Cloudy days in tomorrowland Michael Wilcox, Pyramid of Faith
Heb 8:6; 9:11What do we learn about Christ? • A more excellent ministry • Mediator of a better covenant • Established better promises • High priest of good things to come
High Priest of good things to come • Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. Moroni spoke of it in the Book of Mormon as “hope for a better world.” For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of “good things to come.” • Jeffrey R Holland, Ensign, Nov 1999,36
Better promises • My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened”. To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your ‘high priest of good things to come.”
Leviticus= Old Testament Hebrews = New Testament • Leviticus announces the Mosaic system, while Hebrews explains it.
Mosaic rituals done away in Christ’s atoning sacrifice • The only scriptures they had were the Old Testament • If we accept the truth that the law of Moses is no longer binding on Christians, what is the true value of the Old Testament? • and how should it be interpreted?
Hebrews • Hebrews appears to have been written, at least in part, to answer the question of how Christians were to view the Old Testament and the law of Moses. • Christ and His gospel were to have precedence over the old law.
A little lower than the angelsWhy? • Heb 2:9-10 • Heb 2:16-18 • Heb 4:15-16
Heb 2:10Captain of our salvation • Christ Our Pilot by Warner Sallman.
Heb 2:10Captain of our salvation • Glenn L. Pace • “Many of us take the blessings of the gospel for granted. It is as if we are passengers on the train of the Church, which has been moving forward gradually and methodically. Sometimes we have looked out the window and thought, ‘That looks kind of fun out there. This train is so restrictive.’ So we have jumped off and gone and played in the woods for a while. Sooner or later we find it isn’t as much fun as Lucifer makes it appear or we get critically injured, so we work our way back to the tracks and see the train ahead. With a determined sprint we catch up to it, breathlessly wipe the perspiration from our forehead, and thank the Lord for repentance.
Heb 2:10Captain of our salvation • “While on the train we can see the world and some of our own members outside laughing and having a great time. They taunt us and coax us to get off. Some throw logs and rocks on the tracks to try and derail it. Other members run alongside the tracks, and while they may never go play in the woods, they just can’t seem to get on the train. Others try to run ahead and too often take the wrong turn. • “I would propose that the luxury of getting on and off the train as we please is fading. The speed of the train is increasing. The woods are getting much too dangerous, and the fog and darkness are moving in.” (“Spiritual Revival,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 11–12)
Heb 2:18;4:15He Understands “’We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:15) Because he ‘was in all points tempted like as we are,’ our Savior understands our situation, knows from his own personal experience what we struggle against, and can sympathize with us and have compassion on us. Thus, when I am tempted, I don't have to appeal to some distant entity who has never been in my shoes. I can take my problems to a high priest, Jesus, who can ‘be touched with the feeling of [my] infirmities’—because he has been where I am. I can share my problems with a compassionate God who knows from experience what I am talking about and understands from experience what I am going through. There may be certain aspects of his nature that the rest of us do not fully share, but there is no aspect of our human nature that he does not share. And that is good news.” (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 115.)
Heb 2:10,18He understands • He never allowed godly power to insulate pain and affliction …Paul observed that he became ‘like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest’ (Hebrews 2:17). The refiner’s fire of human experience confirmed in his godly nature the tenderness of heart, the softness of soul, that made the Savior not only just but merciful, not only omnipotent but compassionate. • As a result of his mortal experience, culminating in the Atonement, the Savior knows understands, and feels every human condition, every human woe, and every human loss. He can comfort as no other. He can lift burdens as no other. He can listen as no other.” (Tad Callister, Infinite Atonement, pp. 207-9)
What is God’s rest?Heb 3-4 • What did Paul explain about why some of the children of Israel in Moses’ time were unable to enter into God’s rest? (See Hebrews 3:7–11, Hebrews 3:16–19; Hebrews 4:1–2.)
“What is the ‘rest of the Lord’? D&C 84:23–24; 3 Nephi 27:19 • TODAY: “’The rest here referred to is not physical rest, for there is no such thing as physical rest in the Church of Jesus Christ. Reference is made to the spiritual rest and peace which are born from a settled conviction of the truth in the minds of men. We may thus enter into the rest of the Lord today, by coming to an understanding of the truths of the gospel.’ (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 126. See also p. 58.) • ETERNALLY: “As a further extension, ‘The rest of the Lord, in eternity, is to inherit eternal life, to gain the fulness of the Lord’s glory. (D&C 84:24.)’ (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 633.)” (J. Lewis Taylor, “New Testament Backgrounds: Hebrews,” Ensign, Apr. 1976, 59)
God’s Rest today… • The ancient prophets speak of ‘entering into God’s rest’; what does it mean? To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive… The man who has reached that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from him, he has entered into ‘God’s rest.” • Joseph F Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 58
Heb 4:1-11 • How can we enter into God’s rest in this life? • From the prophet Joseph Smith we…learn that ‘God has…a time…appointed…when He will bring all His subjects, who have obeyed His voice and kept His commandments, into His celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a preparation before he can, according to the law of that kingdom, enter it and enjoy its blessings…God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest.’ • TPJS, 54
Line of Authority • George Watkins • Reynold Watkins • Wayne H Watkins
Hebrews 8:5ceremonies in the tabernacle symbolized “heavenly things,”
Heb 10:4,10, 19-20 • A New and Living Way
What is faith?Heb 11:1-3; Alma 32:21; Ether 12:6 • How is faith more than belief?
What is Faith? • Faith makes men sure and steadfast • After the trial of your faith comes the witness • Faith is evidence of things not seen • Faith is related to hope • Faith is related to belief • Faith is the substance of things hoped for • Faith is not a perfect knowledge • Faith is not associated with doubt and fear • Faith is not physical exertion. It is utilizing words • Faith does not come by signs • Faith is a principle of action in al intelligent beings • Faith is maintained by personal righteousness • Faith is power • Gene R. Cook, BYU dev, 8Nov 1981
We might diagram our present understanding of the principle of faith as follows: • Power Principle in God and ManThe ability to work with and through the Holy Spirit • Assurance of ChristTestimony of Holy Ghost added to faith • Faith in ChristCommitment to keep his commandments • Active BeliefCommitment and action in response to the belief • BeliefSimplest level at which all begin
Heb 11Examples… • Abel • Enoch • Noah • Abraham • Sara • Isaac • Jacob • Joseph • Moses
By Faith (Hebrews 11) Faith caused Abel to offer up an acceptable sacrifice to God. Cain had little or no faith as demonstrated by his sacrifice (v4). By faith Enoch was translated. (v5). By faith Noah prepared an ark (v7) By faith Abraham went out to find the place of his inheritance (v8). By faith Sara was delivered a child when past age (v11). Abraham offered up Isaac believing that the Lord would deliver on his promises (v17). By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau (v20). By faith Isaac blessed the sons of Joseph (v21). By faith was Moses' life preserved (v23). By faith, Moses forsook Egypt (v27). By faith, Moses and Israel kept the Passover (v28). By faith they passed through the Red Sea (v29). By faith the walls of Jericho fell down (v30). By faith, the life of Rehab, the harlot, was preserved (v31).
Two kinds of faith… • Elder Boyd K. Packer: • “I recognize two kinds of faith. The first is the kind which is apparent in the world. It is the common denominator of most everything that goes on. It is the thing that lets us exist. It is the thing that gives us some hope of getting anything done. Everyone has it, some in a larger measure than others. • The second kind of faith, remarkably rare, unusual to find, is the kind of faith that causes things to happen. Faith is a power as real as electricity except a thousand times more powerful. Now did you ever exercise faith—exercise it, practice it, you see, not just take it for granted? When you look at yourself, ask yourself how faithful are you? It is a first principle of the gospel according to the Lord. Is it a first principle in the gospel according to you?” (Your Articles of Faith, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [21 Mar. 1962], 8).
Faith • Someone said long ago, when great events occur, there are three types of persons manifested: • First, the one who doesn’t realize that anything great is happening; • second, the one who realizes something is going on but doesn’t know what it is; • and third, the one behind the scenes making it all happen.
Faith is power • Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed, neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute – for it is an attribute – from the Deity, and he would cease to exist… Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of god. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation or existence! • Lectures on Faith, 16,24
Walk by faith • Spencer W. Kimball • “Remember that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and others could not see clearly the end from the beginning. They also walked by faith and without sight…But know this, that just as undaunted faith has stopped the mouths of lions, made ineffective fiery flames, opened dry corridors through rivers and seas, protected against deluge and drought, and brought heavenly manifestations at the instance of prophets, so in each of our lives faith can heal the sick, bring comfort to those who mourn, strengthen resolve against temptation, relieve from the bondage of harmful habits, lend the strength to repent and change our lives, and lead to a sure knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Indomitable faith can help us live the commandments with a willing heart and thereby bring blessings unnumbered, with peace, perfection, and exaltation in the kingdom of God.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 12.)
The Race: A sprint or marathon? • Neal A. Maxwell • “Sometimes that which we are doing is correct enough but simply needs to be persisted in patiently, not for a minute or a moment but sometimes for years. Paul speaks of the marathon of life and of how we must ‘run with patience the race that is set before us’ (Heb. 12:1). Paul did not select the hundred-meter dash for his analogy!” (Cory H. Maxwell, ed., The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 242.) • “…we are to ‘run with patience the race that is set before us’ (Heb. 12:1), and it is a marathon, not a dash. When you and I are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we like our timetable better than God’s.” (“Endure It Well,” Ensign, May 1990, 34)
How do you exercise or use the power of your faith? • Be believing • Commit yourself • Do your part • Pray • Expect Trials of your faith • Expect the Lord to act • Gene R Cook, BYU dev, 8 Nov 1981
Heb 12:3,15Weary and faint? Root of bitterness springing up? • Neal A. Maxwell • “Having all been richly nourished by this general conference, it is fitting to focus prescriptively on the few in the Church who remain spiritually undernourished, including those who have grown weary and fainted in their minds. (See Heb. 12:3.) • “A few of these few have had their faith scorched, such as by the circumstances of wrenching or unrelieved sickness, grinding economic pressures, loss of a loved one, or deep disappointment with a spouse or friend.
Weary and faint?Root of Bitterness? • Adversity can increase faith or instead can cause the troubling roots of bitterness to spring up. (See Heb. 12:15.) A few have been overcome by the preoccupying cares of the world, those wearying, surface things of life. (See Matt. 13:6–7.) Emerson’s plea is surely appropriate: ‘Give me truths: for I am weary of the surfaces.’ (“Blight,” in The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., 1929, p. 874.) A few are fatigued by unconfessed sins. A few tire from milling about haltingly in the ‘valley of decision.’ (Joel 3:14; see also 1 Kgs. 18:21.) A few, foolishly focusing on something other than Jesus, the Sure and True Foundation, are drained by disappointment. (See Hel. 5:12.)
“Whatever the preceding causes, any fainting in our minds brings a loss of spiritual consciousness and, with this, the inclination to charge God foolishly. (See Job 1:22.)” • Neal A Maxwell(“Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,” Ensign, May 1991, 88)
Hebrews 12:5-11How does faith in Christ help us ? • Neal A. Maxwell • “One’s life, therefore, cannot be both faith-filled and stress-free. President Wilford Woodruff counseled us all about the mercy that is inherent in some adversity: ‘The chastisements we have had from time to time have been for our good, and are essential to learn wisdom, and carry us through a school of experience we never could have passed through without.’ (In Journal of Discourses, 2:198.) • “Therefore, how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’” (“Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,” Ensign, May 1991, 88)