Letters From Lucy Question #4 Answered
Question #4 Three Degrees of Glory
Heaven – Christianity believes that if you have been saved you will go to heaven and be raptured up. While if you have not been saved you will go to hell.
Mormon beliefs are a little more lenient dividing heaven into 3 kingdoms. While claiming that only sons of perdition (which I’m pretty sure means people who have seen the face of God and still denied him) will be in hell with Satan.
I like the idea of the Mormons version of heaven, because it shows a little more mercy for those people who really are just trying their best with the hands they’ve been dealt.
That being said, God is God and my own thoughts about how it should be don’t matter. I want to know the truth about what I need to do to make it back to live with God.
Hello again Lucy. Heaven is a very keen topic to delve into because you are going there. I hope you have your bags packed.
Yes, Mormonism is very appealing because it is very positive and upbeat. But this does not make it true. Mormonism also downplays sin, judgement, and especially the lake of fire (Outer Darkness in Mormon jargon).
The topic of heaven, to be fully discussed, would include the plan of salvation, pre-existence, temple “worthiness,” keeping the laws & ordinances and a host of other topics including Heavenly Mother and baptism for the dead. I am just going to zero in on the Three Degrees of Glory.
Because the Mormon concept of the next life is so bubbly, effervescent and exhilarating and everybody can expect even a better life than they enjoy now, it would do well for Mormons and non-Mormons alike to consider the words of Jesus concerning what happens after death. Matthew 7:13-15 reads:
“Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” King James Version
This passage of Scripture is not very well known by Mormons. It is because it does not fit the appealing and optimistic narrative the Mormon propaganda machine continues to churn out, in lies like “Families Are Forever.”
Did not Jesus say that we will be like the angels in Mark 12:24-25? “And Jesus answering said unto them, do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”
You can scour the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and will never find one reference to a female angel. They are always referred to as he or him and the two instances where names are given are both male names Gabriel, and Michael. When you become a child of God by spiritual adoption, you are already part of the forever family – that has a limit in number – there will be NO pro-creation in heaven. Just as the Lord has set the number of created angels he has also set the number of “children” in the family of God. This Biblical truth flies in the face of modern day hysteria, but it is the truth non-the less.
Now to the task at hand. The concept of three heavens, the lowest being the Telestial Kingdom, which is better than this earth, the second being the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the highest being the Celestial Kingdom, offers a very flattering, hopeful, and bright future for mankind indeed. But as positive as this message may seem, it is based on two faulty Biblical interpretations.
The first passage the Mormon Church appeals to is 1 Corinthians 15:40-41.
“There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth for another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.
OK Lucy, I am going to offer you a little homework here. Please read 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 all the way through in one sitting. You will come across familiar doctrines like “baptism for the dead” in verse 29. If you want we can cover that later. For now – I want you to read the entire chapter on your own without any outside influence. You will discover that this is the Apostle Paul’s great doctoral thesis on the resurrection of the dead. All through the chapter he compares the physical with the spiritual.
Just as a side note…verse 46 really throws a monkey wrench in the pre-existence machinery where Mormonism teaches that we were first spirit children then came to earth to gain bodies and prove our worthiness.
Back on track. The whole chapter is a comparison between the life we know now, in the flesh, and the life we will experience after the resurrection in the future.
SO – when Paul is talking about “bodies” he is not referring to “places” or “kingdoms” or “glories” or “heavens.” He is talking about you and me right now in our fleshly bodies. Right now we have “terrestrial” bodies and after the resurrection we will have “celestial” bodies.
Our present Terrestrial [earthly] bodies are aging and decaying and full of sin and corruption. In the future we will enjoy Celestial [heavenly] bodies where we will never get old or tire or be tempted to sin.
NOTE: No where do you find the word “Telestial” in this whole chapter. This is Latin and not found in the Greek text. This is a word Joseph Smith made up. Google it and every reference hearkens back to Mormonism. It is a word that is never used outside the Mormon Church. Also NOTE: Nowhere do you find “three kingdoms” mentioned in this whole chapter.
The second passage the Mormon Church appeals to is 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” King James Version.
Paul is explaining his spiritual experience when he was caught up to paradise. He is reluctant to even say that it was him and only that “he knew a man.” The glory goes to God and not to his experience. He was commanded not to explain everything, just as John was, so he limits this fantastic experience to just a few verses. Obviously, three degrees of glory was not a doctrine Paul was made aware of and was not high on his agenda while writing this epistle to the Corinthian church. It’s a big deal in Mormonism, it’s no deal at all in Christianity.
Lucy, we agree that there are three “heavens.” (1) Jeremiah 4:25 speaks of “all the birds of the heavens” which refers to our atmosphere. (2) Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God…the firmament showeth his handiwork.” This is an apparent reference to where the stars are. (3) Nehemiah 9:6 speaks of the “heaven of heavens, with all their host… and the host of heaven worshipeth thee.” Which is an obvious reference to that place where the angels of God call home. So there are three different locations for birds, stars, and angels, but the Bible speaks of only two eternal places for mankind after death, heaven & the lake of fire.
Lucy: let’s talk about Outer Darkness. Though it is entrenched in Mormon doctrine, it is a discussion that is rarely raised and a conversation often avoided. From approved LDS scriptures we learn of Outer Darkness that it is a place of DISHINHERITANCE. This assumes that those there, were at one time a part of Heavenly Father’s family (pre-existent spirit children) who are now “sons of perdition” “who are those whom God rejects: wicked, ungodly, unrepentant, rebellious who reject the message. They obeyed not the voice and rejected the message of the servants and received them not.”
Lucy, let’s read in Ephesians 2:1-5 something very sobering.
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times post in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love where with He love us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Let’s look at Ephesians 5:6-8 “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partaker with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
Lucy, here’s the sobering truth. All of mankind is sinful and lost and estranged from God. Ephesians says we were dead to God in our trespasses and sins and by nature, all of us, are the children of disobedience, the children of wrath, and the children of darkness.
This is not the hopeful picture painted by Mormonism where we are all children of God in the pre-existence and came to earth to gain a body so we can prove ourselves worthy through the law of eternal progression and return to our Heavenly Father.
As stated earlier, Jesus said only a few of us will gain eternal life, the majority of mankind will face destruction.
Take heart Lucy.
Romans 8:15 says “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 9:25-26 “As he saith also in O’see, I will call them my people, which were not my people, and her beloved, which was not beloved, And is shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the of the living God.
Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Lucy, you have given your life over to Jesus. When once you were a child of darkness, wrath, and disobedience…You NOW are a child of God by spiritual adoption. This has nothing to do with the pre-existence, which does not exist.
I hope this helps. Keep reading the Bible, this is your source of strength, truth, encouragement, and spiritual blessing.
God Loves You. Don