2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32: Men must pray to gain Knowledge

“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?” (2 Nephi 32:2)

Nephi sees that many of his brethren are questioning what they should do after they had obtained a faith in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He asks them if they had remembered that after you receive the Holy Ghost, you are able to speak with the tongue of Angels! After we are baptized, we must ENDURE to the end. Part of this enduring is to constantly receive strength in all the daily battles against Satan that we will fight.

Nephi continues…  “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…  if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4) Here, Nephi explains that it is not just enough to pray, nor is it enough to just ponder and read the words of Christ. No, they must BOTH be done in order to understand the Words of God. We must diligently study the scriptures and then pray to understand the meaning of them.

After baptism, we receive the Holy Ghost, and with this Gift of the Holy Ghost we will be given guidance, so long as we do not upset the Spirit. We do this by reading and praying daily, avoiding sin and the unclean things of the world. We need to keep our minds as clean as possible. It should be recognized that no one, besides Jesus Christ, is perfect. Therefore, we need to strive to become like Jesus Christ… but when we fall short, we need to repent and move forward in His Gospel.

Nephi, after speaking to his brethren still sees that they do not fully understand, and this grieves him; “…now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7) In today’s world, so many are so easily led by the vain things of the world… look around and you can see the influence of a pop star or some celebrity, even politicians! People blindly follow these so called “role-models”, but when asked to sincerely pray and understand if for example the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, they ignore it. In fact many in the world will look at the Book of Mormon and toss it aside, even when it is given to them in ‘plainness’, but these same people ask; “Where is God?”

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God speaks TODAY! It is so plain, yet so hard for people to see through the stiffneckedness of the carnal man. Nephi explains that we can come to this knowledge if we pray, for the Spirit will teach a man to pray, and the evil spirit teaches a man to not pray; “…if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)

Nephi ends this chapter by telling us that we “…must pray always, and not faint…” (2 Nephi 32:9)

Acts 17

Acts 17: The Unkown God

Paul goes to Amphipolis and Apollonia where he comes into Thessalonica and teaches Jews in a synagogue; “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath day reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) Many of the Jews listened and understood the scriptures and were converted, these Jews “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) And many of them believed, however an equal number of them did not believe and caused many to instigate a riot.

Some of those who believe ask Paul; “…May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” (Acts 17:19) Paul speaks to the men of Athens; “…I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

Paul then explains who God is; God… made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we life, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and the man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)

Paul explains that we are all the offspring of God, meaning we are His children, God created all men equally and the time of ignorance is over… God will no longer overlook worshipping false gods, the time is now to repent and turn to Him. God is not far from us, and Him being our Father we can turn to Him in prayer and receive guidance from Him. In today’s world we may not be worshiping a false god, but we might be worshiping Gold, Silver, Money or Fame.

John 5

John 5: Salvation of the Dead

                After the feast of the Jews, Jesus left to Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, Jesus stopped at a ‘sheep market pool’, which was called Bethesda. This pool had many lined up to be healed, but only for a short period after the waters were troubled could anyone be healed. A certain man, who had an infirmity for 38 years couldn’t walk and it made it difficult for him to jump into the water. The man asks for Jesus to help him into the water; however Jesus decides to just heal the man.

Jesus said unto him; “…Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” (John 5:8) and immediately the man was cured and took his bed and ran off. Soon after, a Jew spotted the man carrying his bed and was told him; “…It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.” (John 5:10) The man responded that he was cured by a man, and that man told him to take his bed and walk.

The Jews find out that it was Jesus who had been healing people on the Sabbath day, and begin to persecute Him. But Jesus responds to them; “…My father worketh hitherto, and I work.” (John 5:17) But this only angered the Jews more, because Jesus had said His Father, was God! Jesus tells them; “…The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19) Jesus goes on to explain that the Son does the will of the Father, but that the “…Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22) Everyone should honor both the Son [Jesus Christ] and the Father [God], for not honoring one, you dishonor the other. For God has given His Son power and authority (see John 5:27).

Jesus teaches about Baptisms for the dead; “…for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29) In modern day LDS temples, baptisms for the dead are performed so that those who did not have a baptism by the proper authority in this life can be baptized by proxy. Meaning, someone else is baptized in place of the deceased. Because without baptism, no one can enter into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore it is necessary that someone acting on their behalf is baptized in the flesh so that they can receive the baptism and the saving ordinances that come with it, while still in the Spirit. Later in the New Testament Peter also teaches about this; “…for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6)

Jesus explains that in the judgment day, He will be the one doing the judging; “…as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

                Jesus tells the Jews, that they received Moses and he came in the form of Moses. Jesus, being the Son of God comes in the form of the Son, and is rejected. Essentially Jesus is telling them; If you do not believe the Son, you do not believe in God. Moses wrote of Jesus, and rejects those who reject Jesus. Yet the Jews were so fond of Moses, yet not fond of Jesus.

Jesus ends with this wisdom; “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

Job 11-12

Job 11-12

Chapter 11: By searching we can find God

Zophar criticizes Job for his complaining. Infact, Zophar tells Job that he actually deserves far worse from God.

                “…he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.” (Job 11:6)

                We can learn two very important things here… our knowledge is far less than God’s. Why? Well every day we are discovering new technology, right? Therefore we still do not know everything, to say that we know all is absolutely ridiculous! God knows all and we should trust him. Secondly; God is full of mercy and when we do something wrong, the punishment is probably far less than what we actually deserve.

Zophar then goes on to teach Job about theology.

“Canst thou by searching find out God?” (Job 11:7)

Zophar, essentially criticizes Job, by telling him that God is transparent and should not be questioning Him. Zophar believed that the best thing Job could do was to accept his punishment from God instead of protesting the injustice of it. In Zophar’s mind, Job’s punishment was just and God was actually giving Job less than he deserved.

Zophar then calls upon Job to repent. If Job repents then he will be able to lift up his face to God without spot…

“…thou shalt be stedfast, and shall not fear… thou shalt shine forth… thou shalt be secure, because there is hope… thou shalt take thy rest in safety… none shall make thee afraid…” (Job 11:15-19)

If we do something to wrong God (not saying that Job did anything wrong), but if WE do SIN, we must REPENT. If we do repent then we are promised to have a feeling of hope, that we will be safe and we won’t fear man, but only God.

Chapter 12: The souls of all things are in God’s hands.

Job sarcastically answers Zophar and his other friends.

“No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have an understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbor…” (Job 12:2-4) 

Job was very frustrated with his friend and made two very important points;  First, that he also was a man of understanding. Second, that the principles presented by Zophar and the others were already widely known.

Job goes on to say that all creation knows the power of God (7-12). He returns the favor to his friends by telling them that their wisdom is so simple that even the earth, the animals and all life know the same.

Job goes on to describe the great power of God. Here, Job rebuked the previous speech of Zophar (Job 11), especially where Zophar criticized Job for not knowing God and likened him to an empty-headed man (Job 11:7-12). Here Job showed that he did indeed know that God was great in wisdom and strength, and that He was mighty in counsel and understanding.