I thought that I would do something new with this post. I will quote scriptures, ask questions about them and give answers according to my understanding. Hopefully, you will be able to follow my logic. 2 Nephi 2: 5-14 is my scriptural text. (I am publishing this article as a result of three comments I posted on another blog, which were met with confusion and disbelief. You may read the comments here: 1, 2 & 3.)
1) And the law is given unto men. (2 Ne. 2: 5)
1) Q–What law? A-The law that is given unto men (not necessarily the one that is received by them.) Q–Given by whom? A-“The law which the Holy One hath given.” (See 2 Ne. 2: 10.)
2) And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. (2 Ne. 2: 5)
2) Q–What does Lehi mean by “flesh?” A-He means mortality, or any mortal creation. Q–What does Lehi mean by “justified?” A-He means guiltless. Q–From what are men cut off? A-From the presence of the Lord (see v. 8), from that which is good (see v. 5), from things pertaining to righteousness (see Alma 12: 16, etc.)
3) Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. (2 Ne. 2: 5)
3) Q–What is the temporal law? A-The laws of physics given by God to all mortal creations, which ultimately lead to the physical death of all flesh. Q–What is the spiritual law? A-The spiritual laws of God, which ultimately lead to the spiritual death of all flesh. Q–What does it mean to be cut off by the temporal law? A-To die a physical death (separation of the spirit body from the physical body), which, if not overcome, results in us becoming devils and being cast into outer darkness. (See 2 Ne. 9: 9.) Q–What does it mean to “perish from that which is good” by the spiritual law? A-To become devils and be expelled into outer darkness (separation from the presence of God.) In other words, the end result of both the temporal and spiritual law, if not overcome, is the second death: expulsion into outer darkness.
4) Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. (2 Ne. 2: 6)
4) Q–What does “redemption cometh in…the Holy Messiah” mean? A-It means the resurrection from the dead, which is free and requires nothing of us to receive it. (It is unconditional.) Q–What does “redemption cometh…through the Holy Messiah” mean? A-It means forgiveness of sin, which is given on condition of repentance. Q–How is the Holy Messiah full of grace? A-He is full of grace in that he forgives sin. Q–How is the Holy Messiah full of truth? A-He is full of truth in that he causes the resurrection to happen. Q–Who is the Holy Messiah? A-He is Jesus Christ.
5) Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Ne. 2: 7)
5) Q–What are “the ends of the law?” Why does Lehi say “ends” plural and not “end” singular? A-The expression “ends of the law” refers to the bounds (D&C 88: 38 ) or limits of the law, the law itself proceeding “forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space” (D&C 88: 12) and being in the shape of a sphere (D&C 93: 30). There is not one “end” of the law, only “ends” because every point from the center of the sphere to the perimeter in any direction is one of the infinite “ends of the law.” The law, being the power of God, governs, gives light and gives life to the entire created universe which resides within its bounds, or “ends,” God himself being “in the midst of all things” (D&C 88:13) or, in other words, residing in the center of the sphere (the most holy place or the holy of holies.) Q–What does Lehi mean by “answer the ends of the law?” A-He means the answer or solution to the problem at hand, namely, that no flesh is justified by the law, therefore, all flesh must inevitably be expelled from, or placed outside of, the law (the sphere), in other words, they must be removed to “the ends of the law.” At the ends of the law is where the lake of fire and brimstone is located, and beyond that is outer darkness. As the sphere is a sphere of light, outside of that sphere is darkness, hence the name, “outer darkness,” in contrast or opposition to the sphere of inner light. The question is, essentially, “What can be done for all these creatures that they may not have to return (D&C 88: 32) to the lake of fire and brimstone and outer darkness from whence they originally came? How can they remain in the kingdom of light (glory) which God has created?” The answer is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Q–What happens to those who do not “have a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” unto whom the ends of the law cannot be answered? A-They return to the lake of fire and brimstone, to be delivered to the darkness which exists outside of the sphere of light. This is known as the second death.
6) Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise. (2 Ne. 2: 8 )
7) Wherefore, he is the first fruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved. (2 Ne. 2: 9)
8 ) And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. (2 Ne. 2: 10)
9) Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. (2 Ne. 2: 10-11)
9) Q–What are “the ends of the atonement?” A-The bounds or limits of the atonement, the scope of which exactly conforms to the bounds and limits of the law, the course of the Lord being “one eternal round” and thus a sphere, like the law. Q–What does Lehi mean by “answer the ends of the atonement?” A-He means the answer or solution to the problem at hand, namely, how to answer the question, “What is to be done to those unrepentant souls who are not claimed by the atonement?” Lehi explains that “the ends of the law” will “answer the ends of the atonement.” In other words, these people will be delivered to the ends of the law (the lake of fire and brimstone) and beyond it to outer darkness. Q–What is the punishment that is affixed to the ends of the law? A-The casting of these souls into the lake of fire and brimstone and outer darkness. Q–What is the happiness that is affixed that is opposite to the punishment that is affixed to the ends of the law? A-It is the innermost location of the light sphere, the most holy place or the holy of holies, where God resides in the midst of his creations (the created universe.) It is the central location of the light sphere, being opposite in all ways to the outermost location, (the ends and outer darkness.) Q–Does removing the comma after “for it must needs be” change the meaning of the phrase, “for it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things”? A-Yes. Q–What is a plainer translation of the phrase with the comma? A-“Because it needs to be this way, so that there is an opposition in all things.” Q–What is a plainer translation of the phrase without the comma? A-“Because there needs to be an opposition in all things.” Q–What is the difference between the two phrases, with comma and without comma? A-The phrase with the comma is explaining that the law necessarily is set up so that there is an opposition in all things, in other words, that the law itself is creating the necessary opposition in all things, whereas the phrase without the comma is explaining that an opposition in all things is necessary. (This is where most LDS stumble in the correct interpretation of this scripture. They read it as if there were no comma and thus miss the true meaning of Lehi’s words.)
10) If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. (2 Ne. 2: 11)
10) Q–What does the phrase “if not so” mean? If what is not so? A-If the law was not so. In other words, if the law were not set up to create the opposition in all things (outer darkness-inner light) there would be no opposition in all things. Lehi is explaining that the opposition in all things was created by God. It does not exist naturally. Q–What are the opposite conditions that could not be brought to pass if the law did not create an opposition in all things? A-Righteousness-wickedness; holiness-misery; good-bad.
11) Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. (2 Ne. 2: 11)
11) Q–What does Lehi mean when he says, “Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one?” A-He means that if you take away the creative act of God, in creating the opposition in all things through the law, which is his light and power, the natural state of things is to be “a compound in one,” both spirit and element being joined together as if they were one single substance. This is the state of things as they existed prior to creation. This is the state of things as they exist now in outer darkness, which is outside of the kingdom of God, or the created universe (the sphere of light). This is the state that we were in before God brought us into existence, or better stated, into a state of awareness of our existence, before he split our “compound in one” substance into two opposite materials: spirit matter (that which acts) and element or physical matter (that which is acted upon). Q–What is “it” in the phrase “if it should be one body?” A-It is the compound in one substance. Q–Why does Lehi refer to the “compound in one” substance as being “one body?” A-Two reasons: 1st, to contrast it to our own dual natures, as we have both a spirit body and a physical body and, 2nd, to contrast it to our current state of individuality. The compound in one substance literally was as one body, or a single mass of everything that is currently in the sphere of light, which is the kingdom of God. There was no individuality, nor even awareness of individuals, nor of anything else. Everything was the same as everything else, thus, without anything to contrast, it all was as a single body, all of it unaware that it even existed. Q–Why does Lehi state that “it must needs remain as dead” when later on he says, “having no life neither death?” Is this a contradiction? A-There is no contradiction. Lehi is explaining that the one body compound in one substance was useless in its compound in one state. It was good for nothing. It served no purpose. It was as dead, meaning it was like a dead thing, totally incapable of usefulness as it was not even aware of its own existence. It was literally “in the dark” as to any possibilities for expansion and progression. It had nothing to contrast anything else with, as there was no light to contrast with its darkness, no separate individuals to contrast with its singular, combined substance. With such material, nothing can be accomplished, not life, not death, etc.
12) Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. (2 Ne. 2: 12)
13) Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God. (2 Ne. 2: 12)
12-13) Q–What is the meaning of Lehi’s words as written in verse 12? A-He is saying that if God had created the one body, compound in one substance, it would have been created for nothing, having no utility or serving no useful purpose, at all. Since God cannot create anything without giving it a purpose, a use, had he created such stuff, he would have ceased to be God. Lehi is attempting to explain that as God has not ceased to be God and as this stuff did exist prior to creation and still exists (as this is the material that God uses to expand his kingdom), then this substance is stuff in its natural, untouched or un-created state, that it is co-existent with God and co-eternal, but his complete opposite. (He has all power, it has no power, etc.)
14) And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. (2 Ne. 2: 13)
15) If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. (2 Ne. 2: 13)
16) And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. (2 Ne. 2: 13)
17) And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. (2 Ne. 2: 13)
18 ) And if these things are not there is no God. (2 Ne. 2: 13)
14) Q–Why does Lehi begin with the phrase, “And if ye shall say there is no law?” A-Because the opposition in all things is created by the law. Everything hinges on the existence of the law. With the existence of the law, you can then have sin, righteousness, happiness, punishment and misery, in other words, the opposition in all things. If there is no opposition in all things, it means there is no law given by God and if there is no law given by God, then there is no God, as the law is his power.
19) And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
19) Q–What does Lehi mean when he says that “all things must have vanished away” if there is no God? A-He means that God is holding all of creation together, in its created state, by his own power. If God ever loses his power (his honor, see D&C 29: 36), all created things will revert back to their previous, uncreated, one body, compound in one state. In fact, if any of the gods and goddesses (god-dom) ever cease to be a god or goddess, the same result occurs everywhere. This is why Lucifer necessarily demanded the honor of God in his pre-mortal bid to conquer the universe, so that the universe would not revert to its previous state. (See
Deep Waters: What would have happened if Lucifer had won the vote?)
20) And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. (2 Ne. 2: 14)
20) Q–Lehi says that God created all things. Does that not include the compound in one substance? A-God created all things that are created and all things that are created have purpose. The compound in one substance has no purpose and is in the natural, un-created state. God did not create it. Q–What are the things to act and what are the things to be acted upon? A-When God split the compound in one substance into two materials, one was the fire or spirit, which was given the purpose (by God) to move on its own (that which acts) and the other was the brimstone, or physical element, which was given the purpose (by God) to be moved (that which is acted upon.) The physical element does not move on its own, it must be acted upon, or pushed around, by the spirit matter. This is why living things move around (because the spirit bodies move the physical bodies) but when the living things die, which means that the spirit bodies leave the physical bodies, the physical bodies just lay there, motionless, unless acted upon by other, authorized spirit matter. (Devils can possess living souls, with permission, or power granted, of the living souls, but once a person dies, devils are not authorized to possess the physical body of that dead individual. In other words, the free agent physical body won’t allow itself to be moved by devils, only by spirits whose authority it, the physical body, recognizes.) Both spirit and element are given agency (D&C 93: 31) by God from the get-go. The spirit moves of its own volition and the element moves not, or allows itself to be pushed around, of its own volition. As the Lord has said, “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence (D&C 93: 30).” Both truth and intelligence (physical element and spirit matter) act for themselves, but truth (element) acts by allowing itself to be pushed around, or acted upon, while intelligence (spirit) acts by doing the pushing. The creation of the opposition in all things happens at the ends of the law, where the lake of fire (spirit) and brimstone (element) burns. If you could float just above the ends or boundary of the light sphere, so that your head pointed to the center of the light sphere and your feet pointed to the edge or ends of the sphere (the ends of the law), you being within the sphere, the ends of the law would appear to be a lake of fire and brimstone. This is the plasma bow shock that divides the outer darkness from the inner light. It is the lake of fire and brimstone that is where the compound in one substance is being converted, or split, into spirit (fire) and element (brimstone.) The flame of this lake “ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end” (2 Ne. 9: 16). The reason is that the lake is in the shape of a sphere, being at the ends of the law, and if you could follow it with your eye, although the sphere is inconceivably big, you would eventually see it curve upward. Also, as the creative act is continual, meaning that more compound in one substance is being split into spirit and element, the sphere is constantly expanding. (See Moses 1: 4, “my works are without end.”)
Final Question–What does this tell us about our own natures? A-It shows us why God is so obsessed with getting everything resurrected with a physical body. The physical aspect is as much a part of our original, un-split, compound in one natures as is the spiritual aspect. We cannot feel complete without it. This is why only spirit and element, inseparably connected, can receive a fulness of joy (D&C 93: 33-34). This is one of the reasons why Satan is miserable forever. The lack of a physical body creates a void. This is why Jacob explained that we would all become devils if there were no resurrection (2 Ne. 9: 9). If there were no resurrection, there would be no hope of ever getting that missing part of us back. As hope is a part of faith, if we lose all hope, we lose all faith, and Satan then would obtain all power over us and we would become devils just like him, as he also has no hope nor faith. This is why the resurrection has so much emphasis in the scriptures.
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