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Promise vs. Appearance

I was asked:
“I’ve wondered about this for a long time.  In the blog post about ‘Why wait?‘  there is a phrase that says ‘This appearance is not merely “in the heart,” but is an actual appearance or visit.’  The ‘in the heart’  is my question.   Once in a while this concept doesn’t contradict but at the moment it seems to. In D&C 88 it says:  ‘Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise.’ So how can it be a false sectarian notion about God the Father and Jesus dwelling in a man’s heart (D&C130:3) and yet a few sections later in the D&C when referring to the second comforter it says contrary.   [Also Eph. 3: 17  says: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love.’] I at one point saw how this worked — but can’t seem to at the moment.  How do those two seemingly contradictory things work?”
My response:
To have the promise “abide in your heart” is to keep inside your heart the knowledge there is a promise given by God, who cannot lie about such matters, that you have the promise of eternal life.  This is referring to the promise, and keeping it dear to you, or in your heart.  This, of course, is not the same thing as the appearance of the Son in the form of another Comforter, as promised by Christ in John, Chapter 14, verse 18, where Christ declares:  “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  It is the promise that the Lord will come or appear or take up His abode with you which Joseph declared to be literal.  He is saying those who believe or teach this to be merely a feeling “in the heart” are teaching an “old sectarian notion” because they deny its literal possibility.  (D&C 130: 3.)
The culmination of the Lord’s ministry is the promise of eternal life, as I explained in an earlier post.  But the actuality of that ministry as an appearance to a person is not merely “in the heart.”  When His ministry does culminate in the promise, then the promise should “abide in the heart” of the person to whom the promise has been given.  They ought never let it pass from within their hearts that they have obtained a promise from the Lord assuring them of life eternal.
These are two different subjects.  But the question is quite a good one.  Thanks for asking it.  

Isaiah 53:12

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah’s report ends with the Messiah’s triumph.  Hard won as it was to be, it will qualify Him to receive a “portion with the great.”  Although the Messiah may be greater than them all, He is only to receive “a portion.”  For the suffering He endures will be to redeem others and bring them back with Himself.  There is to be no hoarding.  There is to be no selfishness.  Though He may earn it all, He will take only “a portion” and leave a “division” with others who may share in His joy.  He abased Himself, and taught all others to do the same.  (Matt. 23: 10-12.)
This is nothing akin to the faithful son complaining about the Prodigal.  (Luke 15: 29-30.)  Christ will not only willingly share with His lesser brothers and sisters, but He will go further and “make intercession for the transgressors.”  He is neither jealous of their sharing in His triumph, nor resentful to “divide the spoil” of His great victory.
Here is a Messiah indeed!  Here is a Redeemer indeed!  “Truly, this Man was the Son of God!”  (Matt. 27: 54.)
Despise Him and His servants, He will still condescend to succor you so far as you permit Him to do.
Turn your face from Him and His servants, He will still plead for you to listen.
Forsake and abandon Him and His servants, they will still forgive and make intercession for your errors.
Those who follow Him will be misunderstood, reviled, persecuted.  It is in the nature of things for this world.  He anticipated that, and gave instructions to you when you encounter it.  (Matt. 5: 10-13.)  The entire prophecy in Isaiah 53 is a description not only of the Messiah, but also of the Messiah’s children.  They will not be welcome here, for the ruler of this world has nothing for either Him or His children.  (John 14: 30.)
Surely Isaiah knew His Lord.

Isaiah 53:11

Isaiah 53:11 states:

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

The One who shall see the travail is the Father.  The Father will be “satisfied” that the suffering of the Son, the payment made for mankind’s debt of errors, has been sufficient to then inform the Son about salvation.  Without descending below, the Son would have been unable to comprehend what mankind needs to overcome.  Therefore Christ’s suffering needed to be complete.
Upon receiving the full “wrath” of sin, Christ was then able to know how to overcome all that mankind must overcome to return to the presence of the Father.  It is “by His knowledge” that Christ is able to “justify many.” He possesses the knowledge, has the experience and suffered “for all” so that they might be instructed by Him. (D&C 19:16-17.) He knows. He comprehends. By the things He suffered, He gained all that is needed to redeem, comfort and succor any man or woman in their extremity. (Heb. 2:18.)
This great burden was, however, merely His preparation; and not His completion. (D&C 19:19.)  He now uses His “knowledge” to “succor” and tutor each soul who will permit Him to minister to them. (Alma 7:11-12.)  The most complete description of what He suffered and what He gained is set out in my testimony in Come, Let Us Adore Him.
Christ has gained “knowledge” which will save each of us, no matter what we are called to pass through, if we will come to Him, heed what He tells us, and follow His encouraging counsel. There is no depth we descend to which He does not already comprehend, having been there before us.  (D&C 122:7-8.)
To overcome all sin ourselves, we must accept His guidance and counsel.  His comfort alone will rid us of our guilt. He knows how to shed the pains of sin, because He has first shed them, and therefore knows what must be done. Only in this way can we relieve ourselves of the suffering which is felt when an unclean person is exposed to God’s presence. (Mormon 9: 4-5.) He can lead you to cleansing, because He has been made completely filthy and covered with the wrath of God. (D&C 19:15-18.)
His “preparations” are complete. He can “succor” you back to God’s presence. But you must choose to allow Him to use this hard won “knowledge to justify you” before the Father. He has borne your infirmities before you bear them.  He knows how to heal from them. There is nothing which you are called to pass through that He does not already comprehend. It is this great “knowledge” which renders Him the greatest, “most intelligent of them all.”  (Abraham 3:19.)  He now has no perplexity from sin.

Isaiah 53:9 – 10

“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

He died among two thieves, as a common criminal, along the road leading into Jerusalem.  He would have been regarded as a criminal, worthy of the death He suffered, by any passer-by.  His grave came as it would to any “wicked” and convicted criminal.

It was a rich man, member of the Sanhedrin, who begged for the body and buried it in a new tomb.  His death was common, terrible, and worthy of the lowest member of society, but His burial would be in an honorable tomb worthy of the rich.  His honorable burial was testament to the fact He had done no violence, nor had there been any deceit come from Him.  Those wishing for a sign to confirm His honor will find it in the juxtaposition of the death He suffered and the burial He was given.
Isaiah 53: 10 says:

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

God will be “pleased” at the Messiah’s suffering.  His grief will be joyful to the courts of heaven.  As odd as the comment may seem, it was nevertheless the case.  We have a witness who was there, and saw the rejoicing for Christ’s suffering.  Enoch reported:
“And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?  And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance. And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me. (Moses 7: 45-47.)
Christ’s death and suffering caused Enoch to “rejoice” at what He had accomplished.  It was joyful.  It was triumphant.  It was the victory that would make it possible for Zion and Enoch to be redeemed.  Therefore it did please God to bruise Christ, to put Him to grief.  And the pleasure of God was in the fruits of that suffering.  It was necessary to garner the victory over the fall of mankind.  It was holy.  It was cause for great joy.
His “seed” include all mankind.  For in His triumph all who die have part.  Victory over death means resurrection will come as the shared inheritance of all those who are descendants of Adam and Eve.  As in Adam all die, even so in Christ are all made alive again.

Isaiah 53:8

Isaiah 53: 8 states:
“He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
The idea of our Messiah emerging from “prison and from judgment” was a bit shocking to his listeners.  There is little wonder at Isaiah’s original question about who would believe the report.  Should not the Messiah emerge from a palace?  From a university (center of learning)?  From a recognized hierarchy?  From a notable family?  From respectable circles?  We would think so, wouldn’t we?
Because of the presumptions, we do not look for Him as a prisoner, or one against whom judgment has been rendered.  Nor do we expect His messengers to come, as they have so often in scriptures, from obscure places, bearing obscure names and having no credentials.
When Isaiah adds that the Messiah will be “cut off from the land of the living” he made a startling point.  The Messiah will die!  The Redeemer will not avoid death and the grave.  He will lose His life.  What follows adds to the wonder of it all:  “For the transgression of my people” will the Messiah be cut off into death.
Now the focus has changed.  Isaiah’s message shifts from the suffering of the Messiah into the transgression of Israel.  It is Israel’s responsibility that their Messiah must suffer so.  They will need a Messiah who will undertake this suffering, for they will not abandon their transgressions and will need a sacrifice made for them.  They will need to confront love so great that it will die to redeem them.  The proof of the Messiah’s devotion to them will be shown by His humiliation, suffering and death.  This is His proof.  This is His credential.  This is the record which will show for all mankind what great lengths God will go to reclaim His beloved people.  They transgress, He atones.  They sin and wander off as lost sheep, He pays to re-gather them with His blood.
His suffering may surprise them, but their surprise should be astonishment at the great love He holds for them.

Isaiah 53:7

Isaiah 53: 7 states:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
These three references to Him refraining from “opening his mouth” and being “dumb” (meaning silent) are referring to more than His failure to respond to Herod’s inquiries.  (Luke 23: 8-9.)  This is a reference to Christ’s “Word,” which if employed, could have moved mountains, held armies at defiance, and summoned “twelve legions of angels” to His defense.  (Matt. 26: 52-53.)  Pilate was told that he may have been the Roman Procurator, but he had no power over Christ which Christ did not permit.  (John 19: 7-11.)
Christ remained silent, choosing to exercise meekness in the face of the threat aimed at Him.  (“Meekness” as explained in Beloved Enos, which is really a great power.)  It was in this sense the Isaiah found His silence to be prophetically remarkable.  One of the great signs of the Messiah.  He would be the One whose words could have exercised power to defy armies, but who refrained from speaking those words.  He would, instead, voluntarily submit to the abuse and scorn of those who hated Him.
As to our Lord being shorn, Isaiah also foretells His beard being plucked by those who would smite, abuse and strike Him.  (Isa. 50: 6.)  Surely our Lord was indeed “shorn” as a “sheep” before His sacrifice.


Christ was prepared eighteen years prior to the time His ministry would begin.  He stood by ready, and “waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come.”  (JST Matt. 3: 24-26.)

Prepared and waiting.

Even the Lord, who was “more intelligent than them all,” waited.  (Abr. 3: 19.)
The Lord’s counsel to all is that they must not “run faster than they have strength.”  (Mosiah 4: 27; also D&C 10: 4.)
There is no rush to receiving an audience with the Lord.  When it happens it is always in His own time, His own way, and according to His own will.  (D&C 88: 68.)
We must ask.  Then we wait upon Him.  If He waited, what makes you think you are entitled to rush ahead without paying a similar price to develop the necessary patience in waiting on the Lord.
Abraham was promised children, but waited decades to receive the promise.  Anna and Simeon were promised they would behold the Lord’s Messiah, but were both well stricken in age before He came.  (Luke 2: 25-38.)
Recognize the Lord alone will determine the timing.  Our responsibility is to trust in Him and await His will.  We can ask, seek and knock.  He cannot respond unless we ask, seek and knock. But having done so, then we trust in Him to decide when He will make Himself known to us.

Isaiah 53:6

Isaiah 53: 6:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

The Savior referred to those who would follow Him as His “sheep.”  (John 10: 27.)  However, Isaiah’s use of “sheep” here is not about those who would follow Him, but rather those who would scatter, find other shepherds, or lose their way altogether. Isaiah’s “sheep” are disorderly and have gone “astray.”
The bookends of these two messages – Isaiah’s sheep, who are astray, and Christ’s, who “hear His voice” – are two sides of the same coin.  Until “ALL” of us have been, or to some degree, have gone “astray,” we are unprepared to “hear His voice” and be gathered by Him.
We have turned away from the True Shepherd and gone into our “own way.”  That errant “way” is appealing to the ego, the mind, the imagination, or the traditions we need to control us because they are safe, tested or handed to us by those whom we trust.  Whatever the reason for choosing our own way, it is nevertheless ours.  We must leave it, respond to the True Shepherd’s “voice” and gather again to Him.  
It is His “voice” whenever He sends a true messenger, empowered with a message from Him.  It is not His “voice” when the messenger has not been sent or empowered with a message from Him.
The “iniquity of us all” in finding ourselves in these strange paths has been laid upon Him.  He has found His way back from every error man can make.  He has solved every dilemma, confronted every error, overcome every false and tempting doctrine the devil has thrown at you.  He can solve your imponderable problems.  He knows the answers.  He has overcome the iniquities of every false, evil or prideful teaching ever given to any man or woman.
He can lead you back to the light, because He has remained true to the light throughout.  Therefore look to Him.

Isaiah 53:5

Isaiah 53: 5 states:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Those wounds He suffered were not His, they were ours.  Those iniquities which were laid upon Him were never His to bear. He volunteered to take them. We were relieved of them, and He took them. He purchased our peace by what He suffered to reconcile us to God. His infirmity was to heal us.
Our rejection of Him was the means by which He became fully acceptable to His Father.  He bore our abuse to make His compassion perfect.
What we lacked we put on full display in our anger at Him.
What we held in our hearts we poured out upon Him, shouting to kill Him!  Crucify Him!  Away with Him!
He took it to allow our rejection to become His bridge back to the Father for us all.

When the outcast makes intercession for those who despised Him, there can be no crime which He cannot forgive.  Having suffered the guilt of all, He holds the keys of death and hell.  He suffered both.  It was perfectly unjust for Him to have suffered anything.  Yet He suffered it all.

How can the gates of hell be opened?  It requires someone upon whom death and hell could have no claim to go there.  When justice itself requires Him to be released, then death and hell are conquered.  This is what He would do.  He would suffer the wrath of the guilty and vile, fully assume their punishment and abuse, and bear their penalty of death itself.  When the fury relented, and the wrath ended, He could reclaim life.  His captivity ended the captivity for all.  Having then returned to life, because it was just for Him to do so, He acquired the keys of death and hell.  Now He can open those gates for any and all because it was unjust for Him to have been put through either.  He can now advocate for others by virtue of what He suffered and the injustice of that suffering.  (D&C 45: 3-5.)