D&C 132:16-20/Rel JFS BY

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Verse 19

Adam and Eve, who are representative of each of us, were cast out of the Garden and presence of God. Cheribum (angels) and a flaming sword were placed to guard the way back to God's presence. Verse 19 speaks of passing "by the angels" back to God's presence and has reference to our returning to God's presence and partaking of eternal life and exaltation. The rituals of the temple are symbolic representations of this process. Brigham Young said, "Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell" (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 416).

Verse 20

Those who are exalted become "from everlasting to everlasting because they [the seeds] continue." President Joseph Fielding Smith commented:

"From [everlasting] to [everlasting]" means from the spirit existence through the probation which we are in, and then back again to the eternal existence which will follow...We all existed in the first eternity. I think I say can of myself and others, we are from [everlasting]; and we will be to eternity everlasting, if we receive the exaltation. The intelligent part of man was never created but always existed. That is true of each of us as well as it is of God, yet we are born sons and daughters of God in the spirit and are destined to exist forever. Those who become like God will also be from [everlasting] to [everlasting] (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:12).

In other words, God is from everlasting to everlasting because he, like us, came from a spirit existence (one everlasting) and then passed through a mortal probation into exaltation (the other everlasting). Likewise, all mankind is from everlasting, and those who are exalted will be to everlasting. Everlasting is the place or state wherein spirit offspring is brought forth. We all came from one everlasting. The exalted will in the hereafter bring forth their own spirit offspring. Therefore, they will be from everlasting to everlasting.