On this beautiful Easter weekend I thought I would teach you some of my favorite doctrines regarding our Savior and Redeemer. It is my heartfelt desire these truths can touch your heart as they have so profoundly changed mine.
One of my many hidden talents is I’m a great arguer, I could have been a successful trial attorney, for sure. Maybe that’s where Levi, my son, gets it from?
My son’s and I have an ongoing debate about how to pronounce “lawyer.” I pronounce the “law” part the same way you would pronounce the word “lawsuit.” They adamantly pronounce it “loyer.” The thing I always like to say to Levi is that he went to Loy School to study loy, so he could become a loyer, and file loysuits. He still thinks I’m wrong. Can’t win every argument, I suppose.
But since I didn’t go to Loy School I only know the rudimentary workings of loy, sorry, law. But I know enough that a courtroom has a prosecutor, a defense, and a judge to pass judgments.
I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about the inner workings of a court room in this blog post, but mainly want to focus on what an advocate is, and the importance of one in regards to our eternal salvation.
The dictionary defines advocate as follows:
- to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
- to act as an advocate: a father who advocates for his disabled child.
- a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of): an advocate of peace.
- a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
- a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.
So when the scriptures speak of Jesus Christ being our advocate before the Father, what are we to understand?
3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him— (D&C 45:3)
So we are to understand that Jesus Christ as an advocate will plead our cause before the Father. Why is that necessary, and how is it that He has become our advocate? Why do we need to plead our cause before the Father? And if we really do need to plead our cause before the Father, why do we even need an advocate? Why can’t we just plead our own cause, or defend ourselves before the Father? I mean, He loves us, why can’t we go directly to Him and plead our own cause? Why do we need and advocate?
Have you ever pondered these questions?
Let’s consider a few things: First, it says in the scriptures no unclean thing can enter the Kingdom of God (3 Nephi 27:19, Alma 40:26). Was that just some arbitrary ruling made by a mean God to pick favorites and cull the herd, so to speak? Or is that a universal law that not even God himself can break?
Now we’re getting into some nitty-gritty details that I think are the linchpin of the entire matter. Face it, God is God, because He’s a God. He’s all the omni’s in the dictionary – omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, etc. He’s perfect, absolutely clean. The Scriptures define the gates to the Kingdom of God as a “circling flame of fire,” and the throne as the “blazing throne of God.” (D&C 137:2-3) You can pretty much say that God is burning bright hot like our Sun.
But we aren’t like that are we? We don’t burn like the sun. We must be made of different material then He is?
48 And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe.
49 Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. (Moses 6 48-49)
Because of the fall, when we leave the presence of our Heavenly Parents and come to earth, and receive physical bodies that are tempted, preoccupied, distracted, selfish, worldly, lustful, easily influenced by the devil, we are shut out from the presence of God. Why?
I think that being shut out of God’s presence is more of a protection to us than it is a punishment. It says in the scriptures that those who are impure will burn as stubble in the presence of the Lord (D&C 29:9, 133:64, 64:24). Why is that? I mean, why will the impure burn as stubble in the presence of the Lord?
I think the best way to answer that is to liken it to how fine metals like copper, brass, and gold are made. The ore is crushed and then heated to great temperatures, the impurities (dross) are burned out until the molten metal is completely purified.
The very same thing happens to those who are impure in their lives who stand in the presence of God – all their impurities are literally burned out of them, or if they are impure they themselves are entirely burned up. That’s why I say it’s more a protection to be shut out of God’s presence than it is a punishment, because no unclean thing can be in the presence of God – it’s just not possible, because we all sin, we are all unclean, and because we all sin, we all have impurities in us that would totally burn us up in the presence of God.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
So God, in His loving condescension provided a way for us to be able to bear His presence and ultimately live in His presence. God provided us someone who was perfectly clean, without spot or blemish, without impurities, someone who could endure His presence to plead our cause. God provided a Redeemer:
26 And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold the condescension of God!
27 And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken… (1 Nephi 11:26-27)
The Redeemer, Jesus Christ was the only man who ever lived a perfect life. He was without impurities, He could withstand the presence of the Father. It was He who paid for our sins with His own blood, doing something we could not do for ourselves. Because of this He is the only one who can plead our cause before the Father.
4 I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them. (D&C 38:4)
It is the blood He spilt and how it qualified Him to not only be our Advocate, but also our Redeemer that I would like to focus on in today’s post.
I love the beautiful types and shadows that are found throughout the scriptures, their symbolisms are so rich and full of eternal gospel truths. You could literally feast upon them endlessly and never run out of new truths to learn and understand. One of my favorite types is the symbolism used in the Old Testament when the Children of Israel were held captive by Egypt’s Pharaohs, and their escape, and journey and wandering for so many years before finally being qualified to enter the Promised Land.
That type alone is full of amazing gospel truths. Egypt is clearly a representation of the world and all its enticements, riches, and lusts, while the Children of Israel are held captive, and are slaves to the evil Pharaoh is indicative of where we find ourselves today.
Aren’t we held captive by the god of this world – loser-turkey-bone?
26 And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced. (Moses 7:26)
Doesn’t that picture just send chills up your spine, with loser-twit-spit laughing at our struggle and demise?
We have become slaves imprisoned to our own cares and lusts and burdens of this world – imprisoned in our own flesh.
45 For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey. (D&C 29:45)
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
It’s a very sad commentary that this is the truth, but even sadder is how it must make our Heavenly Parents feel.
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept… (Moses 7:28)
Enoch was bewildered at how God, who is completely perfect, and has created so many wonderful creations could weep for us, the fallen, sensual, and wicked worldly people we have become. God answered Enoch:
36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.
37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?
38 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. (Moses 7:36-38, emphasis added)
For those who will not humble themselves and turn their hearts and lives to God, He has prepared a prison for them, while those who will hearken to His words and humble themselves and repent of their wickedness, He has prepared a plan whereby they may be redeemed and eventually trade their prison confinements for temples (pretty much what PrisonTemple is all about).
And who is to be our Redeemer? The Lamb of God.
The symbolism of this is rich in meaning: A firstborn lamb without blemish or spot is to provide the blood that will redeem the people from their prisons.
The Blood of the Lamb
I hope most of us have watched Charlton Heston enough to be familiar with the story of Israel’s deliverance from the last plague of Egypt. If you will remember, it’s where the firstborn of every family was marked for death before the morning came. The Israelites were instructed by God to place the blood of an unblemished firstborn lamb on their doorposts and lintels. If they were obedient the promise was made that the plague of the Lord’s judgment would “pass over” their houses and they would be redeemed.
Let’s take a closer look at these scriptures, they are filled with eternal truths that not only saved the Israelites from Pharaoh’s evil clutches but also teach us tremendous truths about our very own Redeemer and how He advocates for us that we can be freed from our prisons.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: (Exodus 12:5)
This sacrifice was dramatically explained by Moses in the Feast of the Passover. A lamb, a male of the first year, without blemish, was to be slain. Its blood was to be shed, but no bones were to be broken. This ordinance was to turn men’s hearts and minds toward the day when the Lamb of God himself would be sacrificed for the sins of men. The sacrifice which the Father gave of his Only Begotten Son ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood. (The Message of the Restoration, A. Theodore Tuttle, April 1971)
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:13-14)
There is a commandment to have a memorial of this event throughout time, from generation to generation. The Jews to this day celebrate the Passover; the Pesach, where they have the traditional Seder meal – a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holiday of Passover or Pesach. The Seder meal is full of symbolism that tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
But is that what the Lord really meant with all this symbolism? Is this the true memorial He commanded us to pass on from generation to generation? I don’t think so. Is the Easter Sunday celebration what the Lord was asking us to do?
Let’s take a closer look at another “feast by an ordinance” where we memorialize the Lamb of God and His blood: The Sacrament.
The sacred feast of the Sacrament is quite literally the memorial ordinance we are commanded to do from generation to generation.
The Lamb, the perfect unblemished Lamb, the firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten of the Father, the only one without spot, His body is broken (the bread is broken) for us.
5 And when the multitude had eaten and were filled, he said unto the disciples: Behold there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church, unto all those who shall believe and be baptized in my name.
6 And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you.
7 And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. (3 Nephi 18:5-7)
We break the Sacrament bread on purpose, not just to make it into little bite sized pieces to hand out to the congregation. The bread represents the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, who gave us His body to be broken for us. The broken bread represents Christ’s broken body from the beating, and crucifixion where he hung on the cross and died for us.
Have you ever considered the white table cloth that covers the Sacrament trays to represent the burial cloth that covered the broken body of the Savior? When you think of it that way, then the Sacrament truly is a memorial service for the Savior.
If we truly understand the symbolism here we are to understand that the Bread of the Sacrament is to fill us to where we never hunger again. When have you ever been full after eating that small morsel of broken bread the deacons pass around on Sunday’s? I’m not being facetious, I truly want to ask you, have you ever been full after eating that small piece of bread?
I believe the answer to that question is tremendously revealing. Is there something wrong if you are not full and hunger again? The promise that is made is that you will be filled and never hunger again.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
I’ve partaken of the Sacrament hundreds, maybe thousands of times, and I can’t recall a time when I’ve been truly full after eating that small piece of bread. Maybe they should hand out an entire loaf of bread to each of us, then we’d certainly be full, right?
And here’s just one more thing to consider. When we eat the bread, where then is the Savior? Inside of us? Am I taking these symbolisms too far? Or perhaps there’s a mystery to be unfolded here?
26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: (Colossians 1:26-28, emphasis added)
Could it be that part of the mystery of becoming “perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32-33) is to also allow Christ to become perfect in us? Wouldn’t that be a glory we would all hope for? And wouldn’t that be a mystery we would like to unfold?
So next time you partake of the Bread of Life, perhaps you should consider some of these mysteries that have been hidden through the ages, and maybe you can figure out how to become full and never hunger again from one small morsel of Sacrament bread.
And the water, what of it?
8 And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it.
9 And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled.
10 And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.
11 And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. (3 Nephi 18: 8-11)
Again, we are presented with the symbolism of being filled. Have you ever been filled with that small sip of Sacrament water?
And why are we not still using wine? What’s the reason we have stopped that symbolism? Does it matter? Are there important truths lost because we no longer use wine, and instead use water? Have we watered down (pun not intended) the symbolism because we no longer use wine? Is Mormonism doing something wrong?
These are important questions you should ponder, and I would like to address each one of them in great detail, but truthfully each needs its very own blog post to give it the complete treatment it deserves, but I will try and touch on the important points and leave you to ponder and research the rest.
First let’s answer the question about why we use water instead of wine. The Lord used wine in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, but now we use water. Why?
2 For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.
3 Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine neither strong drink of your enemies;
4 Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth. (D&C 27:2-4)
While pondering these important things, I think you need to recognize loser-snot-bubble’s influence, and how it plays into the Lord’s commandments.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make. (D&C 89:4-6)
Because of loser-twister-upper the Lord has given us a way to avoid possible worldly confrontation and contentions regarding the sacredness of the Sacrament. He has told us that it doesn’t matter if we use water, in fact, He’d prefer we use water so that we remove any contention that would arise from the world by using the wrong kind of wine.
But I think it’s pretty obvious what kind of wine the Lord would accept – fresh new wine of our own making, meaning fresh pressed grape juice of our own making.
Now we can get to the symbolism of fresh new wine. Fresh and new infers clean and pure, not fermented and old.
The wine press is one of my favorite symbolic images that I try to remember each time I partake of the Sacrament. A wine vat is the same thing as a wine press, it is a large basin that is filled with fresh grapes. People stomp on the grapes, squeezing the juice out so it can then be put into containers to drink the new wine. As people stomp on the trampled grapes, as you can imagine this can be a fairly dirty task and grape juice is splashed and stains the people’s skin and clothing a deep red color.
It is prophesied that when the Savior returns the second time He will be dressed in red.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
49 And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
50 And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;
51 And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart. (D&C 133:48-51)
The Savior’s unparalleled and incomprehensible suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane caused by taking upon Himself the infinite sins, sorrows, and guilt of all mankind, everyone who had ever lived or will ever live on the earth – caused a physical condition in his body known as hematidrosis.
This condition is the rupture of capillaries just under the surface of the skin, causing the skin to exude bloody sweat from every pore. Such tremendous pressure would kill any other person before this condition reached the point of bleeding from every pore, but Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Eternal Father, was part God, and had lived a perfect life and so was able to endure this great agony and not die.
Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1862–1933), explained that the Savior’s agony was not just physical, and mental, but was also spiritual:
“It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, [producing] unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 613).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie in his landmark talk “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane” said it best:
“We do not know, we cannot tell, no mortal mind can conceive, the full import of what Christ did in Gethsemane.
“We know he sweat great gouts of blood from every pore as he drained the dregs of that bitter cup his Father had given him.
“We know he suffered, both body and spirit, more than it is possible for man to suffer, except it be unto death.
“We know that in some way, incomprehensible to us, his suffering satisfied the demands of justice, ransomed penitent souls from the pains and penalties of sin, and made mercy available to those who believe in his holy name.
“We know that he lay prostrate upon the ground as the pains and agonies of an infinite burden caused him to tremble and would that he might not drink the bitter cup.
“We know that an angel came from the courts of glory to strengthen him in his ordeal, and we suppose it was mighty Michael, who foremost fell that mortal man might be.
“As near as we can judge, these infinite agonies—this suffering beyond compare—continued for some three or four hours” (“The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, 9).
So imagine the symbolism here, the Lord, pressed His blood, from every single pore of His body. That is why wine is such a good symbolism for the blood of the Lamb we partake of for Sacrament.
I think it’s important to interject a comment here about how loser-sticky-buns messes things up. Don’t you find it interesting that a symbolism so important is what loser-fur-face tries so hard to cause confusion? I do. In fact, I call these things, “mystery signposts.” Whenever you see a doctrine where the Lord (or the church) has changed a doctrine, or it looks like something is a bit out of wack, then you can know with a certainty that it is a doctrine loser-weasel-whistle doesn’t want people to know about. So he has spent a good portion of his time and efforts causing confusion and has tried to smere and degrade the sacredness of that particular doctrine. Case in point, the use of water instead of wine for the Sacrament. That has loser-snot-bubble written all over it.
Let’s go back to the wonderful symbolism of the Israelites: They were commanded to spread the blood of a firstborn lamb over their doorposts and lintels, so that the destroying angel would pass over their houses.
I you haven’t put two and two together yet, this event was called the Passover, and the Jewish people have been celebrating this event ever since.
Again, the symbolism here is tremendous.
First, the Lord told Moses, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn (Exodus 4:22).” Here we see Israel represents Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God the Father (Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21). Now you understand the symbolism of one of Jesus’ names – the Lamb of God.
The second interesting point to learn here is that the Lord related the day that Israel was delivered out of Egypt to the firstborn’s opening the mother’s womb (See Ex. 13:2; Num. 3:13, Num. 8:17). Do you see the symbolism here? Israel symbolized Christ, and Egypt the womb. Out of what did the Israelites leave when they departed Egypt? Their homes. And what accompanies every birth? Blood.
But this was special blood, symbolic blood, it was the representation of the blood of their Redeemer. And it also represented the birth of their Redeemer, and the birth of Israel, but also represents in the Sacrament, our being born again.
The Exodus was indeed the birth of the nation of Israel; that is, after a long gestation period in captivity of Egypt, the nation was literally born on the day it was delivered. And yet another symbolism that I love is that Israel crossed water to escape the Pharaoh’s army – could this represent the water being broken that happens at birth? And quite possibly represent the same water that saved them from the Pharaoh’s army, yet again another symbol that points to the Savior and water.
And when Moses smote the rock to save the dying Israelites as they wandered in the desert, and water gushed out, do you think this symbolism is a type and shadow of when they pierced the Redeemers side after His crucifixion and water gushed out?
All these symbolisms of our Savior are culminated and taught us as we commemorate Him by partaking the Sacrament. Do you realize what He did to advocate for you? Do you recognize how He paid a price that you could not to free you from the bondage of your prison?
The Israelites were in bondage, they were in prison.
And we are in bondage and prisons of our own. The Word of Wisdom is an entire law about the body, our bodies, “showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days (D&C 89:2). It is a temporal law, but has an amazing spiritual blessing at the end, which has everything to do with what we have just discussed.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. (D&C 89:18-21
For those who have been endowed you may recognize from the Initiatory ordinance the first part of this wonderful blessing. And now you understand the second part of this amazing blessing – so the destroying angel will not destroy you.
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (Moroni 10:32-33)
25 And may the Lord bless you, and keep your garments spotless, that ye may at last be brought to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the holy prophets who have been ever since the world began, having your garments spotless even as their garments are spotless, in the kingdom of heaven to go no more out. (Alma 7:25)
We kneel before Him at the Altar of the Sacrament where we memorialize His offering before the Father where He paid the price to be able to advocate before the Father on our behalf, because we are not able to do it ourselves, that the destroying angel will pass over us, that we may be made perfect IN Him, and He perfect IN us, where He presents us to the Father that we may some day be full, without spot, and go no more out.
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