Come Follow Me Old Testament 2022: Pearl of Great Price: Moses 1; Abraham 3: “This is my work and my glory”
Known as “the Blue Marble,” this is the first image taken from space of the fully illuminated sphere of the Earth. It was photographed by the crew of Apollo 17 space shuttle on December 7, 1972.
- How does it change your perspective to see the Earth like this, instead of how you see it from close up every day?
This image had a profound impact when it was released.
The early 1970s marked the beginning of an era of environmental activism in the US, and the blue marble Earth photo, being the first ever taken of an illuminated face of the entire planet, rapidly became a symbol of the movement. It’s easy to see why. Our whole planet suddenly, in this image, seemed tiny, vulnerable, and incredibly lonely against the vast blackness of the cosmos. It also seemed whole in a way that no map could illustrate. Regional conflict and petty differences could be dismissed as trivial compared with environmental dangers that threatened all of humanity, traveling together through the void on this fragile-looking marble.
On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Earth carrying the Hubble Space Telescope. Through this telescope, we have seen galaxies that were previously invisible to us.
- How does it change your perspective to see other parts of our universe?
God’s Work and Glory
We begin our study of the Old Testament in the Pearl of Great Price, where we read accounts of two Old Testament prophets, Moses and Abraham, seeing visions of the Earth and the cosmos long before humans could see these sites with technology.
Moses called upon God, and as God spoke, Moses saw the entire Earth.
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.
And 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.
Abraham used the Urim and Thummim to see the heavens.
And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest…
Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made;
And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof.
And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven…
I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
—Abraham 3:2-3, 11-13, 21
- How does seeing God’s creations help us understand God better?
- What do you do to appreciate the creations of God?
After God showed Moses the earth and the heavens, Moses asked a question.
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.
- Why is it important to know that humankind are God’s work and glory?
After showing Abraham the universe, God showed Abraham another vision.
And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.
- What does this vision teach us about God’s work and glory?
Children of God
In Moses 1, we read that Moses had a visitation from God after his vision of the burning bush and before he led his people out of Egypt.
Read Moses chapter 1 verses 4 and 6 and look for what God taught Moses about himself during this visitation:
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…
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.
- What did God teach Moses about himself (and all people) in these verses?
- Why us it important to know these things about ourselves?
And then Heavenly Father reveals, “I have a work for thee, Moses, my son” (Moses 1:6; emphasis added). Wow! He who can do all things had a mission—a purpose—for Moses. Moses was being entrusted to assist God. Do you think at that moment Moses might have felt a little inadequate? (See Exodus 4:10–16.) I certainly would have.
When President Hinckley extended my current calling as Relief Society general president, I was more than overwhelmed—I was flusterpated! But remembering my divine heritage gave me confidence to accept this assignment. I imagine it was similar for Moses.
…What might your work be? You have unique talents and abilities to develop. You need to marry and have a family, you have callings to fulfill, you have brothers and sisters to love and serve. You see, those gifts that make you most unique are those that require your energy. Some assignments can be accomplished by anyone, but others require someone special. Think of Jesus or Joseph Smith or Moses. Think of yourself, for “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Who knoweth? Well, your Father in Heaven knows—that’s who.
…Look what Heavenly Father tells Moses about himself: “Moses, my son, . . . thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior” (Moses 1:6; emphasis added). Moses’ mission was not to unlock the gate to eternal life, but, in similitude of the Savior, he saved the children of Israel from bondage and led them to the promised land.
Moses is not alone at being in the similitude of Jesus with a unique work to do. You are right there with him with your unique mission, which includes being a savior on Mount Zion (see Obadiah 1:21).
The Lord then showed Moses an incredible vision and departed.
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.
- How did Moses react to this vision?
At times, after a spiritual experience we may feel intimidated, overwhelmed or unworthy instead of uplifted. As this verse demonstrates, even great prophets like Moses have these normal feelings.
The chapter goes on to describe a second visitation, this time from Satan.
And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
- How did what Satan told Moses about himself differ from what God had told him?
- Why is it important to recognize that this message about ourselves is not of God?
Did you notice the very first thing Satan says to Moses? It is the direct opposite of what God had said! Listen to Lucifer again: “Moses, son of man, worship me.” Do you see it? Satan goes for the jugular by calling into question Moses’ divine birthright and, thus, his very identity. “You’re no son of God,” Satan says, “you’re a mere son of man.” For Satan understands that the slide into captivity begins with doubts about who we really are.
- What is “the slide into captivity”?
- Why does it begin with “doubts about who we really are”?
The following verses describe how Moses responded to Satan and made him go away. As you read these verses, think of this story as an allegory for how you might overcome temptation in your own life. How could you apply the strategies Moses used to overcome Satan in these verses to overcome your own temptations?
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?
For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?
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.
Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.
And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.
And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.
And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.
And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.
And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.
And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.
- How did Moses discern between Satan and God? How can we discern between good and evil?
- How did Moses find strength to overcome Satan? How can we find strength to overcome our temptations?
After overcoming Satan, Moses called upon God and had another visitation, in which God taught him about his personal mission as a prophet.
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 dIsrael my chosen.
Notice the order in which these events transpired. Before God taught Moses about his divine calling to lead the people as a prophet, he first taught his his identity as a child of God, and then allowed him the opportunity to overcome wickedness on his own.
- How does understanding our identities as children of God help us to identify and achieve our personal life missions?
- How does encountering and overcoming temptation prepare us to identify and achieve our personal life missions?
Abraham also learned that that he had a divine mission during his vision.
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
Modern church leaders teach that foreordination is not just reserved to prophets.
You know you are a child of God, a son or a daughter of a loving Father who has structured a glorious plan for the salvation and happiness of each of His children. …What a blessing it is to have this solid, revealed-from-on-high doctrine as a foundation upon which to build our lives and as a foundation for our trust and hope in eternal happiness. It is the foundation for our faith and hope that our Father in Heaven has made such happiness available to His sons and daughters. But are these glorious, majestic understandings enough? They are certainly critical underpinnings for our eternal progression, but to reach our divine, eternal potential, I think they are only the beginning. We are each individuals with singular talents, strengths, opportunities, and challenges. We are as individual as are our fingerprints or our DNA. Unfortunately we cannot discover our individuality as easily as we can identify ourselves with our fingerprints or our DNA. We believe we are foreordained to come to earth at a particular time into particular circumstances and that our particular set of gifts, attitudes, and talents—if properly developed and employed—will enable us to fulfill our foreordained purpose. …For us to move in the desired direction for our own life, we must come to know ourselves. We must study, stretch, and test ourselves and ponder the results of our stretching and our testing and other observations. We need to become familiar with our own particular set of gifts and talents. …Why is this getting-to-know-yourself process so important? Because it will enable you to do more with your life. It will permit you to come closer to realizing your full potential. It will let you build on and use your strengths, your gifts, and your talents to carry out your purpose in God’s plan.
- Why do we need the Plan of Salvation as a foundation to achieve our potential?
- How can we “study, stretch, and test ourselves” to discover our unique mission in life?