Acts 3

Acts 3: The Restoration of All Things

                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.

Luke 21

Luke 21: The End of the World

                Jesus saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury of the Temple, He also saw an old lady who cast in two mites. Jesus then tells those around Him that the old widow had donated more into the treasury then all the rich, because she had given everything she had!

Jesus then explains that Jerusalem and the Temple would soon be destroyed. Those who followed Him, asked Him when this might be. Jesus tells them; “…the time draweth near…when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified; for these things must first come to pass… nation shall rise against nation… great earthquakes…famines… pestilences… they shall… persecute you…for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:8-12)

                Jesus explains that the signs of the Second Coming will be when we hear of wars and see great natural disasters and the spread of disease.  Jesus tells His followers to not worry, for these things are all part of the master plan. He calms them; “Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate before what ye shall answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist… In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:14-15,19) Jesus was basically saying that we don’t need to worry about what we need to do, because God will give us wisdom, to confound even our enemies. If we are patient, we will overcome.

Jesus continues to prophesy of the Last Days;

“…when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh… there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the starts; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear… And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:20; 25-27)

                Right before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the world will show signs in the heavens, armies will fill the Middle East, the seas will be roaring and men’s hearts shall fail them as nations fall into distress. Then after all that, the world will see Jesus Christ return to the earth in His glory. Jesus advises His followers to “…pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” (Luke 21:36) Essentially, bad things will happen in the Last Days, but those who follow the Lord, follow
His commandments and pray always will escape the nightmares of the world in distress at His Second Coming.

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 21

Matthew 21:

Cleaning the Temple

                  Jesus commands two of His Apostles to go to a village, where they would find an ass and a colt tied. He commanded them to loose both of them and bring them back to Him. Jesus tells that that if anyone tries to stop them from taking the ass and the colt, that they are to say that it is for the Lord. This would fulfill a prophecy that a “…King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” (Matthew 21:5) Jesus then got on the ass and rode into Jerusalem and everyone on the way asked who this man was; “…This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11) Upon arriving at Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple and “…overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it into a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:12-13) This shows that Jesus did not want moneychangers in the house of His father. This is important because it shows that churches should not be built for gain. If they are built for gain, then they become dens of thieves and are not houses of prayer. This is also interesting to see that Jesus does in fact have human characteristics and can be angered or upset.

While in the temple, after over turning tables, Jesus healed many people. After healing, Jesus left to Bethany, where he lodged. The next morning Jesus was hungered and went out to a fig tree, where the branches yielded no fruit, so Jesus essentially cursed the tree so it would never grow anything again, after it had withered the Apostles were shocked of His power. Jesus reminds them that with faith, they can move mountains. He also explains that “…all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

                  Jesus returns to the temple and while their, some of the chief priests ask Jesus by what Authority does He perform His miracles. Jesus asks them; “…I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John whence was it? From heaven or of men?” (Matthew 21:24-25) The chief priests are a little baffled, because if they say from heaven, then Jesus would ask them why they didn’t believe in His authority. But if they say by men, then they would fear the people, because the people believed that John was a prophet. So they answered Jesus by telling Him that they could not tell. So Jesus responds; “…Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:27) This shows that Authority is important to have, Jesus had the proper authority from His Father, but He had nothing to prove and did not have to tell those questioning Him, by where He received His Authority.

Jesus then explains the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen:

There was a man who planted a vineyard and dug a wine press around it, and built a tower. This man left his home and went into the far country. When the fruit became ready for harvest he sent some servants to the husbandmen (who were taking care of the house) so that they could harvest the fields. The husbandmen took the servants, beat one, killed another and stoned the last one. So the man of the field sent more servants and the husbandmen did likewise to these new servants.

Finally the man sent his son, whom he thought wouldn’t be killed by the husbandmen. When the son arrived the husbandmen said among themselves; “…This is the heir; come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (Matthew 21:38) The man who owns the farm is represented of as God the Father, who sent servants (Prophets) to collect the harvest in the land (the earth), but the husbandmen (the people of the world) rejected the servants and killed them. So finally God the Father sent His Son, whom the people also rejected and killed

Jesus asks those gathered; when the man of the field (the Lord of the field) comes back, what do you think he will do to the husbandmen? “…He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits of the season.” (Matthew 21:41)

                  Jesus is the stone that the builders rejected, but He has become the head of the corner. Jesus tells them; “…The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21:43-44)

                  Jesus was explaining that because of His own rejection, that one day the Gospel would be restored and given to a new people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in the early 1800’s in the newly formed United States of America. This church, the church Jesus Christ himself restored is the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. This had to be done, because as Isaiah pointed out; “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5) The gospel of Jesus Christ over the years was changed and distorted, thus the need for a Restoration and Another Testament of Jesus Christ; The Book of Mormon (which was written in Ancient America at the same time the Bible was being written in the old world.)

Malachi 3-4

Malachi 3-4

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

These last two chapters of Malachi and the ending to the Old Testament have a great deal of importance. First we learn that God does not change; He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will never change, period. Secondly we learn that God has a marvelous plan for us all, he sent a messenger before the coming of His son Jesus Christ to die for all our sins, so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father [God] again. God reminds us of the importance of paying a full and HONEST tithe and offering. This of course means 10% of our gain, whether we work for it or it be given to us, it is a gain.

In the last part of Malachi chapter 3 verses 16, we learn of the importance of RECORDS! It states that a book of remembrance was kept by the Lord. I can only imagine that this book contains a record of our deeds, good and bad in this life. The Doctrine and Covenants [A canonized LDS Book of Scripture] digs deeper into the meaning of Malachi 3:16

“…Let us therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:24)

What exactly are the records of our dead? It is GENEOLOGY! It is FAMILY TREES! But on a personal level it is a journal or journals. I think the Lord has made it clear that we need to keep a written journal of our life. When we come before the Lord in that Day of Judgment we can present him with our written journal of our life. However, while we are still here on the earth we can keep a record of our life to hand down to our family to keep as part of the genealogical records.

Finally in the last two verses of the Old Testament we learn of Elijah and how he will come in the “…great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6) In a vision by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple, Elijah CAME! Elijah restored the sealing power and gave Joseph Smith the keys of the final dispensation. With these keys the hearts of the fathers and children can be sealed together. Families can now be brought together forever through the sealing powers of the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Chapter 3: Tithes and Offerings/ Book of Remembrance

“Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1) The messenger spoken of in this opening verse of chapter three is John the Baptist. “For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” (Matthew 11:10)

The Lord will sit as a judge and a “…refiner and purifier of silver…” (Malachi 3:3) and with this the Lord will purify the sons of Levi. The Lord tells them “…Return unto me, and I will return unto you…” (Malachi 3:7)

We are commanded to pay tithes and offerings and the Lord rebukes his people by asking them; “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me, But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:8-10) God has been robbed by the withholding of tithes and offerings. He makes it very clear that we are to pay our tithes and offerings! In the LDS church we pay 10% of our gain to the church as tithes and then once a month we fast for 24 hours, and the money saved from not having those meals is donated to the church in the form of “offerings”. These offerings, which often times are more generous than just 3 meals are used to help members and non-members in everyday need of food, clothing and shelter.

The Lord tells us with surety; “…I am the Lord, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6) The simple fact is that the Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change. Therefore it is important to pay a full tithe and offerings. We learn that those who follow the Lord and fear him will be written into a book of remembrance. “…a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16)

Chapter 4: The Last Days… Elijah Shall Come (and HE DID)

“…the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and that day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” (Malachi 4:1)

Here the Lord is talking about the end of the world, the time right before the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus Christ. “…the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings… And ye shall tread down the wicked…” (Malachi 4:2-3) The world will be filled with wickedness, but God the Father will send his Son (Jesus Christ) to crush the wicked and save the righteous. God even gave us a sign of the times when He said; “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

What did the Lord mean when He said that Elijah “…shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…”? (Malachi 4:6)

On April 3, 1836 in Kirtland, Ohio the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went into the Kirtland Temple to pray, upon finishing their prayer they arose to a vision. In this vision they described; “The veil was take from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit…” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:1-2) and the Lord said unto them “…I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here… Yea the hearts of thousand and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in the consequence of the blessing which shall be poured out…” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:7&9)

After that the vision closed, and another vision came forth, this time Moses appeared before them and committed unto them “…the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:11)

Again this vision closed, and another vision came forth, this time is was Elijah. Elijah stood before Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and said: “Behold the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi – testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come – To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse – Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:14-16)

095-095-elijah-appearing-in-the-kirtland-temple-med

The KEYS of the FINAL DISPENSATION (A dispensation is a time when God has an authorized prophet on the earth) were given to Joseph Smith as a Prophet in these Last Days by the Prophet Elijah! The Old Testament told us that Elijah would come again, and he did! How glorious is that? The words of the prophet Malachi are fulfilled! With the keys of the final dispensation the hearts of the fathers and children can be sealed together through the temple. Families can be together forever with this sealing power that was given to Joseph Smith by Elijah and passed down all the way to the current Prophet of God’s Restored Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elijah came…

Zechariah 11-12

Zechariah 11-12

Chapter 11: Messiah will be betrayed

Zechariah is told to feed a flock of sheep for slaughter, as the Lord would do with his own people. Zechariah’s two staffs are called Beauty and Bonds. Zechariah dismisses three shepherds and breaks the staff called Beauty. We don’t know who these three shepherds are, but my guess is that they are leading astray the Lord’s people.

Zechariah foretells the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his betrayal for only thirty pieces of silver; “…If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” (Zechariah 11:12)

“The Judas, which had betrayed him… repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood… …And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field…” (Matthew 27:3-4; 9-10)

The Lord was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, both Jeremiah and Zechariah foretold of this.

Chapter 12: The Jews will know Christ

In the final Great War before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, all nations shall be engaged in war at Jerusalem. Zechariah tells us that the Lord will protect Jerusalem;  “…in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3) The feeble shall become be like David, and the house of David shall be like God. The spirit of grace and supplication will be poured on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

The Jews will then see Jesus Christ “…and they shall look upon me [Jesus] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:10-11)

Micah 3-4

Micah 3-4

Chapter 3: Pastors for Money

The heads of Jacob commit some pretty horrible acts of violence against their own people. (see 1-3)

Because of this Jacob’s people turn to the Lord “Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them…” (Micah 3:4) A darkness will descend on the prophets, and the prophets will be confused because there is “…no answer of God.” (Micah 3:7) This is the Apostasy, a time when men were so wicked that the Lord had to withdraw his power and authority from the earth (for a time). Meaning that there wouldn’t be a prophet and those who pretend to be a prophet would suffer great consequences.

 

“… the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us.” ( Micah 3:11) Today, and throughout History there has always been false prophets and priests trying to make a quick buck. They do it for money, sadly a large number of churches today follow this format, that God was so angered by in the first place. We further learn in this chapter that Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.

Chapter 4: The Millennium

This is an almost word for word vision of what Isaiah sees as a vision of the latter days in Isaiah 2:2…

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” (Micah 4:1)

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)

Essentially Isaiah sees a vision of the last days, where God’s church would be restored and the Temples would be built and shortly following that the Second Coming of Jesus would happen, where there would be 1,000 years of peace in the World.

The most interesting part of this, to me, is the following: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…” (Isaiah 2:2) The reason this is so fascinating to me, is because the “tops of mountains” is a translation of a meaning of the word “Ute” which was the Indian Tribe of Utah, where the state was named and one of the most famous Temples in the world… the Salt Lake Temple has visitors from ALL around the world flock there on a daily basis. Isaiah was speaking of the Latter-day Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the last days, the proud and the wicked will be brought low and the judgment will occur for everyone during the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Nations will no longer know war, and the world will enter into a peace for 1,000 years, while Jesus Christ reigns as king over Zion!