Lesson 1: This is My Work and My Glory
I wanted to share some notes on the first lesson of 2014- Moses 1. Enjoy!
Moses 1 constitutes the beginning of the Prophet’s labor known to us as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. It is a revelation given to Moses sometime after his experience at the burning bush yet before he led the children of Israel out of Egypt (Moses 1:17, 26). Coming in the midst of so many difficulties, this revelation was received by the members of the Church as an expression of God’s love for them. 1
“No man can behold all my glory and afterwards remain in the flesh;” that is, it would consume him; the sight would be so overwhelming that the mortal tabernacle would melt away. Should a mortal man be permitted to gaze upon all the works of God, which include all His glory, mortality could not endure it. 2
All Revelation Since the Fall is through Jesus Christ
Joseph Fielding Smith said, “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses. The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son .” 3
Divine Investiture of Authority
Jesus Christ explained to a group during his Palestinian ministry, “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:43). Our Lord acted and spoke on behalf of God the Father, such that he could proclaim, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). Christ is therefore known as Father “by divine investiture of authority,” meaning that “the Father has placed his name upon the Son, has given him his own power and authority, and has authorized him to speak in the first person as though he were the original or primal Father.” 4
It is appropriate to refer to the Savior as “Father” because of at least the following three considerations:
1. As Creator, He is the Father of heaven and earth. (Hebrews 1:1-2; Ether 4:7; Alma 11:38-39)
2. Through the atonement he is the Father of our salvation. When we are “born of God,” or “born again” we become His sons and daughters, his “seed,” and take His name upon us. (Mosiah 5:7; 13:10-13; 27:24-26)
3. By “Divine Investiture of Authority”(power of attorney) Jesus “represents Elohim His Father in power and authority . . . . the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ [speaks] and [ministers] in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority, and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father.” 5
In all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in the which He was known as Jehovah; also during His embodiment in the flesh; and during His labors as a disembodied spirit in the realm of the dead; and since that period in His resurrected state [see John 5:43; 10:25, 30; 14:28; 17:11, 22; 3 Nephi 20:35; 3 Nephi 28:10; D&C 50:43]. Thus the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father…
None of these considerations, however, can change in the least degree the solemn fact of the literal relationship of Father and Son between Elohim and Jesus Christ. 6
In the Similitude
In what ways do you see Moses “in the similitude” of Jesus Christ?
Moses began to understand that it was not for him as a mortal personage to cast his eyes forth and behold all the infinite creations of the Almighty dispersed through boundless space; but the Lord was willing that he should know in part. And Moses, when he saw the glory of God, and the things with which he was surrounded, pertaining to the planetary systems, he began to wonder and marvel, as you and I would do if we had the privilege of gazing in vision upon the works of God. And while he was marveling at what he had seen, the Lord for some reason, withdrew from him, probably to try him, to see if he would be faithful to him. And when the Spirit of the Lord was taken from him, and the glory of God had withdrawn from him and the Lord himself had departed from before him, Moses was left to himself. O how weak! He fell to the earth, and for the space of many hours he did not receive his natural strength. And when in this weak, fallen condition he exclaimed, I know now that man is nothing; and he began to call upon the Lord to restore his strength. And Satan, we learn, took advantage of Moses on this occasion, while thus left to himself, and came and stood before him, and said Moses, son of man, I am the Only Begotten, worship me. Moses looked upon Satan and perceived the difference at once between the glorious personage that had appeared to him a short time before, and the personage of Satan. And Moses in looking upon this strange visitor said, Where is thy glory that I should worship thee? 7
Moses 1:10 Man is Nothing
Philosophies abound which belittle man’s position on this earth. In the account of Moses, even he thought after seeing the creations of God that man is nothing, but God made it clear to him that man is everything. 8
Comparing what we are with what we have the power to become should give us great spiritual hope. Think of it this way: There are some very serene, blue lakes on this planet situated in cavities which once were red, belching volcanos. Likewise, there are beautiful, green, tropical mountains formed from ancient, hot extrusions. The parallel transformation of humans is much more remarkable than all of that-much more beautiful and much more everlasting!
So it is, amid the vastness of His creations, God’s personal shaping influence is felt in the details of our lives-not only in the details of the galaxies and molecules but, much more importantly, in the details of our own lives. Somehow God is providing these individual tutorials for us while at the same time He is overseeing cosmic funerals and births, for as one earth passes away so another is born (see Moses 1:38). It is marvelous that He would attend to us so personally in the midst of those cosmic duties. 9
Moses 1:11 My natural eyes could not have beheld – see D&C 67:11, John 1:18, 1 John 4:11, Exodus 33:11, Isaiah 6:5
That is what John meant when he said: “No man hath seen God at any time.” And that is what Paul meant, in saying: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.” It means that no man with his natural eyes can see God in his glory. He must use his spirit eyes, the eyes with which he “walked by sight” when a spirit in the spirit world, the eyes that he saw with before coming to earth and receiving his natural eyes. In this second estate, where we “walk by faith,” we are not permitted to use at all times our spirit sight. But now and then the Lord chooses one from among men, and gives him that rare privilege. The power of God comes upon such a one, transfigures him, opens his spirit eyes, and constitutes him a seer in the highest sense of the term. Such a man was Moses. Such a man was the brother of Jared, such a man was Nephi, and such a man was Joseph Smith. There have been many such men. They have seen God actually, literally, but it was with their spiritual and not with their natural eyes. “The natural man is an enemy to God;” the natural eye cannot behold him, the natural ear cannot hear him. But the spirit eye can behold him, and the spirit ear can hear him. With the Spirit of the Lord upon us, we can see and comprehend God, so far as he chooses to make himself known. This is the great differentiating feature between the Latter-day Saints and those who have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost. 10
A seer is one who sees. This does not mean that he sees through his natural eyes but rather through spiritual eyes. The seeric gift is a supernatural endowment… We should not suppose that to see spiritually is not to see literally. Such vision is not fancy or imagination. The object is actually beheld, but not with the natural eyes. 11
Moses 1:15 I can judge between thee and God
“We want to enable our children to recognize error and take action, as Moses did. This is much more than simply telling them what to think and what to do. It is helping them seek for and love truth and choose to act independently, to act according to it.” 12
Then came Satan, the audacious, the father of lies, and represented himself as being the son of God in the distinctive sense. Moses was able to discern and perceive. (Moses 1:13-14) Oh, that we all had such power of discernment. That is a gift of the Spirit, to which we are entitled and we will have it as we live for it. With that gift we shall be free, to a great extent, from the deception that otherwise might lead us astray. As the Lord gives revelations, so does Satan, each in his way. As the Lord has revelators upon the earth, so has Satan, and he is operating upon those men by his power, and they are receiving revelations, manifestations, that are just as truly of the devil as was his manifestation to Moses. 13
Just think of what science and astronomy tell us about the expanse of the solar system and the universe. Our solar system centers on the sun, one of a huge group of stars on the order of 100 billion stars swirling around a huge pinwheel-shaped mass called the Milky Way galaxy, which is about 100,000 light-years across. Astronomers cannot see to the end of the universe, but evidence suggests that the vastness of space contains billions of galaxies stretching for an expanse of 5 billion to 15 billion light-years away from the sun. Compared with such distances, our solar system occupies a very tiny amount of space. The universe is virtually incomprehensible to man! 14
Moses 1:37 This is my work
Our Heavenly Father has described His vast plan for His children by saying, “Behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39; emphasis added). Consider the significance of the Lord’s use of the word work. What He is doing so lovingly and redemptively is, nevertheless, work-even for Him! We, likewise, speak of “working out our salvation,” of the “law of the harvest,” and of the “sweat of the brow” (see Moses 5:1; see also Inspired Version, Gen. 4:1). These are not idle phrases. Instead, they underscore the importance of work. In fact, brethren, work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity. 15
We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: … ‘In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ (D&C 81:4) 16
Distinguishing the difference between Eternal Life and Immortality
There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all … , just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7) 17
By repeatedly calling Moses “my son” and by saying that he was created “in the similitude of mine Only Begotten,” God gave Moses confidence and an understanding of his worth. How can following this principle help us as parents? How can it strengthen marriages? How can it strengthen friendships?
How can Moses 1:6 and Moses 1:10 both be true? Where else can we see this illustrated?
Why does Satan call Moses “son of man”? In what ways does he try to demean us or to discourage us from recognizing our worth?
Moses 1 is all about identity – this drives to the core of our being. Who are we? When Moses learns who he is, he is given the strength to stand before the most powerful mortal on the earth, fearless as he represents Jehovah in the liberation of the children of Israel. As we come to understand who we are, we will have the power to act, to do the Lord’s will. This power will help to bring light to a darkened world.
Generals in Heaven quote– this is NOT true! 18
Notice how many times Moses works to resist Satan- verses 16, 18, 20, 21. What does this tell us about resisting his efforts?
When was a time in your life when you knew that God was aware of you and that he is close to you?
1. Ostler and McConkie, Revelations of the Restoration, p. 185.
2. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 245.
3. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27.
4. Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 63; see also A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 69.
5. The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve, June 30, 1916, as quoted in James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 465-473.
6. The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve,” Improvement Era, Aug. 1916, 939-940.
7. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols.,20:72 – 73.
8. Richard E. Turley Sr., Ensign, May 1998, 84.
9. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Becoming a Disciple,” Ensign, June 1996, 17.
10. Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, October 1924, First Day-Morning Session, 23.
11. The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 225.
12. Michaelene P. Grassli, “Helping Children Know Truth from Error,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 13.
13. Elder James E. Talmage, Conference Report, April 1931, Afternoon Meeting , 27.
14. Elder Robert D. Hales, In Remembrance of Jesus,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 25.
15. Elder Neal. A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1998, 37-38
16. Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1995, 71.
17. James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12.
18. The following statement was published in the Church News, an official publication of the Church, on April 28, 2001: President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, has released the following concerning a statement he is said to have made: “We continue to receive reports of the distribution of a quote attributed to me which begins, ‘The youth of the Church today were generals in the war in heaven,’ and ends with the statement that when they return to heaven ‘all in attendance will bow in your presence.’ “I did not make that statement. I do not believe that statement. “The statement, on occasion, has been attributed to others of the First Presidency and the Twelve. None of the Brethren made that statement.” President Packer has sent a letter to mission presidents requesting their help in clarifying this matter among missionaries and members, and has had posted on some Internet sites carrying the statement a notice that he did not make this declaration.