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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rejection of Addtional Light

Issac Newton observed, "one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body." In other words, "for every action there is an equal, but opposite reaction." Which is why when we move forward, we have to push backward. This truth was observed, even before then, in a spiritual sense. The prophet Lehi said to his sons, "there must be opposition in all things." For progress to occur to us eternally, we must push against opposition. Naturally, objections arise against the only True and Living Church of Jesus Christ. As a missionary serving in the so-called "Bible belt," I have been introduced to many objections. Today, I desire to push against just ONE of the many philosophies against the true Church of Jesus Christ for the progression of Zion, which is the interpretation of the scripture Revelation 22: 18. This post is for the humble, soft-hearted, and those who desire to have a better understanding of Christ. I caution you; it may seem I am stepping on toes and some may not be appreciative of the simplicity which is to come in this post.

The previous mentioned scripture reads, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book." (Revelation 22:18) The interpretation of this particular piece of scripture is, "if any man shall add anything to the Bible, it will not be God's word." Therefore, people stay away from what we have to share, which is "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ". I have heard many things pertaining to answering this point brought forth by people of other faiths. But, I want to forget the fact that the whole Bible as we know it (one collection of "books" bound in a single volume) did not exist when that verse was written. I want to overlook the fact the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself [perhaps there are even more (because 35 out of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts contain the whole New Testament as we now know it and were compiled after A.D. 1000)] were written AFTER "The Revelations of St. John the Divine." I want to disregard the overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. I am going to ignore the significant historical facts, like much of the rest of the Christian community who reject the Book of Mormon, and look at the simple interpretation of this scripture mis-used to "disprove" the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

This is not the only scripture introduced by God pertaining to adding to God's word. If we look to the last book of Moses, Deuteronomy, we will read, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." (Deuteronomy 4: 2) This has the same interpretation, the exact same message as Revelation 22: 18-19, but much sooner in the history of Israel. If the meaning of that scripture is "if any man shall add anything to the Books of Moses, it will not be God's word." Then why the rest of the Books of the Old Testament? Why do we have Jeremiah, Amos, and Malachi? If that be the case, then Moses was the last true Prophet of God. If that would be the case, we should throw out Joshua. If that would be the case, we ought to cast the writings of Isaiah far from us... and the New Testament? Well, that would be epitome of blasphemy. A man, who was the Son of God suffering for our sins, our pains, and our afflictions? God would not stoop so low. IF the interpretation of Revelation 22: 18 is what the world thinks it means, then so does Deuteronomy 4: 2, and IF that is the case, then the world is denying their Lord, their Savior, and their God, even Jesus Christ. Not one soul, claiming to be a Christian, will want to do that.

Therefore, we must take a step back, and look at the deeper meaning. The scripture in Deuteronomy says, "Ye (man) shall not..." It doesn't say, "I, God, shall not..." Nor does it say "I, God, will not..." nor "I, God, can not..." God, not man, can add to His word. This is the reason we have the rest of the Old Testament. God gave it to us, and He has established a pattern to which He will add. The prophet Amos wrote, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3: 7) The same with the New Testament. God has added it to the Old Testament. So, if we take a step back and do the same thing with Revelations 22: 18, we will see a deeper purpose in that scripture, "If any man shall add unto these things..." It doesn't say, "I, God, shall not..." nor "I, God, will not..." nor "I, God, can not..." It conveys, and TESTIFIES of the very message we, as Latter-day Saints profess. God is not dead! God speaks! God has a prophet!

On this subject, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, asked, "Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)... offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice!... The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our 'standard works.' Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time. But even then, Joseph knew the Bible alone could not be the answer to all the religious questions he and others like him had. As he said in his own words, the ministers of his community were contending--sometimes angrily--over their doctrines... About the only thing these contending religions had in common was, ironically, a belief in the Bible, but, as Joseph wrote, "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 [regarding which church was true] by an appeal to the Bible." Clearly the Bible, so frequently described at that time as "common ground," was nothing of the kind--unfortunately it was a battleground. Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true... In one of the earliest revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Lord said, "Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up. (D&C 10: 52; 20: 11)" God said to Moses, "my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease." (Moses 1: 4)

There are more Nations then one.
"Thou fool, that shall say, 'A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible'... Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God (see also Matt 18: 16; 2 Cor 13: 1; D&C 6: 28; 128: 3), that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever (see also 1 Ne. 10: 18; 2 Ne. 2: 4; 27: 23; Alma 31: 17; Moro. 10: 7, 19; Heb 13: 8); and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that... I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it (The Bible); and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it (The Book of Mormon); and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it (to be revealed); and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it (also, to be revealed)." (2 Nephi 29: 6-12; Grammar modernized; scripture references added)

Jesus Christ warned, "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 bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." (Matthew 7: 15-18) I agree with Elder George Q. Cannon who wrote, "No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." "And now, my beloved brethren... hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good." (2 Nephi: 33: 10) For, "[His] sheep hear [His] voice, and... they follow [Him]" (John 10: 27) "And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day..." (2 Nephi 33: 10-11)

Mormon, the prophet who complied the Book, wrote, "This (The Book of Mormon) is written for the intent that ye may believe that (The Bible)..." I found Christ through The Book of Mormon. It wouldn't have happened any other way. I know it is God's word. "and if ye believe that (the Bible) ye will believe this (The Book of Mormon) also; and if ye believe this (The Book of Mormon) ye will know concerning... the marvelous works... wrought by the power of God..." (Mormon 7: 9) In other words, you will know, just as I, that "Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah" (Introduction to The Book of Mormon). I am well aware there are many good religions claiming to be the True religion, and false prophets who have gone out into the world and have written many things concerning the subject. Therefore I turn to the words of John the beloved who wrote, "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 John 4: 1) God has COMMANDED, through the disciple John, that we try the fruits of ALL, and, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God..." (1 John 4: 2) Christ has challenged you to try our fruits, to try ALL fruits; and ask the True and Living God if they testify of Christ. So do I challenge you, in the Name of my Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

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