When we combine the knowledge imparted by the Old and New Testaments with that of the modern revelations accepted as scripture by Mormons, new truths can be discovered. Today we won’t uncover a whole mystery, but some shreds of truth will be dug up for future examination and study.
Let’s start with the teachings of the Lord after he was resurrected. He explained plainly the distinction between the capabilities of a resurrected personage and a disembodied spirit when he said:
“‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them” (Luke 24:39 – 43, ESV).
This is consistent with the teaching of Joseph Smith who said at the funeral of Patriarch Adams:
“Spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire and glory. Angels have advanced further, their light and glory being tabernacled; and hence they appear in bodily shape. The spirits of just men are made ministering servants to those who are sealed unto life eternal, and it is through them that the sealing power comes down.
“Patriarch Adams is now one of the spirits of the just men made perfect; and, if revealed now, must be revealed in fire; and the glory could not be endured. Jesus showed Himself to His disciples, and they thought it was His spirit, and they were afraid to approach His spirit. Angels have advanced higher in knowledge and power than spirits” (STPJS, p. 325).
This corroborates with the instructions given in the Doctrine and Covenants relative to the distinguishing between angels (resurrected beings) and spirits:
“There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely:
- “Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—for instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
- “Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.
“When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him” (D&C 129:1 – 8).
When we take this knowledge and apply it to other scriptural stories and interactions, we place ourselves at the cusp of discovery and possible increased truth and light. For example, let us examine the story of Abraham who fed three men who stopped by his tent one day. After they ate, Abraham walked with them toward the edge of his property to see them off and one of the three men spoke with Abraham as follows:
“Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
“‘Should I hide my plan from Abraham?’ the LORD asked. ‘For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.’
“So the LORD told Abraham, ‘I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know'” (Gen. 18:16 – 21, NLT).
And who is ‘the LORD’ here so often referred, who could eat and reserve the glory of his spirit in a tabernacle? According to the Hebrew, he was none other than יְהוָ֔ה (Yah·weh “Jehovah”).