It is our final installment of the Plan of Salvation scripture study series. I realize I was supposed to post this yesterday, but things got crazy. However, I didn’t to forget about it all together, so here goes!
The last part of the Plan of Salvation – after everything is said and done – is our final, eternal destination. It is what we’re working toward. Some people call it Heaven or Hell. In the Mormon faith, we are a little bit more specific than that. In Doctrine and Covenants 76, you can read about the striations of both heaven and hell. There truly are many mansions. I will go over each grouping and point out a few attributes of each.
- These souls were overcome by Satan.
- They knew God – knew His power and partook of it, yet chose to follow the devil – openly rebelling.
- Hand themselves over to Satan. – This is interesting to me. It suggests a very willing choice. I can only think of what we know about the Pre-mortal realm and the war against heaven…those souls knew and understood God and His plan, yet openly rebelled – hoping to destroy our agency and usurp His power. They were thrust out. When I think of perdition, I wonder if a similar pattern would follow. Instead of being tricked, addicted, or unbelieving, the souls who become sons of perdition seem to choose it.
- These souls will receive no forgiveness – sounds harsh? This was their choice…wow!
- They deny the Holy Ghost after having received it.
- Deny Christ – and put Him to an open shame.
- These souls will live eternally with the Devil and his angels
- These are the ONLY ONES who will experience the second death – forever cut off from God – this is the only hell (in the traditional sense of hell). It doesn’t sound fun in outer darkness.
The Celestial Glory
- Come forth in the first resurrection – the resurrection of the just.
- Received a testimony of Christ, and followed the doctrine of Christ.
- Overcome the world by faith in Christ.
- Sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise – this is a conditional blessing that God gives to those who are just, true, and have faith in Christ.
- Members of Christ’s church
- Have become heirs through Christ
- These are just men (and women) made perfect through Jesus Christ – the mediator. – this was the entire purpose of the atonement!
- Receive a celestial glory, or the fullness of glory, that can be compared to the glory of the sun.
The Terrestrial Glory
- Died without the law.
- Didn’t receive a testimony of Christ while in the flesh, but did receive it in the Spirit World
- They are the honorable people of the earth who were maybe a little blinded by the craftiness of the world.
- They receive glory – but not the fullness of Glory – that can be compared to the brightness of the moon.
- Heaven! – This destination is still glorious. It is better than what our lives are like on earth. Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, has still extended mercy to so many people. And they will be happy.
The Telestial Glory
- These souls did not receive a testimony of Christ.
- They DO NOT deny the Holy Ghost.
- These souls were not righteous, nor just. – They were liars, sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers, etc.
- They experience Hell – but not in the same sense as “outer darkness”. Instead, they suffer for their sins while the other souls (who inherit the celestial and terrestrial kingdom) come forth in their resurrections. From what I understand, these souls do not accept the testimony of Christ, so they must suffer for their own sins. In this way they experience hell. Yet, they don’t deny the Holy Ghost, and at some point, they will be blessed with a degree of glory – a small piece of Heaven. They will eventually be redeemed, but not until Christ has finished all of His other work.
- They will be heirs of salvation, receiving glory that is comparable to the brightness of a star in the sky.
- Heaven! – This is a tough road, but in the end, they still work through their sins and are redeemed.
I find the Three Degrees of Heaven one of the biggest proofs that God is just and He loves us. He offers so many different types of Heaven. And each destination will be tailored to us, personally. The glory we inherit will be both comfortable and make us happy.
When I think about the three degrees of glory, I’m curious to know what they could possibly be like. We have been taught that the world we currently live in is like the Telestial world. And you know what, I love the earth that we inhabit. It is beautiful and interesting. I can’t imagine what could be better, yet I know I want it.
I feel comforted to know that there are places designated for us, and really, there is a lot more Heaven than Hell. Of course, I want to do everything I can to receive a fullness of God’s glory. I want to dwell with Him. I want to be happy. I want to receive all that He is willing to give me.
I know that I can’t do it on my own. I can work hard, but nothing I do will ever qualify me to overcome the weakness of the flesh. I know that it is through Christ I will receive the grace I need to be saved. I’m grateful for Jesus and His role in my salvation.
What have you learned about the Three Degrees of Glory? What does it teach you about God and His Plan of Salvation? What does it mean to you, personally?