1 Nephi 14:

1 Nephi 14: Two Churches – The Church of God and the Church of the Devil

“….if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power… unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks—…they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.” (1 Nephi 14:1-2)

                In other words, if the Gentiles follow the Lord and do not harden their hearts against Him, they shall have stumbling blocks before them removed and they shall be numbered among the house of Israel in the Last Days and shall remain in the Promised Land forever.

The Angel shows Nephi more visions;

“…it came to pass that he [the Angel] said unto me [Nephi]: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (1 Nephi 14:9-10) Nephi saw that there could only be one Church of God, those who do not belong to that Church belong to the Church of Satan. Nephi is shown more of the vision of this Great and Abominable Church; “….I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.” (1 Nephi 14:11-12) Nephi saw that the Great and Abominable Church was strong in power and people and spread throughout the world. Nephi also saw the True Church of God upon the face of the earth, however its numbers were few. Nephi sees that Satan teams up to attack the True Church of the Lamb.

Nephi sees that there appear wars and rumors of wars throughout the land and that because of this great and abominable church, war was also declared among the Saints of the True Church of the Lamb. “…when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.” (1 Nephi 14:17) In the Last Days the Lord will deliver His people and will prepare a way for those who desire to join his church and fulfill their covenants with Him.

The Angel of the Lord commands Nephi to look, and Nephi looks. He sees one of the Twelve Apostles and is told that one of the Twelve would finish writing what he had seen in a book [the Bible] and shall also write regarding the End of the World and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Angel of the Lord speaks to Nephi; “…the things which he shall write are just and true; and behold they are written in the book[The Bible – New Testament]  which thou beheld proceeding out of the mouth of the Jew; and at the time they proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, or, at the time the book proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, the things which were written were plain and pure, and most precious and easy to the understanding of all men.” (1 Nephi 14:23) Here it makes sense why the Book of Mormon was needed. At the time of this Vision the Bible (which was still being written) was just a pure, and easy for the understanding of men. However, with time these things became perverted by evil men who desired to change the Word of God. Therefore, throughout the ages the Bible had been changed and parts of the book were also lost. Therefore the Book of Mormon would come forth in the last days to be a companion to the Bible, in order that we might understand more of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James 1

James 1: Ask God!

                James, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ writes a letter of wisdom. While the letter is not addressed to any specific people or person, it serves as New Testament literature and as a letter written to all.

James explains that we should be filled with joy when we fall into temptation, knowing; “…that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:3) In other words, when we are tempted and overcome those temptations we will be made stronger for having been through the temptation.

Paul urges us all to ask God when we are in doubt; “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. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6) In this life we will pass through trials and tribulations, we may have doubts and we may not understand everything in this world. But we can ask God, and those who ask God with faith will be given the answers to their righteous desires.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God: The Restoration of the Gospel

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                This very same scripture is what led Joseph Smith to ask God the question; “Which of all the sects was right?”

Joseph Smith was a young farm boy who lived in the east coast of the United States in the early 1800’s, he explains in his own words;

“I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five (1805)… in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont… My father, Joseph Smith, Senior, left the state of Vermon, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the state of New York, when I was in my tenth year… In about four years… he [Joseph Smith Senior] moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario… Some time in the second year of 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… 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…. Priest contending against priest, and convert against convert… During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness… 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… to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong…. 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 is right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:3;5-6;7;8)

                Joseph Smith, like many today may ask themselves, which of all the sects is the correct one? Why would there be different beliefs, if there be one God? Joseph Smith was confused and unsure of which religion was right. So he consulted the Bible, God’s word! He read in James 1:5-6; which says that anyone who lacks wisdom will be given it. So, who better to ask which religion was right… then GOD HIMSELF!?!

Joseph Smith decided to take this advice from James and retired to a grove of trees near his home;

“ 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 BelovedSon. Hear Him!

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 1:15-19)

Joseph Smith followed the advice given by James and asked God; which of all the sects was right. Joseph Smith was answered and told that none of the sects were right. This single question from a young, 14 year old boy would lead to God restoring His Church on the Earth, using Joseph Smith as an instrument in His hands.

James goes on in the first chapter to explain that those who endure temptation shall receive a just reward; “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) James explains that God does not tempt anyone, but rather we choose to sin on our own accord; “…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust…” (James 1:14)

James explains that anything GOOD is from GOD, and anything BAD or EVIL is from the DEVIL; “Every good gift any every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)

James encourages people to be DOERS and not just HEARERS; “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.” (James 1:23) James explains that anyone who seems to be religious but does not follow his religion; “…deceiveth his own heart… this man’s religion is in vain.” (James 1:26) James goes on to explain that pure religion is; “…undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) While many may claim to be religious, anyone who fails to take care of those around them and stay clean and worthy are not following the will of God.

Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4: Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ

Paul opens this letter by explaining that there is “…one body, and one Spirit…” (Ephesians 4:4), which means that there is one purpose behind all of God’s works. Paul goes on to further exclaim that there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

                What is Paul saying here? He is saying that there is only one God, One Savior [Jesus Christ], and one baptism… which also means there can only be one Authority. Paul explains that there is “One God and Father of all… unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:6-7) So we learn that there can only be one Lord, one faith and one baptism… so the question arises; Why are there so many religions? Different Faiths? Different Baptisms?

Paul goes on to explain the organization of Christ’s Church: “…he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be not more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may group up into him all the things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-15)

From these five verses we learn a lot about how Jesus Christ’s Church must be set up; it must have an organized body to administer His Church on the earth, including: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers. Those who hold those positions are CALLED to them, and do not receive money for being in them. These people called to the work and given the authority from Jesus Christ himself can guide the church and receive revelation for the Saints [members] in the church, that they might edifying the body [the members] of Christ. The reason for God calling Prophets and Apostles is simple, so that we can be guided by men called of Christ and not just those men who ‘lie in wait to deceive’. This is the reason there are so many religions, churches and faiths… because it is profitable. Over thousands of years since the death of Jesus Christ there have been evil men who distort doctrines and confuse the masses. Because of this we have so many religions today… when in reality there can only be one.

Paul explains that one day, when everyone is united and everyone believes on Jesus Christ, that there will be no reason for this same organization because Christ will reign as King. Paul urges the Saints to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you… by ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving… even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32)

1 Corinthians 14

1 Corinthians 14: Speaking in Tongues

                Paul encourages the Saints (the members of the Church) to “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts…” (1 Corinthians 14:1) If we are desirous for Spiritual Gifts, we also need to be willing to “…seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12) Paul teaches the saints about the Gift of Tongues, which is speaking in another known language. Some believe that speaking in tongues is a secret way of communicating in gibberish with God. However, Paul explains that it is not communication, but rather gibberish.

                “…if I come unto your speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? …how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth now what thou sayest? …I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than then thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (1 Corinthians 6; 16; 19)

                 Essentially Paul is saying that unless someone in the room understands you, it profits no one for someone to speak in an unknown tongue. Speaking in Tongues is not falling on the floor and screaming gibberish… Speaking in Tongues is speaking in different languages, like English, Spanish, German, Japanese, etc.

Paul then explains that there should not be confusion in the Church of Jesus Christ or strife on which church is true, there can only be ONE true Church of Jesus Christ; “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) The Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are called “Saints” and the LDS church is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, the same one He established when He was on the Earth.

Paul leaves the Corinthians with lots of knowledge and reminds them that it is their own choice to believe him, however, he explains; “…if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1 Corinthians 14:38)