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Ancient Testaments: Sacrifice and a shining temple

The word \"sacred\" is related to \"segregate.\" The root idea is to separate something into a special category. To be sacred is to be apart from the ordinary — extraordinary in the highest sense.\"Sacri-fice\" helps the ordinary become sacred, as we sing in one of our hymns: \"Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven\" (Hymns, 27).Of course, just what the sacrifice will be is the Lord's decision, not ours — \"every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command\" (Doctrine and Covenants 97:8).With our sacrifice and his acceptance comes the favor of heavenly light. It is sometimes called fire or glory. Anciently, this was taught in a symbolic way through the practice of animal sacrifice, which was always linked with fire.For example, the Law of Moses called for a \"peace offering ... made by fire,\" and a \"burnt sacrifice for a sweet savour ... made by fire\" (Leviticus 3:3).When the Jerusalem temple was dedicated, \"fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house\" (2 Chronicles 7:1).In early church history, the Lord specified certain sacrifices, and by them ordinary things became extraordinary — sacred. Those who were willing to be inconvenienced became acquainted with the divine person whom Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has referred to as \"The Inconvenient Messiah\" (Ensign, February 1984, 68-73).One of these sacrifices was to get a temple built in Kirtland.We now know that only after that building was in place could long-awaited keys be entrusted to latter-day prophets. Those keys would dramatically increase the intensity of light. Those keys would unleash unspeakable boons upon all mankind. But those keys waited for sacrifice.It took some repetition, but when the faithful finally grasped what the Lord was asking, they rose to the occasion.Joseph Smith's mother, an eyewitness, reported that the builders often \"gave no sleep to their eyes, nor slumber to their eyelids\" to make sure the building was on schedule and secure. \"There was but one mainspring to all our thoughts and actions, and that was, the building of the Lord's house\" (Lucy Mack Smith, \"History of Joseph Smith,\" 231).Daniel Tyler described the laborers: \"humble, faithful servants of the Lord, after toiling all day in the quarry, or on the building, ... weary and faint, yet with cheerful countenances, retiring to their homes with a few pounds of corn meal that had been donated\" (Juvenile Instructor, Jan. 15, 1880, 283; cited in Karl Anderson, \"Joseph Smith's Kirtland,\" Chapter 15).One of the sacrifices requested of the sisters was the donating of crystal and chinaware. \"How nice,\" one may have thought, \"my vase shall be featured on some table in the temple.\" But those treasures weren't destined for tabletops. They were broken up and crushed into a sparkling sand and mixed into the last coat of plaster on the outside walls.The effect was stunning, especially at sunrise or sunset — millions of little mirrors on the temple surface, making the Lord's house almost too glorious to look upon. Thus would yet another symbol — a fiery, shining temple — testify of the link between sacrifice and light.The reality behind this symbol was promised by the Savior: whosoever \"shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit, ... him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost\" (3 Nephi 9:20).