Bound for Glory?

While reading the Book of Revelation I was struck by Jesus’ words regarding the final judgment of those whose names are not written in the Book of Life:

…the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (21:8)

Jesus here draws a distinction between those who belong to Him — those who will “inherit all things,” who will forever enjoy Him as their God, who will be His sons and daughters — contrasted with those who will not receive blessings but will instead “have their part” in the lake of fire. These will not receive eternal life in God’s presence, but will receive the second death: eternal punishment.

The list of sinful behaviors and attitudes Jesus speaks of reminds me of another list, this one found in LDS scripture. Doctrine and Covenants says:

But [these] received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus,… These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. (76:101, 103)

Several items on the biblical list and the D&C list match:

  • unbelieving/received not the gospel
  • sexually immoral/adulterers-whoremongers
  • sorcerers
  • liars

It sounds like both passages are talking about the same group of people. But according to the Bible, Jesus says these people will be finally consigned to the “second death” in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, while Doctrine and Covenants says these people will inherit glory in the Telestial kingdom of God.

Some Mormon leaders, including 10th LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, have suggested that sinners such as those listed above will spend limited time in the lake of fire and brimstone; they will be released as heirs of salvation after they have sufficiently suffered for their sins. However, Mr. Smith wrote:

Spiritual death is defined as a state of spiritual alienation from God — the eternal separation from the Supreme Being; condemnation to everlasting punishment is also called the second death. In other words, the second or spiritual death,…is the final judgment passed upon the wicked… (Doctrines of Salvation 2:217)

In Mormonism there seems to be some variance of opinion on exactly what “second death” is, who is deserving of it, and how long it lasts. But in Christianity — historically — the second death has been understood to be final, permanent, and hopeless. In Revelation Jesus contrasts the second death with eternal life. Those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb receive the gift of eternal life, while those who have died in their sins receive their part — the consequence of being an enemy of God — which is eternal damnation.

But according to Mormonism, after the wicked dead come to their senses and repent, after they suffer for their sins for a sufficient time, they will receive an eternal home in glory. This glory, which they have earned by personally paying for their sins (see Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual Religion 325-325, 204), is described in LDS writings. The inhabitants of the Telestial kingdom will delight in an existence of far greater comfort and enjoyment than anything available on earth; a glory beyond mortal understanding. There will be no death, disease, infirmity, taxes, wars, bills or menial labor. The people will be free to socialize, travel and learn (Victor Ludlow, Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel,240-241). In fact, Joseph Smith reportedly said,

The telestial kingdom is so great, if we knew what it was like we would kill ourselves to get there. (see Richard Neitzel Holzapfel,The Heavens Are Open, The 1992 Sperry Symposium of the Doctrine and Covenant and Church History, 155)

According to Mormonism, those deserving of the Telestial kingdom have lived their lives in open rebellion against God. They have hearts that are hard and cold when it comes to Christ. They are not just misguided people who have given in to the temptations of sin more often than not; they have “refused to worship the true and living God” (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 778).

Even if it were possible for dead people to pay their own sin debt by suffering for a finite period of time (it is not), after their debt is paid they remain what they have always been at their core: enemies of God. This is something Mormonism misses. It’s not just about what we do, but about what we are.

Jesus did not come only to pay the penalty for our sins; He came to make us new creatures. He came to take away our guilt and bestow on us His righteousness. The Apostle Paul wrote,

  • He made Him [Christ Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Because of Christ’s righteousness, the sinner who places faith in Him becomes righteous before God.

Spending time in prison does not change a hardened criminal into a law-abiding citizen. During his prison sentence he works off his debt to society; he may even resolve to “go straight” in order to avoid future punishment. But he isn’t changed from the inside out — not unless God intervenes and makes him a new creature.

And being a new creature is what Jesus talks about in the Book of Revelation. He says,

Behold, I make all things new…It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (21:5-8)

Seeing how Jesus puts it, it doesn’t sound to me like that second set of people are bound for eternal glory. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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3 Responses to Bound for Glory?

  1. rick b says:

    Heres a few verses that talk about no forgivness for the murder and those who deny what the Lord did. I mention theses verses because I know Mr Bills Jane who likes to send me Mormon hatemail tells me God will save every human, and because I believe in hell, my God is a weak loser God. Well these verses show not ALL will be saved.

    D and C 42:18-19
    18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

    19 And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.

    D and C 76:31-37
    31 Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—

    32 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;

    33 For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;

    34 Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—

    35 Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.

    36 These are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devil and his angels—

    37 And the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power.

    The verses I posted in D and C 76 could speak of this list of People,

    But [these] received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus,… These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. (76:101, 103)

    Let me add one more thing, If Mormonism Is a false Gospel, then it appers Mormons both love a lie and make lies by promiting their false religion, I hope you understand your found in the list of those who will spend etirnty in the lake of fire. Rick b

  2. rick b says:

    I would like to add one more thought for the LDS to think about. In the article it talks about how people Go to jail, and simply because they are their for years then released does not make them stop being Thieves or crooks or whatever.

    Read ALL the many accounts in the Bible where Jesus performed miracles, like Raising people from the dead, or healing the Sick, this clearly blew many minds. A guy with a shrivled worthless hand now has a brand new working arm.

    Look at the case of the ten lepers, only ONE returned to give thanks and praise God.

    If the majority of people still hated Jesus to the point where they wanted him dead even after all this, and they also wanted Laraus dead to, then why would they simply change and follow Jesus after they die?

    If all this was not enough to change them, why would they change after they die?

    We were created to be with God, when we choose not be with God we are going to be misrable. People Deny Jesus now, so they feel so depressed and guilty the US ranks high among the countrys passing out pills to fight depression and other so called mental illness. It is not Mental illness, it is sin and people deny God, so they get depressed.

    I would be depressed if I was told I came from nothing, then went to slime, then to a monkey, then to a man, Then told their is no such thing as absolute truth. just a thought. rick b

  3. The telestial kingdom is so great, if we knew what it was like we would kill ourselves to get there. (see Richard Neitzel Holzapfel,The Heavens Are Open, The 1992 Sperry Symposium of the Doctrine and Covenant and Church History, 155)

    —This is a false doctrine, a heresy, and there is absolutely no source saying it was taught or advocated by Joseph Smith or any other LDS prophet.

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