By Chris Layton
March 26, 2020
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
In 12th century medieval Europe it was provisioned that a wanted fugitive from the law could flee to the church to find protection from imprisonment and or death. The criminal therefore fleeing from pursuing officers would run into the church and cry “Sanctuary!” and the man or the woman would be given a period of time, typically no more than 40 days, to hide from their pursuers where the law could not touch them. There would always be a cost though. The criminal would have a couple of choices. He could either work out an arrangement with the persons he wronged for repayment or be effectively banished from the country unless he was able to get a royal pardon which was difficult to obtain. It is like this in the kingdom of Heaven.
The scriptures record that Jesus went and preached to the spirits who were sometimes disobedient in the days of Noah. To those who were wicked and rejected the truth Jesus did not personally minister. To those His face was not shown nor did they behold His presence but from among the righteous he appointed messengers to preach to them the gospel of liberty and of the redemption and resurrection. All excepting the sons of perdition were given the opportunity to be made free if they would choose to live God’s law. If they would agree they would be then made free from their prison.
Hence the Lord preached liberty to the captives who were in prison. What would this freedom mean? Freedom from the grave and torments, and this was only realized by the new birth from death to life. Though they were dead with the full knowledge of their past sins, they could be given another chance to live according to the flesh, to prove themselves worthy this time. This time they would prove to their pursuing accuser that they are not what he accuses them of. This is part of God’s mercy, to give all men the chance to learn from their mistakes even when they lead to the death of the body.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25-26
Bondage is the separation of the spirit from the body but Jesus came to declare liberty to the captives.
“For man is spirit, The elements are eternal, and spirit and element inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy. The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.”
How else can we be made free unless we are reborn in the process of Multiple Mortal Probations?
It is the tabernacle of flesh which sanctifies (challenges with the refiner’s fire) the spirit for Jesus said: “You are fools and blind; for which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? O fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?”
Matthew 23:14, 16
The rest of this doctrine requires the belief in each and every one of us having lived past mortal lives on this earth as well as other worlds as part of our eternal progression.
“For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.” D&C 45:17
The spirit can flee into the tabernacle and plead sanctuary. As spirits we know with a bright recollection all our past sins and transgressions. This memory of our sins causes our spirits to shrink from the presence of our maker. Our new birth is how He will give us a new heart and a right spirit within us so that we can come boldly to His throne. That’s what God really wants. He doesn’t want us to diminish away and die. He wants us to live but live unto Him. This is God’s mercy and His love for us. This is our next chance to progress and we desperately wanted to try again. Today is the day to prepare to meet God. Every day is the day to prepare to meet God. The only time we can make progress is while in the flesh and how many prophets rejoiced that in the flesh they would see God? How else could this be possible except through Multiple Mortal Probations?
When you are dead you have no cloak to cover your sins. Your new tabernacle of flesh is your cloak and your past is forgotten.
“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.” John 15:22
We know that babies come into this world innocent which is why we don’t baptize infants. The scriptures plainly teach us this but how is it they are innocent if they have lived past lives of disobedience? Because they have come into a new house, a new tabernacle of flesh made with the very elements of this earth in the image of God which has not yet sinned. In this way they are made innocent.
Our new lives are a whole new set of circumstances for us with their own new challenges. Our new mothers and fathers may have been our past uncles and aunts and friends and acquaintances but for the most part they have all been with us as our family. They are here to help us see what God is trying to teach us about ourselves and what negative aspects about ourselves we need to overcome. Sometimes they’re here to challenge us. By God’s divine providence we have all those past mistakes erased from our memories so that we can re-prove ourselves before God without all the burden of the memory of past failures. We are all born innocent (though we may be fugitives of a fallen carnal nature not strong enough yet for the spirit to sustain our little bodies) until we have arrived at the age of accountability.
If we continue to rebel in this flesh or if we commit murder, will the elements of our flesh rise with us in the next resurrection? No they won’t. They will remain in the earth because we failed to raise them to a higher level of existence.
You don’t get the spoils of war when you lose the battle but you do get the experience and the wisdom.
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.” Acts 2:29
Yet David was able to exclaim by the promise of His God that:
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
And David is the “Holy One” just as he testified before his Father and God.
David knew the truth and the truth set him free. Though David’s flesh remains in the grave, his spirit was set free by the merits of Jesus Christ who is the life and resurrection (rebirth) to claim sanctuary. No more can David’s pursuers come against him because in the final chapter, He won the victory over sin and death while in the flesh. That’s why this King of Israel told his disciples not to worry, we can have confidence in Him because he overcame the world in the flesh. When God forgives you, your sins are no longer part of you. Any past sins are forgotten as though you never committed them but by them you will have trials and refining fire so that you can be made “perfect.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33