D&C 88 – An overview
Even though the world I send you to is at war (D&C 87) there will be peace for you in your time. Take a look at Mosiah 15:18 – this message is the Lord’s message of peace to us and the central message is focused on Jesus Christ. As we examine this section, we gain insights into the nature of Jesus Christ and also learn how to gain access to Him. This is the message of section 88.
We explored several of the roles of Jesus Christ in section 88 and numbered them. The first two are outlined in this post.
1. 88:2 & 87:7 – Sabaoth = Lord of Hosts=Lord of armies. He is a general and will send us where we need to be to fight His battles and He will protect us.
2. 88:6 – He is our comforter. The Savior can be a comforter and in our lives. He knows by actual experience of the lowest corner of outer darkness and also the highest type of joy. Through his ordeal in the Garden of Gethsemane He can say, “I have descended below them all, art thou greater than me?” Because He knows these things, He comprehends everything in between.
People need help – when they reach out for help, sometimes we say, “I understand.” Sometimes when we say this we don’t fully understand because we have not had the same type of experience that they are going through. But we can always understand through the spirit. Sometimes we do understand because we have been through those types of experiences. When my son talks to me about being bullied in school, I can say I understand because I have been through this.
Of those two “I understands”, which can Christ always say? Always the first – because He has experienced much worse than what you have been through, His ability to comprehend your sufferings is total, for he has truly “descended below all things”. He may have not been through your exact situation, but He has been through so much worse. Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated: “President Brigham Young spoke of what evoked the “why” from Jesus, saying that during the axis of agony which was Gethsemane and Calvary, the Father at some point withdrew both His presence and His Spirit from Jesus (see Journal of Discourses 3:205–6). Thereby Jesus’ personal triumph was complete and His empathy perfected. Having “descended below all things,” He comprehends, perfectly and personally, the full range of human suffering!” (CR, Oct. 1997)
Alma 7:11-12 teaches the idea that Jesus wanted to have the actual human experience – He knows according to the flesh (actual human experience) how to succor (run to our aid) His people according to their infirmities!
Hebrews 4:15-16 – I love this verse! “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” You can always freely go to Him boldly because He understands where you are!
This is why He can comfort us because He truly understands. He put His feet in the lowest corner of outer darkness.
Justice demands the pain we call guilt – Alma 42 – remorse of conscience. Jesus suffered the pains of all men and Jesus had to feel this. In D&C 19 Jesus say to Joseph Smith, “you tasted what I experienced in the tiniest degree what I tasted when I withdrew my spirit.” Justice demands guilt and the withdrawal of the Spirit. If Jesus was to answer the “ends of the law” He had to take this upon Himself.
He had to go to the farthest limits to pay the penalty to answer the “ends of the law” (Moroni 7:28). Where did He go? He went to the deepest corner of hell, to where Alma went for only three days, describing this experience as being “racked with the pains of a damned soul” (Alma 36:16).