Jesus Christ: “The Author and
Finisher of Our Faith”
Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son
of Heavenly Father, is our Savior.
The Melchizedek Priesthood is part of
the fulness of the gospel.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the new
covenant between God and his children.
Those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ
will inherit a place in the kingdom.
A study of this lesson will remind us that salvation comes through faith in
Jesus Christ and obedience to his commandments.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 37 Handout (PDF
"When Paul returned to Jerusalem from
his third mission, he found that many Jewish Christians were still convinced
that obedience to the law of Moses was essential to salvation. The
epistle to the Hebrews was written to persuade them that the law of Moses
had been fulfilled in Christ and had been replaced by the higher gospel
law." (Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual ©1989, p35)
"Hebrews is our finest scriptural commentary
(aside from some key Book of Mormon passages) on the Old Testament and
on the manner in which the doctrine of Christ's atoning sacrifice was clearly
signified in the Old Testament...
"One of the great
contributions of the Book of Hebrews is that it shows the ever-present
role of Jesus Christ in men's lives." (Life and Teachings of Jesus &
His Apostles, p382)
As I prepare these lessons, I am reminded of
going to a great buffet. There are so many varieties of food that one is
tempted to try. It is hard to pick and choose. And so it is with
these lessons. Within the book of Hebrews there is much to study and
contemplate and there is only time to discuss a few items.
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers
by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir
of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." (Hebrews
Anciently God spoke through his prophets
(Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malachi, etc).
Paul says that God has now spoken to
the inhabitants of the earth through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Father's heir to
all things, all that the Father has also belongs to Jesus Christ.
- Jesus said, "All things that the Father hath are mine." (John 16:15).
The "worlds" were created by
Paul makes this statement in the New
Testament referring to the "worlds" created by the Master. And yet we do
not see Christianity teaching that there are other worlds.
Parley P. Pratt speaks to the necessity of
other worlds: "In
order to multiply organized bodies, composed of spiritual element, worlds and
mansions composed of spiritual element would be necessary as a home, adapted to
their existence and enjoyment. As these spiritual bodies increased in numbers,
other spiritual worlds would be necessary, on which to transplant them." (Key to the Science of Theology, 52)
being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself
purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3)
This verse provides important information
about our Heavenly Father and our eternal destiny. Jesus Christ is in the "express image"
of his Father. Heavenly Father is a separate and distinct being and
not some force without body, parts or passions.
HEBREWS 2:17-18. Christ suffered being tempted.
Christ tempted as we are.
Christ learned obedience by that which he suffered.
WHY DO YOU THINK PAUL EMPHASIZED THAT
ALTHOUGH JESUS WAS THE SON OF GOD, HE WAS ALSO SUBJECT TO TEMPTATION AND
SUFFERING DURING HIS MORTAL LIFE?
Paul taught that Christ has not required
anything of us that he was not willing to do himself.
He has set for us the perfect example
towards which we should look.
Brother Stephen E. Robinson: "A remarkable doctrine is
taught here. The same Jesus Christ who is God the Son is also one of us. He was
human in every respect ('in all things')—right down to being tempted like other
human beings. And because he personally has been tempted, Christ can understand
what temptation is. From his own personal experience of the human condition, he
understands what we are dealing with here, and he can empathize with us and help
us overcome temptation just as he overcame it." (Believing Christ:
The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News, 112)
HOW DO YOU THINK HIS MORTAL SUFFERING
AND ENDURANCE ENABLE HIM TO HELP US WHEN WE SUFFER?
He has passed through far deeper valleys
in mortality that we will ever comprehend. Having suffered the pain
of the flesh, he is not like a king who never knows the plight of the masses. He has been one of us, and among us, and knows the human heart. Thus,
when we lean on him, his compassion can reach out and touch us, for he
knows us and our pains of mortality.
The Rest Of the Lord
The ancient Hebrews were disobedient and unable to enter into the "rest
of the Lord" (see also 4:1-11).
Paul encouraged the Saints to live so
that they might enter into God's rest.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ENTER INTO THE
REST OF THE LORD?
this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness,
and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the
face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore,
the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that
they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest
is the fulness of his glory." (D&C 84:23-24)
then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous
are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state
of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles
and from all care, and sorrow."
President Joseph F. Smith:
ancient prophets speak of 'entering into God's rest'; what does it mean?
To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having
faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we
are right, and that we are not hunting for something else, we are not disturbed
by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who
lie in wait to deceive. We know of the doctrine that it is of God, and
we do not ask any questions of anybody about it; they are welcome to their
opinions, to their ideas and to their vagaries. The man who has reached
that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from
him, he has entered into 'God's rest,' and he need not fear the vagaries
of men, nor their cunning and craftiness, by which they seek to deceive
and mislead him from the truth. I pray that we may all enter into God's
rest—rest from doubt, from fear, from apprehension of danger, rest from
the religious turmoil of the world..." (Gospel Doctrine, p58)
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS EARLY GENERATION
OF HEBREWS THAT WILL ASSIST US IN FINDING GOD'S REST?
Those led out of Egypt were disobedient
and lacked faith, thus they were left to wander in the desert for
forty years and did not enter into the rest of the Lord.
We need to be obedient to the word of
the Lord. We must have the faith to do what we have been asked to
do by the Lord's servants or we are no better than those early Hebrews.
Crucifying the Lord afresh.
HOW DOES ONE PUT HIMSELF IN A POSITION TO
CRUCIFY THE LORD AFRESH?
Joseph Smith: "All
sins shall be forgiven, except the sin against the Holy Ghost; for Jesus
will save all except the sons of perdition. What must a man do to commit
the unpardonable sin? He must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens
opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against Him. After a man has
sinned against the Holy Ghost, there is no repentance for him. He has got
to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny
Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the
plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that
time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me, he seeks to
kill me, and never ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of
the devil—the same spirit that they had who crucified the Lord of Life—the
same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such persons;
you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil,
and awful is the consequence." (TPJS, p358)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
of the unpardonable sin consists in crucifying unto oneself the Son of
God afresh and putting him to open shame. (Heb. 6:4-8; D. & C. 76:34-35.)
To commit this unpardonable crime a man must receive the gospel, gain from
the Holy Ghost by revelation the absolute knowledge of the divinity of
Christ, and then deny 'the new and everlasting covenant by which he was
sanctified, calling it an unholy thing, and doing despite to the Spirit
of grace.' (Teachings, p. 128.) He thereby commits murder by assenting unto
the Lord's death, that is, having a perfect knowledge of the truth he comes
out in open rebellion and places himself in a position wherein he would
have crucified Christ knowing perfectly the while that he was the Son of
God. Christ is thus crucified afresh and put to open shame. (D. & C.
132:27.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p816)
According to Paul, one who has done
this cannot "renew them again unto repentance."
They are allied with Satan and have
chosen their eternal course.
This should be a solemn warning to each
of us to be ever vigilant in guarding our testimonies, to hold to the rod,
and stay on the straight and narrow path.
Be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
WHAT DID PAUL TEACH IN THESE VERSES
ABOUT GOD'S PROMISES TO HIS CHILDREN?
The Lord fulfills his promise as we
Those who have "faith and patience inherit
the promises" (v12).
WHAT DOES VERSE 15 TELL US ABOUT THE
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENDURING TRIALS AND RECEIVING PROMISES FROM GOD?
We may have to endure patiently in order
to obtain the promise. In the world, we have become accustomed to instant
gratification. This is rarely the case with the Lord's promises. The Lord abides by the law of the harvest. A crop planted in the
spring often requires months of nurturing before the fruit can be harvested. And so it is with that which is of greatest eternal value.
Patience suggests that we not just endure,
but that we do it with faith and hope and possibly gladness.
the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say,
ye have no promise." (D&C 82:10)
When we keep the Lord's commandments,
we have bound the Lord in a contract which he must and will fulfill.
Necessity for change in the priesthood.
WHY WAS IT NECESSARY THAT A CHANGE IN
THE PRIESTHOOD ACCOMPANY THE CHANGE FROM THE MOSAIC LAW TO THE GOSPEL LAW?
and atonement of our Savior brought an end to the lesser law of Moses and
instituted in its place the higher law of Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 15:8-9). This change, in turn, required a change in the priesthood also.... Neither the law of Moses nor the priesthood of Aaron which administered
it was capable of bringing God's children unto perfection. The Aaronic
Priesthood is a lesser authority, and it administers the preparatory gospel
only. The Melchizedek Priesthood, on the other hand, is the higher
priesthood, commissioned to minister the gospel ordinances in their fulness
and capable of purifying our lives so that we can again enter into the
presence of the Lord (3 Nephi 26:19,20)." (Life and Teachings
of Jesus & His Apostles, pp385-386)
law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the
things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year
continually make the corners thereunto perfect." (Hebrews 10:1)
WHAT DOES THIS VERSE MEAN?
Under the law of Moses, the
corners of fields were left unharvested for the poor (see Bible Cyclopaedia,
p139). Thus, under the law of Moses the fields were not perfectly
Man, under the law of Moses, cannot
be made perfect.
This verse makes an interesting comparison
between the Law of Moses and the fulness of the gospel. The Law of
Moses was nothing more than a shadow of the fulness of the gospel. It
represented the gospel, but was far from complete.
he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that
he may establish the second." (Hebrews 10:9)
WHAT IS THE FIRST?
WHAT IS THE SECOND?
The fulness of the gospel.
It was Jesus Christ who fulfilled the
law and established the gospel.
which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)
WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
be sanctified is to become clean, pure, and spotless; to be free from the
blood and sins of the world; to become a new creature of the Holy Ghost,
one whose body has been renewed by the rebirth of the Spirit."
(Mormon Doctrine, p675)
We can only achieve this state through
the atonement of Jesus Christ.
every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same
sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God." (Hebrews 10:1-12)
We see in these verses an explanation
of the shadow and the image. The sacrifices of the priests were a
type or shadow of the Lord's sacrifice, but did not have the power to remove
sins, even when done daily.
Christ, the great High Priest (Hebrews
5:5), the image, made the sacrifice of which all earlier sacrifices were
symbolic. One sacrifice paid for all sins.
WHY DOES THE SACRIFICE THAT CHRIST OFFERED
GIVE US GREATER HOPE FOR PERFECTION?
Though we give our lives completely to good
works, our good life does not have the power to remove our blemishes. This
could only be done through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Knowing this, we can hope that at some future
we can achieve the state of sanctification and perfection.
President Joseph Fielding Smith:
can only be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God in righteousness; therefore,
we must repent of our sins and walk in the light as Christ is in the light,
that his blood may cleanse us from all sins and that we may have fellowship
with the Lord and receive of his glory and exaltation." (CR,
Hebrews 11 is one of our most important
discourses on faith.
WHAT IS FAITH?
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Alma, defined faith in these words,
is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith
ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma
And Moroni said, "Faith is things which
are hoped for and not seen." (Ether 12:6)
"Through faith we
understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God" (Hebrews 11:3).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
creation was planned, organized, and controlled. It came by God's
power -- by faith! It came by a power that does not appear and is not seen
and understood by the carnal mind or the scientific intellect. The creation
is God's doing. Things came into being by forces which do not appear to
man and can in fact be known only by revelation. And as God created all
things by faith, even so his created handiwork can be known and understood
only by that same power, the power which is faith." (DNTC,
Joseph Smith: "Faith,
then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion,
authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by
it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God.
Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation
or existence." (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 1, p10)
WHY IS FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST VITAL TO
He is our only hope. Without him
we are forever damned. Our faith drives us to do the works necessary
that enables us to qualify for the grace of Christ.
Paul provided examples of faith:
Faith caused Abel to offer up an
acceptable sacrifice to God. Cain had little or no faith as demonstrated
by his sacrifice (v4).
By faith Enoch was translated. We know
from modern revelation that the whole city founded by him was also translated.
I think we can infer that all the inhabitants of that city also had faith or
they would not have been translated with Enoch and the city (v5).
By faith Noah prepared an ark (v7).
Noah had no physical evidence that there
would be a flood, and yet he preceded to prepare.
By faith Abraham went out to find the place
of his inheritance (v8).
By faith Sara was delivered a child when past
Abraham offered up Isaac believing that the
Lord would deliver on his promises (v17).
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau (v20).
By faith Isaac blessed the sons of Joseph
By faith was Moses' life preserved (v23).
By faith, Moses forsook Egypt (v27).
By faith, Moses and Israel kept the Passover
By faith they passed through the Red Sea
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down
By faith, the life of Rehab, the harlot, was
HOW DO THESE SCRIPTURE EXAMPLES STRENGTHEN
The incidents recorded in these verses
provide evidence that the Lord is true to his promises and will support
us as we are faithful in obeying his commandments.
Paul tells us that when we face opposition,
faith can help us either overcome it or endure it patiently (see
HOW HAS, OR HOW CAN, FAITH HELP US EITHER
OVERCOME OR ENDURE OPPOSITION PATIENTLY?
A good example: Joseph Smith
in Liberty Jail.
HOW HAS FAITH HELPED YOU TRIUMPH OVER
The Lord chastens those whom he loves.
- "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth"
HOW DOES THE LORD CHASTEN US?
President Spencer W. Kimball:
cases where the rebellious exercise repentance, that repentance may be
sparked in various ways. Some men come to recognize their sins from introspection
while others must be brought to their knees by outside forces. Many, having
realized their transgressions, begin their repentance in secrecy. Others
must be apprehended and chastised and punished before they begin their
transformation. Some even need to be disciplined by forced inactivity,
dis-fellowshipping, or even excommunication before they realize their plight
and the need to transform their lives. None of us should resent being reminded
of our responsibilities and being called to repent of our sins. The Lord
may choose to chasten us in this way or some other, but it is all for our
own good." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p44)
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED WHEN GOD HAS CHASTENED
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Paul to the Hebrews. What
principles can you apply to your own life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News by Stephen E.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith.
Key to the Science of Theology by Parley P. Pratt.
Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith.
Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS).
The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
14 October 2015