Thursday, April 20, 2017

More Themes in the Pearl of Great Price

Continuing the thought from yesterday, there are more themes that we see across the various scriptural accounts that we have in the Pearl of Great Price.  One of the most obvious is that of creation.  We have two separate readings of the creation story, one in Moses 2-3 and one in Abraham 4-5.  We read how God “created the heaven, and the earth” and see that “the Gods formed the earth and the heavens” in a planned and purposeful way (Moses 2:1, Abraham 5:4).  But the scope of the creation was much bigger than just this earth.  God told Moses, “My works are without end….  Worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose” (Moses 1:4, 33).  Abraham similarly learned of God’s great creations, and he was shown the stars of the heavens while God “told [him] of the works which his hands had made.”  Abraham “saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and [he] could not see the end thereof” (Abraham 3:11-12).  Both Moses and Abraham learned not only that God had created this earth but that His creations throughout the universe were numberless.  

               While Moses and Abraham were shown many of the great things God has done, another theme that we see in the other books of the Pearl of Great Price is what Christ will do in our time and in the future: prepare the world in the last days and return again to the earth.  In the Joseph Smith Matthew account about the last days we read that “this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations,” and we have this promise of Christ’s return: “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory…. For the Son of Man shall come” (JSM 1:36-37).  Similarly in the Joseph Smith History the prophet Moroni told him about the events of the last days, speaking “of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation” (JSH 1:45).  He quoted Malachi who prophesied of the “coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” and suggested that this day was near.  The Articles of Faith focuses on the positive aspect of Christ’s return, promising that “Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (A of F 10).  The Pearl of Great Price witnesses that Christ will indeed return to the earth as He promised. 
               Another important theme that we see in the Pearl of Great Price is that of the importance of the Priesthood.  Adam learned that “this same Priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world also” (Moses 6:7).  Adam was the first man to hold that Priesthood, and we do see it spoken of “in the end of the world,” or at least in the last days with Joseph Smith.  The Joseph Smith History tells of how Joseph and Oliver were visited John the Baptist who laid hands on them saying, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron.”  Joseph and Oliver thus received the Aaronic Priesthood and learned about how Peter, James, and John “held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek” which would also be conferred upon them (JSH 1:69, 72).  The story of Abraham also focuses on the Priesthood.  Abraham recorded, “I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood,” and he received from the Lord this magnificent blessing: “I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee.”  We also learn in his account that the seed of Abraham would “bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations” and that through this Priesthood “all the families of the earth [shall] be blessed” (Abraham 1:4, 18; 2:9, 11).  The Pearl of Great Price makes is clear that the Priesthood is real, is on the earth in these last days, and that it will bless all nations.  

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