What It Means to Bind Up the Testimony and Seal Up the Law


The outer vessel

It is the word of God that saves:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  (John 5:39)

When it is planted in our hearts as a seed, and nourished with great care, it takes root and springs up as a tree of everlasting life, bringing forth lots of good fruit. This requires, then, that we be “doers of the word” (James 1:22), and not just hearers of it, giving place in our hearts by our belief, that the seed can be planted, and then living the word, allowing it to transform our lives accordingly.  The Christians understand this part of the gospel, as well as many Mormons who have become “Christianified,” meaning they have taken the fulness of the restored gospel and reduced it down to a single requirement: the word of God must be found in us.

The truth of the matter is that the word of God must be found in us as well as upon us.  There is an inner component of the gospel—which applies to the inner man, the inward man, the inward vessel, the inward parts, the hidden part, the heart—that deals with inward performances, such as justice, mercy, faith and love, and also inward ordinances, such as the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost:

And thus he [Adam] was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.  And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying:

Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.  (Moses 6:65-66)

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.  (Psalms 51:6)

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;

After those days,

saith the Lord,

I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (Jer. 31:33)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Matt. 23:23)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  (Matt.23:25-28)

And the Lord said unto him,

Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.  Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?  (Luke 11:39-40)

But if ye would rather give alms of such things as ye have; and observe to do all things which I have commanded you, then would your inward parts be clean also.  (JST Luke 11:42)

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Luke 11:42)

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  (Romans 7:22)

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  (2 Cor. 4:16)

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  (Eph. 3:16)

And now I read unto you the remainder of the commandments of God, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts; I perceive that ye have studied and taught iniquity the most part of your lives.  (Mosiah 13:11)

Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.  (Alma 60:23)

But there is also an outer component—which applies to the outward man, the outer vessel, “the outside of the cup,” “that which is without”—that deals with outward performances, such as tithing, and also outward ordinances, such as water baptism:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Matt. 23:23)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  (Matt.23:25-28)

And the Lord said unto him,

Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.  Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also?  (Luke 11:39-40)

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Luke 11:42)

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  (2 Cor. 4:16)

Yea, and they did keep the law of Moses; for it was expedient that they should keep the law of Moses as yet, for it was not all fulfilled. But notwithstanding the law of Moses, they did look forward to the coming of Christ, considering that the law of Moses was a type of his coming, and believing that they must keep those outward performances until the time that he should be revealed unto them.  (Alma 25:15)

Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.  (Alma 60:23)

The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.  (D&C 107:20)

Man, then, is like a potted plant.

Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. (D&C 38:42)

The pot (or vessel) has an inside surface and an outside surface.  Within the pot is our heart-sol, into which the good seed of the word of God is supposed to be planted.  But no one hides a seed into a pot of soil without making sure to identify what kind of a seed is growing in the pot.  Therefore, our outer* vessel is used by God as a label, to write the identity of the plant growing in the soil, its purpose, and any other instructions pertaining to it.  These words of God, attached to the outer vessel of man via priesthood power, authority and ordinances, constitute the outer component of the gospel.  Both inner and outer components of the gospel must be present for salvation to go forth:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Matt. 23:23)

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  (Luke 11:42)

*Note: We are dual beings, composed of spirit and element, which two bodies are connected.  Although there are two bodies, or two vessels, the connection makes them act as one body, or as one vessel with an inner and outer surface, yet it is still spoken of as two vessels.  Thus, the inner surface is the “inward vessel” and the outer surface is the “outer vessel” or “outward man.”  Hence, the inward vessel holds things on the inside, whereas the outer vessel holds things on the outside.

The sealing and binding power

Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. (Isa. 8:16)

The church of Christ, with its authorized, valid priesthood, is the instrument by which God attaches his word to the outer vessel of man.  The sealing and binding power of the priesthood refers to the ability of the priesthood to bind or seal the word of God to the outward man, or to the outer vessel of man, so that when God looks upon us, He sees His word.  If God looks upon us and sees His word, which is sealed to our outer vessel, and if He then looks within us and sees His word, in our inward vessel, and the two match, then we will appear to Him to be like His Only Begotten Son, who is the Word of God:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.  (Moro. 7:48)

Jesus is fully the Word, both in His inward and outer vessels.  We must also be likewise.  This is how salvation and exaltation is obtained.

Joseph Smith wrote:

It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?

And as are the records on the earth in relation to your dead, which are truly made out, so also are the records in heaven. This, therefore, is the sealing and binding power, and, in one sense of the word, the keys of the kingdom, which consist in the key of knowledge.  (D&C 128:9,14)

When a person is baptized with valid priesthood authority, the word of God is bound to the person’s outer vessel.  Specifically, the gospel law is bound or sealed to the outer vessel.  The law, which is a written form of God’s word, has promised blessings associated with obedience to it.

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.  (D&C 130:20-21)

There are also promised curses associated with non-compliance.  Both the law, its blessings and its curses are bound up to the outer vessel, making a covenant between God and the man.  If God looks in the inward vessel and sees conformity to the word of God that is sealed to the outer vessel, He is bound to bestow the promised blessing.  Contrariwise, if He sees non-conformity, He is likewise bound to bestow the curse.  This is how we bind God.

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.  (D&C 82:10)

The promise referred to in the above scripture does not come from the inward vessel word alone, but consists of the outer vessel law sealed by priesthood power and then complicity with that law by application of the word found in the inward vessel.

And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same. That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still. (D&C 88:34-35)

Only the word of God is eternal, therefore, to inherit eternal life, we’ve got to be bound to it.

And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word,

saith the Lord,

shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection,

saith the Lord your God.

For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. (D&C 132:13-15)

Binding the promises of God’s word to our outer vessel, then, is essential to our salvation.  Without the word of God on the outside, as well as on the inside, we are doomed.

There’s also testimony

In addition to binding or sealing up law upon the Lord’s disciples, which is the written form of His word, there is also testimony, which is a spoken form given by the power of the Holy Ghost:

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me,

See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  (Rev. 19:10)

The man, then, speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost, testifies that such-and-such a thing is going to happen, or that such-and-such a blessing is going to be received, and these prophecies, which are also promises, are bound or sealed to the outer vessel, as attachments or addendums to the initial sealing of the law there.  Thus, after baptism, we have hands laid on our hands to get the Holy Ghost and additional promises can be attached to the individual’s outer vessel, according to the inspiration received by the one speaking.  A patriarchal blessing is also a sealing of testimony, as are other priesthood blessings.

Frontlets and phylacteries

These priesthood sealings of promises upon our outer vessel is what Peter was referring to when he wrote, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Pet. 1:4.)  No promises are extended to anybody via the inward vessel alone, therefore the Christians, and any Mormons who think likewise, who think that confessing Jesus and living a Christian life of service is sufficient for salvation, i.e. that the word on the inside alone is sufficient, is going to be sorely disappointed, for no one can be saved by works alone, and the grace of God is only activated by obeying His commandments, which includes getting His word attached to our outer vessel, so that He essentially “sees Himself.”  Even the language of the marriage sealing attests that the promises are attached only to the outer vessel: “it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them” (D&C 132:19.)

We also have a type of this principle with the practice of frontlets and phylacteries:

(Bible Dictionary entries follow)

Phylacteries

(See Frontlets.) Amulets fastened on the forehead or on the left arm. They were small strips of parchment inscribed with texts (see Ex. 13:1–10, 11–16; Deut. 6:4–9; 11:13–21) and enclosed in leather cases (see Matt. 23:5).

Frontlets or phylacteries

Strips of parchment on which were written four passages of scriptures (Ex. 13:1–10, 11–16; Deut. 6:5–9; 11:13–21) and that were rolled up and attached to bands of leather worn (as an act of obedience to Ex. 13:9, 16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18) around the forehead or around the arm. The Jews called them tephillin. The Pharisees wore them broader than other people in order to make them as conspicuous as possible (Matt. 23:5).

These are the four passages of scriptures that were written in the strips of rolled up parchment:

#1: (Ex. 13:1–10)

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

¶And Moses said unto the people,

Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.  This day came ye out in the month Abib.

¶And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.  Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord.  Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.

¶And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying,

This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.

And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt.  Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

#2: (Ex. 13:11–16)

¶And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, that thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord’s.  And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

¶And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying,

What is this?

that thou shalt say unto him,

By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: and it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.

#3: (Deut. 6:4–9)

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

#4: (Deut. 11:13–21)

¶And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,

that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.  And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.

Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.

¶Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.  And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

God’s word was literally bound to the outside of their bodies, and it contained promised blessings and curses, according to their obedience.  The sealing and binding power of the priesthood, then, is a sort of spiritual frontlet or phylactery.

Conditional promises

And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.  All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.  (D&C 88:38-39)

Sealing up the law and binding up the testimony among the disciples can be of two types of promises: conditional and unconditional.  Conditional promises require that a condition be fulfilled before the promised blessing is bestowed.  For example, we must keep our baptismal covenant in order to obtain the promised blessing of eternal life, yet baptism also contains the unconditional promise of the Holy Ghost, just for being baptized, which we receive at confirmation.  Another example is the endowment and marriage sealing, which are all conditional promises.

Unconditional promises

Some promises are given unconditionally, because the conditions for the fulfillment of the promise have already been met.  The more sure word of prophecy falls into this category:

The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood. (D&C 131:5)

Non-priesthood sealings

God has power to seal additional promises to the outer vessel without using a priesthood administrator, merely by using the power of the Holy Ghost, through revelation and prophecy.  These additional promises are obtained by faith and are attached to the law or testimony already found sealed to the outer vessel, or to that which will be found sealed there in the future.  (There is no getting around the necessity of a priesthood administrator and this sealing and binding power.)  Thus, Joseph obtained promises of a righteous branch of his posterity, of Moses, and of the Josephite, and the Nephites obtained promises of the restoration of the Nephites, etc.  Also, Joseph Smith had his exaltation unconditionally sealed upon him:

For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father. (D&C 132:49)

None of this was done via a priesthood administrator.

Past, present and future

“The” more sure word of prophecy is nothing more than an unconditional promise given through a priesthood administrator by the power of the Holy Ghost in which a present condition or state is manifest.  In other words, it means that you have successfully endured to the end, passed the test of mortality, overcome the world by your faith in Christ and made your calling and election sure.  You can now die, confident that all will be well in the last day for you.  But there is also “a” more sure word of prophecy, or “other” more sure words of prophecy, which are likewise unconditional promises, but concerning the future or the past.  To illustrate the future type, I will use my wife as an example.

About two years after my wife was baptized, and more than a year after I met her, and in the very instant that I began pursuing her, the Holy Ghost manifested a prophetic revelation to her, in which she was told that I would be her “eternal companion.”  This was the second time she had received a manifestation of the Holy Ghost—the first being a knowledge that her sins had been remitted, received after her baptism—and she was unfamiliar and inexperienced with the gift to prophesy, and so she kept it to herself, thinking that if it were a true prophecy, nothing could stop its fulfillment.  It was many years later that she finally told it to me.

Her revelation is exemplary of an unconditional promise—for no conditions were attached, the Holy Ghost merely declaring the future—yet it was remarkable in that it essentially guaranteed that not one, but two people would be sealed up to their exaltation.  In order for the prophecy to come to pass, three things would have to happen: 1) the two people in question would have to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity, 2) the two people in question would have to be saved, and 3) the two people in question would have to enter into their exaltation.  Her prophecy, then, was unconditionally guaranteeing that all three things would occur.

Notice the similarity of her prophecy to Joseph Smith’s definition of the more sure word of prophecy.  Her revelation certainly wasn’t “the” more sure word of prophecy, for although it was given by revelation and prophecy, it was not done by the power of the priesthood, nor was it a declaration that nothing else needed to be done.  It wasn’t a declaration of a present state, but of a future state.  It wasn’t “the” more sure word, but it was certainly “a” more sure word.

Unconditional prophecies are given after conditions have been met.  The man receiving “a” more sure word of prophecy has already set in motion the sequence of events, through the exercise of his faith in Christ, that will inevitably lead to the fulfillment of the prophecy.  No conditions are attached to the promise because the necessary condition—a sufficiently mighty exercise of faith—has already occurred, and so God Himself guarantees the prophecy’s fulfillment, for when there is faith, it binds Him to act in the man’s behalf.  Thus, regardless of the agency of the two individuals in question in my wife’s prophecy, God would use His almighty power (His own agency) to get those two together, sealed, saved and exalted, by pushing the appropriate “buttons” that would cause them to act in the manner required for them to “get together, be sealed, saved and exalted.”

Was this a true revelation?

In order to be true, faith must have been exercised prior to the Holy Ghost uttering the guarantee, and in point of fact, that is exactly what had happened.  Unbeknownst to my wife, I had been earnestly pleading with God, for over a year, for Him to give her to me as my wife forever, fully believing I was going to get what I was asking for (and never realizing that God would have to guarantee us exaltation in order to grant my petition.)  So, on my own part, there appeared to be present the required condition of faith.  Also, a few months later I received my own prophetic revelation concerning her, which confirmed that I had, indeed, prayed in faith.  And my prophecy turned out to be yet another more sure word, without conditions.  As for her, I only know what I perceived in her by the gift of the discerning of spirits when I first met her, which caused me to immediately begin asking God for her—for I perceived a degree of faith I had never seen in any other woman—and I also know that she has always claimed to have done “everything that was required” of her by God during the first two years of her membership in the church.

This shows that God is not limited in declaring more sure words of prophecy.  He can unconditionally declare a present state, as well as a future state, and, in fact, all of the many promises that I have obtained from God directly, via revelation and the spirit of prophecy, without priesthood administration, have been more sure words, declaring a future state.  But God can also declare a possible past state:

I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept; and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.  Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying:

All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. (D&C 137:5-9)

Here we see that Joseph received a more sure word of prophecy concerning his brother Alvin, not due to a condition of faith that Alvin presently fulfilled, or one which he would fulfill in the future, but one which he would have fulfilled in the past, had he lived.  Alvin’s disposition to receive the gospel with all his heart caused the Lord to view him as if he had a “seal of righteousness” upon him.  Alvin still needed the ordinances of salvation and exaltation—in other words, a priesthood administrator still needed to seal up the law and bind up the testimony, upon Alvin’s outer vessel, vicariously—but this more sure word concerning him was attached to those future sealings regardless of their futurity in point of time.

The Holy Spirit of promise

Being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise is required for exaltation:

And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—they are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—that by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. (D&C 76:50-53)

Paul also wrote of this sealing:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  (Eph. 1:13-14)

The NKJV render it, “the guarantee of our inheritance.”  Concerning the Holy Spirit of promise, the Lord said,

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you who have assembled yourselves together to receive his will concerning you:

Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.  Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.  This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—he that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth.  (D&C 88:1-7)

John, who was mentioned by the Lord in the revelation, did, in fact, write that the promise they received was of eternal life:

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.  (1 John 2:25)

So the Holy Spirit of promise is the promise or guarantee of eternal life, or, to put it another way, it is the Holy Ghost promising or guaranteeing eternal life.  This promise or guarantee can be conditional or unconditional, and it can be bestowed via priesthood administration or without such, being given merely by revelation and prophecy.

The Holy Spirit of promise, administered (or sealed upon us) via priesthood is done through the temple marriage ceremony, and such sealings are all conditional:

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these:

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.  (D&C 132:7,18,19,26)

Such priesthood administrations, however, actually cause the people being sealed to be written in the Book of Life (which is found in heaven), and their names remain there unless they violate the conditions:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.

And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven.  (D&C 132:19,46)

This conditional promise of eternal life allows them to weather the storms of temptation and adversity, giving them comfort during the trial of mortality, hence it being called another Comforter:

First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.  (D&C 124:124)

It is entirely appropriate, then, for endowed members fo the church who have received the marriage sealing to say that they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.

Unconditional manifestations of the Holy Spirit of promise can come via priesthood administration, such as “the” more sure word of prophecy, or merely by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, without any priesthood administration.  Doctrine and Covenants section 88 is an example of the latter form.  D&C 88:1-7 (quoted above) unconditionally guarantees eternal life to the people who were present with Joseph Smith when he received that revelation.  It is stated that their prayers “are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.”  During the rest of the revelation, they are always associated with the celestial glory, but when speaking of other glories, the Lord associates other people:

And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.

They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.  Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.  And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.  And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.  And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.   (D&C 88:21,28-32)

Yet despite this unconditional guarantee of eternal life, they were not perfect.  They were deficient in their thoughts, even though their actions were more or less right before the Lord.  Therefore, the Lord gave them further commandments and instructions, so that they could become perfect, both inside and out, and He continued to remind them of the promise of eternal life which they had just received:

And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you; and if ye ask anything that is not expedient for you, it shall turn unto your condemnation.
Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.  Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.
And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean; that I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God, that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last promise, which I have made unto you, when I will.  Also, I give unto you a commandment that ye shall continue in prayer and fasting from this time forth.  And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.   (D&C 88:62-65,68-69,74-77)

So this was “a” more sure word of prophecy, in which they were promised that they would eventually obtain eternal life.  There still were more things they needed to do, yet the faith they had already exercised was sufficient to get the Lord to manifest the Holy Spirit of promise unconditionally.

The Josephite’s role in this

Some people think that sealing up the law and binding up the testimony is something that does not happen today, but will happen when the Josephite, and others who are prophesied to appear, show up.  But they are wrong.  These things are done routinely in the church, via the priesthood, but much of it is conditional in nature.  The advent of the two-handed condition may cause unconditional sealings to be the norm during the ministry of the Josephite, simply because faith will increase among the righteous.  Also, the sealing of the 144,000 may be more than just a spiritual sealing; in fact, it may be the re-introduction, or restoration, of actual frontlets and phylacteries.  We shall see.

In conclusion

Sealing up the law and binding up the testimony is something that happens to those in the gospel, via priesthood administration, and allows other promises to be attached to the outer vessel according to one’s faith.  This is how Christ is able to seal us as His.

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. (Mosiah 5:15)

These sealings do not occur among the wicked.  Instead, it is the devil who seals them as his own, using his own seal.

For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked. (Alma 34:35)

This shows that the church’s emphasis on getting these ordinances is the correct stance and that all those who downplay the importance of these things have no idea of the requirements of salvation.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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10 Comments

  1. I usually proof-read my posts several times before publishing, to catch typos and formatting mistakes, and also to edit material (in case that needs to be done), but for this post I wrote the whole thing down on paper and read it several times, editing it on paper, to correct its deficiencies, and then I typed it in. After typing it in, I just decided to hit the “publish” button. I’m pressed for time these days and just want to get this out. It should be okay, unless there are some typos in it, that I didn’t catch, or a formatting mistake. I’ll come back later and re-read what I typed and if I find any errors, I’ll correct them. In the meantime, if you see anything, just know it’ll be corrected when I get to it.

  2. If they do not talk according to this, that is the law and the prophets or their testimony, there is no truth in them. Everything we teach or preach under proper authority has to be not only in the name of Christ, but in agreement with the law and the testimony of the prophets, if not it is just babbling or the precepts of men or even devils. Even apostles and prophets are subject to this rule. We must listen to them patiently until they deliver. Usually they cater first to the carnally minded. This is why I sometimes want to vomit when I hear and read speeches even at General Conference because some teach their own learning quoting fables and anecdotes of wordily men like William Shakespeare, which love he advocated is not the love of Christ. And before J. Smith, there was no light neither in the world, nor in the minds of people. during the dark ages, no one taught anything according to the law and the testimony. It is rare but it happens. This is not condemnation nor evil speaking, but the very first talk given to us by President Monson as the Prophet was one of those speeches. If you verify his words with the law and the prophets, you can tell a mile away that his talks resembled more the analogy of Corihor that the law and the prophets. He spoke of living today and not in the past or in an illusory future. In other words, in his own terms he said eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. in that speech, he served those who are carnally minded and the loved it. I hated that first speech. This is why the first fruits are often not eaten because they are either too bitter or too strong. Once the Prophet warmed up, we got our meal. This is why we must pray for them so they have utterance in accordance to the law and the testimony. To seal the law and the testimony is to condemn a generation or to preach with power and authority in accordance to the revelations and commandments of God. That is that you add your preaching or testimony to those who have gone before you, even those who are living witnesses who as you said are doers of the word. If you stand alone with your word alone, the sealing does not take place.IT cannot be valid. Jesus himself said, I am not your accuser,but Moses accuses you, whom you revere, that is the Law he gave and the testimony of it adherence by the prophets who succeeded him. He did not come to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them. If by being a doer of the words as they were, that is the law and the prophets, you would also partake of their perils which testify unto God that they would do the same unto you that they did to the prophets or even to the Christ. Then you know of a surety where the doctrine comes from; and you doubt not. That is how the saints and sinners are bound or sealed either for salvation or destruction when judgment unto truth is administered . Another Example is in the book of Amos. We see there from the beginning that for three transgressions and a fourth, the Lord will not divert his punishment. Likewise when our national sins are compared to the nations that Amos Judged, we cannot expect no less from God than the ancients suffered. Having said that. When somebody preaches to us, they have to abide by the law of witnesses to establish their word. For instance. If I were to preach to you that well said Esaias, that this people honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far away from him. I am comparing this generation to the previous and therefore sealing them to the same or worst fate. The above line from Isaiah was also used in the preaching of Peter and during the restoration at the first vision. They both, Peter and the Prophet St Joseph Smith, spoke in accordance to the law and the testimony and to their testimony I ad my own and so can you. Even if you babble and mutter when you preach, the law and the testimony corrects you, so that if the people reject your words, they cannot reject the prophets. For after your testimony, says the LORD, or when you bind the law and the testimony and the standing generation with it, then comes wrath and indignation upon the people. For no one is destroyed in ignorance or without at least a fair warning. This is my work, to seal the law and the testimony, which I have done time and again, but no one is listening. Hence the prophets said, that my people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. And it often starts with us first and then the rest of the world. For if God does not spare us, who are like a tender plant unto him, what shall we expect of dry-wood or when the flame of fire approaches them. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

  3. When we preach, we do not need to reference all prophets like Elder AL did with his post above. He went above and beyond the call of duty which is great. However, when we talk to people that do not know our doctrine, with two or three references you can establish your word. I only used about two, the one in Isaiah and another one from D&C but there are a great many more suitable witnesses of the law and the testimony such as you see below. How do I know? Because as the Elder said above. The LORD wrote keywords in our inward parts and all the scriptures become open unto us. Since this is about the law and the testimony, here is much more about it which establishes his words like if he were Alma and also my words like if I were Amulek; and this is the unity of faith works until we all become one.

    • 2 Nephi 18:16
    16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
    • John 8:17
    17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
    • JST, Luke 3:8
    8 Until the fullness of time, and the law and the testimony shall be sealed, and the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father;
    • Isaiah 8:16
    16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
    • 2 Nephi 18:20
    20 To the law and to the testimony; and if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
    • Isaiah 8:20
    20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 133:72
    72 Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness.
    • Nehemiah 9:34
    34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them.
    • Psalms 19:7
    7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 109:46
    46 Therefore, O Lord, deliver thy people from the calamity of the wicked; enable thy servants to seal up the law, and bind up the testimony, that they may be prepared against the day of burning.
    • Psalms 78:5
    5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
    • Jeremiah 44:23
    23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 58:18
    18 And to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 88:84
    84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;
    • 1 Kings 2:3
    3 And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
    • Doctrine and Covenants 107:72
    72 And also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony as it shall be laid before him according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors, whom he has chosen or will choose among the elders of the church.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 109:38
    38 Put upon thy servants the testimony of the covenant, that when they go out and proclaim thy word they may seal up the law, and prepare the hearts of thy saints for all those judgments thou art about to send, in thy wrath, upon the inhabitants of the earth, because of their transgressions, that thy people may not faint in the day of trouble.
    • 2 Nephi 25:28
    28 And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law.

  4. I know Elder AL.ma above can bear witness by recent and strange events that I, a Josephite may have recently become an LDS anarchist juts like him to the world, but not to the church.

  5. To bind up the testimony and seal the law means that a person has become child-like in humility and has felt the joy of charity within the heart and felt the fruits of the Spirit within and flows out from one’s being from time to time according to one’s faith to overwhelm those around the surrounding and one’s soul is readily attuned to the great mystery of Christ and His Church!

  6. That sounds nice Skyglynn,

    But priesthood messengers are said by the Lord (section 88) to bind up the law and seal up the testimony AMONG the Saints to prepare them for the final hour. This entails that much more than what your saying.

    G.azelem

  7. Thank you G.azelem,

    whoever you are, i Was just blown away by the post title that i react in such a way more of one among the sects, that I almost forgot that I was already a Mormon, though yours was a reminder I not aware of may be because of spiritual lack or negligence, or may be I sensed that truth sucks, for whatever truthness a person can be convinced of in the moment.

  8. LDSA, you opined in this post that

    It is entirely appropriate, then, for endowed members of the church who have received the marriage sealing to say that they have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.

    Do you also believe that the condition of DC 132:26 applies to such people, i.e. they will not lose their exaltation even if they commit any sin (although Satan’s buffetings will follow). The only way to lose exaltation for them is to shed innocent blood?

  9. jackdale76,

    Do you also believe that the condition of DC 132:26 applies to such people, i.e. they will not lose their exaltation even if they commit any sin (although Satan’s buffetings will follow). The only way to lose exaltation for them is to shed innocent blood?

    That is correct.

  10. 31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—
    32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
    (Doctrine and Covenants 76:31–32)

    Will you also agree that according to the passage above, the only way for a temple-sealed LDS “to be overcome by the devil and to deny the truth and to defy God’s power” and to become a son of perdition is to shed innocent blood?


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