While the scriptures speak about abasement and ascension, the stars sing of it.
Writ large across the Logos-Sky we discover the word of God preserved against human touch, where constellations immune to apostasy continue to testify of Christ.
If that sounds weird ― as if speaking about signs in heaven is "esoteric" and uncomfortably close to astrology, some fringe part of our otherwise sensible faith ― then think again! Alma has a word for us; he doesn't consider the signs written above to be "top shelf" at all:
And all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
Now, don't read those words as a cosmological argument Alma was giving Korihor for God's existence ― you know, saying there's a bunch of rocks-in-space so someone had to put them there. No, Alma was teaching something quite different.
It is not the existence of extraterrestrial bodies that is significant, but their particular "signs" (Korihor had asked Alma for a sign, so Alma gave him the sign of the High Priesthood, if you read between the lines; but Korihor rejected it, and so received a cursing in consequence).
The point I am trying to make is the stars aren't up there just hanging out, saying, "There's a God." No, they've got a lot more to say than that! They sing across light years to teach us: "Let me tell you about who God is."
And if we listen, we might just "see God moving in his majesty and power" (D&C 88:47). If we haven't seen God, maybe we've been looking in the wrong places.
The planets, their rotations and seasons; the constellations; they mean something. Which is why Abraham 3-4 (and the temple endowment) all use celestial imagery to convey truths about . . . us. About who we are.
Let me ask: have you ever looked up at the night sky and felt something stir deep within you ― a sense of awe, maybe, or reverence? If so, then we are resonating with our true nature: the part of us that is "gnolaum, or eternal" (Abraham 3:18).
What’s the Big Dipper Deal? Imagine living next door to a construction site that's erecting a high- rise office tower. Unfortunately, the developer runs out of money so construction stops half-way, leaving an unfinished structure.
Every morning you look out your kitchen window and see the shell-of-a-building, all metal struts and copper wiring and concrete and rough-plumbed pipes, an eye sore making you pray someone will come along and finish the project.
Well, the Restoration is like that. It is incomplete and cannot be finished until we have the lost knowledge of the heavens. This knowledge was part of the High Priesthood originally; it is from the beginning.
(I wonder if those claiming the same priesthood as Enoch would be able to demonstrate their bona-fides by walking among the stars (heavens), as Enoch did.)
The Kokaubeam (stars or great lights) occupy real time-and-space (see Abraham 3:7), all according to the reckoning of Kolob. Kolob is the governing star and, in a nice bit of bait-and-switch, represents the Lord Himself.
Kolob holds the key of power and first government (right of Firstborn), who is nearest to the throne of God (see Facsimile 2).
But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of [okay, here we're gonna see what Abraham thinks the "right of Priesthood" is all about] the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers.
So while we don't seek for "signs" (D&C 63:8-9), there's an exception! When it comes to times, signs, and seasons ― these things we're actually supposed to seek after.
But why? Why is learning this important? Why is the Priesthood inseparably connected with astronomical signs and tokens? Why is our temple-ascent modeled after the heavens?
I mean, when I was 13 years old I got the astronomy merit badge as a Boy Scout at Maple Dell; I took classes in college that taught me about gravity and black holes . . . do we really need to understand all this other stuff?
How will unsealing the constellations help us be better disciples?
Morning Stars and Evening Stars
The scriptures talk about "morning stars."
The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
God promises his faithful children, "I will give him the morning star" (Revelation 2:28). What does it mean to receive, or become, a morning star?
Well, these are the "sons of God." That makes sense, since Lucifer was a "son of the morning" (D&C 76:26).
Jesus calls Himself "the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). So what's the difference between Lucifer, a son of the morning, and Jesus, a morning star?
And while we're on the subject, what exactly is the evening star? Surprise! The (1) morning star and (2) evening star are (wait for it) ― the same star (but at different points of its circle).
They both refer to the planet Venus. Venus is called earth's "twin" because it's next to us in the solar system and is about the same size and density as the earth.
When Venus appears on the Eastern horizon before sunrise, she is called the morning star.
When Venus appears in the West after sunset, she is called the evening star.
(Did you know the Levites offered sacrifices at morning and at evening?)
Unlike Jesus who condescended (1 Nephi 11), Lucifer was "cast down" (Moses 4:3).
That's a big difference.
It's easy to see ascent and descent symbolism in the rising and setting of the sun (or at least it was for the Egyptians).
Less apparent, but even more profound, is the descent cycle and rebirth of the Moon. Each month we witness the Moon's progress as it wanes and waxes.
The pointed parts of the Moon's crescent are called "horns." Because the Moon doesn't have its own light, the horns always face away from the Sun.
In the northern hemisphere, the Moon's horns point left during its waxing phase and point right during its waning phase.
But during the winter (January - March), the angle of the Moon's lunar orbit shifts on the horizon, reorienting the horns upward (as if it were smiling).
And the Gods organized the lights [pretend this is talking about intelligences or spirits] in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide [how are we "divided"?] the day from the night; and organized them [how are we "organized"?] to be for signs and for seasons.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to find the psalmist using the stars (think: who do they represent?) to depict God's love:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
If you take a circle (sorry, flat earthers) and cut it in half from top to bottom, you are left with two halves or segments.
In a creation cycle, when you take the right side (think: horn or shoulder) you have the Melchizedek priesthood represented.