This week I have had the opportunity to contrast the rich of this world verse the poor (in spirit) who wait upon God. What is this salvation that God only can offer? What is this feast of fat things that only God can provide?
This chapter makes discipleship personal. Phrases like:
- “Oh Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name;” (vs. 1)
- “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”(vs. 9)
In verse 4, I read that God has “been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress…” Then a footnote takes me to Doctrine and Covenants 56:18–19. There are promises extended to the poor that I myself feel that I have realized. I am a poor man, by choice. And yet as more time passes, I am realizing the fatness that I enjoy, and how it is that the Lord has lead me out of one land unto another, and from that land to the one where I now live. My position and station here is one of comfort, even in my humble circumstances. The fatness of the earth is mine. These verses put into words the reality of my life experience.
I read in verses 6 through 8, and I think first that this prophecy is already being fulfilled in abundance. A feast of fat things on the mountain, this thing happens all the time: whether in the temples of God, or messages delivered from General Conference, or a multitude of other church gatherings that are presided over by our inspired leaders.
The destruction or removal of a veil or covering that covered all the nations of the earth, that comes from the mountain too. Do not the words of the prophets and apostles uncover the dark snares of the adversary for those who will hear?
Though the victory over death is still pending in many instances, and for most, is still a matter of faith to believe that it has already begun, yet is it still true. Even this thing of which so much of our world’s resources are calculated to avoid for as long as possible, even death is overcome through Christ.
In these same verses we read of the Lord taking away “the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.” What is this great facade that covers us all? Is it not the belief that this life only is the end of man. So much is spent in the preservation of the mortal body, for it is believed that this and this alone is the end of man. Yet, in the increase of knowledge that causes us to ascend above the temporal, a separation of the mortal body in anticipation of a resurrected, glorified body seems to be a necessary and welcomed transition. Where does death hold any power in the face of such knowledge?
He Will Swallow Up Death in Victory
It’s noteworthy here to reference the Spanish translation on this phrase, which is notably simplier, “Destruirá a la muerte para siempre,” or literally translated “He will destroy death forever.” And who in any other world belief system, anywhere, has laid claim to anything beyond the mortal realm? Christ abolishes death. This reality is sitting squarely, heavily upon me this morning.
And In This Mountain…
One more reading this morning through this chapter has me reflecting upon the temple and the experiences that I have already had there in. The Institute manual that references this chapter point to these same verses as more of Second Coming/millennial experience, but then I see even greater purpose in the temples as a means of pointing us to and preparing us for that eventual day and reality. If we want to experience what it will be like during the Millennium, we may find it in the temples of God.