Stand In Holy Places, That Ye Be Not Moved
(A talk written by James L. Carroll for sacrament meeting, 17 May 1998)
Back to Temples
In the last days we have been told that perilous times shall come. There is great danger in the world today. Sin is everywhere. Satan seems to be making a last stand. How can we find peace? Where can we go to feel safe? I will be quoting extensively from Vaughn J. Featherstone's talk entitled "Holiness to the Lord" which speaks of the dangers that will come in the last days, and of how we can overcome those dangers through the power found in the Temples of our Lord. He has said:
The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan has and will unleash every evil, every scheme, every blatant vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this dispensation is the fullness of times, so it is also the dispensation of the fullness of evil. We and our wives and husbands, our children, and our members must find safety. There is no safety in the world; wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot assure it, membership alone in this Church will not guarantee it.
The only time in the history of the world that can parallel our time, is perhaps the days of Noah. In his days people were ripening in iniquity just as in our days. Then Noah built an ark, entered the ark, and the flood came. The world was destroyed. Noah and his family found safety only in the ark which they were commanded to build. Our days are much the same. People are ripening in iniquity, and safety is hard to find. Where is our ark?
I would like to describe Noah's ark. Perhaps by learning where Noah found safety, we can learn where we can find our safety.
- The ark was built of three levels.
- The ark was sealed within and without with what the Bible calls Pitch. The Hebrew word used simply means a covering. The ark was pitched (sealed) within and without with pitch (a covering). The Hebrew word for atonement is the same, "to cover." The atonement covers our sins.
- It was this pitch that allowed the ark to be watertight, and to be lifted up above the storm.
- Within the ark there was a window. The footnote in the LDS edition of the Bible says that many rabbis believe that this window was actually a stone that glowed and gave light to the ark, much as in the Brother of Jared's barges.
There are many parallels between Noah's ark and the temples of our Lord. I believe that it is safe to assume that the ark is a symbol of our temples, and thus it is in our temples that we find our safety.
- The temple of Solomon consisted of three rooms, representing the three kingdoms.
- It is within the temple that we are sealed to our husband or wife, and it is there that those who are worthy, are tied to the atonement, sealed to God if you will, receiving (through ordinances) the fullness of His priesthood.
- Then, like the ark, we can be "lifted up" to meet God, or "caught up in the air" as the Bible describes it.
- It is in the temples of God that we are given a new name, which will be written upon a white stone that will reveal all things for our glory, past, present, and future, thus giving spiritual light as the stone in the ark gave physical light.
These are interesting parallels, but what does all this have to do with us? The Savior answered that question for us when, just before his crucifixion, he taught his apostles about his second coming:
37 But as it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
38 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days which were before the flood; for until the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
In Noah's day the people were going on about normal business, right up until the day that Noah entered into the ark. Those who entered the ark were saved. It was only in the ark that safety was found. The Savior has told us that in the days of his second coming it will be the same. People will be going on about their normal lives, right up until the time when He shall come.
But who will be spared? Where is our ark that we are to enter? I believe that it is clear that our arks are the Mountains of the Lord, his holy temples. Noah entered the ark, we enter the temples. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord gave us some instruction to protect us in that day:
30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
33 And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
If we stand in Holy places, we shall not be moved. To stand in holy places is to come to the temples. The temples are surely "holy places". They are safe havens, given to us by a loving Father, set aside from the world. Jesus said:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Jesus connects the idea of standing in the holy place, and fleeing into the mountains. The temple has always been called both the Mountain of the Lord, and the Holy place. One of the rooms of the temple of Solomon was actually called "the Holy Place". In the last days, Jesus would have us flee to his temples, the Holy Places, the Mountains of the Lord, for there we will learn of Him, and find rest.
Why and How will the temples protect us? Brother Featherstone has said:
Endowed faithful members of the Church who keep all their covenants including the sacred coverings will be safe as [if they were] protected behind temple walls. The covenants and ordinances are filled with faith as a living fire.
Covenants are a protection. They protect us from sin. They help us to change. They fill us with the Spirit of God. They perfect us, and tie us to the atonement of Jesus Christ. Those who keep their covenants, and wear the covering, will always be protected, just as if they were behind the walls of the temple. The covering is a constant reminder of those covenants. By helping us to remember our covenants, it helps us to keep them, and thus offers an added protection. Hugh W. Nibley has told us that the early Christians often spoke of wearing the veil. They believed that those who wear the veil would be protected just as if they were behind the walls of the temple. "The Temple is ...considered as a person and the veil of the temple as a garment that is worn, as a personification of the sanctuary itself." (Temple and Cosmos pg 81)
We will need all these shields, for as Brother Featherstone has said:
Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a time when even the elect will begin to lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure through their faith in Christ and within the temple walls. I believe the Saints will come to the temples not only to do vicarious work but to find a God-given haven of peace. The true and faithful Latter-day Saints will long to bring their children to our temples for safety's sake.
Within the temple angels guard us, and protect us, and we are promised that when we leave, if we are worthy, they will be round about us to bear us up. Brother Featherstone has said:
There will be greater hosts of unseen beings in the temple. Joseph told the brethren, "And I beheld that the temple was filled with angels." (History of the Church, vol. 2, page 428.) I believe prophets of old as well as those in this dispensation will visit the temples. Those who attend the temples will feel their strength and companionship. We will not be alone in our temples.
Let us strive harder to understand the profound symbols of the temples. Let us keep our covenants that through obedience the mysteries of God can be unfolded to our view. Let us seek the spirit, that it can teach us of these mysteries. Let us go to the temples, that we can be endowed with the power and understanding from God our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. There we will find peace. The peace given to the true followers of Jesus Christ. As we work for the salvation of others, we become more like Him, and find protection for ourselves. Brother Featherstone has said:
Let us prepare this special future generation with faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in our holy sacred temples. Come, come, oh, come up to the temples of the Lord and walk in his "holiness to the Lord" edifices.
Finally let us love the temple. It is perhaps the most glorious part of Christ's restored church to which we belong.
The Savior will come and honor his people. Those who are spared and prepared for that glorious triumphal day will be a temple loving people.
It is my testimony that the Endowment that we receive in the Temples of the Lord is inspired from God. There is actual power in those ordinances. Let us begin to find that power and strength, and be brought home to God our Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.