2 Nephi 28

2 Nephi 28: Apostasy

                Nephi explains to his people that in the Last Days, many false churches shall be built up;

“…it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.” (2 Nephi 28:3-4)

This foretelling of the Last Days by Nephi was incredibly accurate, anyone who takes a close look into the many religions and churches that have been built up in even the last 20 years can see that this has come true. So many churches that proclaim to have the “truth”, without offering any evidence of their divine “truth”, the same churches that are built up for gain.

Nephi knew that this would happen, and continues to explain; “…they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men; Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.” (2 Nephi 28:5-6)

How many churches or religions would say that all we have and ever will have of God is the Holy Bible? These same people fail to understand that the Bible itself, by definition, is a “collection of books” and this ‘collection’ was put together by men who (denying the Holy Ghost) put together the ‘Bible’ omitting parts of the words of God, and did all this by their own precepts and usually by VOTE. God however does not VOTE on these things. His word, and what He wants in His Gospel is to be determined by HIM and not a counsel of so called religious experts.

Today we see so many churches that will claim to preach the Gospel, however, many will actually say its ok to commit a little sin, for if God loves us He will have mercy on us… Nephi explains; “….there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.” (2 Nephi 28:8)

How many see people who claim that all we need is FAITH in Jesus Christ in order to be saved? They claim that good works are not necessary in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. However, by saying this they are doing exactly what Nephi said they would, they justify committing sin if we just place Jesus in our hearts. Is that really how it works?

Are we saved by Faith alone?

The simple answer is YES. However, one must first ask… What is Faith? Is Faith simply believing that Jesus Christ is your Savior? Could it really be that SIMPLE?

In order for us to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, we must believe in all of His teachings! If we believe in His teachings we will desire to follow HIS commandments! If we follow His commandments… we will do good works! So yes, Faith requires good works, and it requires us to be good people.

What if I commit sin and then commit good works, will that get me into the Kingdom of God? No, we cannot JUST do good works. We have to have a desire in our hearts to do the good works and to be good people without the reward of ‘getting into Heaven’, so to speak. Faith alone is dead without works.  It is also important to know, that while sinning “a little” is not encouraged with the idea that someone can “repent later”, it is good to know that if we do mess up, we can be forgiven because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ… for He took upon Himself all the sins of the world!

Nephi explains that in the Last Days many intelligent and ‘learned’ men will pervert the right way of God and fool the poor into believing their false doctrines;  “…O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!” (2 Nephi 28:15)

Nephi, speaking of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the Last Days, explains that many will exclaim that; “…We have received, and we need no more!” (2 Nephi 28:27) However, Nephi reminds us that even the Bible explains that we (the Children of God) will receive His Gospel; “…line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (2 Nephi 28:30)

We must ask ourselves, why would God only leave His children with the Old and New Testaments? Surely an Eternal God would have more to say and teach to His children!

3 John 1 + Summary of 3 John

3 John 1: Those who Love Truth + Summary of 3 John

                John writes to Gaius and the members of the Church explaining that he has; “…no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4) This is the same way the Jesus Christ and God the Father feel when they see us walking in the truth and light.

John explains that he would write to Diotrephes, who loved to have dominion over the church and the members. This man, would change words and deceive many… this is the start of important doctrinal changes that would eventually lead to the formation of 100’s if not thousands of churches and religions worldwide today. John explains that he; “…had many things to write…” (3 John 1:13) but would not, and would rather speak in person to the members of the church. This goes to show that the Bible does not contain all the words of the prophets, or apostles. It is a general account, but not a complete and accurate account. The Bible is in fact the word of God, but is not 100% perfect, due to the fact that good and evil men changed the words slowly. This chapter of the Bible proves that this happened from the start.

What is the Bible?

What is the Bible?

What is the Bible? Where did it come from? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

Today there are dozens of “versions” or “translations” of the Bible in English alone! Not including a translation in at least some small form in every language spoken on earth!  I use the King James Version of the Bible which was translated in 1611 and is probably one of the most common and most quoted “translations” of the Bible in the world.

Lets step back in time for a moment and learn some of the history of the Bible; I personally am always blown away with the extensive history of the Bible! Someone could easily spend their entire life studying the Bible and still not know the entire history. Let’s start by examining the word “Bible”, what does that mean? Bible comes from the Latin word; Biblia, which means “books” or a collections of books. So the Bible literally means a collection of Books or if we were to see “Holy Bible” we could translate that to the “Holy Books”.

So we know that the Bible is a collection of Books, but where did these books come from? We know that the first five books of the Bible, known as the “Pentateuch” were authored by Moses of Israel, but he most likely took existing records, collected, edited, wove and abridged the books into a complete narrative. It is believed that some 700 years after Moses, Ezra, and the scribe returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity to start the demanding task of collecting, sorting and editing existing records and biblical texts to form one collection. The Old Testament that we know today probably reached its current form sometime around the late first century A.D.

The New Testament was formed in a similar manner, but often not how people have perceived. The books and the order they are placed in the Bible does not coincide with the date they were written. Before they were even written down, the stories and teachings of Jesus were first circulated as an oral history, with the earliest writings appearing sometime around 50 A.D. We know that the “Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were actually written much later than other parts of the New Testament, even though they appear first in the New Testament. The earliest known circulation of the “Gospels” appeared in Egypt no later than 125 A.D.

The earliest known collection, where the Old and New Testaments were together, is known as the “Codex Vaticanus” which is housed in the Vatican Library, and dates back to the 14th century.

From here the Bible follows a remarkable story filled with drama, inspiration and intrigue. The man that is credited with the first complete Bible in English is John Wycliffe (1328-1384), who was a theology professor at Oxford. He pioneered church reform in both doctrine and practice, and because of that him and his followers were greatly persecuted by corrupt church officials. Wycliffe saw that the current church was corrupt and far removed from the pattern of order and structure described in the Bible. Wycliffe set out to make the Bible available to all for their own interpretation, in their own tongues, instead of listening to corrupt church officials.

A century passed after the death of John Wycliffe and the birth of the man, who the world would recognize as the “Father of the English Bible” was William Tyndale (1492-1536). By the time Tyndale had begun his translation of the Bible, Martin Luther had already made a new translation of the Bible into German and Johann Gutenberg had perfected the moveable-type printing press, resulting in the famous 42-line Vulgate Bible. This Bible was a two-volume masterpiece that was printed in 1455.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) is probably one of the most famous of the pioneers for the reformation of the Bible and the church, which at the time was corrupted. Luther insisted that the teachings of the church must be grounded in scripture. He produced his new translation, so that the common man could understand its concepts and principles, and so misunderstandings could be avoided.

Shortly before William Tyndale was persecuted to the point of being burned at the stake, he said; “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the scriptures than thou doest”. Tyndale’s work was not in vain, his work would later influence versions of the Bible, like the Geneva Bible of 1560, which was used by Shakespeare and brought over to America by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.

In 1607, King James I of England appointed nearly 50 scholars, divided into six groups to research, organize, translate and bring to light a new translation of the Bible. The King James Version, which was published in 1611; “For without translation into the common tongue the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well… without a bucket or something to draw with”. Modern scholars have come to the conclusion, that almost 84% of the King James Bible was retained in the original texts of Tyndale’s work.

We must understand that as the world moves forward new versions or translations of the Bible are appearing every day. Reasons include; keeping up to pace with changes in language, facilitate ease of understanding and to go along with general understandings of words and doctrines of the modern world. But it must be understand that a “translation” is automatically a “interpretation”.

Because a translation is an “interpretation”, we must treat it as such! This does not mean that the Bible is not credible, it is very credible! I believe that the Bible is the word of God, but only when it is translated or interpreted as such! Meaning that we must read the Bible and understand its principles and doctrines with the spirit of God. We must read the scriptures with a prayer in our heart. We cannot simply read the Bible and take it for its literal “interpretation”, especially the interpretation of another.