Revelation 11

Revelation 11: The 7th Angel

                John explains that in the last days the Lord will send two prophets; “And I will give power [authority] unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days…” (Revelation 11:3) John explains that these two missionaries will not be harmed during those days and that it will also not rain during this time. It is interesting to note that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said; “No doubt they will be members of the Council of the Twelve or the First Presidency of the Church” – Elder Bruce R. McConkie  (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:509).

However, after they have had ample time to deliver their testimony, the beast will come out from the bottomless pit and will strike them dead; “…their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city… three days and an half…” (Revelation 11:8-9) After those three days, however, “…the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud…And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and a tenth part of the city fell…” (Revelation 11:11-13)

The Seventh Angel sounded; “…and there were great voices in haven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever…” (Revelation 11:15) Paul describes the situation by telling us that the 24 elders who sat before God, fell to the ground and worshiped God.

1 Corinthians 6

1 Corinthians 6: The Temple of the Holy Ghost

                Paul explains that disputes among Christians should not be brought forth in a court of law, but should be accepted and discussed about outside of the law.

Paul asks the Corinthians; “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Often times in society, sin and wickedness is portrayed or advertised as being cool, trendy, and acceptable. However, we are not to be deceived by this, what is wicked and ungodly… will always be wicked and ungodly in the eyes of God.
Paul again questions the Corinthians; “…know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God…For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit…” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) This means that we need to treat our body with respect, no excessive piercings (one set for women), no tattoos, eating healthy, exercising and dressing modestly.

Luke 17

Luke 17: Faith

                Jesus explains to His Apostles that anyone who offends the children, by doing anything against them; “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17:2) Essentially, children are precious and should never be abused or have anything bad done to them. Those who go against this will face harsh punishment.

Jesus explains that we should always be forgiving, for if our brother does something to us seven times in one day and he repents seven times, we need to forgive. What if someone does this eight times in one day? The same applies, Jesus used the number seven to get the point across… forgive always.

Jesus enters into a village where He is met by ten lepers, they speak out to Jesus; “…have mercy on us.” (Luke 17:13) Jesus heals all ten of the lepers, but only one returns to give Him thanks, and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asks the man; “…Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger…. Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:17-19)

The Pharisees that were gathered asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come, and Jesus responds; “…The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” (Luke 17:20) Essentially Jesus says that you can’t try and figure out when it will come, it will come when God decides it is the right time. Jesus however, warns of the end times. The signs of the times will come in the form of Moral corruption, similar to the days of Noah or in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. We should learn to not be attached to things of the world, like the wife of Lot (see Genesis 19)

                Jesus explains that those who “…shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his lift shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:33) In the last days, when the time comes; “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (Luke 17:36) This is what many Christians refer to as the “Rapture”. Whatever is believed about this day, it is important to understand the message Jesus has left, and that is… Don’t wait until the last day to repent! Line your life on the path of Jesus now, and then when the last day comes you will be raised up into good Judgment.

Matthew 18

Matthew 18:

We need to forgive our brothers 

The Twelve Apostles come to Jesus and ask him; “…Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1) and Jesus responded to them by having a little child come before the midst of them;

“…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Essentially Jesus taught His disciples and now those reading the Bible that we need to become as humble and submissive as a little child. Does that mean that we need to act like children on that level of maturity? No. It means that we need to become as innocent as a child, clean without blemish.

Jesus goes on to elaborate “…whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he was downed in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6) It is clear that children are pure and innocent; children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. If this is true why do they have need for baptism? The answer is simple, baptism for children is unnecessary, baptism is for those who need to be clean, not for those who are already clean. It is also clear that those who harm children will be punished for their sins. Those who do ANYTHING to offend one of God’s little ones, would have done better to drown in the depths of the sea. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones…” (Matthew 18:10)

                  Jesus goes on to explain His mission on the earth and the mission that we, as disciples, must follow. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11) Jesus tells a story about a man who had 100 sheep, and one went astray. He explains that sometimes you need to leave the 99, to go and find the 1 that got lost. When the man finds the one that got away, his joy is greater that with those who did not go astray. In this manner we need to seek out those who are lost, even if it means abandoning, for a time, those who are not lost.

Jesus continues to explain some very important doctrine;

                  “…in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16)

                  2 or 3 witnesses can establish the truth. This is why it is important for Mormon Missionaries to go out 2 by 2.

                  “…Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) 

In the end of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6), it was prophesied that Elijah would come to turn the hearts of the children to the father and vice versa. This was the power given by Elijah in the last days to seal families together forever, through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through His church in the Last Days; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

                  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

                  Wherever a few people are gathered, there will also be the Spirit of God. This does not mean that because 2 or 3 are gathered that churches should be formed without Authority from God, but it does mean that if those 2 or 3, or even more people are bound together with similar desires and moral aptitudes that the Spirit of God will be with them.

After Jesus had done much speaking, Peter asks Him; “…how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) Does that mean that we are only supposed to forgive someone 70 x 7= 490 times? What Jesus meant is that we need to always forgive someone, especially if their desires are pure and their intentions are great. Jesus continues to address forgiveness with a story about a man who owed a great debt. This man was unable to pay the debt and begged his creditor for mercy. The creditor had mercy on him and forgave his debts. However, that same debtor who was forgiven of his debts, went and found a man who owed him money. This man was not as kind and did not have mercy on him, but instead cast him into prison. When the original creditor found that he did not forgive as he was forgiven, he was upset. Jesus explains that; “…likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hears forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35)

Daniel 1-2

Daniel 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.

In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)

                Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!

In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)

latter-day-saints-temple-building-projects-8

Chapter 1: Daniel

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

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                Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)

                Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!

The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.

Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).

Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:

“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)

Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).

                “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.

 

Psalms 144-145

Psalms 144-145

Chapter 144: Happy are the People of God

A Psalm of David

                David speaks of how the happiest people are those “…whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 144:15) The world today is filled with unhappiness and the reason is because people have turned away from the Lord. These people who denounce the Lord and His gospel are the same people complaining about how evil the world is.

Chapter 145: His Kingdom is Everlasting

David’s Psalm of Praise

                The Lord is good to all. His kingdom and His love are eternal. David tells the Lord; “I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.” (Psalms 145:5-6)

These two verses remind me of how the world will say you can’t have God in schools, or to take God out of the government… then when school shootings happen or anything similar people ask ‘why can God do such a thing?’ Well God gave us all free will, and with that comes the ability to choose to harm another. The Lord is being pushed out of our lives, and then people ask ‘where is God?’ Well He is THERE, but the people DON’T WANT HIM. It is a very sad world we live in.

 

2 Kings 15-16

2 Kings 15-16

Chapter 15: Israel and Judah in Wickedness

In the twenty seventh year of the reign of Jeroboam, reined also Azariah the son of Amaziah in Judah. Azariah began to reign when he was only 16 years old and reigned for 52 years! Azariah did right in the eyes of the Lord, but became a leper until the end of his life 2 Chronicles 26 tells us more about that. Jotham was over the land and did the judging for Azariah until he died and was buried with his fathers.

The 5 Kings over the Kingdom of Israel:

Zechariah reigned over Israel in Samaria for 6 months, in which time he did evil in the sight of the Lord, making Israel to sin! Jabesh conspired against him, and Shallum the son of Jabesh killed him in front of the people and reigning in his stead. Shallum reigned for 1 full month, before Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah and struck Shallum dead. Mehahem was very wicked he went into Tirzah and killed everyone and ripped open all the pregnant women there. Menahem reigned for 10 years! During his reign he gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that Israel could in tribute to the Assyrian Empire!

After his reign, Pekahiah, the son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria. He reigned for 2 years and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. In the 52nd year of Azariah, king of Judah the son of Remaliah (Pekah) became king over Israel in Samaria. Pekah’s reign lasted for twenty years! In the days of Pekah, Tiglath-Pileser the king of Assria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gildead, and Galilee, which is all the land of Naphtali and carried them captive into Assyria. Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against the king of Assyria and killed him, taking his place.

Jotham dies and his sons Ahaz reigns in his place.

Chapter 16: Ahaz Reigns in Wickedness

In the 17th year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was only twenty years old when he became a king and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem and he did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, he did evil.

Ahaz walked in the way of the many kings that had gone before him. He did not worship God properly. Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel went to war with Jerusalem and they attacked Ahaz, but could not overcome him. But Ahaz was not cocky he immediately sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser to make a treaty with him.

Ahaz perverts the worship at the temple by designing an altar that he saw in Damascus. This was done to please the Assyrian Empire. Ahaz also directs the renovation of the temple court to give it preference to the new altar. Ahaz made the altar, ruled over the people and was a priest of his own design… not something that God would have.