Lehi speaks to Joseph, his last born in the wilderness and proclaims unto him that he [Lehi] was a descendent of Joseph (who was sold into Egypt). Lehi also explains that Joseph of Egypt saw the day when the Lord would bring his people into a land of promise (see: Genesis 50:24-38).
“…Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” (2 Nephi 3:7) Lehi is speaking of Joseph Smith, who would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord to RESTORE His Church!
Lehi explains that the Lord will command the fruit of the loins of Judah and Joseph to write what we know today as the Bible and the Book of Mormon; “Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)
The Book of Mormon would come forth among the world and shall become a companion to the Bible to help confound false doctrines and contentions amongst the many churches and religions of the world. Joseph [the son of Lehi] explains that the seer who the Lord would raise up would be named after him [Joseph] and that the Seer would be named after his father. Joseph Smith, Jr. was named after his father; Joseph Smith Senior. The Prophecy of Joseph [Lehi’s Son] came to be; “…his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me…” (2 Nephi 3:15)
Nephi and his family continue the construction of the ship, a ship that was not built; “…after the manner of men…” (1 Nephi 18:2) Nephi finishes the ship and sees that it; “…was good, and that the workmanship, thereof was exceedingly fine…” (1 Nephi 18:4) After Nephi’s brothers saw the craftsmanship of the ship, they did humble themselves before the Lord.
Nephi explains that while in the wilderness (before building the ship), Lehi [Nephi’s Father] had two sons ‘Jacob’ and ‘Joseph’. Nephi and his entire family loaded up the ship with all their provisions and went forth across the ocean as the wind blew. After traveling the sea for the space of many days, Laman and Lemuel and their families began to dance and sing with “…much rudeness…” (1 Nephi 18:9) In other words, they were rioting and rebelling. Nephi was filled with fear that the Lord would be angry with them, and for this purpose they might be swallowed up in the sea. Nephi began to speak with his brothers, to try and persuade them to repent of their actions; this of course only angered his rebel brothers.
“…it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me [Nephi] and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; …it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass [The Liahona], which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.” (1 Nephi 18:11-12) Because of the wickedness of Laman and Lemuel, they did not know which direction to travel and their arose a great storm and tempest that caused the ship to be pushed back for three days, and on the fourth day the storm worsened.
“…after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof. Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.” (1 Nephi 18:15-16) Even though Nephi was miserable, broken down physically and mentally… he praised the Lord!
Laman and Lemuel had caused the entire family to be stricken with great affliction, but even with this, they would only soften their hearts if they knew they would be on the brink of destruction. The Lord knows each and every one of us, and He knows that sometimes we need horrible things to happen to us in order for us to wake up and hear his crying voice. Laman and Lemuel both had to be brought right up to the point of destruction in order to realize the power of God and repent of their actions.
Laman and Lemuel loose the bands of Nephi, and Nephi did take the compass; “…and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm….it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.” (1 Nephi 18:22) The Lord wants us to be obedient and sometimes He has to use extreme measures in order for us to hear His voice and follow His command.
“…it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land… and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.” (1 Nephi 18:24) Because they hearkened unto the voice of the Lord they were delivered and did arrive in the Promised Land as the Lord had promised. In the Land of Promise they did find; “…beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.” (1 Nephi 18:25)
Nephi explains that his purpose for writing the record of his people is to; “…persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.” (1 Nephi 6:4)
Nephi explains that he does not have room to write out their entire genealogy, except that; “…it sufficeth me to say that we are descendants of Joseph.” (1 Nephi :2)
Instead, Nephi desires to bring people unto the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He makes it clear that the things he will write about his people in the record will not be; “…pleasing unto the world…” (1 Nephi 6:5) However, he WILL WRITE those things which are; “…pleasing unto God…” (1 Nephi 6:5)
King Agrippa comes to Paul and tells him that he is free to speak. Paul gives an autobiographical account of his dealings and explains his side of the story. He asks King Agrippa to hear him “…patiently…” (Acts 26:3) Why is that so important? Because what Paul is about to tell King Agrippa is easy to immediately dismiss without hearing the entire thing. After all, that is what his accusers did! They heard him speak as if he was a messenger of God (which he was), however those who accused him were too quick to judge and thought he spoke blasphemies, comparing himself to God. So it is important that King Agrippa hears Paul with an open heart and mind. Paul begins by stressinh that Moses and the prophets predicted the coming of Chris and that in his name they raised the dead and cast out evil.
Paul explains his vision and conversion story;
“At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, [Saul is Paul] why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:13-18)
Paul explains to King Agrippa that he was not disobedient unto this heavenly vision. He explains that he first traveled to Damascus, then to Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judea and finally to the Gentiles that they would repent and turn to God, doing works “…meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20) Paul continues to explain, that for preaching about Jesus, the Jews caught him in the temple, desiring to kill him.
Paul continues his testimony to King Agrippa; “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)
As Paul spoke, Festus interrupted with a loud voice said to Paul; “…thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” (Acts 26:24-25)
Paul dismisses Festus’ claim that he is mad. King Agrippa says he is almost convinced to become a Christian, and comments that Paul would have been set free had he not appealed to Caesar.
Joseph Smith’s First Vision
The story of Paul is very similar to the story of Joseph Smith, at least in the sense that no one believed him. Joseph Smith did not persecute any church, for during his time, the TRUE church of Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth. However, as a young boy Joseph Smith was curious as to which of all the sects was the correct one for him to join. For years Joseph Smith wondered which church to join, however he was confused for they all seemed to say that they had the truth. Joseph Smith explained his story;
“I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five , on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont. … My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario— His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.
Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia. During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty . It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:3-19)
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and through him, God himself opened the door the last dispensation, or the “…dispensation of the fullness of times…” (Ephesians 1:10) by calling another Prophet [Joseph Smith], it is important to note that in Mormon Doctrine, Joseph Smith is looked at as a Prophet, like Moses. Some believe that Mormons worship Joseph Smith; however he is not looked at on the same level as Jesus Christ or God. Joseph Smith was an instrument in the hands of God, and nothing more.
Peter and John go up into the Temple together to pray, and on their way in they find a man at the gate of the Temple, which was called Beautiful, and the man was asking for money as he was lame (unable to walk) and Peter and John looked at him and said; “…Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Immediately the man received strength in his feet and ankle bones and walked! The man leaped for joy as he accompanied Peter and John into the temple, many people saw this and wondered in amazement! When Peter saw that everyone was so amazed by this miracle he said; “…Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea. The faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3: 12-16)
Peter asked the people of Israel a very simple question; why did they marvel at the sight of this miracle? After all many had seen Jesus perform these very miracles, yet they wondered how it was possible. Peter chastises them for having killed the Son of God, because in their ignorance they did exactly as their rulers and ancestors before them… they rejected the prophets sent by God and now they had rejected the Son of God, whom was sent by God the Father.
Peter offers the Israelites a way to redeem themselves; “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution [in other words, RESTORATION] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:19-23)
Peter speaks about the Last Days and references that there will be a RESTORATION of ALL THINGS. What are “ALL THINGS”? When Jesus Christ was on the Earth He established His church, but we all know the Head of the Church [Jesus Christ] was killed and His Apostles were shortly thereafter also persecuted and killed [Peter himself being crucified], and with time the Authority that Jesus Christ had bestowed upon them (see Matthew 10:1; “…he gave them power…”) Jesus even told His Apostles that before the Restoration would happen, Elias would have to come; “…Jesus answered them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” (Matthew 17:11) and we know that Elias will come as a precursor to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself said; “…I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6)
Just so there is no confusion; Elias is the Greek form of the name Elijah in Hebrew, therefore they are the same person being referred to by the Lord. Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a “RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS” needs to happen, and the very start of that Restoration would bring Elijah to restore the kings on man to seal families for eternity. This power was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith who was working as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ Restored His church on the Earth today… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This
Restoration has already occurred.
We learn that Jesus continued to teach for forty days after His Resurrection. Jesus continued to instruct His Apostles and while doing so, one of the Apostles asked Jesus: “…Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” and His response was; “…It is not for you to know the times of the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:6-7) After He had said these things, Jesus was taken up into the clouds and the Apostles looked up and marveled. Two men who were presumably angels stood dressed in white and said; “…why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
The Apostles then returned to Jerusalem where they went into an upper room to pray about who should be the next Apostles, because Judas had betrayed Jesus and was no longer an Apostle. One Apostle explains what was the end of Judas; “…this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, the field of blood.” (Acts 1:18-19)
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and felt so bad about doing it, he committed Suicide. The Apostles therefore in replacing him, chose two men who had been with them ‘Joseph Justus’, and ‘Matthias’ and this is the manner in which they chose between the two men; “…they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship…” (Acts 1:24-25) After much praying they came to the conclusion that Matthias was the Lord’s choice and he would be ordained to be an Apostle for the Lord’s church. Today in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, the Apostles follow something similar to choose new Apostles when older ones finish their mission on the earth.
(I have included a 3 part video: ‘Joy to the World’ to accompany the story of CHRISTmas) Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!
Tis the season for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells and of course; Santa Claus! It is the season of bad traffic, great store sales and angry shoppers fighting over some “must have” electronic or gadget. During this HoliDAZE, we often forget the true meaning of Christmas, that is Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Savior of the World.
Since the beginning of time, Prophets have foretold of the coming of a Messiah, a Christ King who would be born in Bethlehem and suffer the sins of the world. The story of the Birth of our Savior begins when the Angel Gabriel visits Mary, and tells her of the coming of her son, Jesus Christ…
“…the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women… when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying… And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God… behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…” (Luke 1:26-31)
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee… that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)
Mary was engaged to Joseph, and being a virgin she was confused as to how she could become pregnant and have a son. Angel Gabriel comforts her and tells her that the Son of God shall be born, and that she had been chosen, being highly favored of God to bring forth Jesus into this world. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
The Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ continues in the Bible;
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed… And all went out to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem… To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child [pregnant]… And so it was, that… the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1, 3-7)
It was part of the law in those days for every man to go to his village to pay taxes; Joseph went to Galilee, because that is where he needed to pay his taxes. Because of the great number of people there, they were unable to find a proper place to sleep, and were forced to deliver the baby in a manger. The Son of God was Born, His name; Jesus Christ!
During this time, a star was seen in the east, and shepherds abiding in their fields saw that Jesus Christ had been born…
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men… as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass… And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-16)
The Shepherds had surely heard the words of the Prophets of old, and their prophecy of the coming of the Son of God, upon seeing the Multitude of Heavenly Hosts, sing “Glory to God in the highest” they knew that the Lord had been born and immediately went to see their King. The Star in the East could be seen, round about the world…
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem Judaea… there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled…And he sent them [the wise men] to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word… that I may come and worship him also… they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced…And when they were come…they saw the young child with Mary…and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gift; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:1-3; 8-11)
The Wise Men, in most accounts are referred to ask the “Three Wise Men”, most likely because of the three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) that are given to Jesus. However the scriptures never tell us how man wise men there were. Nevertheless, the wise men are warned in a dream to depart and not to return unto Herod, for he had other plans…
“And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country…when they departed, behold the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt… for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:12-13)
“…Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and inall the coasts thereof, from two years and under…” (Matthew 2:16)
Herod, fearing that the Son of God had been born, attempts a cowardly action of killing all children age 2 and below. However, God the Father had other plans and protected His Only Begotten Son, so that He might go among the world and die for everyone and their sins, to enable us to return again one day to Our Heavenly Father…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn not the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
God knew of the divine plan of His Son, and allowed Him to grow strong in the spirit. For God was with Him; “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40)
The Bible teaches clearly that Jesus is the Christ and that through Him we might be saved, and given the opportunity to return to live with God. However, it is important to note that the Star in the East was seen throughout the World! The Ancient Inhabitants of the Americas saw the Star too, and their account is written in the Book of Mormon, which also testifies of Christ and His divine mission. A Book of Mormon Prophet named Alma, testified of Jesus Christ…
“…I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgression of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish… yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.” (Alma 34:8-10, The Book of Mormon)
What Does the Book of Mormon Say?
Shortly before the Birth of Jesus Christ, people lived in Ancient Americas, where God also called Prophets to guide His children. One of these Prophets was named Samuel, and Samuel testified of Christ and His coming into this world. However, there was a great division of believers and non-believers. Those who did not believe, decided that that time of preaching Christ’s coming was to come to an end…
“…it came to pass that… the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there were greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people. But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken of by Samuel, the Lamanite. And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled therefore your joy and your faith concerning this things hath been vain… and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful…But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if it were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been in vain.” (3 Nephi 1:4-8, Book of Mormon)
Samuel the Lamanite (A Prophet in Ancient America) had told his believers that the sign of Christ’s birth would come when the sun would go down, but no darkness would come. The unbelievers grew impatient and set a date to which the sign must be accomplished for them to “believe”…
“…it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet… when Nephi… saw this wickedness… he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people… and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying: Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into this world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouths of the prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world … and this night shall the sign be given.” (3 Nephi 1:9-14, The Book of Mormon)
Nephi, seeing the wickedness and disbelief of the people bowed humbly in prayer before his maker, and was heard! The Lord told him to be of good cheer, for he would soon come into the world, to fulfill all that was prophesied by prophets of old…
“And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled… at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came. And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth… for they knew… they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear… and it came to pass that there was no darkness in all the night… the son did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given…. A new star did appear…” (3 Nephi 1:15-21, The Book of Mormon)
When the evening came, and then the night, the sun did not go down. This made many who believed and disbelieved to fall to the earth in fear. However, the sign had been given, fulfilled and a new star did appear. The announcement of the coming of Jesus Christ did not just come unto the people of the old world, in the Middle East. Rather, God the Father made the announcement to ALL His Children, in ALL parts of the world. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches of His divine mission, and anyone who thoughtfully and prayerfully reads it will come closer to Him.
This Christmas, remember CHRISTmas, for Jesus Christ came unto the world, to be rejected and die for all the sins of mankind so that we might be given the gift of Salvation and Eternal Life.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the word of the Lord came unto John in the wilderness. John departed from the wilderness and went to Jordan, where he preached “…baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” (Luke 3:3) John cried out to the people and said; “…Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight…” (Luke 3:4) There came one man who wished to be baptized, yet John must have found him not worthy or lacking in repentance, because he tells the man; “…O generations of vipers…. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance…” (Luke 3:8) John explains that everyone who does not bring forth the fruit of repentance will be like a bad tree, which will be cut down and tossed aside.
What are fruits worthy of Repentance?
In order to be baptized, one must first find Faith in Jesus Christ, Second Repent of those things not in alignment with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, meaning that you must follow ALL of God’s commandments. It is not just enough to believe in Jesus Christ, for if one truly believes in Him, and accepts Jesus as their personal Savior, then that same person will want to make their life like His, and follow in His footsteps. Third, that person can receive a baptism, for the remission of those sins. But that baptism needs to be done with the proper authority. Why do you think people came to John? It is because John had the Authority given to him. Finally after baptism you can receive the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, again by someone who has the Authority to do so.
Many people who have gathered to be baptized of John ask him, how they can be baptized for a remission of their own sins. John explains that they need to give freely of themselves and their time, talents and wealth.
“…He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none….” (Luke 3:11)
“…Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)
The people were astonished by John’s words, but he reassured them that he was only a man; “…I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (Luke 3:16)
John then rebukes Herod for marrying Herodias, who was Phillips wife and for all the evils which Herod had done, including putting John into jail.
Jesus then comes to be baptized of John; “…the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22) Jesus was about 30 years old when He was baptized. Jesus was baptized at a later age to help us understand that baptism should be done at an age of accountability. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that age of accountability has been decided through revelation of being eight years old. Baptizing before that age is a mockery before God.
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ is given, however it differs from the genealogy given by Matthew, giving his actual lineage through Mary, instead of his legal lineage through Joseph.
In the days of Caesar Augustus, he commanded that everyone be taxed and return to their city of lineage to be taxed. Joseph and Mary returned to the City of Bethlehem, there May brought forth her first born son, and
“…wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lol, the angel of the Lord came upon them: and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel sad unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:7-14)
Once the angels had gone away, the Shepherds all made haste to see the child, and they found Him lying in a manger. After eight days the child was circumcised and He was called, Jesus. There was a man named Simeon who was just and devout. The Holy Ghost told him that before he died he would see the Lord’s Christ. Upon seeing him, he was filled with joy and said; “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” (Luke 2:29-30)
A prophetess named Ana also came to proclaim of the greatest of Jesus. After they had performed all things in the Law of Moses they returned to the City of Nazareth where Jesus “…grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40)
Every year Joseph and Mary would return to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, Jesus being 12 years of age traveled with them, but stayed behind without His parents knowing. When the parents returned to Jerusalem they found Jesus sitting for three days in the temple; “…sitting in the midst of doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard of him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed; and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have south thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye no that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.” (Luke 2:46-50)
Both Joseph and Mary were confused by this, of course Jesus was speaking of His Father’s business, not that of Joseph’s, but of Heavenly Father’s business. Jesus “…increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
The Genealogy of Jesus Christ is given: “begat” means to father.
Abraham begat Isaac
Isaac begat Jacob
Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar;
Phares begat Esrom;
Esrom begat Aram;
Aram begat Aminadab;
Aminadab begat Naasson;
Naasson begat Salmon;
Salmon begat Booz of Rachab;
Booz begat Obed of Ruth;
Obed begat Jesse;
Jesse begat David the king;
David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
Solomon begat Roboam;
Roboam begat Abia;
Abia begat Asa;
Asa begat Josaphat;
Josaphat begat Joram;
Joram begat Ozias;
Ozias begat Joatham;
Joatham begat Achaz;
Achaz begat Ezekias;
Ezekias begat Manasses;
Manasses begat Amon;
Amon begat Josias;
Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
After they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel;
After they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel;
Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
Zorobabel begat Abiud;
Abiud begat Eliakim;
Eliakim begat Azor;
Azor begat Sadoc;
Sadoc begat Achim;
Achim begat Eliud;
Eliud begat Eleazar;
Eleazar begat Matthan;
Matthan begat Jacob;
Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
Before Joseph and Mary were together, “…she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)
Joseph met Mary and decided to not make her situation public and instead put her away in secret. However as Joseph thought on the situation an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying; “…Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for e shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
Joseph did as the angel had told him and married Mary, this fulfilled a prophesy by Isaiah; “…Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)