“The Seven Christs,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 32
May I speak of the seven Christs, or, rather, of the one Christ whose works and words are shown forth in seven ways?
We live in a day of contention and confusion, in which Christian people cry, “Lo, here is Christ; or lo, there” (see Matt. 24:23), meaning, “Lo, here is the way of salvation; or lo, there.”
We hear voices of doom and voices of glory. The doctrines and dogmas of the contending sects are at war one with another. We are exhorted to believe in tenets of disagreement and to walk in crooked paths.
The sounds are discordant; the babble is incessant; and the messages are at variance. Surely it is clear to even the most blinded fanatic that opposing religious views cannot all be true.
In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions we raise a calm and reasoned voice, a voice that goes forth with the sound of a trumpet, a voice that is carried by the power of the Spirit into the hearts of contrite souls.
It is a voice which speaks the words of eternal life here and now and prepares men to gain immortal glory in the everlasting realms that are to be.
We are the servants of the Lord, and he has sent us to invite all men to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. We are sent to testify of the true and only Christ, of the true and only gospel, of the true and only salvation.
We invite all men to hear and heed our witness. The Christ of whom we preach, and whose witnesses we are, is known in these seven ways:
There is a God in heaven—a holy, exalted, perfected, and pure being who is the Father of us all. He is a Holy Man; he has a body of flesh and bones; and he is the Father of spirits.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Firstborn. He came forth as the heir and offspring of the Father. Along with all his spirit brethren he was endowed with agency and subject to law.
By obedience, by righteousness, through faith, over long ages and eons, this Firstborn of the Father, our Elder Brother, advanced and progressed until he became like unto God in power, in might, in dominion, and in intelligence. He became and was “the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity.” (Mosiah 3:5.)
Then it was that he, under the Father, became the Creator of worlds without number.
Then it was that the Father ordained and established the plan of salvation—called the gospel of God—whereby all his spirit children, Christ included, would be able to gain mortal bodies, to live in a probationary estate, to die, to be raised in immortal glory, and, if true and faithful in all things, to gain the same glorious exaltation enjoyed by the Father himself.
And then it was that the one who was beloved and chosen of the Father was foreordained to be the Savior and Redeemer, to be the one whose atoning sacrifice would put into full operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s great and eternal plan.
There is one God and Father of us all, one eternal plan of salvation, one way back to heaven. And Jesus Christ is the name given by the Father whereby men may be saved. His is the only name given under heaven—either now, or in ages past, or in eternities yet unborn—whereby salvation comes. (See D&C 18:23; Moses 6:52.)
There is one everlasting gospel, one Mediator between God and men, one alone who came to reconcile fallen men to their Maker. All men in all ages are saved by the same power, the same laws, the same Savior. And that Savior is Christ.
It is written: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8.) He is the Lord Jehovah; he is the Great I AM; and beside him there is no Savior.
He is the God of Adam and of Enoch and of Noah and of all the Saints who were before the flood.
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and of all Israel. He is the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the prophets of all the ages. It was by faith in his name that they performed all their mighty works.
He was the God of the Jaredites and the Israelites and the Nephites. Moses, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:26), chose to follow him.
He is the one who parted the Red Sea at Moses’ word, who stopped the sun and the moon when Joshua spoke, who raised from death the widow’s son because Elijah desired it.
All of the prophets, all of the patriarchs, all of the ancient Saints worshipped the Father in his holy name and in no other way.
All true believers, all of the faithful from Adam to this hour, all those who through faith have wrought righteousness and gained salvation—all, without exception, have taken upon themselves his name and have followed him with full purpose of heart.
He is our God and he is the God of our fathers!
For four thousand long years—from the day Adam was cast out of Eden to the day John baptized at Bethabara—all of the prophets and all of the Saints looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.
They talked and taught of Christ; they preached and prophesied of Christ; they centered their lives and all of their hopes in the promise of his coming.
They knew that as God’s Son he would be born of a virgin, that he would work out the infinite and eternal atonement, that immortality and eternal life would come by him.
All of their doctrine, all of their ordinances, all of their worship linked his name with that of the Father himself.
The whole law of Moses, with all its types and shadows, testified of the one who would come to save his people. For instance, on the Day of Atonement the high priest placed the name of Jehovah upon a goat and sacrificed it for the sins of the people in similitude of the sacrifice Jehovah himself would make when he was lifted upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.
Our Blessed Lord was born of Mary in Bethlehem of Judea. In so doing, he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philip. 2:7.)
As a man he lived a perfect life, conforming to the will of the Father in all things.
He taught the gospel, organized the Church, and called others to the ministry.
He healed the sick and raised the dead and performed many mighty miracles.
He was rejected of men, condemned by the evil powers that then were, and crucified upon a cruel cross.
We speak now of the Christ who came into the world to die, to die upon the cross for the sins of men. And we speak also of the Christ who came to rise again from the dead, of the Christ who, in glorious immortality, invites us to follow him in life and in death and in life again.
In Gethsemane he bowed beneath a load none other could bear. There he sweat great gouts of blood from every pore as he bore the sins of us all on conditions of repentance. (See Luke 22:44.)
Again, on Calvary, during the last three hours of his mortal passion, the sufferings of Gethsemane returned, and he drank to the full the cup which his Heavenly Father had given him.
In the garden and on the cross he paid the ransom and finished his atoning work. Early on the morning of the third day he burst the bands of death and came forth from the tomb to inherit all power on earth and in heaven.
There is no language to extol the wonders of his works and all that he has done for us. As our Advocate and Intercessor he now dwells eternally in the heavens.
Can we not hear his voice say to us:
“Reverently and meekly now
Let thy head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done
With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain. With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.”
(Hymns, no. 280.)
We bear witness not alone of the Christ who once was, but of the Messiah who now is and who yet shall be.
We speak not alone of a dead Christ who was known to them of old, but of a living Savior who leads his people today as he did anciently.
We rejoice not alone in a people who had the gospel in ancient days and who worked miracles and gained salvation, but in a gospel that now is and in a people who glory in the same gifts of the Spirit that were poured out upon their fathers.
Thanks be to God, the day of restoration has commenced. These are the times of restitution of which all the ancient prophets spoke. (See Acts 3:21.)
Thanks be to God that the heavens have been rent, that the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith, that revelation and visions and gifts and miracles abound among the true Saints.
Thanks be to God that in our day many have seen the face of his Son and that he has poured out the gift of his Spirit upon an even greater number.
This is the day when the knowledge of the true Christ and of his everlasting gospel is being preached among men for the last time.
This is the day in which the Great God is sending forth his word to prepare a people for the second coming of the Son of Man.
This is the day in which the Church of Jesus Christ has been organized anew and given the commission to administer that holy gospel by which salvation comes.
And now in words of soberness we announce that the Lord Jesus, the Everlasting Christ, the Savior who was and is and is to be, shall soon come again.
Just as surely as the son of Mary came to dwell among his fellowmen, so shall the Son of God come, in all the glory of his Father’s kingdom, to rule among the sons of men.
In that dread day the world that now is shall end; wickedness will cease; every corruptible thing will be consumed. And the glory of the Lord will shine daily upon all men from the rising of the sun until it sinks in the western sky.
Those among us who abide the day of his coming shall find joy and peace everlasting. The faithful Saints shall live and reign with him on earth for a thousand years and shall then go on to their celestial rest.
The second coming of the Son of Man will be a day of vengeance and burning and sorrow for the wicked and ungodly.
For those who love the Lord and live his law it will be a day of peace and triumph and glory and honor—the day when the Lord comes to make up his jewels. (See Mal. 3:17.)
And so now, knowing whereof we speak, having a sure knowledge born of the Spirit, we raise our voices in praise and testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose witnesses we are.
Our faith is centered in the true and living Christ, who is our Friend, our Lord, our God, and our King and whom we serve in worshipful adoration.
We know he is God’s almighty Son, that he has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, and that all who believe in him, as he is now revealed by living prophets, shall be saved with him in the kingdom of his Father.
We invite all men everywhere, all men of every nation and kindred and tongue and people, to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.
We invite all men to come and worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And as the Lord’s agents, acting for and on his behalf, we promise all who pursue this course—working the works of righteousness—that they shall have peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.