To continue my research I wanted to know as accurately as possible the story about this symbol, the “seal of Melchizedek,” as it was used in the San Diego Temple. I couldn’t find a good account online, so I decided to go to the source. Who better would know than the design architect of the temple? So I gave him a call. [Read more…]
While there is undoubtedly an abundance of temple allusions in the whole of Enoch apocryphal literature, I came across a good example today. I will certainly add more as I learn about them.
This example is from 2 Enoch. This apocrypha text is a pseudepigraphon, meaning its authorship is unknown, but is considered part of ancient Jewish literature. The oldest extant manuscripts of this text are in the Slavonic language, but was probably translated from Greek. The text probably was originally written sometime during the Second Temple period (Herod’s temple), between 516 BC and 70 AD. You can read an English translation of the text at Pseudepigrapha.com (which is an LDS site).
This text is unique in its depiction of Enoch, as Wikipedia notes:
For the first time, the Enochic tradition seeks to show Enoch, not simply as a human taken to heaven and transformed into an angel, but as a celestial being exalted above the angelic world.
The Testament of Levi is one of the books in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and is an apocryphal and pseudopigraphal work so we do not know its original author or source. The Testament of Levi, as we have it today, was composed in its final form in the second century B.C. It is also considered an apocalyptic work, relating visions similar to John’s book of Revelation. Fragments of this text have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, lending more credibility to them than some of the other “testaments.”
One particularly interesting passage is about Levi’s vision of his priestly ordination in heaven, including washings, anointings, and investiture: [Read more…]
I have had a question in my mind for some time over the many instances in the scriptures which tell us that baptism is the key to being saved in the kingdom of God. For example, when Christ appears to the Nephites and teaches them His doctrine:
And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned. (3 Nephi 11:33-34)
I have often thought, “What about the temple? Aren’t the temple ordinances, and particularly being sealed to your spouse in the temple (or celestial marriage), required for entrance into God’s kingdom also?”
I read some material somewhere this past week that helped resolve this question.
Both baptism and celestial marriage are required to enter into the kingdom of God, but in differing degrees of inheritance. Both of these ordinances are called new and everlasting covenants (see D&C 22:1 and D&C 132:4). They are the only ordinances to be so named because they permit us to enter different portions of God’s kingdom. Baptism is required to enter the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:51-52). Everyone so baptized, and worthy, may enter there. In addition to baptism, celestial marriage is required to enter into the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, and receive a fulness and exaltation (D&C 132:19). So, in a sense, one or the other ordinance can be said as the key necessary to enter into the kingdom of God, depending on whether we’re talking about the front door or our throne room.
It is also interesting to note that these two ordinances are exclusive in that they are the only two ordinances of the gospel that invoke the titles of the three members of the Godhead—”in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 20:73). Perhaps this is the case because all three members of the Godhead dwell in the celestial kingdom (D&C 76:62, 77, 86), and thus all three may be required for authorization to pass from one area to another in that exalted sphere.