Romans 11:1 I also am an Israelite...of the tribe of Benjamin
After the 10 tribes were sacked and taken north by the Assyrians (circa 722 BC), the two tribes left over were Judah and Benjamin. These two tribes comprised the kingdom of Judah. Most of the Jews in Paul's day would have descended from one of these two tribes. There would have been a few descendants of other tribes as well, particularly Levi, Ephraim, and Manasseh (1 Chron. 9:2-3). Regardless of the tribe, members of the house of Israel considered themselves "Jews." Hence, Paul referred to himself as 'a Jew of Tarsus' (Acts 21:39) even though he was more specifically of the tribe of Benjamin. His Israelite descent is important to demonstrate his loyalty to the Jews in spite of his teachings that demonstrate the apostasy of his people (v. 8-10, 17, 25).
Romans 11:5-6 Even so...there is a remnant according to the election of grace
Neal A. Maxwell
"The foreseeing of those who will accept the gospel in mortality, gladly and with alacrity, is based upon their parallel responsiveness in the premortal world. No wonder the Lord could say, as he did to Jeremiah, 'Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; ... and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations' (Jer. 1:5). Paul, when writing to the Saints in Rome, said, 'God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew' (Rom. 11:2). Paul also said of God that 'he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world' (Eph. 1:4).
"The Lord, who was able to say to his disciples, 'Cast the net on the right side of the ship' (John 21:6), knew beforehand that there was a multitude of fishes there. If he knew beforehand the movements and whereabouts of fishes in the little Sea of Tiberias, should it offend us that he knows beforehand which mortals will come into the gospel net?
"It does no violence even to our frail human logic to observe that there cannot be a grand plan of salvation for all mankind, unless there is also a plan for each individual. The salvational sum will reflect all its parts.
"Once the believer acknowledges that the past, present, and future are before God simultaneously-even though we do not understand how-then the doctrine of foreordination may be seen somewhat more clearly." ("A More Determined Discipleship," Ensign, Feb. 1979, 71)
Romans 11:6 if by grace, then is it no more of works
"Election is without earthly works because calls are by definition prior to the task for which the call is made. Paul testifies that 'Israel shall be saved,' showing that the 'election' or 'calling of God' will not fail (Rom. 11:26-29). But that is prophecy, not predetermination. For most of Israel then had temporarily failed, suffering 'blindness in part . . . until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in' (Rom. 11:25)." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 191 - 192.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Paul here tells how the election of grace fits into the gospel scheme. His Roman readers knew what he was talking about because they already understood the doctrine of election. Since the sectarian world has little or no comprehension of pre-existence and eternal progression, upon which doctrines the principles of election are based, it is no wonder that these and other teachings of Paul are so completely misconstrued by them.
"'...This election of grace is a very fundamental, logical, and important part of God's dealings with men through the ages. To bring to pass the salvation of the greatest possible number of his spirit children the Lord, in general, sends the most righteous and worthy saints to earth through the lineage of Abraham and Jacob. This course is a manifestation of his grace or in other words his love, mercy, and condescension toward his children.
"'This election to a chosen lineage is based on pre-existent worthiness and is thus made `according to the foreknowledge of God.` (1 Pet. 1:2.) Those so grouped together during their mortal probation have more abundant opportunities to make and keep the covenants of salvation, a right which they earned by pre-existent devotion to the cause of righteousness. As part of this election, Abraham and others of the noble and great spirits were chosen before they were born for the particular missions assigned them in this life. (Abra. 3:22-24; Rom. 9.)
"As with every basic doctrine of the gospel, the Lord's system of election based on pre-existent faithfulness has been changed and perverted by an apostate Christendom. So absurd have been the false conclusions reached in this field that millions of sincere though deceived persons have devoutly believed that in accordance with the divine will men were pre-destined to receive salvation or damnation which no act on their part could change....' (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., pp. 216-217.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 2: 274.)
Romans 11:8 the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear
See Isa. 6:9-10; 29:10.
Spencer W. Kimball
"The ancient prophets knew that after the darkness there would come light. We live in that light-but do we fully comprehend it? With the doctrines of salvation easily within our grasp, I fear that some are still overcome with the 'spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear.' (Rom. 11:8.)" ("How Rare a Possession-The Scriptures," Ensign, July 1985, 4)
Romans 11:11 through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles
Brigham Young and Willard Richards
"God elected or chose the children of Israel to be His peculiar people, and to them belong the covenants and promises, and the blessings received by the Gentiles come through the covenants to Abraham and his seed; for through the unbelief of the Jews (Rom. 11:17) they were broken off, and the Gentiles were grafted in; but they stand by faith (Rom. 11:20), and not by the oath of election (see Gen. 22:16 - 18); therefore it becometh them to fear lest they cease quickly to bear fruit and be broken off (Rom. 11:21) that the Jews may be grafted in again; for they shall be grafted in again (Rom. 11:23), if they abide not in unbelief.
The Gentiles became partakers of the blessings of election and promises, through faith and obedience, as Peter says, writing to the strangers scattered abroad (1 Peter, 1st chap.), who were the Gentiles, the 'elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience;' (1 Peter, 2:9)." (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4: 261.)
Romans 11:13 I am the apostle of the Gentiles
"The Jerusalem council was held in about A.D. 49-50. At that time Paul received a special commission to 'go unto the heathen' to preach the gospel. (Gal. 2:9.) He refers to this commission in Romans 11:13: 'For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles.' He spent most of his time and effort traveling throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. He made three major journeys as a missionary and another journey from Jerusalem to Rome as a prisoner of the state. He also contemplated a journey to Spain, but we do not know if he was able to bring it about. (Rom. 15:24-28.)
"The chief areas of Paul's missionary activity throughout the Empire include visits to large centers of population, such as Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, the cities of Galatia (Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra), Antioch of Syria, and Rome. In each area he was intent on teaching especially the Gentiles, but he did not neglect his Jewish brethren, and in every city where possible he entered the synagogues and taught. (Acts 17:1-2.) Furthermore, a synagogue would be the best place to find Gentile proselytes who were ready for the gospel. They would have Gentile relatives and friends; the referral system for Gentiles would begin at the Jewish synagogue." (Robert J. Matthews, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 6: Acts to Revelation, ed. by Robert L. Millet, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 42.)
Romans 11:13 I magnify mine office
Delbert L. Stapley
"Sometimes we hear brethren refer to 'magnifying the priesthood.' While many of us are guilty of making this erroneous statement, it isn't the priesthood we magnify; it is one's office and calling in the priesthood. It cannot be enlarged upon because there is no authority or power greater in the universe.
"To magnify is to intensify, to increase in significance, to enlarge upon, and to cause to be held in greater esteem or respect.
"President Joseph F. Smith said, 'There is no office growing out of this Priesthood that is or can be greater than the Priesthood itself. It is from the priesthood that the office derives its authority and power. No office adds to the power of the Priesthood. But all offices in the church derive their power, their virtue, their authority, from the priesthood.' (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 148)" (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 333)
Romans 11:15 Paul Paraphrased
"For if the casting away of the Jews is demonstrated by their reconciliation with the ways of the world, how will it be in the last days when the Jews are received again as God's covenant people? Won't it be a moment of great joy as when a loved one is brought back to life? Will we not then rejoice as the prodigal's father declaring, For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found? (Lu. 15:24)"
Romans 11:16-21 The house of Israel is likened unto an olive tree
"In Paul's allegory, the cultivated olive (kallielaios) is Israel, from which some of the branches were broken off (usually understood as Jews who rejected Christ, and so lost their place as God's people), while shoots of the wild olive (agrielaios) were grafted in their place (interpreted as the inclusion of Gentiles in the people of God). Eventually, however, God is able to graft the natural branches back into their own stock (Jews who 'do not persist in their unbelief' will be restored, and so 'all Israel will be saved'). The stock remains the same; it is only in the branches that changes occur. Similarly Israel, the people of God, is a continuous entity (cf. the Old Testament use of the olive as a symbol for Israel), but its membership is subject both to the exclusion of native Israelites and the inclusion of the alien stock of Gentile believers." (Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch, eds., The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5 [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994], 467.)
"There is no finer statement in all of holy writ as to God's infinite love and patience with Israel than the allegory of Zenos (Jacob 5). Jacob, the brother of Nephi, delivered this metaphorical marvel-unfolded this 'mystery' (see Romans 11:25; 16:25; Ephesians 3:3)-to his people as a means of dramatizing Jehovah's tender regard for his chosen people over the millennia of their existence. 'How merciful is our God unto us,' Jacob exclaimed in retrospect, 'for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long.' In pleading fashion, Jacob applied the symbolism of the allegory and encouraged his people to 'cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you' (Jacob 6:4-5). It may well be that Paul the apostle was drawing upon his knowledge of the allegory of Zenos when he wrote his epistle to the Saints at Rome." Robert L. Millet, The Power of the Word: Saving Doctrines from the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 30.)
"It takes little or no imagination to see a connection between Jacob 5 and Romans 11:8-24. Both texts use the olive tree to explain God's salvation of Israel, and in both texts the metaphor of grafting is central...Both of these passages use the metaphor of grafting to discuss the same theme, the restoration of Israel. As part of that discussion, both Romans and Jacob use the idea of grafting as part of a discussion of the remnant of Israel reserved to God, a discussion that answers the question of whether Israel's apostasy means that she has been rejected. And both passages focus on the operation of grace in the work of Israel's salvation. That there is a connection between these two passages of scripture is obvious." (James E. Faulconer, The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5, ed. by Stephen D. Ricks and John W. Welch, [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994], 347.)
Romans 11:20 thou standest by faith. Be not highminded
Neal A. Maxwell
"The pervasiveness of pride and the degree to which it is persistent in our lives must ever put us on guard, reminding us, as did Paul, not to be 'highminded,' for we 'stand by faith.' (Romans 11:20.) Faith dissolves very quickly when meekness disappears and pride takes over. Thus, if pride is 'the first of the sins,' then meekness is a premiere virtue." (Meek and Lowly [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 50.)
Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee
'But there is a possibility that a man may fall from grace and depart from the living God; Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation.' DC 20:32
"Paul's letters also make it clear that 'the elect' can fall from grace and thus lose their reward. (See Rom. 11:17-21.) In fact, Paul claimed no guarantee of his own salvation; one of his favorite themes was the necessity of holding 'stedfast unto the end.' (Heb. 3:14; see also 1 Cor. 9:27.) Such constant exhortations to righteousness would hardly seem necessary if he had believed that human beings did not help determine their own eternal destinies by their conduct during mortality.
"From these scriptures, it seems clear that Paul did not believe in predestination-at least as a Calvinist defines the term." (Eldon R. Taylor, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Dec. 1990, 30)
Romans 11:22 otherwise thou also shalt be cut off
"It seems then that Paul understood, by the spirit of prophecy, that if the Gentiles apostatized, if they did not continue in the place where they were grafted, if they did not continue in the goodness of God, if they became highminded, they also were to be cut off, just as they have been for many long generations that are past; cut off from all the ancient blessings of the everlasting Gospel through the apostacy of their ancient fathers.
"But the Lord intends to make a change, and that change is to send forth this Gospel from heaven to be preached to the nations of the Gentiles, to give them one more chance, if they will have it, to bring in their fullness; and when that time has come, the servants of the Lord find that the balance of them harden their hearts and reject the Gospel of life and salvation, then the Lord will graft in all Israel, and they will be saved, being restored again to the tame olive tree, and bringing forth the fruits thereof. Thus will be fulfilled the ancient covenant that God made with them pertaining to the latter-days. Have you read that covenant that Paul quotes from? One of the ancient prophets, Jeremiah, delivered the prophecy, as recorded in the 31st chapter-'Behold the day shall come that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand and brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. And this is the covenant I will make with them saith the Lord-I will write my law in their hearts, print it in their thoughts, and they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.'" (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 18: 178.)
Romans 11:23 they...shall be graffed in; for God is able to graff them in again
"When the Gentiles reject the Gospel it will be taken from them, and go to the house of Israel, to that long suffering people that are now scattered abroad through all the nations upon the earth, and they will be gathered home by thousands, and by hundreds of thousands, and they will re-build Jerusalem their ancient city, and make it more glorious than at the beginning, and they will have a leader in Israel with them, a man that is full of the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost; but they are held now from this work, only because the fulness of the Gentiles has not yet come in. Tens of thousands among the Gentile nations will receive the Gospel, but the majority of them will reject it, and then the Jews will receive it; and it will go to them with all the gifts, blessings, and powers it possessed when it was taken from them." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 200.)
Romans 11:25 until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in
The times of the Gentiles began in the days of Paul when the gospel was preached to the Gentiles. The ministry of Joseph Smith has restored the fullness of the gospel so that the fullness of the Gentiles may be brought about. The term "fullness of the Gentiles" refers to the generation in which the fullness of the gospel is preached to the Gentiles-when the Gentiles as a whole reject the gospel, and the Jews begin to return again to the truth. See JS-Hist. 1:41, 1 Ne. 10:12-14, 1 Ne. 15:12-20, 3 Ne. 16:4-5, and DC 45:28-30.
Joseph Fielding Smith
"...the gospel...was first offered to the Jews and after they rejected it, then it was carried to the Gentiles and from among them branches of the Church were organized. In the dispensation in which we live, the second part of this prophecy by our Lord is being fulfilled. When the gospel was restored through the agency of Joseph Smith, it came first to the Gentiles and during the past one hundred and twenty years it has been proclaimed among the Gentile nations. It has not been carried to any extent to the Jews, and only a few have accepted it. In speaking to the saints at Rome, Paul said that 'blindness in part had happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles is come in.'-Rom. 11:25.
"In the meridian dispensation the Gentiles received the gospel from the Jews. In the dispensation of the Fulness of Times the gospel was restored to the Gentiles and has been preached to them first, and last it will go to the Jews, so the first are now last, and the last are now first. The times of the Gentiles have been since the gospel was carried to them by Paul and the other disciples until the present day, but the times of the Gentiles are near their close and soon the message will be taken to the Jews by their brethren who have come out of the Gentile nations. In a revelation to the Church given in March, 1831, the Lord said:
'And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel. But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' (DC 45:28-30)
"We may observe that the times of the Gentiles are rapidly nearing their close by watching the signs of the times. One of the first signs that the days of the Gentiles are nearing their close was given when Palestine was turned over to Great Britain and a Jewish state proclaimed. Another indication is the fact that the Jews are beginning to believe in Christ. They have not yet reached the point where they are willing to receive him as their Redeemer, and they will not, only here and there an individual, until Christ comes as their Deliverer. During the past one hundred years, however, there has come a wonderful change in belief and attitude on the part of our Jewish brethren towards Jesus Christ. One hundred years ago, they had no good words to say about him, but now many of their influential men accept him as one of their prophets. A remarkable thing about this is that Nephi prophesied and said: 'And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people.'-II Nephi 30:7." (The Restoration of All Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 164.)
"The time has at last arrived when the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has set His hand again the second time to recover the remnants of his people, which have been left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea, and with them to bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, and establish that covenant with them, which was promised when their sins should be taken away. See Isaiah 11, Romans 11:25, 26 and 27, and also Jeremiah 31:31, 32 and 33. This covenant has never been established with the house of Israel, nor with the house of Judah, for it requires two parties to make a covenant, and those two parties must be agreed, or no covenant can be made.
"Christ, in the days of His flesh, proposed to make a covenant with them, but they rejected Him and His proposals, and in consequence thereof, they were broken off, and no covenant was made with them at that time. But their unbelief has not rendered the promise of God of none effect: no, for there was another day limited in David, which was the day of His power; and then His people, Israel, should be a willing people;-and He would write His law in their hearts, and print it in their thoughts; their sins and their iniquities He would remember no more.
"Thus after this chosen family had rejected Christ and His proposals, the heralds of salvation said to them, 'Lo, we turn unto the Gentiles;' and the Gentiles received the covenant, and were grafted in from whence the chosen family were broken off: but the Gentiles have not continued in the goodness of God, but have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the Saints, and have broken the covenant in which their fathers were established (See Isaiah 24:5); and have become high-minded, and have not feared; therefore, but few of them will be gathered with the chosen family. Have not the pride, high-mindedness, and unbelief of the Gentiles, provoked the Holy One of Israel to withdraw His Holy Spirit from them, and send forth His judgments to scourge them for their wickedness? This is certainly the case." (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 313 - 314.)
Romans 11:24 thou...wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree
"Some Bible scholars have been quick to point out that Paul made an evident blunder here when he drew upon a symbol from the olive culture to make his point. While the grafting of branches from one olive tree to another so as to change the nature of the tree was a common practice, it was always done in the reverse order that Paul mentions; that is, a good branch from a tame olive tree could be grafted into a wild olive and make the wild olive tame. But if the process is reversed, so are the results. The tree is pulled in the direction of the grafted branches, not vice versa, as in Paul's little allegory. Therefore, these scholars conclude that Paul was ignorant of olive culture and made a rather obvious error in his symbol.
"But it is difficult to believe that a man as educated and well traveled as Paul would not know the basic facts of olive grafting, which were fairly commonly known in his time. The better explanation is that in the very paradox of the symbol he teaches profound and important doctrines. For one thing, the conversion of the gentiles (changing wild olives into tame) was contrary to the expectations of Israel and thus was not what one would expect to happen naturally. Secondly, Paul's symbol makes it clear that the source of nourishment is still the covenant that God made with Abraham (the roots of the tree). The power flows from the Abrahamic covenant and not from the gentiles. To reverse that symbolism would be contrary to the truth...The third point in Paul's defense is that he himself clearly indicates that he knew what he was saying was contrary to nature. The implication, therefore, is that he chose the paradoxical symbolism purposefully in order to teach the gentiles their true relationship to the covenant people." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 333-334)
Romans 11:26 all Israel shall be saved
Herein, Paul defines "Israel" not by blood lineage but by spiritual lineage. Hence, "Israel" refers to those who keep their covenants and are recipients of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By this definition, all of Israel shall be saved.
In latter days, the Lord has referred to church members in the same spiritual sense, saying even before the formal organization of the church, 'whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church' (DC 10:67). He didn't say those whose names are recorded as members of my church are 'my church.' He said those who repent and 'come unto me' are 'my church.' Just as Paul defined "Israel" by spiritual terms rather than literal ones, so has the Lord defined church membership by spiritual terms. By the spiritual definition, all the members of the church shall be saved. Similarly, by Paul's definition of Israel, all Israel shall be saved.
Bruce R. McConkie
"All Israel shall be justified; all Israel shall be saved-meaning, all those who keep the commandments shall be saved and justified, and those so doing shall be called by the name Israel. As Paul expressed it: 'They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: . . . That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not children of God.' (Rom. 9:6-8.) In the eternal sense, Israel consists of the members of the Church who keep the commandments and are thereby justified in this life and saved in the life to come. The wicked, of course, are not justified. (Alma 41:13-15.)" (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 345.)
Romans 11:29 Paul Paraphrased
"God doesn't make mistakes when he gives callings and spiritual gifts. God doesn't make mistakes with respect to the law of election."
Bruce R. McConkie
"Those ministers and preachers of righteousness who are given of God to proclaim his word to the world, and to perform their assigned labors in his earthly kingdom, are themselves endowed with special spiritual talents or gifts that enable them to perform their appointed work. These personal gifts are not earned, as far as this life is concerned. They do not result either from faith, repentance, and baptism, or from any special training in this life. Rather they are talents earned and acquired in preexistence, and at birth into mortality, they are given of God to those whom he foreordained to be his ministers. Hence, as Paul says, 'as concerning the gospel, . . . the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.' (Romans 11:28-29.) They are given to whomsoever the Lord wills." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 359.)
Romans 11:30-32 Paul Paraphrased
"The Gentiles were disbelieving yet have obtained mercy through the Jews' unbelief (for the lord of the vineyard would have had no reason to graft in the wild branches if the natural branches had continued to produce good fruit):
"Even so the Jews of today have been unbelieving, but in the last days the Jews will receive mercy through the Gentiles, for the Gentiles' grafting into the natural tree will preserve the roots thereof until the last days when the natural branches will again be grafted in again, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in...[and] it shall come by way of the Gentiles (1 Ne. 15:16-17)
"For God hath correctly judged them all as unbelieving, in that both the Jews and Gentiles at different times have been guilty of disbelief, but even this disbelief works to the glory of God in that all men, whether Jew or Gentile, may be received again by his great mercy."
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Dallin H. Oaks
"The scriptures declare and illustrate that God's thoughts are not man's thoughts and God's ways are not man's ways. The Lord taught this principle through the prophet Isaiah: 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.' (Isa. 55:8-9.)
"Through the prophet/king Benjamin, the Lord told his people to believe in God and 'believe that he has all wisdom, and . . . that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.' (Mosiah 4:9.) In that same spirit, the apostle Paul exclaimed: 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!' (Romans 11:33; see also D&C 76:2.)" (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 2.)
"We see, then, the power of God manifested in [the heavens]; but when we reflect a little further, that while our planetary system rolls in perfect order round the sun, there are other systems which perform their revolutions round their suns; and the whole of these, our system with its center, and other systems with their centers, roll round another grand center: and the whole of those, and innumerable others, equally as great, stupendous, and magnificent, roll round another more great, glorious, and resplendent, till numbers, magnificence, and glory, drown the thought, we are led to exclaim with the prophet, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!' Romans 11:33. "Rom. 11:33Without referring again to the motions of our earth, and the beautiful regularity and precision of the whole of this elegant machinery, we will turn our attention a little to the works of creation as found on the earth. The make, construction, and adaptation of each for its proper sphere, are the work of God; and they are all controlled by His wisdom and power, independent of man. In the conformation of the birds, the beasts, the fishes, the reptiles, the grains, herbs, plants, and trees, we see a striking exemplification of this fact. No matter which way we turn our attention, the same order and intelligence are displayed." (The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 4 - 5.)