“By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified”:
The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6

[Editor’s Note: This article is an updated and extended version of a presentation given at the Third Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference: The Temple on Mount Zion, November 5, 2016, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. For a video version of the presentation, see http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/events/2016-temple-on-mount-zion-conference/conference-videos/]

Abstract: In chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, Jesus described spiritual rebirth as consisting of two parts: being “born of water and of the spirit.”1 To this requirement of being “born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit,” Moses 6:59–60 adds that one must “be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; … For … by the blood ye are sanctified.”2 In this article, we will discuss the symbolism of water, spirit, and blood in scripture as they are actualized in the process of spiritual rebirth. We will highlight in particular the symbolic, salvific, interrelated, additive, retrospective, and anticipatory nature of these ordinances within the allusive and sometimes enigmatic descriptions of John 3 and Moses 6. Moses 6:51–68, with its dense infusion of temple themes, was revealed to the Prophet in December 1830, when the Church was in its infancy and more than a decade before the fulness of priesthood ordinances was made available to the Saints in Nauvoo. Our study of these chapters informs our closing perspective on the meaning of the sacrament, which is consistent with the recent re-emphasis of Church leaders that the “sacrament is a beautiful time to not just renew our baptismal covenants, but to commit to Him to renew all our covenants.”3 We discuss the relationship of the sacrament to the shewbread of Israelite temples, and its anticipation of the heavenly feast that will be enjoyed by those who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

Scripture Roundtable 132: New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson 34, “Keep the Ordinances, As I Delivered Them”

This is Scripture Roundtable 132 from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss the New Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson #34, “Keep the Ordinances, As I Delivered Them” focusing on scriptures in 1 Corinthians 11-15, bringing in various insights to help us better understand the scriptures. These roundtables will generally follow the 2015 Gospel Doctrine schedule of scriptures, a few weeks ahead of time.

Panelists for this roundtable are Shon Hopkin, Jeff Bradshaw, Martin Tanner, and Bruce Webster.

This roundtable is also available as an audio podcast, and will be included in the podcast feed. You can listen by pressing the play button or download the podcast below:

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The Church’s Struggle Amid the World’s Darkness

Humanity is full of horror, and always has been. God wept that He gave humankind their agency, and asked them to love each other and to choose Him, but they were without affection, and hated their own blood (Moses 7). Tragedies in interactions between individuals, families, tribes, towns and nations add up to plagues like racism, sexism, war, and slavery—and they have always been endemic on earth. They still are, despite a modern Pax Americana that has mitigated much of them for those likely to read this. It is for these that God wept, knowing the suffering that people were bringing upon themselves and others because of their choices. Continue reading

Scripture Roundtable 34: D&C Gospel Doctrine Lesson 30, “The Prisoners Shall Go Free”

This is Scripture Roundtable 34 from The Interpreter Foundation, in which we discuss Doctrine & Covenants Gospel Doctrine Lesson #30, “The Prisoners Shall Go Free,” focusing on D&C 2, 124, 127, 128, and Joseph Smith-History, bringing in various insights to help us better understand the scriptures. These roundtables will generally follow the 2013 Gospel Doctrine schedule of scriptures, a few weeks ahead of time.

Some articles mentioned in this roundtable are linked here:

Panelists for this roundtable include Martin Tanner, Shon Hopkin, and Stephen Smoot.

This roundtable is also available as an audio podcast, and will be included in the podcast feed. You can listen by pressing the play button or download the podcast below:

Play

“Keep the Ordinances, As I Have Delivered Them” 1 Corinthians 11-16

“Let all things be done decently and in order.”

1 Corinthians 14:40

This lesson begins where a prior lesson left off, the disorder and disunity disrupting the Corinthian church, which Paul sought to repair through his epistles.  So as we study the final six chapters of Paul’s 1st epistle to the Corinthians, the most important thing for us to understand is Paul’s overriding purpose in writing the letter in the first place.  Sometimes we become so excited by the doctrines and principles shared throughout the many passages that we miss the context and reason for their inclusion.  In short, Paul’s original purpose in writing this epistle was to deal with division and general disorder among the early Christian saints living in the city of Corinth.  Now, unless we be too hasty to point the finger at these erring saints, perhaps we can put ourselves in their circumstances and realize that misunderstanding, disunity, disorder and carelessness are the common lot of human experience.  In other words, Paul’s admonitions for unity and decency are as relevant in our day as they were in his day, though with some cultural nuances. Continue reading