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Let’s begin by taking out a piece of paper or your journal or notebook and write a sentence or two describing who you are. Write your most inner thoughts about you. Now look at the things you have written and think about this question: How might your thoughts help you understand your purpose? How might your thoughts about yourself influence your behavior? To understand our lives on earth we must understand the object or purpose of our lives.
The Old Testament, as we know, is an account of God's dealings with his covenant people from the time of creation to a few hundred years before the Savior's birth. In addition to the Old Testament, as latter-day saints, we also have the books of Moses and Abraham from the Pearl of Great Price. These books fill in gaps and give clarification to missing Scripture from the book of Genesis. Moses 1 from the Pearl of Great Price helps us understand the above questions by answering three other important questions:
The Moses chapters in the Pearl of Great Price are part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The Joseph Smith Translation includes inspired revisions and restored truths. For more information on the Joseph Smith Translation please click here JST info
Moses Chapter 1 is a vision that Moses received from God. In this vision, God explains that Moses is a son of God, that he can overcome the adversary and explains His work and His glory as well as revealing experiences from Moses’s life that are not found in the book of Exodus because of the wickedness of the world.
The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?
And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.
And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.
And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.
And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.
Jehovah, not Heavenly Father, appeared to Moses in this vision. Jehovah was the premortal Jesus Christ and the God of the Old Testament. He is one with his Father in purpose and represents him in power and authority. His words are those of the Father, and sometimes, as in Moses 1:6, he speaks in the first person for the Father. (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. , 470–71.)
“In all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority. … The Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority, and godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father” ( Apr. 2002, 17).
President Joseph Fielding Smith further described the role of Jesus Christ in giving revelation to mankind and in speaking as the Father: “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. … The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son. …“In giving revelations our Savior speaks at times for himself; at other times for the Father, and in the Father’s name, as though he were the Father, and yet it is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer who gives the message” ( comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:27–28).
Note that is an example of the Father appearing so He could “introduce and bear record of the Son.” In addition, when Jesus Christ was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven and bore record of the Son (see ).
1. The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?
4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.
5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.
HE is timeless, and His works are without end. No man can behold all the works of God without beholding the full glory of God. That is not possible to do and remain a mortal here upon the earth.
What difference can it make in our lives to know that we are children of God, created in the similitude of his Son? On a personal level I have had for myself, a divine experience on this subject. During my repentance process, in the very beginning when it was fresh and new and the scariest thing I have ever been through; I feel to my knees one day just to know if it was true, if it was real, if he was there. Suddenly in the middle of my prayer there was the sensation of someone standing behind me and I could feel as if it were a touch on my shoulder, I became very warm, or I had the warmest feeling I have ever known. I can't even describe it, the feeling was full and rich and safe. It was.....Heaven. In that moment, I knew everything. I knew I lived before this life, I knew where I lived, I knew associations, I knew who I was, I knew I was a daughter of God, and the knowledge of this, came to my mind like a great rushing wind. It was not my mind speaking to me but something that was given to me, a huge source of knowledge in an instant and I knew beyond a doubt of where it came from and that it was true. This gift has sustained me from that time fourth, it changed me entirely, my perspective, my goals, my desires, it gave me hope, and the strength to fight the adversary and overcome the brokenness of my life. I was not alone...I had a Father in Heaven, I had been created like him, and just like my children were born to me, I was to him and he loved me just like I loved my children and would take care of me, it was a humbling moment that I will ever be grateful for and I stand as a witness this day to the truthfulness thereof.
What does it mean that Moses was created “in the similitude” of the Savior? He, as we, are created in the image of the God, the image of the Savior being flesh and bone. Through the Book of Mormon we learn that the likeness spoken of, the image of God, applies to both the physical and spiritual bodies For all were created spiritually before temporal. Ether 3:15-16
One of Jesus Christ’s titles is the Only Begotten Son of God. God is the Father of the spirits of all mankind, but Jesus Christ is the only person who was born into the world as the literal Son of God in the flesh. Because Jesus Christ was born of a mortal mother, He was able to experience mortality, including death. Because He was born of an immortal Father, He had power over death (see ). This power allowed Jesus Christ to accomplish His divine mission for all mankind.
What difference can it make in our lives to know that we are children of God, created in the similitude of his Son? By repeatedly calling Moses “my son” and by saying that he was created “in the similitude of mine Only Begotten,” God gave Moses confidence and an understanding of his worth. In a world where criticism and negative, demeaning comments seem to dominate, we should follow the Lord’s example and say things that help others see themselves as children of God who have dignity and worth.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God.’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God, and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life” (Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 31; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25)
15 Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.
. When Satan came, what did he command Moses to do? And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
Why do you think Satan called Moses “son of man”? Satan did not want Moses to think of himself as a son of God and does not want us to believe that we are children of God.
Why does Satan want us to doubt or disregard that we are Children of God? Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth. (Cheryl A. Esplin General Women's Conference 2015)
How did Moses respond when Satan called him “son of man”? And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the importance of defining ourselves as sons and daughters of God: “Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or define yourself by some temporary quality. The only quality that should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation. …“We have our agency, and we can choose any characteristic to define us. But we need to know that when we choose to define ourselves or to present ourselves by some characteristic that is temporary or trivial in eternal terms, we de-emphasize what is most important about us and we overemphasize what is relatively unimportant. This can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our eternal progress” ( New Era, June 2013, 48).
How can a strong testimony that we are sons and daughters of God help us resist temptation? Like Moses, our spirits came from the great Creator. As part of the same mortal family, we are also sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. We are also created in his image. If we, indeed, are literal spirit children of the great Creator, the Eternal Father, we have implanted within us the seeds of great eternal potential, even to become like him. Knowing this great potential should give us cause to have hope and and a powerful desire to live worthy lives.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "One of Satan's greatest aims, as he works his nefarious schemes among men, is to get them 'to worship him.' (Moses 1:12; 6:49.) His success in this venture is phenomenal. As the god of this world, he has the support and, though they may not consciously realize it, the adoration and worship of all those who live after the manner of the world. God our Father is worshipped in and through compliance with his commandments and in no other way. The same is true of Satan." (Mormon Doctrine, p193)
What does this teach us about resisting Satan’s efforts? We find Moses in the presence of God and the bosom of eternity, being apprised of a special calling to which he has been appointed as co-worker with the Savior. (Moses 1:3-9.) A preliminary test is indicated—suddenly the lights go out and Moses is found lying unconscious and helpless upon the earth; as he slowly comes to himself, he recognizes the misery and the glory of fallen man: "Now ... I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." And then, in the same breath: "But now mine own eyes have beheld God ... his glory was upon me ... I was transfigured before him." (Moses 1:10-11.) Weakness is his present condition, glory his everlasting birthright. It is in this moment of man's greatest helplessness and vulnerability that Satan chooses to strike, attempting first by persuasion and then by intimidation to get Moses to worship him as the god of this world. But Moses has not wholly forgotten who he is, "a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten," and denounces Satan as a sham, while professing himself awaiting further light and knowledge: "I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him." ("Moses 1:13, 18.) The humiliating exposure of Satan becomes unendurable when Moses announces that he actually is what his adversary falsely claims to be, "a son of God, in the similitude of his Only begotten; and where is thy glory that I should worship thee?" This is too much for Satan, who casts aside his celebrated but now useless subtlety and launches a frontal attack of satanic fury, a tremendous tantrum, as he "cried with a loud voice, and rent upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me." (Moses 1:19.) The whole scene is presented in dramatic form as a ritual combat, a stychomachia, and true to the ancient pattern, the hero is momentarily bested, overcome by the powers of darkness, as he "began to fear," and "saw the bitterness of hell." But with his last ounce of strength he calls upon God from the depths and is delivered: he has won the fight, he has prevailed against the power of him who "sought to destroy the world, for he knew not the mind of God." (Hugh Nibley, Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978 4-5)
How did Moses receive strength to resist the temptations of Satan? Moses was blessed as he obeyed the commandment to call upon God in the name of the Son. When we are faithful and call upon God, we like Moses will receive strength to overcome Satan’s influence.
“In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. … When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, … The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know” (Jeffery R Holland Ensign May 2013, 93–94)
4. God appears again and teaches of his work and glory
After Satan departed, Moses again beheld the glory of God and was shown another vision of the earth and its inhabitants.
And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son;
And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.
And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.
And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.
And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.
And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.
3And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.
And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
What two questions did Moses ask when he was shown this vision? why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
What answers did God give? For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.....to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Not only was this earth planned as an architect plans his building but its entire destiny and the destiny of its inhabitants was considered and known to the great Architect, before its foundation stones were laid. Our Eternal Father was not experimenting when this world came into existence. It did not come by chance. It is not the first of his creations. Millions upon millions of worlds such as this had rolled into existence before our earth was born. Every step taken was according to the divine plan, and that plan was an eternal one, which had been followed in the construction of other worlds without number unto man. In other worlds the plan of salvation had been given. Here we are enacting familiar scenes; scenes which are new to all mortal men, but which are well known to the Father and also to the Son." (The Way to Perfection, pp35-36)
What is immortality? Who will receive immortality? What is eternal life? Who will receive eternal life? Elder James E. Faust said: “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all … , just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ ()” (Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 14; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 12)
Why is it important for us to know what God’s work and glory is? What are some specific ways we can assist him in this great work? President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory, ‘to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ ().
Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others.
To each of us in our respective responsibilities the Lord has said: … ‘In doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord’ ()” (Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94; or Ensign, May 1995, 71; see also )
teaches the powerful doctrine that we are sons and daughters of God. ponder the significance of this truth, what meaning does it bring to you?
There may be times when we are “left unto ourselves” as Moses was—times when we do not feel the Spirit strongly or have many trials. Moses 1 teaches that such difficulties may not be due to any wrongdoing on our part; God does not leave us entirely, as shown in verse 15; and we often gain great strength by facing our trials, calling on God, and increasing our faith.
Moses received the vision that is recorded in before leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. Surely the knowledge he gained in knowing he was a child of God and would not be left alone, but would have the aid of his Heavenly Father always, especially when he was discouraged by the people’s frequent rebellion and lack of faith, was a comfort and help. The same knowledge given to him is ours, and can also help us in relationships with family members, friends, and others as well as facing adversity, trials and tribulations.