Rest of the Lord

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In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a faith often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church), people sometimes use the term rest of the Lord in their religious discourse. The rest of the Lord is mentioned in Alma (a book within the Book of Mormon) when Alma says,

Jesus Christ
And now, my brethren, seeing we know these things, and they are true, let us repent, and harden not our hearts, that we provoke not the Lord our God to pull down his wrath upon us in these his second commandments which he has given unto us; but let us enter into the rest of God, which is prepared according to his word (Alma 12:37).

The rest of the Lord can have two applicable meanings in the lives of God’s children: 1) having a convicted and firm peace of mind in following God’s commandments and 2) the greater rest of eternal life.

We Can Find Rest through Obedience and Knowledge

God has given us commandments to give us direction and peace in this life. He has also given us the power of the priesthood, the authority and power to act in His name to achieve the purposes of salvation. [1] Because of commandments and priesthood ordinances, we can grow in our testimonies of the Savior and become more and more committed to living His gospel. By growing more firm in our conviction of gospel living we become more impervious to the temptations of the adversary and enjoy more continuous peace from our daily decisions.

The more we come to know gospel doctrine, the more we will enjoy the rest of the Lord here on earth. President Joseph F. Smith, a former latter-day prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ, said,

[The rest of the Lord] means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else; we are not disturbed by every wind of doctrine, or by the cunning and craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. [2]

We can find rest in the Lord as we grow in our knowledge of His gospel. Seeking the scriptures and engaging in prayer will solidify our knowledge and give us increasing peace in this life.

The Role of Priesthood Ordinances

Ordinances performed by the priesthood are essential for us to enter into the rest of the Lord here on earth and in the eternities. The purpose of priesthood ordinances is to prepare God’s children for His rest:

Now these ordinances were given after this manner, that thereby the people might look forward on the Son of God, it being a type of his order, or it being his order, and this that they might look forward to him for a remission of their sins, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (1986), 139 - 40).

Priesthood ordinances include baptism by immersion, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, receiving the endowment in the temple of the Lord, and being sealed in God’s temple to one’s spouse for eternity. When performing priesthood ordinances, we also make covenants, or promises, with God, and keeping those covenants brings us peace in this life and eternal life with God after this mortality.

Heavenly Father has set priesthood ordinances for our good and progression. The more diligently we keep the promises made during ordinances, the more peace and happiness we will find throughout our lives. Committing to these promises also ensures us a life with God in the eternities.

The Eternal Rest of the Lord

In the eternal sense, the rest of the Lord means dwelling with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for eternity. This rest comes after judgment and after the resurrection and is contingent on the degree to which we have accepted and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. The eternal rest of the Lord is entering into His presence as perfected and glorified beings, a perfection made possible only through the grace of Jesus Christ Himself.

Mormons believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ and that only through Him are we saved at all. Obedience to commandments is essential, not only because of the commandments themselves, but because faithful obedience is evidence of our own individual convictions to following the Savior. God has blessed His children with opportunities not only for rest in the life to come but also for rest on earth. Our mortal lives are rife with trial and hardship, but through His gospel we can find the rest of the Lord right now, a rest that has the power to extend into the eternities as we live with Him and His Son.