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Main Page > Bible References > Three Degrees of Glory


Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery's Vision of the 3 Degrees of Glory

Bible References to The Three Degrees of Glory








In 1832, it was revealed to Joseph Smith, his counselor Sydney Rigdon, and other subsequent prophets that after we die, go to the spirit world, and are judged, we will be received into one of three Kingdoms. These are collectively referred to as the Three Degrees of Glory. The lowest kingdom is called the Telestial Kingdom. This will be the world all those who rejected Christ and never repented of their sins will go. The next highest is the Terrestrial Kingdom. This will be where those who accepted Christ, but didn't endure to the end and never fulfilled all the saving ordinances will go. The highest kingdom, where God the Father lives, is called the Celestial Kingdom. This will be the world where all those who accepted Christ, endured to the end and received all the saving ordinances will go.
The concept of three kingdoms makes the judgments of God more fair and just. This way, people who lived good lives but never fully accepted the gospel of Christ will still receive a fitting reward, and those who long suffered, sacrificed and endured to the end will receive the highest possible reward, Eternal Life with God.
Here are the verses in the bible that make reference to these different Kingdoms.

Matthew 13:43
"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
I included this reference because it's almost an esoteric reference to the Celestial Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the Celestial Kingdom. The Celestial Kingdom is referred to symbolically in the scriptures as the Glory of the Sun. Jesus, teaching in parables, says in this verse that the righteous in the Kingdom of God the Father will shine like they were the sun, or part of the Glory of the Sun. What makes me think this is an esoteric reference is that He ends it by saying "who hath ears to hear, let him hear,"like the believers should understand his subtle Celestial reference.


John 14:2
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Notice Jesus isn't just saying "My Father's only Kingdom is a big place". He is alluding, if not outright saying, that there are many mansion, ergo, different kingdoms in store for us. Like He said, if this were not so He would have told us.


2 Corinthians 12:2
"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven."
In this verse Paul is teaching of a third heaven, implying that there is more than one eternal destination, and hierarchical glories.


1 Corinthians 15:40-41
"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory."
Paul is teaching about the resurrection. In verse 40 he teaches that people will be resurrected into one of three bodies: a Celestial body, a Terrestrial body, and assumable a Telestial Body. These body we're resurrected into will correspond with the glory and kingdom we receive. Notice the next verse blatantly teaches that there is one glory of the sun (The Celestial Kingdom), another glory of the moon (The Terrestrial Kingdom), and a glory of the stars (The Telestial Kingdom). The sun, moon, stars is obviously symbolic of the hierarchy in glory of the kingdoms.



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"The theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is comprehensive, universal, merciful, and true. Following the necessary experience of mortal life, all sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory. The righteous—regardless of current religious denomination or belief—will ultimately go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any of us can comprehend. Even the wicked, or almost all of them, will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory. All of that will occur because of God’s love for his children and because of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands”(D&C 76:43)"
Elder Dallin H. Oaks




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