The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

October 3, 2017

Adversity, Discouragement, Meekness, New Testament, Old Testament

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Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

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[T]he Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:1-3

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And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelations 21:4

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July 15, 2017

Grace, Maxwell, Old Testament, Psalms

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Sometimes, we may believe that Old Testament prophets somehow didn’t understand Grace and its inclusion in the Atonement.  Of course, almost all of the great Book of Mormon prophets taught and testified during Old Testament times and they taught powerfully of the Atonement.

A search of the Old Testament reveals that prophets in Israel comprehended the concept of Grace very well.

9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Psalms 84:9-12

A few quick notes:

Verse 10 – “look upon the face of thine anointed.”  Of course, kings were anointed during Old Testament times, but anointings were also performed for others as part of temple ceremonies.  (See Exodus 40:12-13, for example.)

Verse 11 – “the Lord God is a sun and shield” – The Savior’s Atonement protects us, “shields” us from the death of the body and the death of the spirit.  (See 2 Nephi 9:10) However, the Savior is also the “sun” and his Atonement brings light to our minds and bodies, sanctifying us and making us better people if we will allow Him to do so through our obedience to His commandments and repentance when we fall short of perfect obedience.

Verse 11 – “the Lord will give grace and glory” – Through the Atonement of Christ, we have an opportunity to receive the same glory that He and Heavenly Father have in the Celestial Kingdom.  The three kingdoms in which the resurrected live, the Telestial, the Terrestrial and and Celestial are each a kingdom of glory, but the greatest glory resides in the Celestial Kingdom.  (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:15-24)  However, any glory at all requires a resurrection and that resurrection only comes through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Verse 12 – “blessed is the man that trusteth in thee” – As Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote, “The more we know of Jesus, the more we will love Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will trust Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will want to be like Him and to be with Him . . . .”  See The More We Know of Jesus, the More We Will Love Him

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August 24, 2016

Old Testament, Prophesies of Christ

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Old Testament Prophesies of Christ’s Crucifixion – Compare with New Testament accounts.

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. – Psalms 22:16

And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. – Isaiah 22:23

They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. – Psalms 22:18

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.  They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. – Psalms 69:20-21

He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. – Psalms 34:20

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? – Psalms 22:1

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. – Psalms 31:5

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November 2, 2015

Adversity, Doctrine & Covenants, General Authorities, Holland, Old Testament, Tests, Video

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Elisha, with a power known only to the prophets, had counseled the king of Israel on how and where and when to defend against the warring Syrians. The king of Syria, of course, wished to rid his armies of this prophetic problem. So—and I quote:

Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. . . . an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. [2 Kings 6:14–15]

If Elisha is looking for a good time to be depressed, this is it. His only ally is the president of the local teachers quorum. It is one prophet and one lad against the world. And the boy is petrified. He sees the enemy everywhere—difficulty and despair and problems and burdens everywhere. The bus is gone and all he can see is Chicago. With faltering faith the boy cries, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?”

And Elisha’s reply? “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:15–16).

“They that be with us?” Now just an Israelite minute here. Faith is fine and courage is wonderful, but this is ridiculous, the boy thinks. There are no others with them. He can recognize a Syrian army when he sees one, and he knows that one child and an old man are not strong odds against it. But then comes Elisha’s promise:

Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. [2 Kings 6:16–17]

In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.

I close with this promise from heaven.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. [D&C 78:17–18]

I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, . . . and mine angels [shall be] round about you, to bear you up. [D&C 84:88]

The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. [D&C 78:18]

Oh yes, “We’ll find the place which God for us prepared.” And on the way “We’ll make the air with music ring, Shout praises to our God and King; Above the rest these words we’ll tell—All is well! All is well!” (“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” Hymns, 1985, no. 30).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
For Times of Trouble
Elder Holland was Commissioner of the Church Educational System
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address
was given at Brigham Young University on 18 March 1980.

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