Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ODES OF SOLOMON, Part 3


The 42nd Ode, which we quoted in a previous post, belongs in substance to a large and greatly neglected body of ancient literature dealing with Christ's descent into Sheol, or the world of the dead, after His crucifixion. The early Christians had an answer to the question of whether the blessings of salvation in Christ are available to the billions of Father's children, who have died not having heard or known of the Gospel plan, its principles and ordinances. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the answer is affirmative.

The fundamental principles of the Gospel are faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins and confirmation for the reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. Jesus taught Nicodemus that "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5). That teaching raises the question, what of that super-majority of the descendants of Adam and Eve who have passed through mortality without an opportunity to receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, which Christ taught are a necessary precondition to one being able to enter the kingdom of God? Most who have lived upon the earth have never been acquainted with the doctrines of Christ. How does that square with our notions of the justice of God?

The early Christians believed and taught that Jesus, between the time of His death and resurrection, entered the vast world of spirits and inaugurated a great work of redemption there, preaching the good news to our ancestors and opening the way for their salvation.

The Chief Apostle Peter referred to Christ's work among the dead:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:6)

To quote from the 42nd Ode, "And I made a congregation of living men amongst his dead men, and I spake with them by living lips, because my word shall not be void." What word of Christ would not be void? The promise contained in John 5:25 and elsewhere, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." This is such an essential and hopeful teaching! Sadly, it has been forgotten or ignored through the ages, leading to many errors in doctrine. The Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches every generation and every nation, if not in mortality then in the realm of spirits. No one of Father's children is denied the blessings of Christ's redemption because of the time and place of their mortal lives. The Lord has and will save all who will adhere to His word, whether in this life or the next.

In a post to come, I will quote from other ancient writers on this important subject.

2 comments:

Ethan VS said...

Dad, I just read through all 100 of your gopher cartoons, and now I demand 100 pieces of bubble gum!

"Rare footage" is genius, and applies to this artist I know who always hides the feet of his characters behind smoke, not being very confident in his foot-drawing abilities! I love that pun.

I laughed or chuckled at 40% of them, which is a darned good average for three panel gag strips. Really impressive. If you had a good cartoonist like Noah redraw them, they'd be publishable.

BTW, I know this doesn't have much to do with Odes of Solomon, but you don't have a comment section for your cartoons.

Your son wishes you well,
EVS

Jenna Consolo said...

Great post, Dad! Nice to have you back.