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A teacher demonstrated his view of what will take place at the final judgement. He had a table set up near the front of the room. He explained that we would be on one side of the table with the Savior and unknown others on the opposite side of the table. Their task would be to judge us. He proposed that they would have documentation of all of our successes and all of our failings–all our weaknesses, all the times we had fallen short, all the ways we had sinned. All would be reviewed as we stood vulnerable before throngs of humanity.
The teacher confronted the class: This vision should be a cautionary tale. We had better shape up if we want any hope at heaven.
It is hard to look forward to judgment day. Especially when we believe such foolishness. The actual scene that will take place when we are judged is described in Doctrine and Covenants 45. Let’s consider the picture that Jesus paints for us.
I paraphrase verses 1-2. “Please listen to me, beloved children of the covenant who bear the kingdom. Listen carefully to the One who designed the earth, made the heavens, and every child who lives, moves, and grows in this creation. Please listen so that you are not caught off-guard by death and left with your soul unredeemed.”
So, what is it that He is pleading with us to listen to? The next verses, 3-5, are a great revelation that describes the magnificent way the Savior presents His merits to the Father at the judgment bar in order to remove our fallenness and foolishness.
He describes the startling way He will present us to Father—offering His suffering, His blood, His atonement to rescue us. “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased.”
We will not stand alone at the judgment bar. He will not be across the table from us as our accuser. Instead, He stands with us as our Advocate!
Then He uses graphic language that He knows will touch His Father’s heart. Standing before Father and with us safely shielded behind Him, He says: “Behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified.” He brings everything He has to touch Father’s heart and to rescue us!
Having presented His merits to supplement our imperfect offerings, He then appeals in our behalf: “Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”
He offers His infinite and eternal sacrifice to cover our earnest but flawed efforts. What is required of us is not perfection. What is required of us is that we believe on His name, that we are among His disciples. What is asked of us is that we continue to come unto Him in repentance, allowing Him to change our hearts. And one key part of believing on His name is accepting that He has the ability and the willingness to redeem us even in our weaknesses and failings as long as we continue to turn to Him.
But as I recently pondered those verses, I made a new discovery in verse 3: “Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him”. I have often spoken of Him as the one who will advocate for us before Father. Yet He says that He is pleading our cause now! This very moment He is pleading in our behalf in the courts on high.
Thus, not only should we begin every day, project, and deed in the name of the Son, we should conclude each act in His name, asking that He sanctify our imperfect offerings. He is truly the beginning and the end.
“Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore” (Moses 5:8).
I am grateful for His unlimited devotion to us. We must not downgrade that devotion by imagining that He will leave us alone, without rescue or hope, as we seek to get through each day or as we conclude our lives. He is our Redeemer, our Rescuer, our Advocate. Each time we offer a prayer, every single day we strive to follow Him, and every time we partake of the sacrament, may we call on our advocate with the Father who is, even now, pleading our cause before Him.
Thanks to Barbara Keil for her excellent additions to this article.
If you are interested in a gospel perspective on marriage, you may want to read Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, available at Amazon.