Light won the annual battle with darkness yesterday on the Winter Solstice. I wish light could win the battle in mankind’s dark heart.
God requires holiness and cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, as explained in D&C 1:31.
If we fail to keep God’s ordinances exactly as prescribed, they are broken and no longer effective. (Isa. 24:5.)
God’s House is always to be built for His presence. When accepted by Him it must remain exactly as He ordered it, or there are only two results:
1. If the ordinances are not kept, He withdraws and the house is no longer His. Men are then free to do what they choose within the temple because God neglects it.
2. If He still claims it, then those who offend within His House offend God, and they will die.
Nadab and Abihu were the oldest sons of Aaron, Nadab being the oldest. (Num. 3:2.) They had been in God’s presence with Moses on the Mount. (Exo. 24:9-10.)
Despite their standing, they chose to practice a rite within God’s House (at that time it was a temporary tabernacle) without God’s sanction or approval. God had commanded what was to be done, how it was to be done, and who was to perform the rites. These two were apparently worthy and qualified to have seen God and enter His presence. Despite this, they apparently thought of some additional way to honor God, perhaps by incorporating what they sincerely thought was a worthy act of devotion. They were, after all, within the tabernacle and “before God” when they acted.
Since they came out of Egypt, it is probable the offering they made was taken from the Egyptian practices with which they were acquainted. No doubt they thought some particularly impressive portion of the Egyptian rites would evidence their sincere admiration and veneration for God.
The problem is that the Lord’s House is His, not theirs. They are not justified when they presume they can take just any impressive rite and practice it before God to earn His respect. They were showing disrespect, even rebellion, by incorporating into their rites a foreign idea not commanded by Him.
When they went into God’s House and offered before Him a rite He did not command to be done within His House, they were trespassing and rebelling. They took Telestial behavior within a site hallowed by God to be His, requiring a Terrestrial law. Like those who will be unprepared for His presence at His return, they were killed by the “fire” or glory of God’s presence. (Lev. 10:1-3.) Moses reminded their father, Aaron, that those who come to God must be “sanctified” by the means He prescribes, and no other.
There is no accepted House on earth today wherein God dwells. We are therefore free to observe whatever we think will please God in our individual houses of worship. But when He establishes a House and His presence is to be found there, nothing can be done apart from what He commands to be done, when He commands it to be done, and in the manner He commands it to be observed. If anything varies, then the results will be:
1. He withdraws and it is no longer His House; or,
2. Those who violate the conditions for entering His House will pay with their lives for their rebellion; even if they have been in His presence before.
Given the vanity and pride of mankind, it seems unlikely there will ever be people who are willing to strictly observe only what He asks as He asks it. It is a mistake to think we can improve on what He gives us, and yet we do.
When there is a House built for God (and some future people will build one), it will necessarily be through people of restraint, meekness, humility and patience who take no credit and think themselves no better than their fellows. It will be an undertaking requiring a heart like our Lord’s, full of the virtues He displayed. There will need to be a priest, like Moses, who was the meekest of all men. (Num. 12:3.) There will need to be someone, at last, who knows the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven, and when the heavens are offended, they withdraw. When withdrawn, other false spirits rush in to please and reassure us in our vanity and pride.
There have been so many generations of disappointment for heaven. Even if God sent another like Joseph Smith, it is doubtful anything more could be accomplished today than was done in Nauvoo. Like Nadab and Abihu, we stray, offering up our strange incense rather than strictly observing what God asks, how He asks it to be done, when He asks it of us.
Moses took Israel out of Egypt because God knew the traditions of that culture were corrupt. A new and more correct pattern was revealed to Moses. But Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to bring Egypt with them, and thought they could please God with their pleasant, but unauthorized, worship. They died.
Why are many called and so few chosen? Why can we not learn from past failure enough to avoid repeating it in our day?
Vanity, pride, looking beyond the mark, self-will, arrogance, and reckless enthusiasm all proceed from a lack of gratitude to God for what He gives us. Instead of accepting in gratitude and practicing it with patience, we demand more, insist we can improve on His ways, and charge ahead into the pass to be destroyed by the beast. The chosen of God remain scatterlings, unable to dwell in the House of God with Him, because it cannot be built with the unclean hands of a wayward generation.
We have moved into a season of increasing light now. But I do not think mankind has yet reached its winter solstice. From all I have seen, darkness continues to hold sway among even the very elect.