Diving into Doctrine and Covenants 25:1-7

Diving into Doctrine and Covenants 25:1-7 March 26, 2020

President Russell M. Nelson invited us to “study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you. Your personal spiritual endeavor will bring you joy as you gain, understand, and use the power with which you have been endowed.”  I’ve studied this section several times since President Nelson’s challenge.  This time around I decided to dive into the meanings of words to see if I could expand my understanding.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:1 Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.

The name Emma means “universal” or “whole” or “my God has answered.”

The name Smith means “to smite” or “to strike” in reference to a blacksmith’s profession.  It is one of the most common last names.

You…my daughter.  Such a beautiful phrase that means so much.  King Benjamin’s people showed how we can covenant to become His sons and daughters.  Jesus Christ teaches throughout the scriptures how we become His covenant children—we receive Him.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Doctrine and Covenants 3:3-6

The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not;

But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.

And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.

And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.

We become His covenant children through two rebirths—the baptism of water and the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.   How and why are they necessary?

Doctrine and Covenants 25:2 A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.

How do we receive revelations?  Through the scriptures, through living prophets, through our patriarchal blessings, in answer to prayer, directly from God in a myriad of ways.

What is virtue?  From Webster’s Dictionary 1828:

1.Strength; that substance or quality of physical bodies, by which they act and produce effects on other bodies. …

2.Bravery valor.

3. Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law.

4. A particular moral excellence; as the virtue of temperance, of chastity, of charity.

5.Acting power; something efficacious.

6.Secret agency; efficacy without visible or material action.

7. Excellence; or that which constitutes value and merit.

8.One of the orders of the celestial hierarchy. Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers.

9.Efficacy; power.

10.Legal efficacy or power; authority (emphasis added).

So the Lord commanded Emma, and us, to walk in the paths of power, bravery, moral goodness. He commanded to walk according to celestial hierarchy.

IF faithful, THEN life preserved and receive inheritance in Zion.

    How are lives preserved?

PRESERV’EDparticiple passive Saved from injury, destruction or decay; kept or defended from evil; seasoned with sugar for preservation.

One story that demonstrates how God preserves is the amazing miracle Joseph was to his family.  After being sold into slavery and carted off to Egypt, Joseph saved his family. His story is a type (or prophetic foretelling) of how the Savior saves us, too.

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

I want the preservation of my spiritual life, to avoid spiritual death.

Psalms 121:7-8 “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

Inheritance in Zion?

INHER’ITANCEnoun An estate derived from an ancestor to an heir by succession or in course of law; or an estate which the law casts on a child or other person, as the representative of the deceased ancestor.

And Zion?

Doctrine and Covenants 97:19 “Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there.”

The Lord ultimately promised preservation of life as eternal life with Him.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.

The footnote to elect is “one chosen or set apart.”  How are we set apart?  Through God’s authority.

ELECT‘, verb transitive [Latin electus, from eligo; e or ex and lego; Gr. to choose.]

1. Properly, to pick out; to select from among two or more, that which is preferred. Hence,

2. To choose from among a number; to select or manifest preference by vote or designation….

3. In theology, to designate, choose or select as an object of mercy or favor.

4. To choose; to prefer; to determine in favor of. …

ELECT’noun One chosen or set apart; applied to Christ.

1. Chosen or designated by God to salvation

This verse’s “called” and “chosen” verbiage reminds me of “many are called but few are chosen.”

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—

That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

Emma is called and chosen.

When Joseph organized the Relief Society, he referenced 2 John 1

which references the “elect lady,” and explained that she was “called an Elect lady” because she was “elected to preside.” Joseph stated that “the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s Election to the Presidency of the Society.”

Doctrine and Covenants 25:Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.

SEENpp. of see.

1. Beheld; observed; understood.

2.adjective. Versed; skilled.

I found some interesting lessons in expanding my definition of “time.”

TIMEnoun [Latin tempus; tempora, the falls of the head, also tempest, etc. See Tempest. time is primarily equivalent to season; to the Gr.wpa in its original sense, opportunity, occasion, a fall, an event, that which comes.]

1. A particular portion or part of duration, whether past, present or future. …

2. A proper time; a season. …

3. Duration. …

TIME is absolute or relative; absolute time is considered without any relation to bodies or their motions. Relative time is the sensible measure of any portion of duration, by means of motion. Thus the diurnal revolution of the sun measures a space of time or duration. Hence,

4. A space or measured portion of duration.

5. Life or duration …

6. Age; a part of duration distinct from other parts; as ancient times; modern times.

7. Hour of travail.

8. Repetition; repeated performance, or mention with reference to repetition. The physician visits his patient three times in a day.

9. Repetition; doubling; addition of a number to itself …

Doctrine and Covenants 25:And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.

I wanted more insight into what “office” could mean.

OF’FICEnoun [Latin officium; ob and facio, to make or do.]

1. A particular duty, charge or trust conferred by public authority and for a public purpose; an employment undertaken by commission or authority from government or those who administer it. …

2. A duty, charge or trust of a sacred nature, conferred by God himself;  …

3. Duty or employment of a private nature; …

4. That which is performed, intended or assigned to be done by a particular thing, or that which any thing is fitted to perform; answering to duty in intelligent beings. …

5. Business; particular employment. …

6. Act of good or ill voluntarily tendered; usually in a good sense; as kind offices; offices of pity; pious offices.

7. Act of worship.

8. Formulary of devotion. …

And calling.

CALLINGnoun

1. A naming, or inviting; …

2. Vocation; profession; trade; usual occupation, or employment.

3. Class of persons engaged in any profession or employment.

4. Divine summons, vocation, or invitation. …

Doctrine and Covenants 25:And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will.

Part of the office of her calling.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.

The footnote for the word “ordained” is “set apart.”

I combed through Biblical verses with the word “ordain” in the Hebrew and the Greek to see if I could gain more understanding of what the word meant in this context. Without exception, the New Testament verses I reviewed with the word “ordain” in the King James Version were translated as “appoint” or “establish” in the Greek translation. I didn’t see anything fitting my expected meaning of the word!   In the Old Testament, as I searched the Hebrew translations, I found one verse translated as “ordain” in Hebrew.  When I searched the root of that word, it meant to “appoint, establish, or fix.” This fascinated me because I expected to find something very different.

The 1828 Dictionary followed right along with those Hebrew and Greek translations for the word.

ORDA’INEDparticiple passive Appointed; instituted; established; invested with ministerial or pastoral functions; settled.

Men ordained to the familiar offices of elder and priest are also commanded to “teach, expound, exhort” the church.

Expound.

EXPOUNDverb transitive [Latin expono; ex and pono, to set.]

1. To explain; to lay open the meaning; to clear of obscurity; to interpret

Exhort.

EXHORT‘, verb transitive egzhort’. [Latin exhortor; ex and hortor, to encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise. The primary sense seems to be to excite or to give strength, spirit or courage.]

1. To incite by words or advice; to animate or urge by arguments to a good deed or to any laudable conduct or course of action. …

2. To advise; to warn; to caution.

3. To incite or stimulate to exertion.

The rest of the verses are covered in Diving Into Doctrine and Covenants 25:8-16.

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