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.

Matthew 18

Matthew 18:

We need to forgive our brothers 

The Twelve Apostles come to Jesus and ask him; “…Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1) and Jesus responded to them by having a little child come before the midst of them;

“…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Essentially Jesus taught His disciples and now those reading the Bible that we need to become as humble and submissive as a little child. Does that mean that we need to act like children on that level of maturity? No. It means that we need to become as innocent as a child, clean without blemish.

Jesus goes on to elaborate “…whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he was downed in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6) It is clear that children are pure and innocent; children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. If this is true why do they have need for baptism? The answer is simple, baptism for children is unnecessary, baptism is for those who need to be clean, not for those who are already clean. It is also clear that those who harm children will be punished for their sins. Those who do ANYTHING to offend one of God’s little ones, would have done better to drown in the depths of the sea. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones…” (Matthew 18:10)

                  Jesus goes on to explain His mission on the earth and the mission that we, as disciples, must follow. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11) Jesus tells a story about a man who had 100 sheep, and one went astray. He explains that sometimes you need to leave the 99, to go and find the 1 that got lost. When the man finds the one that got away, his joy is greater that with those who did not go astray. In this manner we need to seek out those who are lost, even if it means abandoning, for a time, those who are not lost.

Jesus continues to explain some very important doctrine;

                  “…in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16)

                  2 or 3 witnesses can establish the truth. This is why it is important for Mormon Missionaries to go out 2 by 2.

                  “…Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) 

In the end of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6), it was prophesied that Elijah would come to turn the hearts of the children to the father and vice versa. This was the power given by Elijah in the last days to seal families together forever, through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through His church in the Last Days; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

                  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

                  Wherever a few people are gathered, there will also be the Spirit of God. This does not mean that because 2 or 3 are gathered that churches should be formed without Authority from God, but it does mean that if those 2 or 3, or even more people are bound together with similar desires and moral aptitudes that the Spirit of God will be with them.

After Jesus had done much speaking, Peter asks Him; “…how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) Does that mean that we are only supposed to forgive someone 70 x 7= 490 times? What Jesus meant is that we need to always forgive someone, especially if their desires are pure and their intentions are great. Jesus continues to address forgiveness with a story about a man who owed a great debt. This man was unable to pay the debt and begged his creditor for mercy. The creditor had mercy on him and forgave his debts. However, that same debtor who was forgiven of his debts, went and found a man who owed him money. This man was not as kind and did not have mercy on him, but instead cast him into prison. When the original creditor found that he did not forgive as he was forgiven, he was upset. Jesus explains that; “…likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hears forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)

Jonah 3-4

Jonah 3-4

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

In chapters 3 and 4 we learn a lot about God’s mercy and WHO God really is. In LDS doctrine, we believe that God, His Son and the Holy Ghost are all individual and distinct persons. We believe that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bones. After all, we are created in their image, right!? I just love how God says he “repented” (which of course means changed his mind in this context), but God was going to destroy a city and then changed his mind because the people changed their ways. God never hates people, he loves all his children, but he gets upset and sometimes (like any good parent) has to discipline his children.

Jonah gets mad about God NOT destroying the city, but they gets mad at God killing a plant. Here we see the selfishness of Jonah, he only wanted the plant because it gave him shade. God teaches him and any reader a good lesson, ALL Life is important and everyone has a purpose and meaning!

Chapter 3: Jonah saves Nineveh

The word of the Lord comes to Jonah and is again told to cry against Nineveh and its people. Jonah preaches to the people and almost immediately the people repent with ashes and sackcloth. They fasted and turned to their God. Upon seeing this, God decides not to destroy Nineveh.

“…God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:10)

Chapter 4: Jonah is angry

Jonah is upset because God chose not to destroy Nineveh. He leaves the city and sits in the hot sun where God causes a plant (a gourd of some sort) to grow to provide shade for Jonah. The next day God sends a worm to kill the plant. Without any shade from the hot sun, Jonah is angered and in pain and claims it would be better for him to die.

God questions Jonah’s anger about the death of the plant and asks him why he thinks a plant should be spared from destruction but a large city like Nineveh should not be saved.

Psalms 130-131

Psalms 130-131

Chapter 130: O, Lord… hear us.

A Song of degrees

                “…there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.” (Psalms 130:4) Those who fear the Lord and do wrong in His eyes, can be forgiven quicker.

Chapter 131: Be Like Little Children

A Song of degrees

                “…my heart is not haughty (arrogant), nor mine eyes lofty (proud): neither do I exercise myself in great matters… I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother…” (Psalms 131:1-2)

Be like little children and do not be arrogant or proud.

 

Psalms 126-127

Psalms 126-127

Chapter 126: The Lord is great

A Song of degrees

                The Lord has done great things for the children of Israel. The children of Israel were glad because of this.

Chapter 127: Children of God

A Song of degrees of Solomon

                “…children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3)

The children are very important and from the minute blood enter into a fetus; there is no doubt that we have HUMAN LIFE. Abortion is not an option.

The Church came out with an official statement regarding Abortion:

“The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.”

Ezra 1-2

Ezra 1-2

Chapter 1: Jews go back to Jerusalem to Build a Temple

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah came to be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying; “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem”. (Ezra 1: 2-4)

Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And those who were with them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is what was taken out: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2: Children of Captivity

These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah. Those who came with Zerubbabel were; Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel:

The people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;  the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; the people of Bani, six hundred and forty-two; the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; the people of Jorah, one hundred and twelve; the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Gibbar, ninety-five; the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; the men of Netophah, fifty-six; the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; the people of Azmaveth, forty-two; the people of Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Nebo, fifty-two; the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty; the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen. The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy-four. The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha. The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of Ami.

These were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.

One interesting thing I found in this chapter: I believe this is the first time Genealogy is named in the Bible, yet it is so important!

1 Samuel 1-2

1 Samuel 1-2

Chapter 1: Hannah Bares Samuel

                There was a man who lived in Ramathaim-zophim of the mount Ephraim, his name was Elkanah and he was the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu who was the son of Zuph, who was an Ephrathite.

                Elanah has two wives; Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah had children but Hannah had none. Elkanah still loved Hannah even though she could not have children, but Hannah was very upset about this. So Hannah starts to starve herself and gets very sad, her husband asks her why she won’t eat, and tells her “…am I not better to thee than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8). Hannah decides to go up to the priest in the temple and starts praying to God, except she made no noise, from what I can see is that she was saying a prayer in her heart. The priest tells her to go and to be no more sad, because the Lord would grant her petition.

 

                Hannah conceives a child and names him Samuel. Hannah waits until Samuel is weaned and is more of a child than a baby and takes him to the temple and there they make a sacrifice to God; with three bullocks, one ephah of flour and a bottle of wine (remember back to the previous books that talked about sacrifices).  Samuel shall be from here on out an instrument in the hands of God.

Chapter 2: Hannah has more Children

                Hannah rejoices in the Lord and his great Salvation. She is completely filled with joy! In verse 3, I came across a very interesting verse;

                “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1 Samuel 2:3)

                This verse hit me hard. For several reasons that are very specific to LDS (Mormon) doctrine. Joseph Smith once taught that men could not be saved by ignorance. By your ACTIONS God will essentially weigh your salvation. So when I hear people saying things like “accept Jesus into your heart and you are saved”, it makes me very sad. Because is it really that simple? Absolutely not. Was it simple for Jesus to suffer in the Garden of Gethsemane? Bleed from every pore of his body? OR Die on the Cross for the sins of everyone? No, absolutely not! So to say that you are saved for just accepting Jesus into your life is not enough. You have to live by his teachings and follow his commandments. That is why this verse struck me, because someone who is ignorant has an overbearing sense of pride with a superior manner towards people who are “less than themselves” or inferiors. So essentially those people who say “accept Jesus and be saved” and then openly make fun of people and other religions that teach and practice “good works” to be seems a bit ignorant to the actual truth of the matter, that you cannot be saved in ignorance, but your good works. It is kind of like the WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets that are usually worn by people who think that accepting Jesus is all we have to do. I wish it were so, but it is not.

                So let us remember that it is not by FAITH ALONE that we are saved. (See James 2:26)