Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is the Canon Closed?

Rev. 22: 18-19 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: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."

Mainstream Christianity generally interprets these verses of scripture to mean the Bible is complete and the Canon is sealed. That God no more will give unto man any more of his word, that all is contained in the Bible as it is presently constituted. Despite the seeming consensus on this issue, this interpretation is not consistent with what John the Revelator says in these verses.

The Apostle John warns anyone who, "shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy." Isn't the Bible many books which contain many prophesies. Yet, John warns us to not add or subtract from this book (singular) and this prophecy (singular). I think those that interpret this verse to apply to the entirety of the Bible are in danger of adding to John's prophecy what was not intended.

I agree that no one should change the doctrine of Christ. In fact, God uses similar language in several other placed in the Bible. Deut. 4: 2 says, "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." And, Deut. 12: 32 reads, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." So, does that mean the Bible was complete after Deuteronomy?

So, if the Mormons are guity of adding to the Bible with the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the Ordinances of the Temple. etc; are we suffering the plagues which John promises. On the contrary, science and the media seems to come out with article after article extolling our health and family values. Because of our belief in direct revelation, Mormons have been generally saved from the plagues of poverty, smoking, drugs, drinking, gang violence, divorce, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, etc. The Bible says that in the Last Days false prophets should arise, but that "by their fruit ye shall know them" (Matt. 7: 15). Mormons enjoy the excellent fruit of true gospel living.

The Bible actually prophesies of the Book of Mormon. Ezek. 37: 16 talks about the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph being joined together in the Last Days when the House of Isreal is restored. Books were referred to as sticks because they were scrolls rolled up upon sticks. The stick of Judah is the Bible. The stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon. In the Last Days the scripture from Judah and Joseph will come together and be "one in [thine] hand." It is very possible that the writings of the other Lost Tribes of Isreal will also be discovered. When the 10 tribes are identified and gathered, won't it be wonderful to have the Word of God which they may have received.

Isa. 29: 11 reads, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:" When Joseph Smith and Martin Harris begun the work of translation of the Gold Plates, Martin Harris tells of his visit to New York which was a surprising fullfillment of Isaiah's prophecy:

“I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. . . .He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”

Jesus Christ taught that his church would be established upon the foundation of continuing revelation by Apostles and Prophets (1 Cor. 12: 28-29)(Eph. 2: 20)(Eph. 4: 11). Matt. 16: 13-19 Christ asks his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Here Christ asks a doctrinal question. I suppose he could have asked a question about any other point of doctrine such as baptism or prayer and recieved similar discordant responses. However, Peter knew the truth of Christ's identity through direct revelation by way of the Holy Ghost. It is upon direct revelation that Christ said he would build his chruch. The Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only chruch which is led by a living prophet and direct revelation.

The heavens are not sealed, God does not sleep neither doth he slumber, and he has not gone away into a far country. Jesus Christ lives and is still leading his Church on the Earth until his second coming when as Isaiah says, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion" (Isa. 52: 8).

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