2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2: Eternal Glory for the Elect

                Paul writes to Timothy and explains that Timothy will need to “…endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3) Everyone who follows Jesus Christ needs to know that as followers, it is possible to experience or endure hardness. Persecution can and will happen!

Paul explains that “…if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Timothy 2:5) – In other words, if someone wants to master something, they must follow the rules of that something. For example: Someone who competes in a sporting event must follow the rules of that event in order to have the chance of becoming victorious. If someone competing breaks the rules, they usually become disqualified for the prize. This is the same as our lives on earth, we are here to learn and prove ourselves worthy to live with our Heavenly Father again.

Just as the farmer must labor to obtain fruit, so must we also labor to obtain the fruit (the reward) or eternal life! “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.” (2 Timothy 2:6)

Paul explains that Jesus Christ was the seed of David and was raised from the dead, Paul says that he endures all things for His sake; for if “…we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12) Paul urges the followers of Christ to “…strive not about words to no profit, but… Study to shew thyself approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:14-15) We should not waste our time with things that have no profit to us, instead we should be well studied, so that we can obtain as much knowledge in this life.

Paul leaves us with some very good advice;

“Flee… youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace… the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves…” (2 Timothy 2:22; 24-25)

Galatians 1

Galatians 1: The Gospel is Received by Revelations

                Paul speaks to the Galatians and tells them that Jesus Christ died for everyone to; “…deliver us from this present evil world…” (Galatians 1:4) However, Paul is a little concerned for the future of the Gospel and how some men will try to pervert the ways of the Lord and His Gospel truthes;

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But thought we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-8)

Paul was so troubled that so quickly could the Gospel of Jesus Christ be converted into something other than what Jesus Christ taught. However, we know that Satan has influence over some men to change the Gospel to add confusion and strife among the believers of Jesus Christ. Paul however testifies that what he preaches is from the Lord; “…I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12) How did Paul receive his testimony of the Gospel? Through personal revelation! Therefore we learn that obtaining answers to gospel questions can only occur through prayer and personal revelation with God Himself. If we only listen to man, we will obtain an answer that man can give us. However, if we earnestly desire to know the truth and ask God with a sincere heart we will obtain an answer from God that is not temporary like that of the world… but an eternal answer.

Paul ends his address by explaining that he was once a persecutor of the church and those who believed in Christ… but that he had converted and repented of his ways. This shows us that even the most imperfect person can change their lives and come to know the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Acts 14

Acts 14: The Spreading of the Gospel

                Paul and Barnabas go into a synagogue in Iconium where they preach to the Jews and Greeks. Unfortunately only half of the people believe in them and the other half desired to kill them. Paul and Barnabas seeing there might be trouble flee to Lystria where they continued to preach the Gospel. While in Lystra, Paul heals a lame man, and the excited crowds declare that both Paul and Barnabas are gods in men form visiting the earth.

Jews from Iconium had followed Paul to persecute him, they stone him and think that they had stoned him to death… but he manages to escape and got to Antioch, where many churches are established. Paul reminds the Saints in the area that “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Essentially he is saying that if you believe in Jesus Christ and follow his commandments there will always be someone, with evil intent, who will persecute you. Believers will always be tested through tribulations, but if they endure well… God will reward them on high!

Acts 13

Acts 13: Saul = Paul

                In the church at Antioch, the Holy Ghost calls Barnabas and Saul to missionary work. They are both set apart by the Holy Ghost to administer this missionary work (see Acts 13:2). This act of ‘separating’ them for the work is the same way LDS Missionaries are set apart for 18-24 months to preach the Gospel throughout the world.

Barnabas, John and Saul depart for Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis, Paphos and during their travels they encounter a man named Bar-jesus, who was a false prophet and a sorcerer. Another man named Sergius Paulus, who was a prudent deputy of the country desired to hear the word of God from Saul and Barnabas. However, Bar-jesus [Elymas, as it was being interpreted] desired to turn him away from the faith. Saul, who is also called Paul looked at Elymas and said; “…O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10) Sergius wanted to learn about Jesus and the His Gospel; however those with evil intent were trying to say him away from hearing the truth. Paul causes Elymas to go blind for a season. When Sergius saw this, he believed. John departs back to Jerusalem and Paul and Barnabas continue on to Perga where Paul delivers a sermon in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.

Paul gives a extended history of Israel, and explains how Jesus came from the lineage of David. Paul preaches the risen Christ. When the Jews see the popularity of Paul’s message, they become envious. Paul quotes Isaiah, saying that Christ is a light to the gentiles. Paul explains that they need to be careful if they don’t want the wrath of God, as promised by the prophets of old. Paul explains that God will “…work a work in your days, a work which ye shall no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” (Acts 13:14, see also Habakkuk 1:5) Paul is explaining the great Restoration the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will happen in the Last. Many will not believe of the great work, even if someone were to tell them. That Restoration has already occurred, and the Church of Jesus Christ is back on the Earth today; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These statements angered the Jews, which causes them to expel Paul and Barabas from the region; they shake the dust from their shoes, and move on to Iconium.

Acts 8

Acts 8: Holy Ghost by Laying on of hands

After Stephen had been stoned to death, a great persecution against the church went throughout Jerusalem. A man named Saul came forth making “…havock of the church…” (Acts 8:3) by throwing believers in jail. Because of this great persecution Phillip had to scatter the believers abroad so that the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be preserved. Phillip was successful in teaching the Gospel to the Samaritans, and even converted a man named Simon.

Simon was a man who used sorcery and witchcraft and claimed to have great power, however, after watching the great miracles of Phillip, the Samaritans said; “…This man [Phillip] is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10) Simon also believed that Phillip had power from God and was baptized like most of the Samaritans. After hearing that Samaria had received the word of God, Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Baptism and the Holy Ghost

Why did the Apostles Peter and John come down to give the Samaritans the Holy Ghost? We read that the Holy Ghost had yet to fall upon any “…of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16) This is something very important to know about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost: First the believers had to have Faith in Jesus Christ, Second they had to Repent of their wrong-doings and organize their lives in a manner in which they could live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Third they had to be Baptized by the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. Fourth, after having received a Baptism by the proper Authority, they could be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands by someone who also has the Authority to do so.

  1. Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism by Immersion with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  4. The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  5. Enduring to the end, and continuing to live the Gospel, commandments and Repenting if necessary.

Peter and John arrived in Samaria where they gave the Gift of the Holy Ghost to the recent converts of the Church, they did this by laying “…their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) When Simon saw that they had this great power to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, “…he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:18-19) Clearly, but unknown to Simon, the powers and authorities given from God cannot be bought nor sold for money. Peter responded to Simon by saying; “…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast though that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20)

After Phillip had finished “correcting” Simon, he travels over to Jerusalem where he is told to go down to the desert of Gaza to meet an eunuch who had great Authority under the Queen of Ethiopia, Candace. This eunuch sat in a chariot reading the Book of Esaias [Isaiah] the Prophet; Phillip asked the man if he understood what he read, and the man deserved for him to teach from the book ,and read: “…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:” (Acts 8:32) The man desired to know more of this prophet, so Phillip taught him of Jesus Christ. Along their journey the man points to a body of water and ask Phillip to be baptized, Phillip tells him that there is one major qualification to getting baptized, and that is: “…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…” (Acts 8:37) The man tells Phillip that he does believe and “…they went down both into the water… and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:38-39)

Notice how they BOTH went down INTO the water? Notice also, that they came OUT of the Water? What does that mean? It means that the man had to be baptized with the Authority (which Phillip had) and the man had to be baptized like Jesus Christ was baptized… by immersion! (See Matthew 3:15-16)

John 15

John 15: The World Hates the Truth

Jesus explains that He is; “…the true vine, and [His] Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1) Jesus tells us that everyone must abide with Him, because any branch that brings forth bad fruit will be cut off from Him. In this way the Father gets only the best fruit. Jesus explains; “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10) Jesus has made it clear that we cannot love Himself or God, if we do not follow His commandments. But Jesus promises us that the commandments are for our own good; “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11) Simply put, following the commandments and living a righteous life, will lead to joy and happiness. Living a life of wickedness that is void of commandments, will only lead to pain and sorrow.

Jesus imparts the most important commandment, which truly does cover all commandments; “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) If we Love one another, we will automatically follow all of God’s commandments.

Jesus explains that we “…are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you my friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever yer shall ask of the Father in my name he may give it you.” (John 15:14-16) Jesus loves us so much that we are not only His friends, but His family. Anything the Father has revealed to Him, He has revealed to us.

Jesus knew that shortly after His now impending death, that the Apostles and followers of Christ would be persecuted, and would be persecuted throughout all time. So, He leaved His followers with some encouragement; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) He explains that as they have persecuted Him, so will they persecute anyone who believes on His name. He reminds everyone that; “…They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25) So will those who persecute the believers of Christ, be persecuted without a cause.

Job 1-2

Job 1-2

                The book of Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible, although we don’t know exactly how old the book is, there is no doubt that it is ancient. Some scholars believe that Job, is mentioned early on in the Bible in the book of Genesis as “Jobab” (Genesis 10:29), one of the sons of Joktan, which would put Job in the ear between Noah and Abraham. In the opening chapter of the Book of Job, we learn that he is from the land of Uz, well there was a man named Huz (Uz?), who was Abraham’s nephew (see Genesis 22:21), perhaps the land of Uz was named after him?

Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had another son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2).

Chapter 1: Job, a Just and Perfect Man

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.  Job had seven sons and three daughters.

He also had an abundance of possessions (earthly and material).

  • Seven thousand sheep.
  • Three thousand camels
  • Five hundred yoke (yoke=pair) of oxen. (so in reality 1,000 oxen)
  • Five hundred female donkeys.

Job also had a very large household; he was the greatest man in the entire East. Although his sons would invite their sisters over for parties and this did not please the Lord and in His eyes they had sinned. The chapter does not say exactly what they did to sin, but it was bad enough that Job had to offer sacrifices to make up for the sin.

There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “…Whence comest thou?” (Job 1:7) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down it.” (Job 1:7). Then the Lord said to Satan, “…Hast thou considered my servant Job, that hence there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth (to keep from or forgo) evil” (Job 1:8) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on ever side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:9-11). The Lord then said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy  hand…” (Job 1:12). So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Job’s Catastrophic Loss:

Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “…The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:14-15)

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:16)

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:17)

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:18-19)

In the span, of what was probably only a few hours God allowed Satan to cause great destruction. I don’t know if Satan was the one controlling the weather or not, but if he was we can see that God can remove his hand or any restrictions he puts over Satan. God at any time can let Satan do his work, but God always has a purpose for it.

After hearing this, Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

“…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath takenaway; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

Even after all that had happened to Job, he did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

We must all look at life the way Job was able to immediately analyze and understand his situation. God gave us our lives; we came into this world with nothing, so everything he has is a blessing from the bounty of God. If God takes away something from us, and because of it we have less, it is still more than we came into this world with.

Joseph Smith went through something very similar…

While Joseph was held prisoner (with no charge or conviction) in Liberty, Missouri on March 20, 1839 he asked God;

“…where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How Long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of they servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer the wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thin heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

Joseph Smith and the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints were be persecuted mainly because of an order signed by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri who issued “Executive Order 44”, also known as the “Extermination Order” which on October 27, 1838 read;

“…The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace…”

Joseph Smith received these words from God while being unlawfully detained for months and while the members of the LDS church were suffering;

“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes… Thou are not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-10)

Although we go through challenges in life, God always has a purpose for those challenges. We can learn from them and know that God is only doing it for our own good.

Chapter 2: Job is Smitten with Boils

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord, and the Lord said to Satan, “…From whence comest thou?” (Job 2:2) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…From going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down it.” (Job 2:2)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “…Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)

Satan answered the Lord and said, “…Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 2:4-5) And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” (Job 2:6)

At this point, Satan is essentially challenging God and telling him that Job still praised him because nothing was directly effecting him, just his family and his possessions. Here Satan suggests that if God were to curse him with an infirmity that he would not praise him. This was a new test Satan wanted to trouble God with, a physical one to prove to God that Job would no longer praise his name.

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.

Job’s Great Physical Suffering:

                Later we can read other passages in the Book of Job that describe more of what he went through;

  • Intense pain; “My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews (A piece of tough fibrous tissue uniting muscle to bone or bone to bone; a tendon or ligament.) take no rest” (Job 30:17)
  • Peeling and darkened skin; “My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat” (Job 30:30)
  •  Pus-filled, erupting sores; “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.” (Job 7:5)
  •  Anorexia, emaciation; “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20)
  •  Depression; “I loathe it (talking about his life); I would not live always: let me alone…” (Job 7:16) “My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. I went mourning without the sun: I stood up and cried in the congregation” (Job 30:27-28)
  • Weeping; “My face is foul with weeping, and eyelids is the shadow of death” (Job 16:16)
  • Sleeplessness and Nightmares; “The thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifies me through visions” (Job 7:14)
  • Putrid breath; “My breath is strange to my wife…” (Job 19:17)

The chapter continues… his wife said to him, “…Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” (Job 2:9) But he said to her, “…Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job’s wife, after losing her children and her wealth and most likely out of love tells Job to curse God! If Job were to curse God, then maybe God would strike him down and kill him. Because after all that Job had been going through and is going through at this moment, death would be a sweet release from the pain and suffering that God was putting him through.

When Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They had all come together to mourn with him, and to comfort him. However, when they raised their eyes from afar, they did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.