Joseph Smith-Matthew (Part 1)

I learned in my study of the Doctrine and Covenants, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, was given the commandment to translate parts of the bible. This is because, there are parts of the modern-day Bible which were lost through the work of men. The King James version of the Bible is only partially translated correctly. If we are to learn the true gospel of Christ from these scriptures, than it was necessary for a translation to be done by the power of God, not the hands of men. In Doctrine and Covenants 45, the Lord revealed things about the second coming, but then Joseph Smith received the revelation to translate in order to learn more. Doctrine and Covenants 45:60-62 says the following:

60 And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;
61 Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
62 For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;

Joseph Smith knew that he would be given the opportunity to translate more of the scriptures by the power of God, and this revelation told him he was now able to translate the New Testament. This portion of the Pearl of Great Price, is specifically the translation of Matthew 23:39 through 24:51. I have not started my study of the New Testament yet, but I look forward to it in the future.

At this point in Matthew, the Lord, Jesus Christ has been speaking to the multitude and his disciples, and chastising the scribes and pharisees for their hypocrisy. Then he goes into explaining what the future of Jerusalem will be. Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:1 reads:

1 For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God. (emphasis on changes from the KJV – King James Version)

The Savior told the people that he was the Messiah, who the prophets had written about. He said that he would come again as a resurrected and glorified being, or in other words, he taught that there would be a second coming. When the Savior comes again, their will be angels with Him. I hope that if I am not on the earth when this amazing event occurs, that I will be among those righteous saints who have died and have the privilege of returning with the Lord. I believe that this is true and I look forward to this great time with so much hope and anticipation.

2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.
3 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. (emphasis on changes from the KJV)

The Savior had previously told his disciples that the temple would be thrown down. He questions why they can not understand what he has said. I think that he says this because they have witnessed his great miracles, but they weren’t still weren’t believing all of his words. The Savior, as the master teacher, begins to teach them again. He told them that the temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed completely. I can understand why this may have seemed a difficult thing for them to understand, because the temple was built so strong that the Jews believed it would never fall. It is my understanding that when it did eventually fall, it took a long time and a great deal of effort for the Romans to destroy it. I am blessed to have the ability to believe on the testimony of others when I am living worthy of the spirit, so when the prophets and church leaders tell us something that will happen, I do not have a need to question it. I imagine, however, that there are a lot of other righteous people, who want to live the gospel fully, but may have a difficult time believing the things that we have been told will happen before the second coming. This is not an easy thing for everyone and I know that we will be tested with how prepared we are when the time comes. I think that those who are obedient even when they do not understand, will have great blessings for their faithfulness.

4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?
5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
6 For many shall come in my name, saying—I am Christ—and shall deceive many;
7 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake;
8 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another;
9 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;
10 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold;
11 But he that remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.

Now his disciples want to know when the destruction of Jerusalem will occur. They also wanted to know what the signs of the second coming would be. The Lord taught them that there would be many people who would try to lead the righteous astray. There would be false prophets and those pretending to be Christ. He taught them that they would not have it easy, because of their choice to follow Christ. I believe that there were several false prophets and such, who helped to bring sorrow and death to the disciples of Christ.

Part of the signs of His coming, which is seems were the same signs of the destruction of Jerusalem, will be the continual growth of wickedness in the world. More people will take offenses easily, more of the righteous will be afflicted for their choices and beliefs, more people will betray, hate, and deceive others, and so on. Those who take offense are more likely those who know the truth, but use something as an excuse to fall away from the gospel and the church. The promise the Lord gives is that those who are faithful and strong in the gospel, will be saved.

12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.
13 Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains;
14 Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house;
15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;
16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days;
17 Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;
18 For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of their kingdom until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel.
19 All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them.
20 And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.
21 Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;
22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
23 Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet.

The Lord taught them that in the day of destruction, those who were righteous and believed His words, should flee to safety without looking back. If they waited too long, such as into the winter or on the Sabbath, which is the day of rest, they would suffer for their choice. According to my study, the faithful saints did flee and were saved from the destruction. It is true that this was only an early portion of the suffering of the Jews. Since then, many Jews have been persecuted, afflicted, and killed by others.

The Lord teaches that after the destruction of Jerusalem, more wicked people would come claiming to be Christ and the saints are not to believe them. There are people today who claim to be the Savior, and we must be worthy of the spirit and listen to the prophets, to have help in discerning that they are not true. The closer we get to the second coming, the harder it will be for the righteous to not be deceived if their guard is down. This teaching is for our sake. Those of us who have made sacred covenants with God, must be constantly on guard. The wickedness of Satan and his followers can be very tempting and alluring to even the best of us. I am grateful to have the teachings of the Savior in His gospel, which can help to keep us safe.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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