Is earth the equivalent of a galactic penal colony like Australia was for the British back in the day? I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine regarding Moses 7:36, wherein the Lord described this earth as being the most wicked of all the creations of His hands. My friend wondered why we were sent to such an awful place, “Were we not as faithful as those on other worlds?” he asked. Obviously to contemplate such a subject one must express ones own ideas and theories. Such being the case, this article will be filled with my opinions which should not be misconstrued as the official opinion of the Church. Some will likely find some of my theories farfetched, and that is okay. The article below represents my working theory for the singular condition of our world reconcile with some well established gospel doctrines.
It is a sad fact that our planet has the dubious distinction of being home to the most wicked events the universe has ever seen. On of these was the crucifixion of the Creator Himself – the Lamb of God. Yet against such contacting darkness, our world does have some unique and glorious distinctions that similarly make it unique among worlds. For example, of the innumerable worlds created, it was to ours alone that Jesus Christ would be born into mortality, and where he would carry out the atonement and glorious resurrection. These events are surly a part of our brothers and sisters canonized scriptural record regardless of which world they were called to live upon. Doubtless, the events that transpired upon our globe have been studied in Sunday schools across the universe. After all, this was a universal event, an infinite and eternal sacrifice that was not just for our earth’s inhabitants, but for all worlds – D&C 76:22-24.
In addition, we are taught that Christ was the first fruits of the resurrection. He was the first to rise from the dead with a resurrected immortal body. Given that the atonement of Christ and corresponding resurrection were singular events, it is reasonable to assume that the righteous dead of worlds without number waited along side us for this marvelous event to occur. Some having waited much longer than others. I believe Christ’s teaching – “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”, is much more significant than some suppose.
I believe that in order to more fully understand the uniqueness of our present situation, we must study the specifics regarding this earth. As Latter-day Saints, we have been given great gifts in the form of numerous additional creation accounts that are unique to our earth. The closing verses of Moses chapter one state that these are only to be had among the faithful. Therefore, the general population does not have these accounts, nor would most appreciate them if they did. At the same time, these accounts are highly regarded among Latter-day Saints. Have you ever thought about this? Because of the seemingly simplistic story line each account presents, it is easy to not look much deeper than the surface. However these supplemental LDS accounts of the creation hint that there is much more to the story than meets the eye. The House the Lord has been described as the Lord’s University of higher learning, and yet much of that curriculum is centered around the creation. If it were so simple, why would this be the case? The answer to this question cannot be given in a blog post, but the theoretical groundwork can.
I must begin by explicitly stating that I believe the creation account is a literal account that is widely misinterpreted because of perceived inconsistencies with science. I suspect that many will balk at this idea and consider me a fool. Is there symbolism involved in the creation account? Yes – profound symbolism. A study of this symbolism will add a rich depth of understanding to all other gospel doctrines. However, such symbolism serves to expound upon truths rather than to mask them. Thought is required! I believe that the reason many people discount the creation account as an illustrative fable, or believe it, in parts, but not in whole, is due to our haphazard tendency of presuming answers to un-pondered questions. This is a major roadblock to spiritual understanding at all levels. What answers would you get if you pondered the creation account from the premise that it is verily true, and that there may be gaps in the scientific understanding that once filled will serve to help reconcile all truth into one great whole – if not, there is something missing. I have come to realize that science is far more subjective than we have been led to believe. There is a truth that makes everything else fit, but you must seek for it diligently if you are to find it. Truth is a dangerous and threatening thing to the forces that be in this world.
It is a very common occurrence for mankind to misinterpret scriptures because of our tendency to presume instead of ponder. For example, for years the Christian community interpreted the Bible’s descriptions of Hell as being a location of endless and eternal pain and suffering. Through modern revelation, we understand that the terms Endless and Eternal are used to describe Hell’s punishment because God Himself is Endless and Eternal. These adjectives describe His meaning and purpose behind Hell. He has designed these punishments to bring about a glorious end. Those from this earth that spend their mortality in wickedness will be refined in Hell so that one day, when they are ready, they will inherit kingdoms of glory that defy all understanding (D&C 76:89). The Christian community profoundly underestimates the grandeur and mercy of the Father because of incorrect presumptions.
I believe that much of the misunderstanding regarding the creation account arises from the assumption that the Earth did not exist before Adam and Eve were placed upon it. Is it possible that the creation account we are familiar with does not describe the earth’s initial creation? What is the following youtube video is true? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9Zx77LbEwk If these things were true, and there was life upon the earth before Adam and Eve, it doesn’t change things in my mind from a gospel perspective at all, only makes them more interesting. Now back to the task topic at hand.
We do not know how long Adam and Eve were present in the Garden, but we do know that they were placed there for a reason. This is a critical point to understand. The Lord did not place Adam and Eve upon the earth to be gardeners, but to start a new cycle of humanity in a pattern that has played out countless times throughout the universe in the Father’s perpetual work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children.
As this is the Father’s work, and the scriptures teach us that the Father personally came to the Garden of Eden to give Adam and Eve instruction and direction. This was not a “one and done” instructional program either. The scriptures do not specify how many times the Father came to instruct them, but we do know that it happened more than once, and can assume that it would have continued until they were prepared for what came next. The only reason that the Father’s personal visits stopped was because something happened. I believe that what happened next goes a long way to describe the unique nature of earth’s singularly wicked state and status among all the creations of the Father.
Very early on our first parents were confronted by an unknown being from another world. Evidently this being was waiting in the wings for the opportunity to spring himself upon Adam and Eve once the Father had returned home. We learn that this stranger was their brother Lucifer – the son of the morning. Lucifer’s presence upon the earth is interesting. How did he get there? The answer to this puzzling question is found in Revelations Chapter 12.
Revelations is not understood very well by many, I cover much the meaning behind the symbolism of Revelations in the section of my book A Remnant Shall Return call – John the Revelator, if you’ve not read it yet you can do so for free online. As the meaning of Revelations 12 is critical to understand the topic at hand, I will give a brief explanation of some of the symbolism of that chapter now. In this chapter John sees a woman who is associated with 12 stars, the sun and moon. These symbols together represent the House of Israel, as seen in Joseph of Egypt’s dream when he saw stars, the sun, and moon all bow to his star. Joseph’s vision represented the whole House of Israel paying homage to the House of Joseph, which would become the birthright son due to its role in delivering Israel from physical and spiritual famine, as well as blessing all the nations of the earth. Next, John saw that the woman bore a child, signifying that the Christ child would come through the lineage of the House of Israel. Christ commonly refers to the House of Israel as a woman – specifically His bride – this is the woman of concern. Next he saw a Dragon, the Dragon is Lucifer. Lastly John sees that the woman – the House of Israel, receives a pair of mighty eagle wings. In D&C 77:4 we learn that the symbolism of wings in the book of Revelations is meant to convey a special power of movement and action not available to those without such symbolic gifts. With this symbolism in mind consider the following passages taken from this chapter as found in the Joseph Smith Translation.
And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; [Who were Michael’s angels?] and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael; And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman [The pre mortal House of Israel represents Michael’s angels]… Neither was there place found in heaven for the great dragon, who was cast out; that old serpent called the devil, and also called Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth; and his angels were cast out with him [this passage indicates that Satan and his angels were banished to our earth before the creation of Adam and Eve]… For they have overcome him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony [the testimony of Michael and the woman – pre mortal House of Israel]; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death. [Michael, Christ and the pre mortal House of Israel knew that by casting Satan to the earth, they place of their mortal probations they would suffer death, which for some could be permanent. Nevertheless, for those that would put their faith in the Lamb of God, their hope for a bright and glorious victory of death was firm, because of their knowledge of the nature and character of Christ.] Therefore, rejoice O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. [The actions and sacrifice unto death of Christ, Michael, and the pre-mortal House of Israel, were of such profound significance that all the inhabitants of the heavens – worlds without number, had great cause to rejoice. The action here was casting Satan out of heaven into the earth – the sacrifice unto death that Christ, Michael and pre-mortal Israel would make was to endure mortality on the sphere where Satan and his angels had been banished. There is profound meaning here!] And after these things I heard another voice saying, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth… For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time [while the inhabitants of worlds without end rejoiced- those that would come to this earth would have cause to morn- because Satan and his angels would have full reign here.].
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [the House of Israel] which brought forth the man child [Jesus Christ]. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, [there was a place and means prepared for removing the main body of the House of Israel to the nether most parts of the Lord’s vineyard (Jacob 5) – the ends of Heaven (Duet 30:1-4)] where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent [this curious time frame corresponds with the return of the Lost Tribes of Israel and the deliverance of the suffering saints as discussed in Dan 7:25 and the chapter in my book titled The Stout Horn. Note that the only way the body of Israel could find refuge from the face of the serpent is if their wings enabled them to leave the confines of earth, where Satan and his minions were bound]
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, [he was mad because the Lord had removed them beyond his reach] and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [Judah and Joseph], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
These verses are packed with doctrines pertaining to the House of Israel, and give us the back ground for continuing our discussion of events in the Garden of Eden. First, these verses state that Satan and his angels were cast from heaven to this earth which became a prison planet for them. Next, Michael, Adam, was obviously a being of preeminence within the heavenly court of the Father. He took the lead in rallying the hosts of heaven to oppose Lucifer and his disciples. The above passage states that Lucifer was unable to overcome Michael and his angels, and that together they forcibly cast them out to the earth. I do not fully understand why, but I have the impression that Michael, Christ, and the House of Israel’s coming to the same earth, where Satan and his minions were held captive has something to do with the Father’s plan of Devine justice and atonement. These were faithful to the Father’s proposed plan even at the risk of their own lasting spiritual death, for many that would come to this earth would never again return to the presence of the Father to live again as a family – “they kept the testimony even unto death”. This is the legacy of those that came to this earth. These things are as unique to our world, as the Savior’s birth and mortal ministry were. This is fascinating to ponder, which brings up the next point. When Lucifer encountered Adam in the Garden of Eden, he did so with the sting of his pre-mortal defeat still festering in his soul. He had a perfect knowledge of everything, but Adam had forgotten all of it. This gave Lucifer an advantage over Adam, and all humanity which he exploits with great skill.
When Adam and Eve were first placed upon this earth, they were innocent, ignorant, and immortal. Death was introduced into the world when Satan caused them to partake of the forbidden fruit. It is important to understand the nature of this sin. The true sin here was not so much in eating of the fruit as it was in eating of it prematurely. Without question, the time would have come for Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit, else all humanity would be in a perpetual state of waiting. I believe that the Lord personally prepared the first parents of other worlds until such time as they were ready to partake of the fruit and begin their human existence. Satan intentionally subverted this, separating Adam and Eve from the presence of the Father much earlier than had been done elsewhere in the universe. For the interested reader, the First Book of Adam and Eve, an Old Testament pseudepigrapha book, provides some very interesting insights into the trials and hardships of Adam and Eve upon being cast out unprepared from the garden (http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe007.htm).
The point here is that the Father intended to prepare his children personally, Lucifer’s intervention changed things. As the Father could no longer teach His children directly, He delegated this sacred responsibility to His Only Begotten Son, the administration of angels, and the Holy Ghost. Consider this passage:
And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations. Alma 24:14
Now let me elaborate upon the unique nature of the events of our world. Lucifer is at his best when his lies are grounded in truths. Given the Father’s omniscience, a total lie had no hope of success. Therefore, when asked by the Father what he had done, Lucifer based his answer in truth by explaining that he had followed the pattern established on other worlds, namely giving the fruit of the tree of knowledge to Adam and Eve to eat. We must therefore assume that this aforementioned pattern is real. Our brother’s and sister’s upon other worlds inherited those worlds through their respective first parents, also named Adam and Eve (Moses 1:34). Judging by the severity of the Father’s response, clearly what Lucifer did broke from the pattern.
As a result of Lucifer’s transgression he was cursed in a manner that most of us do not understand. He was cursed that he would be earth bound for the rest of his existence, like a snake is bound to the dust. This curse appears to have solidified there prison state, they were bound to the earth as long as the Lord willed it to be so. In his anger, Satan breathed out terrible threats for the hostile takeover of Adam and Eve’s posterity which he has unfortunately made good on. Thus the Lord’s pre-mortal warning as recorded by John in the passage previously covered: Woe to the inhabiters of the earth… for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath…
It is interesting to note that from the moment the Father cursed Lucifer, He ceased to calling him by that name and exclusively referred to him from that time forward as Satan – a name that literally means adversary or enemy. Thus Satan – the god of his prison planet, would wage a war of destruction upon its inhabitants until the very end. As noted previously, this earth’s inhabitants were not randomly selected, they consisted of Michael, Christ, and the House of Israel, all of which were instrumental in banishing Satan to this earth. The profound meaning behind this action eludes me at the present time.
Regarding Israel’s true origins. The House of Israel existed before the foundations of the earth were lain. The Lord showed unto Abraham the noble and great intelligences that existed before the world began, and he was told that he was one of these. Elder Bruce R. McConkie expounded upon this doctrine in the following manner.
Israel was a distinct people in pre-existence. Many of the valiant and noble spirits in that first estate were chosen, elected, and foreordained to be born into the family of Jacob… (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:284).
This same doctrine is taught in the Book of Mormon by Alma.
I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren. Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared. (Alma 13:1-5)
Thus we see that those members of the House of Israel, who came to this earth – the most wicked ever created, were withheld for this specific purpose. Not because of their lack of faithfulness in the premortal realm, but because the opposite was true. They were the Father’s most true and faithful servants in the royal courts on high. It was by the strength of their examples, and the power of their testimonies in Jesus Christ, that the War in Heaven was won. This is the reason that Satan has waged war against Israel. Israel overcame Satan, and now Satan fights to overcome Israel.
Pre-mortally the House of Israel denied Satan more followers by reassuring the Father’s children that despite the veil of forgetfulness, they could find the path, and be guided through the hazards of this life by listening to the whisperings of the still small voice. They knew that Christ would fulfill His covenant, and that the glorious end was worth the risk. The 2/3rds of the hosts of heaven that chose the Father’s plan did so in part because of the words and examples of the premortal members of the House of Israel. Knowing that these would dwell among them was a tremendous comfort to those that would live out there mortal lives upon this earth. If Christ and the House of Israel were willing to subject themselves to death and the horrors of this world, so could they. The 2/3rds agreed to living out their lives under a veil of forgetfulness and in the darkness at least in part because they knew that Israel would be scattered among them, serving as beacons in the darkness – a promised blessing to all nations.
Now, this brings us to a great and dreadful scriptural pattern. Those who have received great spiritual gifts/light, also have the greatest capacity for tremendous darkness. They end up leaders one way or another. For instance, Lucifer’s name implies that at one time he was a being of tremendous light, but through choices he made, he became a being of incomprehensible darkness. The Book of Mormon teaches that those who were once disciples of Jesus Christ, but afterwards rejected Him, became far more wicked and hardened than the worst of the Lamanites. In like manner, today the Church’s greatest persecution comes at the hands of those who were once professed disciples of the Lord. Furthermore, let us never forget that it was the leaders of the House of Israel that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. There were no other people wicked enough to do so (2 Nephi 10:3). Given this, it is not surprising to learn that some of best and worst of humanity – universe wide, has hailed from the House of Israel. Unfortunately the scriptures teach that this historic pattern will continue to play out in the last days (Daniel 11:30).
Thus, Satan’s war is waged with a particular focus upon the House of Israel, as was highlighted in the passages from Revelation 12.
For when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. Therefore, to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent… Therefore, the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
In this passage we learn that Satan waged war against Israel for the same reason he wages war against Michael. The history of Israel shows how effective Satan’s war has been. Subjected to the confines of Satan’s prison planet, Israel, together with all mankind, has struggled in the darkness and repeatedly lost its way. In an act of tremendous mercy, after the Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC, and carried the survivors off captive. The time came, while in captivity, that they repented of their folly and turned to the Lord again. The following passage describes a vision of the prophet Ezra of what happened to the Lost Tribes of Israel. 2 Esdras 13:39-46
And whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him; Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter time
As stated in Revelation 12, Satan, aka the dragon, was cast down upon this earth and waged war against Israel, but the same passage says that the Lord spared a portion of Israel by removing them from before the face of the Dragon for a space of time by giving them the wings of an eagle. Therefore, if this portion of the House of Israel were to truly have refuge from Satan’s power they would have required the means of escaping the confines of Satan’s prison planet, like the people of the City of Enoch, and the people of Melchizedek. Thus the symbolism of eagle’s wings. According the the above passage, this region is called Arsareth, a name we are not familiar with. We are told that man had never before lived there, and at that they would remain there in a body until the latter days, when they would be restored in a miraculous manner. If this sounds incredible to you, you need to read my book A Remnant Shall Return, available for free on this website. If the manner of their departure was spectacular, it will be nothing compared to the manner of their return. The Bible Dictionary states the following regarding their restoration:
Since their captivity [the lost tribes] have never yet returned to their homeland, but extensive promises and prophecies speak of the time when they of the “north countries” shall return when they are ready to obey the gospel. The gathering of the lost tribes is to be a more spectacular event than the children of Israel coming out of Egypt in Moses’ day.
After the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel were removed, the only two remnants of Israel remaining consisted of the Jews and the House of Joseph. The History of the Judah is well know, the history of Joseph in known in part due to the Book of Mormon, which is a narrative of its people upon the American continent. The latter-day story of the House of Joseph is the story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both of these groups have suffered intensely at the hand of the Dragon, as have all those upon this planet. However, as it takes heat to refine precious metal, and tremendous pressure to create jewels, it should not be surprising that such conditions are required to refine His royal heirs. Those that can be subjected to such trying conditions, and remain faithful are destined to become Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses, to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. Can you think of any better way to create the leaders of tomorrow than by submitting them to the trials, horrors, and heartbreaks of this earth? Consider the love the Father must have for such men and women, who cry out in the agony of their hearts, in a world where hope is all but faded and despite the darkness that pervades everything, against all odds, they remain firm and steadfast in their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Given the difficulties inherent in passing the days of mortal probation upon a sphere where wickedness reigns supreme, some will inevitable question the equity of such a plan. To such I would call to remembrance again the fact that the Lord has revealed that even the dregs of society – the worst of the worst, who pass there probation upon this world, will ultimately inherit kingdoms of such splendor and exquisite glory as to render them beyond mortal comprehension (D&C 76:89). Nevertheless, the Abrahamic covenant was not an afterthought, Israel is here upon this earth to help the sons and daughters of God receive all that they are willing to receive. It is a profound responsibility, and the bulk of that burden has fallen to the House of Joseph – the Birthright Son. As members of this sacred house, we have a holy obligation to stand strongly against the darkness of our day and be not moved. We are the covenant people of the Lord, precisely because we covenanted to help Him save His children.
Do we fall and stumble often along the way? Of course. However, if you could perceive the satanic hosts of Hell, bent on your destruction, your focus would not be upon how many times you stumbled and fell during your mortal sojourn upon this prison planet, but rather how many times, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ you were able to get back upon your feet until the bitter end! We all fall. We come to this mortal probation greatly weakened with fallen natures. But Jesus Christ’s infinite and eternal atonement was also wrought out under the same circumstances common to all mankind – at least upon this world. The House of Israel has covenanted to help the Lord in a collaborative work of salvation. We are to join Him as saviors on Mount Zion.
Do not fear the voice of the great and spacious building and its mocking fingerprinting. The Lord is unchangeable. His truths are still true. Although the world has been turned upside down, we must still stand firm and immovable. We are the Watchmen on the tower, we see what they cannot, and we promised our brothers and sisters that when no one else would, we would stand for something! This is our sacred covenant. In my heart I know this is true – it burns within me. If you will ask the Lord, if you will listen to the promptings of the Holy One of Israel, you will feel your calling as a son or daughter of the House of Israel rise within you. To this end were you born! Incredible things are ahead of us, terrible things yes, but incredible nonetheless.
May the Lord strengthen us in our duty. The burdens we bear and the opposition we face is truly staggering, but we can do all things in the strength of the Lord. When the evil hour is upon us in full force, let us fight like lions for the souls of our brethren, driving back the darkness, preparing the way for the coming King, and roaring to Zion with all our might, THY GOD REIGNETH!