Since Easter is next week I thought I would write about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in order to start us thinking about the central point of the entire Plan of Salvation. Heavenly Father planned for the eternal happiness of His children. In his planned, He arranged for this earth to be created and for our first parents (Adam and Eve) to live in the Garden of Eden.
After Heavenly Father performed the eternal marriage of Adam and Eve, He gave them two commandments. The first commandment was for them to have children and fill the earth; the second commandment was to not partake of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could not obey both commandments. They had to break the second commandment in order to obey the first commandments. It was all part of the plan. By partaking of the fruit, Adam and Eve became mortal; they also were cast out of the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Another part of the plan was to arrange a way that Adam and Eve and all their posterity – us – could return to the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In the pre-mortal world, Jesus Christ volunteered to be the Savior of all mankind. His atoning sacrifice includes His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, His death on the cross, and His coming forth from the tomb. The Atonement is the central part of Heavenly Father’s plan.
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 49).
In a talk originally presented in April 2000, Elder Dallin H. Oaks quoted the above statement and then said, “In our eternal journey, the resurrection is the mighty milepost that signifies the end of mortality and the beginning of immortality…. We also know, from modern revelation, that without the reunited of our spirits and our bodies in the resurrection we could not receive a `fulness of joy’ (Doctrine and Covenants 93:33-34)….
“The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!
“The assurance of resurrection also gives us a powerful incentive to keep the commandments of God during our mortal lives. Resurrection is much more than merely reuniting a spirit to a body held captive by the grave…. The prophet Amulek taught, `That same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world’ (Alma 34:34)….” (See “Resurrection – The Beginning of Immortality,” Ensign, March 2016, 80.)
I know that Jesus Christ came to earth and lived as we do. I also know that He died on the cross to atone for my sins and for the sins of all who will repent and come unto Him. I know that He was resurrected and lives today. I also know that He will return to gather all His faithful followers and live with them for 1000 years during the Millennium. I hope to be among those gathered and then return to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for all eternity. I am grateful for the Savior and all He did for me!