Acts 17

Acts 17: The Unkown God

Paul goes to Amphipolis and Apollonia where he comes into Thessalonica and teaches Jews in a synagogue; “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath day reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) Many of the Jews listened and understood the scriptures and were converted, these Jews “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) And many of them believed, however an equal number of them did not believe and caused many to instigate a riot.

Some of those who believe ask Paul; “…May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” (Acts 17:19) Paul speaks to the men of Athens; “…I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

Paul then explains who God is; God… made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we life, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and the man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)

Paul explains that we are all the offspring of God, meaning we are His children, God created all men equally and the time of ignorance is over… God will no longer overlook worshipping false gods, the time is now to repent and turn to Him. God is not far from us, and Him being our Father we can turn to Him in prayer and receive guidance from Him. In today’s world we may not be worshiping a false god, but we might be worshiping Gold, Silver, Money or Fame.

Acts 6

Acts 6: The Apostles Chose 7 Others

                The number of disciples of the Lord (followers of Christ) multiplied and as the Church grew, some complained that the distributions [the money and goods] were not being handled properly. So Peter and John ask the disciples to give them some names of good men, honest men who they could call and appoint over that duty, so that they might go on teaching about Jesus Christ and Administering in His Church.

                Peter and John call; Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas to have the delegation of duties regarding the distribution of the wealth of the Church. These men were set before the Apostles “…and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6) Here we see that the Power and Authority was given to these men in the same manner that Peter and John had received their Authority from Jesus Christ, meaning that the Authority must come in this manner.

                From this point on… the Church grew and multiplied in Jerusalem. Stephen did man miracles and even preached the Gospel. However, a group called the ‘Libertines’ [Freed-Men] sought to destroy Stephen, because they believe he spoke blasphemies against Moses and against God, because they did not believe in Jesus Christ. The group “…set up false witnesses. Which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:” (Acts 6:13) The council that was over seeing this “trial” could only see Stephen as an angel. Essentially the council could not see the evil that he supposedly had in him. 

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.

Ezekiel 13-14

Ezekiel 13-14

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

People will always be led away by a false preacher. I personally had the opportunity to visit a number of religious organizations last year, I felt that I needed to see and participate in services that were different from my own. I found that a number of congregations had good hearted people that were seeking the Lord. However I was disgusted to find many churches, whose so called “Pastor” would lead his people astray. He spoke nonsense, but the scriptures were true! In the hallway of the church, before the services… the pastor would setup a table of bread, with a sign that read “take what you need”. Innocent enough, to make anyone believe that it was for a good cause. But the people that came, were not only given free bread… but a constant reassurance that they were saved, just on the act of believing. How deceiving! How wrong! People, will always be led astray!

Chapter 13: False Prophets

The word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel and the Lord tells Ezekiel to go unto the people and say; “Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezekiel 13:3)

God is not happy with the false prophets that have risen only to entrap the souls of those who listen to them. God mentions that he will break down the walls of their intuitions (false churches) because their walls were built with un-tempered mortar (or in other words poorly built). God speaks to the false prophets “…ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread… by your lying” (Ezekiel 13:19) and “…with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad… and strengthed the hands of the wicked… by promising him life.” (Ezekiel 13:22)

                God is speaking directly to these false prophets, who literally bring people to their church by offering free bread and telling them that they can be saved. Salvation is a FREE gift of God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is absolutely TRUE! However, what many people fail to understand is that it DOES NOT guarantee our return to God. Jesus Christ died for our sins, to give us the OPPORTUNITY to be SAVED! For the Bible makes it clear; “… though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? … Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead…” (James 2:14, 17)

No one can just say, “I accept Jesus in my heart” and be done. To accept Jesus Christ, we accept the challenge of becoming like him, to follow him.  As a disciple, who is disciplined in following the commandments.

Chapter 14: The Lord will not answer to the evil-doers

“…they are all estranged from me through their idols.” (Ezekiel 14:5)

God speaks to Ezekiel and tells him that the people have forsaken him and have pursued after false gods and have listened to false prophets that have led them astray. Ezekiel cries repentance!

Jeremiah 23-24

Jeremiah 23-24

Chapter 23: False Prophets

Woe to those that have scattered the sheep of the Lord’s pasture. A king shall arise from the branch of David, and he shall be called the King of Righteousness (Jesus Christ). Jeremiah writes; “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man…” (Jeremiah 23:9) The priests and prophets of Judah are wicked, and divine vengeance is hanging over them. The people should not listen to their false promises: they will face destruction if they do.

Jeremiah continues to write about the land being filled with evil and “…swearing…” (Jeremiah 23:10) which goes to show that keeping your words clean is important to God. Jeremiah writes that “…both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness…” (Jeremiah 23:11) The so called prophets of the Lord have “…caused my [God’s] people Israel to err.” (Jeremiah 23:13) But the Lord counsels the people that are hearing the false prophets; “…Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say… unto them… Ye shall have peace; and they say unto you everyone one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (Jeremiah 23:16-17) The world today is filled with prophets/pastors who say that as long as you profess the name of the Lord you shall be saved. It doesn’t matter what you do! But in reality, it does matter what you do! If you don’t make proper choices, like following all of God’s commandments, your calling of the Lord in your heart is in vain.

Jeremiah tells us that “…in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:20). Jeremiah was right! We are in the latter days and we are seeing it happen, perfectly, all around us. I hear you can’t do wrong, and if for some reason you do… confess the name of God in your heart, accept Him as your Savior and you will be freed from sin! Do you realize what kinds of lies are being taught? The people are being misled and because of the false teacher/preacher/pastor/prophet they are causing the Lord’s people to err.

So if there are so many False Prophets, how do we know which ones are TRUE messengers of God? Well this is where we get into a very unique LDS Doctrine. In the past God has called prophets, like Jeremiah for instance, but God knew that they would not believe him, so He gave Jeremiah “fruits” to prove that he was a messenger of God. Jesus speaks of these False Prophets and gives a formula for proving their truthfulness… “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17)

Jesus tells us that good prophets (men who are called of God, and given His authority to act and speak in His name) will bring forth good fruits, and bad or FALSE prophets will show forth evil or rotten fruit. It goes on to say “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruity… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:18,20)

In the LDS church, we have a church that was RESTORED. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the RESTORE church of Jesus Christ. God restored HIS church through the hand of Joseph Smith and continues on this day with a living Prophet and Apostles. No other church on earth has this, the Authority and power of God is back on the earth! How can you know this to be true? God gave Joseph Smith a “Fruit” to prove that he was truly called of God. This fruit is known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the Ancient record of the people of the Americas, which was buried for thousands of years! God told Joseph Smith the location of this ancient buried record and had him translate it from an ancient language. The Book of Mormon is the fruit. If anyone wants to know the truth of these statements they must read the Book of Mormon and ask God themselves to manifest the truthfulness of this message.

Chapter 24: Jews shall be scattered and cursed

A vision after Jeconiah had been taken away captive: good figs and bad figs. The good figs symbolize those the Lord shall preserve in captivity, and the bad figs Zedekiah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem, and those that dwell in Egypt. A scattering of people will occur.

Psalms 115-116

Psalms 115-116

Chapter 115: Idols are False Gods

Our God is in the heavens and not an Idol. In this Psalm the author explains why idols are False God’s.

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat” (Psalm 115:4-7)

                In other words, the author is telling us that idols are not god’s or even The God, because they cannot speak, hear, walk or feel. God the Father is like us, He has a body of flesh and blood. The only difference is that His body is perfected.  We are blessed of the Lord and we should always praise him and not idols, made by human hands.

Chapter 116: Precious in the eyes of the Lord, the Death of the Saints

The author starts off this Psalm by saying that he loves the Lord, because he hears his voice of supplication. He tells us that he will always call upon the Lord. The Lord preserves the simple and will help in times of trouble. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15)

2 Chronicles 31-32

2 Chronicles 31-32

Chapter 31: Overthrowing False Worship

                Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars; from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh; until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities.

Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions; the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to serve, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord. The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it are written in the Law of the Lord.

Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.

The children of Israel and Judah, who dwelt in the cities of Judah, brought the tithe of oxen and sheep; also the tithe of holy things which were consecrated to the Lord their God they laid in heaps. In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and they finished in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the leaders came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord  and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, told Hezekiah that since the people began to bring the offerings to the house of the Lord, they have had plenty to eat, even abundance. The Lord had blessed his people.

Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. Then they faithfully brought in the offerings, the tithes, and the dedicated things; Cononiah the Levite had charge of them, and Shimei his brother was the next. Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings to God, to distribute the offerings of the Lord and the most holy things. And under him were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, his faithful assistants in the cities of the priests, to distribute allotments to their brethren by divisions, to the great as well as the small. Besides those males from three years old and up who were written in the genealogy, they distributed to everyone who entered the house of the Lord his daily portion for the work of his service, by his division, and to the priests who were written in the genealogy according to their father’s house, and to the Levites from twenty years old and up according to their work, by their divisions, and to all who were written in the genealogy; their little ones and their wives, their sons and daughters, the whole company of them; for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness. Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the common-lands of their cities, in every single city, there were men who were designated by name to distribute portions to all the males among the priests and to all who were listed by genealogies among the Levites.

Hezekiah did all of this throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

 Chapter 32: Sennacherib Invades Judah

After these deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah; he encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them over to himself.

However, Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, and that his purpose was to make war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his leaders and commanders to stop the water from the springs which were outside the city; and they helped him. Thus many people gathered together who stopped all the springs and the brook that ran through the land. And he strengthened himself, built up the entire wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, by telling them to be strong and courageous, because with them they had the Lord, and He would deliver them.

After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem (but he and all the forces with him laid siege against Lachish), to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all Judah who were in Jerusalem, to try and persuade the people that they were mighty men who had capture many cities, and no god of any other people would be able to deliver them from their wrath.

Now because of this King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed and cried out to heaven. The Lord sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land. And when he had gone into the temple of his god, some of his own offspring struck him down with the sword there. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. And many brought gifts to the Lord at Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the Lord; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled him for the pride of his heart, him and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Hezekiah had very great riches and honor. And he made himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of desirable items; storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of livestock, and folds for flocks. Moreover he provided cities for himself and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very much property. This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works. However,  the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him that He might know all that was in his heart. Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, indeed they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. MORE LOST BOOKS OF THE BIBLE! So Hezekiah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. Then Manasseh his son reigned in his place.