Revelation 2

Revelation 2: Overcome the World = Eternal Life

                John writes a specific letter to each one of the seven churches throughout Asia, in verse 2 he covers 4 of the church and he starts each one off with; “Unto the angel of the church of ______” (Revelation 2:1;8;;12;18) It is interesting to note that in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible “angel” is changed to “servant”, which is probably more accurate considering John was writing to the leaders of each one of the branches of the churches throughout Asia.

This is the counsel that is given to these churches by John;

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” (Revelation 2:2) John explains that sometimes leaders will fall away or will lie completely to say they are leaders. However only those authorized by God to teach, shall teach.

                “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7) Those who overcome the temptations of the world will obtain the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

                “Fear none of these things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried ; and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life…. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” (Revelation 2:10-11) Often times we will be tried, but if we overcome we will receive the crown of Life and be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father and we will not be hurt by the second death (the spiritual death)

                “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (Revelation 2:19) God knows us all, therefore it is important that we do good in the sight of others as well as when we are in private… for God knows.

2 Peter 1

2 Peter 1: Prophecy comes by the Power of the Holy Ghost

                Peter writes a general letter to the members of the Church of Christ, he reminds them of why they were baptized and why they are followers of Jesus Christ. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, he explains, we; “…are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust… giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance [abstinence/restraint]; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity…” (2 Peter 1:4-7)

Peter is telling every follower of Jesus Christ that the purpose for following Him is to partake in the divine nature of God Himself. We are His offspring, and by accepting His promise we were sent to earth to prove ourselves and to overcome the lusts of the world to eventually be perfected and return to live with Him. For if we overcome the world we will be given knowledge, faith, patience and the ability to love with the ultimate goal of becoming like unto our Father in Heaven. We are literally partakers in this Great Plan of Salvation! When our trial on this earth is over we will; “…be ministered unto… the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:11) For this purpose, Peter explains that he will not be negligent in stirring up those who have forgotten unto remembrance of their duty in this life. Remember, we are saved only after all we can do. For example, the gift of salvation has been given to everyone, however if we chose to do evil in this world we cannot return to our Heavenly Father. Therefore Salvation requires us to put forth an effort to follow Jesus Christ in all that He would do.

Peter goes on to explain that as followers of Jesus Christ (especially those who heard the voice of God on the holy mount) have a knowledge that; “…no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) In other words, we can interpret the scriptures as much as we want, but without Holy Men of God, that is, Apostles and Prophets we cannot know the true meaning and interpretation of all things. However, God as He did in old times, still calls AUTHORIZED Apostles and Prophets to serve as His mount piece, even in these modern days.

The message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that exact message; God Lives! Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, and Savior. Because of the Love that God and His Son have for us, we have been given a mouth piece in these latter days. The Prophecies and Revelations of the Bible exist today, with Revelations that pertain specifically to the changing times.

Romans 5

Romans 5: Adam Fell, Christ Atoned

Paul explains the importance of the Role of Jesus Christ;

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; …  because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:1-11)

We learn that we should be glad that God gives us tribulations, because through these trials we are able to learn patience, gain experience and have our hearts filled with Christ’s love through the Holy Ghost. We learn that Christ died for everyone, including the sinners. Through HIS Atonement and Sacrifice we have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Grace is a free gift and Salvation is ours if we desire.

Paul explained that “…death reigned from Adam to Moses… after the similitude of Adam’s transgression…” (Romans 5:14). Essentially because Adam and Eve transgressed we were all doomed to a Spiritual death, where we could no longer return to God’s presence. However Jesus Christ made it possible, through His death on the cross and His pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane that we could escape this Spiritual death.

Paul reminds us that we have a choice; “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) This means that YES Adam and Eve broke a commandment of God, but by them breaking the commandment we were given a Savior to take our sins away from us. Jesus Christ Atoned for our sins, and gave us the free gift of Grace, but we still must choose to accept it. The Book of Mormon helps us to understand this further; “Adam feel that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 2:25)

Lamentations 3-5

Lamentations 3-5

Chapter 3: Prayer of Jeremiah

Jeremiah speaks about Judah and their calamity. He starts the chapter off by saying; “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” (Lamentations 3:1) Jeremiah explains that God himself can sometimes lead us into darkness, but like any loving Father, the Lord may put us in situations for our own good. Jeremiah writes; “Remembering mine affliction and my misery… My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” (Lamentations 3:19-21) Because Jeremiah had to go through hard times, he remembered them and that remembrance of his own affliction brought him a sense a security and hope.

We must remember when going through hard times that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (Lamentations 3:21) God is always there for us, even if it appears that we are all alone and without help. Sometimes God just wants us to figure things out on our own and only steps in when we truly can no longer fend for ourselves. Patience is something that must be learned and sometimes God will test our patience, but for those who wait for him… have a promise:

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:25)

Everyone goes through trials in their lives, Jeremiah tells us that is it best for “…a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” (Lamentations 3:27) So “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:40-41) If you are young and going through hard times, rejoice! For it truly is better to go through those struggles in our youth, then it is at any other time in our lives. It helps to build us and make us stronger.

We need to realize that it may seem like our prayers go un-answered or that the Lord “…hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” (Lamentations 3:44) But we need to be persistent and patient, because “…though he [God] cause grief, yet will he have compassion… For he doth not afflict willingly…” (Lamentations 3:32-33) God does not enjoy having to see us un-happy or miserable, but he does it because He knows that is the only way to make us stronger and better people. For this world is like a giant classroom. If we pass the test, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father for eternity.

Chapter 4: The Estate of Zion

Jeremiah laments over the estate of Zion and the pitiful people that they have become. They have become desolation, because they have sinned and basked in iniquities. Jeremiah says that it is better to “…be slain with the sword… than they that be slain with hunger… hands of pitiful women have sodden [soaked/boiled] their own children: they were their meat in the destruction…” (Lamentations 4:9-10) How sick is that? The people had truly sunk to a new low and it is no wonder why this book is called the Lamentations of Jeremiah, he was disgusted.

Chapter 5: Sorrowful Zion

Jeremiah recites in prayer the sorrowful estate of Zion. The people have been humiliated, and dancing has turned to mourning. Jeremiah explains that “Our fathers have sinned, are not; and we have borne their iniquities.” (Lamentations 5:7) We must remember that we are accountable for our own actions and not the sins of our parents or anyone else for that matter.

 

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Chapter 31: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors

At this point in the story, we have learned that Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses as the new leader for the Israelites. Joshua received the priesthood authority. Moses has another task, before he can be gathered completely to his people.

The Lord commands Moses to take vengeance upon the Midianites. Remember Numbers 25? Where the Midianites seduced the Israelites and caused that some of them worshiped their idol gods? Well Moses sends out 12,000 troops to fight the Midianites. This amounts to 1,000 from each tribe. With this group Moses sends Phinehas (the son of Eleazer) who takes some articles from the tabernacle and some trumpets which he uses for signaling.

The Israelites easily defeat the Midianites, killing every single man and taking the women, children and loot for themselves as plunder. They kill the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Balaam and Reba.

The warriors return with the plunder and everyone except Moses is happy. Moses asks them;  “…Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor…” (Numbers 31:15-16).  Essentially telling them that the women were the ones who caused the Israelites to sin, so they should have been killed too.

Moses commands them to kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man, but save those who had not slept with a man. Anyone who participated in the killing or touched the dead bodies, would have to stay outside of the camp for seven days as part of the cleansing process.

After that, they divide up the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the Israelites. The Levites are to receive 1 out of every 500 of everything the soldiers receive and 1 out of every 50 items that the rest of the Israelites receive.

The officers of the army report to Moses that they had 0 casualties, they wiped out an entire nation without any loss! They thank the Lord for this victory, by presenting an additional offering of 190 kilograms of gold. OR in today’s standard of Gold to US dollar equals:  $6,118,000!!! That’s right… over 6 MILLION dollars in Gold.

Chapter 32: Conquering of Canaan

The Israelites are about to enter into the Promised Land, what will become “Israel”, the land on the west side of Jordan. Before they cross Jordan, the Reubenites and the Gadites take a look at the surrounding lands on the East side, or the former lands of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Hesbon, Elealeh, Sebam and Beon. The Reubenites and the Gadites see that the land would be good and ask Moses if they can keep these lands instead, because they were favorable in their eyes.

Moses of course gets a little angry, especially since they haven’t made it to the Promised Land that they Lord had planned for them, and they already want something else. Moses speaks to the children of Gad and Reuben, saying: “…Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And therefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?” (Numbers 32:6)

                The Lord has prepared the Promised Land for them and wanting something else, is really not putting their trust in the Lord and this causes him to be angry. The children of Reuben and Gad come back to Moses and tell him that they will go with Israel into the Promised Land.

The Lord even reminds them of why they had traveled in the desert for forty years: “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed” (Numbers 32:13). Essentially we learn about trials and tribulations…

The Lord gives us Trials that we can be strengthened. By “filtering” out the evil in the children of Israel, the Lord through a 40 year process was able to find the strongest and most faithful of the Israelites to live in the Promised Land. This reminds me of a scripture in (Romans 5: 1-6)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

                We glory in tribulations… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh receive their inheritances east of Jordan. They covenant to join the other tribes in conquering Canaan.