Chapter 8: The Words of God
Imagine what changes would come if the world accepted the truth that God, in His own voice, has explained His purposes, processes, and results? Such knowledge would end the strife of philosophical wranglings that have pitted religion against religion and would settle once and for all the numerous existential theories about the universe. Man-made philosophies would give way to true knowledge that would revolutionize the world. God did explain to Moses when He said: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
For most of my life, I saw these twenty words as the most succinct statement possible of who God is and what His purpose is. I viewed verse 39 as self-contained, ignoring the “For behold” and the idea that there could be a connection with the previous verses. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the Father of Heaven and Earth was answering a question. I ignored the possibility that the dash between glory and to could be there for a reason. Basically I had always assumed that this refers to what God states at the end of verse 39, which is the result of all of His work, not the process through which He achieves it.
Then one day as I was reading Moses 1, three aspects of this beloved verse bolded themselves in my mind:
a. Why does verse 39 begin with “For behold”?
b. To what does the word this refer?
c. What is to be implied by the dash between “glory” and “to”?
With those questions in mind, my eyes went back eight verses to where Moses asked God: “Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them” (verse 30). As I read, I realized what I was about to read was sacred. In response to Moses’s question, God uttered a gracious invitation: “Here is wisdom” (verse 31). God’s wisdom, knowledge, intelligence, grandeur, and judgment were about to be communicated to Moses on a level he could understand. God was going to reveal what constitutes His work and His glory. Verses 31–38 teach these truths:
1. God creates worlds by the “word,” which is His Only Begotten Son (verse 32).
2. His Only Begotten is “full of grace and truth” (verse 32).
3. They together have created “worlds without number” (verse 33).
4. God named the first man Adam, which means many (verse 34).
5. God’s creations are innumerable to man, but God numbers and knows them all “for they are mine” (verse 35).
6. When one heaven and earth pass away, “so shall another come” (verse 38).
7. There is no end to God’s works (verse 38).
8. There is no end to God’s words (verse 38).
These eight points, stated by God himself, answered Moses’s question.
After reading verses 31–38, I saw that each of those verses began with and or but, like one long sentence. Then, when I came to the first two words of verse 39, “For behold,” I realized the phrase is a flag boldly waving to alert readers that what follows is truly something to behold and understand. The next word, this, seems like an all-inclusive pronoun for the eight verses above. This, as in “this is my work and my glory,” means that He, God, chose to disclose what his work and glory actually encompass. Here He reveals His reason for creating heavens and peopling earths. That is the reason for the dash. Moses 1:39 could read: “For behold” (now, please, pay close attention), this (everything I listed in verses 31 to 38) is my work and my glory (it is what I do to achieve my crowning achievement which is)—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men.
In eighteen of the forty-two verses in Moses 1, as in few other scriptures, we hear the words of God the Eternal Father. His vocabulary and style are direct with a beautiful blend of authority and love. You will note that these words are in two blocks. A significant break comes between verses 12 and 22 in which God does not speak. Those verses are the account of Moses’s encounter with Satan. God observed their interaction. He saw that Moses would not succumb to Satan’s lies and heard Moses command Satan in the name of the Only Begotten to depart. “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” (Moses 1:24–25).
I like to read the words of our Father in Heaven spliced together without interruption:
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? (verse 3)
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. (verse 4)
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. (verse 5)
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. (verse 6)
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. (verse 7)
Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many water; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. (verse 25)
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. (verse 26)
For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. (verse 31)
And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. (verse 32)
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. (verse 33)
And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. (verse 34)
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. (verse 35)
The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. (verse 37)
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. (verse 38)
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (verse 39)
And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. (verse 40)
And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe. (verse 41)
(These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.) (verse 42)
As with the Book of Mormon, it is impossible to know whether words spoken by “God” or “the Lord” are the words of our Father in Heaven or His Beloved Son. This dilemma is somewhat resolved as we understand the term “divine investiture of authority,” wherein the Father’s authority is given to the Son to speak and act in His behalf.
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “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. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses. 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” (Doctrines of Salvation, Bookcraft, 1954, 1:27).
There is a point of demarcation in the Pearl of Great Price where it seems as though the Father turns the earth over to the Son. “And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence” (Moses 5:4). Using that theory, I have the words of the Father that come before Moses 5:4 in one list and the words that come after Moses 5:4—whether attributed to God, Lord, or Father—in a list of words of Jesus. Jesus Christ said: “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:43). “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). “If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me” (John 8:54). “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). “I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one” (3 Nephi 11:27).
Names of God in the Book of Moses
Since the names of God describe Him and His attributes, it is significant to note that four of God’s names found in the book of Moses are not used in any other scripture. The words in all capitals are unique in all scripture. The others are unique in the Pearl of Great Price.
Almighty, Almighty God, BEGINNING AND THE END, Endless, ENDLESS AND ETERNAL, Lord God Almighty, MAN OF COUNSEL, MAN OF HOLINESS.
Unique words God the Eternal Father speaks in the book of Moses:
Bdellium, beguile, belly, bondage, captive, coats of skins, conception, enmity, esteem, finished, flaming sword, for I am God, form and void, I FORBID IT, I GOD SAID, immortality, innumerable, MY SPIRIT MOVED, onyx, partake, sphere, subtle, thistles, thorns, wert, word of my power, worlds.
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017
(c) Marilynne Todd Linford, 2017