Posts Tagged 'Apostasy'

1 Kings Chapter 12

Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, who began to rule once Solomon died. Solomon had been promised that his kingdom would no longer remain whole and under the rule of his family, but rather, that the kingdom would be split during the reign of his son, and ten of the tribes would leave to follow another ruler. That new ruler would be Jeroboam, who had been promised these things through the prophet. Those who ruled over the Israelites would be blessed if they were faithful to the Lord. This chapter tells of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made king over the people. Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt during the reign of Solomon, heard of this and returned to be there. Jeroboam and the Israelites asked for a lighter burden upon them, then they had with Solomon. In return, they promised to serve Rehoboam. He told the people to leave him for three days, and so they did.

6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Rehoboam sought the advice of the older men, or elders of Israel, that had served Solomon as his advisors. They told him that the people would remain loyal to him, if he would serve them and answer them with good words, which I think means to tell them he would do as they asked. Rehoboam ignored their advice, and then turned to the advisors of his own generation, who told him to say that he would be harder and harsher on them than his father had been.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him;
14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Jeroboam and the people returned after the third day, and he told them that he would make their burdens heaver and harder. He did not listen to the request of his people and this would lead to the fulfillment of the words of the prophet to Jeroboam.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

The Israelites were upset with his decision, and returned to their own homes feeling separated from the king and disenchanted with his kingdom. Rehoboam continued to rule over those who lived in Judah (and those near it, which included those from the tribe of Benjamin). He sent out his servant to collect tribute from the rest of Israel, but the people of Israel stoned him. Learning of the revolt of his people, Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem. The ten tribes turned from the house of David and instead turned to Jeroboam to be their king.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bc/images/03990_000_bible-map-3.pdf

21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
23 Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin were gathered under Rehoboam (the southern kingdom), and he made an army to fight against the men of Israel, so that he could bring the kingdom back together under his rule. Shemaiah, a prophet, was given revelation to tell Rehoboam not to go up and fight against their brothers, the Israelites, because this fight was not acceptable to the Lord. They listened to the word of the Lord and departed.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

Jeroboam, who now ruled over the ten tribes of Israel (the northern kingdom), built Shechem and lived there. He also built Penuel. Jeroboam worried that those of his people who wanted to worship would go to Jerusalem and turn to the Lord and possibly back to Rehoboam. He worried that this might lead to his own death and loss of the kingdom. So after taking counsel, he built two golden calves for the Israelites to worship, saying that they were the gods who brought the people out of Egypt. He led the people into worshiping these false gods. He called false priests who were not Levites. Jeroboam established their own feast like the feast which the Lord had established, and made sacrifices and offerings on an altar. So, Jeroboam ruled with the practice of idolatry, over the children of Israel. In this, they became an apostate nation.

This is yet another example of two things. First, the negative effects from deliberately choosing not to follow the counsel of our elders in favor of those who might say more of the words that are easier for us to hear. In his case, Rehoboam lost the united kingdom of Israel and would spend the rest of his days against those in the kingdom of Jeroboam. Rehoboam could have avoided this, if he had listened to the elders. Those who have wisdom that comes with age and years of service, especially in a time or area where people are trying to do what is right, are more likely to advise us to do things that are good and better for us. People in my life that would be better to listen to are my parents, church leaders, and older people who have the same standards as I do. I am so grateful for the spirit, which allows me the gift of discernment, when there are many opinions and voices trying to be heard.

The second example is the bad that can come from following leaders who are not righteous. Unrighteous rulers will most likely lead their people into a life of unrighteousness. Idolatry has never been acceptable to the one true and living God, and it results in eventual destruction of the wicked. It is important for followers of Christ, to be watchful for those who say things that are pleasing to hear and those who tempt others to turn to false idols of all kinds.

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Thinking About the Teachings of Paul

I know that in order to have true happiness, we must put God above all other things. It is difficult at times, to avoid getting caught up in things of the world. Sometimes we have really good priorities, or we are focused on really doing good things for others, but as soon as that things becomes more important that following the commandments or doing the things that God would have us do, we have given that thing place above God. I know that we may not be what is biblically seen as an idolatrous people, but really we slip into idolatry all the time.

I know that in putting God first, we are more prepared to do the will of God. I believe that we have the ability to have personal revelation for our lives and for those who we have stewardship over. I know that I can hear the promptings of the spirit much better, when I do not have the distractions of the world taking priority in my heart and mind. I am so glad that I have been able to feel the promptings of the spirit in my own life. I know that the blessings that come from following these promptings are faith-building and amazing.

I think that these worldly distractions are one step away from removing ourselves from following the gospel. Our own apostasy cannot be blamed on anyone else but ourselves, and we cannot overcome it by any other means than repentance and changing our own heart to be more like our Savior. We can guard against apostasy by being aware of the things that are temptations for us, by not being easily offended, and by focusing on building our testimony and sharing it with others. We can share our testimony through our words as well as through the kind things that we do for others.

I am grateful for the consistency of the gospel. That is a rock that I can depend on remaining the same no matter where I go. Because I know this, I can more easily recognize things that are designed to lead me astray. I have seen how the gospel can unify us and bring us together in peace and love. I am so grateful for the influence that it has in my life. I am grateful for righteous leaders who give me reminders of things that may need changing in my life. I love the opportunity to improve and be a better person. I am so glad that I have had humbling experiences, which have reminded me of the larger picture and how I fit in it.

D&C Section 114

This revelation was given through the prophet, Joseph Smith, regarding David W. Patten and callings in the church.

1 Verily thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world.
2 For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishopric. Amen.

The work of the Lord will continue to move forward whether we are there to serve or not. If we are faithful, we will have the opportunity to serve where the Lord wants us to, but if we are not faithful, others will be given the opportunity to serve. The mission that he was called to, was to serve in England. He was faithful and prepared himself to serve, but before he was able to go, he was asked to help some imprisoned saints in Missouri and he ended up getting shot and he died before he could serve his mission. I don’t think that this is anything against what the Lord had told him to do. I think that the preparations for him to serve, which required him to settle all his business, prepared him for the service he would do after his life. He is a good faithful example.

This revelation was necessary, at a time when all of the members of the Twelve Apostles would fall away from the gospel and many others would be tempted. The saints needed to know that the work would continue with those who were faithful. This is important still for us today, even though we do not have such obvious examples of this. No one will be free of the temptations of Satan, but we all have the power and ability to remain faithful through them. If we are not faithful, the Lord will remove us because his church will be righteous or it will not exist on the earth. This revelation was specifically for those who were in leadership positions who had the ability to persuade many to do wrong or to do right. I am glad to know that if I am faithful, the Lord will not allow my leaders to lead me in the wrong direction. It is good to trust in the righteousness of the gospel as a constant foundation in my life.

D&C Section 86

Historical Background

The prophet, Joseph Smith, had been working on the translation of the Bible. This revelation was received as he was editing the manuscript of the New Testament.

What Are Parables and Why Did Jesus Use Them?

The Bible Dictionary gives the following definition of Parable, “The parable conveys to the hearer religious truth exactly in proportion to his faith and intelligence; to the dull and uninspired it is a mere story, “seeing they see not,” while to the instructed and spiritual it reveals the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” . . . In parables divine truth is presented by comparison with material things.” The Savior often taught lessons in parables. I thought that the reason for this was so that principles would be easier to understand, but as I read this definition, it seems that He did this so that His followers would search deeper for the mysteries of God. The manual I am studying quotes Elder McConkie, “When opposition to his message became bitter and intense, the master Teacher chose to present many of the truths of salvation in parables in order to hide his doctrine from those not prepared to receive it. It was not his purpose to cast pearls before swine.”

Matthew 13:10-11:

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. . . .
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

The Savior gave the parable of the wheat and the tares, which was not easy to understand even in his day. He explained the meaning separately to his disciples, but the full meaning of this parable was saved for revelation in these latter days, through the prophet, Joseph Smith.

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

In Matthew 13 we read the parable of the wheat and the tares:

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

His disciples came to Jesus to learn the meaning of this parable:

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Section 86 begins:

1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.
4 But behold, in the last days, even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender—
5 Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;
6 But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also.
7 Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned.

So if we look again at the parable we can see the following:

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Part of the plan of salvation, is that the Lord, through his apostles, shared the gospel with the children of the kingdom of heaven in the world which He created, or rather the church was on the earth with his apostles.

25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

With the sleep of the first apostles, meaning their death, Satan and the great and abominable church influenced man to do his will and the great apostasy and wickedness was found in the world. The wickedness forced the righteous to be lost and caught up along with the ways of Satan.

26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

In the latter-days, the righteous began to come forward with the restoration, but the church was not strong when it was first restored. The faith of the early saints, was mocked and persecuted by those who followed Satan, even within the church.

27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

The angels of the Lord have told Him the things that have happened and have pleaded that they could save the righteous from the wicked. The Lord has known what Satan has done.

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The Lord told his angels to wait until the end of the world, because before then the faith of the righteous is still weak, and to destroy the wicked would also destroy some of righteous. The lord will send his angels to gather the righteous together when the right time has come. Then he will gather the wicked (those who offend and do iniquity) and bind them. Those who are wicked will wail and gnash their teeth as they are bound with Satan. The righteous will be noticeable by the light of Christ in them, and they will receive the great reward. Then the earth will be burned and renewed as a field after the harvest.

“The Angels Are Crying unto the Lord . . . to Be Sent Forth to Reap”

President Wilford Woodruff said that the time had come when the angels were sent forth to reap. We are currently living in this time. He said that there is a reason for the troubles of the earth, and it has to do with the angels preparing the world for the burning. We are now in the last days, and the end is near.

What Does It Mean to Be a “Lawful Heir According to the Flesh”?

Section 86 continues:

8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—
9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—
10 Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.

Those who are lawful heirs according to the flesh, are members of the house of Israel who have the right to the priesthood through their lineage. This is not where the priesthood comes from, but it is where the right to bear the priesthood comes from.

How Are the Saints a Light to the Gentiles and a Savior to Israel?

11 Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.

We can be a light to the Gentiles by sharing the gospel through our words and our actions. We can be a Savior to Israel in this same way, as well as when we do work for those who have passed on, in the temples of the Lord. This is a duty that members of the church have as soon as they make the covenants of baptism. When we do our best to further the Lord’s work, we are promised great blessings. I am looking forward with faith, to the coming of Christ. I want to continue to do His work on this earth and I hope that my testimony can touch souls who are seeking for the truth.

D&C Section 85

Historical Background

There had a been a question among some of the saints, regarding the Missouri saints who had not received their inheritances as expected. W. W. Phelps was one of those who had been sent to Independence, Missouri. The prophet, Joseph Smith, sent this revelation in a letter to brother Phelps.

Importance of Record Keeping in Missouri

“IT is the duty of the Lord’s clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop (v. 1); And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances (v. 2).”. There have been many times in the scriptures, where the Lord has reminded the prophets of the importance of keeping records. There have not been many exceptions to what should be written, other than some wondrous visions that were reserved for the prophets. Other than that, we should always keep records of our lives- testimonies, promptings, callings and so on.

Why Were Certain Genealogies Not to Be Kept?

” It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God (v. 3). Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church (v. 4). Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts (v. 5). . . . Therefore, it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as will be found recorded in the second chapter and sixty-first and second verses of Ezra (v. 12).”

The unfaithful of the church, will be removed from the records of the church that will be used in the day of judgment. In Ezra 2:61-62 we read, “And of the children of the priests . . . which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name (v. 61): These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood (v. 62).” Those who did not keep their covenants would no longer have the priesthood or be recorded with the church. This continues to be a warning today, for all those who have made covenants with the Lord. God does not look kindly on breaking covenants made with Him. If we choose to be disobedient and refuse to repent of our wrongs and return to him, we will also be cut off from His church.

Who Is the “One Mighty and Strong”?

“Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying (v. 6): And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God (v. 7); While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning (v. 8 ).”

In the time of this revelation, many of the saints who had been called up to live the law of consecration in Missouri, were not living righteously and were not receiving their inheritances. Specifically the man who had been “called of God of God and appointed”, Bishop Edward Partridge, was not magnifying his calling. He was living his own way and he was in effect trying to steady the ark of God. In this revelation, it was said that “one mighty and strong” would set things right and this was a warning of the one who would be called to replace the bishop. According to the institute manual that I am studying, this warning brought repentance to Bishop Partridge and he returned to following the words of the prophet instead of doing things his own way.

It can be pretty easy to look at the lives of the early saints and point out the flaws and the things that were sure to cause falling away, but we do these exact things today. There are many times when members of the gospel, act as though they would do things better than those who are called by the Lord. When we begin to behave this way with our church leaders, even our local leaders, we are also trying to steady the ark. The Lord has called that person, so that they can do His will. They have been blessed with the right to have inspiration from God in that calling. We may think that we know better, but it is probably not true. If our leaders are faithful people, we need to follow them without assuming that we know better.

Why Are Individuals Still Claiming to Be the “One Mighty and Strong”?

Those who have fallen away because they believe they know better than the church leaders, often times try to lead others astray. In the manual I am studying it says that many of those people, have claimed that they are fulfilling this revelation and putting the church right. I think that this claim is just a way for them to justify their own sins. I have received the personal revelation to know that the general leaders of the church and my local leaders, are called of God. I know that I may not understand why things are done a certain way at all times, but I also understand that my focus needs to be on doing my calling the way that I have been asked to do it. I trust that if anyone takes it upon themselves to lead in a way that is not according to the will of God, that they will be removed from that calling. I have faith, that God will keep his promises and I will not be lead astray as long as I remain faithful.

How Can a Person’s Claim to Revelation for Church Leadership Be Tested?

The promise has been given that no one, other then the person who has been called to a position, will receive revelations for that calling. Only the prophet will receive the revelations for the directing of the entire church, because that is his calling. If anyone else ever claims to have this authority, they are trying to deceive others. The promise of this can be found in D&C 43, “For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand (v. 2). And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me (v. 3). But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead (v. 4). And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments (v. 5); And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me (v. 6).”

What Does It Mean to “Steady the Ark of God”

“And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die (Numbers 4:15).” Those who were called to bear the ark of God, were told that they were not to touch it, or they would die. In 2 Samuel 6 we read, “And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims (v. 3). And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart (v. 4). . . . And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it (v. 6). And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God (v. 7).” I do not thing that Uzzah had bad intentions when he tried to steady the ark, but in that moment he felt that his actions would be better than the commandment they had been given and the power of God. God, being just and true, followed through with his promise and Uzzah died.

The manual I am studying goes further to explain that the ark of God represented God on the earth and as such, could not be touched by anything that was not clean. I think that if any person was to enter the presence of God and not be clean, the result would also be death.

Regarding those who try to “steady the ark of God”, section 85 continues, “And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth (v. 9). . . And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High (v. 11);”.

Anyone who feels they know better then what has been revealed as the purposes of God or who apostatizes from the church, in a sense attempts to steady the ark of God. They try to make the work of God better in their own way. God will not allow any man to get in the way of His work. The consequences would include no inheritance in life or death.

I know that this warning is for all people even today. We need to learn and remember that there is nothing that we could do that would make the plan of God better. He is all knowing and all powerful and there is no need to change what he has revealed because it is truth and it is beautiful and perfectly eternal. Our duty in this life, is to move His work forward, not to change it. The righteous are to be instruments in His hands, to bring the gospel truths to all people and to work continually toward the salvation of souls. It is not work that we follow blindly, as some may say. Personally I continue to pray for revelation that what I am doing is the right thing and I have received the confirmation that following the prophet, other general authorities, and my local leaders, is just that. I am not perfect. I have had difficulties at times in doing what I have been asked and it has definitely been a learning process, but I know that I will be blessed if I do what has been revealed to the servants of the Lord.

The Church of Jesus Christ Today

The Church of Jesus Christ Was Taken from the Earth

Why was the Church of Jesus Christ removed from the earth shortly after the Savior’s death and Resurrection?

After the Savior was resurrected, the apostles continued with the church because they had the proper authority to do so. When they were all gone, so was the priesthood authority to act and lead the church. There was wickedness in the world, which led to parts of the gospel being distorted and changed to fit what man wanted. This time was that of the apostasy. During the apostasy, different interpretations of what the Lord meant in his teachings, led to many different types of Christian churches. (To see more about the great apostasy go here: Apostasy of the Early Christian Church.)

How does the famine spoken of in Amos 8:11–12 affect people?

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord (v. 11): And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it (v. 12).” There is a natural tendency in many of us, to know about how we came to be on this earth and the creator of the world. Many people during the apostasy still felt this way even though the church of Christ had been taken from the earth. Since the fullness of the gospel was not on the earth, men clung to what bits of truth could be found in the many different churches. People without the gospel in their lives are easily led away into temptation.

The Lord Promised to Restore His True Church

In Acts 3:20-21 we read, “. . . And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you (v. 20): Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (v. 21).” Peter told of the second coming of Christ which would occur after all things would be restored. In the Book of Mormon, more specific prophesies were made of the restoration. In 2 Nephi 3 we read, “. . . Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers (v. 7). . . . But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them (v. 11). . . . And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord (v. 13).” It was foretold in ancient times that a seer named Joseph would restore the gospel to their descendants.

What were some of the conditions in the world that prepared the way for the Restoration of the gospel?

As the apostasy was near its end, many people had traveled to find the religious freedom they did not have where they were. They were desperate to find truth and happiness in their beliefs. There were many sects of religion that were fighting in there numbers to exist and were actively trying to gather more people. In America, the people were settling in areas specific to their religion. Because it was a land of religious freedom, many were seeking the truth. Joseph Smith wrote, “. . . there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. (Joseph Smith History 1:5)” Because people were seeking for the truth again, the time had come to restore the gospel.

In what ways is the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel a “marvellous work”?

In Isaiah 29:14 we read, “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” The restoration of the fulness of the gospel is a marvelous work because it brought the authority of God back to the earth. It made it possible for Joseph Smith as the Lord’s prophet on the earth to direct the faithful by divine revelations. The truth could once again be found and that was (and is) a marvelous thing.

New Revelation from God

When Joseph Smith received his First Vision, what did he learn about God?

First, when he had the first vision, he learned that God answered prayers. He learned that we are created in God’s image. He saw God and saw that he had a body and was like man in His form. He saw that the Godhead was three separate beings and not one single “trinity”. He learned that God knew him, because he called him by name. He learned that God was not happy with the religions that were on the earth, because they had become corrupt. He also learned that God would speak directly to men. (To read more about Joseph Smith’s first vision go here: Joseph Smith History 1)

Why was the First Vision one of the most important events in the history of the world?

The first vision started the restoration of the gospel. It was the restoration of the true and full gospel which had been altered over time. Without the restoration, no person could be exalted after this life. In this time of the restored gospel, temple ordinances are able to be performed, which allow men who are living to make covenants for themselves and in behalf of those who have died without a knowledge of the true gospel. The first vision established Joseph Smith as a prophet and God was able to speak to the people again.

Authority from God Was Restored

Why was the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods necessary?

The restoration was needed in order for the keys of the priesthood to be on the earth. The priesthood keys allow for sacred ordinances to be performed with the proper authority. These ordinances include baptism, confirmation and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, endowment, and temple sealings.

Christ’s Church Was Organized Again

What events led to the organization of the Church on the earth again?

In the first vision, the prophet, Joseph Smith, learned that none of the churches that existed on the earth, were the true church of Christ. After he had the first vision, he was instructed by angels and eventually given the plates which would be translated into the Book of Mormon. In 1830, the Lord revealed to the prophet that the church would be organized on April 6th. (see post: Section 20)

As part of its organization, Joseph Smith would be the prophet and president of the church. He would eventually hold all of the keys needed in this dispensation. There would also be apostles, teachers, evangelists, and pastors just as there had been in the original church of old. Additionally, they called bishops, high priests, seventies, priests and deacons. As the church is established in new areas, new branches and stakes are created with there own local leaders to guide and direct the members of the church under the direction of the Prophet, apostles and other general authorities.

Important Truths Were Restored

What important truths have been brought back with the Restoration of the Church?

One of the restored truths, is the nature of God. The understanding that we are created in his image and that he has an eternal plan for us, is part of what was restored. Through the restoration we learned that families can be together forever and the proper authority to seal things for eternity was restored. We have learned that we can receive personal revelation from God through the gift of the Holy Ghost, which can only be given through the priesthood authority that was restored. We have learned the true nature of the atonement and sin, and that repentance is the way that we can use the atonement in our lives and be saved.

How have these truths influenced you and others?

Knowing the fullness of the gospel is such an amazing blessing. I am so grateful to know where I was before I was born, why I am here now, and where I hope to go after this life. Mostly these truths have influenced me to try to live a better life and to want to serve others more than myself, because that is the only way to gain my eternal reward. I am grateful to know that my family has been sealed and that we have the ability to return to live with our Father in Heaven some day.

The Church of Jesus Christ Will Never Be Destroyed

What is the mission of the Church?

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matthew 24:14).” I was thinking that the mission of the church is to save souls by bringing them to Christ, but this verse helps me to understand better that it’s mission is to preach the truth, the gospel, to every person. It is close to the same thing, except that taking the truth to every person, does not mean that they all accept the truth, but that they choose for themselves what to do with it.

In Daniel 2:44 we read, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” We have been given a promise that it will never be taken again from the earth. This gives me hope for my posterity and for all those other people who are yet to come to the earth, because they will be able to have the opportunity to hear the gospel and make sacred saving covenants with the Lord.

How have you helped in the work of the kingdom of God? What can you do to continue this work?

I think the key to helping the work of the kingdom of God is to share my testimony with others and to serve as an active member of the gospel. I hope that this blog reaches out to others who are seeking for the truth. I am grateful for the blessing that studying the scriptures has been in my own life and so very grateful for the restoration of the gospel.

The Church of Jesus Christ in Former Times

Some Features That Identify the Church of Jesus Christ

In 3 Nephi 27:8 we read, “And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.” The Church of Jesus Christ is to be called in His name and founded upon His gospel.

Revelation

In Matthew 16:16-18 we read, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (v. 16). And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven (v. 17). And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Savior taught Peter, that his church will be built on revelation from God, not on what we learn from men. In John 8:28 it reads, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” All things the Savior taught, were those things of God. While the Savior was on the earth, he was able to teach men the gospel. In John 14:25 we read, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.” However, he knew he would be leaving this earth and the only way for men to still be able to learn of the gospel, was by revelations from God. In John 14 he continues, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (v. 26).” The church of Jesus Christ has had revelations from God, beginning with the days that Jesus walked the earth himself.

Authority from God

The priesthood is the authority of God on earth. In Hebrews 5 we read, “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (v. 4). So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee (v. 5). As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (v. 6).” The Savior was ordained by God as a priest. Every man who is ordained in the priesthood receives this authority from one who has been ordained before him going back to the Savior. The members of the priesthood have always been given specific duties to perform in the church of Christ. His church cannot exist without the priesthood authority, which gives people the opportunity to perform ordinances and make sacred covenants with God, to be able to someday return to live with Him.

The Church Organization

The Church of Jesus Christ has always had organization. While he was on the earth, Christ was the head of his church. He called apostles and prophets to testify of Him and his gospel. In Ephesians 2:20 we read, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone”. The apostles were called to lead and direct the church. The Savior taught that there was to be twelve apostles to guide the church. To help them men were called to the seventy. In Luke 10 it says that these seventies were called in pairs to go out to all people and preach of him. Other leaders were called in specific areas.

First Principles and Ordinances

In John 3:5, the Savior taught, “. . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The first principles and ordinances of the gospel include baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Without these things, we cannot return to live with God again. This was established by the Savior as part of His church long ago.

Ordinances Performed for the Dead

The principle of saving the dead was established by the Savior himself. In 1 Peter 3:18-20, we read, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (v. 18 ): By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison (v. 19); Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (v. 20).”

In modern revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, we learn even more about the work done among the dead. In D&C 138 we read, “And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them (v. 29); But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead (v. 30).” Paul wrote the Corinthians, about the resurrection and the living doing ordinances for the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:29 we read, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” Ordinances were done for the dead, because they must be done in the flesh.

Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts have always been given to the faithful believers in Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16 we read, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues (v. 17); They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (v. 18 ).” And also in 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 we read, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (v. 27). And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues (v. 28 ).” These gifts were set up in the Church of Christ, to help people to come unto Christ and progress.

Why does the Church of Jesus Christ need these six features?

The six features of the Church of Jesus Christ – revelation, authority from God, the church organization, first principles and ordinances, ordinances performed for the dead, and spiritual gifts – are needed in order for the Church of Jesus Christ to be perfect. Only in its perfection, can the saints of God be saved. Revelation is needed to guide people on the path that God has designed, not on the path of the world. Authority from God is needed to perform all things that should be sealed to men, to continue in the eternities. Baptism and confirmation of the spirit must be done in order for any person to be saved. Ordinances for the dead must be available to give those who died without a knowledge, the same chance for eternal blessings that we all were promised before coming to this earth. Spiritual gifts are needed to test faith and to allow the faithful to move the work of the Lord forward to the world as it has been promised. The promise that all people will have the opportunity to hear and accept the gospel, if they choose to accept it, cannot be fulfilled without all of the features.

The Church of Jesus Christ in the Americas

In the Book of Mormon we learn of the people in the Americas, that were also visited by Jesus Christ after his resurrection. They were one of the folds of “other sheep” that the Savior told his disciples about in the old world. The Savior’s visit to the Nephites, found in 3 Nephi, is my favorite part of the Book of Mormon. He blessed the people and then he taught them all of his gospel, just as he had taught before (and we can read in the New Testament). He established His church in the Americas with apostles, prophets, teachers, and so on. He taught of the sacrament, prayer, ordinances and covenants, and all things that should be in His church. After He left them, the Church of Jesus Christ continued for over 200 years.

Apostasy from the True Church

What does the term apostasy mean?

Apostasy is a falling away. In particular the apostasy that is talked about most in the gospel, is the great falling away from the Church of Jesus Christ. Not long after the Savior had established His church, the people became wicked and returned to the old ways and the ways of the world. In 2 Peter 2:1, we read, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” After all Jesus’ apostles were gone, the priesthood authority was no longer on the earth, and precious things were removed from the earth, including his true church. This was the time of the great apostasy and it continued until the true church was restored again on the earth, through the prophet, Joseph Smith.

A Restoration Foretold

What prophecies in the Old and New Testaments foretold the Restoration?

In Revelations 14:6-7 we read, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people (v. 6), Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Also in Acts 3 Peter told of the restoration, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you (v. 20): Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (v. 21).” The prophets of old knew that the gospel would be restored before the end would come. In Matthew 24:14 we read, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

In the Americas, there were also prophecies of the coming restoration. In 2 Nephi 3:24 we read, “And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.”

Why was the Restoration necessary?

Without the restoration, the work of the Lord would have been frustrated. The scriptures say that the work of the Lord is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”. This can only be done by saving principles and ordinances that were lost and taken from the earth. In order for all of the children of God to be able to have the same opportunities to be saved and return to live with God again, the gospel had to be restored.

I am so grateful for the restoration of the gospel and the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that all things were restored so that the work of the Lord could continue. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and I realize that knowing the gospel gives me a great responsibility to do work for those who lived before and did not have this same opportunity. I hope that I can be better and do all that I can to help those who have died, by performing sacred ordinances for them.


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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