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Ancient Testaments: From test to testament

It would be magnificent if all the faithful of Old Testament times could

be gathered in one meeting. They were, of course.

Before we consider that, please consider three words — test, testimony,

testament — words intertwined with each other and intertwined with us.

Life is crowded with tests and their little dramas. Will the brakes

hold? Is the bridge safe? Is the price fair? Does the soup taste all

right? Are there plenty of nutrients in the soil and red cells in my

blood? Who won the game? How did I do on the exam?

Those are just the little tests. But even so, we are anxious to know the

results. We want the outcome, the \"test-imony.\"

There are other tests — very big ones — whose outcomes will shake

eternity. To care about them is wise. To do well in them is noble.

Heaven is conducting one of those big tests. We might call it Big Test

1. Heaven is testing us.

We are being invited, taught and checked, then reinvited, retaught and

checked again. And again. Eventually, the books will be opened. The

record, the \"test-imony\" of our faith and works, will be reported.

And while heaven is testing us, we are conducting Big Test 2. We are

testing heaven, you might say.

We are trying the bridges God has built. We are learning that he keeps

his promises. We are verifying truths spoken by his prophets. We are

proving his plan. Our personal report — the private \"testimony\" we

gather from all this trying and discovering and proving — is one

treasure that can be transferred between worlds. We can take this

treasure with us.

At the same time, we can bequeath this treasure to those we leave behind.

When mortal life is finished, something happens to the results of those

two big tests. If we have proven true to the plan, and if we have proven

the plan to be true, these two testimonies outlive death. They are now

irreversible, chiseled into history. \"Test-imony\" becomes \"test-ament.\"

\"A testament is of force after men are dead\" (Hebrews 9:15-17).

After the Savior finished his atoning work on the cross, with his

testament in force, he went into the spirit world. A vast and reverent

gathering — all the faithful of Old Testament times — awaited him. These

folks had succeeded in the two great tests. Heaven had proven them. They

had proven heaven.

Some had been there, incomplete, for a hundred generations. They had

welcomed wave after wave of their own descendants into that realm of

hope. How glad they were for this appointment, for \"the day of their

deliverance was at hand.\"

The story of each life in that magnificent multitude was a testament.

While in mortal life they had made sacrifices patterned after Christ's,

and \"had suffered tribulation in their Redeemer's name\" (Doctrine and

Covenants 138:15-16).

We can hardly imagine the supreme satisfaction they continue to have

even now, knowing that the Lord would say such a thing of them.

Second only to that satisfaction is the satisfaction of having kinship

with such lives, partaking of those testaments, absorbing vitamins from

them. This we can do, for one of the books can be opened. The Old

Testament record is before our eyes.

One example: Earth's first couple, Adam and Eve, headed that throng who

awaited and worshiped the Savior. And yet, the Old Testament shows us

the time, 4,000 years before, when they were just beginning their big

tests. For centuries on end, they were true to heaven and heaven was

true to them.

Their story helps us with our big tests, for their \"testament is of