Acts 1

Acts 1: Matthias is chosen as Apostle #12

                We learn that Jesus continued to teach for forty days after His Resurrection. Jesus continued to instruct His Apostles and while doing so, one of the Apostles asked Jesus: “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” and His response was; “…It is not for you to know the times of the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:6-7) After He had said these things, Jesus was taken up into the clouds and the Apostles looked up and marveled. Two men who were presumably angels stood dressed in white and said; “…why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The Apostles then returned to Jerusalem where they went into an upper room to pray about who should be the next Apostles, because Judas had betrayed Jesus and was no longer an Apostle. One Apostle explains what was the end of Judas; “…this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.” (Acts 1:18-19)

                Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and felt so bad about doing it, he committed Suicide. The Apostles therefore in replacing him, chose two men who had been with them ‘Joseph Justus’, and ‘Matthias’ and this is the manner in which they chose between the two men; “…they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship…” (Acts 1:24-25) After much praying they came to the conclusion that Matthias was the Lord’s choice and he would be ordained to be an Apostle for the Lord’s church. Today in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Apostles follow something similar to choose new Apostles when older ones finish their mission on the earth.

John 14

John 14: Jesus is the Life

Jesus speaks to His Apostles and others; “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I got to prepare a place for you… if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And wither I go ye may know.” (John 14:1-4) Thomas was one who was gathered there and was confused as to how they would know where Jesus would go, he asks Him how they might know and Jesus responds; “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

We learn that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is the one that will prepare the way for us to see God again. In the house of the Father there are many mansions, which can also be explained as inheritances. If we are good in this life we can inherit a bigger mansion that is closer to God. This is part of the Plan of Salvation and includes three different degrees of heaven. In a letter to the Corinthians this concept of mansions is explained further; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars…” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

Phillip, who was also gathered there asked Jesus to show the Father to them, Jesus responds; “…Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not know me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9) Does this mean that Jesus and God the Father are one? No. Jesus was stating that if you have seen the Son, you have also seen the Power of God, because Jesus does nothing without the power and authority from the Father.

Jesus then addresses everyone; “…whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:13-15) We are given a promise that if we ask with true desire and intent, God will answer our prayers. If we love God, and if we love Jesus we must follow His commandments. If someone were to say they have faith in Jesus or that they believe in Jesus, but do not follow His commandments, it is in vain. Jesus even says; “He that hath my commandment, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved by the Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself unto him.” (John 14:21) If someone loves God and love Jesus and FOLLOWS the commandments, they will see the light of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Jesus, now knowing that His time was running short, left a promise to the Apostles and anyone who wanted to follow Him; “…the Comforter, which is in the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give unto you. Let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27) Jesus Christ tells them that the Comforter or the Holy Ghost would be their guide until another Prophet would be called before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We can understand that if we truly believe in Christ, He will comfort us one way or another, so we have no need for worrying. Peace be unto us.

John 3

John 3: Jesus Christ

                Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and a Pharisee came to Jesus by night to tell Him that He came from God. Jesus tells Nicodemus that “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Nicodemus, being puzzled, asks Jesus; “…How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4) Jesus responds; “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

                Even after Jesus had explained what being born again meant, Nicodemus was still puzzled at how this could be possible. Jesus tells him that if He were to tell him of earthly things, he would not believe, so Jesus asks him; “…how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12) Jesus goes on to explain that God has a plan and anyone who follows that plan can obtain Eternal Life; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John3:16-17)

After declaring these things, Jesus left with His Apostles to the land of Judaea, where they were baptizing. John was also baptizing in Enon, near Salim; “…because there was much water there…” (John 3:23) During the baptizing, a question arose between the Apostles and the Jews regarding purification during baptism. John tells them; “…A man can receive nothing, except it be given from heaven.” (John 3:27)

So, two things are taught about baptism; one you must have a lot of water, meaning you have to be baptized by immersion. Second, you must have the Authority from God to do the baptism. You cannot receive anything from man, except it be given from heaven first.

Luke 6

Luke 6: Blessing for the Obedient… woes for the Wicked

                On the second Sabbath, Jesus and His Apostles travel through a corn field and plucked ears of corn because they were hungry. Without having stepped much further the Scribes and Pharisees were ready to find fault and begin questioning Jesus; “…Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” (Luke 6:2) Jesus responds; “…Have ye not read so much  as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? …the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:3-5)

The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus doing anything wrong, but even their so called mastery of the scriptures and the word of God was no match for the Son of God himself. The Pharisees did err, because they knew not the scriptures. How could they not see that Jesus was the Christ? The Son of God!?

Jesus continues His journey and enters into a Synagogue to teach, while He was there He saw a man whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and Pharisees again stood by waiting to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, and therefore find fault for having healed on the Sabbath. Jesus of course knew their intentions and asked the man to come near and stand up, He then asked the man; “…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) Jesus then asked the man to stretch forth his hand so he could heal it, and the hand was restored to a perfect condition.

The Pharisees were angered and communed with one another to figure out what to do with Jesus, for He was clearly violating what they had made up or misunderstood about His own law. The Sabbath day should be kept as a reverent, holy day unto the Lord. If at all possible we should avoid activities that draw away from the Savior or do not bring peace into our homes. Sabbath days are meant to be a day of rest, but also a day of service. The Sabbath is the time to go to church, worship God and spend time with Family. We should avoid working or shopping on this day, so that others can honor the Sabbath day.

Jesus leaves the Pharisees and goes to a mountain to pray (where He prays all night to decide who to call to be His Apostles), those chosen the next day are; Simon (who is also named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Phillips, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas and Judas Iscariot. Jesus speaks to His apostles and those gathered;

“…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus taught that all things will be made right for those trials we go through in life. Jesus continues to address the people gathered; “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, regardless of what they do to us.

Jesus explains that we must be charitable and give unto others. For what we sow, so shall we reap; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

Jesus continues by explaining that:

  • The blind cannot lead the blind (Luke 6:39-40)
  • Do not judge others when you, yourself are not perfect (Luke 6:41-42)
  • Every tree brings forth its own fruit, and is known by that fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Most importantly Jesus explains that those who follow Him, and actually do as He has taught will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock, with a solid foundation. However, those who don’t listen to Jesus or follow His teachings will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the floods come the one without a foundation will be washed away. This metaphor can be used in our own lives, if we do not ground ourselves in the doctrines of Christ and follow Him each day… when the storms of Satan come and he tempts us, we might just give into those temptations and wash away.

Jesus asks those who follow Him; “…why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Earlier in Matthew we read that Jesus taught; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in haven.” (Matthew 7:21) Because of this, we are Saved by grace and good works. We cannot simply say we believe in Christ. To believe in Jesus, means that you believe His teachings, and if you believe His teachings you are a follower. Therefore if you follow Jesus, you believe in Him, are a follower of Him and do the will, and good works.

Mark 13

Mark 13: Signs of the Second Coming

                Jesus speaks to His Apostles on the Mount of Olives, He explains that the great buildings of Jerusalem; “… shall not be one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2) Peter, James, John and Andrew ask Jesus in private what He meant by this?

Jesus explains to them that there shall come a time; “…when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mark 13:7-8) Jesus goes on to explain that those who follow Him, especially His Apostles, would be brought before rulers, kings and tribunals to testify against them. But, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to spread throughout the world, and published among all nations!

Jesus tells His Apostles; “…ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13) Jesus explains the end of the world as spoken of by Daniel, the prophet.

“…let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house.” (Mark 13:15) – Because of Flooding?

The world will experience darkness as the sun will stop giving light, the stars shall fall from the heavens and the powers in heaven will be shaken. After all this is done, the world will see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Jesus reminds His Apostles that they should not worry, for these things will just have to happen. But that they shouldn’t worry about when it will come; “…of that day and that hour no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” (Mark 13:32-33)

Jesus explains that the Son of Man  [Jesus Christ] is as a “…man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants…” (Mark 13:34) Essentially Jesus is saying that He must soon depart, but He has left His Authority with His Apostles and from there they will have to carry about the work, but that He would one day return for the Second time.

Mark 8

Mark 8: Jesus feeds the four thousand

The disciples who followed Jesus had been so devoted that they had gone for 3 days without food. Jesus had compassion on them and commanded His Apostles to bring Him forth all the bread that they had.

Jesus asks them; “…How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.” (Mark 8:5)

Jesus then commanded the multitude to sit on the ground and he took the seven loaves and gave thanks while breaking the bread. They also had a few small fishes, which Jesus divided and gave thanks.

In the end the amount of leftovers filled seven baskets. Jesus managed to feed around four thousand men, women and children with only a few small fishes and seven loaves of bread. After feeding the multitude of people, Jesus departed by ship to Damanutha. Immediately upon arrival the Pharisees came forth asking Him questions, and tempting Him for a sign from heaven.

Jesus “…sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mark 8:12)

Jesus then departed by ship to the other side, but commanded that His Apostles buy no bread from the Pharisees or from Herod “…Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15). Perhaps Jesus said this, because He knew that they had tampered with the bread or possibly poisoned it?

The Apostles were confused and did not understand how they could continue their journey without restocking their supplies, for they only had one loaf of bread. But after seeing the miracle of feeding four thousand with only seven loaves of bread, Jesus said unto them; “… Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?” (Mark 8:17-18) Jesus was most likely very disappointed that His Apostles had already forgotten of His marvelous power. Jesus continues to ask them about His abilities; “When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven…. How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:17-21)

How did they not understand? It is because they hardened their hearts!

Jesus and His Apostles then depart to Bethsaida, where the people brought a blind man to them, where they desired for Jesus to touch and heal the man. Jesus “…took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw bought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” (Mark 8:23-25)

Jesus then sends the man on his way and departed with His Apostles into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. On the way Jesus asks His Apostles “… Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.” (Mark 8:27-29)

Jesus then tells them that He will be persecuted, killed and then rise again on the third day. Peter, who was in unbelief, disagreed with Jesus. Jesus then responded to Peter; “… Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” (Mark 8:33)

Jesus then leaves His Apostles and all that follow Him with this important message; “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall again the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

Essentially Jesus tells His Apostles and all His followers that they need to follow Him in all things. Those who spent their lives in the service of God and others will not lose their life, but gain their life. Anyone who denies Jesus and does not follow Him are an adulterous and sinful generation, who will lose their souls to gain the riches of the world, which profiteth man nothing!

Mark 4

Mark 4: Parable of the Sower

Jesus gives his Apostles the Parable of the Sower:

“…there went out a sower to sow: …as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up… some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth [dirt]… when the sun was up it was scorched… because it had no root… some fell among thorns…and choked it, and it yielded no fruit…other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mark 4:3-8)

After Jesus was done explaining the Parable, the Apostles asked Jesus why He speaks in Parables. Jesus explains to them; “…Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of God: but unto them that are without [the keys of the priesthood, or Gospel knowledge], all these things are done in Parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand…” (Mark 4:11-12) Essentially those who are not in God’s presence or have priesthood keys or knowledge would need Parables to help them understand the things of God.

Jesus goes on to clarify what the Parable of the Sower meant:

For those who fall by the wayside and have little ground to root in, these are the same people that hear the word; “…but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:15) These are the people who hear the Gospel and accept it with gladness and “…so endure for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” (Mark 4:17) Often times people will accept the truth, but when things get difficult or the trials that God has given to them are too much, they give up and blame all their bad on the church or on the Gospel of Jesus Christ without realizing that it is actually their own fault or their own unwillingness to accept the trials that God has so graciously and out of love put into our lives.

Those who fall into good soil, accept the Gospel and even live it for a while in their lives. But without care for what they have surrounding them, they slowly let the garden of thorns and snares grow and surround them. Eventually the thorns and snares of the world take hold of their foundation and being, slowly choking them; “…the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19)

Then there are those who fall into good soil, accept the Gospel and live it in their lives and do not let their garden be surrounded by thorns and snares. They stay clean and bring forth much fruit.

So what do we compare to the Kingdom of God? “It is like a grain of mustard seed, which when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: but when it is sown, it growth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out many branches…” (Mark 4:31-32)

After Jesus was done explaining His Parable of the Sower, they all depart and get on ship. But there arose a great storm…

“And he [Jesus] was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awaken him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the sear, Peace, be still, And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How it is that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40)

Again the Apostles failed to understand the great power and authority of Jesus and even ask amongst themselves; “…What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41)

Matthew 19

Matthew 19:

Marriage/Judgment of the 12 

                  After Jesus had ended his speaking, He departed from Galilee and came to the coasts of Judea, where multitudes followed him and came to be healed of Jesus. The Pharisees quickly joined him to criticize and tempt Jesus by asking Him seemingly difficult questions; “…Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3) Jesus responded to their criticism; “…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Jesus makes it clear that marriage is not only a sacred communion, but also something done between man and woman. The Pharisees then asked Jesus why Moses was able to grant writings of divorcement. Jesus explains that because of the hardness of people’s hearts it had to be done. But He made it clear that this was not mean to be, and for anyone divorcing for anything other than adultery, will cause both to commit adultery

After Jesus had spoken these words, some little children were not permitted to come unto Jesus, of course after just speaking to the Apostles about little children in Matthew 18, Jesus said; “…Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14) After Jesus had blessed the little children, a man came unto Jesus asking him what he should do to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The man explained to Jesus that he had followed all the commandments. Jesus tells the man to sell all his possessions, give them to the needy and then follow Him. The man went away in sadness, because he had great riches. Jesus then explains to His disciples that it is difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So here is the important question: Does having money, or being rich, make you bad? Can you still enter into the kingdom of heaven with riches? Money, in of itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of wealthy individuals throughout the world that do MUCH good. However, if one were to focus on nothing but money, being obsessed with it, then it is bad. So can a rich man enter into heaven? YES. Can he enter with his riches? NO. Therefore it is important to gain not only earthly treasures, but heavenly treasures that you can take with you into the next life.

Jesus ends his address in this chapter by telling the Twelve Apostles with Him, that they will become judges in the last days and that for anything a disciple of Christ loses in this life, it will be given; “…an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 19:29-30) If we work to do good in this life, and we have to give up or lose things in this life, Jesus has given us a promise that we will receive it back in heaven 100 times.

Ezekiel 7-8

Ezekiel 7-8

Chapter 7: Desolation and War over Israel

Judgment by sword, famine and pestilence will plague the land of Israel. Robbers will enter and defile the temple. Ezekiel is directed to make a chain, as a symbol of the impending captivity. All of this occurs because of the evil and wickedness of the people.

Chapter 8: Vision of Wickedness

Ezekiel sees a vision of the wickedness and abominations of the Jews in Jerusalem.

“…he [God] put forth the form of a hand… and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven and brought me in the visions of God…” (Ezekiel 8:3) Ezekiel describes idolatrous images, and idolatrous behavior, such as worshipping the sun. Ezekiel however sees a vision of the ancient seventy men (Ezekiel 8:11), this group of Seventy men are very important. This is part of the structure of the Church of Jesus Christ… Quorums of the Seventy, and Apostles and Prophets at the top of his church. Great punishment is promised as a result of their wickedness.