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This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- D&C 132:11: Before the world was. This exact phrase occurs 9 times in LDS scripture, according to an lds.org search. Of particular interest are the following: (1) In D&C 76:13 "the things of God" existed "before the world was." These things are what the Spirit reveals by opening the eyes of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. These things are also things that "were ordained of the the Father, through his only Begotten Son, who was in the Bosom of the Father, even from the beginning." (2) In D&C 93:7, John's testimony from John 1 is elaborated upon with the description of Jesus Christ existing, as the word, "before the world was. (3) In D&C 128:22, the redemption of the dead from prison, by baptism for the dead, is described as being ordained "before the world was." These phrases suggest a rhetorical connection between the sealing power of God's word and/or law (cf. verse 12) and the purpose of what is typically called the pre-mortal plan of salvation whereby Christ would redeem mankind. What seems somewhat incongruent is that this fore-sightful plan was established to redeem mankind from a fall that had not yet occurred. That is, God's word, in the form of a commandment, seems to be what first effected the Fall, through Adam and, subsequently, what effect-ed/s redemption, through Christ. This "before the world was" phrasing seems to set up a kind of temporal tension with the "new" aspect of the covenant that is being revealed. That is, if the law existed "before the world was," in what sense is it new?
- D&C 132:11-12. These two verses return to a theme that comes up in the first verses of this revelation: that law is somehow connected with what happened before the world was (though covenant is never explicitly stated to be pre-mortal). In verse 11, the Lord asks a rhetorical question, which seems to suggest that the reader of the revelation (or the hearer: Joseph Smith) should recognize the logical answer: the Lord would not do such a thing as appoint something except by law, and that as ordained before the world was.
- But whatever this implies is then clarified, or at least qualified: the law is "by me [Christ] or by my word." The weight of this phrase perhaps goes too easily unfelt. What is at work in this curious little phrase?
- D&C 132:13: Thrown down. The phrase "throw down" or "thrown down" occurs 29 times in LDS scripture, according to an lds.org search. The context is usually in terms of throwing down the altars of false or rival gods. One way to read this might verse, esp. in light of God's word being mentioned, is in terms of humbling oneself, or allowing oneself to be humbled "because of the word" (Alma 32:14), as opposed to being forced to be humble. Also, the typical "thrown down" context of false altars seems a rich allusion to the marriage altar in the temple where couples enter into a new and everlasting covenant with God.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- D&C 132:1. Does the "as also" of verse 1 suggest that Joseph only inquired concerning Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that the Lord is including, for His own purposes, some information on Moses, David, and Solomon? If so, what is the significance of this? If not, why does the Lord break down the list into two groups, split by the "as also"?
- D&C 132:2. Why would the Lord begin his answer—even before He announces that He is going to answer—with the phrase "Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God"?
- D&C 132:4-5. Verses 4-5 seem, perhaps, to use "covenant" and "law" interchangeably. Is this a good reading? Is there any way to read them as separate or distinct here? What would it mean to "abide" either the covenant or the law? Is it significant that verse 5 makes law a question of receiving a blessing, while no such connection is made with the covenant? Might one read "conditions" as making a difference between covenant and law?
- D&C 132:6. In verse 6, both "law" and "covenant" are used, but perhaps in a way that is somewhat different from the preceding verses. Are they being used interchangeably here? Might one read the grammar here as suggesting that the law pertains to the new and everlasting covenant? If verse 5 speaks of laws being instituted, is it significant here that the covenant "was instituted"? Could there be several sense of the word "covenant" at play here and elsewhere?
- D&C 132:7. Verse 7 also speaks of both "law" and "covenants." Here, however, it is quite clear that there is some kind of difference between them, since "covenants" are to be made, entered into, and sealed, in order to fulfill "the conditions of this law." What kind of distinction seems to be implicit here, then, between law and covenant? Can the distinction implied here be read back into the preceding four verses (3-6)? Does the list offered here ("covenants, contracts, bonds, etc.") help one think about the nature of covenant over against law? How are law and covenant related through the idea (or ordinance) of sealing?
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Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.