Mosiah 4

Mosiah 4

The Book of Mosiah is the eighth book in the Book of Mormon…

Mosiah is most likely linked to the Hebrew term; “Moshia”, which represents a Champion of Justice against oppression, appointed by God, whose Mission is to liberate a chosen people from oppression, especially by non-violent means.

Chapters 2-5 encompasses the speech given by King Benjamin to his people.effectiveleaders

 

Following from Mosiah 3, the people after hearing the words which King Benjamin shared with them, they immediately fell to the earth in fear, because “…they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.” (Mosiah 4:2) Upon speaking these words they were instantly filled with peace, knowing that they had received a remission of their sins, having a clean conscience.

After seeing the people fall to the earth and repent, King Benjamin continues his address…

“I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body—I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world. And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.” (Mosiah 4:6-8)

This is a subject of contention for many, Salvation. How does it come? Some believe that you can be saved by simply allowing Jesus into your life. Is it really that simple though? King Benjamin makes it clear that Salvation comes only through obedience to the commandments that have been given to us. It is true that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all mankind have been loosed from the bonds of death and now have a path to return to our Heavenly Father. However, this “path” if you will is open for all, but it still requires someone to have the desire to stay on the path. It is not enough to simply step on the path and be done. You cannot be saved by simply accepting Jesus in your heart. It’s not that simple, accepting Him means more than just expressing this through words, it also takes an action. We must show our acceptance of Jesus Christ through our works. The great part about the atonement? We don’t have to be perfect, as we walk the path, there will be times we wonder off. But through repentance we can always jump back on the path and follow His commandments.

King Mosiah then explains that we must; “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4:9) Isn’t that interesting? Man does not comprehend all things, which the Lord comprehends. God has not asked any of us to be perfect. What He HAS asked us to do, is to try. To sincerely give it our all! He wants us to get on that path and stay there! The path is not easy, this life is not easy. But it is for our benefit, so that we can return to live with Him!

King Benjamin reminds them that they all must “…believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you.. if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” (Mosiah 4:10;12)

King Benjamin explains that if we follow His path, we will be filled with joy and will not have a reason to harm others. In fact, if we follow His commandments, we will have only the greatest desires for our own children and loved ones. We shall even have a love for our neighbors, and spread that joy!

“…ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:16-19)

King Benjamin reminds those gathered and the readers in our day that everyone needs some help from time to time. For are we not all beggars? No one can honestly say that they have become wealthy and wise all on their own. Everyone stands in need of help, and everyone has had help in their success! He even chastises those who say; “…I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.” (Mosiah 4:24) This is not an excuse, everyone has something to give, even if it is their time!

King Benjamin imparts some wisdom:

  1. Give of yourself, your talents and your wealth. If you do not have money to give, then lend a helping hand. Physically, mentally or emotionally help those in need. “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” (Mosiah 4:26)
  2. Do not run faster than you have strength! Everything has it’s time and place, there is no need to work harder than you are physically or mentally able. All that God asks of us is to do OUR best. “…see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. (Mosiah 4:27)
  3. If you borrow something, return it. This goes for something physical, like borrowing a a tool from a neighbor. But this also goes for something intangible. If you receive help from someone, return the favor! “…whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin…” (Mosiah 4:28)
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1 Nephi 15

1 Nephi 15: Nephi and the Tree of Life

                After having seen these visions, Nephi returns to the tent of his father Lehi, where he finds his brothers arguing over what their father had seen in his visions. Nephi explains that Lehi had seen visions that “…were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord…” (1 Nephi 15:4) Essentially Nephi is saying that those things Lehi spoke of were not easily understood without the inquiring of the Lord to have a deeper understanding. In other words, in order to understand the words of Lehi one must have the Spirit of the Lord.

Nephi was saddened because of the destruction he saw in his visions, nevertheless he desired to know why his own brothers were fighting against their father. They explain to Nephi; “…Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 15:7) Nephi asks them if they had inquired of the Lord to know of its meanings, and they explained that they had NOT inquired of the Lord. Nephi asks his brothers; “Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.” (1 Nephi 15:11) Nephi knew that if you asked the Lord in FAITH, He would answer your prayers.

Regardless of the hardness of their hearts, Nephi explains the meaning behind the branches of the Olive Tree; “…now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed— And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.” (1 Nephi 12-14) In other words, the seed of Nephi and his brothers will become the Gentiles in the Americas who will eventually come to the knowledge of their divine inheritance, that they shall be grafted into the Olive Tree in Israel. They will become the covenant people of the Lord!

Nephi explains to his brothers that the Jews will also be restored and shall no more be confounded or scattered among the land. Nephi’s brothers then ask for a meaning of the Tree of Life, which Lehi and now Nephi had seen.

The Tree of Life

 

“And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Nephi 15:24) Nephi urges them to give heed unto the words of the Lord that they might keep His commandments and shall overcome the adversary.

25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.

“And they said unto me: What meaneth the river of water which our father saw? And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.” (1 Nephi 15:27) Nephi explains that this river of water was an awful gulf, that separated the wicked from the tree of life… it was a representation of Hell.

Nephi explains to his brothers that this vision is meant to be both temporal and spiritual, for if someone were to die in their wickedness they would be judged of their works. No unclean thing can enter into the presence of the Lord. Therefore, those who die in filthiness will remain in filthiness and shall be given their just reward.

1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1: Trial of Faith Precedes Salvation

                Peter writes to the gentiles that are scattered throughout the world and explains to them; “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold….though it be tried with fire… be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7) Here we learn that the trial of our faith, even though it be difficult is what we will be judged on in the last days. Gold, silver, jewels… any worldly possession will not help us gain salvation. We must EARN our own salvation through the trial of our faith. Yes, it is true that Jesus Christ died for our sins and therefore granted our Salvation. However, we must remember that Jesus Christ gave us the ABILITY to gain Salvation, but never did we instantly gain Salvation for nothing, and this is exactly what Peter is saying.

Peter goes on to explain, that since the dawn of time Prophets have “…enquired and searched diligently…” (1 Peter 1:10) in order to obtain the necessary information regarding our Salvation, for this purpose having prophets is important. Peter explains that we need to be “…obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts of your ignorance… Be ye holy; for I am [God] holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” (1 Peter 14;16-17) Peter urges us to be obedient, and put our former lusts and desires in the past. As God is Holy, we being His children should also be holy. Why? Because ultimately God will judge us on our work.

Our Salvation was gained through the “…precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20) Peter invites us to be “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible…” (1 Peter 1:23) In other words, once we decide to follow Christ, we must do as He would do. We must work diligently daily, doing good works as He would also do.

Galatians 6

Galatians 6: As Ye Sow… So shall Ye Reap

                “BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

                Paul opens this last chapter of Galatians with a letter urging the members of the church to consider those around them, which may have fallen into temptation. He asks the members to help by restoring them spiritually. He urges the members to do this with a spirit of meekness, or in other words to guide the person who has fallen into temptation with humbleness, and patience. However, if someone does not want to be restored spiritually or in the process of helping them you are also dragged down into temptation… we should stop. In other words, helping people is good… but if it starts to affect our own personal salvation we should tread lightly.

Paul goes on to say that we should rejoice in our own work and burdens; “…let every many prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” (Galatians 6:4-5) We should not seek praise or praise one another to the point of idolatry. Being happy in our own work and being proud of another person’s work is another thing. Paul explains that we are responsible for ourselves and our sins, we cannot pass them on to another… therefore we are also not born with sin, for we cannot be punished for the Fall of Adam and Eve. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that; “…men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith; 1) Therefore we are saved by grace, after all that WE do PERSONALLY. In the Book of Mormon; “…we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23; The Book of Mormon)

Paul explains that we are going to be judged according to our works. He also explains that God will not be mocked… Whatever a man gives, he shall receive. If you do evil works, evil will be your reward. If you do good works, good will be your reward.

“…God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

2 Corinthians 5

2 Corinthians 5: Walking by Faith…

                Paul speaks about how if the world as we know it was dissolved, we can be assured that; “…we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1) Here Paul speaks about our Eternal home; it gives us insight into our divine nature, as sons and daughter of the highest God. Paul comforts the Corinthians in his letter to them, telling them to have confidence; “…we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7) As God’s offspring, we can have confidence knowing that one day we will return to live with Him. While we are on the earth, however, we are absent from Him. Because of this absence, we must prove our worth and walk in this world without the knowledge of our pre-earth life with God. If we labor diligently; “…we may be accepted of him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)

Paul reminds the Corinthians that; “…we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Essentially, Paul is teaching the Corinthians that we are in fact responsible for our actions here on Earth, and we WILL be judged for them.  Jesus Christ died for us, and thus opened the door to our Salvation. However, it is our choice to accept the grace of Jesus Christ. This means that we need to do good works, so that we may be judged for those good works!

If we do good, and follow Jesus Christ, we will become; “…a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Luke 24

Luke 24: He Lives!

                Early in the morning days after the death of Jesus Christ, some of His followers (including Mary Magdelene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) came to His sepulchre [tomb] to anoint Him with spices. Upon approaching the tomb, they found the stone, which sealed the tomb was rolled back and when they went in, they did not find the body of Jesus Christ. The followers were confused, but they found two men who were wearing shining garments, who told them; “…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24:5-6) The two men [or angels] reminded the followers that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen; “…The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:7)

When the followers heard these words, they remembered. The followers left to tell the Eleven Apostles, but the Apostles thought they were listening to idle tales, and did not believe. Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself; but departed wondering what would happen.

Later, on the way down to a village named Emmaus two of the Apostles walked while discussing the things that had happened. While walking a man approached them and began to speak to them, this man was Jesus Christ, but the two Apostles did not know Him. Jesus asks them why they are sad, and what the reason is for their communication. The two Apostles are flabbergasted as to why this ‘man’ would ask them these questions, they begin to tell Him about the ministry of Jesus and how He was crucified. Jesus responds; “…O fools, and slow of heart to believe… Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…” (Luke 24:25-26) Jesus explains that He has further to walk, but with the evening approaching, the two Apostles invite this ‘man’ to stay with them for the night. While with them, He breaks bread and communes with them, after He is done breaking bread, he disappeared. Upon realizing that the ‘man’ who was with them was Jesus and He had now left after breaking bread with them, they were perplexed; “…Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened t us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) Essentially the two Apostles were upset that they were so blind to not even see Jesus!

The two Apostles return to Jerusalem and proclaim to the other Apostles that Jesus had indeed Risen! While they were speaking, Jesus enters and says to them; “…Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39) While the Apostles were in shock and were wondering what they had just seen, Jesus asks them; “…Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41-43)

Here is an important Doctrinal Truth: Jesus Christ has a glorified body of flesh and bones, just like we have as humans. Jesus told His Apostles to touch Him for He had flesh and bones, and He even asked them for food, so that He could eat. Jesus then “…opened… their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures… Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day… that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:45-48) Jesus opens their understanding, so that the Apostles and all those who follow Him can understand the scriptures and know the truth. Jesus had told the people He would be persecuted to death and rise again on the third day, but even then when it happens the Apostles did not believe Him. Jesus explains that His death had to happen, in order to open the door to a remission of sins and the start of missionary work throughout the world, starting in Jerusalem.

Jesus died for ALL of us, that we might be saved. In order to be truly saved, we must follow Jesus, and all His teachings. We cannot follow Him, if we do not follow His commandments and teachings. Jesus is lifted up into heaven and the Apostles rejoiced and worshipped Him in the temple.

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.