What Do We Know About Jesus Christ Because of Joseph Smith?

follow-him-feature

1.  The plan of redemption has existed since before the foundation of the world.  Grace is not God’s backup plan.   Jesus Christ has been the planned redeemer since foundation of the world:  Moses 4:2
Mosiah 15:18-20

18 And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

19 For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.

20 But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead.

Our Heavenly Father has a Plan of Salvation which has been from the foundation of the world and Jesus Christ was foreordained to play the central role in that plan.  

Alma 34:8-10

8 And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.

10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

“Gethsemane brought into existence the opportunity for all of Heavenly Father’s children to experience spiritual rebirth, newness of life, and the renewal, rejuvenation and cleansing of spiritual bodies, just as the resurrection brings about the renewal even the re-creation of  physical bodies and establishes them as indestructible material entities.  Both kinds of redemption are necessary…Because of the Atonement, which includes events in Gethsemane as well as the universal resurrection, all things in the universe are empowered renewed and revitalized.  Thus Christ is the light and the life of the world…What the Savior was (the literal Son of God, having life in himself) gave him power over death for himself.  What the Savior did (paying vicariously for the transferred sin and suffering of others…)gave him power over death for others.”  Andrew Skinner—Gethsemane pg.6-7

Gethsemane:

Place of the Olive Press

“That Latter-day Saints are different from almost all other Christians in placing so much emphasis on Gethsemane is evidenced in our expanded and extensive canon of scripture.  The events of Gethsemane are a focal point of Latter-day Saint scripture, which testifies of its profundity.  The experience of the bitter cup seems to have had such an effect on the Savior himself that he discussed it not only in Gethsemane but during his ministry to the Nephites after his resurrection and in his revelations of the latter-days”  (pg18)

Because of Joseph Smith we know that the Atonement is far more extensive in its scope than the rest of Christianity understands:

1.  Atonement is far more extensive than for sin alone

Alma 7:11-14—11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness

2.  The Atonement extends to all of the worlds that the Savior created

Moses 1:31-33—The Savior created worlds without end

30 And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?

31 And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.

32 And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

D&C 76 

His creative power

D&C 76:23-24  23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

And His redemptive power in 76:41-43

41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands,

Joseph Smith wrote this poem further clarifying this concept:

And I heard a great voice bearing record from heaven

He’s the Savior and only begotten of God—

By him, of him and through him, the worlds were all made,

Even all that career in the heavens so broad

Whose inhabitants too, from the first to the last,

Are sav’d by the very same Savior of ours;

And of course are begotten God’s daughters and sons,

By the very same truths and the very same powers

(Times and Seasons4 Feb 1843)

Moses 7:36—Moses indicates why this earth was where the Savior performed His atonement.

36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.

3.  The Atonement saves our physical Earth—So extensive and intensive is the atonement of Jesus Christ that this planet Earth is redeemed and sanctified by the same atoning power that redeems and sanctifies individual human beings.

Moses 7:47-48

47 And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.

48 And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?

Because of the atonement of Christ , our earth will not only be physically changed, renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory, but will be crowned with celestial glory:

D&C 88:17-19

17 And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.

18 Therefore, it [the earth} must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;

19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;

The atonement connects people and planets in a seamless web of creation and redemption. 

4.   In fact every creature which fulfills the measure of its creation is also blessed by the power of the atonement to inherit the kingdom of the Father’s glory.  

Of the beasts that John speaks about in Revelations, the prophet Joseph Smith said this”

“I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms. that had been saved from ten-thousand times ten-thousand earths like this—strange beasts of which we have no conception…John learned that God glorified himself.by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them. “ (TPJS291)

5.  We learn that Christ’s atonement extends to those who were born before he came in the meridian of time and to little children—Mosiah 15:24-25

24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord.

25 And little children also have eternal life.

Therefore Jesus Christ atoned for original sin—Moses 6:54

“Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children”

D&C 138:1-19?

Both the Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and Covenants amplify the depth of the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane

1.  Second Witness that Christ bled from every pore

D&C19:15-19

15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Rather than diminishing the Savior’s accomplishment in Gethsemane by mentioning His personal preference to avoid suffering, we actually magnify it.  Jesus’s submission to the Father’s will was made in the face of having thought about other ways of accomplishing the Father’s plan…he looked for ways out of the horrors and agonies that constituted Gethsemane.  The Savior’s human nature wrestled with his divine nature.  Yet he was perfectly obedient .” pg. 63  The similarities and differences between Satan and the Savior.

3 Nephi 27:13

Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.

Jesus Christ tells us that “His Gospel” is doing the will of the Father, submitting his own will to the will of the Father.

In 3 Nephi 11:9-11 the resurrected Lord says:

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” 

“I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father; and I do his will” (D&C 19:24).

Justification & Sanctification

D&C 45:2-5

2 And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.

3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—

4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

Read from Andrew Skinner’s article “This Is My Gospel” Jesus’ Discourse in 3 Nephi

2 Nephi 2:6-9

6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.

9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

In the bible the Hebrew word that we translate as contrite is Dakah (Dawkaw) which means crushed or broken.  

From “The Olive Press” by Truman G Madsen

To produce olive oil in ancient times, the olives had to be crushed in a press. Seasoned olives were placed in strong bags and flattened on a furrowed stone. Then a huge, crushing, circular rock was rolled around on top, moved by a mule or an ox encouraged by a stinging whip. Another method used heavy wooden levers or screws twisting beams downward like a winch upon the stone with the same effect: pressure, pressure, pressure—until the oil flowed…Jesus went onto the mount overlooking the temple “as he was wont” (Luke 22:39)…The garden on the mount is called Gethsemane. Gat (geth) in Hebrew means “press.” Shemen means “oil.”11 This was the garden of the olive press. Remnants of ancient olive presses near cisterns that preserved the costly oil can still be seen in upper Galilee and in Bethany.As one stands in this garden of the olive press—the setting for the Atonement—it is sobering to visualize the purgation of the olive and the intense, seemingly unending pressure that caused the precious oil to flow. Indeed, the symbolism of the place is inescapable…The root word for Messiah in the book of Daniel means “anointed one,” with connotations of coronation and ordination.13 In Gethsemane was the night when in the hardest of hard ways, Jesus would become the anointed one. The word messias, as used by John, has another Hebrew root: yiṣhar (ṢHR) meaning to glow with light as one glistens when one is anointed with olive oil.14 To merit that name, to take it upon him, to seal it everlastingly upon himself—to become the Light of the worlds—Jesus was required to tread the press. In eventual triumph the Messiah was to say, “I have trodden the wine-press alone, . . . and none were with me” (D&C 133:50). In this case it is the wine press, not the olive press, but the two merge in allegory as in life. “The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.”15 It is one thing to take off one’s sandals and trample the grapes in the stone vat. It is another to be trodden upon, trampled, crushed until the very tissues of the heart cry out for relief and release and until “mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own” (D&C 88:40), “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people” (Alma 7:12).

He was crushed—contrite

Golgotha:

Before the events of Gethsemane and Golgotha Jesus had a passover meal in an upper room with his apostles.  We can assume that the passover meal followed the traditional order, until instead of breaking the bread of passover and reciting the traditional blessing, the Savior broke the bread and said “This is my body which is given for you.  This do in remembrance of me.” “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament my blood which was shed for you”  With this sacrament the Savior literally foreshadowed and symbolized his atonement in the garden and his crucifixion in gethsemane.  

Mosiah 15:6-9  “In this supreme act of meekness, H again set the example for us showing us that subjecting our wills to the will of the Father is the monumental test of mortality”

6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

8 And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—

9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

3 Nephi 27:14-19

14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—

15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.

18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.

19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

With the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the old covenant of animal sacrifice was fulfilled.

3 Nephi 9:19-20

19 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.

20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

In the bible the Hebrew word that we translate as contrite is Dakah (Dawkaw) which means crushed or broken.  

Jesus experience a “crushed” spirit in the garden and a broken heart on the cross.  He became us and we need to become him.  

The sacrament—broken bread; water and blood gushed from his side when the spear was thrust in—blood like sweat

The essence of Golgotha for the Savior was abandonment—“My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?  No on started out from the same point that the Savior did and therefore no one will ever descend as low.

Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail:

D&C 121:1 “O God, where art thou?”

D&C122:8 8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

He descended precisely so “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people”

We know because of the Savior’s anguished cry that no one in mortality is exempt from suffering—not even God

D&C 88:6—In performing the atonement Jesus Christ descended below all things:

6 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…

Because He suffered, he can perfectly light our way.

And reciprocally, because we suffer, because we feel loneliness and abandonment, we can in some measure understand His suffering.

Joseph’s cry, “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”, like the Savior’s cry, “My God, My God, why hast thous forsaken me is elemental expression of all of us who at some time feel lonely and abandoned; who experience misfortune, adversity and tragedy; who suffer from the effects their own sin or the fallout from someone else’s;  for those who experience evil, for those who experience sorrow, for those who experience death.  For all of us who cry in anguish “where are you God?” He give us this promise:

7 My son, [my daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high

Background Reading:

Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives by Elder Russell M. Nelson

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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