“…[He] kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
These were the immortal words which our Savior spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to partaking the “bitter cup”.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
What was Christ talking about when he said, “new testament”? It’s interesting to note what Merriam Webster’s first definition of testament is. It reads, “archaic: a covenant between God and the human race.” When we read the Old Testament and New Testament as Old Covenant and New Covenant, we see things in an entirely new light. It also causes us to realize that the phrase “New and Everlasting Covenant” isn’t so new, it’s just disguised in older jargon. So what is this New Covenant that Christ made with us that we renew every time we partake of the Sacrament each Sunday? The terms of the covenant can be found in the prayer itself:
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
We covenant to always remember Christ and if we do that then he will grant us his Spirit. So remembering Christ isn’t just supposed to happen twice a year, at Easter and Christmas, but we should be remembering him always. But what are we to remember about him? It states that we are to remember his blood, but why? What does the blood represent? Mortality. It represents him sacrificing his mortal life, as an example of what we must do if we are to obtain eternal life (this same symbolism can also be found in the baptismal covenant). For most of us this sacrifice seems overwhelmingly difficult. As with any difficult task, having an example of someone who has achieved that task, gives us faith that that it can actually be done. So it is that our elder brother made the sacrifice necessary for eternal life and showed us it can be done. He made this sacrifice before he hung on the cross, he made it in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said:
not my will, but thine, be done
So it is that if we will take this humble attitude into our daily lives then God will impart his Will to us through his Holy Spirit. It is obedience to this Will which will lead us to eternal life. What God asks us to do is rarely easy, we will often be tempted to disobey his Will and take an easier path. However, when we don’t follow his Will, he withdraws his Spirit and we loose access to all the blessings he has to offer through obedience…at least until we repent. Those who persist in repenting and endure to the end will be exalted. That’s a guarantee given by God!
Orthodox Jews have a very fascinating belief. The Wikipedia page on Shidduch describes it like so:
“Bashert, (Yiddish: באַשערט), is a Yiddish word that means “destiny”. It is often used in the context of one’s divinely foreordained spouse or soulmate, who is called “basherte” (female) or “basherter” (male).”
We can see from this that the original purpose of the matchmaker was to pair up couples who were “foreordained” to be together. Foreordination isn’t a foreign idea to Mormons seeing it is one of the primary teachings taught in the Book of Abraham:
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.“
In a canonized vision Joseph F. Smith received we also find this:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world. I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.”
From these two passages we can see that God already decided who was going to lead his Church through every age, even before the earth was created. If this is the case, wouldn’t it also seem probable that God foreordained every marriage and that the Jewish matchmaking system came into being to facilitate the need to determine God’s will in these unions? God’s revelation on eternal marriages heavily implies that this is the case:
“Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?”
Isn’t God saying here that he can’t accept a marriage unless he ordained it “before the world was”? If this is the case and he allowed you to eternally marry someone who he did not foreordain, wouldn’t he be a covenant breaker and cease to be God? So how do you know you’re following his will in your choice of a spouse? It seems to me that you’d want to ask a man who speaks with God: a prophet. Do you know where to find such a man or how to seek him out?