“Thou Wast Chosen Before Thou Wast Born”
Lesson 2 - Abraham 3; Moses 4:1-4
This lesson explains the doctrine of foreordination and the responsibility we each have to assist in building up the kingdom of God on the earth and bring our brethren and sisters to Christ and his gospel. Foreordination is defined as our Heavenly Father’s premortal ordination of his spirit children to fulfill certain missions and responsibilities while in mortality. In the premortal existence, many spirit children were foreordained to accomplish important milestones in Heavenly Father’s plan for this earth.
Abraham learned that God had selected and foreordained many spirits to specific missions in mortality. Abraham 3:11-12, 22-23 and D&C 138:53-57.
Abraham 3:22-23. The pre-Creation Council in Heaven was shown to Abraham in vision. Latter-day prophets have indicated that this was actually a series of meetings and not just one session. All of us, as spirit children, or “intelligences”, were in attendance as Heavenly Father presided over the meeting.
Some were designated as being “noble and great ones”. Abraham was among those so designated. In various places at varied times, prophets have explained that the “noble and great ones” included all of the prophets and other Church leaders while some explanations have included all Melchizedek priesthood holders as part of this group. In 1918, President Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the spirit world included a vision of some of these “noble and great ones” including his father, Hyrum Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff.
When Abraham was foreordained before the world was formed, he was “chosen before [he] was born”. (Abraham 3:23). In D&C 138:53-56, we see that Latter-day prophets were foreordained to 1) come forth in the fullness of times (this dispensation), 2) lay the foundations of the great latter-day work, 3) build temples and teach the ordinances that must be performed therein to redeem the dead, 4) rule over the Church, and 5) labor in the vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men. Those who were foreordained were taught much of what they needed to know before they left their pre-mortal home.
While foreordination placed great responsibility on that individual and blessed that person with choice opportunities, it did not guarantee that each individual so ordained would actually complete his mission. Indeed, agency was and is available to each foreordained spirit child. Choices in this life may affect the worthiness and willingness of a person to accept the foreordination and its requirements.
D&C 138:56. What might you have been foreordained to do? President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head—even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly… Make no mistake about it—you are a marked generation. There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 104-5).
We can gain insight into our foreordained calling by 1) living the gospel, 2) studying our patriarchal blessings, and 3) seeking personal revelation. We can assure that we fulfill our foreordained responsibilities by 1) becoming worthy and maintaining that worthiness and 2) being willing to do whatever the Lord requires of us in this life, no matter what sacrifices that may entail. Remembering the promise in D&C 58:27-28 will also help us fulfill our mission here.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “While here, we have learning to gain, work to do, service to give. We are here with a marvelous inheritance, a divine endowment. How different this world would be if every person realized that all of his actions have eternal consequences. How much more satisfying our years may be if in our accumulation of knowledge, in our relationships with others, in our business affairs, in our courtship and marriage, and in our family rearing, we recognize that we form each day the stuff of which eternity is made…Life is forever. Live each day as if you were going to live eternally, for you surely shall.” (Pillars of Truth,” Ensign, January 1994, pp.2, 4)
Jesus Christ was chosen in the Council in Heaven to be our Savior and we willingly chose to be his disciples. Those who chose not to follow the Savior were cast out with Satan. Abraham 3:24-28 and Moses 4:1-4.
Abraham 3:27, Moses 4:1-2. These verses indicate that during the Council in Heaven, two spirits offered to assume the responsibilities of being the Savior for the Father’s spirit children. Their offers differed significantly. Jesus desired to follow the Father’s plan and give all the glory to the Father. Seeking to satisfy his own ambitions, Lucifer offered his own plan, which included compulsion as a substitute for free agency, and keeping all the glory for himself rather than honoring the Father.
The choice of the Father is recorded in Moses 4:2-3. Father chose Jesus 1) because of his obedience, devotion, and the selflessness of his motives, and 2) because Satan rebelled, disobeyed, sought to destroy the principle of free agency, and selfishly desired power.
Because we are now in mortality and possess bodies, it is obvious that we chose to follow Christ and the Father’s plan that he presented in the Council in Heaven.
Abraham 3:26. In this scripture, first estate refers to our premortal life, while second estate has reference to this mortal existence. We kept our first estate by choosing to follow Christ rather than Satan. Because we were faithful in that choice, we received the opportunity to be born into mortality. Then, if we are faithful and obedient in this second estate, we “shall have glory added upon [our] heads for ever and ever.” The question then becomes, how do we keep this second estate? – by following the commandments, developing a Christlike personality, and enduring to the end.
Moses 4:3, Abraham 3:28, Revelation 12:7-9, D&C 29:36-37. Each of these verses reveals the fate of Satan and his willing followers. As a result of their choices, they were cast out of heaven and were prevented from possessing mortal bodies of their own. Their eternal progression was stopped.
Moses 4:4 tells us what the spirits who followed Satan are doing today. They try to deceive and tempt men and make them captive to evil. Some of us in this estate accept their temptations and give up our freedom.
Abraham 3:24-25 promises that we will be tested in our willingness to follow the commandments. We must prove our faithfulness through our attitudes and actions. Notice that the scripture indicates that it will be seen “if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” If you have a weakness or vulnerability, you can be sure it will be tested to a sufficient degree to prove your worthiness beyond doubt.
Jesus Christ is fulfilling his role as our foreordained Savior. We must decide to follow him if we are to fulfill our foreordained missions on this earth at this crucial time preceding His Second Coming.