One Eternal Round

Abraham Facsimile #2 Kolob
Abraham Facsimile #2


This is a drawing of God’s universe. Given to us by Abraham, this facsimile is meant to represent all of God’s creations.[1]  In the center (fig.1) is Kolob, which represents the planet or star that is “nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.”[2]

Brigham Young taught us that it was here, near the residence of God, where our earth was created:
"When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. And when man fell the earth fell into space and took up its abode in this planetary system, and the sun became our light."[3]
 

Before the fall, our earth could abide in God’s presence. After sin was introduced into the world however, our earth had to be separated from God. When Adam fell, so did the earth. When this occurred, the earth literally moved further away from God’s presence. As a result of this fall, the earth was brought down to a Telestial state.
 
At the Second Coming however, our earth will again be relocated. It will leave this solar system. The Lord said in Isaiah,

Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place... And it shall be as the chased [deer] (Isa. 13:13-14).

Where will the earth be taken? Brigham Young taught that our earth “will return again unto the presence of the Father”.[4] Knowing what we know about the fall, it is easy to understand why the earth will move closer in proximity to God at the Second Coming; for at the Second Coming–as the earth is being baptized by fire and by the Holy Ghost–those who have lived a Telestial life will be destroyed.[5] Satan will then be bound.[6] As a result of these two events, the earth will be elevated from a Telestial, to a Terrestrial state, and will be able to endure more of God’s glory. This means that the earth can be moved closer in proximity to God’s throne, much like it was before the fall. We are told that our earth will remain in this Terrestrial state for 1,000 years during the Millennium.

At the end of the Millennium however, those who have lived a Terrestrial life will be relocated to a Terrestrial Kingdom. Those who remain on the earth will be those who will be worthy of Celestial glory.[7] When the earth is thus resurrected and becomes a Celestial Kingdom, it will be able to endure the fullness of God’s glory and will move even closer in proximity to the throne of God. Joseph Smith said, "This earth will be rolled back into the presence of God, and crowned with celestial glory."
[8]

This is also what Brigham Young taught:

"This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there…"[9]

The moral of the story? The more righteous we are, the closer in proximity we will be to God in the eternities. On the other hand, the Lord has constantly warned us that “inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments, ye shall be cut off from my presence.”[10] 

Why can’t the disobedient come into, or even come near God’s presence? On more than one occasion, the Prophet Joseph Smith described God as dwelling in “everlasting burnings”,[11] meaning that there is a tremendous amount of light and glory radiating from God’s person. So much light in fact, that we are told that if we were to come into his presence without first being transfigured, we would be consumed instantly.[12] Joseph Smith said it this way:

"God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. "Our God is a consuming fire."[13]
 
Similarly, Elder Parley P. Pratt said that God is “filled and encircled with light unapproachable by those of the lower spheres.”[14]

Because of all this light radiating from Gods person, we are told that the only way we can be in his presence and not be consumed by this glory is for us to be filled with this light ourselves. How do we do this? The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that when we are obedient to the commandments of God, our bodies actually receive light. We read,

He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light (D&C 93:28).   
The Lord has told us that this light “quickeneth your understandings”.[15] In other words, this light is given to the obedient so that they may clearly see and understand what type of lives they should be living before God. Those who receive this light are strengthened in their desire to keep the commandments, and as they continue to keep the commandments, they receive more light.
 
On the other hand, those who are disobedient to the commandments of God can actually lose portions of that light of Christ which they previously gained through obedience. The Doctrine and Covenants states, 

And that wicked one [Satan] cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience. (D&C 93:39)
This life is a constant struggle to earn, and keep this light of Christ. However, if we continue faithful, the Lord taught,

              He that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day (D&C 50:24).

Those who achie
ve this status can worthily stand in the presence of God and not be consumed, and this because they are filled with this light themselves. The Doctrine and Covenants reads,
 
And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D&C 88:67-68)

Now that we understand this principle, we can begin to comprehend God’s universe and how it is organized.

God’s Universe

God has created many worlds that have gone on to eternal glory. So many in fact, that our mortal brains cannot even comprehend the number. The Lord said to Moses,

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. (Moses 1:35)

Each of these worlds, whether they become Celestial, Terrestrial, or Telestial kingdoms, will each be assigned a permanent location in God’s universe after they have been resurrected. The Celestial planets will all be located next to the throne of God, while the Terrestrial planets will be located further away, and the Telestial planets even further.
 
The Book of Abraham teaches us that many of these planets created by our Heavenly Father have already gone through their temporal existence and have already been resurrected. In Facsimile #2, the stars surrounding Kolob for example, represent “grand governing [planets] near to the celestial or the place where God resides.”[16] These Celestial planets near Kolob are extremely large, and radiate a tremendous amount of light and glory. So not only do Celestial planets get to be located next to God, but they also radiate more light and glory than the Terrestrial and Telestial planets.

With this in mind, we can begin to put together a mental picture of what God’s organized universe may look like. In his book entitled The Kolob Theorem, Lynn Hilton suggests that Gods creations are organized much like the image below, with the Celestial planets in the center, and the Telestial planets near the outer ring:


Andromeda


As it turns out, this image is more than just a simulation. Rather, it is an actual photograph of Andromeda, the galaxy located nearest to ours. As it turns out, our Milky Way Galaxy is structured very similarly. It is difficult to take a photograph of our Milky Way Galaxy because we are located inside of it (on the outer ring), but here is a computer simulation of our Milky Way Galaxy [17]:


Milky Way Galaxy LDS
Our Milky Way Galaxy

In The Kolob Theorem, Hilton suggests that our home, the Milky Way Galaxy, represents all of our Heavenly Father’s creations, with Kolob being located right at the center.[18] In other words, Abraham Facsimile #2 is simply a very old drawing of our Milky Way Galaxy.

       Q: What about Andromeda, or the millions of other galaxies which are structured similarly to ours? Are they not part of our Heavenly Fathers creations also?

       A: As we shall see, it is very likely that these galaxies belong to other Celestial beings who have previously gone on to receive their exaltation.

      Q: But is our Milky Way Galaxy large enough to fit the description given by the Lord to Moses?:

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. (Moses 1:35)

      A: To describe how big our Milky Way Galaxy actually is, consider this: The speed of light can travel around the earth 8 times in one second. If we were to travel at that speed through our Milky Way Galaxy, it would take us 120,000 years just to get from one end to the other!![19] Traveling at this speed for the entire time our earth has been in existence – from the fall of Adam until now –would only get us 1/20th of the way across! That is quite a distance considering the speed of light travels around the world 8 times in one second. On top of this, our Milky Way Galaxy, much like our Fathers kingdom, is constantly growing. This Milky Way Galaxy seems to very closely fit the description of God’ kingdom as described in both the Book of Moses, and the Book of Abraham.

Certainly, Hilton is not the first to suggest that our Milky Way Galaxy consists of all of our Heavenly Fathers creations. Neither is he the first to suggest that Kolob is located at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. For example, LDS scientist Eric Skousen stated,

"At the very center of the [Milky Way] Galaxy is one super-powerful object. It is estimated to be thousands of times larger than our sun… If we back out several thousand light-years from this energetic center we come to a region consisting of huge clouds of interstellar dust and gas. This material so effectively blocks visible light from the galactic center that less than one trillionth of it ever reaches us."[20]

Skousen makes the argument that this light radiating from the center of the Milky Way is the same place where Kolob is located. [21] Hilton agrees.[22] Here are the main reasons:

As Hilton points out, our neighbor galaxy Andromeda is organized in three separate areas or rings. Our Milky Way is organized in a similarly manner. In the center of these galaxies are the large, bright, white stars. Next to them, as we work our way outward, are a series of reddish color stars. Finally, near the outer edges, we have many blue colored stars:


Andromeda Celestial Terrestrial Telestial


Could these three sections represent Gods three kingdoms? Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial? This seems likely considering Abraham’s description of God’s organized kingdom discussed above. Furthermore, science teaches us that our earth is located on one of the outer spirals of our Galaxy:

Milky Way LDS
The Earth's Location within the Milky Way Galaxy[23]

This would put us right in the Telestial area of the Milky Way.  This lines up perfectly with what we have previously discussed, namely that after the fall, our earth was brought down to a Telestial state.  When our earth is redeemed, it will move closer to the celestial center.

We now turn our attention from our earth to our sun. As we can see from these images above, each galaxy contains many stars. Each star is radiating a certain amount of light and glory. The stars in the center of the galaxies are brighter than the stars near the outer edges. Nevertheless, the stars on the outer edges are extremely bright. Our sun is one of them.

As we shall see, there have been many General Authorities who have suggested that each star located within our Milky Way Galaxy is actually a kingdom of glory. “In my Father’s house are many mansions”.[24] The stars near the center are Celestial, the middle Terrestrial, and the outer Telestial. Our sun is located in the Telestial area. Does this mean that our sun is a Telestial kingdom? Populated by resurrected Telestial persons? After all, Brigham Young said that “when [the earth] becomes celestialized, it will be like the sun.”[25] If the earth is to eventually shine like the sun, is it not possible then that the sun was once a planet much like ours, a planet that since went on to receive its resurrection?

Here is a clip from one of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s books entitled, Seek Ye Earnestly, in which he explains his view on what the sun really is.

"In regard to earth's passing away, the Lord does not mean to place an interpretation upon the world's passing away like that which is placed upon worlds passing away by our scientific brethren, by our astronomers and others who look into the heavens and see these great bodies and tell us they are dying, that our Sun eventually will become cold, having spent its energy. I am glad to know they are beginning to change their views, some of them, on that. But that has been the doctrine. They teach that this earth will die after a certain great period of years, and will revolve through the heavens a dead, lifeless, cold, useless body.
The Lord has told us otherwise. This earth will not have that end.
I shall not turn to read passages of scripture, but you can turn to Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and therein you will find recorded the destiny of this earth. It is going to die. Peter said it would die, as other earths have died and passed away, but it will receive a resurrection, be glorified and placed in the heavens where it belongs as a celestial body, just like other worlds have done.

Now I am going to make a statement here in contradiction of the teaching of the philosophers and the scientists who set forth that doctrine, that the earth will become lifeless, and I am going to tell you a little incident that took place here at the summer school a few years ago, a conversation that I had with [LDS scientist] Dr. Carl Eyring….
I said: "Brother Eyring, I do not have the idea that you scientists have about the sun."

"Well, is that so? What is your idea?"

I said, "You have never seen the sun. Neither has any other mortal man."

"Why, what do you mean?"

I said, "All you see when you look at the sun through smoked glasses or any way that you can look at the sun, is the cloud that surrounds it. Every eclipse of the sun shows that."

He said, "I guess that is right." Well, what is the sun?

"It is not a dying world. Of course, it is full of energy. God is full of energy, and should we mortals stand in his presence, unless his spirit was upon us to protect us we would be consumed. That is how much energy there is in a celestial body.

I said, "The sun is a body that has gone on to its fulness. It has reached its glory. It is an immortal world." The bell rang and we had no further time for discussion, but that doctrine was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I am sorry, I do not have that reference with me.

We look into the heavens and we see worlds that have gone on to their glory. Some of them may be terrestrial worlds, telestial, some celestial worlds, and so the Lord here says worlds after they are created will pass away. Of course they will. This earth will pass away, for God never made anything to be destroyed or come to naught, and so these worlds that pass away receive their resurrection as this earth will receive its resurrection."[26]
 

On another occasion President Smith wrote,

"EARTH TO BE A CELESTIAL SUN. It is my opinion that the great stars that we see, including our sun, are celestial worlds; [or] at least worlds that have passed on to their exaltation or other final resurrected status. This is in conflict, of course, with the teachings of scientific men, who declare that the sun is losing its energy and gradually cooling off and will eventually be a dead world. I do not believe the Lord has any such thing in his plan. The Lord lives in "everlasting burnings" we are informed. President Brigham Young has said that this earth when it is celestialized will shine like the sun, and why not?"[27] 

It makes sense that our sun could be a resurrected planet, but does this mean that it is actually a kingdom of glory, populated by resurrected beings? Brigham Young said,

"…with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized."[28]

Another reason for this belief is the statement by Orson Pratt, who said,

"When God makes this earth immortal, he will make it glorious like the inhabitants [who] will be permitted to live upon it. They will become immortal, and be crowned with crowns of glory, light will radiate from their personages and countenances; so will the earth radiate its light, and shine forth in celestial splendor. I will not say as the splendor of our sun, for it is not a celestial body. Although the light of the sun is very glorious, it will not begin to compare with that of this earth, when it becomes celestial and eternal and is lightened by the presence of God the Father…God dwells in a world of light too glorious for mortal eyes to behold, unless aided by the Spirit of the living God."[29] 

On another occasion, Elder Pratt also said,


"Some may inquire, "Do you think the sun is a glorified world?" Yes, in one sense. It is not yet fully glorified, redeemed, clothed with celestial power, and crowned with the presence of the Father in all the fullness and beauty of a celestial mansion, because it is still subject to change more or less. If it were fully glorified; if it had passed through its temporal existence and had been redeemed, glorified, and made celestial, and had become the eternal abiding place of celestial and glorified beings, it would be far more glorious than our eyes could behold, the eyes of mortality could not endure the light thereof. We can endure and rejoice in its present light and glory. It gives light and heat to the surrounding worlds, and thus renders them fit habitations for intelligent human beings. But were it [celestial]…we could not stand in the presence of its glory without being consumed. This earth, therefore, is destined to become one of the heavenly mansions."[30]

Based on everything we have discussed above, it stands to reason that our sun is a Telestial kingdom. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that our sun was already in this solar system prior to the earth’s arrival. Brigham Young said that when the earth fell to its current location, “the sun became our light.”[31] It is verified by science that our sun, and the rest of our solar system, is much older than our earth. [32] In other words, science is discovering that our solar system has been here for much longer than our earth has. Scientifically, this seems strange; however, this is because the earth was not created here. Rather, it was placed here after the fall.
 
Furthermore, our sun will still be in this solar system when our earth returns to the presence of our Father after the Second Coming. This leads us to believe that our solar system is the permanent residence of our sun.
 
If our sun was placed here long before our earth was, could it be possible that other earths previously occupied our present location in our solar system? Is it also possible that other earths will take our place in this solar system when our earth is relocated? Perhaps the Lord answered this question when he said,

As one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come. (Moses 1:38)

Or perhaps this is what Joseph Fielding Smith meant when he wrote,


"[God] will continue his work on this earth and upon other planets, or worlds, which will take the place of this earth when it has been exalted and gone on to its celestial glory."[33]

With this information in mind, we now turn to the galaxies outside of our Milky Way. As mentioned previously, it is believed that each galaxy is a creation of an exalted celestial being and constitutes their particular organized kingdom. All that has been discussed up to this point has been a precursor to the following video.

Astronomers actually mapped each individual galaxy located within our universe using computers, and recreated a video of exactly what our universe looks like. This computer simulation, exactly places each galaxy in the universe in its proper location. Keep in mind that every disc you see in this video is not a star, but a galaxy with billions, even trillions of stars within its structure:  




Could each of these galaxies be the organized kingdom of a previously resurrected, Celestial being? If our Milky Way Galaxy belongs to our Heavenly Father, and constitutes his organized kingdom as suggested in the Book of Abraham, it stands to reason that others who have achieved this same status were also given the keys to create their own. And if we continue faithful, so will we!
[34]

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Notes:

[1] Hugh Nibley said, "It represent[s] the Cosmos and was presented to [Abraham] when he was carried up to heaven on the wings of a bird (see Figure 7 in the Facsimile)." Nibley, Abraham in Egypt, p. 32 of the first edition.
[2] Book of Abraham, Facsimile #2, Figure 1, Explanation 1
[3] Journal of Discourses, 17:143
[4] Journal of Discourses 17:143
[5] Mal. ch. 4
[6] D&C 101:28; D&C 84:100; Rev. 20:2
[7] D&C 88:17-20;  Matt. 5:5
[8] Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181.  See also, Journal of Discourses 9:317; Journal of Discourses 17:143
[9] Journal of Discourses 17:143
10] 2 Ne. 4:4
[11] Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 367; 347
[12] See for example, Exo. 33:1-3; JST Exo. 33:20
[13] Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 367.  See also Heb. 12:29
[14] Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, p. 41
[15] D&C 88:11
[16] Book of Abraham, Facsimile #2, Figure 1, Explanation 2
[18] Hilton, The Kolob Theorem, p. 14-21. 
[20] Skousen, Earth in the Beginning, p. 232-33.  See also, Turner, This Eternal Earth, p. 14-15.
[21] Skousen, Earth in the Beginning, p. 226-34
[22] Hilton, The Kolob Theorem, p. 14-21. 
[24] John 14:2
[25] Journal of Discourses, 7:163
[26] Smith, Seek Ye Earnestly, p. 274-75
[27] Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:88-89
[28] Journal of Discourses, 13:271
[29] Journal of Discourses, 19:290-91
[30] Journal of Discourses, 14:236-37
[31] Journal of Discourses, 17:143
[32] See for example, Skousen, Earth in the Beginning, 244-59[33] Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:140
[34] For more information on this creation process, see Brunson, The Light of Christ