In this series "The Time of Harvest is Come," we are looking at the spiritual implications of the Law of the Harvest, and the challenge of expecting celestial fruits from a lesser law.
1. A common form of deception is to convince ourselves we're progressing along the straight and narrow path when in fact we're knee deep in the quicksand of a dead, or lesser, law.
2. Another of Satan's tricks is to get us to treat lesser laws as sacred cows (I'm looking at you, Home Teaching/Ministering). It's hard to let go of these sacred cows even though we know they are like leaking boats that cannot sail all the way to Zion.
3. The Law of the Harvest means we won't get 24 karat gold from a copper mine. Only following a celestial law will result in celestial blessings.
4. Christ is the embodiment of the celestial law: He is the Father, the Light, the Life and the Truth of the world. So following a lesser law than Christ's law of the gospel -- which is His celestial law of love -- is by nature Anti-Christ because it keeps us from experiencing a fulness of His intelligence (or glory), causing us to remain in gross darkness.
5. Muddling along in the gross darkness of lesser laws means we are in "bondage" and spiritual "captivity." In Christ we find freedom from the rules, regulations, rituals and legalism that Paul calls "the letter of the law."
6. Hello Phariseeism! Following lesser laws creates fertile ground for self-righteousness. We looked at several examples, including Tithing, Word of Wisdom, and Earrings.
Be Kind, Please Rewind
Soon after the VHS videocassette was introduced to the mass market in the late 1970s, my dad purchased an early model VCR for around $700.00. In today's dollars that would be about $2,200.00.
The VCR's remote control was attached to the unit with a cord. We thought it was so cool. This was cutting edge technology! We could watch movies AT HOME. And record Benson (and later ALF) on our TV.
We were in heaven. On the weekends, I'd go with my friends to the grocery store and rent a VHS tape and bring it home with pizzas.
Could life get any better than that?
They Don't Make VCRs Anymore
Well, they don't make VCRs anymore. That "cutting edge technology" is now obsolete.
We've progressed from VHS to LaserDisc, to DVD, to Blu-Ray, to 4K . . . (who knows what's next).
I guess that's progress. After all, we have more pixels, higher definition, better surround sound, bigger screens . . . . . . but I miss those carefree days of browsing for a VHS at the local grocery store with my friends.
Spiritual Laws Become Obsolete
Do spiritual laws become obsolete?
Well, does a 16-year-old have to sit in a car seat? Does our elementary school principal have authority over us after we've matriculated to high school (sorry Mrs. Bell, I can take a bathroom breaks whenever I want); does a piano player progress past Chopsticks (well, you've got me there)?
And as we progress, we leave behind the old rules, the old principals, the old laws . . . to something greater.
As we all know, the reason people become lawyers is because they can't do math.
We start by teaching a child to recognize numbers; then we learn to add and subtract; then to multiply and divide; then we begin to do algebra and geometry, sine and cosine (or, if you're a teenager buying a car, sign and co-sign); then we stumble through calculus; then . . . what's after calculus?
I think this is what Paul meant when he said:
For we know in part . . . But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:9-13)
Deep Doctrine in Costco Food Court
Let's not make this complicated. I mean, this is a blog, not a dissertation. And if you are like me, you read blogs in the food court at Costco while eating a hot dog.
* Manager to Checkout 7 *
The Law of the Harvest is more than cause-and-effect; it is about creation and restoration.
Sometimes we talk about spiritual creation and physical creation like they're different things. But what if they weren't?
* Shoppers, we will be closing in 30 minutes *
For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal.
What is the "power of my Spirit" referring to?
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
Are "grace" and "truth" physical? Are they spiritual? Is there a difference?
And I, John, bear record that I beheld his glory, as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, even the Spirit of truth, which came and dwelt in the flesh, and dwelt among us.
* Number 59, your pizzas are ready for pickup *
Which turning of creation and/or restoration are we on?
The Law as Bully
Here's the problem: the law condemns. We need to be saved from the law! Why? Well, because we are law-breakers.
All of us.
And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also by the spiritual law they perish.
(2 Nephi 2:5)
In English and French and Russian and Spanish and Pig Latin (and other languages) we use words that are just sounds, just air passing through meaty lips, to describe transcendent realities.
So I am not concerned about the exact words. I want us to focus on the ideas.
There are words used to describe things that are uncreated. Things that exist because they just ARE. They are eternal and have always been, and always will be.
The curious thing about these things is that God did not, in fact, create them.
Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
So vote No to Creation Ex Nihilo.
Now, consider these "words" or "ideas" which describe something: INTELLIGENCE; TRUTH; SPIRIT; CREATION; LIGHT; LAW; LOVE; PRIESTHOOD; JEHOVAH. Try, for a moment, to think of these as one thing.
Okay, now pretend that we have no eyes to see the light; no hands to touch truth; no ears to listen to intelligence; no nose with which to smell Spirit; no tongue to taste love . . . imagine being without our senses; imagine being a Being without means to interact with the universe around us; without a way to influence or impact the world we live in -- to exist, in other words, without agency.
* Attention shoppers: there's a blue Honda with its lights on in the parking lot *
1. There is no existence without agency;
2. Agency requires a body to "act" and not to merely be acted upon;
3. Bodies are the means of Expression, or Logos (the Word); creation occurred by the Expression of Christ's body; redemption occurs by the Restoration of it.
4. Spiritual and physical bodies are both made up of "element." They are of same substance (see D&C 131:7-8). "The elements are eternal" (D&C 93:33);
5. Christ embodies truth and Spirit and light and love (literally). His Body, or Tabernacle, endows all creation because He is the "light that proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things" (D&C 88:12-13).
6. Christ is actually "in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever. And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things" (D&C 88:41-42).
7. Jesus is not just the Lawgiver; He is the Law itself.
Father Lehi explained: "And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon, wherefore, all things must have vanished away" (2 Nephi 2:13).
* Thank you sir, have a nice day *
The Farmer in the Dell
The point I am trying to make is this: the Law of the Harvest is not some cold, impersonal reality.
No, the Law of the Harvest is about Jesus's creative and redemptive (restorative) work.
1. A harvest requires a Sower who prepares and plants the field;
2. The Harvester (Christ) sows seed;
3. What are the seeds He sows?
4. In what field does He sow? What is the field?
By him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created.
5. Time passes and the field is ready for harvest.
6. Who harvests the crop?
7. What happens if the crop is bad? Does the farmer start over?
8. How many seasons must pass before the fruit is worthy of preservation?
What Am I Talking About?
The typical way we talk about the Law of the Harvest is:
If you sow the wind, you'll reap the whirlwind;
If you sow sin, you'll reap the wages of sin, which is death;
If you obey the Law of Tithing, you will find a fish on your way home for dinner.
Put in, cash out.
Hmmmm. What if the Law of the Harvest is something far greater?
What if we think of the Law of the Harvest from Christ's perspective?
What if you could only redeem what you had created? What if you could only become what you had redeemed? What if you could only create what you had become?