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|Brother Joseph -by David Lindsley|
In this next painting, (by Grant Romney Clawson), 12 year old Jesus is shown being about His Actual Father's business, by teaching wise men in the Temple in Jerusalem. Please read of this here: Luke 2:48-49
Twelve Year Old Jesus Teaching in the Temple -by Grant Romney Clawson
It was to somewhere in this same sacred temple at age eight days, that Jesus had been brought by Joseph and Mary for the ordinances required of them by their Jewish religion. To their surprise, two aged saints, Simeon and Anna, came to them there. They evidently didn't come together, but arrived at the same time.
|Simeon and Anna view Baby Jesus -by Greg K. Olsen|
We read regarding Simeon:
Luke 2:26: And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple.Simeon rejoiced in his having seen the long expected Messiah. Anna also expressed her gratitude for having seen him. Please read the full account: Luke 2:25-38.
Please take note that these were not prophets of ancient Israel, but relatively common folk. However, it is not surprising that they, by the Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation identified the long expected Messiah.
Doing things by the spirit of prophecy and revelation was something that occurred often in righteous Israel over the centuries. Please note that Luke termed Anna, a prophetess. Women too can possess the spirit of prophecy and revelation! Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both men and women, of all ages, can possess this gift, but must live worthily to use it.
In Revelations 19:10 the Apostle John wrote: "... for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."Because the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ we must expect much evidence of there being many instances of prophecy and revelation throughout this sacred record as well as in the Bible, which is a Testament of Jesus Christ, both in the Old and in the New Testaments.
In one of my recent blog posts there was the example of the prophet, Abinadi, who was raised up by the Lord to call the people of a kingdom where he lived in the ancient Americas, to repentance. He did what the Lord wanted him to do by the spirit of prophecy and revelation (or the testimony of Jesus). He was valiant in following the guidance of that marvelous gift even though he knew, by that same spirit, that he would lose his life as a result.
Although King Noah, and his supporters did not accept the words of that prophet, one of his priests, the First Alma, and a good number of people whom he taught Abinadi's words (which he had carefully and privately recorded), became members of the Church of Jesus Christ. This was done under the Lord's guidance.
The membership went through much adversity over a period of time, and having been strengthened by having gone valiantly through that adversity, the church which was founded for them eventually became the foundation church for the large nation of Zarahemla.
Some of the critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have charged that its leaders have dictatorial powers and require members to blindly follow them.
In actuality, in all the times in the history of this world where there has been a true church of Jesus Christ like the one mentioned above in ancient America, guidance of the church has been by the power and spirit of prophecy and revelation or "the testimony of Jesus."
In actual fact in Jesus's true church, no matter when in the world's history it was found, free agency or the right to choose, of all the members is a very important principle.
Yesterday, August 17, 2008, throughout the entire world wherever a branch or ward of this Church has been established (among the over 13 million members of this church) the assigned lesson for the Melchizedek Priesthood (for adult men) and the Relief Society (for adult women) was something we were invited to study previously and then were taught by an assigned teacher the following lesson: Revelation and the Living Prophet.
From Lesson 16, pages 195-196 of the text book used throughout the church, world-wide (translated into a very large number of different languages and dialects) I quote the following: (This is a quote from an address given by the Prophet, Joseph Smith in an LDS Church Conference Held on April 21, 1834 (from minutes of the conference recorded by Oliver Cowdery.)
President Joseph Smith, Jun., read the second chapter of Joel's prophecy, prayed, and addressed the conference as follows: ... "We are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this earth; consequently those former revelations cannot be suited to our conditions; they were given to other people, who were before us; but in the last days, God was to call a remnant, in which was to be deliverance, as well as in Jerusalem and Zion [see Joel 2:32]. Now if God should give no more revelations, where will we find Zion and this remnant? . . .'“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the
"The President then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the Priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in 1830, the revelation of the High Priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Ghost poured out upon the Church, and said: "Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none.'"
Kingdom of God.” Articles of Faith:
“We never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven, but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity; but that is no authority.”
“The doctrine of revelation far transcends the doctrine of no revelation; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence."
“Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. … No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy . Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. (See Revelation 19:10) Whenever salvation has been administered, it is by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.”
“Jesus in His teachings says, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ What rock? Revelation.”
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded upon direct revelation, as the true Church of God has ever been, according to the Scriptures (Please click on each of these, one at a time): Amos 3:7 Acts 1:2 and through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in His hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion.” Joseph Smith
Now that you have read the Prophet Joseph Smith's words about the importance and place of revelation in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, you can read from this same lesson material something he said about the role of prophecy and revelation in the work of leadership of the presidency of the Church and in the lives of all other worthy members.
. . .“The Presidents or [First] Presidency are over the Church; and revelations of the mind and will of God to the Church, are to come through the Presidency. This is the order of heaven, and the power and privilege of [the Melchizedek] Priesthood. It is also the privilege of any officer in this Church to obtain revelations, so far as relates to his particular calling and duty in the Church.”
“We do not consider ourselves bound to receive any revelation from any one man or woman without his being legally constituted and ordained to that authority, and giving sufficient proof of it."
". . . It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instructions for those in authority, higher than themselves; therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed to them; but if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.”
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"I, J. Neil Birch, have been a member of this church since I was baptized at age eight in 1940 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.
I have always known and trusted that this church is led by our Savior Jesus Christ through the spirit of prophecy and revelation through a living prophet whom He has chosen. I believe that now, after all these years, with all my heart.
I have also been blessed in the church callings given to me with the spirit of prophecy and revelation and also in my personal life. I know by that spirit that the words of Joseph Smith are true and that the Lord guides His church through direct revelation on all levels of this organization and also in our personal lives.