The Final Judgment

The key problem with the traditional interpretation of the three degrees of glory is that it has incorrectly been assigned to the final judgment, when it is really a revelation about the first judgment that happens around Christ’s Second Coming and the beginning of the Millennium. This wrong timeline then causes all sorts of contradictions with the scriptures, and all sorts of mental and linguistic gymnastics to prop up this incorrect tradition.

We’ve all grown up with this depiction of the plan of salvation. It is false. This post will show what the scriptures actually say about the final judgment and how it cannot account for three degrees of glory at the final judgment. The model below is a more accurate depiction of what the scriptures teach.

We know that during the Little Season, Satan reigns once again and leads the children of men astray, leading up to the great and final battle between good and evil.

D&C 88
111 And then he shall be loosed for a little season, that he may gather together his armies.
112 And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.
113 And the devil shall gather together his armies; even the hosts of hell, and shall come up to battle against Michael and his armies.
114 And then cometh the battle of the great God; and the devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all.
115 For Michael shall fight their battles, and shall overcome him who seeketh the throne of him who sitteth upon the throne, even the Lamb.
116 This is the glory of God, and the sanctified; and they shall not any more see death.

Revelation 20
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Now we are at a binary division of the people. You are either part of the army of Michael, or the army of the devil. The devil and his armies are cast away into the lake of fire. The armies of God are sanctified. There is no third (or fourth) option. You can’t be in the army of God and not be sanctified. You can’t be a conscientious objector in this war. If you aren’t in God’s army, you are in the devil’s army.

Matthew 12
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
31  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

At this point you are either completely on the Lord’s side, or completely on the devil’s side. There is no middle ground.

D&C 18
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.

All men must take upon them the name of Christ before the last day, otherwise they must be cast out. That’s a binary judgement. If your name isn’t written in the book of life, you are cast in to the lake of fire. Who gets their names written in the book of life?

Alma 5
57 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;
58 For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.

Can anyone show me a scripture that says that those who received not the gospel nor the testimony of Jesus can have their names written into the book of life? If we believe the Bible, only a celestial-level person can have their name written in the book of life. Anyone else falls short of the requirement, and anyone whose name isn’t in the book of life is cast out with the sons of perdition. That means that Terrestrials and Telestials are sons of perdition (if we adhere to the traditional interpretation), which obviously violates the traditional interpretation. These inconsistencies demonstrate that our interpretation of the three degrees is flawed. This isn’t an isolated verse in Revelation that contradicts the traditional interpretation.

Revelation 21
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Anyone that defiles, works abominations, or makes a lie won’t be written in the book of life. Doesn’t that describe Telestials?

D&C 76
103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

If Telestials can’t be written in the book of life, they must be cast out at the final judgment with the devil, his angels, and the sons of perdition. This should tell us that our notion of the telestial kingdom being a final state in perpetuity is incorrect. You cannot claim that God saves the Telestials without ignoring the scriptures on the book of life.

The names of the righteous are written in the book of life. Are the Telestials righteous? How can sorcerers, whoremongers, and the like have their names written in the book of life? Maybe we’re just taking one verse out of context. Surely there aren’t other places that contradict our traditional interpretation.

Revelation 3
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Who will Jesus confess before the Father?

Matthew 10
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

There is no middle option. What else does Revelation say about these people clothed in white?

Revelation 7
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

D&C 76 says that only people who have overcome are those who are Celestial status:

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.

But if they are the only ones whose names are written in the book of life, everyone else must be cast out into the lake of fire. Unless the telestial and terrestrial people are able to repent and progress during the Millennium and the Little Season, God is a liar, for these people must be cast out into the lake of fire with the devil and his angels. Yet God says he saves all except for the sons of perdition.

Helaman 12
25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.

Hmm…those who are cast off from the presence of the Lord enduring endless misery. That doesn’t sound like a kingdom of glory to me. Yet the Telestials are excluded from the presence of the Lord forever according to the traditional interpretation. Can anyone argue that Telestials have done good? Are they clean?

Alma 7
21 And he doth not dwell in unholy temples; neither can filthiness or anything which is unclean be received into the kingdom of God; therefore I say unto you the time shall come, yea, and it shall be at the last day, that he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.

Only clean things can be received into the kingdom of God. Anything dirty remains dirty and is cast out.

D&C 88
102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.

Where do the scriptures describe people at the last day being kind-of clean? Or only a little bit dirty? Nowhere. At that day we are either clean or filthy. Binary. There is no middle ground in the scriptures.

Alma 40
26 But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup.

Alma 11
37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

1 Nephi 10
21 Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.

Wait a minute! I thought the Telestials would be saved in a kingdom of glory. All these prophets say if you aren’t clean, you are cast off forever and you cannot be saved. Maybe telestials can be made clean despite not repenting. How does one become clean?

Moses 6
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
62 And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.

3 Nephi 27
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.

Are the Telestials spotless? In their unrepentant state, absolutely not. But as Alma the Younger showed us, the minute they repent and call upon Jesus in faith, they are cleansed. But what happens if we haven’t repented before the final judgement and we aren’t spotless?

Alma 12
13 Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.
14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
16 And now behold, I say unto you then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death; then is a time that whosoever dieth in his sins, as to a temporal death, shall also die a spiritual death; yea, he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness.
17 Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever; and then is the time that they shall be chained down to an everlasting destruction, according to the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will.

If we aren’t spotless, God can’t save us. He only has power to save men that believe on his name and bring forth fruit meet for repentance.

1 John 1
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

D&C 110
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.

D&C 50
28 But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.

Mormon 9
6 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.

Alma 7
14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

If you still think Telestials can be saved in a kingdom of glory after the final judgement without repentance and without being spiritually reborn, please explain these verses.

Alma 22
6 If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day.

Mosiah 4
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

If Telestials can’t repent after the Millenium, they are cast off at the last day and sent to the lake of fire with the devil, making them sons of perdition. They have “no interest in the kingdom of God”. Interest means “share, portion, or part.” Telestials have no portion of the kingdom of God. None. That violates the whole “saved in a kingdom of glory” notion. But the scriptures are consistent that at the last day, only those who have accepted Christ are saved.

3 Nephi 15
1 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.

3 Nephi 28
34 And wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day;

Mosiah 26
28 Therefore I say unto you, that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him I will not receive at the last day.

Alma 37
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

Alma 39
8 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.

D&C 18
22 And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
23 Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24 Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
25 Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.

1 Nephi 15
33 Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that they cannot dwell in the kingdom of God; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also.
34 But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.
35 And there is a place prepared, yea, even that awful hell of which I have spoken, and the devil is the preparator of it; wherefore the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out because of that justice of which I have spoken.

The final state is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or be cast out. No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God. It’s binary. There is no place for unrepentant sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers, and makers and lovers of lies in the kingdom of God. You cannot be unrepentant and uncleaned without being cast out at the last day. How do we avoid being cast out?

2 Nephi 25
29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.

Alma 22
6 And also, what is this that Ammon said—If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?

15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy.
16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.

The only way to avoid being cast off at the last day is to repent, be born of God, and receive his Spirit. There is no other way.

Once you realize that the three degrees of glory was a revelation about the status of people during the Millennium (the first judgement), and not the final judgment, you see the scriptures in a whole new light. Our false tradition puts the three degrees of glory at the final judgement, not at the first judgment where it belongs. The final judgment is binary, you either follow Christ or follow the devil, there is no middle ground. God talks in binary terms about the final judgment: clean or dirty, righteous or wicked, sheep or goats, right hand or left hand.

With that in mind, I leave you with this extended selection from Alma, the man who personally spent time in hell and then repented. I think he, of all people, has a pretty good idea of what lies in store.

Alma 5
18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?
24 Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?
25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
31 Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
32 Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
35 Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire
36 For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
37 O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
42 And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
43 And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God.

5 thoughts on “The Final Judgment

  1. I’m glad I was able to wait until this far into the series as a number of my questions have been addressed by your articles. What you propose here fits really well with what I have been leaning towards but never was able to see the scriptures in this way. It’s still so different from what I was indoctrinated in that it’s hard to fully grasp. Also, the timing of this is interesting as Watcher is doing a series along the traditional interpretation of D&C 76.

    If the scriptures are pointing us to a probationary period that extends until the final day of judgment, where initially Terrestrial and Telestial judged people are able to repent and enter the Kingdom of God, what do we make of having one’s calling and election made sure? Is it also possible for the initially judged Celestial people to fall? Is there a difference between having your calling and election made sure in this time and being one of the Celestial ones at the last day?

    I think that Joseph Smith had his calling and election made sure. I also agree with Watcher that he is in Hell right now, until he returns. So why would a Celestial-judged person end up in Hell? I accept his atoning act for us, but did he end up in Hell because of that act and will his return and completion of his mission actually re-qualify him as Celestial?

    I’ve had a problem with the traditional LDS view of first and second estates. I don’t think the LDS pre-mortal doctrine is correct, so I don’t agree that a spirit pre-existence is what is meant by first estate. Just guessing here, but is first estate our initial life here and our second estate the millennium and post-millennium?

    Abraham 3:25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
    26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

    Using the framework you’ve presented, would the correct reading of this passage in Abraham have to do with a judgment upon death – one either goes to Hell or to Paradise? So after the first estate – the initial life on earth – if you have followed God you go to Paradise to await the millennium. If you did not, you go to Hell to await the millennium. After all are raised from the dead (except the Sons of Perdition) at the end of the millennium, then if you keep your second estate during the little season, you are saved in God’s Kingdom and have glory for ever and ever?

    This actually fits pretty well. However, the original Biblical passage seems to me to be pointing to the Watchers and Divine Beings who openly rebelled against God. Perhaps they didn’t go through a process like we are going through so they only had a first estate?

    1. Like you, I haven’t been able to resolve the traditional definitions of estates. I hadn’t made the connection between this topic and first and second estates. That’s a great connection. I’m going to work on that for a while.

      As for Celestials falling, D&C 20:30-33 says:
      And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true; and we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation. Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.

      So yes, you can start off celestial but if you don’t endure to the end, the last day, the final judgment, you can still lose it all.

      1. So where does this leave the idea of having one’s calling and election made sure? Is there such a thing? Or can we only be sure of it at the day of Final Judgment?

        It confuses me that those Celestial souls who are caught up with Christ in the clouds at His second coming aren’t necessarily saved, that some of them might fall during the little season. It seems improbable, but it would appear possible…except:

        1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
        17 Then they who are alive shall be caught up together into the clouds with them who remain, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord.
        18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

        I believe there are a number of scriptures about those caught up in the clouds as being Christ’s. So here’s another possibility. Are the Celestials still going through probation during the little season? It’s a curious phrase in Section 76:

        81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.
        82 These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.
        83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.
        84 These are they who are thrust down to hell.
        85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.
        86 These are they who receive not of his fulness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
        87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
        88 And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
        89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;

        Do the telestials and terrestrials inhabit the earth during the little season? Are the celestials either secluded in Zion or taken up again like Enoch?

        It seems to me that the terrestrials will be ministering to the telestials during this time. But it also has the celestials ministering to the terrestrials. I’m not clear how all this aligns.

        Also, the baptism for the dead, which still needs to be fully revealed, would likely play some role in this.

        The final point, that still leaves me confused (and from my previous indoctrination) is that these terms are described as having glory. Indeed, the telestials are described as having a glory. It’s hard to wrap my head around folks who are cast into Hell, even temporarily, as having any sort of glory.

        I’m not sure if this is an appropriate word link, but in Section 76 describing the glory of the telestial:

        89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;
        90 And no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it

        And in describing the suffering of those in Hell:

        44 Wherefore, he saves all except them—they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment—
        45 And the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows;
        46 Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof
        47 Nevertheless, I, the Lord, show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again;
        48 Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are ordained unto this condemnation.

        I don’t see the terrestrial or celestial glories as being described as no man knowing it. But the pains of Hell are described this way. But still, why would you use the word ‘glory’ here? Something still bothers me about it.

        1. Great observations. I don’t have answers for everything, but the points you bring up definitely deserve further study.

          For celestials falling, we have the example of Satan begin an angel in authority in the presence of God, who then chose to rebel. So it would seem possible then for others to rebel. I don’t think we lose our agency once the probation period is over, or indeed ever. Once this Satan is finally defeated, will another rebel rise up to oppose God? Opposition in all things? Could the celstials from our planet later become the sons of God in heaven that rebel against God in another rebellion, which sets off a new cycle of opposition for new creations?

          On the flip side, perhaps the celestials are removed or secluded during the little season. We have so few scriptures that describe that period I’m not sure we can come to a conclusion based on scripture.

          As for calling and election made sure, perhaps it is God’s guarantee that you will make it there. Whether you stay or rebel is still always up to you. Or God, using his foreknowledge, knows you won’t ever rebel and so he can make this promise to select individuals. Many are called, but few are chosen?

          Great find about “no man knows it”. I had already been wondering about another aspect of sons of perdition before you highlighted this. Now I really need to go back and take another look.

  2. One of the biggest objections I can see to this timeline of events is that it can encourage people to delay the day of their repentance. If everyone (but Sons of Perdition) has a second chance during the millennium and little season to repent then why not eat, drink, and be merry during the pre-millennial times? One’s strategy could be to live it up and be as bad as you want with the idea that you’ll repent when it really matters in the little season right before the final day of judgment. The scriptures repeatedly warn against this.

    Alma 34:32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
    33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
    34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
    35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.
    36 And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.
    37 And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;
    38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.
    39 Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.

    What do we make of Amulek’s words here? Is he speaking of Sons of Perdition only? Is he able to say that to this group of people because they were in fact, able to discern the truth and the Spirit was testifying to them of it? Right before the portion I quoted, he states:

    Alma 34:30 And now, my brethren, I would that, after ye have received so many witnesses, seeing that the holy scriptures testify of these things, ye come forth and bring fruit unto repentance.
    31 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

    “Now is the time and the day of your salvation.” Do the people have enough at this point to know for certain of Christ and God and to deny it would be to deny the Spirit?

    How does this apply to us, living during a time of apostasy? We have a knowledge of the fulness of the gospel, but not the actual fulness. Would adopting the “willingly sin now and repent later” strategy put one in the category of Son of Perdition? Or is it sufficient that our spirit will not be able to overcome the power of the devil if we have let him so much control over us?

    I’m sure there’s a way it all fits, but I think we have to be very careful to not give anyone the impression that this initial time isn’t of immense worth and we should not think that we can easily enter Heaven by waiting to repent during the little season, as that may not be possible.

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