The Restoration of All Things: The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times   Leave a comment

“Chapter 44: The Restoration of All Things: The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007),507–16
“[This] is truly the dispensation of the fullness of times, whenall things which are in Christ Jesus, whether in heaven or on theearth, shall be gathered together in Him, and when all things shall berestored.”

From the Life of Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith loved the Nauvoo Temple and yearned to seeit completed. Nauvoo resident Martha Coray was present at an addresswhere she saw the Prophet stretch his hand toward the temple and say ina melancholy tone, “If it should be … the will of God that I might liveto behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to thetop stone, I will say, ‘O Lord, it is enough. Lord, let thy servantdepart in peace.’ ”1
 
George Q. Cannon, who later became a counselor in the FirstPresidency, recalled: “Previous to his death, the Prophet Josephmanifested great anxiety to see the [Nauvoo] temple completed, as mostof you who were with the Church during his day, well know. ‘Hurry upthe work, brethren,’ he used to say,—‘let us finish the temple; theLord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that thebrethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of thepriesthood.’ He urged the Saints forward continually, preaching untothem the importance of completing that building, so that therein theordinances of life and salvation might be administered to the wholepeople, but especially to the quorums of the holy priesthood; ‘then,’said he, ‘the Kingdom will be established, and I do not care what shallbecome of me.’ ”2
 
The plans for the Nauvoo Temple called for an edifice that would belarger and even more beautiful than the Kirtland Temple. Situated onthe summit of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the completedNauvoo Temple would be one of the most magnificent buildings inIllinois. It was made of limestone obtained from quarries near Nauvooand lumber floated down the river from pineries in Wisconsin. Whenfinished, it would be 128 feet long, 88 feet wide, and 165 feet high atthe top of the spire. The exterior was ornamented with intricatelycarved moonstones, sunstones, and starstones, while sunlight streamingthrough the many windows illuminated the interior.

Joseph Smith did not live to see the Nauvoo Temple completed, butafter his death, thousands of Saints received sacred ordinances in thetemple under the direction of Brigham Young. After the Saints wereforced to leave Nauvoo, their beautiful temple was destroyed. It wasgutted by fire in 1848, and in 1850 a tornado leveled some of thewalls, leaving the remaining walls so weakened that they had to berazed. Some 150 years later, construction began on a new Nauvoo Temple,built on the original site. The reconstructed temple was dedicated onJune 27, 2002, becoming one of more than a hundred temples throughoutthe world. Each of these temples is a symbol that the fulness of God’sblessings to His children, living and dead, has been restored in thislast dispensation.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was called of God to restore these greatblessings to earth and to stand at the head of the dispensation of thefulness of times. During the Prophet’s ministry, all things wererestored that were necessary to lay the foundation of the greatestdispensation of all time. The priesthood, with its essential keys, wasrestored; the Book of Mormon was translated; the Church was organized;and doctrines, ordinances, and covenants were revealed, including theordinances and covenants of the endowment and the marriage sealing. TheLord declared that He had committed unto Joseph Smith “the keys of mykingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and forthe fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one allthings, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (D&C 27:13).

Teachings of Joseph Smith

In this last dispensation, all the authority, ordinances, and knowledge of earlier dispensations have been restored.

“It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send anew dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from thetruth and lost the priesthood.”3
 
On September 6, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote the following to the Saints, later recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 128:18:“It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulnessof times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a wholeand complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations,and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealedfrom the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, butthose things which never have been revealed from the foundation of theworld, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall berevealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of thefulness of times.”4
 
“Truly this is a day long to be remembered by the Saints of the lastdays,—a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancientorder of His kingdom unto His servants and His people,—a day in whichall things are concurring to bring about the completion of the fullnessof the Gospel, a fullness of the dispensation of dispensations, eventhe fullness of times; a day in which God has begun to make manifestand set in order in His Church those things which have been, and thosethings which the ancient prophets and wise men desired to see but diedwithout beholding them; a day in which those things begin to be mademanifest, which have been hid from before the foundation of the world,and which Jehovah has promised should be made known in His own due timeunto His servants, to prepare the earth for the return of His glory,even a celestial glory, and a kingdom of Priests and kings to God andthe Lamb, forever, on Mount Zion.”5
 
“The dispensation of the fullness of times will bring to light thethings that have been revealed in all former dispensations; also otherthings that have not been before revealed. He shall send Elijah, theProphet, etc., and restore all things in Christ.”6
 
“ ‘Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according toHis good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in thedispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in oneall things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;even in him.’ [Ephesians 1:9–10.]
“Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the lastdispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation shouldbe conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.
“And again. God purposed in Himself that there should not be aneternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled andgathered together in one, and that all things whatsoever, that shouldbe gathered together in one in those dispensations unto the samefullness and eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus. …
“… All the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by thePriesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty inany of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation,therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at anyformer period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restorationspoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets.”7

Joseph Smith holds the keys of the dispensation of the fulness of times.

“I … hold the keys of the last kingdom, in which is the dispensationof the fullness of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holyProphets since the world began, under the sealing power of theMelchizedek Priesthood.”8
 
“Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of theworld was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heavenbefore this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this veryoffice in that Grand Council. It is the testimony that I want that I amGod’s servant, and this people His people. The ancient prophetsdeclared that in the last days the God of heaven should set up akingdom which should never be destroyed, nor left to other people. …

“I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdomof Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundationthat will revolutionize the whole world.”9
 
“I have the whole plan of the kingdom before me, and no other person has.”10
 
Lucy Mack Smith was present when Joseph Smith preached in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1832. She recalled these words of the Prophet:“I myself hold the keys of this last dispensation, and I forever willhold them in time and in eternity. So set your hearts at rest, for allis well.”11

This final dispensation is of such vast importance that it requires the complete, unselfish dedication of the Saints.

In September 1840, Joseph Smith and his counselors in the FirstPresidency made the following declaration to the members of the Church:“The work of the Lord in these last days, is one of vast magnitude andalmost beyond the comprehension of mortals. Its glories are pastdescription, and its grandeur unsurpassable. It is the theme which hasanimated the bosom of prophets and righteous men from the creation ofthe world down through every succeeding generation to the present time;and it is truly the dispensation of the fullness of times, when allthings which are in Christ Jesus, whether in heaven or on the earth,shall be gathered together in Him, and when all things shall berestored, as spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began;for in it will take place the glorious fulfilment of the promises madeto the fathers, while the manifestations of the power of the Most Highwill be great, glorious, and sublime. …

“… We feel disposed to go forward and unite our energies for theupbuilding of the Kingdom, and establishing the Priesthood in theirfullness and glory. The work which has to be accomplished in the lastdays is one of vast importance, and will call into action the energy,skill, talent, and ability of the Saints, so that it may roll forthwith that glory and majesty described by the prophet [see Daniel 2:34–35, 44–45]; and will consequently require the concentration of the Saints, to accomplish works of such magnitude and grandeur.
“The work of the gathering spoken of in the Scriptures will be necessary to bring about the glories of the last dispensation. …

“Dear brethren, feeling desirous to carry out the purposes of God,to which work we have been called; and to be co-workers with Him inthis last dispensation; we feel the necessity of having the heartycooperation of the Saints throughout this land, and upon the islands ofthe sea. It will be necessary for the Saints to hearken to counsel andturn their attention to the Church, the establishment of the Kingdom,and lay aside every selfish principle, everything low and groveling;and stand forward in the cause of truth, and assist to the utmost oftheir power, those to whom has been given the pattern and design. …

“Here, then, beloved brethren, is a work to engage in worthy ofarchangels—a work which will cast into the shade the things which havebeen heretofore accomplished; a work which kings and prophets andrighteous men in former ages have sought, expected, and earnestlydesired to see, but died without the sight; and well will it be forthose who shall aid in carrying into effect the mighty operations ofJehovah.”12
 
“The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the peopleof God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests andkings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward withjoyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired withheavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written andprophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are thefavored people that God has made choice of to bring about theLatter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help toroll forward the Latter-day glory, ‘the dispensation of the fullness oftimes, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, andall things that are upon the earth, even in one’ [see Ephesians 1:10],when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, andkindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gatheredtogether into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to bedestroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will alsodwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations,and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even inChrist.

“The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring aboutthose great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in the one commoncause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood arenot idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down fromabove, and it will dwell in our midst. The blessings of the Most Highwill rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down tofuture ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; andgenerations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenesthat we have passed through, the privations that we have endured, theuntiring zeal that we have manifested, the all but insurmountabledifficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a workthat brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize; awork that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generationspast; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; awork that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers ofdarkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and thesalvation of the human family.”13

Suggestions for Study and Teaching

Consider these ideas as you study the chapter or as you prepare to teach. For additional help, see pages vii–xii.

  • • Review pages 507–9. Why are temples so important in the accomplishment of the Lord’s work?
  • • Why do you think ancient prophets and wise men looked forward toour day? (For some examples, see pages 510–11.) Ponder the privilege ofbeing a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints inthe dispensation of the fulness of times.
  • • Study the paragraph that begins on the bottom of page 511. As youponder this statement, what are your thoughts and feelings about yourcallings to serve in the Church?
  • • Read the first three full paragraphs on page 512. How do thesestatements strengthen your testimony of the mission of the ProphetJoseph Smith?
  • • The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The work of the Lord in these lastdays, is one of vast magnitude” (page 512). Study pages 512–15,pondering our responsibility to help accomplish the Lord’s work in thelast dispensation. Why must we “unite our energies” if we are toaccomplish this work? Why must we “lay aside every selfish principle”?Think about how you can use your “energy, skill, talent, and ability”to contribute to the Lord’s work.

Related Scriptures: D&C 27:12–13; 90:2–3; 112:30–32; 124:40–41
[illustration] The Prophet Joseph Smith yearned to see the NauvooTemple completed. “ ‘Hurry up the work, brethren,’ he used to say,—‘letus finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store foryou.’ ”
[photo] Full-time missionaries at the Missionary Training Center inProvo, Utah. Joseph Smith declared that in the last dispensation, “itwill be necessary for the Saints to hearken to counsel and … standforward in the cause of truth.”

Notes

1. Quoted by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, reporting a discourse givenby Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois; Martha Jane Knowlton Coray,Notebook, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-daySaints, Salt Lake City, Utah; this discourse is dated July 19, 1840, inSister Coray’s notebook, but the discourse was probably given at alater date.

2. George Q. Cannon, Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, Dec. 14, 1869, p. 2.

3. History of the Church, 6:478–79; from a discourse givenby Joseph Smith on June 16, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported byThomas Bullock; see also appendix, page 562, item 3.

4. Doctrine and Covenants 128:18; a letter from Joseph Smith to the Saints, Sept. 6, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois.

5. History of the Church, 4:492–93; from a Joseph Smith journal entry, Jan. 6, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois.

6. History of the Church, 4:426; from the minutes of a Church conference held on Oct. 3, 1841, in Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Oct. 15, 1841, p. 578.

7. History of the Church, 4:208, 210–11; from a discourseprepared by Joseph Smith and read at a Church conference held on Oct.5, 1840, in Nauvoo, Illinois.

8. History of the Church, 6:78; spelling modernized; from aletter from Joseph Smith to James Arlington Bennet, Nov. 13, 1843,Nauvoo, Illinois; James Bennet’s last name is incorrectly spelled“Bennett” in History of the Church.

9. History of the Church, 6:364–65; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on May 12, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Thomas Bullock.

10. History of the Church, 5:139; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Aug. 29, 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by William Clayton.

11. Quoted by Lucy Mack Smith, reporting a discourse given by JosephSmith in early 1832 in Kirtland, Ohio; Lucy Mack Smith, “The History ofLucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet,” 1844–45 manuscript, book 13, p. 5,Church Archives.

12. History of the Church, 4:185–87; punctuationmodernized; from a letter from Joseph Smith and his counselors in theFirst Presidency to the Saints, Sept. 1840, Nauvoo, Illinois, publishedin Times and Seasons, Oct. 1840, pp. 178–79.

13. History of the Church, 4:609–10; punctuation modernized; paragraph divisions altered; from “The Temple,” an editorial published in Times and Seasons, May 2, 1842, p. 776; Joseph Smith was the editor of the periodical.

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Plainview Texas Branch; Lubbock Stake Announcements;

Saturday, October 17th 2009: 10:00am to 12:00pm Primary Program Practice
Saturday, October 17th 2009: 5:00pm SYC @ Stake Center
Saturday, October 17th 2009: 7:00pm Dance @ Stake Center

Sunday. October 18th, 2009: Branch Council

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Posted October 17, 2009 by rexfordgbeardsleyjr in Sunday Lesson Dispensation

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