And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Declare these things

What is the mission of the Lords servants? What is their responsibility? The appearance of 3 Nephi 12 the Lord tells the people what to do after they had seen Him.
1 blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.
2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall TESTIFY that YE HAVE SEEN ME, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in yourwords, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins. (3 Nephi 12:1-2)
Blessed are those that believe in THESE people who have seen, when they shall testify that they have seen Him. We shouldn't discount others experiences because they come from unknown sources. More on this later.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched…WE PROCLAIM to you what we have SEEN and heard” (1 John 1:1,3)
In the Joseph smith Papers a discourse to the early apostles by Oliver Cowdery is given. Go ahead, read the entire discourse its a great talk.
We have work to do, that no other man can do. You must proclaim the Gospel in its simplicity and purity. and we commend you to God and the word of his grace. You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that YOU MAY BE ABLE TO BEAR THIS TESTIMONY, THAT YOU HAVE SEEN THE FACE OF GOD. Therefore, call upon him in faith and mighty prayer, till you prevail, for it your DUTY and your privelege to bear such testimony for yourselves. We now exhort you to be FAITHFUL TO YOUR CALLING, there must be no lack here. You must fulfil in all things, and permit is us to repeat, all nations have a claim on you. You are bound together as the three wit nesses were. You, notwithstanding can part & meet & meet and part again till your heads are silvered o[v]er with age. (Joseph Smith Papers, Minute Book 1, 12 Feb. 1834, 27–29., here)
They are supposed to bear testimony if they have it. But first they must receive it. It is their duty. By not doing so you are not magnifying your calling if you have it (unless commanded differently). And if you don’t you must gain it to magnify their calling. Joseph smith also called 12 apostles who had not received this testimony yet. Though they were allowed to not have it and still be called to the 12, they were meant to receive it however and testify of it when they did. But as Oliver Cowdery later stated the apostles ordinations are not complete until God has laid His hands on their head.

The people were asked earlier in the discourse "Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high.". Some believe they are called to this work by descent of man. But as I have shown in many posts now, (my most recent Priesthood Revisited) its not by "descent of man" (Joseph Smith) but by Gods voice (JST Gen 14), or as Oliver described "Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid His hand upon you.". Finally the discourse ends with
"You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony, that you have seen the face of God. Therefore call upon Him in faith in mighty prayer till you prevail, for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves." (ibid)
While the discourse was directed to the newly called apostles, it applies to all the disciples of Christ, those who wish to be His servants.

Other Declarations
11: behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto them; and he descended as it were in a cloud... 
32 And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them, traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them. 
48 And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them. 49 And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt. 50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received. (Helamen 5) 
The first thing they do after having this great experience is to go bring others unto repentance and testify unto them the things they had both heard and seen. They had seen angels! They had the windows of heaven (notice what the windows of heaven are, nothing to do with money or temporal things) opened unto them due to their faith and baptism by fire which they had just received earlier in the chapter. Here we have again the Lords servants testifying to the people, the people are converted to the Lord and experience the things of heaven. Than they go out and gather others.

That is the purpose of these events. Moroni 7 explains that the purpose of these great experiences (angels, gifts of the spirit, manifestations of the spirit) is to increase faith in the land. That we may all be profited together, not to be hidden under a bushel (D&C 46:26,29). Until we (those with little faith) may lay hold upon the same blessings and call upon the powers of heaven for themselves. As the lectures on Faith, it requires one to believe on the testimony of others until we can gain the same testimony for ourselves.

We have Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah (from the Bible) who saw Him (2 Nephi 11:1-2).

Jacob when confronting the AntiChrist Sherem could not be shaken due to his many revelations he had and we learn when one is fully converted they "never did fall away" (Alma 23:6),
5 And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken. (Jacob 7:5)
1) Revelations
2) Seen Angles
3) Had Angels Minister to Him
4) Heard the Voice of the Lord

Notice the voice of the Lord is different than the voice of the Holy Ghost. Seems to follow the endowment very well. First we receive the Holy Ghost. Than it shows us what we should through revelation. Than true messengers minister. We continue faithful, we will "hear" God's voice. As we continue faithful to the commandments of God the time will come where we can converse with the Lord through the veil and enter therein.

Ressurection of Christ
Many examples of others testifying of Christ's Resurrection in the Bible can be found here.

Who was the first witness of His ressurection as the Second Comforter? Who was the second? Third? Who cares right?
9 ¶Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
12 ¶After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
13 And they [The two] went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
14 ¶Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen (Mark 16.9-14)
First Mary Magdalene, who told others yet they believed her not.

Second there were two. Luke 24 tells us one of these men was Cleopas and the other an unknown disciple. They too did not believe, and the Lord says "25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" in verse 31 their eyes are opened to His true identity.

Third the eleven are chastised for not believing the witness of the others. These are the 12 apostles (11 were present) to the lamb. The "presidency" of the church. Yet they would not believe the words of others that had seen Him and were chastised for the hardness of heart, and unbelief.

Are we so quick to discount those who testify because they are not a "leader" or because they are not the "15" of the church?  The Lord appeared to many others first and chastised those who did not believe including the "apostles". Also the order of events teaches a great truth about the order of events for ourselves which I won't get into. There are great truths hidden in this sequence of events.

Arise and Come Forth
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world” (3 Nephi 11:14)
What you Should Do Now 
Receive your Baptism by Fire and the Holy Ghost (different than the gift of the holy ghost by laying on of hands). That you may enter in by the way. Nephi tells us.
1 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts? 
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:1, 5)
As Orson Pratt said, (which includes the Sisters)
This failure to realize all the blessings and powers of the Priesthood does not apply to the elders and lesser Priesthood only; but it applies to the higher quorums, and comes home to ourselves, who are Apostles of Jesus Christ. We are presented before the Church, and sustained as prophets, seers and revelators, and we have received oftentimes the gift of prophecy and revelation, and have received many great and glorious gifts. But have we received the fullness of the blessings to which we are entitled? No, we have not. Who, among the Apostles have become seers, and enjoy all the gifts and powers pertaining to that calling? And those who are called to perform special missions in opening up dispensations of the Gospel to the children of men, as Joseph and others were called of the Lord, He endows more fully with these gifts; but this does not hinder others from enjoying similar gifts according to His promises, and according to our faithfulness. And I have thought the reason why we have not enjoyed these gifts more fully is, because we have not sought for them as diligently as we ought. I speak for one, I have not sought as diligently as I might have done. More than forty years have passed away since these promises were made. I have been blessed with some revelations and prophecies, and with dreams of things that have come to pass; but as to seeing things as a seer, and beholding heavenly things in open vision, I have not attained to these things. And who is to blame for this? Not the Lord; not brother Joseph—they are not to blame. And so it is with the promises made to you in your confirmations and endowments, and by the patriarchs, in your patriarchal blessings; we do not live up to our privileges as saints of God and elders of Israel; for though we receive many blessings that are promised to us, we do not receive them in their fullness, because we do not seek for them as diligently and faithfully as we should." (Orson Pratt, JD 25:145-146, 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Priesthood revisited

This will be a short post. I don't wish to lay out all the scriptures just to point out a few things and than you can take it to the Lord and determine if its true.

A Quote by Joseph Smith and the fulness of the priesthood.

History of the Church, (5:554-556) Version (Can read the two "recorded" versions here)

Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; consequently they never could save any one, and would all be damned together. There was an Episcopal priest who said he had the priesthood of Aaron, but had not the priesthood of Melchizedek and I bear testimony that I never have found the man who claimed the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The power of the Melchizedek priesthood is to have the power of "endless lives;"[fulness of the priesthood] for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken.

The law was given under Aaron for the purpose of pouring out judgments and destructions. (1)

The sectarian world are going to hell by hundreds, by thousands and by millions.

There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here. 1st. The King of Shiloam. (Salem) had power and authority over that of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life.[again fulness of the priesthood] Angels desire to look into it, but they have set up too many stakes. God cursed the children of Israel because they would not receive the last law from Moses.

The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac, shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things. (2) When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.

What was the power of Melchizedek? 'Twas not the Priesthood of Aaron which administers in outward ordinances, and the offering of sacrifices. Those holding the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood are kings and priests of the Most High God, holding the keys of power and blessings. In fact, that priesthood is a perfect law of theocracy, and stands as God to give laws to the people, administering endless lives to the sons and daughters of Adam.

Abraham says to Melchizedek, I believe all that thou hast taught me concerning the priesthood and the coming of the Son of Man; so Melchizedek ordained Abraham and sent him away. Abraham rejoiced, saying, Now I have a priesthood.

Salvation could not come to the world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.

How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. [This lecture was given in 1844, was is this future tense?] The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.

Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.

The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure.

"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; (3) and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.

The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood.

The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of priests to administer in outward ordinance, made without an oath; but the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.

The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to administer in all those priesthoods.

Jesus Christ is the heir of this Kingdom--the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, and holds the keys over all this world.

Men have to suffer that they may come upon Mount Zion and be exalted above the heavens.
I know a man that has been caught up to the third heavens, and can say, with Paul, that we have seen and heard things that are not lawful to utter.
**** (end quote)

All those who receive the fulness of the priesthood becomes kings and queens (check out the orson hyde diagram)
  • All those who receive the fulness of the priesthood have power of an endless lives
  • Zion requires those who are willing to receive it. ("Awake, Awake, ...Put on thy strength")
  • We receive it by Gods voice (not by descent from father to son) as seen in Helamen 10 or JST Gen 14.
  • This is the sealing power of elijah (along with translation)
  • Angels set up stakes (limits) for God, saying "he cannot do that" or won't do that, or "this far I will go and no further" and they are damned and cannot look into this priesthood.
  • We refuse a gift or blessing, God curses us. (Such as seeing God in the flesh, D&C 84:23-25)
  • Israelite's could not and would not enter into God's presence therefore they were Cursed
  • The priesthood of  "Aaron [is] for the purpose of pouring out judgments and destruction's". Its a cursing priesthood while the fulness is a blessing priesthood. If you won't accept the blessings than you are cursed with the aaonric. If you won't receive the Fulness you will be cursed with the aaonric. Why anyone would "want" this priesthood is beyond me.
  • Aaronic priesthood is appendage priesthood (added due to transgression). 
  • Appendage means its not part of the 'order of God', or that which is eternal. 
  • Many of the offices we have are only appendages due to transgression (meaning it won't be part of the original when Zion returns, only temporary (a cursing))
5 All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood [Melchezidek Priesthood].
14 Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. (D&C 107:5,14)
Outward ordinances don't save us (Cross reference "law of moses", "dead works")
Inward ordinances save us.

One can receive the inward blessings before the "outward" are ever received. For example one can receive the gift of the holy ghost before they have had it by laying on of hands (as did Joseph in JSH and many others in the scriptures). Likewise, the remission of sins comes (should) before one is baptized and than we must retain it.

Outward ordinances are for a "witness and testimony" of what one has done (Mosiah 21:31-35). Thus Christ experienced all the blessings of the gospel before he was baptized at age 30. Yet he was still baptized as a "witness and testimony" of what he had done inwardly because we are commanded to do so. If we change our focus to the inward, the outward can take care of itself in its due time. But if we focus on the outward and never receive the "inward" ("know ye not the kingdom of God is within you"?) you will not be received by Heavenly Father. That is what the pharisees did, it was entirely focused on the outward.

See my post The Covenant Before Baptism

Not By Virtue of the Priesthood
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; (D&C 121:41)
The priesthood does not give anyone a right to govern, control, influence, or power over anyone. We don't listen to another because they have keys or authority. We listen because 1) They teach truth, 2) they do it by "persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;" respecting ones agency. If keys or authority were enough, which the new testament church had both, they would still be the source of all truth today. The great apostasy occurred while the apostles and prophets were still alive. (See Talmage, The Great Apostasy, pg 18 and 41) showing that an apostasy can occur even when "authority" or "keys" are still present. It wasn't because, as sometimes taught, they were all killed. Instead the "truth" was lost or distorted (changed). They retained a "form of godliness" (ordinances) but denied the power thereof.

Pray to the father to receive of his fulness.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Names, Names, Names: Equality among ALL men

I was reading the Book of Mormon and was shown something I have not seen before. I am amazed how closely the Book of Mormon identifies our awful situation and state of wickedness today. How far we are from God and how much we need repentance. It was truly written for us to identify if we will use it as our own Urim and Thmmin our wickedness and abominations before our Maker. Certainly if we want to repent we must first learn the things we must repent of.

A few days ago I read 4th Nephi on a Zion society.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 1: 17)
Well, ok it makes sense, but it didn't hit me until this morning (April 14th). As I read Alma 4 about the inequality among the people, about the pride of the church became greater than outside the church, how they became scornful to those who did not believe as they did, etc... It flashed before my eyes the scripture in 4th Nephi verse 17 with how we do it today. It was a personal revelation to me that I have felt to share.

Today we have separated each other by the following.

Less Active
Non Member
Non Mormon
Not religious

"neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God."

We love separating ourselves. We just love it. But God sees us all as Children of God. Thats it. Nothing else. We are all in a fallen state, we are all in need of Him. As we look at the examples of the Book of Mormon and taking the names of the people "lamanites", "nephites", "Josephites", etc.. it was during a time of much "inequality" or iniquity, destruction, contention, wickedness, etc.

We ALL are so far from our God in our faith, in our beliefs and being able to see ALL as God sees us, as children of Christ. We are really all equal in His eyes. Lets not segregate each other for whatever differences we have, even if they are differences we don't agree with.
12 Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
13 Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
14 Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death. (Alma 4)
Not meet one should posses one above another

The revelations state, "It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?”. But look at America, look how even the poorest of us have these government programs to take care of them, they have shelter, food, water, etc... This is not the case for all, but even in America we have so much than another in other countries. 

Billions are starving in other countries. We are suffering them to go unnoticed. And than the lord will pass by us unnoticed. Look at what Orson Pratt said.
What kind of a revolution would it work among the Latter day Saints if the revelation given in March, 1831, were carried out by them, “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?” How much of a revolution would it accomplish in Salt Lake City if this order of things should be brought about? I think it would work a greater revolution among this people than has ever been witnessed amongst them since they had an existence as a Church.
There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains.
(JD 15:355-360,, Orson Pratt)
Purging our self image as good guys: The Message of the Book of Mormon
Only those who are aware of their lost and fallen state can take the mission of the Savior seriously, and before one can embrace it in terms of the eternities it must be grasped on the level of common, everyday reality … For behold, are we not all beggars? … The essence of [King] Benjamin’s preaching is to purge the people, if possible, of their flattering self-image as good guys.
His address is expressly to the inhabitants of "this land" into whose hands "this book" shall come--specifically, it is meant for us. (Scriptural Perspectives on How to Survive the Calamities of the Last Days, Hugh Nibley, read here)
King Benjamin
King Benamin is a great example of how a society that wishes to be like Zion needs to act. I am going to try to go through a few chapters starting in Mosiah 2 and highlight the traits of King Benjamin and the Society.

"I am like as yourselves" (vs 11)
"serve(d) you with all the might, mind and strength" (vs 11)
"spend my days in your service" (vs 12)
Did not receive any gold, silver or riches from the people  (vs 12)
Suffered to be No Dungeons (jails) (vs 13)
No Slaves, murder, plunder, steal, commit adultery... (vs 13)
"taught you [to], keep the commandments" (vs 13)
"labored with mine own hands" (vs 14)
No Taxes (vs 14)
Tells us these things not to boast, or accuse. (vs 15-16)
Refuses to accept thanks (praise), gives it to God (vs 19)
"render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you" (vs 20) [Notice no praise to the man, we should be wise in this regard to not give praise or glory to any man]
Beware of contention, else you will be led by an evil spirit (vs 32)
"I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression" (vs 40)

The peoples reactions
After this message of repentance here is what happened. Mosiah 4:
And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.11...always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness
This is a very real process when on awakens to their awful situation. They realize how little they are in this world, fear comes upon them for their own salvation, they begin to realize their nothingness before God. It is this humility that God requires of us. This fear of our failure and inabililty to do what is required that allows us to stay humble and put our trust in God. No wonder why people never like to "hear" repentance. Because as soon as something is revealed that they are doing wrong they cry "treason". All people want to think they are doing exactly what they need to do to be saved. "Carnal security".
Discourse on the Poor
 16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. 19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
God gives both to the Just and the Unjust, art thou greater than He? I have seen this excuse, that they will just use it for drugs or alcohol, over and over for not giving to those who put up their petition for food, money, etc... We have great cause to repent if we think their punishments are just. We shall not suffer their petitions to be put up in vain.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
We are not to withhold but to give freely. No wonder why so few people have ever been able to build Zion. Their hearts are far from Him. They prefer to keep that which is not theirs to begin with. They wish to save all the money they can while those around them suffer with nothing.

Hugh Nibley
He spoke beautifully our dilemma. I will pull excerpts out from his paper, Scriptural Perspectives on How to Survive the Calamities of the Last Days, you can read it here.
there is no point in devising ingenious schemes for survival.There is but one real course of escape. What you should do is to watch yourself at all times (see JS-M 1:46); to be found doing good all the time (see JS-M 1:49); to not act as if it were going to be business as usual indefinitely, as if the great event belonged to a vague and indefinite future (see JS-M 1:51). The one thing you can be sure of is that it will be "in such an hour as ye think not" (JS-M 1:48). So the only preparation is to do what? To abstain from taking advantage of others, oppressing the poor, and living in luxury (see JS-M 1:52).
What do you repent of and how do you repent? It is all a matter of seeking: when you repent you turn from seeking some things to seeking others 
...get rid of our own definition of who are "the good guys" and who are "the bad guys."

The dangerous illusion that the populace may be classified simply as the good guys (our side) and the bad guys (their side) becomes the main theme of the book of Jacob, as of the Book of Mormon itself. While Jacob spares no words in describing the wickedness and depravity of the Lamanites, he can declare of his own people at that early date: "Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites" (Jacob 2:35). Where does that leave us? With a polarized world that emerges in Jacob 3:

It is as pointless, then, to ask who are the good guys and who are the bad guys as it is to ask who should repent. The answer is always the same: I am the sinner, and I must repent.
The essence of Benjamin's preaching is to purge the people, if possible, of their flattering self-image as good guys. 
We must not forget those Book of Mormon super-good guys, the Zoramites--hard working, independent, fiercely patriotic, brave, smart, prosperous Zoramites--strictly attending their meetings and observing proper dress standards. What a perfectly wonderful self-image!

The battle is not between Good and Bad--the wicked shall destroy the wicked.
The book of Mormon is For US
Mormon's message to us is not without a word of hope and advice: "Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words. . . . Give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been" (Mormon 9:30-31). His address is expressly to the inhabitants of "this land" into whose hands "this book" shall come--specifically, it is meant for us.
No More Revelation
How is it possible to be so selective in times of war and confusion? It is done by the process of leading the righteous away. When the lights go out and the grandson of Amaron reports that there is "no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy" in his day (Omni 1:11), then the righteous man Mosiah is "warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi" (Omni 1:12), taking any who will go with him--it is Lehi all over again, another society of saints in the wilderness. (ibid)
No More revelation 
King Benamin is an interesting example of a society that is required to build Zion. We should study it. Its also an interesting story of what leads up to the establishment of this Zion like society. If Hugh Nibley is right that the book of Mormon is about US, is this a type of us? For 3-4? generations there was "no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy" (Omni 1:11). Until finally a small group was able to awaken through the words of this King Benjamin and remove that self flatery image they had and do what was required to build Zion?

When Destruction Comes
When everything you have is taken away, when your life is lost, or whatever else comes your way, it won't be asked of you whether you had enough to survive during those times but rather it will be asked, how did you succor those that stood in need while you were able? Did you help that man on the corner or did you pass by? After all we could even be entertaining angels unaware (true messengers) sent to prove us in all things. "Done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me".

Don't forget all those who have less. Remove that "covetous".
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. (Mosiah 4:26)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The First Blood Moon: The First Warning

What I learned tonight about recent signs of the moon (take it or leave it, I was impressed to share). There were others who saw the really big halo around the moon a couple months back and recognized it for a sign. I saw it too, and felt the same thing. What are the meaning of these things? It was an invitation for something more, something terrestrial, reaching for the terrestrial glory that will be ours if we're faithful, if we truly come unto Him. The lunar eclipses, in contrast, are warnings to repent, warnings before the final blood moon of Revelations that unless we do repent and come unto Him, the coming of the terrestrial world will mean our deaths of body and spirit. This is the first warning.

Many members believe in a "call out" for Zion. They will be sadly disappointed when the destruction's come. If a "prophet" has to call you into Zion than you are not ready. If one person is unprepared for Zion and they try to gather with those who are ready, Zion will fail. Moses tried to lead the people to Zion, they failed. They wanted a leader, He became their idol (idolatry). They had prayed that Moses would speak to God for them (TPJS). No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God.
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; (D&C 84:19-23)
The day of this life is your salvation, is your probation. If that same spirit that departs this life is unclean when you depart, it will remain unclean. The law states 'blessed are the pure in heart [sanctified] for they shall see God". "For it is not possible for a man to do the will of the Father and not know the doctrine.” (Lyman Wright, Conference Report, Apr 1910, pg 29-30). If this eternal glory is not in you when these times come upon us, you will be burned and unable to bear the glory of the eternal world while in the flesh (D&C 76:117-11)

The Lords arm has been extending, his arm is extending a second time. How do I know an opportunity is being offered? For one the signs in the heavens. Two the signs that are on the earth. But for now I just invite you to seek God's Face (always). I invite you to determine if the many things I have written are true or not. The time is coming when the Gentiles (both LDS and non LDS) are going to reject the fulness of the gospel and the Gentiles kingdoms will be trodden under foot and burned to ashes. (3 Nephi 16). All it takes to throw down the kingdoms of the devil is to preach truth. The pure truth.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are these different? Holy Ghost: Holy Spirit

Lets have some fun and get outside the box for a moment.

Is there a difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit? I have noticed sometimes people use these interchangeably including in the scriptures but are they really the same-thing? If they are used interchangeable even sometimes in our scriptures, it certainly would make it difficult to figure out.

Joseph gave us a clear explanation of what the Holy Spirit is.
There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things--by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space--They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;--he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh--and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer, or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin: Showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain also without sin. And also, that by him a righteous judgment might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God, may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father-possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one: The Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power and fulness: Filling all in all--the Son being filled with the fulness of the Mind, glory and power, or, in other words, the Spirit, glory and power of the Father--possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom: sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father--a Mediator for man--being filled with the fulness of the Mind of the Father, or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fulness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one 9 (Lectures on Faith, Lecture 5:2)
The Holy Spirit is the mind of God.
45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words. (Helamen 5:45)
Holy spirit came down out of heaven and did enter into their heart.

Holy Ghost
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C 130:22)
The question I ask is how can the mind of God be a personage of Spirit? Perhaps they are different.
1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught. (2 Nephi 33:1-2)
Why the distinction here?

A Key
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
(Doctrine and Covenants 121:46)
Go re-read these. Do you see it?

So when one receives the gift of the holy ghost what are they really receiving? This admonition for us to "receive the Holy Ghost" refers to what?

Joseph also said,
I want to let you know that THE HOLY GHOST KNOWS SOMETHING AS WELL AS YOU DO. ... But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. THE HOLY GHOST DOES, ANYHOW; AND HE IS WITHIN ME, and comprehends more than all the world; and I WILL ASSOCIATE MYSELF WITH HIM. (Joseph Smith, King Follet Discourse)
A Random Thought
The Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has. (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245, Sermon delivered at Nauvoo temple grounds on Sunday August 27, 1843 or here)
Clearly that is not the "mind of God" right?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gift of Healing: "ye of little faith"

The Lord these past few weeks has been teaching me a very important lesson about relying upon the Lord. I have often though for a long time medicine and other things are gifts from God. I have learned this is only partially true. I have learned Satan has also inspired many of the thing that we have today from technology, medicine, altering of foods, etc... I often, like probably most, go to the doctor first or my medicine cabinet. 

The past few days the Lord has revealed unto me that I should be seeking Him first. I came across the following quote by Joseph Smith.
Sunday, Sept. 5, 1841. I preached to a large congregation at the stand, on the science and practice of medicine, desiring to persuade the Saints to trust in God when sick, and not in an arm of flesh, and live by faith and not by medicine, or poison; and when they were sick, and had called for the Elders to pray for them, and they were not healed, to use herbs and mild food.—DHC 4:414. - Joseph Smith
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)
Not only does Joseph relate things of this world as the arm of flesh, or others, but he goes on and says we should live by faith (rely upon God). Seek to be healed by Him first. If we are still not healed than we may use herbs and mild food. Doctrine and Covenants also illustrates this pricniple.
42:43 And whosoever among you are sick, and have NOT FAITH to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food 
48 And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. 
This is something I have started to work on even If I am not healed i can show the Lord I take it seriously to rely upon Him. I have lots to learn in this regard.

Another point I would like to point out. Sometimes we are meant to suffer from an illness for a time and won't be healed. If its the will of the Lord he won't heal us because its part of our growth. But this won't stop me from asking to see if it is His will I be healed or not.

After the appearance of Christ in 3 Nephi:17 He says the following.
7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.
9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
All those who had faith, which were the survivors of the great destruction that had occured pre-3 Nephi 11 chapter and the "more righteous" among the people, were ALL healed. In this case they finally had arrived at the faith required so they ALL could be healed.

This is the type of society we will have when Zion returns. When we stop relying on the arm of flesh, ways of the world, or other men for our knowledge, but instead turn to God and receive revelation and be brought into the presence of God to learn all things.

How do we heal?
And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk. (D&C 35:9)
It is by faith that we can heal others. It is by asking in faith that we can do these things. It does not say we are required to have the priesthood to heal others but faith in their behalf. Though there are some things that do require true priesthood to perform. But as I have discussed priesthood is your connection to the Powers of heaven, or the Powers that are IN heaven. Your association with them gives you power through your faith to heal. Even women can call upon these powers to bless and heal others. So all things are related to faith.

In Ancient Days Men Feared the Lord

A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Use of the Latter Day Saints, 1844

1. In ancient days men feared the Lord,
And by their faith received his word,
Then God bestowed upon the meek,
The Priesthood of Melchizedek.

2. By help of this their faith increased,
Till they with God spoke face to face:
An Enoch, he would walk with God;
A Noah ride safe o'er the flood.

3. Abraham obtained great promises,
And Isaac he was also blest,
A Jacob could prevail with God;
The sea divide at Moses' rod.

4. The lion's mouth a Daniel closed,
The fire ne'er scorched his brethren's clothes,
But time would fail to mention all
The men of faith, I'll just name Paul.

5. Who did to the third heav'ns arise,
And view the wonders of the skies;
He saw and heard mysterious things.
Yet all by faith, and not by wings.

6. Such blessings to the human race,
Once more are tendered by God's grace;
The Priesthood is again restored,
For this let God be long adored.

7. Now we by faith, like Paul and John,
May see the Father and the Son,
And view eternal things above,
And taste the sweets of boundless love.

8. And if, like them, we hated be,
Deprived sometimes of liberty,
We will like them, this faith defend,
Whate'er our fate, unto the end.

9. O Lord assist thy feeble worms,
This resolution to perform,
And we thy sacred name will praise,
Throughout the remnant of our days.

This is the purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To bring us back into the presence of God while in the flesh.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Turning the Hearts of the Jews to the Prophets and the Prophets to the Jews

The first shall be last, the last shall be first. Avraham Gileadi has an excellent article on turning the hearts of the fathers to children. Our time is short and he brings up how our inability to understand Isaiah will cause us to be among the foolish virgins.

If you just skip this paper at least read these two paragraphs from it. Though it really should all be read.
Jesus thus affirms that “searching diligently” (3 Nephi 23:1; emphasis added)—not just reading or studying—is essential for understanding Isaiah’s words. Without that, how can one discuss them intelligently? How can the descendants of Ephraim turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews without first searching the words of Isaiah until they gain a sufficient comprehension of them? 
Because the Book of Isaiah—like the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, the large plates of Nephi, and the Book of Ether—reveals a vision of the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), I am not certain but that our failing to comprehend Isaiah’s words before our time runs out and those records come forth may put us in danger of joining the unhappy throng who in that day will protest, “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible” (2 Nephi 29:3), referring to that scripture’s end-time context, not to the time of the prophet Joseph Smith.
B’nai Shalom Presentation by Avraham Gileadi, 3rd April 2014
As some of you may know, this year’s Feast of Passover, which occurs on April 15th through 22nd, coincides with the first of four consecutive blood moons or total lunar eclipses on the main Jewish feastdays of Passover 2014, Tabernacles 2014, Passover 2015, and Tabernacles 2015, with a total solar eclipse occurring at the Jewish New Year 2015. We may thus expect to see important developments for the Jewish people this year and the next. Back-to-back blood moons on Jewish feastdays occurred in 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain; in 1948, when the State of Israel was founded; and in the 1967 Six-day War, when Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
We might have guessed that God commanded the feast of Passover to be observed “throughout your generations” as “an ordinance forever” (Exodus 12:14) not just to commemorate Israel’s release from bondage in Egypt but also as a type or foreshadowing of an end-time deliverance from bondage and from the taskmasters who would enforce it. Even as we speak, therefore, an end-time Pharaoh and his taskmasters in this land are implementing the very enslavement the prophet Isaiah predicted when he quotes Jehovah as saying, “My people are taken over without price; those who govern them act presumptuously, and my name is constantly abused all the day long” (Isaiah 52:5).
Still, Jehovah promises to reverse his people’s circumstances when they repent of their transgression, as it further says, “Awake, arise; clothe yourself with power, O Zion! Put on your robes of glory, O Jerusalem, holy city. No more shall the uncircumcised and defiled enter you. Shake yourself free, rise from the dust; sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Loose yourself from the bands around your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion. Thus says Jehovah: You were sold without price, and you shall be redeemed without money” (Isaiah 52:1–3).
Because bondage is a covenant curse—a consequence of a people’s collective guilt—they must endure it until it has served God’s purpose of cleansing them of their iniquities. Only at that point does God release them from bondage through another “one like unto Moses,” as it says, “Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched–out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence. But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land” (D&C 103:15–20). This end-time deliverance from bondage thus occurs at a new exodus to Zion that is patterned after the old.
            By eating the bitter herb at the Passover Seder and dipping the lowly vegetable in salt water we remember the bitterness and tears of Israel’s ancient bondage but thus also anticipate a repeat performance of bondage to enemies and of an end-time deliverance—deliverance by virtue of a divine Passover Lamb: “the Lamb of God” that was “slain from the foundation of the world” (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 13:8; Moses 7:47) of which the ancient Passover Lamb was a type. In short, God has in part commanded us to observe these appointed feasts to guide us through a time of trouble, because as he dealt with his people in the past so he will again when history repeats itself. Celebrating Passover, therefore, prepares us to participate in historic events that are even now unfolding.
            The prophet Jeremiah foresaw these things when he says, “Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that it will no more be said, Jehovah lives, who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. But Jehovah lives, who brought the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where he had driven them. And I will bring them again into the land that I gave their fathers” (Jeremiah 16:14–15; 23:7). When do people say, “Jehovah lives, who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt”? They say it when celebrating Passover! In other words, the end-time deliverance of God’s people out of bondage in an exodus out of all the world will so surpass Israel’s ancient exodus and deliverance that only the new will be celebrated in the millennial age.
            Isaiah similarly predicts this end-time exodus and deliverance when he says, “In that day my Lord will again raise his hand to reclaim the remnant of his people—those who shall be left out of Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the islands of the sea. He will raise the ensign to the nations and assemble the exiled of Israel; he will gather the scattered of Judah from the four directions of the earth” (Isaiah 11:11–12); “Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, Give up! to the south, Withhold not! Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5–6);
“Say to the captives, Come forth! and to those in darkness, Show yourselves! They shall feed along the way and find pasture on all barren heights; they shall not hunger or thirst, nor be smitten by the heatwave or the sun: he who has mercy on them will guide them; he will lead them by springs of water. All my mountain ranges I will appoint as roads; my highways shall be on high. See these, coming from afar, these, from the northwest, and these, from the land of Sinim. Shout for joy, O heavens; celebrate, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! Jehovah is comforting his people, showing compassion for his afflicted” (Isaiah 49:9–13).
“Go forth out of Babylon, flee from Chaldea! Make this announcement with resounding voice; broadcast it to the end of the earth. Say, Jehovah has redeemed his servant Jacob. They thirsted not when he led them through arid places: he caused water to flow for them from the rock; he cleaved the rock and water gushed out” (Isaiah 48:20–21); “Let the ransomed of Jehovah return! Let them come singing to Zion, their heads crowned with everlasting joy; let them obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).
Do the descendants of Ephraim who assimilated into the Gentiles (Hosea 7:8) realize that God has appointed them a stewardship toward the tribe of Judah to make these things known to them? In a revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith, God commands them to “Seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children; and again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me” (D&C 98:16–17).
In classic Hebrew prophetic style, the synonymously paralleled wording of this commandment equates the “fathers” with the “prophets” and the “children” with the “Jews.” This revelation, in other words, identifies the Jews of today as the children of the prophets. It is to those prophets, therefore—who are the Jews’ own ancestors—that the descendants of Ephraim are to “seek diligently” to turn their hearts.
            But what does such a commandment actually entail? Although we know that “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7), we also know that, as Nephi says in reference to the words of Isaiah, “The Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:5).
Because few if any Ephraimites have been taught the “manner of the Jews” or Jewish methodology for analyzing the scriptures so as to relate to the Jews on their own level, the commandment to seek diligently to turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews presents a huge challenge. The Jews have so long been exposed to attempts to convert them to a Gentile version of their own scriptures that any attempt to create a spiritual dialogue with them that isn’t based on the revelation Joseph Smith received will fail miserably—and has failed miserably.
In fact, in their desire to be politically correct in the world the descendants of Ephraim have neglected the commandment they have received and in recent years have all but shut down interaction with the Jews. And yet, in their present perilous circumstances—with the rise of hostile Muslim nations bent on Israel’s destruction and with rampant worldwide anti-Semitism—the Jews need us terribly. They should know and be made to feel they have a friend in Ephraim, the birthright tribe. In their current historical crisis, even Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is advising Israelis to read the Hebrew prophets, because the prophets have the answer both to the Jews’ immediate peril and to the entire Jewish restoration that the prophets have foretold. As with Esau, who despised his birthright, what use is Ephraim’s birthright unless Ephraim is willing to exercise it (Genesis 25:32)?
Just as Joseph in Egypt, who ruled under Pharaoh, served as a savior to his brothers when a seven-year famine swept the land, so the descendants of Joseph were destined to serve as saviors to Israel’s twelve tribes before the coming of Messiah to reign on the earth. Instead of looking back and dwelling on events of the past this coming Passover, therefore, let us look forward to what lies ahead.
Mormon speaks of the descendants of Ephraim who have come through the Gentile lineages as those “who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come” (Mormon 5:10). Jacob speaks of them acting as a “father” to the house of Israel (2 Nephi 10:18), which is precisely the role of a birthright son—the same role Joseph fulfilled by saving his brothers in the day of their distress.
In the end-time exodus of Israel’s twelve tribes to the old and new Jerusalems that the prophets have foretold, the spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles—the descendants of Ephraim, who are identified as “the fulness of the Gentiles” (Genesis 48:19; Romans 11:25; 1 Nephi 10:14; 3 Nephi 16:4)—are to bring the house of Israel in their bosoms and carry them on their shoulders in their journey home from their worldwide exile. Says Isaiah, “Thus says my Lord Jehovah: I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, raise my ensign to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their bosoms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, queens your nursing mothers” (Isaiah 49:22–23; cf. 1 Nephi 21–22; 22:6–8; 2 Nephi 6:6–7).
If today’s Ephraimites aren’t going to do what Joseph their ancestor did for his brothers, then who are those “servants” of the Lord of the vineyard in Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree whom he commands to gather up the natural branches and graft them back into their own olive tree (Jacob 5:52–62; cf. Romans 11:24)? Will all these prophecies simply fulfill themselves? Or must some Ephraimites rise to the occasion and fulfill them? How do we suppose the Jews and others of the house of Israel will respond to attempts to graft them in unless their hearts are turned toward the prophets, their own ancestors, who predicted it? But if the tribe of Ephraim isn’t versed in the scriptures enough to comprehend these prophecies and how to implement them, how can they possibly be fulfilled?
            Based on a prophecy by Zechariah, some people believe that the Jews won’t believe in Jesus until he appears to them on the Mount of Olives and they see the wounds in his hands and feet (Zechariah 12:10; D&C 45:51). But that idea is based on a misunderstanding of Zechariah’s prophecy. When Jesus appeared to the Nephites, he predicted that the Jews as a whole would believe in him and call upon the Father in his name, after which they would be gathered home to Jerusalem, the land of their inheritance.
He says, “I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father. And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them; And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name. Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye. Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance” (3 Nephi 20:29–33; 21:27–28; cf. Isaiah 52:8, 12). We might ask who the “watchmen” are that Jesus mentions if not those who gather the house of Israel in the new exodus from the four parts of the earth.
            Because today by far the majority of Jews still lives outside their Promised Land, the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy is still future. Nephi’s brother Jacob likewise speaks of the Jews as a whole first believing and then being gathered, when he says, “And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel—That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise” (2 Nephi 9:1–2).
How, then, do we solve this paradox of two scriptures predicting two radically different scenarios of the Jews’ accepting Jesus as their Messiah? Zechariah gives the answer when he distinguishes between two categories of Jews: (1) the House of Judah as a whole; and (2) the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. These two categories happen to correspond with a majority of Jews today who are secular and with a minority of Jews who are religious. Zechariah says, “Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah” (Zechariah 12:7).
            Because religious Jews today “magnify” or aggrandize themselves against secular Jews for not keeping the Law of Moses—or what Rabbinic Judaism dictates is the Law of Moses—religious Jews will be received last of all. That is, they will accept Jesus as their Savior when he appears to them on the Mount of Olives, and the Mount of Olives cleaves in two (D&C 45:48). The Book of Mormon’s Title Page, on the other hand, may thus be referring to secular Jews when it says that the Book of Mormon is written “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.” If that “convincing” of the Jews and of others of the house of Israel hasn’t yet occurred, then it surely will when the book’s sealed portion and other sealed books come forth that are predicted “to sweep the earth as with a flood” (Moses 7:62; cf. 1 Nephi 14:26; 2 Nephi 26:17; 27:7).
            Zechariah’s reference to the “tents of Judah” (Zechariah 12:7; emphasis added) further implies that the Jews as a whole will dwell for a time in the wilderness. This, the Jews again anticipate when they celebrate the feast of Tabernacles—Succoth—commemorating ancient Israel’s dwelling in temporary shelters in the Sinai wilderness. Ezekiel predicts just such an end-time sojourn in the wilderness for the house of Israel when he says, “I will bring you out from among the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered—with a mighty hand and with a stretched-out arm and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Just as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness in the land of Egypt, so I will plead with you, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 20:34–36).
As for the religious minority of Jews today, both in Israel and around the world, they still hold the same opinion of Jesus that they did in his day. It is they, therefore, who will mourn for him whom they rejected, as it says, “Then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus who was crucified. I am the Son of God. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king” (D&C 45:51–53).
            On the one hand, we are thus speaking of religious Jews whose understanding of the Hebrew prophets is essential for the descendants of Ephraim to learn if they would keep Jesus’ commandment to “seek diligently to turn . . . the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews” (D&C 98:17). On the other hand, we are dealing with religious Jews who in their present state of unbelief are still “looking beyond the mark” in their rejection of Jesus (Jacob 4:14).
            In short, while “the manner of the Jews,” as Nephi calls it (2 Nephi 25:5)—or the Jewish methodology for analyzing the words of the prophets—is necessary for the descendants of Ephraim to learn in order for them to fulfill their birthright role toward the Jews and others of the house of Israel, they are, paradoxically, to learn it from the unbelieving Jews who, to this day, as yet disavow Jesus!
            Having studied “the manner of the Jews” in a yeshiva or rabbinic school in Jerusalem, then being baptized into the church, I have therefore made it my life’s work to teach and publish the Jewish methodology in the course of analyzing the words of Isaiah. Today’s Ephraimites, therefore, being provided with the literary tools for analyzing the words of the prophets according to “the manner of the Jews,” can now learn how to “turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews” without needing to attend rabbinic school, where they would likely anyway be turned away.
What is important, however, is not my involvement or that of others in explaining the Jewish methodology or “manner of the Jews” but rather the fact that this knowledge is now readily accessible. Today’s Ephraimites, in effect, no longer have an excuse for not keeping Jesus’ commandment. Jesus’ adding to his commandment the words, “lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me” (D&C 98:17), means that much is at stake for both Judah and Ephraim on whether Ephraim fulfills it. By fulfilling my part, I feel I have washed my garments of the blood and sins of this generation (cf. Jacob 1:19; D&C 88:74, 85, 138; 112:33).
Certainly, those servants of God who seek diligently to turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews are the ones who will graft the natural branches back into their own olive tree (Jacob 5:52–68). Like the sons of Mosiah, who persuaded the Lamanites to leave their traditions and embrace the truth (Alma 17:2; 26:3, 15), they will have prayed and fasted and searched the scriptures diligently, enabling them to relate to the Jews on their own terms. For the first time, in fact, the Jews might take them seriously, as until now no one has challenged the Jews solely on their own turf.
As a natural branch of the olive tree (Romans 11:24), the Jews brought forth the Bible in its purity (1 Nephi 14:23) long before the Gentile church removed from it “many plain and precious parts” and “many covenants of the Lord” (1 Nephi 13:20–40). Of the Gentiles, God thus says, “O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people. Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?” (2 Nephi 29:4–6).
            Because this scripture specifically addresses God’s people “in Zion” (2 Nephi 28:21, 24), it is the end-time descendants of Ephraim who have come through the Gentile lineages who come under this condemnation. A revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith affirms this: “Your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion” (D&C 84:54–58).
            Isaiah, in fact, informs us that “a scourge and judgment” will be poured out on many of the children of Zion who are of the tribe of Ephraim. In an entire chapter devoted to Ephraim and its prophets, Isaiah says, “A hail shall sweep away your false refuge and waters flood the hiding place. Your covenant with death shall prove void, your understanding with Sheol have no effect: when the flooding scourge sweeps through, you shall be overrun by it. As often as it sweeps through, you shall be seized by it: morning after morning it shall sweep through, by day and by night [it shall seize you]; it shall cause terror merely to hear word of it” (Isaiah 28:17–19; cf. D&C 5:19). For those Ephraimites who believe his truth, on the other hand, God “lays in Zion a stone” (Isaiah 28:16; emphasis added)—an end-time seer—as an antidote to the flooding scourge that overruns the wicked.
Because the words of Isaiah form an integral part of the Book of Mormon and of many other scriptures, they provide the best scriptural text that originates with the Jews for turning the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews. By enlightening us across the entire spectrum of spiritual truths, the words of Isaiah divide the doers—those who pay the price of searching them—from the judges, those who fall back on preconceived ideas and take issue with people who differ. By taking lightly Isaiah’s words, they take lightly the Book of Mormon (cf. 1 Nephi 19:7; 2 Nephi 33:2–3, 14; 3 Nephi 26:9–10; D&C 84:54–59), unaware that Isaiah’s words constitute a core fabric around which the Book of Mormon is woven—that quintessential concepts many scriptures share originate with Isaiah.
            We can indeed say with certainty that Jesus’ commandment to “search diligently” the words of Isaiah (3 Nephi 23:1) is more relevant today than ever before. Not only are we nearing the time that Isaiah predicts (cf. 2 Nephi 25:8–9), the “good news” Isaiah teaches (Isaiah 40:9; 41:27; 52:7; 61:1)—the gospel of Messiah—enlightens us on many key points of doctrine. By his “good news” Isaiah doesn’t mean the “preparatory gospel” that prevailed under the Law of Moses, but rather the same gospel Jesus taught that came down from the days of Adam, whose knowledge was had by prophets.
Jesus’ saying that Isaiah spoke of “all things” concerning his people Israel (3 Nephi 23:2) thus means that Isaiah teaches not only the higher law Israel rejected at Sinai but that he does so from ancient Israel’s perspective. It is that frame of reference we must recapture if we would comprehend Isaiah’s message in all its richness, not to mention the restored gospel itself. In order to turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews, therefore, we must come to terms with the words of Isaiah. And to understand them for what they are, we must apply to them the Jewish methodology or “manner of the Jews.” Only then will the descendants of Ephraim be equipped to fulfill their obligation toward the Jews.
            The words of Isaiah, which Jesus calls “great” (3 Nephi 23:1), reveal the covenantal context in which the gospel of Jesus Christ originated and in which it is deeply grounded, but which the great and abominable church of the devil attempted to do away (1 Nephi 13:20–40). That is why Book of Mormon prophets draw on Isaiah for their frame of reference when teaching God’s plan of salvation and when predicting end-time events. Their repeated references (three times seven or more) to God’s “fulfilling his covenants with the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 14:5, 8, 17; 15:18; 22:6, 9, 11;2 Nephi 6:12; 10:7, 15, 17; 29:1, 14; 3 Nephi 16:5, 11–12; 20:12, 22, 25–27, 29, 46; 21:4, 7) are an outgrowth of Isaiah’s covenant theology. Once Isaiah’s words are understood for what they are, all other scriptures, ancient and modern, fall into place. Hence Jesus’ commandment to search his words diligently (3 Nephi 23:1).
But if the descendants of Ephraim haven’t drunk deeply enough from the well of the Hebrew prophets so as to comprehend their own roots—falling short in perceiving the underpinnings of their own religion—then what will become of them when the “days of your probation are past” (Helaman 13:38) and, as Isaiah says, “we have not wrought salvation in the earth” to the degree our God has commanded us (Isaiah 26:18)? Shall such neglect not have serious consequences, as it did in the early Gentile church when it cut itself off from its Hebrew roots? As we have witnessed, the Gentile church’s severing its ties to the gospel’s origins after the passing of the apostles led to many precepts of men and other distortions entering into Christianity. We too mustn’t assume that similar corruptions can’t happen to us, as the moment we take that attitude they already are.
            It is sad to see that even at this late date the descendants of Ephraim still don’t realize that the words of Isaiah present a deliberate spiritual challenge, not just a topic of casual interest. When accepted, that challenge rewards a person with a comprehension of the scriptures unequaled through the study of any other book. But when rejected, it leaves God’s people “in Zion,” too, clinging to “precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:21, 24, 26)—popular ideas that lack a scriptural basis of fact. As Nephi predicts, such distortions will prove at least as divisive among us as they have been among sectarian Christians, leaving persons who believe those “precepts of men” vulnerable to fighting against Zion based on their false assumptions (cf. 2 Nephi 28:28; 29:14). In the end, God thus pronounces seven “woes” or covenant curses upon his people “in Zion” for denying his truth (2 Nephi 28:24–32).
            Nor are the words of Isaiah purely of academic interest, lending themselves to the explication of this or that literary device, although these may serve as a starting point for learning Isaiah’s message. Of itself, academia can’t be construed as a celestial pastime but as a terrestrial one at best. For many, bookish learning creates a distraction from connecting with the true source of knowledge, an entrapment in which the disciples of erudition ceaselessly pursue learning but fail to gain a personal knowledge of God. If the nature of academia isn’t perceived as such, then those who eke out their years stalking its halls are likely to live spiritual half-lives that never see the light of day.
Worse—as academia has shown again and again—if relied upon “for doctrine and for a testimony” (Isaiah 8:20), its “blind guides” of the blind (Matthew 34:24; Helaman 13:29) will entirely succeed in “changing the truth of God into a lie” (Romans 1:25), repeating patterns of the past that led to God’s people’s demise. The words of Isaiah are far more than this. They “render void the knowledge of their sages and the intelligence of their wise men insignificant” (Isaiah 29:14). Isaiah’s words are life-giving, grounding a person in a divine reality that empowers one for the contest between light and darkness before the coming of Messiah. As no one will be left standing on the sidelines, what certainty have those who disregard these things of what part they will play?
The words of Isaiah indeed account for every soul God has created, past and future, living and dead, showing their relationship to one another and to their Maker within a great hierarchy of spirits. The characters who appear in Isaiah’s writings, for example, aren’t solely of historical interest but additionally exemplify ascending and descending spiritual levels. In that way, Israel’s ancient history as Isaiah presents it serves as an allegory of the end-time and of God’s saving plan. Those who presume to pass over Isaiah’s words, judging them as irrelevant, archaic, or incomprehensible, thus put their own counsel before God’s to their own hurt and condemnation.
            There is no question that the 1611 A.D. King James Version of the Bible and its use in Book of Mormon Isaiah passages has been a serious obstacle to understanding Isaiah. When the State of Israel was founded in 1948 and Hebrew again became a living language, much new scholarship brought to light clearer meanings of the ancient words. Because “many plain and precious parts” are lost in translation, not only in transmission, a modern translation of the Book of Isaiah became my first objective. Don’t the descendants of Ephraim subscribe to a belief in the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (A of F 1:8)? And didn’t Brigham Young declare that if any Christian could translate it better than the King James translators he was “under obligation to do so” (Journal of Discourses, 14:226)?
            When analyzing the words of Isaiah according to “the manner of the Jews,” I use an entire array of literary tools: structural, typological, and rhetorical. In that way—because the Book of Isaiah provides its own internal checks and balances that are embedded in its literary features—I have hopefully avoided any and all “private interpretations” (cf. 2 Peter 1:20). By limiting myself to conclusions based on hard scriptural evidence, I have found that such a literary approach yields important meanings of Isaiah’s words that don’t appear from a surface reading of the text.
In fact, what one reads on the surface of Isaiah’s writings accounts for but a small portion of his total message. Seven overarching literary structures that are layered one upon the other yield their own indispensable data. Thirty typological events that are linked together domino fashion—a new Passover, new exodus, new wandering in the wilderness, etc.—tie together the Isaiah’s writings into a single intertwining tapestry. Word links, key words, and codenames create a subliminal prophecy within a prophecy.
Jesus thus affirms that “searching diligently” (3 Nephi 23:1; emphasis added)—not just reading or studying—is essential for understanding Isaiah’s words. Without that, how can one discuss them intelligently? How can the descendants of Ephraim turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews without first searching the words of Isaiah until they gain a sufficient comprehension of them?
In the light of these things—as we are commanded to love God with our minds as well as our hearts and souls (Matthew 22:37)—I have analyzed Isaiah’s writings from the intellectual standpoint of the Jews but without resorting to intellectualism. Many times, as I would discover new literary features, I was required to completely reevaluate my former understanding of Isaiah’s writings until eventually I reached a plateau and felt confident about publishing the results.
Because the Book of Isaiah—like the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, the large plates of Nephi, and the Book of Ether—reveals a vision of the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), I am not certain but that our failing to comprehend Isaiah’s words before our time runs out and those records come forth may put us in danger of joining the unhappy throng who in that day will protest, “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible” (2 Nephi 29:3), referring to that scripture’s end-time context, not to the time of the prophet Joseph Smith.
            The analytical mindset that is indispensable for “searching” the scriptures—for putting aside preconceived ideas; thinking carefully through concepts; discerning and tracing vital scriptural links between one word or idea and another; perceiving why the prophets express things in a particular manner; treating their words with deference, not lightly; accepting their definitions of things rather than imposing our own; likening their words to ourselves, the positive and the negative; adding our belief and personal commitment to doing what God exhorts us in their writings—these things become ever more critical to make an integral part of our spiritual makeup as the times in which we live become more compelling and all must fall back on their own testimonies of the truth.
When our testimonies have an indissoluble basis in all the scriptures God has given us—of which Isaiah’s words constitute the core—when we have assimilated the “pattern in all things” that Isaiah and the Hebrew prophets teach (D&C 52:14), and when we can confidently fit all scriptures into one great whole and know how each relates to the others, perhaps then and only then will Ephraim be prepared for the role God expects Israel’s birthright tribe to perform during the tumultuous times that lie ahead—when, if it were possible, even the elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24).
            Did you know that the Book of Mormon’s recurring references to God’s “great and marvelous work,” his “setting his hand the second time” to “gather his ancient covenant people,” his “baring his arm” in judgment, and his destruction of all who “fight against Zion” are things that originate in the Book of Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 11:11; 29:7–8, 14; 52:10)? Although they may appear as unrelated ideas in Isaiah’s writings, the Book of Mormon conjoins them as if each forms an essential component of one great end-time drama. That itself teaches us about searching the words of Isaiah.
As every passage in the Book of Isaiah is inextricably linked to others in his writings, they—taken together, not separately—portray an entire scenario of events that precedes Messiah’s coming to reign on the earth. And because Isaiah’s context for these events is an end-time context, not the time of the prophet Joseph Smith, it is thatend-time context we must apply to the Book of Mormon’s exposition of them. Indeed, understanding Isaiah’s writings helps in understanding the Book of Mormon itself, precluding the likelihood of our assuming a particular passage means one thing when in reality it means something different when viewed within its holistic framework.
The effect of paying the price of searching diligently and ultimately understanding Isaiah’s message, in fact, is so profound that it resembles conversion to the gospel itself. Our minds and hearts are impacted to our inmost being as our comprehension takes an exponential leap and we encounter spiritual emotions we had not known before. To feast on the words of Isaiah is indeed to feast on the words of Christ, which, if we do, God’s promise is that he will enlighten us (2 Nephi 32:3–6).
The alternative may best be summed up in Nephi’s last unhappy lament: “The Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be” (2 Nephi 32:7).
If God has enough confidence in the tribe of Ephraim to confer on Ephraim the job of turning the hearts of the Jews to the prophets and the prophets to the Jews lest he comes and smites the earth with a curse and all flesh be consumed (D&C 98:16–17), then it is my hope that enough Ephraimites will accept that challenge, though the rest may incur God’s curse. I know that time is running out, as even now the earth is beginning to be smitten with a curse and many of God’s creatures perish. I pray that those whom God has chosen to serve as saviors to the house of Israel from before the foundation of the earth will “awake and arise” to their divine callings (D&C 133:10).
This feast of Passover and in subsequent ones, as well as in future feasts of Tabernacles (how many are left, I don’t know), let us do more than remember the miracles God wrought formerly on behalf of his people. Let us additionally recall that some among our ancestors rose to the occasion to make those miracles possible, and that through our emulating them in fulfilling Ephraim’s birthright obligation toward Judah, the day will surely come when “Ephraim will no longer envy Judah, nor Judah resent Ephraim” (Isaiah 11:13)—when they will see eye to eye in the matter of the Messiah who was born of the Jews and together bring to pass the house of Israel’s restoration.
This I say in the name of Messiah. Amen.