Power Over Death

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Question: Did the Savior have power over death?

Answer: “Jesus Christ was foreordained in the premortal council to be our Savior and Redeemer. He came to earth and willingly suffered and died to redeem all mankind from the negative effects of the Fall and to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus Christ’s triumph over spiritual and physical death by His suffering, death, and Resurrection is called the Atonement. His sacrifice benefits each of us and demonstrates the infinite worth of each and every one of Heavenly Father’s children.

“It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be saved because He was the only one capable of making an infinite and eternal Atonement for all mankind. Only He had the power to overcome physical death. From His mortal mother, Mary, He inherited the ability to die. From God, His immortal Father, He inherited the power to live forever or to lay down His life and to take it up again. He alone could redeem us from our sins. Because He lived a perfect, sinless life, He was free from the demands of justice and could pay the debt for those who repent.

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“In paying the penalty for our sins, Jesus Christ did not eliminate our personal responsibility. In order to accept His sacrifice, be cleansed from our sins, and inherit eternal life, we must exercise faith in Him, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure faithfully to the end of our lives.” (Atonement of Jesus Christ, Doctrinal Mastery Core Document, 2018)

John 10:17-18

17 Therefore (for this reason) doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself (no one can take my life from me, rather, I will give my life intentionally). I have power to lay it down (to leave my body), and I have power to take it again (I have power to resurrect). This commandment have I received of my Father. (This is what my Father asked me to do.)

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Elder Russell M. Nelson:

Now we come to the third pillar of God’s plan, the Atonement. Just as Adam and Eve were not to live forever in the Garden of Eden, so our final destination was not to be planet earth. We were to return to our heavenly home.

Given that reality, still another change was necessary. An infinite atonement was required to redeem Adam, Eve, and all of their posterity. That atonement must enable our physical bodies to be resurrected and changed to a bloodless form, no longer liable to disease, deterioration, or death.

According to eternal law, that atonement required a personal sacrifice by an immortal being not subject to death. Yet He must die and take up His own body again. The Savior was the only one who could accomplish this. From His mother He inherited power to die. From His Father He obtained power over death. The Redeemer so explained:

“I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

“No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17–18).

The Lord declared that “this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). He who had created the earth came into mortality to fulfill the will of His Father and all prophecies of His atonement. And His atonement redeems every soul from penalties of personal transgression, on the condition of repentance.

Thus, we might speak of the Atonement in terms of the immortal creation. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).

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Source: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 66; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 1, Volume 2, by David J. Ridges, 294; Excerpts from General Conference, Ensign, November 1993, “Constancy amid Change,” by Elder Russell M. Nelson.