2 Nephi 3

2 Nephi 3: Joseph Smith

                Lehi speaks to Joseph, his last born in the wilderness and proclaims unto him that he [Lehi] was a descendent of Joseph (who was sold into Egypt). Lehi also explains that Joseph of Egypt saw the day when the Lord would bring his people into a land of promise (see: Genesis 50:24-38).

“…Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” (2 Nephi 3:7) Lehi is speaking of Joseph Smith, who would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord to RESTORE His Church!

Lehi explains that the Lord will command the fruit of the loins of Judah and Joseph to write what we know today as the Bible and the Book of Mormon; “Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)

The Book of Mormon would come forth among the world and shall become a companion to the Bible to help confound false doctrines and contentions amongst the many churches and religions of the world. Joseph [the son of Lehi] explains that the seer who the Lord would raise up would be named after him [Joseph] and that the Seer would be named after his father. Joseph Smith, Jr. was named after his father; Joseph Smith Senior. The Prophecy of Joseph [Lehi’s Son] came to be; “…his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me…” (2 Nephi 3:15)

Revelation 22

Revelation 22: Christ shall Come

                John saw; “…a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God… and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits… the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse…And they [the followers of Christ] shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:1-4) Here we see that old things are once again done away. Curses will go away from the earth and out of the throne of God will the nations of the world be healed. Those who follow God will have His name on their foreheads (this might not mean literally). Those who follow God will have no need for light, because they will carry His light with them always. God told John; “Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7) We need to be prepared always, for we do not know when the Second Coming will occur and therefore might not have time to repent tomorrow.

John explains of the consequences of those who change or add to HIS BOOK [i.e. The Book of Revelations]; “…I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life…” (Revelation 22:18-19) John explains of the consequences of adding, changing or taking away from the Book of Revelations and not from the Bible as a whole.

The Book of Revelations, The New Testament and the Bible as a whole end;

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:21)

Revelation 10

Revelation 10: “The Little Book”

John describes an angel that comes down from heaven; “…clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” (Revelation 10:1) John explains that the angel brought with him a book, or more specifically a ‘little book’. The angel opens the book and immediately “…seven thunders utter their voices…” (Revelation 10:3), John explains that just as he was about to write down what he heard, the angel commanded him to not write any of those things which he had heard! But John explains that; “…in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)

The Angel then tells John to take the book and to ‘eat it up’, but that when he eats it, it will be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his belly. So John eats the book and sure enough; sweet in the mouth and bitter in the belly. It is possible that John ‘eating’ the book was him accepting his mission to warn the inhabitants of the earth of these great destructions and while accepting the mission was sweet to him to be chosen for this great calling, but become bitter to him because of what he would see and the pain he knew would come to those who chose not to follow God.

John 20

John 20: The Risen Christ

Early in the morning, when it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the Sepulchre where Jesus was laid to rest. When she arrived she found that the tomb had been opened and immediately ran to Peter to tell him what had happened. Peter and the other Apostles ran to see for their own eyes. It is interesting that it specifically mentions; “…the other disciple did outrun Peter…” (John 20:4) I don’t know why this was important; perhaps the other Apostle had a stronger desire to know for himself? Maybe Peter was out of shape?

The Apostles leave and Mary stays behind weeping, she takes a look in the tomb and finds two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been laid to rest and they ask her; “…Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:13) and she responds; “…Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:13) Mary turns back around and sees a man [Jesus] (who she assumed was the gardener), Jesus asks her the same question and she asks the gardener to help her find the body of Jesus. But in that same instant; Jesus called out to her; “…Mary…” (John 20:16) and she immediately recognized His voice and she said; “…Rabboni [which means Master]…” (John 20:16) Mary must have been really excited and most likely reached out to Him as she called Him, because Jesus responded; “…Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father: but go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:17) We learn from this scripture that Jesus Christ is separate from the Father, or else why would He ascend unto Himself? Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and God the Father is His Father and OUR Father. What does that make Jesus to us? He is our brother! But we need to look at Him with respect, because He is our eldest brother, and He has become like our Father being a god.

Mary Magdalene went to the other Apostles and told them about her interaction with Jesus. That same night the Apostles were gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus had found a way to get in without anyone noticing and stood in the midst of them and said; “…Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19) Jesus invites all gathered to feel and see His hands and feet to see where the nails had left prints from the Crucifixion. Jesus also gives them the Holy Ghost. Thomas was the only one not present at the time. The next time the Apostles saw Thomas they told Him that had seen Jesus and felt His prints. Thomas was a difficult one to persuade and said; “…Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

Eight days pass and they gather again, this time Thomas is present and Jesus comes to him and says; “…Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27) After hearing these words, Thomas said to Jesus; “…My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28) It took seeing Jesus for Thomas to believe, however Jesus does not attack him for this, but instead gives everyone else a great reminder; “…Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) Anyone who follows Jesus, follows with Faith, for only the Prophets and Apostles of old and new have seen God or Jesus Christ.

We learn that Jesus performed; “…many other signs… in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) I like how this chapter ends by saying that Jesus performed many more miracles and signs in their presence, but that they are not written in this book. Many things are not included in the scriptures, but some would be revealed later and some are revealed through modern day prophets. For this reason we cannot go with the Bible alone, we need Power, Authority, we need GOD’s Church on earth. The Bible is great and any God fearing Christian should love and cherish the Bible, but to remember that it isn’t conclusive. For God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow… He will continue to call prophets and instruct His children. The good news is that He didn’t just leave us with the Bible, He has also given us the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

John 17

John 17: The Great Intercessory Prayer

Jesus offers the Great Intercessory Prayer;

“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou has given him power of all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3) Jesus was sent on a divine mission from His Father to save all of God’s children, and that during this life we might learn and know of our Father in Heaven, this is what life is all about!

Jesus goes on; “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:4-5) In this address to Father, Jesus Christ explained that He was with God the Father before the world was, and that He had been given a task before that creation of the world, to be the savior of that world. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father and He did complete the work the Father gave to Him.

Jesus continues; “…I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:9-11) Jesus prays for those who are following Him, but will not be able to leave the world as He is about to. We learn that everything the Father has, is shared with the Son. We are one as followers in Christ, as Jesus and His Father are one. Meaning, ONE in Purpose.

Jesus asks the Father to look out for those who are not of the world, for those who have given themselves over to following the Lord. Jesus continues to address the Father; “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14-16) Jesus knows that those who have followed His word, are not of the world. Jesus asks the Father to make living in the world easier, by removing the evil from them, but He specifically says not to remove them from the world. This means that even when the hardships of the world come forth, we must lift our head up and overcome the world, just as Jesus overcame the world.

The Bible: God’s Only Word?

                Jesus then says; “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) This is a famous scripture, and is used often to claim that there can only be the Bible and no more of God’s word. So the question is, does all the truth of God come from His words, and His words only? If we read further in the New Testament we read; “For the kingdom of God is not in the world, but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20) Does this devalue the word of God? Absolutely not, the word of God is that, it comes from God! But without the proper power and authority from God, nothing besides knowledge can come from those words. In order to participate in all of God’s life saving ordinances, we must have the Power and Authority given to us. The word of God is also not in the confines of the Old and New Testament. If this were true, I can only imagine those of old, who only had the Old Testament and then found out that there was a New Testament. Well, we already know that outcome… the Scribes and Pharisees believed only in the Old Testament, and when a new Prophet came forth (who happened to be Jesus Christ) they did not believe on Him and instead murdered Him. Any Christian would say that of course the Old and New Testaments are the word of God. So the question is, can God call a new prophet and given them Another Testament? Yes, and it happened. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Having more than the Bible does not devalue it. In fact, having the Bible and the Book of Mormon only makes ones heart grow fonder of both.

Jesus continues His prayer and confirms once again that Jesus and His Father are one in purpose and not one in flesh or spirit; “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:20-21) We are one in purpose, just as the Son and Father are one in purpose. With that, we are all ONE in purpose, all of God’s children, Jesus Christ and the Father.

Matthew 21

Matthew 21:

Cleaning the Temple

                  Jesus commands two of His Apostles to go to a village, where they would find an ass and a colt tied. He commanded them to loose both of them and bring them back to Him. Jesus tells that that if anyone tries to stop them from taking the ass and the colt, that they are to say that it is for the Lord. This would fulfill a prophecy that a “…King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:5) Jesus then got on the ass and rode into Jerusalem and everyone on the way asked who this man was; “…This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11) Upon arriving at Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple and “…overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it into a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:12-13) This shows that Jesus did not want moneychangers in the house of His father. This is important because it shows that churches should not be built for gain. If they are built for gain, then they become dens of thieves and are not houses of prayer. This is also interesting to see that Jesus does in fact have human characteristics and can be angered or upset.

While in the temple, after over turning tables, Jesus healed many people. After healing, Jesus left to Bethany, where he lodged. The next morning Jesus was hungered and went out to a fig tree, where the branches yielded no fruit, so Jesus essentially cursed the tree so it would never grow anything again, after it had withered the Apostles were shocked of His power. Jesus reminds them that with faith, they can move mountains. He also explains that “…all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

                  Jesus returns to the temple and while their, some of the chief priests ask Jesus by what Authority does He perform His miracles. Jesus asks them; “…I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John whence was it? From heaven or of men?” (Matthew 21:24-25) The chief priests are a little baffled, because if they say from heaven, then Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe in His authority. But if they say by men, then they would fear the people, because the people believed that John was a prophet. So they answered Jesus by telling Him that they could not tell. So Jesus responds; “…Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:27) This shows that Authority is important to have, Jesus had the proper authority from His Father, but He had nothing to prove and did not have to tell those questioning Him, by where He received His Authority.

Jesus then explains the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen:

There was a man who planted a vineyard and dug a wine press around it, and built a tower. This man left his home and went into the far country. When the fruit became ready for harvest he sent some servants to the husbandmen (who were taking care of the house) so that they could harvest the fields. The husbandmen took the servants, beat one, killed another and stoned the last one. So the man of the field sent more servants and the husbandmen did likewise to these new servants.

Finally the man sent his son, whom he thought wouldn’t be killed by the husbandmen. When the son arrived the husbandmen said among themselves; “…This is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (Matthew 21:38) The man who owns the farm is represented of as God the Father, who sent servants (Prophets) to collect the harvest in the land (the earth), but the husbandmen (the people of the world) rejected the servants and killed them. So finally God the Father sent His Son, whom the people also rejected and killed

Jesus asks those gathered; when the man of the field (the Lord of the field) comes back, what do you think he will do to the husbandmen? “…He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits of the season.” (Matthew 21:41)

                  Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected, but He has become the head of the corner. Jesus tells them; “…The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:43-44)

                  Jesus was explaining that because of His own rejection, that one day the Gospel would be restored and given to a new people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the early 1800’s in the newly formed United States of America. This church, the church Jesus Christ himself restored is the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. This had to be done, because as Isaiah pointed out; “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5) The gospel of Jesus Christ over the years was changed and distorted, thus the need for a Restoration and Another Testament of Jesus Christ; The Book of Mormon (which was written in Ancient America at the same time the Bible was being written in the old world.)

Matthew 7

Matthew 7:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 3 

                Jesus starts this chapter with the simple and very famous;

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) 

Jesus asks His disciples; “…why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Essentially Jesus asks, why do you criticize or gossip about your neighbor/friend/stranger etc., when you, yourself have your own things to be criticized or gossiped about? If you allow yourself to be critical of others, without considering that you are not without flaw, then you are a hypocrite.

Jesus encourages us to ask, for if we ask; “…it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) How hard is it to ask our Father in Heaven for something? It is easy, pray and ask him. Are you confused by doctrines? What job to take? Who to marry? Etc… anything can be asked for!

Jesus then tells his disciples to enter into the straight and narrow path, which leads back to our Heavenly Father. For “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction…” (Matthew 7:13) The path back to our Heavenly Father, the path that leads us to righteousness is not a broad path, it is a path that is EASILY accessible, but only if WE CHOOSE to take that path. If we decide to take the righteous path, it won’t be easy. But the reward is worth the obstacle! Jesus warns us about the other path, which is wide and easy to travel, for that path will lead ONLY to DESTRUCTION. He sadly adds that “…few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14), referring to the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.

Jesus warns His disciples about False Prophets; “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits… every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17) In the last days many false prophets will arise, but by their fruits we can determine which prophets are true prophets of God. Joseph Smith was one of those prophets called of by God. Smith’s fruit or evidence that he is a prophet is the Book of Mormon, which was written thousands of years ago and translated by Joseph Smith.

Jesus also proclaims that it is not JUST by grace that you are saved, you must also do good works. For “…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 heaven. Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-22)

Jesus ends his Sermon on the Mount by explaining that we should be wise and build our house upon his rock [the Gospel], instead of the foolish man who built his house upon sand, which washed away in the rain storm. We must do as the Lord has done, He has set an example and we would do good to follow him. The disciples explained that Jesus spoke as “…one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:29), therefore in the ending of the Sermon on the Mount we learn of the great importance having authority from God is.