Saturday, February 28, 2009

35a - The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

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II Nephi 29: 6 Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?
7 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?
8 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, 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.

The Bible and the Book of Mormon Stand Side by Side as Witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. -by Greg K. Olsen
TODAY'S THEME is just a portion of the scripture I'd like you to read.
The entire chapter 29 of II Nephi was spoken by the pre-mortal Jesus Christ through His prophet Nephi, son of Lehi sometime in these years: 559 to 545 B.C.)
To continue with what we have started with please read (and listen to if you so desire) this scripture: II Nephi 29:1-14

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ presents sure evidence that believers in Jesus Christ migrated away from Jerusalem in 600 BC. After a long and difficult journey by land and by sea, they arrived in Ancient Central America. They, at least those among them who were true believers in Jesus Christ, continued to believe in Him and serve Him which allowed Him to bless them with His appearance not long after His resurrection in Jerusalem.

That blessed people, the Nephites, had been saved from a great cataclysmic occurrence that destroyed the cities which were inhabited by the unrighteous, rebellious portion of their nation.

The precious events that occurred during the visit of our (and their) Redeemer were reviewed in my most recent blog post series, entitled, "The Resurrected Jesus Christ's Ministry in Ancient America."

The Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ Teaches the Nephites -by John Scott
 The Three Nephite Disciples who had desired of the Lord the privilege of living until His Second Coming so they could continue serving "His sheep" who would find themselves in need of special inspired assistance in reaching salvation, continued in their service.

Among others, Mormon, the compiler of the Book of Mormon, reported meeting with them. In their semi-immortal state, they continued serving and survived all attempts to kill them after the end of the 200 years when unrighteousness predominated again.

Those three disciples were then sent elsewhere in the world to assist His other sheep after the Nephites' apostasy.The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied during His last day with those Nephites that there would be subsequent apostasy among them which brought Him much sorrow. These are His words to them at that time.
III Nephi 27:32 But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition (Judas Iscariot); for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt and which thieves can break through and steal. And in that day will I visit them, even in turning their works upon their own heads. (clarification added)

They actually had all of their means of living in common among them. This was not communism nor was it socialism. It is evidence that they had a pure love for one another and for their Savior, Jesus Christ who was their only king.

Under His direction through the Gift of the Holy Ghost, this people were led by His Twelve Disciples. As each of these twelve men died, he was replaced by another worthy man by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

However, the Lord Jesus Christ also prophesied of the re-establishment of His Church in the Latter-days among the Gentiles (non-Israelites) who would have driven their descendants (the Native Americans) from their established lands. He told them that the record of their people from the time they left Jerusalem until there ceased to be prophets among them to continue recording their history, would be an important means of restoring His Gospel in the Latter-days. This of course was to become: The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
The Savior of Mankind personally established His church among His people, the Nephites, in Ancient America. His church among them flourished for about 200 years. There was no poverty among them until the end of those two centuries. The people were all of one class. There were no rich, no poor, and no one of elevated status of any kind. Their humble church leaders led them.
III Nephi 29: 1 AND now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.
2 And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.
3 And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel.
4 And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.
5 Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!
6 Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost! (emphasis added)
While remembering that highlighted verse 6, we turn briefly to a report of something regarding the history of the Christian Church in the Near East in about the second century A.D.

In a book, "The World and the Prophets" by Dr. Hugh W. Nibley, an expert on the history of early Christianity, (taken from a series of radio lectures he delivered on KSL (Salt Lake City, Utah) Radio in 1954) very astutely (he studied the original documents in their original languages of Greek, Latin and others) points out that those same things the Lord warned about (mentioned in the highlighted verse six above), apply directly to the ancient Christian Church and to those churches that later came from them and make up the Christian churches of our day.

Today's Christian churches do not believe in present day revelation, prophesy, use of the gift of tongues, nor in healing, nor in the blessings of the gift of the Holy Ghost in their personal lives.

I quote from Professor Nibley's book cited above, the following: (excerpts from Chapter 8, pages 63-64)

I found Dr. Nibley's book in a Salt Lake County Library (Utah, USA) but if you would like to listen to the recording of his very intense and interesting entire lecture series, you can order your own copy of the CD. The cost is $29.95 (American dollars) This is how you can order it!
"The recent discovery of a complete Gnostic library in Egypt has not so much revived as accelerated the study of the most baffling and portentous episode in church history, the rise of the Gnostics.
The latest survey of the whole field, an impressive corroborative work by a number of Dutch scholars, sees in the Gnostic crisis the end of the primitive church and the moment at which 'Christianity enters upon a new phase of its history.' (ref. cited)
In this great revolution of the second century, the whole orientation of the church changed completely. What brought this about? It was the ceasing of prophetic voices. the continuing demand in the church for the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy, gave rise to an army of quacks and fakirs who, though discredited in time, left their mark permanently and conspicuously on the Christian church.
These were the Gnostics, so-called."
"Paul had prophesied that "whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away" (I Corinthians 13:8)"
"Here the so-called original text uses the identical word for the failing of prophecies and the vanishing of knowledge, katargethesontai, 'to be taken out of circulation,' 'to be made inoperative,' used both times in the future indicative.
There is no sense of contingency here; the whole statement is simple and emphatic: 'Such prophecies as there are shall be stopped; such tongues as there are shall be made to cease (pausontai) such gnosis as there is shall be done away with.' These gifts were not simply to fade away; they were going to be taken away. They were already weak enough; We have these gifts now only in a limited form, Paul explains in the following verses, and then he makes the significant remark: 'But for the present time there remain 'faith, hope, and love, these three.'
The colorless 'and now' of the King James is not fair to the emphatic nuni day, 'but at this time' of the 'original,' and while the 'abideth' of our English Bible emphasizes the quality of lasting and reliable firmness the original menei does not mean 'to be firm' at all, but simply to stay behind.
The emphatic 'these three' that remain is in obvious contrast to the three that are going to be taken away, namely, the gift of prophecy, the gift of tongues, and the gnosis--the greatest gift of all."
"Gnosis means the act of knowing, and in some contexts it can be translated simply as "knowledge." But not when Paul uses it! His frequent use of the word leaves us in no doubt as what it conveyed to the early Christians. for them it was exactly what we would translate as "a testimony of the gospel."
'But I think any price is worth paying for the supreme value of the gnosis of Christ Jesus my Lord,' writes Paul to the Phillippians (3:8), 'for which I have sacrificed everything, counting all but dung in comparison with acquiring Christ as my fortune."
How often we have heard such expressions as that--'I would not exhange my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ for all the wealth in the world!' . . ."

I have inserted below a drawing of an experience from the life of Dr. Nibley. He was an officer in US Army Intelligence and was involved in the D Day Attack on Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. If you look closely at the drawing you will see a copy of the Book of Mormon in his right hand. He carried it with him in his pocket (and studied it regularly) throughout his lengthy time of service in Europe during World War II.

Hugh Nibley on Utah Beach (in Normandy) on D-Day (of World War II) -slightly modified drawing by Chris Maggio
I will end this post by reminding you of the re-establishment of Jesus Christ's Church in 1830. I have posted for you the following paintings illustrating important events in the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about which He informed the Nephite people he visited in ancient America. (These paintings have all been shown in previous blog posts of mine.) They clearly illustrate that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not meet the criteria of apostacy which the Lord Jesus Christ warned the Nephites about:
III Nephi 29:6 Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!

The Father and the Son Appear to the fourteen year old Joseph Smith. -by Tom Lovell

The Angel Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith -by Tom Lovell
Joseph Smith Translating the Book of Mormon -by Del Parson


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