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 13

Luke 13: Repent or Perish

Jesus tells us that the Galileans who were killed by Pilate at a sacrifice, or the eighteen people who were killed by a falling tower at Siloam, were not worse sinners than anyone else. He says; “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

He speaks of the Parable of the Fig Tree;

“…A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sough fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find non: cut it down…. he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well: and if it not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (Luke 13:7-9) Essentially the certain man was God, and He was coming to remove any fruit that did not produce good fruit, while the dresser of the vineyard, Prophets, Apostles and other men on earth plead with the Lord to give that tree or person another year to produce good fruit. If it were not for the dressers of the vineyard, the bad plants would have been cut and burned.

While teaching in the Synagogue a woman who had a problem with her spine came in and was healed and straightened out by the Lord. The ruler of the synagogue was displeased by this action on the Sabbath, and Jesus responds; “…Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?” (Luke 13:15) The man was a complete hypocrite and did not allow for a woman to be healed, but could lead his animals to drink.

Jesus then explains that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, and leaven. The Mustard seed is the smallest of all the seeds, yet is one of the biggest when fully grown. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate to salvation, which will eventually be shut, causing wailing and gnashing of teeth, for Jesus will say; “… I know you not…” (Luke 13:27) Jesus laments for Jerusalem and its unwillingness, saying; “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather he brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34) 

Matthew 7

Matthew 7:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 3 

                Jesus starts this chapter with the simple and very famous;

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1) 

Jesus asks His disciples; “…why beholdest thou the mote that is in they brother’s eye, but considereth not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Essentially Jesus asks, why do you criticize or gossip about your neighbor/friend/stranger etc., when you, yourself have your own things to be criticized or gossiped about? If you allow yourself to be critical of others, without considering that you are not without flaw, then you are a hypocrite.

Jesus encourages us to ask, for if we ask; “…it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) How hard is it to ask our Father in Heaven for something? It is easy, pray and ask him. Are you confused by doctrines? What job to take? Who to marry? Etc… anything can be asked for!

Jesus then tells his disciples to enter into the straight and narrow path, which leads back to our Heavenly Father. For “…wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction…” (Matthew 7:13) The path back to our Heavenly Father, the path that leads us to righteousness is not a broad path, it is a path that is EASILY accessible, but only if WE CHOOSE to take that path. If we decide to take the righteous path, it won’t be easy. But the reward is worth the obstacle! Jesus warns us about the other path, which is wide and easy to travel, for that path will lead ONLY to DESTRUCTION. He sadly adds that “…few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14), referring to the path that leads back to our Heavenly Father.

Jesus warns His disciples about False Prophets; “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits… every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17) In the last days many false prophets will arise, but by their fruits we can determine which prophets are true prophets of God. Joseph Smith was one of those prophets called of by God. Smith’s fruit or evidence that he is a prophet is the Book of Mormon, which was written thousands of years ago and translated by Joseph Smith.

Jesus also proclaims that it is not JUST by grace that you are saved, you must also do good works. For “…Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?…And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-22)

Jesus ends his Sermon on the Mount by explaining that we should be wise and build our house upon his rock [the Gospel], instead of the foolish man who built his house upon sand, which washed away in the rain storm. We must do as the Lord has done, He has set an example and we would do good to follow him. The disciples explained that Jesus spoke as “…one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:29), therefore in the ending of the Sermon on the Mount we learn of the great importance having authority from God is.

Amos 3-4

Amos 3-4

Chapter 3: Prophets

The Lord asks a series of questions, such as:

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

(Marriages? Missionaries? Walking two by two)

“Will a lion road in the forest when he hath no prey? …” (Amos 3:4)

“Shall a trumpet be blow in a city, and the people not be afraid? …” (Amos 3:6)

Then after listing a few more questions, Amos reminds the reader; “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealth his secret unto the servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Here, we re-learn the importance of a Prophet. Prophets are called by God and are only Prophets when given the proper authority from the Lord. Throughout all time, and every generation there has been a prophet. A Prophet is basically the Lord’s mouth piece on the earth and until Jesus Christ returns in the Second Coming there will ALWAYS BE A PROPHET on the Earth! So the question is where is the Prophet for the Modern Day? Today, as of September 22, 2013 that Prophet is; ‘Thomas S. Monson’. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on earth TODAY, just as the original church that Jesus Christ established when he was last on the earth.

The children of Israel have not fulfilled their responsibilities as God’s chosen people. The Lord will cause a calamity in the city. Egyptians and Philistines are invited to the mountains of Samaria as witnesses of the punishment of Israel. Israel will be conquered and exiled. The altars of Bethel will be destroyed.

Chapter 4: The Lord makes things hard, so we remember

Women are referred to as “…kine of Bashan…” (Amos 4:1) i.e. ‘the cows of Bashan’ who oppress the needy and demand wine from their husbands. They will be taken away with fishhooks (the Assyrians used to lead people by hooks driven through the lower lip). Rain will be withheld, which will cause some cities to be in drought and others to have water. All teeth shall be ‘clean’ (a good way of saying that the people will be starving) because of lack of bread. Israel will suffer blight and mildew. God asserts himself the former of mountains and the creator of winds.

Jeremiah 23-24

Jeremiah 23-24

Chapter 23: False Prophets

Woe to those that have scattered the sheep of the Lord’s pasture. A king shall arise from the branch of David, and he shall be called the King of Righteousness (Jesus Christ). Jeremiah writes; “Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man…” (Jeremiah 23:9) The priests and prophets of Judah are wicked, and divine vengeance is hanging over them. The people should not listen to their false promises: they will face destruction if they do.

Jeremiah continues to write about the land being filled with evil and “…swearing…” (Jeremiah 23:10) which goes to show that keeping your words clean is important to God. Jeremiah writes that “…both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness…” (Jeremiah 23:11) The so called prophets of the Lord have “…caused my [God’s] people Israel to err.” (Jeremiah 23:13) But the Lord counsels the people that are hearing the false prophets; “…Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say… unto them… Ye shall have peace; and they say unto you everyone one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (Jeremiah 23:16-17) The world today is filled with prophets/pastors who say that as long as you profess the name of the Lord you shall be saved. It doesn’t matter what you do! But in reality, it does matter what you do! If you don’t make proper choices, like following all of God’s commandments, your calling of the Lord in your heart is in vain.

Jeremiah tells us that “…in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.” (Jeremiah 23:20). Jeremiah was right! We are in the latter days and we are seeing it happen, perfectly, all around us. I hear you can’t do wrong, and if for some reason you do… confess the name of God in your heart, accept Him as your Savior and you will be freed from sin! Do you realize what kinds of lies are being taught? The people are being misled and because of the false teacher/preacher/pastor/prophet they are causing the Lord’s people to err.

So if there are so many False Prophets, how do we know which ones are TRUE messengers of God? Well this is where we get into a very unique LDS Doctrine. In the past God has called prophets, like Jeremiah for instance, but God knew that they would not believe him, so He gave Jeremiah “fruits” to prove that he was a messenger of God. Jesus speaks of these False Prophets and gives a formula for proving their truthfulness… “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-17)

Jesus tells us that good prophets (men who are called of God, and given His authority to act and speak in His name) will bring forth good fruits, and bad or FALSE prophets will show forth evil or rotten fruit. It goes on to say “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruity… Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:18,20)

In the LDS church, we have a church that was RESTORED. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the RESTORE church of Jesus Christ. God restored HIS church through the hand of Joseph Smith and continues on this day with a living Prophet and Apostles. No other church on earth has this, the Authority and power of God is back on the earth! How can you know this to be true? God gave Joseph Smith a “Fruit” to prove that he was truly called of God. This fruit is known as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the Ancient record of the people of the Americas, which was buried for thousands of years! God told Joseph Smith the location of this ancient buried record and had him translate it from an ancient language. The Book of Mormon is the fruit. If anyone wants to know the truth of these statements they must read the Book of Mormon and ask God themselves to manifest the truthfulness of this message.

Chapter 24: Jews shall be scattered and cursed

A vision after Jeconiah had been taken away captive: good figs and bad figs. The good figs symbolize those the Lord shall preserve in captivity, and the bad figs Zedekiah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem, and those that dwell in Egypt. A scattering of people will occur.

Isaiah 29-30

Isaiah 29-30

Chapter 29: The Book of Mormon

Woe to Ariel (Jerusalem) – its pride shall be humbled. However, the humbled Jerusalem will be protected from its enemies. Jerusalem suffers from spiritual drunkenness and illiteracy. However, the spiritually blind will see, and justice for the wicked be administered.

The coming forth of the Book of Mormon (to cure the spiritually blind) is prophesied:

“And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.” (Isaiah 29:4)

The Book of Mormon came out from the ground and came forth as a familiar spirit and as a companion to the Bible, the New World story of the Ancient Americas. What is more interesting is that Isaiah continues to prophesy about the Book of Mormon…

“…the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” (Isaiah 29: 11-12)

Joseph Smith received this book (the Book of Mormon), being unlearned. What’s more, he sent it with Martin Harris to the learned Professor Anthon, who reportedly said precisely “I cannot read it, for it is sealed.”

Ezekiel prophesied of a Stick of Judah (Ezekiel 37:15-17), (a stick is a book or a scroll) these are the Jews and this stick is the Bible. He also prophesied of a Stick of Joseph, these are descendants of Joseph, down through Lehi and his descendants who came to the New World. He and his descendants wrote the Book of Mormon.

Isaiah continues by saying that God will “…proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isaiah 29:14) God will bring forth more of His word, what is more marvelous than that? People long for the Lord to speak and reveal that He still lives, the Book of Mormon proves that Jesus Christ Lives! It is Another Testament of Him! In the last days the word will become confused and many will wonder and stray away from God, the Book of Mormon will help people come back to the path… “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isaiah 29:24)

Chapter 30: Rejection of Prophets

Woe to the rebellious children who look to Egypt to protect them from Assyria.

“…this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not: and to the  prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things…” (Isaiah 20:9-10) The people do not want seers to see, and want prophets to prophesy deceits rather than right things. They want “smooth things” or things that don’t require them to be righteous and follow commandments.

Judah will be broken like a potter’s vessel. Blessed are those who wait for the Lord. He shall respond to his people, who cry to him from Jerusalem. The Lord’s people will throw away their graven images of gold and silver. Nature will bring forth abundance. There is a place in Tophet (the rubbish dump outside Jerusalem) for the Assyrian king. The breath of the Lord shall kindle it.

Remember that “…though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction… This is the way, walk ye in it…” (Isaiah 30:20-21) OR in other words… the Lord gives us affliction… but we need to move forward and walk in His path, and we will be blessed and those afflictions will be for our own growth and learning.

Psalms 73-74

Psalms 73-74

Chapter 73: God is Good

A Psalm of Asaph.

                God is good to Israel, every one of them that has a clean heart. Those people who speak wickedly, set their mouths against heaven and are filled with pride, these same people are the ungodly. “…the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” (Psalms 73:12)

                These people, who prosper in the world wickedly, will eventually be “…consumed with terrors.” (Psalms 73:19) Those who put their trust in the Lord however will be received up in glory.

Chapter 74: The Foolish Shall Say: No Prophets

Maschil of Asaph.

                The wicked will destroy the synagogues when “They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: there is no more any prophets…” (Psalms 74:8-9)

                The author is singing/praying to God and asking God to remember that the wicked will always blaspheme his name (verse 18). The author continues to ask God to remember that and to not forget the poor and needy with whom have respect for His covenant.