2 Nephi 3

2 Nephi 3: Joseph Smith

                Lehi speaks to Joseph, his last born in the wilderness and proclaims unto him that he [Lehi] was a descendent of Joseph (who was sold into Egypt). Lehi also explains that Joseph of Egypt saw the day when the Lord would bring his people into a land of promise (see: Genesis 50:24-38).

“…Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” (2 Nephi 3:7) Lehi is speaking of Joseph Smith, who would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord to RESTORE His Church!

Lehi explains that the Lord will command the fruit of the loins of Judah and Joseph to write what we know today as the Bible and the Book of Mormon; “Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)

The Book of Mormon would come forth among the world and shall become a companion to the Bible to help confound false doctrines and contentions amongst the many churches and religions of the world. Joseph [the son of Lehi] explains that the seer who the Lord would raise up would be named after him [Joseph] and that the Seer would be named after his father. Joseph Smith, Jr. was named after his father; Joseph Smith Senior. The Prophecy of Joseph [Lehi’s Son] came to be; “…his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me…” (2 Nephi 3:15)

Acts 26

Acts 26: The First Vision – Paul and Joseph Smith

King Agrippa comes to Paul and tells him that he is free to speak. Paul gives an autobiographical account of his dealings and explains his side of the story. He asks King Agrippa to hear him “…patiently…” (Acts 26:3) Why is that so important? Because what Paul is about to tell King Agrippa is easy to immediately dismiss without hearing the entire thing. After all, that is what his accusers did! They heard him speak as if he was a messenger of God (which he was), however those who accused him were too quick to judge and thought he spoke blasphemies, comparing himself to God. So it is important that King Agrippa hears Paul with an open heart and mind. Paul begins by stressinh that Moses and the prophets predicted the coming of Chris and that in his name they raised the dead and cast out evil.

Paul explains his vision and conversion story;

“At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, [Saul is Paul] why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:13-18)

Paul explains to King Agrippa that he was not disobedient unto this heavenly vision. He explains that he first traveled to Damascus, then to Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judea and finally to the Gentiles that they would repent and turn to God, doing works “…meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20) Paul continues to explain, that for preaching about Jesus, the Jews caught him in the temple, desiring to kill him.

Paul continues his testimony to King Agrippa; Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23)

As Paul spoke, Festus interrupted with a loud voice said to Paul; “…thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” (Acts 26:24-25)

Paul dismisses Festus’ claim that he is mad. King Agrippa says he is almost convinced to become a Christian, and comments that Paul would have been set free had he not appealed to Caesar.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision

The story of Paul is very similar to the story of Joseph Smith, at least in the sense that no one believed him. Joseph Smith did not persecute any church, for during his time, the TRUE church of Jesus Christ was no longer on the earth. However, as a young boy Joseph Smith was curious as to which of all the sects was the correct one for him to join. For years Joseph Smith wondered which church to join, however he was confused for they all seemed to say that they had the truth. Joseph Smith explained his story;

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“I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five [1805], on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont. … My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario— His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.

Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.

For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia. During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty [1820]. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

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My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:3-19)

Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and through him, God himself opened the door the last dispensation, or the “…dispensation of the fullness of times…” (Ephesians 1:10) by calling another Prophet [Joseph Smith], it is important to note that in Mormon Doctrine, Joseph Smith is looked at as a Prophet, like Moses. Some believe that Mormons worship Joseph Smith; however he is not looked at on the same level as Jesus Christ or God. Joseph Smith was an instrument in the hands of God, and nothing more.

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.

Daniel 1-2

Daniel 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.

In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)

                Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!

In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)

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Chapter 1: Daniel

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

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                Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)

                Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!

The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.

Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).

Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:

“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)

Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).

                “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.

 

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 11-12

Isaiah 11-12

Chapter 11: The Lord Shall Raise an Ensign

A root shall come forth from the rod of Jesse, possessing the seven spirits of God:
He will judge the poor with equity, and slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

“The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion… together…” (Isaiah 11:6) The world will come together and fighting and war will be a thing of the past. The gentiles shall seek him. The Lord will gather together scattered Israel. Peace will reign, and neighboring nations be subdued.

In Doctrine and Covenant Section 113 we learn more about Isaiah chapter 11 and come to understand more of the meaning behind Isaiah’s words.

Answers to certain questions on the writings of Isaiah, given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at or near Far West, Missouri, March 1838.

  • “Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?

                                Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.” (D&C 113:1-2)

  • “What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.” (D&C 113:3-4)

  • “What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?

 

Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.” (D&C 113:5-6)

 

  • “ What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.” (D&C 113:7-8)

  • “What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?

We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.” (D&C 113:9-10)

Chapter 12: In the Last Days God will be among us

Praise will be offered to the Lord when his anger has passed away. The Lord is my strength and salvation! You will draw water from the well of salvation. Praise sung – great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!

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.

2 Samuel 21-22

2 Samuel 21-22

Chapter 21: The Lord Sends a Famine

The Lord sends a famine to Israel, while King David reigned, the famine lasted for 3 years. David went to the Lord and inquired of the reasoning behind the famine. The Lord responded by saying that it was because of Saul and what he had done to the Gibeonites. So David goes to them and asks them how he can atone for what Saul had done. They respond by telling him that they want nothing more than the sons of Saul to be hanged unto the Lord. So David sends all of the children of Saul, except Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan who was the son of Saul.

7 of the children of Saul are delivered to the Gibeonites and are hanged on the first day of the barley harvest. Rizpah, who was the mother of two of Saul’s children held a vigil over the dead bodies until it rained. This means that the famine was over and justice had finally been brought to Israel. David finds the bones of Saul and Jonathan and takes them along with the seven to give them a proper burial.

During a battle with the Philistines, David grows weak and is almost killed by one of the descendents of Goliath, but Abishai saves him. David grows older and older, but with the help of his other three servants; Sibbechai, Elhanan, and Jonathan… Israel is able to continue in power! By the hand of David and his servants, they killed Goliath and all his giant offspring.

Chapter 22: The Lord Blesses Those Who Trust Him

David sings praise to the Lord. The entire chapter has a Psalm sort of feel to it, so I will include the verses that I felt most important in my reading.

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter unto his ears” (2 Samuel 22:7) – Some people believe that God has abandoned them in their times of trouble. On July 8, 1838, Joseph Smith was in distress. He along with other leaders of the restored church of Jesus Christ , were locked up in prison (for no reason). Joseph Smith was hungry, tired and sick. Not only were Joseph and his leaders suffering in prison, but members of the church all over were being persecuted, raped and murdered! He cried out to the Lord; “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavillion 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 thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)

                The Lord responded; “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure well, God shall exhalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8). So what do we learn here? We learn that even in the darkest of hours, the Lord is with us. Often times we do not fully understand the “WHY”, but the Lord does and he needs us to be patient and endure well. Maybe he is training us for something worse, or setting us up for something better. We never know, but if we are loyal to him, we will have the power to triumph over all our foes.

David continues with his Psalm; and says that “With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward (deceitful, perverted or crooked) thou wilt she thyself unsavoury.” (2 Samuel 22:27). Essentially if we are good and follow God’s commandments, we will always see the good in God and feel of his love and warmth. But if we are deceitful, perverted or crooked, we will always see God in a different light and we will think of him as bad. Why? Because those who are perverted or crooked, will never feel the warmth and love of God, like those who love God and show their love, by following his commandments!

“It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me” (2 Samuel 22:48). Essentially, we must sometimes give up our hate and just love our enemies and let God deal with their mis-deeds.