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The Parable Of The Prodigal Son

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Isaac, did you catch the quote I provided from Joseph Smith. He spoke at length on the topic. I think it substantiates your view.

Welcome to the short bus, then. The one everyone is riding, except Christ, of course.

You nailed that on the head, LifeOnaPlate

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I for one am a prodigal son and I thank God for it. I recognize I am not a good son and that I don't deserve salvation. However, I also recognize God's grace and goodness and mercy towards me.

President Hinckley agrees;

"I know of no more beautiful story in all literature than that found in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. It is the story of a repentant son and a forgiving father. It is the story of a son who wasted his inheritance in riotous living, rejecting his fatherâ??s counsel, spurning those who loved him. When he had spent all, he was hungry and friendless, and â??when he came to himselfâ? (Luke 15:17), he turned back to his father, who, on seeing him afar off, â??ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed himâ? (Luke 15:20).

I ask you to read that story. Every parent ought to read it again and again. It is large enough to encompass every household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind, for are we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake of the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example? (Of You It Is Required to Forgiveâ??,â? Ensign, Jun 1991)

(bold added for emphasis)

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Sorry, but you're going to have to prove that rather than merely assert it.

I did in my post, as well as the other one in which I posted a commentary on Luke 15...

Yes- God's estate (kingdom) is limitless, but the estate of the father in the parable is not.

The Father in the parable is God!

And that's where your analysis of the parable breaks down. There is not a single one of us who can re-enter the kingdom except through Christ.

I never said otherwise...We repent, and CHrists blood satisfies the demands of the Law...We are not punished eternally for sins that have been repented of and washed clean of by the Blood of Jesus...

By law, the kingdom belongs to the faithful son- Christ.

THe faithful son in this parable is not Jesus

We have no claim on our inheritance, having squandered it through sin and riotous living. Our only recourse is the mercy of our faithful brother.

Again, our claim has nothing to do with the faithful brother who is not Jesus in this parable...He is not Jesus, nor is he the judge...The Father makes that decision...

But the parable is only an approximation- not an accurate representation of God's kingdom. The estate in the parable is finite and the inheritance belongs to the faithful brother alone.

The ring and robe, as symbols are very significant to Jesus hearers and not just nice decorative presents to make the son feel better...They are symbols of his restored station...This is not an interpretive stretch by any means, but comes from an understanding of Jewish culture and customs...

Are you familiar with the essential element of Mormon belief which states plainly that mercy cannot rob justice? The price must be paid, or God becomes a liar, a lawbreaker, and a respecter of persons. That is why Christ's atoning sacrifice was necessary.

Exactly what I said???I am Mormon and I am very familiar with the relationship of justice and mercy...Are you familiar with the essential Mormon belief that Christs sacrifice(mercy) satisfies the demands of justice for those who access that sacrifice through meaningful repentence?...I don't know how I can make that more clear...

This is a critical point, one often overlooked and usually dismissed. Why can God not simply forgive- why did he feel it necessary to see his son murdered? Because he cannot be God and violate the law. He cannot rob justice and still be just. The price must be paid.

Yes, it was paid by CHrist...we agree on that. I think you are missaplying what I am saying and thinking that somehow CHrist is not responsible for our salvation...You seem to be saying that we must be punished for our sins even though Christ paid for them? When we repent, mercy satisfies justice...otherwise we would all be in hell...its a simple law also, but not always easily applied...

God cannot offer mercy to the unrepentant- the price must be paid. God cannot violate the law, which is why an atoning sacrifice was necessary. Christ paid it on our behalf, which is why he can say, "No man can come unto the Father except through me."

I never said anywhere in any of my posts that God offers mercy to the unrepentant...IF I did, its a typo...I was very clear that mercy is accessed by the penitent...

This assertion is not support either by the text or the context. It is an unwarranted assumption that turns the Gospel on it's head.

It's right there in the text Selek! He has his servants restore the sons station as an heir...THe shoes, robe and ring are significant, as is the Fathers insistance that those objects be placed on him by the servants, not just given...THis is an honor bestowed on men belonging to his household...It is Jewish custom...

We in turn, having been forgiven our sins and reclaimed, have no claim on Heavenly Father's kingdom ourselves. Our inheritance has been squandered. We receive no inheritance as heirs. What we receive- even all that the Father has- we receive only through Christ, our faithful brother.

This is absolutely false to say that we receive no inheritence as heirs...It is true that we receive no inheritence as heirs without the merits and mercy of Christ which allows us the blessed opportunity to repent of our sins, but we are "joint heirs" with CHrist...We receive all that the father has, just as he did, because of him, not because of us...

Mercy CANNOT rob justice. We become heirs again through Christ- a gift he offers us. We have no claim without him.

I never claimed otherwise...anywhere...ever! Nor do I believe that...you are putting words in my mouth...

He received a ring and a robe, and was welcomed with great joy. These tokens do not justify the idea of a complete dismissal of the consequences.

He suffered many consequences...He was beaten and battered by the world and would continue to do so, were it not for his genuine repentence and mercy of the father...

The text and context do not allow it, and in fact contradict it. Even after the prodigal receives thes gifts, the faithful son is told, "All that I have is thine."

The text and context actually do...YOu keep claiming that the older son in this story is Jesus and that is simply not true...

Not, "All that I have, less the forty acres I am going to cede to your brother the day after tomorrow, is thine."

As with nearly all parables or analogies, it is an imperfect metaphor.

Yep, GOd's inheritence is limitless, therefore all can be given to all who accept the covenant relationship with CHrist...ie, acceptance of his sacrifice, taking his name upon us, and our continued repentence etc....Just what part of his kingdom do you feel will be denied to those who have accepted CHrist, make sacred covenants, and then repent when they do not?

There is nothing in this parable to indicate that the Prodigal has been released from the consequences of his choices. Yes he is welcomed back with great joy and fanfare- which demonstrates the value of an individual soul to God- but nothing here demonstrates that the father was going to pretend it never happened.

We do not get that from this parable, but sins that are repented of (we are taught in the church) are remembered no more by God...SO again, if that is true, how can he then deny someone their rightful place as a joint heir with CHrist if his sins are no longer in his perfect memory?

God cannot offer us blessings for the good we have not done.

I would never say he would...We receive blessings based upon the laws upon which they are predicated...

Our redemption comes not from the Father but from the Son. Check your scriptures again- "no man comes unto the Father except through me". It is by Christ's sacrifice- the son's mercy that we are redeemed.

I never said otherwise...ever....I am not Jewish mind you...It seems that you are denying that CHrists blood and our repentence will still not restore our inheritence as joint heirs with CHrist...if that is what you are saying, then I repeat that this is not true...

The law is fulfilled in Christ, not broken.

I never said it was broken or negated...I said his sacrifice and our repentence satisfies the demands of justice...

There are other interpretations to the story, though I agree that Christ would not act as petulantly as did the faithful brother.

Wrong- Christ's blood fulfills the law.

I never said his sacrifice did not fulfill the law...I am saying exactly what you are...geez...

He took the consequences of the sin upon himself and paid our debts. The debt is still paid. The law is still fulfilled.

One more thing......the "quote" function is every bit as easy to use as the "bold" function and makes it a heck of a lot easier to compose replies.

Can you try using that one in the future?

I thought I was...I don't see my original post in your answers to me either...

Selek..I understand Mormon doctrine very well...I think the only thing we seem to disagree on is the end result of the story...I believe that as part of my covenant relationship with CHrist, that as I repent, (by repentence i am refering to the way we mormons are taught to repent...recognition, sorrow, restitution, forsaking, confession, and asking forgiveness etc...) his sacrifice washes away my sins...They are gone, therefore I am entitled to the same heavenly blessings that a member of the church who had never strayed will receive...THat is all I am saying...You seemed to be saying that if I strayed fron the church, that despite my genuine repentence I would somehow be denied those blessings...If that is not what you were saying, then great! If you do believe that to be Mormon Doctrine, then that is where we will have to part company...

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One thing that never ceases to amaze me about this parable is the number of people who wish to aportion a new inheritance for the prodigal. I simply cannot see that from the scriptural text or the cultural context. It simply isn't doctrinal, IMHO.

Being just, the father simply has no option of setting aside a new portion of the estate for the prodigal.

The son asked for all that was due him and promptly squandered it. He has nothing left, nor will he receive again in the future. He has no further or future claim on his father's estate. As the father himself admits to the faithful son "All that I have is thine."

Upon redemption and repentance, the prodigal is no less his father's son, but all that remains of the family estate belongs to the faithful brother. The prodigal cannot receive an inheritance without robbing the faithful brother of his due.

You are thinking of this only in earthly terms of limited resources. Jesus was not talking about limited resources--he was referring to our Father in Heaven and what he can give us. He can restore the inheritance of the prodigal--and it will not affect the older son. As he said, "All that I have is thine". The older son is rightfully concerned because as Isaac pointed out, the Prodigal has been recognized (by the robe, the ring and the shoes) once again as an heir to his father. His position in the family has been restored. For references to this, read the article I have linked to;

http://www.ldsmag.com/gospeldoctrine/nt/07024nt18.html

If the faithful brother, in turn, chooses to share the kingdom with the prodigal (as Christ does with us), then that is his choice to do so- but the prodigal, despite the forgiveness given him, has no claim on the estate.

I disagree. I don't see Christ as the older son--this parable is about us. We are the prodigals and we are the older sons. And neither son has any "right" to his father's estate. The older son has no more right than the younger son. They are heirs only if their father chooses to make them such--which our Father in Heaven has chosen to do. Not because we have a right to it, but because he desires us to be heirs.

This is supported by the law of the time and by the prodigal's initial intent to become a wage-earner in his father's home.

We in turn, having been forgiven our sins and reclaimed, have no claim on Heavenly Father's kingdom. We receive no inheritance as heirs. What we will receive- even all that the Father has- we receive only through Christ, our faithful brother.

I don't agree that "we receive no inheritance as heirs". That we are "heirs" is mentioned a number of times in the scriptures. ie, "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Sin we cannot avoid. If sin alone lost us our heirship, than none of us could be heirs. It is unrepentant sin that loses us our heirship. That is why we are made heirs through Christ "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Gal. 4:7

Yes, the faithful brother was prideful and needed correction- but his sin does not release the prodigal from the consequences of his choices, nor does it lessen his foolishness.

The faithful brother was more the prideful--he was unforgiving, of which the Lord said; "he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin." (D&C 64:9)

Nowhere in the Scriptures can you find doctrine to indicate that are we released from the temporal consequences of our choices- only the spiritual ones. And even then, the law is fulfilled.

There are spiritual consequences for our sins. The difference is, Christ has shouldered those consequences and has borne the stripes for them. Likewise, the faithful brother can choose to bear a portion of the consequences of the prodigal's sin and offer him an inheritance if he so chooses.

But the law must still be fulfilled.

I think the problem is that you are looking at this parable from a temporal outlook. It is talking about eternal things-- From the article I linked to;

Breck Englund states: "How is it possible that a son guilty of such atrocious sin can be restored? How can he regain what has been irretrievably lost?

Even if we repent, we certainly cannot claim that inheritance on our own. We can never repay what has been squandered and never make up for all that has been lost. But there is One who can: â??There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.â? Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can once again find ourselves â??encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.â?

Jesus is not talking about a finite inheritance. He's talking about eternal blessings--which are infinite.

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Selek, I like you, buddy, but your interpretation of the Prodigal Son is way off.

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The older son is rightfully concerned because as Isaac pointed out, the Prodigal has been recognized (by the robe, the ring and the shoes) once again as an heir to his father. His position in the family has been restored. For references to this, read the article I have linked to;

http://www.ldsmag.com/gospeldoctrine/nt/07024nt18.html

I don't see the references to which you refer- though the article does support your argument.

It is my understanding the ring, robe, and shoes were mere tokens- have you evidence to support the assertion that they were symbolic of a full restoration?

They are heirs only if their father chooses to make them such--which our Father in Heaven has chosen to do. Not because we have a right to it, but because he desires us to be heirs.
The law would deny us that inheritance- we cannot inherit the kingdom because we cannot dwell where the Father is.

We cannot endure his presence and he cannot abide ours so long as we are stained with sin.

I don't agree that "we receive no inheritance as heirs". That we are "heirs" is mentioned a number of times in the scriptures. ie, "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

I'm going to use your quote to illustrate my point- note the bolded text. We cannot be heirs unless justified by grace- grace that comes through Christ alone. As you admit later, we are not heirs except through Christ which was the point I was making above.

Sin we cannot avoid. If sin alone lost us our heirship, than none of us could be heirs. It is unrepentant sin that loses us our heirship. That is why we are made heirs through Christ "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." Gal. 4:7

This is and has been my point all long. We have squandered our inheritance and cannot regain it except through the mercy and generosity of Christ.

Even if we repent, we certainly cannot claim that inheritance on our own. We can never repay what has been squandered and never make up for all that has been lost. But there is One who can: â??There is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah.â? Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can once again find ourselves â??encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.â?

And that is my point- as much as the Father wishes to restore the inheritance, he cannot and still remain just. It is only through the grace and love of our brother that we can be reclaimed and receive an inheritance.

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How does the brother's jealousy of the prodigal mesh with the role of Christ?

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How does the brother's jealousy of the prodigal mesh with the role of Christ?

It doesn't.

My point was not that Christ was the elder son- it was that the prodigal's repentence alone cannot earn him a new inheritance, regardless of the welcome he received.

The prodigal is now dependent upon his brother's mercy- even as we, as prodigals, are dependent upon Christ's mercy to receive an inheritance from the Lord.

I don't doubt for a moment that the prodigal was restored to full faith and fellowship in his family, I don't see anything to indicate that he will now receive a new inheritance. Anything he might receive will come only from his brother's grace.

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Selek, I like you, buddy, but your interpretation of the Prodigal Son is way off.

I thought I was starting to lose my mind or something, but Life you have confimed my doubt was misplaced...:P

I like you to Selek, I just think we are misunderstanding eachother a bit.

Bottom line for me is that because of Christs sacrifice, I can repent of my sins and receive the same heavenly blessings as one who needed no repentence at all (no such person exist of course except Jesus). That is the main point of the parable...It is what Christ was telling the Pharisees at the table, that the repentent soul deserves the place of honor at Christs table because of his perfect atonement, and their repentence (access to that atonement).

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I don't see the references to which you refer- though the article does support your argument.

It is my understanding the ring, robe, and shoes were mere tokens- have you evidence to support the assertion that they were symbolic of a full restoration?

Selek I wish I had all the resources I used to on this subject but unfortunately as part of that prodical journey of mine I threw away most of my LDS library...It was extensive unfortunately(that's another story).I have read many commentaries and teachings by LDS scholars and leaders...I have read that the shoes, ring and robe are not mere tokens, but that they are in fact symbols of his station as an heir...This idea was discussed within an overall theme of Jewish custom and ceremony with regard to the treatment of individuals, such as servants, guests, and Lords or one might say heir...Please understand that this is not a dodge of the issue...I jsut don't have the resources any longer...perhaps this is enough for you to go on to further research it yourself...

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I don't see the references to which you refer- though the article does support your argument.

It is my understanding the ring, robe, and shoes were mere tokens- have you evidence to support the assertion that they were symbolic of a full restoration?

Yes, read the article--and then read the Parable again.

Luke 15

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

To us, they may seem like mere tokens, (I dare say other leaders who have interpreted this parable were certainly not aware of the significance) but in Jesus' day, they had real meaning and this meaning was clear to his hearers. They signified that the young man was restored to his position as an heir to his father. The older brother's reaction also bears out the significance of the fathers' act. His son is restored.

The law would deny us that inheritance- we cannot inherit the kingdom because we cannot dwell where the Father is.

We cannot endure his presence and he cannot abide ours so long as we are stained with sin.

I'm going to use your quote to illustrate my point- note the bolded text. We cannot be heirs unless justified by grace- grace that comes through Christ alone. As you admit later, we are not heirs except through Christ which was the point I was making above.

This is and has been my point all long. We have squandered our inheritance and cannot regain it except through the mercy and generosity of Christ.

I don't think we are disagreeing here. It is only through Christ that we are made heirs once again. That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is that you said there is no inheritance left. It was lost through sin and cannot be restored. If we were talking about an actual physical inheritance, then yes. But we aren't. Jesus was talking about our Father in Heaven and our heavenly inheritance. It can be restored when we are made perfect in Christ--heirs once again. And just as the father assured the faithful older brother, all that he has can be given to each of us--the blessings are unlimited.

And that is my point- as much as the Father wishes to restore the inheritance, he cannot and still remain just. It is only through the grace and love of our brother that we can be reclaimed and receive an inheritance.

Maybe I misunderstood you but earlier, you seemed to say that the inheritance was lost through sin and could not be restored. I'm disagreeing with this idea. Those who have interpreted the parable to mean that the prodigal has squandered his inheritance and the father has not made him an heir again...just welcomed him back in the family are incorrect--worse, they are placing limits on the power of the Atonement with this interpretation. A careful reading of the parable should make it clear that the father assures the older son that his inheritance is completely intact...but nowhere does he say that the prodigal gets nothing. Some have looked at the father's statement "all that I have is thine" and seen it as a finite amount of goods. To them, this means that the Prodigal is excluded. But why would we accept an interpretation which is contrary to the infinite nature of the atonement? As is made clear in the parable of the workers, we all get the same reward--all the father has; no matter how long we work--all day or one hour. We need to stop thinking of this parable in terms of a finite world--we are talking about our Father in Heaven who can grant infinite rewards to us.

We only lose our heirship through unrepentant sin. If we repent, we are restored--just as the prodigal son was.

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Those who have interpreted the parable to mean that the prodigal has squandered his inheritance and the father has not made him an heir again...just welcomed him back in the family are incorrect--worse, they are placing limits on the power of the Atonement with this interpretation. A careful reading of the parable should make it clear that the father assures the older son that his inheritance is completely intact...but nowhere does he say that the prodigal gets nothing. Some have looked at the father's statement "all that I have is thine" and seen it as a finite amount of goods. To them, this means that the Prodigal is excluded. But why would we accept an interpretation which is contrary to the infinite nature of the atonement? As is made clear in the parable of the workers, we all get the same reward--all the father has; no matter how long we work--all day or one hour. We need to stop thinking of this parable in terms of a finite world--we are talking about our Father in Heaven who can grant infinite rewards to us.

.

yep, yep.......

I think the interesting thing is where the parable ends. It doesn't end with the father going over terms and conditions with his sons-it ends with reassuring the good son but also making him look outside himself. It goes back to us losing ourselves to find ourselves. If we are to literally believe that all that the father has is the good sons, then he wouldn't have just gave the big ol' cow to his younger son for the par-tay! I think it's there we see the parable depart from the literal or else the dad is just coming off like a smooth talker.

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You and Fatherofone are still looking at it from the wrong perspective. Living the law of chastity actually benefits you. If you never commit serious sexual sin, then you will be better off for it. That is why living the law of chastity is so important. Sin hurts us--our spirit, our bodies, our minds--it is destructive.

God cannot look upon sin (any sin) with the least degree of allowance. The less we sin, the better off we are; spiritually, physically, mentally etc. Heavenly Father knows this and therefore he warns us against sin.

Those who "sow their wild oats" suffer the consequences for their actions, one way or another--but what I am saying is that these consequences cannot be eternal, or God is not being honest with us.

True repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ removes the stain of sin--completely. God says that when we repent, he remembers them no more. If he remembers them no more, how can he use them to determine our inheritance when it comes time for the final judgement. The way I see it, sins which we've truly repented of cannot be held against us--that's what it means to be justified and sanctified--we are made pure through the blood of Christ. Those who have committed serious sins and have repented are as pure and justified as those who never commited the sin.

You are right on here and I don't understand why they aren't getting it.

I believe the D&C 130:18-19 explains it clear enough. THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE TO STAYING CHASTE!!! that is all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you think there isn't. THERE IS. Also, whether or not the Father gives a party for the son who came back after living sinfully or not, doesn't change the fact that he spent his inheretance.

The inheretance is the 'advantage'. He spent that. The party is just a sign of full rejoicing in his return. Not all this halabaloo about symbols of this or that.

People who have sinned seem to try and make up anything to bring it back to (=) to . It doesn't work. You maybe spotless, without sin, but you have lost precious time and energy spent on self destructive activity. That isn't going to be brought back as if you didn't.

Once it was explain on a board somewhere, can't remember now, but there was some kind of demonstration with two bottles. They used white and black beads to represent good and bad things in the lives of the faithful son and the prodical.

In the one bottle they put in more black bead to represent the life of the prodical son. In the other the bottle filled up with white beads as it represented the brother who stayed and was faithful. Then the repentence process took place and both bottles were emptied of the black bead.

The one that represented the faithful was near full with white beads. The one that represented the sinner now repentant, was only half full.

Here is the advantage the older brother would have because of continued faithfulness.

Now consider this principle: If works do count and we say that they do and it isn't just faith that brings us full salvation-- then we must admit that the good works done by the faithful, while the sinner is doing evil deeds, makes a difference as well.

Otherwise, we are preaching a gospel that doesn't judge works and continual faithfulness. This would wreck havoc upon all of the teachings of Christ.

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The key to the perable might be the very fact that the household is the Celestial Kingdom of god. Until the sons eventual return back to heaven, he was cosidered dead and lost. When we come to this earth we have in a sense our birthright- our inheritance. It is our agency. But as we begin to sin we give up that right by falling into satans chains. So in effect, what we are after is the ability and freedom - our birthright given back or restored to us. All the while we feel that we are unworthy- even after we have repented and returned. This shows that we have become like God, we have become humbled and have genuine sincere knowledge that we truly don't deserve a reward because we feel unworthy. This is the state of the genuine meek people who inherit the earth, people who recognize that we are helpless after we sin and only then wish for even a parcel to be restored.

Note also that outside of the Celestial Kingdom, there is no inheritance whatsoever. So in truth, like has already been mentioned, it is only through returning back to the Celestial Kingdom that our birthright is restored, otherwise we are dead and lost.

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The key to the perable might be the very fact that the household is the Celestial Kingdom of god. Until the sons eventual return back to heaven, he was cosidered dead and lost. When we come to this earth we have in a sense our birthright- our inheritance. It is our agency. But as we begin to sin we give up that right by falling into satans chains. So in effect, what we are after is the ability and freedom - our birthright given back or restored to us. All the while we feel that we are unworthy- even after we have repented and returned. This shows that we have become like God, we have become humbled and have genuine sincere knowledge that we truly don't deserve a reward because we feel unworthy. This is the state of the genuine meek people who inherit the earth, people who recognize that we are helpless after we sin and only then wish for even a parcel to be restored.

Note also that outside of the Celestial Kingdom, there is no inheritance whatsoever. So in truth, like has already been mentioned, it is only through returning back to the Celestial Kingdom that our birthright is restored, otherwise we are dead and lost.

So the Father represents God and the Older Brother Christ? Because they would be the only two there? Of course that makes the prodical son= Satan?

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Rob can speak for himself, but I don't see where you are getting the idea that Jesus is the Older son and the Prodigal is Satan. The prodigal repents and I don't know anywhere in scripture or even in the speculative comments of past leaders that says Satan will repent one day. If you've got something for this, I'm interested in hearing it.

The Father in the parable represents God the Father. The prodigal represents the person who makes serious mistakes and then later repents, humbles himself and returns to god. The older son represents the person who has remained faithful and has avoided making serious mistakes in his/her life.

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The parable can, on a certain level, represent The Father, Christ as the elder, always faithful brother, and each one of us as the prodigal son.

Through this lense, we can understand that the faithful brother's inheritance is not lessened by the return of the wayward brother-just as Christ's inheritance is not lessened when it is shared with us.

As has been said, i think this parable has many levels of understanding and none are altogether right and altogether wrong, which is what is so great about parables.

:P

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The parable can, on a certain level, represent The Father, Christ as the elder, always faithful brother, and each one of us as the prodigal son.

Through this lense, we can understand that the faithful brother's inheritance is not lessened by the return of the wayward brother-just as Christ's inheritance is not lessened when it is shared with us.

As has been said, i think this parable has many levels of understanding and none are altogether right and altogether wrong, which is what is so great about parables.

:P

While this sounds nice, it just doesn't square with the parable. Look at the context in which the parable was given.

Luke 15:

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

2 And the Pharisees and scribies murmured , saying, this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them...

Jesus then tells the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and says, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

Then he tells the parable of the prodigal son.

It is clear this parable is about the lost and sinful among us who repent and the worth of souls.

Also, the older brother does not act in a way that Christ would act over the return of a prodigal sibling. See verse 28, the older brother's reaction at the return of his younger brother;

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

Would Jesus have ever been upset at the return of one of us? I don't think so--he was willing to die for us.

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You are right on here and I don't understand why they aren't getting it.

I believe the D&C 130:18-19 explains it clear enough. THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE TO STAYING CHASTE!!! that is all there is to it. It doesn't matter if you think there isn't. THERE IS. Also, whether or not the Father gives a party for the son who came back after living sinfully or not, doesn't change the fact that he spent his inheretance.

The inheretance is the 'advantage'. He spent that. The party is just a sign of full rejoicing in his return. Not all this halabaloo about symbols of this or that.

People who have sinned seem to try and make up anything to bring it back to (=) to . It doesn't work. You maybe spotless, without sin, but you have lost precious time and energy spent on self destructive activity. That isn't going to be brought back as if you didn't.

Once it was explain on a board somewhere, can't remember now, but there was some kind of demonstration with two bottles. They used white and black beads to represent good and bad things in the lives of the faithful son and the prodical.

In the one bottle they put in more black bead to represent the life of the prodical son. In the other the bottle filled up with white beads as it represented the brother who stayed and was faithful. Then the repentence process took place and both bottles were emptied of the black bead.

The one that represented the faithful was near full with white beads. The one that represented the sinner now repentant, was only half full.

Here is the advantage the older brother would have because of continued faithfulness.

Now consider this principle: If works do count and we say that they do and it isn't just faith that brings us full salvation-- then we must admit that the good works done by the faithful, while the sinner is doing evil deeds, makes a difference as well.

Otherwise, we are preaching a gospel that doesn't judge works and continual faithfulness. This would wreck havoc upon all of the teachings of Christ.

Are you a life-long member of the Church?

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While this sounds nice, it just doesn't square with the parable. Look at the context in which the parable was given.

Luke 15:

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

2 And the Pharisees and scribies murmured , saying, this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them...

Jesus then tells the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and says, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

Then he tells the parable of the prodigal son.

It is clear this parable is about the lost and sinful among us who repent and the worth of souls.

I agree.

What part of what i said disagrees with this?

I'm sorry, i'm not following you.

Also, the older brother does not act in a way that Christ would act over the return of a prodigal sibling. See verse 28, the older brother's reaction at the return of his younger brother;

28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

Would Jesus have ever been upset at the return of one of us? I don't think so--he was willing to die for us.

Of course not-which is why i said that in a 'sense' this parable can teach us about our relationship with our Father in Heaven and our inheritance in His kingdom.

I never meant to imply that the older brother in the parable acts in a Christ-like manner.

However, you do bring up a great point concerning what literally the parable teaches.

For example, in the parable-it is clear that there is no more inheritance for the prodigal son. 'All' that the Father has is given to the faithful son and the prodigal son has already wasted his portion. It is gone.

Strictly speaking-this parable implies that repentance cannot restore what our poor choices has lost.

But, we know that such is not the case in reality-which to me means that this parable was never MEANT to teach specifically about our inheritance in the Kingdom of God but was given to teach about self-righteousness, uncharitable reactions to the weaknesses of others and repentance of sins....

But just because those things are the reason that Christ spoke the parable to the pharisees does not mean that there aren't other spiritual teachings hidden inside it as well that may not perfectly fit all the parts of the parable but which can bring spiritual truth and understanding nevertheless.

:P

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For example, in the parable-it is clear that there is no more inheritance for the prodigal son. 'All' that the Father has is given to the faithful son and the prodigal son has already wasted his portion. It is gone.

Strictly speaking-this parable implies that repentance cannot restore what our poor choices has lost.

But, we know that such is not the case in reality-which to me means that this parable was never MEANT to teach specifically about our inheritance in the Kingdom of God but was given to teach about self-righteousness, uncharitable reactions to the weaknesses of others and repentance of sins....

But just because those things are the reason that Christ spoke the parable to the pharisees does not mean that there aren't other spiritual teachings hidden inside it as well that may not perfectly fit all the parts of the parable but which can bring spiritual truth and understanding nevertheless.

:P

I find this story really interesting to pick at too-when the father says "all" though, literally isn't that not true cause he just gave his wayward son the cow for his party? And that's part of the older brother's problem-the wayward son is getting stuff he is saying he never got? When the father says he is giving the older son "all," I think that all only works if he means in a non-literal or material way, cause the son is essentially calling him o ut for NOT giving him everything, and on top of it giving stuff away that he thinks should be his. Just a stab though-I haven't studied this story enough to really know or not.

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I find this story really interesting to pick at too-when the father says "all" though, literally isn't that not true cause he just gave his wayward son the cow for his party? And that's part of the older brother's problem-the wayward son is getting stuff he is saying he never got? When the father says he is giving the older son "all," I think that all only works if he means in a non-literal or material way, cause the son is essentially calling him o ut for NOT giving him everything, and on top of it giving stuff away that he thinks should be his. Just a stab though-I haven't studied this story enough to really know or not.

It could also be looked at as the Father promising what will be in the future-because it seems that the father had not given the elder son the inheritance yet-the father was still acting as the head of the household and sole owner of all it entailed-

Which is a bit like how the Father deals with us-He promises to give us all the moment we enter a covenant with Christ, but most of it is not actually given to us at that moment-but is still presided over and governed by Him and no doubt will be for quite a while, even after our death, until we are ready and prepared to receive it.

Again, not a perfect fit with the parable but some more food for thought.

:P

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Who is really lost in this story?

I think it's clear right from the beginning ("There was once a man who had two sons ...") that Jesus is highlighting the lives and attitudes of both sons and not just the "prodigal".

The context of the story where the Pharisees and other religious leaders were grumbling about Jesus' keeping company with "sinners" and treating them graciously, is important and evidently triggered this parable.

In the story of the lost sheep, the first of the three illustrative parables, Jesus talked about leaving the ninety-nine good and "safe" sheep and going out to find the one lost sheep; then celebrating and partying with neighbours when it was found.

In the second story of the lost coin, again the neighbours are invited to a party when the tenth coin that had been lost is found.

It seems to me that Jesus is emphasizing the joyous, celebratory "party" nature of a person turning to God and finding salvation in Him. (Reminds me of the times Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a feast where people are invited, but only some come. Or of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.)

Then there's the big celebratory feast when the prodigal son returns. I find it rather ominous that the older brother stalked off in self-righteous anger and refused to come in to the party. It seems that he didn't want to listen to his father even when the Father reassured him of His commitment to him and expectation that the older brother would become part of the celebration.

I don't want to read too much into it about whether or not the older brother came in or stayed outside, and just what the implications would be if he didn't join the party. But it seems to me that the attitude of the older brother was likely Jesus' focal point when He saw and responded to the resentment of the self-righteous Pharisees.

One of the things that I most love about this beautiful story is that the unconditional, gracious and generous love of the Father comes through so clearly. I love how tenderly He speaks with both of His sons.

And I love the immediacy and freedom and simplicity of one's reconciled relationship with God, as in the Father's words: "Your brother was dead and now he's alive. He was lost, and now he's found!"

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Paloma, I think you have summed up the lesson which Jesus was teaching in this parable quite nicely. I especially took note of this remark;

I don't want to read too much into it about whether or not the older brother came in or stayed outside, and just what the implications would be if he didn't join the party. But it seems to me that the attitude of the older brother was likely Jesus' focal point when He saw and responded to the resentment of the self-righteous Pharisees.

There was a clear message directed to the Pharisees for the disdainful attitude they held for the publicans and sinners who flocked to Jesus to hear his teachings. That message is also clear to those today who self-righteously judge that the prodigals among us receive "no inheritance" from the father. That a prodigal, no matter how repentant and changed, is of lesser value to the father than the steadfast--the "ninetyandnine".

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Yes, read the article--and then read the Parable again.

Luke 15

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

To us, they may seem like mere tokens, (I dare say other leaders who have interpreted this parable were certainly not aware of the significance) but in Jesus' day, they had real meaning and this meaning was clear to his hearers. They signified that the young man was restored to his position as an heir to his father. The older brother's reaction also bears out the significance of the fathers' act. His son is restored.

I don't think we are disagreeing here. It is only through Christ that we are made heirs once again. That is not in dispute. What is in dispute is that you said there is no inheritance left. It was lost through sin and cannot be restored. If we were talking about an actual physical inheritance, then yes. But we aren't. Jesus was talking about our Father in Heaven and our heavenly inheritance. It can be restored when we are made perfect in Christ--heirs once again. And just as the father assured the faithful older brother, all that he has can be given to each of us--the blessings are unlimited.

Maybe I misunderstood you but earlier, you seemed to say that the inheritance was lost through sin and could not be restored. I'm disagreeing with this idea. Those who have interpreted the parable to mean that the prodigal has squandered his inheritance and the father has not made him an heir again...just welcomed him back in the family are incorrect--worse, they are placing limits on the power of the Atonement with this interpretation. A careful reading of the parable should make it clear that the father assures the older son that his inheritance is completely intact...but nowhere does he say that the prodigal gets nothing. Some have looked at the father's statement "all that I have is thine" and seen it as a finite amount of goods. To them, this means that the Prodigal is excluded. But why would we accept an interpretation which is contrary to the infinite nature of the atonement? As is made clear in the parable of the workers, we all get the same reward--all the father has; no matter how long we work--all day or one hour. We need to stop thinking of this parable in terms of a finite world--we are talking about our Father in Heaven who can grant infinite rewards to us.

We only lose our heirship through unrepentant sin. If we repent, we are restored--just as the prodigal son was.

Could you show a scripture reference that says all will be restored to you after you have sinned and then repented?

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