Sunday, May 2, 2021

April 26-May 2: D&C 45

The Come Follow Me manual focuses on key themes from D&C 45:

1. Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father.

2. The gospel is a standard to the nations.

3. The Lord's promises will be fulfilled.

4. "Stand in holy places," and be not moved.

5. Zion is a place of safety for the Saints of God.

Thinking about Zion gives us a perspective on the other themes. The manual explains:

Today the command to establish Zion refers to establishing God’s kingdom wherever we live—wherever the children of God gather to the safety of His “everlasting covenant” (verse 9). What can you do to help build Zion where you are?

Every week, my blog about Zion- an aspect of Zion that includes principles and ideas about how to help build Zion wherever we are. 


We can gain insights from considering the intertextuality of D&C 45. Many of the revelations read as interaction between the Lord and the Prophet (and by extension, each of us) in which the Lord teaches by alluding to previous scriptures. This type of intertextuality supplies greater context and deeper meaning to many of the passages. 

For example, the phrase "be not troubled" in D&C 45:35 also appears in the New Testament (Matt 24:6) and the Pearl of Great Price (JS-M 1:23). Each of these passages relate aspects of the latter days that are directly relevant to us today.

34 And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
(Doctrine and Covenants 45:34–35)

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
(Matthew 24:4–6)

22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
23 Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet.
24 Behold, I have told you before;
(Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–24)

Another example is the concept of Christ as our Advocate with the Father. 

In a way, it is confusing to think of Christ as both our Advocate and our Judge. Normally, we think of an advocate as a lawyer who presents a case to the judge. Satan is described as the Accuser (Rev. 12:10). 

How could a lawyer representing one side in a case also be the judge in the same case?

The Scripture Guide explains that Christ will be our Judge.

The Final Judgment that will occur after the Resurrection. God, through Jesus Christ, will judge each person to determine the eternal glory he will receive. This judgment will be based on each person’s obedience to God’s commands, including his acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

There are many scriptures that describe Christ as our Judge.

In General Conference, Elder Christofferson once said,

I am particularly gratified, and it is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause. (See D&C 45:3–5.)

One of the best discussions of Christ as our Advocate was presented by John Tanner, here:

He pointed out that:

Advocate denotes not merely a lawyer but literally one who speaks for us. The word comes from the Latin ad vocare, “to speak for.” In the 1 John 2:1 verse, the Greek parakletos, which connotes one who is at our side, is translated as “our helper.” The same Greek term is used for the Holy Ghost in His role as comforter. The idea here is that Christ is by our side, as our helper and our defender; He speaks in our behalf.

That still does not address the apparent conflict between Christ as our Advocate and Christ as our Judge.

There's another helpful analysis at ScriptureNotes, here:

Early in my career as a lawyer, it dawned on me that Christ is the advocate for those who choose to follow him, the same way that a lawyer chooses which clients he/she will represent. This is not as clear in the New Testament as it is in the Doctrine and Covenants.

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1 John 2:1–2)

5 Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.
(Doctrine and Covenants 29:5)

3 And Ziba Peterson also shall go with them; and I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them.
(Doctrine and Covenants 32:3)

2 And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.
3 Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
4 Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
(Doctrine and Covenants 45:2–5)

1 Behold, and hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, your advocate, who knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted.
(Doctrine and Covenants 62:1)

3 His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
4 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
(Doctrine and Covenants 110:3–5)


The Book of Mormon does not use the term "advocate" but it does refer to the concept of satisfying the demands of justice, such as in these passages:

8 And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—
9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.
(Mosiah 15:8–9)

14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.
15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.
(Alma 42:14–15)

13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.
(Alma 34:13–16)

The phrase "demands of justice" is not found in the scriptures outside of the Book of Mormon, which uses the phrase 4 times. Jonathan Edwards discussed the concept here:

Hebrews 10:1–3.] Concerning the argument for the insufficiency of the ancient sacrifices from their being often offered. The Wise Man argues the vanity of all earthly enjoyments, and that temporal food is not man's true good, from that, that the occasions for eating still return. If a man eats, yet the need of eating returns. Satisfaction is not obtained; his need and his appetite remains. The demands of nature are not answered, but that still it continues demanding, so that after a man has repeated his eating from day to day many years, yet he needs, and his nature craves, as much as when he first came into the world. Ecclesiastes 6:7, "All the labor of man is for his mouth, yet the appetite, or" (as in the original)תִמָּלֵא לא וְגֵם־הַנֶּפֶשׁ "the soul, is not filled." See also Ecclesiastes 1:5–9, with the context. The argument is of the same sort with that which the Apostle here makes use of to show the vanity of the ancient sacrifices, and their insufficiency to answer the end of a true atonement, that they did not satisfy because the demands of justice still remained, and its appetite returned, as in the other case the demands of nature. They were never able to make the comers thereto perfect. The occasions of offering them returned continually. And therefore if Solomon's argument be good, the Apostle's is certainly good also.

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