Posts Tagged 'Apostles'

Ponderizing – Week 7 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is
John 13:20 (see also D&C 39:5, D&C 84:37).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

These are the words of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to his disciples during what we call the last supper. Men would be chosen by the Lord to represent Him throughout the world. In the church that he had established in his earthly ministry, and just after his resurrection, the Lord chose apostles whom he sent throughout the land. Among them were Peter, John, and later Paul. These men bore strong witness of the Lord, to men of their day. Their missions and writings were recorded by inspiration, and we have some of them today in the Bible. If the Lord were only speaking of those who would be chosen in that time, which I don’t believe he was, we have the opportunity to follow his admonition as well. If we choose to receive them, by receiving their words, we receive Christ and His Father, who sent Him.

Likewise, I believe that the resurrected Lord appeared to men in the Americas, and he called disciples to preach among them. Their stories are found in the Book of Mormon, and when we choose to receive those words, we receive the Lord also.

The Lord’s mission did not begin with his mortal birth, but rather in the heavens before earth began. Since that time, He has chosen many men, to do His work, to lead His people, and to testify of Him. We can find some of their stories and teachings throughout the rest of our holy scriptures. We can choose to receive their words as well, and when we do so, we receive God.

Furthermore, I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, just as was promised in ancient revelations. I believe that the Lord has chosen modern prophets and apostles, along with many others who have been called to bear witness of the Savior in our day. I believe the promise remains the same. If we receive them, their writings and their words of revelation and testimony, we receive the Lord.

How do we receive them? We start by reading and listening to the words of the scriptures and messages given today. Then, we believe in them, believe that they are indeed chosen and called of God, and we hearken to their council. To receive them, we need to experiment upon their words, test them at the things they promise, and watch for the blessings to follow. We receive them, by gaining and strengthening our personal testimonies through their examples and teachings. As we do these things, our hearts will be softened and opened to accepting the Lord and His atonement into our lives. This has been His purpose from before the creation, because when we accept the Lord, we choose to align our lives with God’s plan for us. Ultimately, we are choosing to take the path, which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven. When we receive those whom the Lord has chosen and sent to guide us, we choose to receive our Father in Heaven. This is what God wants for all of His children, even eternal life for all.

I know that this is an idea that is becoming less popular in the world today. Following the words of ancient and modern prophets, is seen as archaic and traditions of the past. However, I have a testimony that their words are true and that they were and are truly prophets and apostles of the Lord. Their mission has been and will continue to be, to bring souls to Christ. I am so grateful for their teachings and the amazing blessings that have come to my own life through listening to their words. My prayer, is that more people will choose to receive them and accept the gifts and blessings they offer to us.

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Perfecting the Saints

In Sunday School this week, we are studying Ephesians. In Ephesians 2 we read the following:

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Then in Ephesians 4 we read the following:

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Paul teaches us that the citizens of God are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The teachings of all the prophets should be the foundation of our lives. The apostles and prophets are given to us by God, to help us become perfected as individuals and edified as a church. The church leaders are called to unify the people of Christ in one faith and one knowledge. They are called to help us to become strong enough to stand firm through the changes of the world and the deceit of mankind. They are called to help us to come unto Christ. My life has been greatly blessed by the prophets, both ancient and living in our day. They teach us so many amazing things about having faith in God, the plan of salvation, the atonement of Christ, the blessings of the priesthood and so much more. Their teachings are consistent and apply to the whole world. They do not teach conflicting ideas of the gospel and therefore they unify us in our understanding. Even more, they bare witness of the knowledge of gospel truths in their own lives. The testimonies of the church leaders give me a strength and courage to continue trying to live a righteous life, and they are a sure foundation that I have come to depend on for consistency and truth.

I love that Paul teaches the concept of putting off the natural man that we once were and becoming a new person.

In Ephesians 4 we read the following:

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (emphasis added)

When we are baptized and again each time we renew our covenants, we should be recommitting ourselves to being that new person. The old man in us, is the one who returns to the ways of the world which come so easily to us. The new man in us, is the one who works hard to live the way that God would have us live. Each day will probably bring new trials that will tempt us to fall back into old habits and old ways, but with the help of our Savior we can repent and come unto Him. He will help us to remain faithful and strong.

Another teaching of Paul to the Ephesians is in regards to how children can help to strengthen the family.

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Even as adults, we can add to the unity and peace in a family if we are obedient and respectful to our parents. The commandment to honor our parents does not stop once we leave their home. Latter-day prophets continue to teach this principle. They teach that families will be strengthened if they are built on the teachings of Jesus Christ and make the time to be kind, loving, respectful, and patient with one another. This is so important, because the family is the center of the plan of God and the goal is to be together as a family again, in the eternities.

Paul teaches about the whole armor of God, which will protect us from the temptations of Satan and the wickedness of the world.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Armor is made to protect the body from harm in a battle. We are constantly engaged in a battle against Satan, and the Lord has given us the armor that we need in order to be kept from harm. A girth of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet coverings of preparation in the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit or word of God, and an overall protection of prayer. This means that in order to be kept safe we need to do the simple everyday things that the Lord asks of us. We need to read the scriptures and study them carefully, so that we can gain a testimony of truth, have the spirit as our guide, have the desire to live righteously, be prepared with the gospel, and so on. We need to pray every day, and often. We need to have the faith to be obedient to the commandments and follow the prophets. We need to have the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ and so on. These things make us strong and firm where we stand. If we work to keep these things in our lives, the temptations of Satan will not be able to work their way into us, the way a fiery dart would pierce us in battle.

I think that the thing I get most out of this particular book of scripture, today, is that there is strength in unity. If we are united in the gospel we are able to stand strong. If we are united at church, there will be no separations among us. If we are united in our homes, we will become strong and have the opportunity to be forever families. If we are personally united with the gospel of Christ, the Spirit, and so on, we will be kept safe and protected from anything that stands against us.

The Sixth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

In Ephesians 4:11 we read the following:

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We believe that at the time when the Savior established his church, there were callings put into place. These included apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so on. In Luke 6:13 we read, “And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles”. There are twelve who were called, or chosen by Christ, to be special witnesses of Him and to lead his church. Likewise, there are twelve apostles called today, to lead the church and to stand as special witnesses of the life, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the organization of the church in modern times was occurring, revelation was received and in Doctrine and Covenants 107:23 we read, “The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world—thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.”

There have been prophets since the time of Adam. In Exodus 7:1 we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” When Christ was living, he was the head of his church on the earth. All the apostles were called to prophesy to the people, and therefore were prophets who spoke to the people with the spirit of revelation. After the death of Christ, the prophets continued to lead His church by the authority of the priesthood and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, the twelve apostles are called as prophets of the Lord as well. In particular, one is called to be the head of the church and to act as the mouthpiece of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:45 we read, “And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.” It is our duty to listen to the prophets and heed their words. They are there to guide and direct us in the path that will lead us back to God and Jesus Christ.

We believe in pastors who are the shepherds or ministers of the church. In Jeremiah 3:15 we read, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Those who minister directly to the membership of Christ’s church, are the bishops, who are called to teach the gospel and lead the individual members of the church. They are also called as judges in Israel. In Doctrine and Covenants 58:17 we read, “And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children”. Bishops come to know the flock of the Savior’s church, on a very personal level, because they care for them individually, the same way a shepherd comes to know his flock.

We also believe in teachers just as existed in the church of ancient times. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read, “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.” There are those who are called by the authority of the priesthood, to be teachers to the people. In Mosiah 23:17 we read, “And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers; and none were consecrated except they were just men.” Verse 18 tells us what the teachers were called to do. “Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” Those who were called to be teachers, did just that. They taught all things related to righteousness. In Exodus 18:20 it says, “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Today, we have teachers called to share the joy of the gospel with all people. Those who are called by the priesthood, are teachers of all the things that we keep us safe from temptations, the those things that we must follow in order to receive salvation.

Evangelists is commonly consider to be one who preaches the gospel. In 1 Timothy 4:5 we read, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” There were those who traveled on missions to proclaim the gospel, such as Timothy. We do believe in having traveling preachers of the gospel, more commonly referred to as missionaries, but that is not the only understanding of what an evangelist is. In modern revelation we read that an evangelical minister is a patriarch. (See the footnote for ‘evangelical minister’ for D&C 107:39) According to the Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith said, “Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints”. Patriarch today are called to give blessings to the saints, which tell them what is in store for them if they will live righteously. These blessings are much like the patriarchal blessings of fathers given to their children in ancient times. To bring the two understandings of this office together. A patriarch is responsible for giving blessings which apply the gospel directly to the lives of the members of the church, therefore taking the gospel to the people.

We believe that there are other offices in the church, that were established by Christ, such as seventies, elders, priests and so on. These offices have been restored in the church today. They are offices of the priesthood, and these individuals are called and directed by the power of the priesthood in order to organize and unify the church. We believe that there must be order in the kingdom of God. Likewise, there must be order in the church of Christ on this earth. Christ knew best how the design of His church should be, and therefore we believe that we should follow this design within the church today. I am so grateful for the general authorities of the church, the prophets and apostles, because they guide the entire church in its progress as a whole. We have the opportunity this weekend to listen to the prophet, apostles and other church leaders. I am so excited for their loving words because they help me to grow so much as a person. I am also extremely grateful that we have local leaders, such as bishops, teachers, and patriarchs, who are called to give us more personal and direct attention. Because of these local leaders, the individual members of the church are watched over, guided, taught, and directed in the ways that are right.

D&C Section 118

This revelation was given through the prophet, Joseph Smith, regarding the Twelve Apostles. It was received while he was in Far West, Missouri in the summer of 1838.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: Let a conference be held immediately; let the Twelve be organized; and let men be appointed to supply the place of those who are fallen.
2 Let my servant Thomas remain for a season in the land of Zion, to publish my word.
3 Let the residue continue to preach from that hour, and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth.

There were several who had fallen away from the church at this time. It was necessary for the Twelve to be organized again, to replace those who had left the church. A conference was called right away. I learn again from this, that the Lord has great value in a complete quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It is necessary to have a full quorum, in order for the work of the Twelve to function properly. I am glad that there is this kind of order to the church of the Lord.

Thomas B. Marsh, was told to stay in Zion (Missouri), to continue to publish the word of the Lord. The Lord then promised that if the Twelve would serve and preach as commanded, then their families would be provided for and the opportunities that they needed would be opened for them. The Lord will always bless those who faithfully serve in their callings.

4 And next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name.
5 Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the building-spot of my house, saith the Lord.
6 Let my servant John Taylor, and also my servant John E. Page, and also my servant Wilford Woodruff, and also my servant Willard Richards, be appointed to fill the places of those who have fallen, and be officially notified of their appointment.

New apostles were called to fill the vacancies left and all the apostles were told to plan on leaving Far West and serving in other places in April of the following year. I guess that the people of Missouri found out about the date they were supposed to leave from there, and they forced the saints out of the Land before April. However, the faith of the apostles was strong and they secretly went to the site, held a small conference, rolled a stone in place as the cornerstone of the foundation, and did all that the Lord had commanded them to do. Then they were able to leave on their missions. I was so touched as I read about this and realized that even though the people of Missouri were sure that they had stopped the work of God, the apostles faithfully fulfilled the revelation and the work of the Lord was not stopped.

I am so grateful for modern revelations, and for those who faithfully serve as our church leaders. I know that the Lord will guide the faithful and use them to accomplish great and seemingly impossible things. I hope that I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and that I will continue to witness the amazing work of the Lord.

D&C Section 112

In the summer of 1837, the prophet, Joseph Smith, who was in Kirtland, received this revelation for Thomas B. Marsh. He was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and this revelation is regarding the Twelve Apostles. It is a reminder of their duties that was needed to bring a contentious church back into unity through the gospel.

1 Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Thomas: I have heard thy prayers; and thine alms have come up as a memorial before me, in behalf of those, thy brethren, who were chosen to bear testimony of my name and to send it abroad among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and ordained through the instrumentality of my servants.
2 Verily I say unto you, there have been some few things in thine heart and with thee with which I, the Lord, was not well pleased.
3 Nevertheless, inasmuch as thou hast abased thyself thou shalt be exalted; therefore, all thy sins are forgiven thee.
4 Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth.
5 Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech.
6 Let thy habitation be known in Zion, and remove not thy house; for I, the Lord, have a great work for thee to do, in publishing my name among the children of men.
7 Therefore, gird up thy loins for the work. Let thy feet be shod also, for thou art chosen, and thy path lieth among the mountains, and among many nations.
8 And by thy word many high ones shall be brought low, and by thy word many low ones shall be exalted.
9 Thy voice shall be a rebuke unto the transgressor; and at thy rebuke let the tongue of the slanderer cease its perverseness.
10 Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.

President Marsh had prayed to God for the members of the Twelve Apostles, who it seems were not all remembering their duties. Thomas was forgiven for his sins, because he had remembered the Lord. Because he was humble enough to turn to the Lord, he was told that the would be exalted. Whenever I hear verse 10, I think of the hymn which uses these words to teach us about humility. This is a life-long lesson for most of us. Our pride can block our view of the Lord and we think we don’t need God to accomplish great things. This is not true. We must become humble and remember God, so that we can have exaltation as well.

The Lord told him that he needed to preach the word of God where ever he was, and no matter what time of day it was. Missionary work is of great importance in the work of the Lord. This duty was given to all of the Apostles, because they had been called as special witnesses. There witness was a warning to all people of the world and the duty is the same for the Apostles that have been called today. Thomas did not remain faithful in the church, and so he did not take the opportunity to go to many nations, as he was told in verse 7.

President Marsh was also told not to move his home, which at the time was in Far West, Missouri. Even more than that, he was told to make it known that his home was in Zion. I guess that the saints would find strength in this knowledge. I think (I am not sure on this) that this was part of the Lord preparing the way for the saints to move to Far West after they left Kirtland.

11 I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy brethren. Be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy love be for them as for thyself; and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name.
12 And pray for thy brethren of the Twelve. Admonish them sharply for my name’s sake, and let them be admonished for all their sins, and be ye faithful before me unto my name.
13 And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them.
14 Now, I say unto you, and what I say unto you, I say unto all the Twelve: Arise and gird up your loins, take up your cross, follow me, and feed my sheep.
15 Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come.

As the president of this quorum, it was his duty to admonish as well as to love the Twelve. Both love and admonishing should be accompanied by prayer, because it only the spirit who can truly teach others. It was the duty of the apostles, to stop thinking of their own desires and to serve their fellowmen through sharing their testimonies. Some of them had taken issue with the prophet and how he was handling things, but the Lord did not want them to stand against him. The Lord would be with the prophet and support him, so if they did not, then they would not be on the Lord’s side. This may be difficult to take, but it is eternally true. If we do not support and sustain those whom the Lord has called to lead this church, then we are not on the Lord’s side. We must have faith, that if those men were not leading in the right way, the Lord would remove them from that position.

16 Verily I say unto you, my servant Thomas, thou art the man whom I have chosen to hold the keys of my kingdom, as pertaining to the Twelve, abroad among all nations—
17 That thou mayest be my servant to unlock the door of the kingdom in all places where my servant Joseph, and my servant Sidney, and my servant Hyrum, cannot come;
18 For on them have I laid the burden of all the churches for a little season.
19 Wherefore, whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you; and in whatsoever place ye shall proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you, that they may receive my word.
20 Whosoever receiveth my word receiveth me, and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent, whom I have made counselors for my name’s sake unto you.

President Marsh and the twelve would need to go where the First Presidency could not go, because they were just three men and they were unable to go to all the places that witnesses of the Lord were needed. The twelve were to go and serve under the direction of the First Presidency. The Lord says again here, that when we receive the First Presidency, we receive Him. Likewise, those who were willing to receive the word from Thomas B. Marsh, would receive the Lord, because he called him to bring them the word.

21 And again, I say unto you, that whosoever ye shall send in my name, by the voice of your brethren, the Twelve, duly recommended and authorized by you, shall have power to open the door of my kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them—
22 Inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me, and abide in my word, and hearken to the voice of my Spirit.
23 Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
27 Therefore, see to it that ye trouble not yourselves concerning the affairs of my church in this place, saith the Lord.
28 But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it;
29 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

The judgements of the Lord, will eventually come upon the world. We will see this day, when the world has gotten as bad as it possibly can. It feels pretty bad right now, but I am sure that it could be a lot worse. In that day of judgement, those within His church will be judged and the hypocrites will no longer be found there. Then, the judgements will go to the world. These men were not supposed to focus on what went on in their home town, but were supposed to focus instead, on missionary work and reaching as many unknowing souls as they could.

30 For unto you, the Twelve, and those, the First Presidency, who are appointed with you to be your counselors and your leaders, is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
31 Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation;
32 For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you.
33 Verily I say unto you, behold how great is your calling. Cleanse your hearts and your garments, lest the blood of this generation be required at your hands.
34 Be faithful until I come, for I come quickly; and my reward is with me to recompense every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.

The keys and powers of the priesthood were restored at this time, and these men of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency, held them and could do all that the Lord had asked of them. With the priesthood power, came a lot of responsibility and their callings really were great. This priesthood power is still on the earth in its fullness and the responsibility is just as great today. The leaders of the church are even more responsible for touching souls all over the earth. Local leaders are responsible for reaching those around them. We each have callings in our lives and we need to fulfill them to our best ability and we need to support and sustain those who have been called to lead us. If we follow the prophet, we will be able to say with a surety that we stand on the Lord’s side.

D&C Section 84 (Part 4)

This post is a continuation of the previous post (D&C Section 84 Part 3).

Historical Background

The prophet, Joseph Smith, called this a revelation on priesthood. It was received through the prophet during a time when the elders started to return and report on their missions. In the previous posts on this section, we learned about the building of a temple in the New Jerusalem, which will be in Missouri and priesthood authority, which is given to do work in the temple. We have learned of the oath and covenant of the priesthood, the duties that come with it, and the blessings of those who hold it.

“Ye Are Mine Apostles”

“For I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer, in bearing testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you (v. 61). Therefore, go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature (v. 62). And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God’s high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends (v. 63);”. The Bible Dictionary says that the word apostle means “one sent forth.” Men of the priesthood, who are called to preach the gospel and bear testimony of Jesus Christ to the world, are His apostles. The Lord told these elders, that they were not only apostles, but also His friends. I think that it would be amazing to have revelation given in which the Lord told me that I was his friend. This must have been a source of great strength for these men who wanted to serve and do what was right in greatly difficult circumstances.

“These Signs Shall Follow”

“Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost (v. 64). And these signs shall follow them that believe (v. 65)—In my name they shall do many wonderful works (v. 66); In my name they shall cast out devils (v. 67); In my name they shall heal the sick (v. 68 ); In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf (v. 69); And the tongue of the dumb shall speak (v. 70); And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them (v. 71); And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them (v. 72). But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation (v. 73).”

The elders of the church were given great promises, if they would remain faithful and steadfast in the work. This is not the only time that these types of things have been promised. In Mark 16:17, we read, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”. The power of the priesthood, when used righteously or to do the will of the Lord, can be an amazing thing. I am sure that all of these missionaries that served the Lord faithfully, could have told of the miracles that occurred to them and by their hands, because of the priesthood power that the held.

The Lord Supports His Missionaries

“And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power (v. 77); For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats (v. 78 ). Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire (v. 79). And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst (v. 80). Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed (v. 81). For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these (v. 82). For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things (v. 83). Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself (v. 84). Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man (v. 85).”

There will always be blessings for those who serve faithfully in the callings that the Lord has extended to them. These missionaries, as well as all who have been called to missionaries since, are promised that if they give their hearts fully to the work of the Lord, He will provide for them. The work of missionaries, is one of the greatest works that we can do in this life. Missionary work is the Lord’s will for all who are faithful and we can all be blessed for our efforts whether we are called as full time missionaries or not.

How Does One “Reprove the World”?

“Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom (v. 86). Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come (v. 87).” In the footnotes for verse 87, the word reprove references “missionary work”. Under that term, we can find the word warning. These elders of the church were sent out to warn the world that wickedness will not save them, but that they must repent and turn to the Lord. Any member of the gospel, has the responsibility to warn the world as well, that wickedness is not happiness and that God is there and he has a plan for us that is full of love and joy.

“Sing This New Song”

In the section, the Lord continues to reveal that the missionaries would be taken care of by those who received them (v. 88-89). Those who receive the missionaries and do not turn them away, will be blessed (v. 90). Likewise, those who do not receive the missionaries, will receive consequences according to their wickedness (v. 92-96).

“And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness (v. 97)—Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:

The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers (v. 99).
The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one.
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath (v. 100).
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength;
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people (v. 101).
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
Forever and ever, Amen (v. 102).”

I can almost feel just how great this will be. This song is about Zion being redeemed and the second coming of Jesus Christ. I know that we will all want to sing praises when this time comes, because it will be more wonderful that we can even imagine now. The Lord reminds these elders, and all people, that His work will continue to go forth and that missionary work is needed until that work is completed and all men know the Lord.

Is Time Going to Come to and End?

One of the lines above says that with the redemption, “time is no longer”. In Revelation 10:6 we read, “And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:”. It was explained by Elder Bruce R. McConkie that this means that the time of persecution will end because Satan will be bound. This can seem confusing, because I know that the way I think of time is only in a way that mankind can understand it. I know that time is different for our Father in Heaven and so when the word is used in scriptures I may not always understand it. I do know that time itself is eternal and according to the plan of salvation, the redemption will be the beginning of a new era, but not the end of time itself.

Further Instruction

The Lord continues to instruct the elders of the church, about what they should do when receiving money, such as giving it to their families or to the bishops for consecration (v. 103-104). They were told to give the things given to them, to the needy, and to strengthen the weak (v. 105-106). Those of the Aaronic priesthood were to assist them in their missionary work, just as it was done in the time of apostles (v. 107-108 ). The Lord also said that every calling in His church is needed. “Therefore, let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand (v. 109)? Also the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect (v. 110).” We all should work together to bring all people to Christ and towards perfection.

New York, Albany, and Boston

“And the bishop, Newel K. Whitney, also should travel round about and among all the churches, searching after the poor to administer to their wants by humbling the rich and the proud (v. 112). He should also employ an agent to take charge and to do his secular business as he shall direct (v. 113). Nevertheless, let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things (v. 114). For if they do reject these things the hour of their judgment is nigh, and their house shall be left unto them desolate (v. 115). Let him trust in me and he shall not be confounded; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed (v. 116).”

I don’t think that I have ever known about the revelations regarding these three cities. Elder Wilford Woodruff prophesied that these cities would some day be destroyed: New York by earthquake, Boston by flooding, and Albany by fire. This is not unheard of. When people become very wicked, the Lord must fulfill his promises of destruction, but not without giving the opportunity for these people to repent. Bishop Whitney was being sent to these cities to bring the people to repentance.

All of the elders were to magnify their callings and warn all people of what their wickedness would bring (v. 117). It is still the duty of the elders of the church, to teach all people to repent and come unto Christ. This section ends with the Lords promise to his faithful servants, “For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble (v. 118 ). For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people (v. 119). I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Amen (v. 120).” The priesthood have great responsibility in the Lord’s work. I am very grateful for the men in my life who serve and honor their priesthood. It brings great blessings into my home and my life, that I know come from God.

D&C Section 18 (Part 2)

(This is a continuation of the previous post: Part 1)

This is a revelation given to Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. It was in response to asking the Lord about the restoration of the higher priesthood, which had been promised to them.

What Is the “Church of the Devil”?

“Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men (v. 18 ). And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing (v. 19). Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil (v. 20).”

These men were already told that they were being called to serve as apostles. Now the Lord is telling them what they should do as part of that calling. One of the things is that they should not contend with a church, unless it is the “church of the devil”, also knows as the “great and abominable church” (see 1 Nephi 13:6). This is not in reference to actual religious churches. Anything that is done in the name of Satan, or with his influence, is part of that church of the devil. Only those groups that are purposely seeking to do evil, are those that they were told they may contend with. Otherwise, all other groups that were trying to live a good life, were not to be contended with. Instead, those are the places that these men were to use their testimonies to influence people toward the truth of the gospel. We too, should help others who are seeking to live good, by being an influence of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, but not to argue over differences in our beliefs.

Why Is It Improper to Contend?

To contend is to argue, contest, compete or even to fight over something. In 3 Nephi 11:28-30, the Savior teaches why this is not right. “And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been (v. 28 ). For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another (v. 29). Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (v. 30).”

Contending about the gospel will not bring more people to Christ. Only the spirit can influence the hearts of men to change and gain a testimony. If we are contentious, the spirit cannot guide our words and cannot be there to touch the hearts of others. Instead we must do as the Lord told Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer in this revelation. He said, “Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness (v. 21).” If we teach others with serious but kind words, being led by the spirit as to what we should say, then we have done all that is asked of us.

Once we have taught and shared our testimonies with others, it is up to them to allow the spirit to touch them. “And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved (v. 22). Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved (v. 23); Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day (v. 24); Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father (v. 25).”

Hearing the Voice of the Lord

The Lord told Joseph, Oliver and David, that he would call twelve disciples who would also go out and preach the gospel to the world (v. 26-28 ). They would have the Aaronic priesthood and be able to baptize as the scriptures had taught them (v. 29-30). The Lord gave revelation here to those twelve disciples. He told them they would ordain others to teach the gospel (v. 31-33).

“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man (v. 34); For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them (v. 35); Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words (v. 36).” This revelation teaches us that as we read the revelations of the Lord, we can be able to hear the voice of the Lord, as we allow the spirit to witness the truth to us.

The Choosing of the Twelve Special Witnesses by the Special Witness of the Book of Mormon

“And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken (v. 37); And by their desires and their works you shall know them (v. 38 ). And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them (v. 39). And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name (v. 40).” The twelve apostles were chosen by their desires to serve the Lord. They were called by the those who were the first special witnesses of the modern-day church and restoration.

Joseph, Oliver and David were blessed to receive this revelation. They were told that they were to teach the people of the world to repent and be baptized (v. 41-42). There callings came with great responsibility and blessings. “And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my commandments in all things (v. 43); And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father (v. 44). Wherefore, the blessings which I give unto you are above all things (v. 45). And after that you have received this, if you keep not my commandments you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father (v. 46). Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit have spoken it. Amen (v. 47).”

D&C Section 18 (Part 1)

Historical Background

When the Aaronic priesthood was restored, a promise was given that the higher priesthood would be conferred as well. Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer went the Lord in prayer to have this promise fulfilled. This section is the revelation that came in response to their prayers.

The Lord’s Testimony to Oliver of the Truth of the Work

“NOW, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words (v. 1): Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true (v. 2). And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written (v. 3); For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock (v. 4).” Oliver Cowdery was reminded by the Lord, that he had received a witness that the Book of Mormon was true and that the restoration was also true. There are many things in the world, that will try to persuade us that revelation we have received is not true. We sometimes need repeated reminders of the truths that have been revealed to us by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I love that in verse 3, the Lord tells Oliver that since he knew the words of the Book of Mormon are true (I think this means that he knew these ancient prophets and people existed and had these trials and blessings as they are written), he was commanded to rely on them. Once we gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, and that it is a historical record of actual people and events over many ancient years, we have the same responsibility as Oliver. We must take the lessons taught within the Book of Mormon and do our best to live them. It is a commandment from God that applies to all of us.

What Is the Significance of the Words “My Church, My Gospel, and My Rock”?

“Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you (v. 5). Behold, the world is ripening in iniquity; and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles and also the house of Israel (v. 6). . . Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation (v. 17).”

The word church here, refers to all those who come unto Christ and take upon themselves his name through baptism. In 3 Nephi 21:22 we read, “But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;”. His church is the one and only church.

In D&C 39:6 we read, “And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.” The gospel of the Lord is repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is repentance from all sin, which means enduring after baptism with continual repentance and avoidance of all that is wrong. His gospel is baptism, which is an ordinance we perform through faith. It cleanses us of all former sins and is preparatory for higher ordinances. His gospel is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is a guide to do what is right and a revealer of all truth.

His rock is the solid foundation of his gospel (read more here). With faithful use of these things, His church, His gospel, and His rock, we will have His salvation. We are promised that nothing could stop this blessing from coming, if we accept these things.

How Is the Name Joseph Significant?

“Wherefore, as thou hast been baptized by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., according to that which I have commanded him, he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him (v. 7). And now, marvel not that I have called him unto mine own purpose, which purpose is known in me; wherefore, if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments he shall be blessed unto eternal life; and his name is Joseph (v. 8 ).” The scriptures had revealed that the person to bring about the restoration of all things in the last days, would be Joseph. In 2 Nephi 3:1-15, we learn of this prophesy. “And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise (v. 14); And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation (v. 15).” Joseph Smith did these things in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies given.

What Does It Mean to Be Called with the Calling of Paul?

“And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for, behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called (v. 9).” Paul was called and ordained to be an apostle to the Lord, Jesus Christ. In Romans 1:1 we read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”. In this modern-day revelation, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were being extended a call to serve as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ as well.

“The Worth of Souls Is Great”

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God (v. 10); For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him (v. 11). And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance (v. 12). And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth (v. 13)! Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people (v. 14). And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father (v. 15)! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me (v. 16)!”

We have all had our sins, sorrows, pains, and afflictions settled through the blood of the Savior. In His atoning sacrifice, he treated every single person who will ever have lived on this earth, the same. All souls have such a great value that he gave everything he possibly could for each one of us. All souls have such great value that Father in Heaven allowed His only begotten son to go through that experience and suffer all that pain for us. There is no way for us to understand just how great that value is.

The manual I am using brings this value closer to home in pointing out that that one soul could be the soul of their spouses. This same promise applies to us. How great will be my joy with God in heaven, if I bring my husband’s soul to Him. If my joy is great with just my husband, imagine how great my joy will be with my children. How great will be my joy if I bring my parents, my brothers and sisters, my friends and so on. Why would I want it any other way? My joy will be greater as the more of my loved ones (including those friends that I love) are there with me and my Father in Heaven. I should not be ashamed to teach my family the value of repentance. We are all called to teach repentance to others, so that they may come unto Christ.

3 Nephi, Chapter 19

Who would you invite to meet the Savior?

If I knew that Jesus was coming tomorrow, what would I do today?  This chapter is about the second day of the Savior’s visit.  The Nephites who had been there during the first day, knew he was coming on the second day.  “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home (v. 1).  And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude (v. 2).  Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude (v. 3).”  The Nephites went home telling all that they could that they had seen the Savior and that he would return the next day.  Many worked hard to prepare themselves to be there the next day.  I am sure that if I had been there, I would have done my best to let others know what I had seen and that they could see the Savior also.  There are many things that I do daily, that I would not bother to do.  I think most of all, I would want to prepare my family for His visit, so that we could experience it together.

Who were the Nephite apostles?

The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles lead the church today.  They share their amazing testimonies, teach gospel principles, and give us the word of God as it pertains to us today.  They are awesome men with strong and firm testimonies in the Gospel, who love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, as well as all of the members of the church.  They have stewardship over all of us and truly act as the mouth-piece for God on the earth today.

“And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the multitude was gathered together, behold, Nephi and his brother whom he had raised from the dead, whose name was Timothy, and also his son, whose name was Jonas, and also Mathoni, and Mathonihah, his brother, and Kumen, and Kumenonhi, and Jeremiah, and Shemnon, and Jonas, and Zedekiah, and Isaiah—now these were the names of the disciples whom Jesus had chosen—and it came to pass that they went forth and stood in the midst of the multitude (v. 4).”  These were the apostles for the Nephites.  They were called directly by the Savior, and they did many things to bless the Nephite people.  They separated the people into twelve groups that they would teach (v. 5). They taught the people how they should pray and ministered to the people (v. 6-7). They taught the people exactly what the Savior had taught them and prayed again, this time praying for the Holy Ghost to be given to them (v. 8-9).   They led the people to the water’s edge (v. 10).  Nephi was baptized, followed by the rest of the twelve apostles and they each received the gift of the Holy Ghost (v. 11-13).  Then the Nephites witnessed angels come and ministered to the apostles (v. 14).

What did Jesus teach the Nephites about prayer?

When the Savior appeared to the Nephites on the second day, the first thing he did was command them that they should pray (v. 15-16).  “And it came to pass that when they had all knelt down upon the earth, he commanded his disciples that they should pray (v. 17).”  The Savior taught the Nephites how to have more effective prayers.

“And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God (v. 18 ).  And it came to pass that Jesus departed out of the midst of them, and went a little way off from them and bowed himself to the earth, and he said (v. 19):  Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world (v. 20).  Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words (v. 21).  Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them (v. 22).”  Jesus went away from the multitude to pray to Heavenly Father.  When appropriate to pray in a group, we should pray in a group.  However, the Savior teaches us by His example, the importance of praying in secret.  Jesus asked Heavenly Father to give the gift of the Holy Ghost to all those who believed the words of the Apostles and believed in Him.  Without a belief in the Savior and faith in the spirit, we cannot truly receive the Holy Ghost.  If we want to feel the love and support of God and Jesus Christ, then we need to be constantly asking for the spirit to be with us.

“And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one (v. 23).  And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire (v. 24).  And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof (v. 25).  And Jesus said unto them: Pray on; nevertheless they did not cease to pray (v. 26).”  Jesus prayed that in addition to having the Holy Ghost, that He, Christ, would be in them and be one with them.  As the multitude were praying, Jesus smiled at them and the light of his countenance shone upon them.  I can imagine Heavenly Father smiling as I pray to Him.  I often picture Him smiling when my daughter says prayers to Him, because of the words she chooses and the things that a child is grateful for and asks for.  I know that He is happy when we do what He has asked, because I can feel it as I pray.

“And he turned from them again, and went a little way off and bowed himself to the earth; and he prayed again unto the Father, saying (v. 27):  Father, I thank thee that thou hast purified those whom I have chosen, because of their faith, and I pray for them, and also for them who shall believe on their words, that they may be purified in me, through faith on their words, even as they are purified in me (v. 28 ).  Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one, that I may be glorified in them (v. 29).  And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus (v. 30).”  The Savior asked for those who believe on the words of the apostles, that they would be purified through there faith.  Then when He returned to the disciples and saw that they were still praying just as He had told them to do, He smiled again.

“And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father (v. 31); And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed (v. 32).  And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed (v. 33).  Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man (v. 34).”  The spirit opened the hearts of the multitude so that they would be able to understand the words of the Savior’s prayer.  This prayer was so sacred, that no one would be able to record what was said.

What blessings can come to us as a result of sincere, faithful prayer?

Faith is a Sunrise

“And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying he came again to the disciples, and said unto them: So great faith have I never seen among all the Jews; wherefore I could not show unto them so great miracles, because of their unbelief (v. 35).  Verily I say unto you, there are none of them that have seen so great things as ye have seen; neither have they heard so great things as ye have heard (v. 36).”

Because these Nephites prayed with such sincerity and faith, they were able to witness miracles even greater than those that the Jews could witness.  We can experience miracles in our lives as well, if we will be truly sincere in our own prayers.  We need to reflect on our communications with our Father in Heaven and if they are not prayers of faith and sincerity, then we need to see what we should change.  I hope to witness miracles in my own life because of the amount of faith that I can have and show towards my Father in Heaven.


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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Currently I am studying the The Old Testament. I will be studying from the LDS - King James Version of the Bible (see link below). I am studying along with the book, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Old Testament by Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen.

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