Friday, July 11, 2008

Everlasting Covenant, Temple, and New Names

A friend of mine was asking about the purpose of the LDS temples and something he heard about new names and this was my response:

Temple worship was always a central aspect of Patriarchal and Ancient Jewish worship. After the death of Christ, the temple at Jerusalem was desecrated and destroyed by the Romans. However, several revelations in the Bible foretell the restoration of the temple and that temple worship will again be a central part of Christian worship just as it was in ancient times. But, since many modern Christians are unfamiliar with the temple, many aspects of the temple can seem odd or strange. LDS do not generally talk about the temple not because it is secret but because it is sacred. Or in other words, we respect the temple such that we would like to prevent those who would mock the temple because they fail to grasp its full meaning and significance.

To those who are familiar with the Old Testament, the temple should not be at all odd or strange because everything done comes straight out of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelations. The symbolism of ordaining and clothing the faithful in the undergarment and the white robes of the Holy Priesthood, and being washed and anointed, and being given a new name are in fulfillment of the words of John in Revelations (read the "overcometh" verses). Those who enter the temple are made priests and kings unto God like Aaron. This is exactly how Aaron and his sons were consecrated priests unto God.

Heb. 5: 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
Rev. 1: 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The faithful in the temple wear white clothing and not colored robes like Aaron representing that we have been washed white in the blood of Christ. And notice that the glory and exaltation of God's children adds to God's glory and does not detract from it. This is why the Bible says that God is a King of kings, Lord of lords, High Priest of priests, the Great Judge of judges; Apostles of apostles, Bishop of bishops, Shepherd of shepherds; The God of gods and the Most High God.

Rev 7:9-13-14 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;. . . . And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

We also know that the everlasting Christians Temples prophesied to be restored after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood because it would administer the everlasting covenant and not be like the temples under the Law of Moses (Ezek 37, Isa 2, Micah 4). Daniel and John foresaw that there are to be ten thousand times ten thousand (Rev. 5: 11, Dan. 7: 10) who will be sealed in their forehead in preparation for the tribulation from every nation, kindred, tongue and people instead of just from one tribe or just the eldest son. This is the literal priesthood of all believers. The LDS church actually sets apart all its membership to be priests unto God; men and women.

Rev. 7: 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Rev. 9: 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

What is the purpose of the new Name?
Part of this setting apart as a priest and a king is the giving of a new name. Interesting that the Catholic Pope when he is elected also takes a new name. One reason for the new name is very simple. You given name is symbolic of the curse of Adam. You did not give it to yourself but were given it by your parents. Therefore, many people are named embarrassing things. Some people are named for evil, worldly people or whose name constitutes a silly or embarrassing pun. Imagine being named Darth Vader or Justin Credible or Brook Traut. How would you like to be forever known by such a name. Therefore, when you become a child of God, a member of Christ's family, and accept Christ;Christ gives you a new and righteous name which comes from the scriptures. It also represents how Christ Atonement overcomes the curse and affects of the Fall of Adam.

See, and this is what the temple is all about. The temple ceremony is loaded with Christ-centered symbolism. This is why the temple ceremony can change if the symbols change meaning. That is how the temple teaches and points us to Christ (Gal. 3: 24-25). Every aspect of the temple and the temple ceremony carries a Christ-centered meaning, which like the parables of Jesus can be overlooked and mocked by those who are not filled with the spirit of prophecy and understand its true meaning by the Holy Ghost.

There is another even more important name we take upon ourselves in the temple which we should never forget. And that is the name of Christ. Just as a woman takes upon herself the name of her husband when she is married, those who accept Christ are said to be figuratively married to Christ and therefore take upon themselves His name. This is a key and integral part of the ceremony which many overlook.

Rev. 3: 5, 12 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. . . . Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

When LDS partake of the symbols of the Lords Supper representing the Last Supper, we say that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. But in the temple is where the everlasting covenant is really administered and where the saints of God actually take upon themselves the name of Christ and become His sons and daughters of the promise (not just sons of the bondwoman). The temple ceremony is a kingly coronation, a priestly ordination, and a marriage ceremony all in one.

What is the significance of taking the name of Christ? When you stand before God to be judged and the Book of Life is opened and Christ asks you what your same is to see if that name is in the Book of Life. There is only one name written in that book. I will let King Benjamin explain in the Book of Mormon. King Benjamin sums up the whole focus of the temple.

Mosiah 5:7-13
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
10 And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.
11 And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression; therefore, take heed that ye do not transgress, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts.
12 I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.
13 For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?
14 And again, doth a man take an ass which belongeth to his neighbor, and keep him? I say unto you, Nay; he will not even suffer that he shall feed among his flocks, but will drive him away, and cast him out. I say unto you, that even so shall it be among you if ye know not the name by which ye are called.
15 Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your insight.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting, doctrinal-based, but fringe nonetheless, thought: just as all Sons and Daughters of God the Father had names by which they were called in the beginning (think Jehovah, Michael, Gabriel, even Lucifer), all receive new temporal-linked names when arriving on the Earth (Jesus, Adam, Noah, even Satan). Those who overcome, as John the Revelator states, will receive a new name by which they will be called up and become His (the Savior's) through their acceptance of taking upon themselves the name of Christ.

Erin said...

Weren't people in the Bible named after their parents? There are embarrassing names in the bible that people are given....

joe said...

i havent been through the temple yet but will be going shortly, im looking up a little about the temple and its significance, im obviously staying away from things that go into detail about the ceremony itself as i think that revealing something so sacred is disrespectful of its nature, i understand that we receive a new name in the temple and wonder if this is related to the d+c 130:11 white stone with a new name, this has always fascinated me ever since i first read about it, from what i understand this white stone will basically unlock the mysteries of the universe when we are given it and essentially aid us in our exaltation (being a personal urim and thummim)

ohh i love deep doctrines!

The Jones Family said...

Thank you for the explanation. I've been a member my whole life and must admit, not fully understanding the things in the temple is bothering me lately. The last thing I want to do is Google my questions and read anti-mormon literature so I'm glad I came across your blog. I feel safe reading it. I really wish there was more explaining of the temple ordinances. I'm the type that needs to know who, what, where, why, when etc. so this helps!

David B said...

It is not the quantity of thought in a name but the quality of thought. Naming is symbolic and teaching a lesson.