“Unit 16: Day 4, Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–80,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 16: Day 4,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
After seeing in vision the glory of the Son, the fall of Lucifer, and the condition of sons of perdition, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were shown those who will take part in the resurrection of the just: the inhabitants of the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms.
While working on the translation of the Bible on February 16, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith made inspired changes to the wording of John 5:29 pertaining to the resurrections of the just and the unjust (see D&C 76:15–17). He and Sidney Rigdon were pondering John’s description of the resurrection of the just and the resurrection of the unjust when they received the vision included in Doctrine and Covenants 76. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:50, looking for whom Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were shown following the vision of the sons of perdition. (As you read, it may be helpful to know that in this verse the word just means righteous. You may want to write this definition in the margin of your scriptures next to Doctrine and Covenants 76:50.)
Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:70, and mark who were in the first group of people Joseph and Sidney saw who will be resurrected during the resurrection of the just. As a part of this vision, the Lord revealed the qualities of those who will inherit the celestial kingdom.
- Write the heading Becoming a Celestial Person in your scripture study journal. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:51–53, and under the heading in your scripture study journal, list the qualities described in these verses for those who will inherit the celestial kingdom. Try to find at least four qualities.
To help you better understand a few of the phrases you identified, it may be helpful to know that to “[receive] the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:51) is to obtain a testimony by personal revelation that Jesus Christ is the Savior and to act according to that testimony in your life. To “overcome by faith” (D&C 76:53) is to overcome temptations and sins by exercising faith in Jesus Christ. An individual is “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” (D&C 76:53; see also D&C 132:7) when the Holy Ghost confirms that the priesthood ordinances received and the covenants made are acceptable to God. This approval depends on a person’s faithfulness.
- To help you further understand the qualities of a celestial person, answer one or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What have you done to receive the testimony of Jesus Christ and to keep that testimony strong?
What can you do to better receive the testimony of Jesus Christ?
How does receiving the testimony of Jesus Christ and keeping His commandments help someone become more worthy of the celestial kingdom?
In addition to revealing some of the qualities of those who will inherit the celestial kingdom, the Lord went on to describe some of the blessings the inhabitants of the celestial kingdom will receive. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:54–68, and identify these blessings. Consider marking the blessings that are especially meaningful to you.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:69–70, looking for what happens to those who are worthy of the celestial kingdom. As you read, it might be helpful to know that the word perfect in verse 69 does not mean flawless; it means complete. (Matthew 5:48 footnote b explains that alternate translations from the Greek word are “complete, finished, fully developed.”)
While our best efforts to keep all of the commandments do not make us perfect, our efforts do make it possible for us to receive the Savior’s grace and to be cleansed by His “perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood” (D&C 76:69). Each of us can be made perfect through Jesus Christ and be exalted with our families in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom (see Moroni 10:32–33). This truth can encourage us to keep the commandments and receive the ordinances of salvation so we can receive these great blessings. Thus, we can be made perfect through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You may want to write this principle under the “Becoming a Celestial Person” heading in your scripture study journal.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How do the principles taught in Doctrine and Covenants 76:69–70 strengthen your faith and inspire you to seek exaltation in the celestial kingdom?
How might the principles taught in these verses help us overcome discouragement as we strive for celestial glory?
If you were to ask your friends if they believe they can inherit the celestial kingdom—to return to live eternally with Heavenly Father with their families—how many do you think would say they believe they can? Do you believe you can inherit the celestial kingdom?
Bishop Joseph L. Wirthlin of the Presiding Bishopric testified, “We are all candidates for the celestial kingdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1952, 118). You may want to write this statement in your scripture study journal or the margin of your scriptures.
Although all people are candidates for the celestial kingdom, some choose not to live up to their potential. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:71, and mark what the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon next saw in vision.
Notice how the scriptures use the difference between the reflected light from the moon and the light that radiates directly from the sun to symbolize the difference between the glories of the terrestrial and celestial kingdoms. While inhabitants of the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms are both included in the resurrection of the just, those obtaining celestial bodies will be resurrected with greater glory and blessings than those obtaining terrestrial bodies.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:72–80, looking for how the inhabitants of the terrestrial kingdom differ from the inhabitants of the celestial kingdom.
Review Doctrine and Covenants 76:71–79, and mark what you find about who will inherit the terrestrial kingdom. “Remember that only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals (see Revelation 20:12; 3 Nephi 27:14; D&C 137:9)” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 90). Only the Lord can know our heart; we should be cautious not to make judgments of which kingdom we believe others will inherit.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How are some people today being blinded by the craftiness of men?
One significant difference between people who inherit the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms is what they do with their testimonies of Jesus Christ. Those who inherit the terrestrial kingdom “are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:79). Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:
“What does it mean to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus?
“It is to be courageous and bold; to use all our strength, energy, and ability in the warfare with the world; to fight the good fight of faith. … The great cornerstone of valiance in the cause of righteousness is obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel. …
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to believe in Christ and his gospel with unshakable conviction. It is to know of the verity [truthfulness] and divinity of the Lord’s work on earth.
“But this is not all. It is more than believing and knowing. We must be doers of the word and not hearers only. It is more than lip service; it is not simply confessing with the mouth the divine Sonship of the Savior. It is obedience and conformity and personal righteousness. …
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to … ‘endure to the end.’ (2 Ne. 31:20.) It is to live our religion, to practice what we preach, to keep the commandments” (“Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 35).
Each of us has the potential to obtain the celestial kingdom through the choices we make. As taught in the scriptures you have studied in this lesson, if we are valiant in the testimony of Jesus, we can obtain the celestial kingdom of God. Add this principle under the “Becoming a Celestial Person” heading in your scripture study journal.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Think of someone you know whom you would consider to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ. What characteristics and actions demonstrate his or her valiance?
What has helped you be valiant in your testimony of Jesus Christ?
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–80 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: