

Jesus had suffered from hunger, the loss of sleep and torture. Now the heavy burden of the cross was placed upon his shoulders and He was directed towards [119] Calvary. His body, already crimson with blood, was overly taxed with pain land suffering. Standing was agony enough, but now He must carry to Calvary the implement of His death. As he wearily trudged along the path, his mind whirled and he staggered and fell. The mob cheered and jeered, then forced Him to continue. With utmost exertion, He lifted that instrument of torture and pressed forward in agony. The shouts and harassments caused others to gather, and soon a crowd of spectators had arrived to watch this calamitous proceed. Only a few sympathized.

With tongue parched, fever in mind and body, and His back inflamed with wounds, Jesus again fainted. His cross tumbled down upon Him and He lay exhausted. He was offering all that He could for the cause of God. He was setting a precedence for men who would follow in His footsteps, for “if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life, he must sacrifice all things.” (TPJS, p. 322) Men must learn to offer themselves to the will of God when they reach their Gethsemane, and in their life God will also give them a cross to bear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ requires this sacrifice.

“7. Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, [120] and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does: know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. (Lectures on Faith, No. 6)

The power of Christ on earth is limited to the men who will serve Him. Many are called, but few are chosen because of the cross they must bear. Valiant men do what Christ would do. The honors of men or the “uppermost seats” are of little consequence to those valiant few who hold on to the iron rod and the whole gospel of Christ. The nobility of Christ’s disciples is their desire to consecrate all to the building of God’s kingdom and defending His truths. They fear that the cause of Christ might be neglected.

With a twisted thorny wreath, a purple robe, and a frightful cross, the Redeemer of the world lay suffering on the road to Calvary. In laughter the mob ridiculed their Savior; in mockery they derided the Messiah, and they rejoiced in the forthcoming death of the Son of God. Jesus once said, “mine elect harden not their hearts” and “my sheep know my voice;” but these goats overran the herd.

The mob saw that Jesus could carry the cross no further. No Jew would step forth to help carry the cross, for their tradition forbid it lest they would be defiled and forbidden from partaking the Passover. Simon, a Cyrenian, was passing through the country and had heard the howls of the crowd. When he saw Jesus, he compassionately stooped to bear the cross of Christ. By so doing he will forever be held in honor for that deed.

[121] The words of Jesus express the love of the gospel a disciple of Christ must have: “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me.” (Mat. 10:38) The gospel has its cross and the disciple must identify himself with it. When he said, “Take up your cross,” he did not mean to drag it or give it to another but to carry it no matter what the consequences. That cross requires the sacrifice of all things; and since He suffered that cross for us, we also should carry one for Him. Our cross is not everlasting; we carry it but a little way. For awhile we share His cross–for a moment we bear a little burden that we may share all things with Him. We, therefore, glory not in this world, but in Him.

He did not say, “Go on that road to Calvary,” but He said, “Come follow Me.” We follow only where He has been; we make no journey, we travel no difficult trail without knowing that He has been there before. No matter how grievous our cares, no matter how dark our path, we cannot continue without seeing His footprints. As dark and sorrowful as our journey may be, it was darker for Him.

I cried, `Lord Jesus,’ and He spoke my name:

I saw His hands all bruised and torn;

I stopped to kiss away the marks of shame,

The shame for me that He had borne.

`Take up thy cross and follow Me,’

I hear the Blessed Savior call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice,

When Jesus gave His all.

–Howard Estep

The mob gathered around Golgotha (Hebrew name for place of the skull; Calvary in Greek) as an arena to witness a spectacle of entertainment. The cross was laid down by Simon. (Some say that only the large cross beam was carried.) Roman soldiers stepped forth, pushing the crowd away as they brought the hammer and nails.


“. . . then followed the most awful moment of all. He was laid down upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the crossbeams, and at the center of the open palms the point of a huge iron nail was placed, which, by the blow of a mallet, was driven home into the wood. Then through either foot separately or possibly through both together, as `they were placed one over the other, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh. Whether the sufferer was also bound to the cross we do not know; but, to prevent the hands and feet being torn away by the weight of the body, which could rest upon nothing but four great wounds, there was, about the center of the cross, a wooden projection strong enough to support, at least in part, a human body, which soon became a weight of agony. Then the `accursed tree’ with its living human burden was slowly heaved up and the end fixed firmly in a hole in the ground. The feet were but a little raised above the earth. The victim was in full reach of every hand that might choose to strike.” (Farrar’s Life of Christ, p. 695 & 697)

Those hands which had lifted up the lame, those fingers which had touched the eyes of the blind to let them see again, those tender hands which had conferred the priesthood of God and bestowed the Holy Ghost, were now pierced with huge nails.

His feet had carried Him upon the mountainside so that He could teach and feed thousands; He had walked to the sick and dying, but now those feet were pierced. He had spoken eternal words of life and salvation to the people; but now He was the subject of their jeers and scoffs. He brought back life to some; but His nation returned death to Him. He openly forgave men their sins, only to become the victim of the worst of all crimes.

[123] How few are moved to tears over the sacrifice of Christ; yet men can obtain a free conscience only by faith in His atonement. It is by obedience to the laws of atonement that make that sacrifice valid; for the degree of reverence we hold for Christ will thus influence our thoughts, our words, and deeds.

We were created by God through blood, water, and spirit; and to accept the gospel of Christ, we must be born again by similar provisions. For God has said:

“. . . ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten that ye might be sanctified from all sin.” (Moses 6:59)

He continues by saying that we might:

“enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; for by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;” (Moses 6:59-60)

In the plan of salvation, we become justified by our faith, rewarded according to our works, and saved by God’s grace through the atonement.

In mortality men are often blinded by many objects which distract them from the spiritual life.

[124]                         MY WAY TO DAMASCUS

Withhold from me, Dear Lord, I pray,

The tinsel baubles that crowd our lives today.

Lest in the getting, I should fail to see,

The path before me that leads close to Thee.

Hold back a little of life’s silver and gold,

Lest I should find if they were mine to hold

Their glitter would blind these earth-bound eyes,

And sightless, I’d lose the path to Paradise.

Instead of transient things of earth

Give me grace to see eternal worth.

On my road to Damascus, guide I pray,

These stumbling feet along the way.

Let me be forgiven and forgiveness know.

Take my hand along this way I go,

Lead me gently to the place,

Where cleansed and pure at last I see Thy face.

–Bea Kraut

Strange that man’s ingenuity has ever been directed in the paths of conquering or subjecting others by the power of warfare or unjust rule. The Roman and Jewish nation had descended to such a repulsive climate, and the methods of punishment and torture became an important science to them.

“The Romans, to whom crucifixion was an exact science, always placed their nails with meticulous accuracy to cause the maximum possible pain. At the crease of the wrist there is a strong muscle over substantial bone structure, and between the bones an open space of about three-eighths of an inch diameter. The Roman nail passed through here, easily supporting the weight of the body, piercing the great median nerve in the process, and causing the victim terrible agony.


“Have you ever had the dentist touch a nerve with his drill? That is only a very small nerve. The wave of pain that follows the piercing of the great median nerve in the wrist is known only to someone who has had an arm or leg cut off. It causes the muscles of the arm, neck, head, and chest to contract and cramp in atrocious agony.

“Centuries of contemplation of the cross as an instrument of salvation have, I fear, hardened us somewhat to the monstrosity of death by crucifixion and made this infamous gibbet `respectable’ for us.” (Australian Monthly, Dec. 1949)

The description of Christ’s death is itself horrible to the senses. To have inflicted this cruelty upon one so innocent was even worse.

The criminal to be crucified had the name of his offense written on the cross. Pilate had written “King of the Jews” on Christ’s cross in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The priests were annoyed and asked Pilate, to change it to “He saith He is King of the Jews,” but Pilate was already irritated with their numerous and outrageous demands. He retorted: “What I have written, I have written.”

This implied that because He came as King of the Jews, Jesus would be guilty of death. Even though the Messiah they hoped for should come, they would have to condemn him also because they had made this law in effect this day. “We have no king but Caesar,” they had shouted; and now their hypocrisy was exposed. They had sworn allegiance to the Roman government and to a law which forbid the Jews to ever have a king. They had overstepped their bounds by making full allegiance with Rome and thus severing their spiritual tie with God.

[126] While He was being crucified, He spoke the words, `Father, forgive them,” which many supposed was meant for the Jews, who drove Him there. But He was speaking of the Roman soldiers who were carrying out a civic obligation and didn’t know who they were crucifying. (See Ins. Trans. of Bible, Luke 23:35)

According to custom, the crucified was watched by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23), with their centurion (Matt. 27:66), whose duty it was to prevent the stealing of the body. Fracture of the legs was adopted by the Jews to hasten death (John 19:31). The parting of garments and belongings among the soldiers was a customary bonus for those who had to perform the executions.

The Jewish priests, however, were fully aware of their actions and who they were crucifying, and for them there would be no forgiveness. Murder is an unforgivable sin because it is beyond the ability of the murderer to reconcile. Said the Prophet Joseph:

“A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. . . . Peter referred to the same subject on the day of Pentecost, but the multitude did not got the endowment that Peter had; but several days after, the people asked, `What shall we do?’ Peter says, `I would ye had done it ignorantly,’ speaking of crucifying the Lord, etc. He did not say to them, `Repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins;’ but he said, `Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.’ (Acts 3:19)

“This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins, for they had shed innocent blood.” (TPJS, p. 339)

[127]                    Picture of THE VIA DOLOROSA


As the emblem of a slave’s death and a murderer’s punishment, the cross was naturally looked upon with the profoundest horror. But after the celebrated vision of Constantine, he ordered his friends to make a cross of gold and gems, such as he had seen, and “the towering eagles resigned the flags unto the cross,” and “the tree of cursing and shame sat upon the sceptres and was engraved and signed on the foreheads of kings.” (Jeremiah Taylor’s Life of Christ, Vol. 3., XV. 1.) The new standards were called by the name Labarum, and may be seen on the coins of Constantine the Great and his nearer successors.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p. 128

[129] For nearly two thousand years the nation and tribe of Judah possessed the “sceptre” and power of priesthood law. (Gen. 49:10) But when Shiloh, their Messiah, came, they rejected Him and turned against the higher laws of the Priesthood. By doing so, they have incurred the wrath of God which became a curse upon them for the following two thousand years.

Not many years after the Jews chose Caesar as king, rather than Christ, Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in 69 A.D., and for many of the Jews their last look into mortality was to see the prophecy of Jesus fulfilled as He spoke of this event “when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” (Luke 21:20) Legions of Roman soldiers under command of General Titus poured in upon the Jews in Jerusalem and for three days blood ran down the streets like water. Over a million Jews were killed in and around their temple while innumerable others were crucified until “room was wanting and wood failed.” They were suffering the death which they had inflicted upon their Messiah. For thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, they had purchased the blood of the Savior; and those who were not killed were sold as slaves in Rome for much less.

The temple at Jerusalem, which was the pride of the Jewish nation, was to suffer a similar fate. Roman soldiers who thought the Jews had hidden their wealth somewhere within the temple walls literally tore the temple apart–stone by stone–until the temple had been totally demolished, thus fulfilling another prophecy of their rejected Messiah, who had said, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:2)

From that day to this there has been no temple for the people of Judah. There is not one priest who can function as a priest and offer up a sacrificial offering. The ancient priesthood required that a man prove his genealogy to qualify for the office of a priest, but today there is not an unbroken chain of that lineage. That proud nation who once observed the commandment “gather together” has been smitten and driven from nation to nation, in the broadest scattered condition ever known.

[130] The only mourners along the path to Calvary were “women weeping.” These were family relations, wives, and close friends whose tender hearts had received kindness, healing, forgiveness of sins, and spiritual guidance. These were the ones who now suffered with Him. In their troubles He had given them comfort; now they were helpless in comforting Him. Jesus looked upon them in compassion and said, “Weep not for me, but for yourselves, and for your children.” He knew that destruction for Jerusalem was soon to become a reality, and they and their children would also suffer from the Romans.

Among those mourners was His mother, Mary. Mary knew His greatness. She knew His mission before He was born. She saw His strong character as a youth, and she saw Him confound those priests while He was only 12 years of age. She knew He would die at the hands of men–ungrateful and wicked men–and as His mother, she wanted to share His last mortal minutes. She gave Him a few moments of comforting love as only mothers can.

Perhaps she looked back over thirty years to that little manger at Bethlehem when she had given birth to Him. She remembered hearing His first cries; she remembered the happy moments of holding Him close to her breast and rocking Him to sleep as a babe. She was then His protector from the cold; and when He was sick, she cared for His needs. Now while He suffered, she stood there helpless.

She perhaps recalled further the miraculous signs of His birth–the bright star; the night that was as day; then the wise men and shepherds who bore testimony and brought gifts. She also remembered the wicked who came to destroy Him and her escape to Egypt to protect Him. She had suffered many times and had made many sacrifices to protect Him. Now in the prime of His youth, she saw Him scourged, tormented and crucified. Her heart must have nearly broken; for when she wanted most to help Him, there was nothing she could do during the worst of all His sufferings.

[131] While Jesus was on the cross, suffering greatly from thirst, the Romans gave Him some wine containing drugs, to deaden His senses; but after Jesus tasted it, he spit it out because He knew He must stay as alert as possible for the temptation and difficulty He was about to endure. Since His mission was to redeem a fallen world, no other object was allowed to interfere; and so He concentrated all of His faculties to one objective–doing the will of His Father. The adversary asserted every means to tempt, discourage, and entangle Him in this world’s attachments and vanities, but by unswerving obedience and rigid subjection, He proved His greatness and majesty. Now in these last moments on earth, He must be prepared for the most crucial and trying experience of His entire life.

Heckling and temptation still taunted the Savior. The thief on the cross nearby was pleading, “IF thou be the Son of God, save thyself and us”–which again were the words of Satan who said to Jesus about three years previously on the pinnacle of the temple, “IF thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.” Satan, with his legions in human form, stood at the cross to condemn and to tempt. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save,” they chanted.

But it takes a criminal to rightly know a criminal, and the other thief said, “This man hath done nothing amiss.” His understanding was keener than that of the priestly mob. Little wonder that Jesus had told them that the “harlots and publicans enter heaven” before they would! The poor thief even called Jesus, Lord.

That day at the cross were manifest supreme love and supreme hatred. The true character of Satan, as an apostate from correct principles, was revealed, showing his barbarity and cruelty. He influenced others to destroy all that is holy. If Satan, through pain and suffering, could weaken Christ enough to tempt Him to do or say a wrong, or to compromise, he could then frustrate [132] the plan of salvation and gain victory over all men. This day Satan would gamble with all that was in his power. His hatred for Christ, God, and man was clearly revealed. He proved that he is the master of oppression, despising mercy–that he gives nothing but demands all. His pleasure is to make others as miserable as he is.

The prime motive of Satan from the beginning was to crush and destroy Christ, and now he was about to blast Him with all the hatred and evil that hell could combine. The devil had pronounced a death sentence upon Christ at His birth through Herod, and from that time on the life of Christ had continually been in jeopardy.

Crucifixion was the worst form of death ever devised by man. There was a progressive loss of strength, while pain increased. The head soon became too heavy to hold up, and the body became parched with sun from without and by fever from within; then it was chilled at night. Insects continually irritated the victim.

A vivid description of this method of torture and death is recorded by Farrar:

“A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly–dizziness, cramps, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds, all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened; the arteries, es-[133]pecially of the head and stomach, became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood; and, while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst. Such was the death to which our Lord was doomed!” (Farrar’s Life of Christ, p. 698)

He suffered as a man, was crucified as a criminal, yet He was a God.

In our lives we, too, experience moments of deep suffering. It is only when our hearts are broken, when our sins burn upon our minds, our tears pour as rain, that our souls have come to Calvary. Sin and guilt give the devil a proper moral condition to influence men and make them suffer; and God honors this by the law of justice. Only by a remission of those sins are men free of punishment. Men will suffer until they receive a change of heart; but if they refuse, they must suffer even as Jesus did.

“For behold, I God have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit. . . .” (D & C 19:16-18; see also Mosiah 3:7)

John Huss, the reformer who was cast into dungeons, tortured, and finally burned at the stake, wrote:

“Jesus Christ suffered for His well-beloved; and therefore ought we to be astonished that He has left us His example, in order that we may ourselves endure with patience in all things for our salvation?


He is God, and we are His creatures; He is the Lord, and we are His servants; He is master of the world, and we are contemptible mortals; . . . yet He suffered! Why, then, should we not suffer also, particularly when suffering is for a purification? (The Great Controversy, p. 105)

The crucifixion of Christ was more than just being nailed to wood. He took upon Him more than physical and mental agony–He took a spiritual burden of infinite magnitude. It was while He was undergoing the physical tortures that the most significant and supreme test was given to Him. It was unexpected; it was God’s withdrawing of His spirit from Jesus.

In all of the trials and temptations of life, Jesus had the Spirit of the Father to comfort and to guide Him. It is when the Spirit of Cod is withdrawn, that men feel the torment and miseries of spiritual hell. And when God withdrew His Spirit from Jesus, all the legions of hell and Satan compressed their tyranny upon Him. The worst torments of hell burst upon the soul of Jesus forcing blood from every pore; and in this misery He cried: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Then while in this dark despair and anguished torment, the Father spoke to Him and told Him that He could now understand and comprehend the torment and agony that He had saved all men from by this atonement which He had just made. His sacrifice was complete, His mission fulfilled, and Jesus said, “It is finished”–then He died.

It was in proportion to His greatness that He suffered. Equal to His holiness was His subjection to evil; and He was victorious.

The pressures of evil forces were dispelled from the body of Christ at His death. Then the powers of [135] Satan burst out into the physical domain of the earth causing earthquakes, destruction and darkness. The spiritual powers of evil affected the physical realm of the earth.

“And again, not only did his agony affect the mind and body of Jesus, causing him to sweat great drops of blood, but by reason of some principle, to us unfathomable, his suffering affected universal nature.

When he gave up the ghost, the solid rocks were riven; the foundations of the earth trembled; earthquakes shook the continents and rent the isles of the sea; a deep darkness overspread the sky; the mighty waters overflowed their accustomed bounds; huge mountains sank and valleys rose; the handiwork of feeble men was overthrown; their cities were engulfed or consumed by the vivid shafts of lightning; and all material things were convulsed with the throes of seeming dissolution…

Thus, such was the torturing pressure of this intense, this indescribable agony, that it burst forth abroad beyond the confines of his body, convulsed all nature, and spread throughout all space.” (Mediation and Atonement, by John Taylor, p. 151)

God withdrew His spirit from the earth at this time which was an evidence of His displeasure. God and the heavens were angered at the evil deeds of men, especially at this, the most heinous sin in the annals of crime. It was a manifestation that could not be misunderstood. The temple at Jerusalem was rent in twain; the earth shook, and then came darkness.

“The darkness, which was like looking through extra-strong sun glasses, seems to have per-[136]vaded the world at this hour. Phlegon wrote that in the fourth year of the two hundred and second Olympiad, there was a great darkness over Europe, surpassing anything that had ever been seen. At mid-day, he said, the stars could be seen. At the same time an earthquake caused much damage in Nicaea. Tertullian said later that he found in the records of Rome a notation of world-wide darkness which the statesmen of the Empire could not explain. Apparently the people of Jerusalem were accustomed to sudden changes in the weather, or there would have been a very wide sense of alarm or wonder at this time. (The Day Christ Died, by Jim Bishop, p. 327)

The ancient Nephites also recorded this darkness and the devastation of the earth. Nephi wrote:

“And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth. . . . And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease–for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours–and then behold there was darkness upon the face of the land.” (3 Nephi 8:17 & 19)

The atonement of Christ is difficult for many to accept. But the principle of vicarious atonement is well expressed in the lives of many people. The following incident realistically reflects this principle:

[137] A gentleman arose before a large congregation to relate a remarkable story in his life. His parents had died, and he was left to be raised by his grandmother, to whom he had been a constant source of grief. He had the habit of coming home from school with things that he had stolen from his playmates, such as pencils, knives, paper, etc. Grandmother pleaded, begged, and threatened–all to no avail. Then one day when he came home with another stolen article, she took him over to a stove, produced a large needle, and put it into the flame until it glowed red. Then she said, “The next time you come home with something stolen I will take this red, hot needle and thrust it into your hand.”

The gentleman said that for a month or more he was; very careful not to take things that did not belong to him; but finally the temptation overcame him, and he came home with some stolen objects and his grandmother caught him. She took him to the stove and poked the needle into the fire until it glowed red. Then she raised the boy’s hand up and was ready to thrust the needle into his hand, when suddenly she stopped. She dropped his hand and raised her own hand and jabbed that red hot needle into it.

The man said that at that moment he felt such a moral revolution in him that he never got over it. From the moment that his grandmother took upon herself his guilt and suffered his punishment for sin, he could steal no more. Her sacrifice and suffering had made him whole. This is a type of vicarious sacrifice and atonement.

Why is blood the medium used in atonement? The Lord says that “. . . the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11) And Paul wrote that “. . . almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22)

[138] Blood carries the elements of mortal life and of death. It is the mainstream in which men’s sins are contained. Blood is an earthly element–a composition of physical properties induced into the system through mortality. Blood is not resurrected but flesh and bones will be. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “When our flesh is quickened by the spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle.” (TPJS, p. 367) And again he commented, “Flesh and blood cannot go there (heaven); but flesh and bones, quickened by the spirit of God, can.” (TPJS, p. 326)

Brigham Young also elaborated upon this doctrine by saying:

“The blood he spilled upon Mount Calvary he did not receive again into his veins. That was poured out, and when he was resurrected, another element took the place of the blood. It will be so with every person who receives a resurrection; the blood will not be resurrected with the body, being designed only to sustain the life of the present organization. When that is dissolved, and we again obtain our bodies by the power of the resurrection, that which we now call the life of the body, and which is formed from the food we eat and the water we drink will be supplanted by another element; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Brigham Young, J.D., 7:163)

For these reasons blood was symbolically used in ancient Israel as a type of Christ’s atonement. It is the doctrinal foundation for men to accept God’s ordinances. It is also sacramental by remembrance of Christ’s atonement.

The blood of Christ acted as a: [139]

Ransom–as payment for the debt of sin.

Redemption–to rescue from bondage of sin.

Reconciliation–to harmonize men with God, that they might dwell in holy places forever.

Through the power of His innocent blood, Christ gained victories beyond the comprehension of man. Part of these were:

Remission of Adam’s transgression (Rom. 5:19)

Remission of men’s sins (Matt. 26:28)

Redemption of men into the heavens again (Eph.1:7)

Power to sanctify men (Heb. 13:12)

Cleansing of the garments of His Saints from sins (Rev. 7:14)

Justification of men to enter holy places (Heb.10:19)

Purchase His Church forever (Acts 20:28)

Binding of men with God forever (Heb. 13:20)

Power to conquer the devil (Rev. 12:11)

Little wonder that early Christians proclaimed “Sangius Christi, Christi evangelum” — “the blood of Christ is the gospel of Christ.”

It is when all nations discover the full meaning of Christ’s atonement at the crucifixion that “every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.” (Rev. 5:13) But not until we recognize our helplessness and unworthiness will we appreciate the Savior.

Man’s destiny lay not in the grave–for it is in itself a new birth to a better life. It was made that way by the labor, love and the purchase of Jesus Christ.

Christ is our spiritual and elder brother whose supreme wisdom and care offers us guidance for eternal salvation. In Him we see the attributes of God the Father, for Jesus reflected perfection and dignity in its highest form. To follow Him becomes the most important decision of our lives.

[140] Many wonder and marvel at what it would be like to witness the crucifixion and to see the Savior. The Apostle Orson F. Whitney relates such an experience:

“I thought I was in the garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior’s agony. I seemed to be standing behind a tree in the foreground of the picture, from which point I could see without being seen. The Savior, with the Apostles Peter, James and John, entered the garden through a little wicket gate at my right, where he stationed them in a group, telling them to pray. He then passed over to my left, but still in front of me, where he knelt and prayed also. His face, which was towards me, streamed with tears, as he besought the Father to let the cup pass, and added, `not my will but thine be done.’ Having finished his prayer, He arose and crossed to where the apostles were kneeling fast asleep. He shook them gently; they awoke and he reproved them for their apathy. Again he bade them pray, and again crossed to his place and prayed, returning as before to find them sleeping. This happened three times, until I was perfectly familiar with his face, form, and movements. He was much taller than ordinary men, and though meek, far more dignified than any being I had ever beheld; and he wore a look of ineffable tenderness and compassion, even while reproving His disciples. My heart went out to him as never before to anybody or anything; I loved him with all my soul. I wept at seeing him weep, and felt for him the deepest sympathy. Then all of a sudden the circumstances changed, though the scene remained the same. Instead of before the crucifixion, it was after. The Savior and the three apostles, whom he had beckoned to him, now stood in a group at the left, and were about to take their departure, [141] ascending into heaven. I could endure it no longer, but rushed out from behind the tree, fell at his feet, clasped Him around the knees and begged him to take me also. With a look of infinite tenderness, as of a father or an elder brother; he stooped, lifted me up and embraced me, saying as he did so in the kindest and gentlest manner possible, while slowly shaking his head and sweetly smiling, `No, my son; these can go with me, for they have finished their work; but you must stay and finish yours!’ Still I clung to him and the contact was so real that I felt the warmth of his bosom as I rested upon it. Gazing up into his face, I once more besought him, `Well promise me that I will come to you at the last.’ Again he smiled sweetly, and there was a look as if he would have gladly granted my request had it been wise to do so. He then said, `That will depend entirely upon yourself.’ I awoke with a sob, and it was morning. This dream made a wonderful impression upon me, paving the way to my thorough conversion, which soon followed.” (Orson F. Whitney, L.D.S. Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 660-661)

Jesus began His ministry with the baptism of water. Three years later He sealed that testimony with His blood. He was less than 34 years old, but had performed a mission which will revolutionize the destiny of all men forever.

But it is not in the history of Christianity that we are motivated, but in the Spirit of Christ; for mortal man can never fully understand that immortal atonement. And when we are brought to the full understanding of the atonement, our one regret will be that we did not do more for Him because of all that He did for us.

[142] We glory not in His marvelous powers of healing the sick, walking on water, quelling the storms, or raising the dead–but in the offering of His life in our stead; the spilling of His blood as a purchase of our guilt.

He carried the cross for others, and by so doing He has won their hearts. But the day shall come when all shall see Him not only as “King of the Jews,” but as the King of all the earth and the heavens. Tens of thousands of angels shall appear with Him in that majestic and triumphant procession, at which time every nation shall have their judgment. It is in this brief span of mortality that we are called to judge Him and His principles; and in so doing we judge ourselves.

He now possesses “all power” in heaven and on earth, and His dominion shall increase forever and ever. His kingdom shall, with all its thrones, principalities and powers, continue to increase in glory. Yet, He has offered man the privilege to share them with Him.

The mansions of the Father are being prepared for those who love and obey Him, and “Eye hath never seen nor ear heard so great things as are prepared for those who love the Lord.” He is the cornerstone upon which we must build our life. And for the true Saint, the most glorious name in all the world is Jesus Christ.


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