Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
The first verse of this section has a powerful presence: “The works, and designs of the God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.” Think about it. How many times has Christianity been altered, polluted and persecuted? From the time of Christ, those with hardened hearts have tried to bring down the gospel of Jesus Christ. They killed the Apostles, martyred many followers and those within the church began corrupting the ordinances and principles. After a time, these ordinances were lost to us until the Restoration.
Elder Dallin H Oaks said “The collision between the speculative world of Greek philosophy and the simple, literal faith and practice of the earliest Christians produced sharp contentions that threatened to widen political divisions in the fragmenting Roman empire. This led Emperor Constantine to convene the first church wide council in A.D. 325. The action of this council of Nicaea remains the most important single event after the death of the Apostles in formulating the modern Christian concept of deity. The Nicene Creed erased the idea of the separate being of Father and Son by defining God the Son as being of “one substance with the Father.”
Then during the translation of the Book of Mormon, Satan inspired the hearts of others to steal the 116 pages of the manuscript Martin Harris lost and change the translation in attempt to thwart the restoration of His principles.
The verses continue with the Lord reminding Joseph that He does not “walk in crooked paths and His paths are straight and his course an eternal round” (Verse 2). He also says “that the work of God is never frustrated but only the works of men” (Verse 3).
I personally think this is very cool. No matter what men do, they will NEVER undermine the plans of our Heavenly Father. He always has control when the rest of us do not and I find that very, very comforting.
Verse 4 packs a terrible punch. It basically says that man has many abilities and powers that he is blessed with. But if he takes to much pride and doesn't listen to the counsels of the One that gave him those powers, he will incur upon himself the wrath of God.
This section was directed to Joseph after the manuscript, which we found out later was the record of Lehi. After he gave Harris the manuscript and after it was lost the Lord gave him a sound rebuke. “Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict was your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.
“And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.
“For, behold, you should not have feared men more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God and despise his words.
“Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble” (Verses 5-8)
Even though Joseph made a grave error in judgment, even though a part of the record was lost, God showed great mercy and love for His servant and gave him words of comfort.
“Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
“But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work.
“And when thou deliveredst up that which God has given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man.” (Verses 9-10,12)
The power and tender mercy of God is almost overwhelming. Even though this sin was severe and came from the man that would be a prophet, he forgave him upon serious repentance on Joseph's part. What does it mean to repent? What does it mean to be forgiven? And how can we know if we are?
We know due to Joseph's mistake, God took away the plates and other resources until he could learn some humility.
“And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy privileges for a season-
“For thou has suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning.
“Nevertheless, my work shall go forth....” (Verses 14-16)
Then the Lord shows Joseph just what the plates are. The records of those who lived here in the Americas. The light skinned Nephites whom were once a righteous people but were exterminated because of their iniquities. Also recorded were the dark skinned and cursed Lamanites whom populated the lands, especially after the extermination of their Nephite brethren.
I will close this post with a promise made concerning the Lamanites: “And that the other Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord and they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.” (Verse 20)
Friday, December 3, 2010
1: Elijah will pass down the priesthood keys to earth
How many times in the Bible to we hear the promise that the Lord will send Elijah, his prophet?? I count three times with the same promise in Malachi 4:5, 3 Nephi 25:5-6 and you guessed it, D&C 2:1-2 .
3rd Nephi 25: 5-6:
Doctrine and Covenants 2:1-2:
I have taken this to mean that Elijah will appear in the latter days to restore the priesthood keys to the Earth. If you look at the footnotes for the first verse in each reference you'll see “Priesthood, Keys” “Last Days”.
When I first read the second verse, my initial reaction was “What does that mean?” Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice verso refers to the generations. The main reference focuses on Genealogy work and Temple Ordinances.
Now verse 3 had me do a double take: If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Anyone care to guess the purpose of this one???
We all know that we were put on Earth for a good reason. We are here to gain perspective and have the experiences that only life can give us. The goal of this life is to eventually return to the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. Without the proper authority and the required keys, this would not be possible.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The second half of the Section 1 is the clincher to the first half. I think the theme of first half is the displeasure God felt with his children. due to verses 3,7, 10, and 12. The theme of the second half is about Gaining Knowledge and Learning through Repentance.
Just as a quick side note, does anyone know what verse 26 is about? I cannot seem to get my mind around it!
The first thing that was brought to my attention was verse 28 which states: “And in as much as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.” Everyone knows the phrase “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” This goes hand in hand with the fact that you cannot learn unless you have the desire to do so. In order to learn, one must first humble themselves and make themselves teachable in order to feel the promptings of the Spirit.
Verses 29 and 30 places Joseph Smith Jr as Prophet. Because he adhered to the counsel and commandments of the Lord he was given the powers of Heaven and the keys to do the following:
Lay down the foundation of the church.
Bring it out of “obscurity” and out of darkness.
It continues that this is the Restored true church in which the Lord is well pleased. Also He is speaking to the church individually and as a whole.
Verses 31-33 makes it quite clear that the Lord does not tolerate sin. Verse 31 states: “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” Thus all manner of sin is offensive to God.
We do have a saving grace, however. For verse 32 continues: “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.” When we repent of our sins and we forsake them, as far as God is concerned it never happened. This requires us to confess our sins with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. This also helps us gain a great sense of humility and opens our hearts to the teachings of the Lord.
When we are baptized as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are then confirmed and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. This means we have that constant companionship for the rest of our days on one condition: We have to be worthy of Him. Verse 33 warns: “He that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.” When we lose the companionship of the Holy Ghost, we can regain the presence after repentance and prayer.
The Lord promises us in verse 34 that He is willing to teach those who have a sincere desire to learn and continues by warning us that we are in the latter days and we need to prepare for the war ahead with Satan.
I found verse 36 to be quite interesting. “And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world. “ I could use some insight on this one. What reference does Idumea serve?
I think the last three verses of Section 1 and will close my post with these words of promise:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Today I have began my challenge with the First Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. For background purposes it was revelation given by the Prophet Joseph Smith on 01 November 1831 in Hiram, Ohio. It is not however the first revelation.
One thing that comes to mind is the call for immediate attention. Verse Two states the following: “For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.” This reminded me of Mosiah 27:21 (Book of Mormon) which says: “Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God..” I have come to take it as we will all eventually, believers and non believers alike will heed the voice of the Lord.
Verses 3-5 serve as a warning to Zion concerning iniquities and promises of sending those with the keys of Heaven to guide them as the Lord commands. In verse 6, God says the following: “Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.” Is he referring to Prophets? Also which book is being referred to? The Book of Mormon? The Doctrine and Covenants?
What effects me most about these lines is the obvious call to serious repentance. I couldn't help but wonder what sins the early Saints were guilty of to receive this rebuke from God. Then I took a look at a book of church history. This was shortly after moving to Kirtland; some of the Saints became vain, selfish and began to murmur vigorously. One thing a Latter-Day Saint hears often is that ingratitude is one of the worst sins. Basically, God was telling the Saints to pull it together and humble themselves, because He really is not pleased with how things were going. He also promises them that the keys of Heaven will be restored so the fullness of the Gospel can be put to use.
Then in verses 12 to 16, He instructs them prepare for the Second Coming of Christ is coming and coming fast. Verse 13 actually frightened me a little as it says: “And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.” I cannot help but wonder, is there something in particular that is displeasing to the Lord? Or is it the world in general? We are sinful creatures but is there a line we crossed somewhere?
In verse 17 the Lord ordains Joseph Smith, Junior as his chosen Prophet and makes it clear that Joseph has the authority to receive revelation from God as His servant. The Saints are commanded to follow the Prophet and heed his words as they come from God Himself.
God commands in verse 23 that Missionary Work is to begin and that it will spread to every corner of the Earth.
I will close this post with a promise from the Lord in verse 24: