Monday, July 28, 2008

Who Shall Be Able to Stand?

John's Book of Revelations sends a clear message that those who will be able to stand the last days will be those who have taken the name of Christ upon themselves and have taken the Holy Spirit to be their guide through the LDS temple. The focus of Revelations is asking this question: who shall be able to stand in the Last Days? (Eph. 6: 11, 13)(D&C 45: 57)

Rev 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Revelations tells a story about an angel rising up and calling out the other 4 angels who are
waiting impatiently to unleash the tribulation upon the Earth. "Hurt not the Earth until we have
sealed the servants of our God in their forehead"

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.

So, we see that the tribulation is being delayed until all the elect has a chance to be endowed or sealed in their foreheads. In recent years in the LDS church we have witnessed a huge expansion in temple building which has made the blessing of the temple availible to nearly all the saints. And as Revelations promises, those who are sealed will not be hurt; only those "which have not the seal of God in their foreheads"

So, while Satan is going around marking his followers with the sign of the beast (whatever that means) God is sealing His elect. Are there ways we mark ourselves as worldly? What ways do people mark themselves (tatoos, effeminate voice, piercings, Goth, fashion, fads)? How does God want us to distinguish ourselves? (service, love, clean living)?

Again, who shall be able to stand in the Last Days? Those who will shall be able to stand will be those who overcome: [Read all the overcometh verses]

Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 26
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat
of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

Rev. 3: 5, 12, 21
5 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.
12 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.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Rev. 21: 7
7 He that overcometh shall inherit call things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

1 Jn. 5: 4-5
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The parallels between the LDS temple and these verses should be apparent to those who have attended. And interesting aside is that when John sees those who are sealed as kings and priests unto God (not just the oldest son, or from the tribe of Levi, but every kindred, tongue and people) he asks the angel "who are all these people with the white robes." See, when Aaron was set apart as a priest, the priests did not wear white, they wore priests robes that where many-colored like the coat of Joseph; blue, red, purple. But the ten thousand times ten thousand plus a thousand thousand John sees (100,000,000+) are dressed in white robes symbolizing that they have been washed clean in the blood of Christ.

Rev 7: 14 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.
Rev 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

Revelations is telling the story of the saints who are sealed as kings and priests unto God in preparation and protection from whatever trial or tribulation will come. And then Christ who will come to save His people who will come as King of kings and Lord of lords.

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.
Rev. 5: 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth

How are priests made? No one taketh this honor unto himself, but he is called as was Aaron (Heb. 5: 4) . How was Aaron called?Aaron was called by prophecy, and was washed, annointed, and clothed in the undergarments and robes of the priesthood. And this is exactly what the temple is all about. The temple is a kingly coorination, a priestly ordination and a solemn marriage ceremony all in one. In the sacrament we say we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ, but in the temple is where the saints actually take take His name upon us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Biblical Evidence Against "Ex Nihilo" Creation

Many Christians interpret the Bible as teaching that God created the heavens and earth "from nothing" or "ex nihilo"(John 1:3, Romans 4:17, 1 Corinthians 1:28, Hebrews 11:3). However, surprisingly, while this detail may seem trivial, it is integrally linked to the understanding of the nature of God and the eternal potential of man. Why? Because if mankind really are children of God and if man can literally become like our Heavenly Father as the Bible promises; then the spirits of man need to have existed forever and not have been created children of God from nothing. Why? Because to become like the eternal God, man would also have to be co-existent and co-eternal with Him. Gods are not created, they ARE OR ARE NOT. Christ is the great I AM THAT I AM or self-existent one. Therefore, the spirits of man would have to have been created children but not gods. Gods in embryo would be our species; what we are, what we have always been. And, becoming spiritual fathers like the Eternal Father would be our destiny. If, however, man were made from nothing as some believe, then man is nothing whatever like the Eternal Father. God is not our father, and we are not really children. We are instead, something closer to pets or toys.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

The whole debate begins in Genesis 1:1 which the word "create." The word "created" in Hebrew is "bara" which according to most Lexicons means to "form, carve out, cut out, and to plane and polish." The word is used in Hebrew is synonymous with the verb "to build". Therefore, it makes sense that Paul would talk about creation in terms of building when he says that God is "he that built all things". Also, Paul refers to God as the "potter" and us as "the clay." Both examples involve forming and creating from pre-existing materials.

Heb. 3: 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

Rom. 9: 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Aside from these examples, there are even more compelling evidences that creation was not "ex nihilo." Where is that? The evidence resides in the several creative miracles of the creator, even Jesus Christ Himself, during His earthly ministry. When Christ formed wine at the marriage in Cana, Christ didn't create the wine from nothing, but created the wine from water. Again, in the feeding of the 4 and 5,000. Christ didn't merely conjure the food, but multiplied the fishes and barley loaves from pre-existing materials.
Despite these examples, there is even a more fundamental evidence against "ex nihilo" creation which was made by Ravi Zacharias a prominent Evangelical apologeticist who believes in "ex nihilo" creation. While explaining how the Evangelical concept of the trinity being 1 and 3 doesn't violate the law of non-contradiction which would say that God can't be 1 and not 1 at the same time; he said that the love of God was not created but because the Son is co-existent with the Father from the beginning, so the love of the Father for the Son was also co-eternal and uncreated. Therefore, only in Christianity does "love precede life" or creation. Only in Christianity is love uncreated and one with God. If God had been alone, then there would have been nothing to love until after creation. And this is why the Bible says "God is love."
But if you have love which was uncreated and co-existent with God, well then you have something. The love of God is like infinite potential energy. And if you have infinite potential energy, then that potential energy can be converted into kinetic energy, and that kinetic energy can be in the form of mechanical, chemical, inertial and thermal energy. And if you have energy then you can have matter; Number 1, because all energy is mediated by intangible force carrier particles (e.g. photons, gluons, bosons, gravitons, Higgs), and number 2, because energy can be converted into tangible matter and visa versa (E = mc2).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fatal Flaw of the Trinity Doctrine

A couple days ago I was listening to Evangelical Apologeticist Ravi Zacharias explain the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity using an analogy from CS Lewis. Mr. Zacharias quoted CS Lewis who explained (loosely paraphrasing) that the "1 what and 3 who's" of the trinity were like dimensions of a single object. One dimension would be a line, two dimensions would form a shape, and three dimensions would be a complete and tangible object. Thus the trinity was the complete and perfect expression of deity.

Anyone see the problem here? This means that according to the Trinity; the Eternal Father isn't complete or perfect without Christ or the Holy Ghost. But that isn't what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that the Father is perfect by Himself.

Matt. 5: 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Eternal Father does not need Christ or the Holy Ghost to be complete and perfect. It is man who needs Christ and the Holy Ghost to be complete and perfect. Man needs Christ for our prayers to reach the Father, and Man needs the Holy Ghost for man to receive God's answers because of our imperfection (Eph. 2: 18, Eph. 5: 20, Col. 3: 17). Again, the Eternal Father doesn't need Christ to be complete. Mankind needs Christ. Christ was sent by the Father to save man; Christ was not sent to save the Father.

John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

1 Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

I should remind those who are unfamiliar with LDS Doctrine of God that it is very close to the doctrine of the Trinity in that we believe that the 3 persons of the God Head include the Eternal Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We believe that each of these individuals are Gods and eternal in nature but that they are separate and distinct beings and personages and not just manifestations of the same being (modalism), or parts/aspects of the same God. These 3 separate and distinct individuals represent the 3 divine members of the God Head who are of perfectly unified but distinct wills or self-existences.

The God Head is a community of 3 Divine members; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. But they are 3 distinct beings, 3 distinct but unified wills, who are one in purpose. Christ demonstrates his distinct will from the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Will is the essential characteristic of self-existence. Therefore, Christ is a distinct but unified being with the Father.

Matt. 26: 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

But God the Father is perfect, and complete and doesn't need the other 2 for His perfection, perfect love, mercy, justice or power. The Bible teaches that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost are One, but it never says that separate they are imperfect and only together are they complete. Mankind needs all three because we need the mediation of Christ and the ministration of the Spirit to come unto and gain access to the Father who is perfect.

1 Tim. 2: 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Some of the confusion with regard to the trinity comes from a change in meaning of the word "one." Some christians have changed the meaning when the Bible teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are "One" to mean "perfect" (1 Jn. 5: 7) LDS Doctrine has restored the original meaning of the word "one" in this context to be "unified in purpose." Remember, according to the Bible, the Father is perfect alone (Matt. 5: 48).

Definition of One: Evangelical = "perfect", LDS = "unified of purpose"
Definition of Perfect: "perfect" = "The Eternal Father"

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.

Making Master Musicians: Everlasting Law, Everlasting Covenants and The Everlasting God

Some claim the LDS concept of God is flawed because LDS believe that while God has always existed forever and never had a beginning, so did the laws of nature and matter itself. That is, the matter and energy of the universe was neither created nor destroyed but has existed eternally and is co-existent with God.Some Christians have the concept that God created everything including natural law from nothing. That is, natural law is set up by God for man who is not bound by it. God is God by the very fact that He is independent from, better than and above the law.

LDS believe that God is One with the law. Law does not exist independent of God, but God is God by perfect mastery over the laws of nature. The Bible teaches that God is a perfectly Just God. The Bible does teach that God created everything visible and invisible and in him do all things consist. But what does the Bible mean when it says that God "created"? Creation in Hebrew means to "form," "organized" or "cut out." Thus in other parts of the Bible, it speaks of God as a builder or a sculptor who formed us from clay. Paul says "every house was built by some man, the builder of all things is God." So, when the Bible says that God even created law, it doesn't mean that God created it "ex nihlo" or "from nothing." The Bible mean that the laws were organized for operation in the heavens and Earth.

These principles apply to us in that the commandments of God. Since when did fair-minded people start to believe that their leaders should be above the law? Since when did law-abiding people start to believe that laws and commandments were restrictions and not directions for happiness. When I was learning to play the piano, I learned that there were laws of melody, rhythm, and harmony and by perfect mastery of those laws I could create beautiful music. Are we meant to believe that truly beautiful heavenly music would not conform to any laws. That would be like believing true music is post-modern. No offense against contemporary, post-modern music, I am all for experimentation, but I don't think post-modernism or the philosophy behind it constitutes some sort of higher music form or a truer reflection of God's nature.

The eternal nature of God who is One with His higher laws and covenants which God has given to man and the Bible says are everlasting and eternal also relate to the Atonement of Christ. Some Christians believe that it is impossible to become perfect and sinless even with Christ's help even though Christ commanded us to be perfect and holy. Some claim that Christ will only save us in our sins, and not save us from our sins. However, the Bible promises that Christ would come to save us from our sins. Notwithstanding, some believe that power of Christ doesn't have the power to literally turn us away from sin, purge us, purify us like silver, and change and transform us completely. Some claim the only purpose to law is to help us realize that we cannot keep it and therefore need Christ who was able to keep it perfectly. Which is true. No one without Christ can keep the law. All have sinned. But with Christ, by the end of the Millennium, I believe the power of atonement will have the power to perfect us if we trust the promises of God.

The only defense against the possibility that man can be perfected in Christ and though Christ is that they claim they have never met a sinless person. I agree. I never have met a person who has never sinned. But I have met several people who by the end of their life I believe become sinless or very close. And I have met many Christians who have made great progess towards perfection after becoming Christian. Even if there hasn't been anyone who has become perfected in Christ before dying, the 1000 years of the Millennium will give us time with Christ to complete the process of sanctification and to prepare to meet the Father when the Earth itself will be transformed from a paradisaical state to a Celestial state and literally become part of the heavens with God and home to just man made perfect in Christ forever.

So, my point is (going back to the music analogy), God wants us to become Master Musicians like himself to join in the symphony of heaven and worship him by being empowered to join with God in creating beautiful music to God. Now right now, none of us can make anything close to music. Our musical skill is now akin to a 2-year-old banging on the piano. But, through the Atonement of Christ, we are given time to repent, time to practice, repent, and prepare to meet God and be judged. And when the time of our final recital comes, we will be judged according to our own skill and ability because if we are still piano bangers, or glorified post-modernists, our non-musical cacophony will not have a place in God's kingdom. So, we shouldn't procrastinate the time of our repentance. Now is the day when we can learn from the Great Master Musician, even Jesus Christ, and become Masters like Christ by His power and not our own.

Through Christ, we are made free to choose, and choose we must. Our character is made up of millions of small decisions just like a musical score is made up of thousands of individual notes. And the Holy Ghost is given to believers to empower us to every good and righteous decision if we are willing to deliver our whole souls to God which He has bought and paid for by the flesh and blood of His Son Jesus Christ; and not keep any part back unlike Ananias and Sopphira.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Children of the Promise

What many ignore about the Bible is that there are a difference between saved beings. Just because you are saved doesnt mean you will be exalted.What am I talking about. I am talking about the Parable of the 10 virgins, the profitable servants, and the sheep and the goats. Remember that the 10 virgins are all believers. But 5 are more valiant than the other 5. The servants are also believers, but 2 come back with what God had given them and added to it, while the 3rd buried his talent and didnt return to God what was given him with "usury," "fruit" or "works." And in the last example, the sheep and goats; both are the possessions of the Shepherd but the sheep will be on the right hand of God while the goats will be divided on Gods left hand.

Paul continues to talk about the fate of the sheep and the goats. Paul talks in Heb 1 and Gal 4 about the difference between being a child of the bondwoman Hagar (Ishmael) or the child of Sarah or a Child of the promise (Isaac). Both will be saved, but only children of the promise will be exalted. Paul goes on to explain that the children of the bondwoman will be ministering servants, who will be made like unto the angels. These will circle Gods throne forever but they will have no increase and no progression.

On the right hand are the children of the promise. These are the sheep. These are they who are the souls of just men made perfect. Or those who are not only justified by Christ but also sanctified by the power of His infinite atonement. The children of the promise are like Christ, to be made "higher than the angels." These are they who will be glorified together with Christ, and will be made heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ to not just circle Gods throne but it in it with Him and become heirs of all things to have eternal increase, to continue to progress eternally and participate with God in the work of creation.

Man doesn't contribute to any of it without Christ. But Christ empowers us to righteousness and our ability to be sanctified and exalted. Also many misunderstand the LDS definition of salvation. It is not just resurrection. There will be those who are resurrected and not saved. But there will also be the wise and unwise virgins, the profitable and unprofitable servants, the sheep and the goats, and those who are considered children of the bond woman Hagar and children of the promise. Those who are saved but not sanctified will be made like the angels, ministering servants. But children of the promise will be like Christ made higher than the angels, will be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ and will be made by the grace of Christ to be exalted like our Heavenly Father.

An easy way to explain the different states of glory is to consider the stages of existence the Earth will go through. Right now the Earth is in a fallen or Telestial state. Earth as it is now is not Outer Darkness because the Holy Ghost has influence on this Earth. During the Millennium the Earth will become paradisiacal and Terrestial in nature. During this stage Christ will reign personally upon the Earth. But this state is also temporary. At the end of the 1000 years, the Earth will become transformed according to John in Revelations and become like a "sea of glass mingled with fire." In this Celestial state, the Earth will nter into the presence of the Father and become part of the Celestial Kingdom and will be the Celestial Home unto the righteous in Christ forever. So to is the resurrection of the dead.

LDS do not believe that Man can contribute one iota to his own salvation without Christ. However by the grace of Christ we can be empowered to become sanctified and repent and saved from our sins and not just saved in our sins.We do not meet God halfway or even partway, but we are empowered by Christs grace to become better, be changed, transformed, and turned away from sin beginning in this world and to be completed in the Millennium.

Some take Nephi out of context when he says, "we are saved by grace after all we can do." After all we can do was in reference to keeping the law of Moses until Christs coming knowing that it was through Christs grace alone that we are saved. But by Christs grace we are empowered to become sanctified, receive sanctifying ordinances, and become saved from our sins and not just in our sins.