inherit all things
Week 53 is scheduled for study Dec. 25-31, 2023. To inherit all things we must first leave Babylon or the world. Only then can we become partakers of God’s blessings within “the holy city.”

Day 1

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to learning is our assumption that we don’t need to learn – that we already know. As you read the scriptures, be open to new insights that the Lord wants to give you.

Revelation 16-18; 21-22 – The Lord invites me to flee Babylon and inherit “the holy city.”

I really like what the writers of the manual have done with today’s lesson. In chapters 16, 17, and 18 we get a clear description of the nature of the world in which we live. These people live for today alone. To them there is no more after this life. Death ends everything to them. If they are to find happiness, it must be found today, or this life, for there is no tomorrow. They believe only in what they can see and experience today, so in their minds there is no afterlife. These people pursue all that is desirable in the flesh, namely fame, fortune, lusts, and all the worldly comforts they can pack into their short little lives. The bad news for them is that John is describing the downfall of their entire belief system. Babylon, or the world, will cease to be a source of happiness. They will lose everything in a short period of time, never to get it back again.

Chapters 21 and 22 describe the rewards the Saints of God are promised throughout the scriptures. While God gives us a way to experience peace in this life, the real reward is coming after we die. This life is a preparation for the blessings of eternity we will receive by living in His presence forever more. In this life it is the rich and powerful who call the shots, have all the best of comforts and advantages, and the poor suffer terribly. In the next life John describes the Celestial kingdom and the City of God. Those who were evil in this life will never see it. Only those who are faithful to Christ’s commandments in this life will receive the blessings of living with God in the next life, the one that will last forever.

If you read all the chapters of this week without looking for separating out the different descriptions, it is easy to miss this comparison of the world versus the Saints of God. Hope is found in looking at the downfall of the world as we know it, as catastrophic as it sounds, because it will be catastrophic for anyone who has to live through it. Those who are looking forward to the coming of Christ and the life he will bring with him will see that the life we seek can’t come until the life we are currently in is swept away for one that is far better. This is where we place our faith, the Christ is the author of our eternal happiness and will deliver on his promises.

Coming out of Babylon and into Zion means that we set our sights on the promises of happiness that will be ours in the next life, not just this one, and that we stop fearing that this life is all there is, so we had better do our best to get ahead now, because death ends all our efforts to find happiness and satisfaction in whatever life we have left. The gospel of Christ really is a contest of perspectives. His gospel promotes thinking eternally, and not just about what happens in the here and now. Babylon is short sighted and can only see our short span of years on earth as our one and only shot at something better than what we may have born into.

Day 2

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to learning is our assumption that we don’t need to learn – that we already know. As you read the scriptures, be open to new insights that the Lord wants to give you.

Revelation 20:12-15; 21:1-4 – All of God’s  children will be judged out of the book of life.

There are a couple of ways in which the Christian world looks at the final judgment. One is that we don’t really know what the criteria is by which we will be judged, so it is really anyone’s guess as to how good you have to be to be judged “worthy.” Another way of thinking causes us to act like there is some mystery checklist of things we must do, behaviors we must exhibit to be counted worthy of entering into heaven. Both of these trains of thought leave us derailed, like a train that has jumped its tracks, long before it is supposed to reach its final destination.

My favorite descriptions of the final judgment come from the Book of Mormon. The prophets clearly teach us that the final judgment is one of restoration. If we have learned to be clean and pure in our thoughts and attitudes in our time before the resurrection then all that is good about us will be restored to us in the day of judgment. If we get to that great day and are still sorely lacking in the godly virtues and attitudes then whatever we have made of ourselves will be restored to us in the day of the resurrection.

The important point in looking at the day of judgment as a day of restoration is that a restoration doesn’t require us to already be perfect, like Christ. All that is required of us is that our focus and intent is to always be found to be as obedient as we can be, as loving as we have learned to be, and as anxious for the welfare of others as we understand Christ to be. Lacking in perfection? Yes. But we have demonstrated our desire for obedience at all costs and in all circumstances. I believe that this is what Christ will use to judge us by. We will have the rest of eternity to learn what we haven’t yet learned. The day of judgment is to determine if living with God really is where our heart desires to be.

The manual makes the point that the heavenly record of everyone’s life may have everyone’s names in it somewhere with all our deeds and attitudes recorded, but that book is called “the Lamb’s book of life.” It is his record that tells him whether our heart’s desire lies more in our creature comforts or in our desire to be with him. This is not a book like Santa’s naughty or nice checklist. His book shows him our heart’s true desire. Because he will know us perfectly from that which is recorded about us he will be able to restore to us for eternity what we have begun to make of ourselves in our short stay in mortality.

We need to understand that mortality is not a sufficient time to physically prove everything we are capable of or have the desire to accomplish. It is just long enough for us to demonstrate the desires of our heart. That is all Christ needs to know to decide where we will be happiest for the rest of eternity. We put our self at risk when we profess one thing, but live something else. Our belief in goodness and obedience to God must be reflected in our efforts to live up to our professions of goodness. We don’t have to be perfect at them, but we must demonstrate through constant repentance that we are willing to continue to seek forgiveness in our efforts to live up to what we profess we want.

Those whose names are listed in the Lamb’s book of life are those who have lived with their given life situations and still put Christ’s teachings and promises first in their life. These are they who have done their best to become close to the Holy Spirit and learn from Him how to think and behave like Christ. They have used their faith in Christ to deal with and overcome life’s obstacles, and they are learning to love like their Savior, even though they may not have perfected that love just yet. It is more important that they are on the right path than that they have obtained the final destination on that path.

Day 3

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to learning is our assumption that we don’t need to learn – that we already know. As you read the scriptures, be open to new insights that the Lord wants to give you.

Revelation 22:18-19 – Do these verses mean that there cannot be any additional scripture besides the Bible?

The argument posed here against the Book of Mormon, because it supposedly adds or takes away from the Book of Revelation’s warning about doing so is a popular one for some to use against believing in the Book of Mormon. But what about the following verse in Deuteronomy?

Deuteronomy 4:2

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

If the argument about these verses in Revelation hold then what does that say about everything that comes after the giving of the law of Moses? If their argument holds true for Revelation then it ought to also hold true for Deuteronomy, which would invalidate all the scriptures that come after the law of Moses was given. We can only assume that the commandment not to add/diminish or take away from the revealed word refers to that commandment, not to the entire collection of scriptures. We need to use wisdom in how we apply our scriptures. Applying a single statement to all of God’s word can get us into trouble.

FHE/Personal Study

Revelation 22:4 – His name in our foreheads

Some liken this expression to the branding of a slave or in other words, total ownership. It seems to me, and I have no special knowledge about this, that when the scripture talks about his name being in our foreheads it is expressing an obvious relationship. Just as a slave was branded (as were cattle) to show who their owner was, so it will be for those who are in the Celestial kingdom, but it won’t be a physical mark in our flesh. When we look at each other our devotion to all that Christ stands for will be so obvious to us that it will be as though his name is written into the very flesh of our foreheads. Our commitment to the Lord, our worship of him will be so clearly evident as to be a visible trait that anyone can identify. This is what I think this expression is referring to. Just my opinion.

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NT53-2023 – He That Overcometh Shall Inherit All Things