“Establish a House” Viewed Through the Days of Creation

“Establish a House” Viewed Through the Days of Creation June 7, 2024

The Holy Ghost gently whispered a thought to my mind that I’d never before considered and I suddenly saw how the “establish a house” attributes in Doctrine and Covenants 109 related to the creation of this world—an organization of a house of God.

Let me explain.

I’ve been studying Doctrine and Covenants 109 since President Russell M. Nelson called it a tutorial and challenged us to study it.

He said,

Joseph Smith’s dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple is a tutorial about how the temple spiritually empowers you and me to meet the challenges of life in these last days. I encourage you to study that prayer, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants section 109. That dedicatory prayer, which was received by revelation, teaches that the temple is “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.”

This list of attributes is much more than a description of a temple. It is a promise about what will happen to those who serve and worship in the house of the Lord. They can expect to receive answers to prayer, personal revelation, greater faith, strength, comfort, increased knowledge, and increased power.

His reminder of promised blessings and increased spiritual power really motivates me to read Section 109 again and again with new eyes and from various angles.

During a previous endowment session, I’d been pondering on a line about comprehending opposites and how, according to scripture verses, only God truly comprehends all things. As I sat in the temple chapel, that thought process led me to this verse in D&C 109 again—as a tutorial for what I wanted to learn about God’s comprehension. From that angle, through the Holy Ghost’s prompting, I suddenly saw how these attributes related to the creation of this world—an organization of a house of God.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

Curious about definitions in the cultural context of when Joseph Smith recorded this revelation, I reviewed the following words in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and found that the selected definitions actually added quite a bit to my understanding.

Organize: to construct so that one part may cooperate with another.

Prepare: To make ready; To provide; to procure as suitable; To set; to establish. To appoint. To take the necessary previous measures.

Establish:  To set and fix firmly or unalterably; to settle permanently. To enact or decree by authority and for permanence; to ordain; to appoint; To confirm; to fulfill; to make good.

House: a building or edifice for the habitation of man. An edifice or building appropriated to the worship of God; a temple; a church. A family of ancestors; descendants and kindred; a race of persons from the same stock; a tribe. Those who dwell in a house and compose a family; a household. The grave. The body; the residence of the soul in this world.

“Establish a House” Viewed Through the Days of Creation

I’m using the creation account from Moses 2 which most closely follows the temple/House of the Lord’s version of the creation, though I did want to point out that the creation account in Abraham 4 uses the term “organized” rather than “create” ten times and that really compares nicely with “organize yourself, prepare every needful things, and establish a house.”

For example:

“And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Godsorganized and formed the heavens and the earth” (Abraham 4:1).

At the outset of this, I want to acknowledge that I found multiple ways to apply the “house” attributes to the creation. I love that aspect of metaphorical comparison.  I’ve decided to take a simplistic approach rather than deep diving and sharing lots of scriptural verses about what came to mind for me, leaving room for your own thought and exploration.

The First Day: A House of Prayer

Moses 2:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.

And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.

And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.

And I, God, called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake; and the evening and the morning were the first day.

  • Through prayer my will aligns with the Father’s will.  Life devoid of form and purpose becomes substantive as God’s will manifests in my life.
  • Darkness in the form of sin or other mortal obstacles is clarified in the light of prayer’s divine guidance. From another angle, the darkness and light of life are discernable and malleable through mighty prayer.
  • When I pray by the power of the Holy Ghost, I see the “word of [God’s] power” in action. I see that His word is fulfilled. I also find that when my will aligns with God’s will, empowered by covenantal blessings, when I pray “it [is] done as I spake,” too.

The Second Day: A House of Fasting

Moses 2:6 And again, I, God, said: Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and it was so, even as I spake; and I said: Let it divide the waters from the waters; and it was done;

And I, God, made the firmament and divided the waters, yea, the great waters under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so even as I spake.

And I, God, called the firmament Heaven; and the evening and the morning were the second day.

  • After prayer, fasting helps develop spiritual strength.  For me, that looks like separating the natural man from the spiritual man—dividing things below from things above.
  • Water provides the first ordinance of separation.  Through baptism, the natural man dies and we are spiritually reborn.
  • Isaiah promises that fasting breaks every band of wickedness, and loosens every yoke, chain, and burden just like the waters of baptism and washing.  Isaiah also promises that through fasting, I can become “like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

The Third Day: A House of Faith

Moses 2:9 And I, God, said: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and it was so; and I, God, said: Let there be dry land; and it was so.

10 And I, God, called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, called I the Sea; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good.

11 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself upon the earth, and it was so even as I spake.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself, after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

  • Faith is a principle of action. So many scripture stories depict people commanding the elements through faith.  The Red Sea parts dividing water from dry land. Mountains move. Mustard seeds grow into huge trees. Vineyards flourish. A fruitless fig tree withers.
  • Faith is confidence/hope in something unseen but true, like planting a seed with confidence that it will grow or experimenting on truth to see if the seed of faith becomes a tree of knowledge.
  • The Hebrew word for “gathered together” in verse 9 means “to wait for, gather together, look, patiently, tarry, wait for, on, upon, to bind together.” That sounds a lot like faith.

The Fourth Day: A House of Learning

Moses 2:14 And I, God, said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years;

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.

16 And I, God, made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the greater light was the sun, and the lesser light was the moon; and the stars also were made even according to my word.

17 And I, God, set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

  • Intelligence is light and truth. Acquiring knowledge and intelligence is advantageous to eternal progression.
  • Learning increases knowledge and personal light and truth.
  • Varying degrees of intelligences exist, just like the sun, moon, and stars. The Lord is more intelligent than all others.  To know Him is the greatest aim of our prayers, fasting, and faith.

The Fifth Day: A House of Glory

Moses 2:20 And I, God, said: Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl which may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And I, God, created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had created were good.

22 And I, God, blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the sea; and let fowl multiply in the earth;

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

  • The whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord. Every creature is evidence of God’s glory.
  • We learn that creatures obey the will of God and thus fulfill the measure of their creation.  This creation is the beginning of infinite glory as they multiply and fill the earth.
  • There are five covenants made—obedience, sacrifice, law of the gospel, chastity, and consecration—where God’s glory manifests in my life.

The Sixth Day: A House of Order

Moses 2: 24 And I, God, said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind, and it was so;

25 And I, God, made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything which creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and I, God, saw that all these things were good.

26 And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so. And I, God, said: Let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.

28 And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And I, God, said unto man: Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which shall be the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein I grant life, there shall be given every clean herb for meat; and it was so, even as I spake.

31 And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good; and the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  • Everything multiplies after its kind—genus, species, family, order—including man.
  • Man and woman are bound together through the holy orders of matrimony (mother) and patriarchal priesthood (father) in the new and everlasting covenant.
  • Jesus Christ is all of these things to me: Living Water, the Vine, the First fruits, the Lamb and other sacrificial types, the Creator, the Husband.

The Seventh Day: A House of God

Moses 3:1 Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;

And I, God, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it I had rested from all my work which I, God, had created and made.

  • Each previously completed day and attribute is a necessary component of the seventh day and House of God. This applies to the House of God as a temple, an earth, and a body.
  • “It is finished” uttered on the cross, rent the veil of Jerusalem’s holy of holies, and enabled the resurrection of the Savior’s perfected house.
  • “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
  • Jesus Christ’s second coming during the seventh seal will complete the earth’s temporal existence. Earth will “receive its paradisiacal glory” and ultimately become a celestial kingdom, the House of God.

For me, exploring the relationship between the House of God characteristics and the days of creation really expanded my ideas of what creation includes and how to view the incredible creation on a microcosmic level.  I can relate to both!

I’d love to hear other ways you can see links between establishing a house of God and creation in the beginning in the comments below.

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