Titus 2

Titus 2: Saints Live Righteously

                Paul explains that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Saints should; “…teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncoruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again.” (Titus 2:4-9)

Essentially Members of the Church, also known as “Saints” should teach their young to be clean, righteous, full of good works and to be sincere in doctrine and in life. Paul promises that if we refrain from ungodliness, we will overcome the world and live to see the “…glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

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 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)

Amos 3-4

Amos 3-4

Chapter 3: Prophets

The Lord asks a series of questions, such as:

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

(Marriages? Missionaries? Walking two by two)

“Will a lion road in the forest when he hath no prey? …” (Amos 3:4)

“Shall a trumpet be blow in a city, and the people not be afraid? …” (Amos 3:6)

Then after listing a few more questions, Amos reminds the reader; “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealth his secret unto the servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Here, we re-learn the importance of a Prophet. Prophets are called by God and are only Prophets when given the proper authority from the Lord. Throughout all time, and every generation there has been a prophet. A Prophet is basically the Lord’s mouth piece on the earth and until Jesus Christ returns in the Second Coming there will ALWAYS BE A PROPHET on the Earth! So the question is where is the Prophet for the Modern Day? Today, as of September 22, 2013 that Prophet is; ‘Thomas S. Monson’. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on earth TODAY, just as the original church that Jesus Christ established when he was last on the earth.

The children of Israel have not fulfilled their responsibilities as God’s chosen people. The Lord will cause a calamity in the city. Egyptians and Philistines are invited to the mountains of Samaria as witnesses of the punishment of Israel. Israel will be conquered and exiled. The altars of Bethel will be destroyed.

Chapter 4: The Lord makes things hard, so we remember

Women are referred to as “…kine of Bashan…” (Amos 4:1) i.e. ‘the cows of Bashan’ who oppress the needy and demand wine from their husbands. They will be taken away with fishhooks (the Assyrians used to lead people by hooks driven through the lower lip). Rain will be withheld, which will cause some cities to be in drought and others to have water. All teeth shall be ‘clean’ (a good way of saying that the people will be starving) because of lack of bread. Israel will suffer blight and mildew. God asserts himself the former of mountains and the creator of winds.

Ezekiel 43-44

Ezekiel 43-44

Chapter 43: Ordinances of the Temple

The glory of the Lord fills the temple., His throne is there and He promises to dwell there (in the midst of Israel) forever. The measurements of the altar are given in cubits. Stipulations given for seven days of sin offerings when the altar is made.

Chapter 44: Temple = sacred

The glory of the Lord fills the entire Temple! Ezekiel continues to see the Temple and is instructed…the east gate is to be kept permanently shut, for the Lord has entered through it into the temple. The prince shall enter and leave via the porch of that gate. Strangers uncircumcised in heart or flesh are not to be admitted to the Temple.

This is something that I find very interesting “Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart… shall enter into my sanctuary…” (Ezekiel 44:9) Essentially no one, besides those who are authorized, shall enter the Temple. But why? Well that same question is asked about Mormon Temples today… why are only Members of the LDS church allowed to enter, and why only WORTHY members? The reason is simple… the Temple is SACRED. Some people have cried out saying the LDS Church keeps secrets in the Temple and that if the church has nothing to hide, they should allow anyone to enter. Well the LDS Church has nothing to hide and offers open houses for the newly built temples around the world. Remember, the Temple is NOT SECRET, BUT SACRED.

Ezekiel is told that the Levites will minister in the Temple. Regulations are given for the Levites – they must be clothed in linen while in the inner courts (not wool, which might make them sweat), no wearing of the garments they ministered in, while in the outer courts, no marrying of widows, no drinking of wine in the inner courts. The Levites will teach the people the difference between the clean and the unclean. The Lord will be their portion. Only the priests at the Temple in Jerusalem could fully carry out priestly duties.

Ezekiel 17-18

Ezekiel 17-18

Chapter 17: Parable of Israel

Ezekiel shows in a parable of Israel, how Israel will be subject to Babylon.  It goes like this…

An eagle (Babylon) on the top branches of a cedar tree, takes it off. It also takes the seed of the land and plants it in a fruitful field. The seed becomes a vine. The vine bent to another eagle (Egypt), and is promptly destroyed by the first eagle. Changing his tone, the Lord says he will take the highest branch of the cedar tree and set it in the mountain of the height of Israel (Zion), where it shall prosper. This will happen in the last days from a goodly tree in the cedars of Lebanon.

Chapter 18: Punished for our own sins

The word of the Lord came unto Ezekiel and tells him that Men shall be punished for their own sins, sinners shall die, and the righteous shall save their souls. Anyone who sins and does not repent will not be saved.

The Lord says; “…all souls are mine… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4-5)

One important thing to get out of this chapter is that you are only responsible for YOUR OWN SINS! “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son…” (Ezekiel 18:20)

For this reason I don’t understand some religious beliefs that claim an “original sin” and for this purpose needing a baptism for this original sin to be “cleansed”. First of all we are not responsible for others sins, and therefore the idea of an “original sin” is blaspheme. In the LDS church we believe: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith, 2) Therefore if we are not to be punished for other’s sin, then why does a baby who has done nothing wrong in the world… therefore is innocent, need a baptism? Baptism is for people who can sin, and can understand they have sinned and are mentally able to repent of those sins. In the Book of Mormon it speaks of the horrible practice of infant baptism.

“Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician…  children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me… wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children… this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children. And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins. But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! (Moroni 8: 8-12, Book of Mormon)