I write briefly to you this morning regarding the gifts of Christ that come to us through His life, atonement, and resurrection.
I speak in the words of those who knew Him personally, and who have seen Him face to face, about the gifts He offers to those who know and are among the believers.
Let’s start with Isaiah, Jacob’s, Nephi’s, and Lehi’s dispensational poetic Prophet. We find him in Isaiah chapter 6 or 2 Nephi 16:
“[F]or mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.”
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”
Hebraic language does not have the facility to articulate good, better or best, so Holy, Holy, Holy, or Holy spoken or written three times is the most Holy one can get. Like Woe, Woe Woe, is the greatest warning a Prophet can give of impending doom.
“The Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.”
Which temple is Isaiah speaking of? Is this the heavenly temple in the most holy place? In this most holy place what did he see? His train filled the temple. Now we are not talking about a choo choo train, the ones we find encircling our Christmas trees on Christmas morning. We are talking about the train that most mother’s on this blog directed when their daughters were married in the temple.
This imagery of the train is associated with the fact that all of us that were given to Christ by the Father and assembled reverently behind Him. It represents all of us who desire with all of our hearts to follow Him–who believe in Him. Believe it or not, we are the gifts given to Christ by the Father and will fill the temple at this time. This is a small look into the fact that we are the gift He most desires from the Father.
Then Isaiah spoke, “Wo is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.”
What gift is Isaiah speaking of now? The glorious gift of remorse and repentance. Giving us great insight into that which we can feel as we approach the throne of God. We must be undone when we approach His grace and His love for us. Repentance isn’t easy; it undoes us, we feel totally undone by His grace and power to heal us. His atonement is so universal so all-encompassing that it appertains to everything He ever created or graced His name with. He atoned for everything He ever created; for everything is in need of His grace and His Atonement.
Now let’s turn to Jacob chapter 5. Now remember, we are the Olive trees, and it grieveth the Lord that He might lose us. So what does He do? Verse 47:
47 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned.”
Who is it that has corrupted His vineyard?
He digged about us, turned over our soul, and harrowed us up.
A harrow is a large cylindrical structure, which tears up the ground with the sharp projectiles that extend from its every surface as it goes over us.
Most of us have felt the effects of being harrowed up by the Lord on occasion.
He grafts in new branches.
Abraham, Noah, Joseph of Egypt, Joseph Smith, Spencer W. Kimball, Neal Maxwell, and the entire population of the early restored church, were grafted from England and Europe to Kirkland, to Missouri, to Nauvoo, to Winter Quarters, to the Great Salt Lake Valley, to countless missions all over the globe and settlements all over the Western United States. How many of us were grafted into this place, this congregation by the voice and hand of the Lord?
He prunes us.
The analogy of the currant bush used by Elder Hugh B. Brown comes to mind. Brother Brown prepared and wanted to become a General in the Canadian Military. But the Lord pruned him to become a General—Authority to the church and the world. His will had to be swallowed up into the will of the Father. Are we like-wise prepared to be so pruned?
He dungs us.
In other words he covers us with manure, often up to our eyeballs so that quite often we can see nothing else but the work, the diapers, the children, and the church responsibilities we are inundated with. Far too often we feel in the thick of very thin things, overwhelmed by underwhelming tasks, things and responsibilities that have been poured out upon us. Sometimes it is like having manure up to our necks; the smell can be so strong that far too often that is all we can smell and all we can think of. Only after emerging from the deluge of this grueling gift, we see we have been delivered, prepared, tempered, and anointed.
Verse 51 of Jacob 5:
And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it a little longer, for it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard.
He will not lose us, for we are His, and He loves us as He loves a part of Himself.
Now let’s turn to Proverbs chapter 8.
As we read here, it seems that we are allowed to go back and read from some of our premortal journals to remember our once close kinship with our Lord and Savior.
In conclusion, I will quote from these sources:
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
I testify to you, we all were there; we all were brought up with Him. We are His delight. Do not count yourself as less than this. Remember, those whom He loves He tries our faith and our patience. We are the gift the Father gives to Him. We are all He has. Let us be the best of gifts.