Revelation 12

Revelation 12: The War on Earth

                John saw a “…great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Revelation 12:1-2) John describes this woman and the bringing forth of; “…a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” (Revelation 12:5) However, there was also a great red dragon, which had seven heads and ten thorns, and seven crowns on his head, which would draw away; “…the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth… [and the dragon stood ready]… to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Revelation 12:4) This dragon is Satan who desired to killed Jesus Christ.

John goes on to explain a war that occurred before we came to this earth; “And there was a war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought against his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…. And his angels were cast out with him…” (Revelation 12:7-9) Before we came to this world a third part of heaven decided to follow the plan of Satan, instead of the plan that God had placed before us. Because of their disobedience, one-third of heaven was cast down to the earth with Satan, and without bodies. Because the other two-thirds followed the plan of God, they were sent to earth with bodies and given the opportunity through the blood of Christ to return to live with their Heavenly Father. Satan and His followers were “…roth… and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God…” (Revelation 12:17) Essentially, Satan and His followers do not like those who follow Jesus Christ and His commandments and will do everything to persuade the followers of Christ to sin, and be miserable like himself and his angels.

2 Corinthians 12

2 Corinthians 12: The Third Heaven – Paradise

                Paul opens by explaining that as an Apostle of the Lord, it is not; “…doubtless… I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 12:1)  Apostles of the Lord can and will have visions and revelations! With that being said, Paul goes on to explain that he knew a man who had gone to the third heaven. Paul explains that he did not know if it was in body or spirit that he knew this man. Paul explains; “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (2 Corinthians 12:2) What is the Third Heaven? Paul continues; “…he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words…” (2 Corinthians 12:4) Earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul also spoke about the “Third Heaven”; “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:40-41)

3 Degrees of Glory

What Paul spoke of is something extremely important, yet many Christians either do not understand what he speaks of, or simply decide to ignore it. Through modern revelation, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know that Paul is speaking of the Three Degrees of Glory that are found in the Plan of Salvation. So, what is the Plan of Salvation? It is a plan that God has given to us, to understand the deepest questions of our soul; Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where are we going after death?

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Placed into my scriptures at: 1 Corinthians 15:40-42

In my scriptures I have a small piece of paper inserted into my Bible that outlines this plan. It is there to help me remember the sacred love that God has for us all! Before the world was created, we all lived with God! We are His offspring, however we lacked one major thing that God possessed, and that was knowledge and experience. While we will never EVER become God, we can however strive to be LIKE Him! God (Our Heavenly Father) wants us to become like Him and because of this He created a world for us to live and dwell, that we might learn and grow from our trials and tribulations.

Where did we come from?

                The Book of Genesis recounts the story of the Creation; where God created not only the world, but also created man to dwell on the earth. He provided our first parents (Adam and Eve) to make their own choices in the Garden of Eden, disobeying Father meant that they were cast out of the Garden. Men “fell” from the presence of God, and as a consequence would have to work by the “…sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” (Genesis 3:19) Mankind would now have to work and learn by themselves, without the presence of God directly in their lives. Mankind would have to walk by faith and not by sight.

Many Christians argue that what Adam and Eve did was a sin, and because of that sin, we are all born with an “original sin”. However, what Adam and Eve did was actually part of the Plan that God had set in motion forever. In the Book of Mormon we learn about the purpose of the Fall of Adam and Eve;

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy…. The Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because… they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon… and they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seethe that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” (The Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 2:25-27)

The Book of Mormon helps us to understand more of the Plan of Salvation. Yes, Adam and Eve did disobey a commandment of God. They partook of the Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in defiance of God’s word. However, God being all knowing, knew that they would disobey. He set in motion a savior for them [for all mankind] that we might be able to choose good from evil.

Are we born with sin? No. We read in Ezekiel that; “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)

When Christ came to the earth, He died for our sins and with His grace we can all be saved. Salvation is a FREE gift! Accepting it however is our own choice! With acceptance of this FREE gift, we are asked to live by God’s commandments and become a Disciple of Christ! What does Disciple mean? Disciple comes from the same root word as “Discipline”, therefore disciples are disciplined in the commandments of God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ! It is not enough to just say you accept Christ into your life. You must constantly prove those words to be true, through your actions!

Why are we here?

                While we are on this earth we have a choice to either follow Jesus Christ or Satan. Following Satan means that we will not be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven, but rather live an eternity of anguish where; “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Luke 13:28)

                If we chose to follow Jesus Christ, we must through personal revelation come to a knowledge of Him and have Faith in him. We must repent of our sins and be baptized as he was baptized. After baptism we must also receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Power and Authority of the Priesthood. Upon completing these steps, we must then live our lives in accordance to the covenant and promises we made at baptism. We must follow His commandments and live as He would live. Then and only then can we return to live with our Father in Heaven and be “…caught up into paradise…” (2 Corinthians 12:4) as Paul had spoken.

Where are we going?

                Finally, we ask “where are we going after death”? The Gospel of Jesus Christ through modern revelation has revealed the answers to these questions. We all know that we will die, and when we die we will go to a Spirit World where we will wait for the Day of Judgment. Those who were faithful to the Lord will wait in a state of Paradise and those who were not faithful or did not have the opportunity to learn about Christ during their earth life will have an opportunity to be taught and accept the Gospel on the other side.

When Jesus Christ finally comes for a Second time, all men and women will be judged according to their works, merits, and intents of their heart. Upon the completion of this Judgment, each person will receive their glory according to the guidelines mentioned. This is where Paul speaks of “Three Heavens”. This is the Glory of the Sun, Moon and Stars.

 The_Plan_of_Salvation

                Paul ends his address by explaining that his; “…grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

                We too must remember that God has a plan for each one of us; the Plan of Salvation helps us to understand the most basic questions of life’s supposedly “unanswered” questions. The truth of the matter is this… God speak today, He has authorized servants speaking on His behalf! We are not alone, nor has God abandoned us! We need to remember that God is GOOD, and He knows what’s best for us… if we are faced with difficulties, we need to remember that with weakness, vulnerability, in infirmities and in trials… comes STRENGTH!

“…for when I am WEAK, then am I STRONG.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Acts 9

Acts 9: Saul is converted

                Saul went to the High Priest to seek letters in the synagogues to find men or women with whom he could bound and bring back to Jerusalem to persecute. While on his journey, Saul passes near Damascus when “…suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: …saying Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutes… And he trembling and stonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:3-6)

Those who were with Saul at this time, stood speechless; “…hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” (Acts 9:7) When Saul arose from the ground, he was blinded and could not see any man, so they had to guide him by his hand into the city. Upon arriving in the city, Saul spent three days without sight and did not eat or drink.

In Damascus there was a man named Ananias, who was a disciple of the Lord, the Lord came to him in a vision and told him to “…Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold her prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.” (Acts 9:11-12) Ananias must have been confused as to why the Lord would want him to help heal a man who had been terrorizing and persecuting those who followed Him. Ananias asks; “…Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priest to bind all that call on his name.” (Acts 9:13-14) Besides being confused, Ananias was most likely terrified to go and ask to see a man who had persecuted so many of the members of the Church. Nevertheless, the Lord said unto him; “…Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)

                Ananias did as he was commanded and went to the house were Saul was, and upon entering, he put his hands on him and blessed him that he would receive his sight. Immediately Saul’s sight returned and he was baptized and given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Saul also ate and received strength, to begin his calling. Once his strength had returned, Saul went throughout the Synagogues preaching of Christ, after many days of preaching the Jews sought council “…to kill him.” (Acts 9:23)

                In order to avoid being killed, Saul hides in a basket and is transported over the walls of Damascus to meet with the Apostles in Jerusalem. Upon arriving in Jerusalem, the Christians who meet him are at first weary of him, because of his past. Very few believed that he had actually been converted. However, Barnabas took him to meet the Apostles. Saul goes and preaches among the Grecians, but they too seek to destroy his life. So, Saul continues his journey into Caesarea and Tarsus where the churches in Judea, Galilee and Samaria prosper!

Meanwhile, Peter is in Lydda, where he heals a bedridden man named Eneas, who had been sick for eight years with Palsy. Because of this miracle, all in Lydda believe on the Lord. Because of this great miracle people came from nearby Joppa to find Peter and have him come and heal a woman, who turns out to be dead. Peter raises the woman [Dorcas] from the dead and the news spreads throughout Joppa and many believe on the Lord. Peter finds rest in the house of Simon, who was a Tanner [someone who worked with dead Animals], this was actually against the Jewish Law, to spend time with someone who worked routinely with dead animals.

Ecclesiastes 5-6

Ecclesiastes 5-6

Chapter 5: God is in Heaven, We are below

In this chapter we learn that we should be open with God. We should be ready to listen and not be so hasty to dictate what we want him to do.

“Be not rash with thy mouth… hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

Solomon believed that it was not wise to make a vow to God and not keep it. It’s better to not make a vow than to make one to God and not keep it.

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better it is that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)

Solomon says that riches are meaningless. People who obsess over it never find the true happiness that it promises. Loving money leads to sin. Don’t depend on money to make you happy. Instead, use what you have for the Lord.

“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver…” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

Chapter 6: Need to be Full of Works

Even though a person has lived a long and prosperous life, it is ultimately meaningless. He says this because everything that a person has accumulated is left behind at death. Many people strive to prolong life and keep in good physical health, but people don’t spend nearly enough time improving their spiritual health. Solomon also believes that human beings cannot take charge of their own destiny.

 

Job 15-16

Job 15-16

Chapter 15: The wicked do not believe

Eliphaz was not impressed by Job’s eloquent dependence on God as expressed in the previous chapters. He replied with a sharp rebuke of Job, accusing him of empty knowledge, of unprofitable talk, and of having cast off fear.

Eliphaz argued along similar lines as God later did with Job in chapters 38 and 39. They both appealed to Job to consider that he did not know as much as he thought he did. Yet, what Eliphaz thought Job didn’t know was entirely different than what God knew Job didn’t know.

Job and his friends have already argued over this point, with Zophar (among others) accusing Job of claiming to be pure and clean (Job 11:4). Job’s own admissions of sin have meant nothing to persuade his friends that not only are they sinners in a general sense, but he must also be one in a particular and wicked sense.

Job’s friends appeal to the idea of tradition and “all the wise people know this.” They speak in terms of cause and effect associations between human wickedness and received judgment, and assume that this principle is always true in all cases – especially in Job’s particular case.

Eliphaz poetically explains that the wicked may seem to succeed for a while (as Job did), but their success is only an illusion. They actually are lonely, poor, and in darkness (a true description of Job’s present state).

Chapter 16: The witness is in heaven

Job laments his miserable comforters. Job reminded his critics that all they gave him was the “conventional wisdom” explanation of an absolute relationship of cause and effect to make sense of his suffering.

Job felt trapped by both options. If he speaks, he finds no relief from his unsympathetic friends; yet silence does nothing to ease his grief.

Job here begged the creation to not erase his life. If he were to die in his crises, Job at least wanted his blood to remain evident as a testimony.

 

Joshua 9-10

Joshua 9-10

Chapter 9: Joshua Makes Servants

The Gibeonites, after hearing about the success of Israel and in some small part out of fear, make a league with all Israel. That they would become servants unto them. They do this, to avoid being destroyed in the future, as they know that their neighbors will be wiped off from the face of the earth.

Chapter 10: Stones from Heaven

The Gibeonites come to Joshua and tell him that they are about to be destroyed by the 5 kings of the Amorites and their people. So Joshua sends an army to help out their new “league” and they smite them heavily with the sword, and as they retreated the Lord sent a storm with a giant hail storm, with “stones” large enough to kill a man. In fact most of the armies of the 5 kings of the Amorites were killed by the stones then by the swords of the Israelites.

The Israelites catch the 5 kings in a cave and end up hanging all of them. A lost book of the Bible is mentioned in verse 13; the Book of “Jasher” – which we actually have in our possession today! I will be writing about that book much later, possibly towards the end of this year?

Anyways… the cities of the Amorites are completely destroyed with the help of the Lord and his armies!