Monday, 26 January 2015

What are Endowments? And Were They Mentioned in Ancient Scripture?

The time has finally come for me to write about endowments; what they are, where they come from, and why we have them. More appropriate now than before, considering I’ve taken mine out. However, considering the sacred nature of temple ordinances, I will focus solely on ancient and modern scripture as I did in my post on The New and Everlasting Covenant – where I mentioned discussing today’s topic.

First off, let us look at temples. It is clear that temples, including tabernacles, were extremely important to the children of God in The Old Testament. Moses was instructed to build the tabernacle according to God’s pattern in Exodus 25:9, the Lord fills His house in 1 Kings 8, and Jonah sets his sights on the temple in Jonah 2:4. We needn’t look further to find the countless references to the constructs set apart for God where His servants served Him in.

Why then does modern Christianity not have a temple?

There are many that believe 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”, instituted a shift from the temple being a building to it being a body; a place where the Spirit dwelled.

This is an interesting debacle, since Christ, himself, and the apostles worshipped, taught and prayed in the temple. Was this yet another transition after Christ’s resurrection? Why then was Paul in the temple? Because we see that Corinthians is the first so-called mention of this transition. What, then, would’ve caused it? Ascension Day, when Christ left the Holy Ghost to be with us? Paul was still in the temple after that. And the Holy Ghost was manifest even in Genesis 1:1. Joseph, Moses, Saul, Azariah, Zechariah, and others from The Old Testament had the Spirit of God come over them. Even John had the Holy Ghost with him from birth (Luke 1:15).

The question then, is, was 1 Corinthians 3:16 a shift, or a statement of what had always been true? In order for the Spirit to have dwelled in all those ancient prophets, in John, and many other witnesses, they needed to have been temples of God. Paul was telling us that we ARE temples and that it is the Spirit that dwells in us, or within and around us. He never said temples were to stop being built. In fact, we can see throughout history that certain followers of Christ continued to build temples in His name. Mainstream Christianity chose not to.

Some, incorrectly, use Mark13:1-2 to validate their point, but Christ actually speaks of when all things shall crumble in the last days. They are still at the temple when discussing this.

Even Revelation speaks of a temple which is to be built in the last days, in which many shall pour in and out of (from all nations, kindred and tongues).

The temple has always been a sacred place for God’s covenant people and always will be. And in it is where we take out sacred covenants, which we call endowments; a gift from God.
D&C 43:16 teaches “And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.”

I like the cross-reference for ‘taught’; inspired.

Now this is the answer. The endowment is a gift, a gift to tarry and a gift to give. It is no wonder all missionaries are endowed before departing to any mission field.
And in Luke 24:49 we read “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
In verse 53 we read “And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”

Beautiful, isn’t it?
D&C 95:8-9 teaches “Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high; For this is the promise of the Father unto you; therefore I command you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem.”

We, therefore, see that temples go hand-in-hand with endowments. We see that the first recorded endowments were given by Christ Himself in the Gospel according to St. Luke. And the endowments are there to permit us to tarry, a promise given of the Father to those whom He has chosen.

The Old Testament isn’t there for nothing. The commandments were not given for us to ignore. We have them to prove our obedience, to assist us in our mortal journey and to bless us as Heavenly Father so desires.

References are rare and that is because the experience itself is a sacred one. I would encourage anyone to seek out the temple and work towards that goal. The temple is the House of the Lord, and it blesses us in our everyday life.

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