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Far below this condition is that of the sons of perdition -those who have sinned in full consciousness, those who have shed innocent blood. The comparative few who reach this state of extreme degradation are doomed to dwell "with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment."
Thus, those who attain even the Telestial state are saved from the depths of perdition; while the inheritors of the higher glories are saved from the condition of the less exalted.
Consider anew the question asked of Christ: "Lord, are there few that be saved?"
And the answer revealed in the present age: "But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the sea shore." (Doctrine & Covenants 76:109.)
THE GRAVES SHALL BE OPENED
And the Dead Shall Live
HY should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" (Acts 26:8.) So asked Paul of King Agrippa when arraigned before him a prisoner in bonds approximately thirty years after our Lord's resurrection. At that time the Apostles and the saints generally suffered severe persecution because of their persistent testimony of the Christ, crucified and risen. The powerful Sadducees denied the actuality of a resurrection; their opponents, the Pharisees, professed a belief in
the resurrection, but all save those who had been converted to Christianity through faith and repentance denounced the solemn testimonies of Christ's resurrection as fiction and falsehood.
That the spirit of Jesus Christ returned from the abode of the disembodied and reentered the body till then reposing in the sepulchre is specifically affirmed in Holy Writ. In the early dawn of that most memorable Sunday in history He was seen by Mary Magdalene and then by others, some of whom were permitted to reverently touch His feet. In the evening He stood amongst the Apostles and quieted their fears by the assuring demonstration: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39.)
That the body they beheld was the identical body in which the Lord had lived amongst them was evident from the presence of the wounds made by the crucifiers. To further assure the devoted company that He was no shadowy form, no immaterial being, but a living Personage with bodily organs, internal as well as outward, He asked: "Have ye here any meat?" They brought broiled fish and other food, and He "did eat before them."
Christ was the first of all men to emerge from the tomb with spirit and body reunited, a resurrected immortalized Soul. Therefore, is He rightly called "the firstfruits of them that slept," as also "the firstborn from the dead," and "the first begotten of the dead." (1 Cor. 15:20; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5.) The victory over death thus achieved by the foreordained Redeemer of the race was positively and abundantly foretold. That a literal resurrection shall come to all who have or shall have lived and died on earth is quite as strongly attested in Scripture.
Two general resurrections are specified; these we may distinguish as the first and the final, or as the resurrection of the just and that of the unjust respectively. Hear the words of Christ Himself relating to the dead and their assured coming forth: "For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28, 29.)
The first resurrection began with that of Jesus Christ and was continued thereafter as we read: "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matt. 27:52, 53.) The resurrection of the just is to be made general at the time of the Lord's approaching advent in glory; but a fixed gradation is established as Paul averred: "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." (1 Cor. 15:20-23.)
The Millennium is to be inaugurated by a glorious redemption of the righteous from the power of death; and of them it is written: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6.) Of the unworthy we read in thrilling contrast: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished."
Of the imminence of His coming and in further specification of the distinction between the resurrection of the just and that of the unjust the Lord has said through revelation in the current age: "Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand. For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations, Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again." (Doctrine & Covenants 43:17, 18.)
The Book of Mormon is explicit in description of the literal and universal resurrection: "Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ. shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death; The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt. Now this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but all things shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil." (Alma 11:42-44.)
When Shall It Be?
HE eventual resurrection of every soul who has lived and died on earth is a scriptural certainty. The resurrection consists of a literal and material reembodiment of spirits, following their post-mortal experience in the spirit world, whether this shall have been the freedom and joy of Paradise or the restraint and remorse of the prison house. We are destined to exist through the eternities beyond the resurrection with spirit and body reunited. Only in such union is a fulness of glory, opportunity, and achievement possible.
Thus spake the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church in 1833: "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receiveth a fulness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy." (Doctrine and Covenants 93:33-34.)
The word of ancient Scripture affirms beyond any reasonable question or doubt that Jesus Christ, who has been exalted to authority and power by the side of His and our Eternal Father, exists as a Spirit clothed in an immortalized body of flesh and bones; for in such a body did He manifest Himself after His resurrection; and in that same body did He ascend from Olivet in the full sight of the apostles, while angelic attendants solemnly proclaimed: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11.)
When the Savior does so return, His body will be found